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FdA

Graphics & Digital Design

students working in lab
  • UCAS code(s): W210
  • Level(s) of study: Foundation degree
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: Confetti at Creative Quarter Campus
  • Starting: September
  • Course duration: Two years, full-time


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This foundation degree in Graphics and Digital Design is geared towards creating ambitious graduates for the graphic design industry. Studying in a creative technologies institute, you'll gain valuable skills and experience that reflect current and future industry practice, building a professional portfolio tailored to your aspirations. After successful completion, you'll have the option to go straight into a career or top-up to a full honours degree.

This course is taught at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham.

Our aim is to develop and create ambitious graduates for the graphic design industry.

Working on a modern campus in our multi-million pound digital media hub, you’ll have the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge and skills in industry-standard design software packages including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and InDesign, accessing s range of modern studio spaces.

Through live project briefs, we’ll push you to develop your research, critical discussion and presentation skills in seeking to solve a challenging design problem, whilst you’ll get an insight into how work is commissioned with the graphic design industry. We’ll develop your project management skills through collaborative projects, and you’ll be encouraged to take an experimental and creative approach to your work.

By the end of the two-year Foundation Degree, successful graduates will leave with a wide range of valuable skills, experience and knowledge, alongside a professional portfolio tailored to their career aspirations.

Video Icon
Degree Showcase Showreel - 2018
A showreel of work from our undergraduate degree-level students exhibiting at 2018’s showcase

What you'll study

Studying in a creative technologies institute, you’ll learn the theories and techniques used in creative problem solving and explore the impact of emerging technologies on visual communication, such as advertising, branding, marketing, image creation, UX design and web design.

  • Year One

    Graphic Design Development 1 (40 credit points)

    This module will explore some of the fundamental principles that underpin good, efficient and effective graphic design. The module will introduce students to established design theory whilst exploring the application of this theory in a real-world context.

    Learners will engage in research and idea development and investigate a variety of design techniques through looking at established design theory and combining this with their own experiments whilst analysing and justifying approaches to their own work. Students will implement the techniques explored and reflect on the work they have produced.

    Design Techniques & Technology 1 (40 credit points)

    With a focus on 2D graphics production software learners will develop an understanding of physical and digital processes and make assessments of appropriateness of particular projects. Learners will choose appropriate tools and processes in their production of design work which responds to a chosen theme.

    Learners will respond to a series of short briefs which explore the use of different tools and processes, both physical and digital. Learners will choose appropriate tools for a project based on a chosen theme. Students will demonstrate confidence with chosen techniques, with choices driven by industry standards regardless of personal preferences.

    Theory and Context 1 (20 credit points)

    This module will explore the evolving processes and new technologies in the fast-changing world of Graphics and Digital Design and the technical issues that confront today’s graphic designers.

    Working collaboratively learners will develop research, critical discussion and presentation skills in seeking to solve a challenging design problem. Learners will develop solutions that thoughtfully consider the audience, client and market. Learners will collaborate as a team on generating ideas and proof of concept for a campaign which includes at least one print and one digital element. Learners must demonstrate professional, ethical and resourceful behaviour

    Learners will produce an individual written research report into the role of a designer considering the contribution of modern factors vs historical work including a case study into a particular design movement, and an analysis of a design problem considering the designers relationship with audience, client and market. Learners will develop a critical understanding of the range of conflicting factors associated audience, client and market.

    Exploring Industry (20 credit points)

    Together with the increase in transmission speeds there is a growing convergence of media and the quality of visual content plays an increasingly important role in the way we communicate to a wider range of audiences. The quality of visually received information is the responsibility of digital graphic designer. This module will allow leaners to explore the Graphics and Digital Design industry and how technology has altered the working practices of those employed within this industry.

    Learners will research and develop ideas for a project driven by a client brief, developing ideas and conducting qualitative and quantitative research and producing sketchbooks and written summaries. Learners will then produce a final piece for the work which responds to the brief.

  • Final year

    Graphic Design Development 2 (40 credit points)

    The most successful professionals working in the design industry are those who adopt unconventional approaches to product design and allow their design journey to be influenced by experimentation. This module will introduce learners to existing designers whose work has transformed thinking around what constitutes effective graphic design.

    Learners will embark on their own design journey, researching and exploring unconventional approaches and engaging in their own experimental approach. Learners will critically analyse the results of initial experimentation and make judgements about the most effective processes and techniques and apply these to a self-directed project. Learners will plan strategically and systematically, organising work so it can be understood easily by others.

    Design Techniques & Technology 2 (40 credit points)

    The world of 3D and interactivity has transformed the potential that Graphics and Digital Design has in conveying visual information to a variety of global audiences. In this module learners will explore the use of 3D and interactive design, including installation and educational platforms as well as interactive advertising.

    Learners will initially produce a series of experiments using a variety of technology and processes, focussing on 3D and interactive design. Learners will explore possibilities associated including problem solving issues and produce a basic concept in response to a brief and experiment with visual outcomes before finally producing professional interactive design work that has social and cultural relevance.

    Theory and Context 2 (20 credit points)

    From politics to public policy to culture wars, design has been front and centre in the fight to sway public opinion. This module will allow learners to explore the social and political impact that graphic design has had, and continues to have.

    Learners will research design in a cultural, economic and political context, exploring its wider impact and interplay between design and audience/client/market.  Learners will then choose a theme to explore creatively, e.g. satire, promotion, and social change. The module will allow students to produce a body of work that allows for rich idea development, exploration of wider themes and problem solving.

    Industry Practice (20 credit points)

    During this module you will undertake appropriate self-directed projects, working collaboratively on creative work, allowing you to directly apply the knowledge and skills learnt throughout the programme in the context of the workplace. This module aims to develop your overall professionalism and provide you with the knowledge and resources to begin a career in the creative industries.

    The nature of creative industries is increasingly defined by freelance and self-employed models of work. Consequently, individuals seeking work in industry need to appreciate the pressures of working on multiple projects to strict deadlines and the subsequent demands this place on time and resources. Similarly, an understanding of professional practice and the legal and economic imperatives in industry is important, as is effective communication, self-efficacy and autonomy. This module aims to develop these skills and knowledge by challenging you to develop a range of self-directed projects.

Explore the disciplines and processes of different roles within graphic & digital design.

How you’re taught

At Confetti our classrooms are unique. As part of their course, our students get the chance to go out into industry and Do It For Real at locations across the UK! Check out our interactive map to see how our classrooms are different and to get a taste of the kind of experiences you could take part in whilst studying at Confetti.

Within individual modules the delivery of the material encourages increasing levels of skill development and student participation, ensuring that, as you progress through the course, you become a more confident and independent learner.  We aim to include a range of methods of delivery that may include;

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshop
  • Group tutorials
  • Academic Tutorials
  • Presentations and pitches
  • Team working
  • Independent learning
  • Visiting industry professionals

All the modes of delivery are structured to develop on-going abilities and skills through exploring ideas and problem solving. The course will offer a broad range of assessment methods.

Assessment

A variety of formative and summative assessment methods will be employed throughout the course such as:

  • presentations
  • idea development
  • research led projects
  • live briefs
  • essays
  • reports

Each assessment undertaken for each module will enable you to develop specific skills required by a graphic designer.

To progress through the course you must achieve 120 credit points each year. Your final degree mark will be based on your final year work.

Industry Week

You'll also take part in Confetti’s annual Industry Week where you’ll be able to meet a range of professionals within your field of interest as well as other areas of the creative industries. Past guests have included the likes of surreal animator Cyriak, motion and facial capture artist Rebecca Leybourne (Kingsman, Star Wars and The Avengers) and Aardman Animations (Shaun the Sheep).

Degree Show

In your final year you will exhibit your work as part of Confetti's Degree Show. This event includes all final year students across Confetti's courses and is a great platform for you to showcase your work to key influencers across the creative industries.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (100%).
  • Year 2 coursework (100%).

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (30%), independent study (70%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (27%), independent study (73%).

Within individual modules the delivery of the material encourages increasing levels of skill development and student participation, ensuring that, as you progress through the course, you become a more confident and independent learner.

Careers and employability

Employability is a key focus of this course, with modules including initiatives such as live projects and the opportunity to exhibit your work, to help enhance your future career.

This course will prepare you to work in creative industries in specialist technical roles, in areas such as feature films, television, and advertising.

You can also move straight into your career, in areas which might include:

  • Graphic designer
  • Animator
  • Illustrator
  • Website designer
  • Artworker

Connecting with industry

Industry professionals will visit the course to guest lecture and share their experiences. Live projects will help you to gain real experience of the industry, make contacts, and build your portfolio and CV.

You will also take part in Confetti’s annual Industry Week where you will be able to meet a range of professionals within your field of interest as well as other areas of the creative industries.

Through the Confetti Media Group Head of Talent Development you will be offered a range of opportunities within the industry.

Work placement and internship opportunities

You will be actively encouraged and supported to undertake informal work experience and professional practice in addition to your studies.

Our teaching staff, including part-time lecturers who are professionally active, help and support students in directing them towards work placement and professional practice opportunities.

By the end of the two-year Foundation Degree, successful graduates will leave with a wide range of valuable skills, experience and knowledge, alongside a professional portfolio tailored to their career aspirations.

At Confetti you'll have access to both a bookable green screen studio and motion tracking technology.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels - DDE; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma - MPP; or
  • 64 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs - two at grade C, including English and Maths.

This course is not suitable for tier 4 visa applicants.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

How to apply

Application for this course is through the UCAS application form.

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Selection for this course takes place through UCAS application form.

Application deadline

This course starts in September and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline, 15 January.

Applications received after this date will only be considered if places are still available, after all applications received by the deadline have been assessed.

Mature students

We welcome applications from mature students (over the age of 21) for this course. We will assess applicants of this nature on an individual basis.

If you are a mature student, you will still need to apply to us by UCAS form, but you don't necessarily need to meet our minimum entry requirements.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades,

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It's your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You've got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you're applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

This course is not suitable for tier 4 visa applicants.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Please see our applying and fees section.

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 for an external hard drive and appropriate art and design materials (sketch books, pencils etc.). Whilst you will be provided with storage for your work on the servers it is also good practice to back up your digital files to an external source.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418