module specification

DN5005 - Graphic Media (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Graphic Media
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
120 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
180 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Friday Afternoon
Year City Tuesday Morning
Year City Tuesday Afternoon
Year City Friday Morning

Module summary

This module exposes students to specialist graphic practices in design for print, screen, commissioned-illustration, or photography, according to their discipline of choice. The module asks you to conceptualize, plan and produce design outcomes that exploit the formal characteristics of the graphic media pathway you have chosen.

Graphic media for print (and now screen) have had a vital historical importance in cultures where they have been adopted, and despite the constantly changing nature of the manner of contemporary communication, they retain their validity as ways of imparting and exchanging information. Here, you are encouraged to consider the particular role and possibilities offered by the forms of graphic media explored in the module.

With increased knowledge of contemporary illustration, and a questioning approach, students will be encouraged to gain in-depth understanding of the commercial and technological context of current illustrative practice, including links with other disciplines such as fine art, printmaking, animation and graphic design. You will experiment with various modes of illustration – technical, editorial, satirical, narrative and poetic illustration.
Photography and lens-based imagery have been crucial in the history of illustration and graphic design. Relationships between image and text (and sound) are critical to understanding developments within graphic media. Within the project, you will employ photography to create and communicate ideas and concepts, in the context of graphic design.

Under guidance within the design studio, you will choose from, or devise a project or range of projects, working with established designers and industry professionals. The module will facilitate the realisation of concepts generated in other modules.

Prior learning requirements

Pass & Completion of Prior Level

Module aims

This module seeks to enable you to:
• Understand the commercial environment, context and potential purposes and applications of graphic media
• Consider issues such as the use and reception of language, methods of structuring information, both text/type and image, appropriate tone of voice, hierarchy, sequence and materials and processes, across book, editorial and information design, recognising and debating the theoretical and ethical context
• Conceptualise, plan and produce design outcomes that exploit the media of graphic communications for a defined purpose, exploring and extending your practice creatively and technically
• Explore, appreciate and apply a range of skills demonstrating commercial awareness and professional techniques for presentation to an identified audience


Through the studio exercises and projects, students will normally develop experience and increasing understanding of the:

• contexts for contemporary and historical practice in graphic media
• studio and industry technique and technology for print, illustrative and photographic media
• formal properties of the medium, styles and models and how to use these to enhance meaning and affect
• development of project proposals for specific clients/audiences
• industry conventions for presentation of design and illustration proposals
• commercial and institutional contexts of professional practice

Learning and teaching

Research, development and production of projects will normally encompass a range of learning opportunities, such as:

Critical case studies, studio and workshop demonstrations and inductions, set-exercises in graphic media techniques and styles, presentation and group review, individual projects, exhibition of outcomes via blended learning platforms or other forms of publication, realisation of self-generated concepts through appropriate graphic media.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
Analyse the culture and commercial environment of graphic media, understanding through case study how different contexts propose differing responses, media and techniques, in order to achieve goals set

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
Create meaning and impact with creative practice, by manipulating text/type and image, illustration, editorial and/or advertising copy, with appropriate tone of voice, use of materials and processes

Transferable Skills
Develop a critically informed personal approach to graphic media, exploring conventions and furthering creative, technical knowledge within the discipline

Subject Specific Practical Skills
Present your work professionally according to industry conventions and standards

Assessment strategy

At regular reviews, students will present summary of work in progress, including reflection upon intellectual and practical development.

Each component of work in development will be assessed formatively and feedback given. Satisfactory completion of relevant technical/ workshop activities and continuing independent practice will also be monitored.

A final mark is given at the end of the module, as a measure of the qualities of the completed portfolio in relation to achieving the module’s learning outcomes. Written summative assessment will be provided corresponding to published assessment criteria. Work must be carefully organized and presented to indicate the development of work and the content clearly labeled. Coursework requirements will be stipulated in project briefs and detailed in the module guide. Students are required to attend timetabled studio and workshop sessions.


Axelmunden, V. H., et al (eds.) (1979) Photography after Photography: Memory and Representation in the Digital Age, GB Arts International.
Bains, P, and A. Haslem (2003) Type & Typography, Laurence King
Hyland, A. & R. Bell (2003) Hand to Eye: Contemporary Illustration, Laurence King.
Kayne, J. (2003) A Type Primer, Laurence King
Noble, I. (2003) Picture Perfect: New Fusions in Illustration and Imagemaking, Rotovision
Odling-Smee, A. and H. Ford (2003) The New Handmade Graphics: Beyond Digital Design, Rotovision
Sherman, C. (1986) The Archive and the Body, in Bolton, R. (1989) The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography, The MIT Press
Triggs, T. (2003) The Typographics Experiment: Radical innovation in contemporary type design, Thames & Hudson

Additionally texts and other reference materials will be identified by studio tutors annually that support a
specific studio theme.