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BA (hons) Communication Design

The course enables the development of the creative, critical and technical skills necessary to pursue a career within today’s ever evolving communication design disciplines across a wide range of industry sectors. The structure of the course is flexible enough to allow students to undertake a broad cross-disciplinary path of study or alternatively specialise in graphics, illustration or photography.

Our philosophy is student centred and aimed at supporting creativity and independent thought within a studio environment where emphasis is placed on critical thinking, professionalism, team working and the development of core practical and technical skills. This is facilitated via design projects that explore narrative and the communication of central, social and current affairs that often shape our perceptions of modern culture.

Guests @ Gray’s

In addition to our course lecture programme, we also have our Guests @ Gray’s lecture programme. Here, we invite national and international artists and designers to the School to speak about their work. We have had a phenomenal list of speakers that have visited the school in the last few years. Why not visit our blogsite to review them. www. category/guests-grays/




Fig 15 Caterina Bianchini. 2014

Course Structure and Content

Year 1 enables students to develop competency in the fundamental elements of the creative process including research, ideas generation and development, resolution and reflection. Students develop a broad range of core skills and knowledge that enable informed choices and decisions to be made as the curriculum progresses.

Projects are directed by staff, and students work within prescribed parameters. Design briefs are delivered through a combination of studio and workshop activity. Students are introduced to new ideas, concepts and working approaches through seminars, critiques, discussion forums and tutorials.

Year 2 curriculum provides students with the ability to understand and apply knowledge of key theoretical principles through the provision of integrated projects; these include a broad range of practical and technical skills associated with the communication disciplines.

Projects are predominantly directed by staff, and design briefs are delivered through a combination of studio and contextual and critical study activity that enable focus on outputs that connect with personal interests. Subjects include: design principles, processes and methods; drawing and visualisation; graphics, illustration and photography; typography and print; editorial, book and advertising design; branding; packaging; 3D visualisation; information and motion graphics; video; moving image and web design.

Year 3 challenges students to consider their own creative direction and personal voice within studio. Students further develop their insight into their professional context, considering external opportunities and potential career pathways. Students explore the requirements of new business start-up and explore the skills to pursue a career as an independent practitioner.

Students undertake increasing levels of self-directed study and studio project work enabling a greater focus on developing specialist interests in preparation for Year 4. Opportunities to participate in a range of external collaborative projects and placement activities develop students’ professional aptitudes.

Year 4 provides the opportunity to undertake a sustained period of independent self-directed study at the threshold of professional practice. Students develop their own design brief in response to personal interests, researching subjects, themes and design questions that will underpin their study and final design outcomes.

Students will apply their critical design skills to a range of projects while collaborative design briefs and competitions will provide an opportunity to promote work externally at a national and international level.

Honours year is largely characterised by externally facing and socially engaged practice and the further development of individual specialism in line with career aspirations.

of individual specialism in line with career aspirations. Fig 16 Jennifer Humphreys. Illustration. 2014 UG 2015

Fig 16 Jennifer Humphreys. Illustration. 2014

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Studio practice is underpinned at all stages by a contextual and critical studies programme. This allows students to critically engage with history, theory and contemporary practice within each studio specialism. The CCS programme is delivered through blended learning, including lectures, seminars and group tutorials. Students engage with research, analytical critical thinking and are offered various models of communication for assessment, from essays to multimedia digital submissions. In Year 4 students propose their own topic that leads to the submission of a professionally presented body of research.

own topic that leads to the submission of a professionally presented body of research. Fig 17

Fig 17 Calligraphy/typography class

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Student Placements External Engagement

Students have the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of external activities throughout the duration of the course including international field study trips, national competitions and live collaborative projects with a wide variety of external partners. We offer the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus European Exchange Programme and industry-based placements with leading companies and designers. There are also a number of university clubs and societies and local creative collectives including Offset 57 (student business initiative) that offer a range of extra-curricular activities.

Fig 18 Eilidh Dunsire. Illustration /Animation. 2014

Fig 19 Michael Traquair. Illustration. 2014

Fig 20 Michael Traquair. Illustration. 2014

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What our graduates go on to do

The course has a strong employment record; graduates are employed in a variety of professional roles across all sectors, many employed by local companies while others work nationally and internationally for leading design agencies.

Graduates develop careers in graphics, illustration, photography, publishing, web design and advertising with a number establishing their own design consultancies or working as freelance illustrators and photographers for prominent publications.

Postgraduate study provides further opportunities for specialisation and diversification of graduates’ portfolios; our students have been successful in securing places on a range of prestigious post- graduate courses.

Recent graduates can apply to our Graduate in Residence (GiR) scheme that supports the next stage of the professional journey whether this involves setting up a business, applying for post-grad or building a portfolio. GiR’s input into the course curriculum and will gain valuable experience of teaching and learning.

and will gain valuable experience of teaching and learning. Fig 21 Rory Davenport. Photography/Graphic Design. 2014

Fig 21 Rory Davenport. Photography/Graphic Design. 2014

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Design. 2014 UG 2015 | 9 A CASE STUDY OF ALUMNI Scott Alistair Henderson | Digital

Scott Alistair Henderson | Digital Creative | Location: Edinburgh, UK

“I work as a digital creative for the Leith

Agency in Edinburgh. I’ve worked with clients including; Tennants, The Scottish Government and the Cello Group creating Web Design; Touchscreen Applications & Motion Graphics.

I thoroughly enjoyed my four years at Gray’s

School of Art and I knew instantly I would miss

it the second I left. For me, the most important thing during my time at Gray’s was the freedom to hone my skills as a designer, especially with regard to my understanding of aesthetics. The lecturers on the Communication Design course have wide ranging experience across many disciplines; making it easy for me to receive the advice and critical feedback that

I needed to improve. If I was to give current

applicants one piece of advice it would be, consistently drive yourself to be better, step outside of your comfort zone and you will reap the rewards”.