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BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Open Days

Meet your lecturers, find out more about the course and view academic and social facilities at an open day.

University buildings
UCAS code: 
Institution code: 


Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Typical Offer: 

2020 entry: 112 UCAS tariff points (or above)
BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).



  • Our Graphic Design and Graphic Illustration degrees are taught together giving you the option of transferring between courses.
  • We do not teach a house-style – you steer your creative interests so that when you graduate, your portfolio truly represents you.
  • Employability is embedded throughout the course, with client facing projects and industry set briefs as part of the curriculum.
  • Small classes mean you get generous contact time with tutors and technicians, with plenty of access to equipment and studios.


Our Graphic Design and Graphic Illustration courses offer you control over your creative direction and career ambitions. Because we teach both degrees together, you are not tied to one study route; for instance, if you develop a passion for illustration you can transfer to Graphic Illustration to study that pathway in much more depth.

Within both courses, project briefs help you develop the creative and technical skills you need for industry, while also being open enough to allow you the freedom to steer your work to suit your interests. This way, you get the most out of your time with us – tailoring your degree, exploring your career options and developing a personal approach to your creative process.



2 colourful abstract posters advertising a Graphic Arts Festival

Zanis Mivreniks – 'Untitled' graphic arts festival posters

A key feature is our small class sizes; throughout your degree you benefit from generous contact time with our tutors and technicians and easy access to all facilities, supporting you to advance your learning and hone your design skills. 

Employability is at the heart of our Graphic Design course. Alongside developing a broad range of practical skills, you learn how to be a creative and critical thinker, developing transferable skills along the way.


Book jacket design by Taiesha Turner for The Establishment by Owen Jones

Taiesha Turner – The Establishment book cover

Our links to professional bodies, experts and design practitioners makes for an industry-focused programme, providing you with fantastic networking and placement opportunities. For example, students have recently received industry-set briefs from BBC Studios and Jacob Bailey, and worked on client-facing live projects for 4YP, Saxon Packaging, MT Productions, Ipswich Vision and The Royal Society of Arts. Tutors will also advise and support you in approaching design studios to arrange practical work experience.


'Discuss' conference programme

Matt Ranson – Discuss Conference, programme / fold-out poster

To give you and your work maximum exposure, we support rolling out competitions from partner organisations as extracurricular projects, as well as embed national competitions within the course curriculum. Read more in Career Opportunities below.


An image of a clear plastic card housed in a cardboard sleeve with the golden section etched into it by Amy Highland

Amy Highland – Divine Ratio tool for designers


Applicant portfolio advice

Below we provide some useful tips on what to include in your application portfolio. Since there is no set ‘checklist’, if you do not have all of the suggested elements, we still encourage you to apply.

  • Include a range of work demonstrating creativity in its broadest sense. If you can, provide examples of applied design, typography and digital skills.
  • Show work that represents graphic design with ideas at its centre and that aims to communicate a message.
  • Provide examples of drawing skills in a range of different mediums.
  • Demonstrate your ability to analyse your own work and the work of others.
  • Show a project from start to finish, so we can gauge your creative journey and understand your design process.

Contact us with your questions:


App design by Anastasia Frost

Anastasia Frost – Disconnect to Connect, app to help reduce mobile phone use


View more Graphic Design student work

View Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration) student work

Visit our course Facebook page

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Course modules

Our programme is delivered as a series of related modules that cover the technical, creative and contextual aspects of graphic design to enhance your personal development and career goals. We offer technical support such as enhancement workshops and business skills sessions, and you have generous open access opportunities to facilities for self-study.  

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Digital Interpretations (Mandatory)

This module introduces key digital software and contexts, familiarising students with industry standard requirements and encouraging them to explore the creative potential of digital processes.

Ideas Generation in Graphic Design (Mandatory)

This module introduces students to approaches and methods for the generation of ideas in order to solve visual communication problems. 

Exploring Visual Language (Mandatory)

This module engages students with the activity of image making as a multi-faceted language, reinforcing the idea of drawing, mark-making and image construction as core skills to both the graphic designer and illustrator. 

Typographic Exploration (Mandatory)

This module introduces the basic principles of formal typography and how type can be used creatively. 

Print Media for Graphic Design (Mandatory)

This module explores a range of print processes and media for creating graphic design outcomes.

Contextual Studies (Mandatory)

This module introduces the historical and contemporary contexts of Graphic Design and Illustration and explores their relationship to professional practice.

Visual Identity (Mandatory)

This module develops a student’s understanding of contemporary visual branding and how a designer communicates their clients’ identity.

Applied Ideas in Graphic Design (Mandatory)

This module allows students to explore how sequential narratives in applied contexts influence and affect an audience's interaction with graphic design outcomes.

Graphic Design for Screen (Mandatory)

This module allows students to develop their knowledge and digital skills in UX and UI design for screen-based communications.

Applying Critical Perspectives (Mandatory)

This module builds on Contextual Studies at Level 4 and introduces the underpinning research and writing skills needed to be able to approach a Dissertation at Level 6. It seeks to extend students’ critical questioning of their discipline and introduces design writing and publishing as a potential career option. 

Professional Design Practices (Optional)

This module extends student’s knowledge of contemporary design contexts through projects focusing on employability and professional practice, where-possible, through client-facing briefs.

Work Based Learning (Optional)

This module allows students to use experience of a work placement towards their degree. (Replaces Professional Design Practices.)

Graphic Design Portfolio Development (Mandatory)

This year-long module focuses on the development of a Graphic Design Portfolio. Through reflective analysis and the completion of set and negotiated projects, it provides the student with the opportunity to produce work that represents their personal career ambitions. The module allows the student to bring together all that they have learnt on the course to date, and to develop a self-awareness of their personal creative process and how to produce highly effective and professionally realised visual communication outcomes.

Personal and Professional Critical Review (Mandatory)

This module allows students to explore the personal and professional career or postgraduate education options open to them. Through reflective creative projects, engagement with industry partners, discussions surrounding contemporary practice, and exercises that explore employability skills, the module seeks to position the student more confidently in their progression from higher education.

Dissertation (Mandatory)

The Dissertation provides an opportunity to conduct a significant piece of research that engages critically with a student’s own interests. It allows them to articulate their findings through a piece of academic writing and to position themselves as an emerging expert in their field of study.

Career opportunities

We encourage work placements for all of our students and are happy to support you in approaching design studios. Thanks to our links with professionals in the industry, we strive to provide you with the knowledge and networking opportunities to prepare you for employment with the likes of our Life After Lectures – a series of talks by designers, illustrators and creative directors about progressing from education to the workplace.

Access to national competitions give you opportunities to get your work seen and promote your talent. Recent successes at the 2019 Starpack Awards saw students winning 3 gold awards and 1 silver; alongside 2 students being highly commended and one winning a work placement.

We are proud that many of our graduates find jobs with respected graphic design studios in Suffolk such as Firebrand CreativeJacob BaileyKingsland Linassi and Spring Agency; while others have gone on to work at national organisations including Government Digital Services, FutureGov, JellyFish, M-is and Saatchi & Saatchi.

If you want to run your own business, the degree also equips you with the crucial skills to be a successful freelance designer or to set up your own design practice. Alternatively, you can progress to a design-related Masters degree or initial teacher training.


Ipswich Vision branding and student presentation

Sabah Mohamad, Amy Gunnee, Lelia Gretcan, Alex Sudds, Holly Webber – Ipswich Vision | project launch w/ Cllr David Ellesmere 

The transferable skills taught on the course ensure you can choose from a whole range of careers after graduation. For starters, you could choose from…

  • Junior Designer in a design studio
  • Freelance Designer
  • Freelance Illustrator
  • Book Designer
  • Editorial Designer
  • Marketing
  • In-house Designer
  • Web / Digital Designer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Teacher / Lecturer


Student profiles

"There is a point early in the degree when you begin to view your surrounds with a different perspective. You gain an appreciation for clever designs as well as a critical eye for items less so. Ideas for university briefs and personal projects stemmed from these new perspectives. I...

Fees and finance


  • Full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
  • Part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (Please contact the Infozone for further information)
  • International tuition fee: £13,330 p.a.

Further Information                                                       

  • Tuition Fees
  • Financial Support 
  • Loans and Grants
  • At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for. 

Entry requirements


Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design / Course Leader

Lecturer in Graphic Design / Illustration

Lecturer in Graphic Design

Lecturer in Printmaking

Lecturer in Arts – Dissertation Lead

Lecturer in Graphic Design

Lecturer in Contextual Studies

Facilities and Resources

You will be based in our dedicated Arts Building, which is home to all of our Art and Design programmes. The Graphic Design courses have two dedicated studios on the first floor, adjacent to an Apple Mac Pro digital suite. On the ground floor, you will have access to our Printmaking Studio and 3D workshops, with facilities for screen-printing, linocutting, etching, laser-cutting, plastics vacuum forming and woodworking. The Printmaking Studio also houses large-format digital printing, vinyl cutting and mounting equipment; while the photo-lab provides further printing and finishing equipment. The top floor contains a Drawing Studio, and all teaching and workshop spaces have generous 'open access' availability with dedicated technician support in specialist areas.


Bookbinding workshop

Bookbinding workshop – Printmaking Studio

All computers in the Arts Building run Adobe Creative Cloud. There are colour laser printers and scanners throughout all university buildings. There is also 24-hour access to the Waterfront Building, late night opening to our well stocked library, and cafes are abundant around campus and the waterfront.