Course specification and structure
Undergraduate Course Structures Postgraduate Course Structures

UDDESPUB - BA Design for Publishing

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS  
Part-time 6 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

BA (Hons) Design for Publishing prepares students for practice within publishing across print and digital platforms with an emphasis on future digital publishing practice. In Visual Communication at the Cass, we carefully consider the commercial world that our graduates will enter and ensure that they become independent and adaptable professionals with core skills that enable a life-long career in the creative industries.

Consideration has been given to the following: the Subject Benchmark Statement (Art and Design 2017), the HE Qualification Framework, the University’s Strategic Plan and Student Charter, the University’s Undergraduate Regulations, the views and feedback of students, external examiners and employers/ clients, developments within the subject area, and the changing needs of the cultural/ commercial sectors and professions. Due consideration has also been given to inclusivity in course and assessment design.

Embedded in the Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, the course draws on the strengths of teaching staff from across the School and the wide circle of academic and cultural contacts and collaborators attached to the School and University.

The course seeks to provide and foster:

1. learning through direct experience, connecting academic and creative studies;
2. student choice in subject and style of learning;
3. a culture of independent and critical thought, encouraging the challenging of received ideas and practice;
4. employability attributes, through live projects engaging with external partners, institutions and companies that create a realistic environment of professional; expectations for students, preparing students for graduate-level employment
5. engagement across the School and University, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study;
6. individualised learning and study support opportunities, that cater for different learning styles;
7. awareness of the duty of all to understand the impact of their decisions and actions as publishers and to strive to act responsibly.

The course partners with practitioners in the fields of design and publishing, offering students the opportunity to research, curate, write, design and deliver content in print, on websites and social media platforms. Students will receive preparation to enter the world of professional design, to thoroughly research and clearly articulate ideas, communicate effectively with clients and understand the importance of identifying and communicating with particular audiences. This course will focus on providing our students with these attributes and ensuring that they have the confidence to succeed.

A high-profile lecture series offers students the chance to engage with leading practitioners in the field of publishing and the wider field of visual communication, and the opportunity to benefit from live project opportunities and a vibrant studio culture. The course engages with national and London-based competitions and encourages students to extend these opportunities as extra-curricular activity, including collaborative publication and exhibition wherever possible. These industry links provide students with a clear understanding of future employment opportunities.

As well as traditional media such as books and magazines, BA Design for Publishing is concerned with investigating the act of publishing itself, and how it is relevant to practice as a visual communicator across traditional and non-traditional formats. As well as instilling the skills to design and produce published projects on various media platforms, students will investigate the practice of publishing as a creative act.

Students will be working on projects that are about discovering designers' individual voices, exploring the dynamic relationship between word and image and gaining expertise and inspiration from people working on the most innovative and mould-breaking publishing projects.

Projects undertaken on BA Design for Publishing will enable engagement with a complete design process — from developing ideas and concepts, creating written and visual content and executing designs and layouts; to the technical practicalities of making and delivering printed and digital publishing platforms, to reaching – and even making – audiences.

Identifying audiences and learning how engage and speak to them is an important part of the course. It is a skill that applies to many areas of visual communication, whether it is for self-initiated projects and promoting one’s own work or being able to offer commercial clients the ability to galvanise audiences and connect with a market.

Communication is at the heart of great design. As well as visual creativity, this course emphasises the concomitant skills of verbal design thinking. The course guides students towards honing personal voices and vision as designers. Students will form publishing teams and take on all the roles and jobs that would be involved in publishing projects in the professional working world, generating real outputs, with real audiences, for a live outcome, and also fostering an instinctive awareness of designing for a public or an audience.

The course seeks to specifically foster and provide:

• experimentation and learning, through direct experience of practice in multi-disciplinary studio-based working;
• a culture of independent thought and directional ideas, encouraging individual choice and the production of critically informed contemporary publishing practice;
• projects that make use of London as a diverse site for cultural exchange and exploration;
• live projects with briefings and critiques that create a professionally realistic environment for students; opening up opportunities to further engage with and understand the industry, potentially leading to placements and employment;
• disciplinary engagement across the School, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study.

Teaching methods include: lectures, seminars, tutorials, external visits, live briefings and feedback from partners, group critiques, workshops and opportunities for studio practice. Teaching and learning adopts a student-centered approach that identifies individual learning styles and accommodates them.

Lectures provide and encourage a critically informed view of a topic, contextualising the subject and illustrating applied approaches. Lectures provide students with a managed introduction to a theme, enabling them to continue with suggested or directed self-study.

Seminars enable students to debate and explore subjects, questions and assignments with peers and tutors, encouraging an open and collaborative approach to shared learning.

Tutorials support individual learning, allowing for individual approaches to study, and catering for individual interests. Tutorials can be diagnostic or can support specific assignment or project-related questions, and support differing student paths to achievement of learning outcomes.

External visits offer opportunities for vital direct experience with objects and sites of study, and to communicate with and learn from experts and specialists attached to partner institutions and bodies.

Live briefings and feedback are an important aspect of work-based learning, exposing students to experience of professional ways of working, of professional expectations of standards, and of the most current professional practice.

Critiques allow students to benefit from feedback on their own and others’ work, to contribute to that feedback, and are a valuable part of the peer-to-peer learning that is a core expectation and reason for University study.

Workshops offer students opportunities to engage in creative practice. Opportunities will be available to students to undertake workshop and studio practice relevant to their assignments or collaborative projects. The objective is to apply knowledge and/or acquire technical competence, to think critically and creatively, to master technique and develop the capacity to work independently and within teams.

Blended learning utilises the University’s VLE platform to support and reinforce reflective learning, to monitor progress through assignments, to foster peer-to-peer communication and collaborative research activity ,and to facilitate tutorial support for students and flexible approaches to learning

Project briefs develop from year to year in accordance with contemporary practice and opportunities for engagement with external partners that arise. Disciplinary research skills are embedded at the beginning of the course and are built upon each academic year to ensure the maximum exploitation of the learning opportunities that projects and assignments offer. Students will graduate with a portfolio of work that will include written work and outcomes that exhibit analyses through the creation, manipulation, examination or curation of artefacts.

Critical and Contextual Studies run in parallel to the design and creative industry practice modules. These modules focus on transferable graduate skills in the field of academic scholarship and writing (alongside professional practice). Students need to be able to retrieve, analyse, interpret, articulate and structure information and knowledge for different purposes and audiences. These modules frame key skills of research within the specific context of art and design history and theory, taking into account the practice requirements of the industry, and its professional

Course aims

The aims of this course are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

The course aims to:

1. deliver a high quality education, promoting historical and contemporary knowledge and understanding of the professional contexts of design for publishing that will ensure graduates are knowledgeable, creative, technically able and work-ready;

2. ensure critical understanding of and creative approaches to the cultural, technological and economic factors surrounding the design and publishing industry now and in the future;

3. foster self-reliance and openness to professional development, ensuring individual practice that is accurately positioned in relation to current economic, ethical, cultural, environmental, material and global needs;

4. develop confident entrepreneurial, promotional and presentational skills, encouraging multidisciplinary approaches and critical thought;

5. develop curiosity, independent enquiry and capacity to reason, critique and reflect upon practice through an integrated approach to practice and theory, research and analysis;

6. through working intimately with digital platforms, materials and making/ production, develop skills for contemporary professional practice including subject knowledge, efficiency, confidence and autonomy relevant to individual interests, creative ambitions and sector conditions;

7. develop confident and persuasive presentational and communication skills utilising multidisciplinary approaches and production techniques;

8. produce graduates who can work independently and collaboratively, manage their own time and tasks and those of others, reflect objectively on their own performance, and plan effectively for the future, including for their careers;

9. support the growth of the individual; fostering self-reliance and commitment to personal and professional development, ensuring that graduates remain well-informed about current and developing thought and practice, and therefore maintain their employability.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. describe, understand and explore the intellectual and practical process of creative practice in design for publishing and the broader academic debates in related fields such as graphic design, design writing, illustration and digital innovation (CA1, CA2, CA4, CA5);

2. recognise how contemporary thinking in design for publishing and developments or constraints in production and design processes, platforms and technologies influence each other, and apply this knowledge to practice, explore and apply analytical forms of research and argument, whilst actively taking account of diverse views and interests constituting the field of visual communication (CA2, CA6, CA9);

3. apply self-critical, investigative and evaluative practice, understand the contemporary and historical framework associated with publishing to enable insight while developing an individual perspective and approach (CA1, CA6, CA7, CA8, CA9);

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities

4. observe, investigate and synthesise complex visual and material assets to produce creative published solutions (CA1, CA2, CA3,CA6, CA7);

5. master the materials and processes associated with print media, demonstrating an understanding of the field of cross-disciplinary multimedia design for publishing, and the rapidly evolving possibilities for print/digital relationships (CA1, CA4, CA6);

6. take responsibility for the content and signature of individual creative practice within professional and commercial contexts, demonstrating ethical sensitivity and a reflexive, innovative personal approach as a professional in the world of publishing design, applying editorial thinking as part of the design process. (CA3, CA5, CA6, CA7);

Transferable Skills

7. competently apply individual critical, practical and creative strengths to self-promotion in order to professionally articulate practice intent visually, textually and orally (CA1, CA7, CA8);

8. respond to a defined industry brief and its constraints (including technological and aesthetic considerations), utilising creative opportunities towards professional project realisation (CA1, CA2, CA3, CA4);

9. work professionally and effectively with others through collaboration and negotiation, in a variety of roles, as sole practitioner and within a multi-disciplinary team (CA1, CA8, CA9);

Subject-Specific Practical Skills

10. employ the necessary skills to select appropriate platforms, materials and processes suitable for the realisation of creative intent (CA4, CA5, CA6);

11. apply knowledge of the publishing industry and the commercial contexts to effective career planning, strategically placing your work within clearly defined markets and reaching defined audiences (CA6, CA7, CA8, CA9).

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Insert table mapping modules (with code) against the course learning outcomes:

Module Title Module Code LO
Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (Visual Communication) CP4021
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO9
Visual Research and Communication
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO9,
Design Principles
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5 LO9,
Graphic Authorship
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO9, LO10
Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (Visual Communication)
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO9

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO9, LO10

Exploring Design Practice
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO9, LO10

Work Ready 1
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO7, LO8, LO9, LO10

Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Visual Communication)
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO9

Project Design and Development
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO9, LO10
Final Project Realisation: Design for Publishing
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO9, LO10, LO11

Work Ready 2
LO1, LO2, LO3, LO7, LO8, LO9, LO10, LO11

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement; Art and Design (2017)

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for the course has been designed holistically, to ensure manageable timing, workloads and clarity of expectations for students, and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes.

The assessment regimes for the modules and tasks are designed together with the briefs, prior to the start of the year, taking into account student, external examiner, professional collaborator and colleague feedback from previous instances. The requirements of briefs and their components, the assessment criteria, grading scheme and descriptors are published and explained to students at the start of the year and are designed to be used as consistently as possible, to avoid unnecessary complication. Assessment is related to the achievement of learning outcomes; qualification frameworks and subject benchmark statements are consulted to ensure clear language that is appropriate to level of study. Students are informed of the procedures for first, second and parity marking, and external examiner scrutiny of the assessment process and marks, to ensure that they understand and have confidence in the probity of the process and security of the final marks.

In every case, there is required formative assessment and feedback prior to summative assessment at set points. This is recorded so that it can be used by both students and staff to track further progress and engage support where it is required. Feedback follows good pedagogic practice in that it is constructed as ‘feed-forward’, with a focus on specific actions and strategies as to how to improve, not only on what requires improvement. Challenge to students is managed, so that students performing well in-year are encouraged to strive for excellence, while those performing less well experience clear, targeted and structured guidance, including notice of where they are doing well or are showing potential.

The course adheres to the University’s requirements for assessment and feedback turnaround times and to academic regulations for marking and second making sampling. Additionally, the course engages in Subject and School parity exercises to ensure that assessment standards are consistent. This is especially important in relation to studio delivery through which students on the same modules will be undertaking differing projects.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work- related learning is embedded in the course both formally and throughout the course through live projects, industry visits, visiting speakers and events such as ‘Making a Living’ and ‘Celebration’ weeks.

Work-related learning is an integrated and mandatory part of the course, in line with the University’s policy of securing a work-related learning opportunity for each undergraduate student during their studies, with at least 70 hours working on live projects for real organisations delivered through placement, live briefs, real entrepreneurial activities or short in term work placements built into the course. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process or pitching for opportunities, and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project or placement and undertake forward career action planning.

The majority of tutors and lecturers on the course are practitioners and share their knowledge and experience with students throughout their course of study. The studio delivery of the course means that opportunities for work related learning through collaboration with external companies, agencies, institutions, competitions and professionals can be taken up as they arise, if appropriate to the programme of study.

Studios function as simulations of professional workplaces, with expectations of professional standards, conduct and delivery building as students progress from level to level. During their final year, students are expected to work independently towards completion of professional portfolio of projects, culminating in exhibition of these in the annual summer show and associated events.

The level 5 module ‘Work Ready 1’ and the level 6 module 'Work Ready 2' are designated as the placement or work-related learning modules.

Course specific regulations

In BA (Hons) Design for Publishing, the following course regulations shall apply:

As a condition of progressing from level 3 to 4, level 4 to 5 and level 5 to 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

Level 6: In order to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each Level 6 module at 40% or above.

ii) The structure and scope of learning within Level 4 of this course can permit (if appropriate) related programme course transfer. In other words, students who succeed in passing all modules at Level 4 who wish to, based on their learning experience, seek review and revision of their course title (within the related programme cluster i.e. Visual Communication), may do so within the first twelve months of their course (i.e. from BA Design for Publishing to BA Illustration and Animation or BA Graphic Design)

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 360-credit degree will be 6 years. The pattern of study shall be as follows:

Year 1: DN4002 Design Principles,DN4004 Graphic Authorship
Year 2: CP4021 Critical and Contextual Studies (1) Visual Communication, DN4001 Visual Research and Communication
Year 3: DN5003 Narrative, DN5020 Exploring Design Practice
Year 4: CP5021 Critical and Contextual Studies (2) Visual Communication, DN5019 Work Ready 1
Year 5: DN6001 Project Design and Development, DN6034 Final Project Realisation: Design for Publishing
Year 6: CP6019 Critical and Contextual Studies (3) Visual Communication: Dissertation, DN6031 Work Ready 2

Modules required for interim awards

All modules on the course are core and compulsory (there is no flexibility in choice or in the order in which modules may be taken). The part time route is prescribed (section 25).

Year 1/ Level 4 core modules:
• CP4021 Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (Visual Communication)
• DN4001 Visual Research and Communication
• DN4002 Design Principles
• DN4004 Graphic Authorship

Year 2/ Level 5 core modules:
• CP5021 Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (Visual Communication)
• DN5019 Work Ready 1
• DN5003 Narrative
• DN5020 Exploring Design Practice

Year 3/ Level 6 core modules:
• CP6019 Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Visual Communication)
• DN6001 Project Design and Development
• DN6031Work Ready 2
• DN6034 Final Project Realisation: Design for Publishing

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The School’s studio system of curriculum delivery embeds reflective learning and personal development planning throughout the course.

Most summative assessment is at the end of year-long modules, with several formative assessment points formally instituted in the course of the year. At these interim formative assessment and feedback points, students reflect on their progress to date with their peers and course staff (with the benefit of feedback from professional partners), seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. The feedback and student reflection are recorded and forms an action plan for the next period of study.

This system is highly individualised, but also benefits from peer engagement in studio critiques. The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Throughout the modules and the course therefore, in this way, students build bodies of work, including reflections on progress and achievement, and planning for their future achievement of targets.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

This course will equip students for every aspect of design for publishing by exploring the designer’s role in relation to audiences and media for design and publishing.

Careers advice is integral to the course. Commercial practitioners and agencies are part of the course teams and they and invited guest lecturers review of student projects and portfolios. Progress surgeries are carried out through which the student is given encouraging and specific advice in regards to their presentational focus. Students are mentored by industry professionals throughout their final year and students are encouraged and supported to seek internships and work experience. Competition, exhibition and publicity opportunities exist throughout the course and internal and external exhibitions enable students to develop further career opportunities. Students are supported throughout to reflect upon their own practice so that they are able to progress successfully to their chosen field within the professional publishing sector.

Successful completion of the course offers enhanced career opportunities in publishing. Students leave with a high-quality portfolio of work and a range of practical, professional and academic skills, providing an excellent base for both work and further study. Graduating from the BA (Hons) Design for Publishing is the start of lifelong learning and an exciting and varied career in design. It provides graduates with core and transferable knowledge and skills that enable individuals to seek work in a wide variety of areas such as: researcher, design editor, editorial illustrator, creative directors or art directors in publishing, editorial commissioners, project managers and design journalists.

Students can also benefit from support and guidance from the Careers and Employability services and the University’s business incubator unit, ‘Accelerator’.

Career opportunities

This course equips graduates to perform in creative roles across the spectrum of publishing media, from traditional print to contemporary digital contexts, working in design, publishing strategy, editorial, commissioning, art direction or branding. It opens the door to a number of exciting careers in many aspects of design for publishing media including art, fiction, journalism, advertising, commercial and public service

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels, one of which from a relevant subject area in the arts, humanities and social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in a relevant art and design subject)
  • a portfolio review

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Art and Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Portfolios and reviews

Your portfolio should be selective, but include enough work to show the range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only the finished work.

If you cannot bring some of your work to the portfolio interview, take photographs of your work and bring them instead.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2018/19 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Jun 2018 Last validation date 01 Jun 2018  
JACS codes 100925 (publishing): 100%
Route code DESPUB

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4021 Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (Visual Commu... Core 30        
DN4001 Visual Research and Communication Core 30        
DN4002 Design Principles Core 30        
DN4004 Graphic Authorship Core 30        

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP5021 Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (Visual Commu... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
DN5003 Narrative Core 30        
DN5019 Work Ready 1 Core 30        
DN5020 Exploring Design Practice Core 30        

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6019 Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation... Core 30 CITY AUT WED AM
          CITY AUT WED PM
DN6001 Project Design and Development Core 30        
DN6031 Work Ready 2 Core 30        
DN6034 Final Project Realisation: Design For Publishing Core 30