Cardiff Metropolitan University Graphic Design

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Cardiff Metropolitan University Graphic Design

Cardiff Metropolitan University Graphic Design

Course Overview

As a graphic designer you become a skilled interpreter, turning great ideas into memorable visual messages. Someone who takes complex information and makes it easy for an audience to enjoy and understand. Someone who brings ideas to life.

Learn how to use words, images, colour, metaphor, symbols and stories to craft meaningful messages. Refine your technical skills and strategic thinking. And create visual ideas that will inform, persuade, provoke or entertain – ideas that will make your audience sit up and take note.

Explore the studio environment, gain insight into how industry works with real-world experience and collaborate with practising designers who are leading the field.

With a combination of practical, intellectual and vocational experience, this award-winning course equips you with the creative edge you need to go out into the design world and make a name for yourself.

Course information on this page relates to September 2017 entry.

Please note: This programme will undergo periodic review in early 2017. As such, course content shown below may change to ensure the programme remains current. Any applicants will be informed of any changes once confirmed.

Course Content​

Throughout the course you’ll explore all types of visual languages and experiment with as many different mediums, materials and technologies as you can, including:

  • Typography
  • Image Making
  • Conceptual Thinking
  • Editorial Design
  • Advertising
  • Social Design & Sustainability
  • Information Design
  • Moving Image
  • Web Design
  • Narrative and Sequence
  • Professional Practice

You’ll focus on your critical thinking and spend time developing strong ideas and unique approaches.

You’ll learn the skills and techniques you need to become highly employable. And you’ll build a network of people in the industry – through visiting speakers, industry mentors and live briefs with real organisations – that will be invaluable once you graduate. You’ll have opportunities to learn from other disciplines, travel, get involved in research and take on work placements.

In your third year, you can choose to complete a dissertation or a business plan to help you prepare for your next step – whether it’s further study, securing a role in the industry or building your freelance career.

Year One

Subject: fundamentals of graphic communication – 30 credits
Subject: graphic communication in context – 30 credits
What does it mean to be a graphic communicator? Your first term challenges any preconceptions about the profession as you start to explore the words, images and formats that carry your messages – and develop the visual media skills you need to create them.

Field one: collaborate – 20 credits
Widen your horizons by joining students from other courses to collaborate on a project. You’ll take inspiration from other disciplines to build on your experience and expand your creativity – and use your skills and artistic insight to apply them to your work.

Constellation: concept – 40 credits  
This module introduces you to the wider world of ideas, theory and contextual studies to help you develop your academic research skills and critical thinking. You’ll focus on particular areas of interest in study groups and you’ll become familiar with the exciting trans-disciplinary research and expertise in Cardiff School of Art & Design.

Year Two

Subject – who’s the designer? – 40 credits
This module focuses on your professional development. You’ll examine your strengths and interests as a designer as you continue adding to your expertise and developing your practice – laying the foundations for your future career. You’ll understand the crucial relationship between client, designer and audience.

Field two: explore – 40 credits
You’ll expand your experiences with challenging projects designed to encourage you to explore and experiment outside your immediate discipline. This transformative opportunity leads to new thinking and innovation – and opens up all kinds of future possibilities. You’ll take on exciting projects that challenge you in new ways. You can also choose to travel, take a work placement, start your own business and put yourself out there with your own digital portfolio – your opportunity to craft your own design identity.

Constellation: critique – 40 credits  
By critiquing literature, journals and exhibitions, you’ll hone your ability to put your design practice into context. You’ll also have opportunities to interact with students and staff and delve deeper into your areas of interest.

Year Three

Subject – specialist professional practice – 40 credits
This is the time to really concentrate on what you want to do once you graduate. You’ll work with mentors, tackle live briefs and enter competitions as you build on your skills and specialist interests.

Field three: exposure – 40 credits
Your final term is dedicated to a major project and an exhibition of your work. This is where you draw together everything you’ve learned during the course and is the launch pad to your future career.

Constellation: contribution – 40 credits
Your practice is underpinned by your knowledge. Demonstrate your research and analysis skills in your final constellation submission, where you’ll explore ideas in both written and practical forms.​

Employability & Careers​

Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable designer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.
As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

The course has excellent relationships with the London design community and local design agencies, as well as with research and cultural partners. Our graduates are in prominent design positions worldwide.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or prepare to launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.

Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.

Graduates from the programme are well placed to join design companies, work as designers in large organisations, or set up their own businesses. Some take further training, for example a PGCE. Some elect to take their studies further by studying at CSAD at masters level. They have opportunities to take this further, through a Professional Doctorate in Design.

After Graduation
Click here to read more about the wide range of careers BA Graphic Communication graduates choose when they complete their studies at CSAD.

Click here to read an interview with Graphics graduate Tom Palmer, whose freelance client base includes car manufacturer Ford.

Click here to read an interview with BA Graphic Communication graduate Sean Rees, discussing his career in branding and graphic design.​

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

Please note: The following entry requirements relate to September 2017 entry and use the new UCAS tariff.  Please refer to our Entry Requirements for further information on the new tariff, or contact Admissions if you have any questions.​

Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, five GCSEs including English Language (or Welsh First Language) and Mathematics* at grade C or above / grade 4 or above (for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England) ​Our typical offers will include:

  • 96 – 120 points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
  • CCC – BBB / 96- 120 points from at least 3 A Levels; or grades CC – BB at A Level along with the Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate grade C
  • QCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Merit Merit Merit​ – Distinction Distinction Merit
  • 96 – 120 points from a combination of Scottish Highers and Scottish Advanced Highers
  • 96 – 120 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 3 x H2 grades from any subject (minimum grade H4 considered)
  • 96 – 120 points from the Access to HE Diploma within a relevant subject

*For Welsh applicants sitting the reformed Mathematics GCSE, we will accept either GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics – Numeracy.

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered along with the rest of the academic profile and we may issue a graded offer in lieu of an offer using the UCAS Tariff.

If you are studying combinations of the above, or if your qualification isn’t listed please either contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS Course Search​ for the entry requirements. Further information on our entry requirements, including qualifications from the EU can be found by clicking here.

International Applicants:
Before making an application, international students (those outside of the EU), should contact the International Office at Cardiff Met to discuss the necessary procedures in relation to studying with us. For further information visit

Selection Procedure and Interview Days:
Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application and attendance at a School of Art & Design Interview.

Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of three criteria:

      • Personal enthusiasm for and immersion in the practice and theory of Art & Design
      • Academic achievement and ability
      • Quality of work, ambition and skills demonstrated in a portfolio

For more information about Art & Design Interview Days, please click here.
What do we look for in an applicant?
Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of four criteria:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Curiosity
  • Ability
  • Ambition

At interview there will be an opportunity to demonstrate these qualities through participating in activities and interacting with other students and staff. This may include discussing ideas, personal interests, your own and other people’s work.

What do we look for in an applicant’s portfolio?
Your enthusiasm, curiosity, ability and ambition should be evident in your portfolio.

Personal enthusiasm for the topics you’ve studied should be evident in your research and practical outcomes.

Curiosity can be demonstrated in the content of your sketchbooks or portfolio – what (and how) you have been motivated to investigate, visually.

Ability and ambition; we look for a well presented selection of work, edited so we can see and understand it easily. Edited to show you at your best, perhaps ideas are one of your strengths in which case annotation might be useful. To show good design and craft skills, the work should be presented sympathetically within the folio. Additional development work and sketchbooks can show us how you move from initial thoughts, exploring various possibilities to final outcomes.

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs

For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD


CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing.

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use.

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact the Programme Director David Wrenne