School of Design - Edinburgh College of Art

Graphic Design

School of Design - Edinburgh College of Art
In Edinburgh

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Important information

Typology Bachelor's degree
Location Edinburgh (Scotland)
Duration 4 Years
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Edinburgh (Scotland)
  • Duration:
    4 Years

Throughout the programme emphasis is on providing opportunities for students to develop their ideas. Using one-to-one studio based tuition alongside group situations, and working with tools that range from traditional letterpress to digital platforms, our students are enabled to build unique and effective individual portfolios.

Facilities (1)
Where and when



Edinburgh (Midlothian/Edinburghshire)
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Lauriston Place, EH3 9DF


On request

To take into account

· Requirements

* SQA Highers at BBBB (normally including English and Art and Design or revised Higher Craft and Design) equating to 240 points under the UCAS tariff system; or, * GCE A Levels at AA or CCC (normally including Art or a relevant technical subject), plus GCSEs (including English) at CCC; or, * Qualifications equivalent to the above e.g. SQA, BTEC, GSVQ, GNVQ. An SQA National Certificate in Art and Design or Diploma in Art and Design together with Higher Grade English is also acceptable. We are delighted to welcome international applicants.

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Course programme

Graphic Design is an ideas-based discipline concerned with the creation of visual material, often uniting text and image. The work is designed to be printed, projected, in a digital medium, read or seen in specific contexts, and to communicate to a wide and varied audience.

Graphic designers must be extremely flexible in their working practices and in the way they generate ideas and solve problems. They must be capable of working within set parameters to arrive at practicable and effective project resolutions.

The technology involved in this process is developing rapidly, and the skills required are becoming ever more varied, giving the graphic designer far greater freedom and at the same time control over individual design elements such as typography, image and sound. With such potential for creative output, the quality of the initial idea and the thinking behind it assumes greater importance.

Programme Content


Students in First Year Studies progress through three phases of study, namely Exploratory Study, Elective Study and Specialist Study. These are designed to enable initial exploration and experimentation, building experience within a selected range of specialist subjects and moving towards the confirmation of specialism for Year 2 and onwards.


In this first year of specialisation our students are given a basic grounding in graphic design principles and practical specialist processes including screen printing, letterpress and digital techniques. Students begin to develop the approaches and visual vocabulary that will be used throughout their careers. In Digital Arts, we give students an introduction to creative computing, and there are also a number of collaborative projects with other disciplines within the School of Design.


Students undertake a varied programme of projects intended to give a more in-depth experience of the design process. Students explore a cycle of analysis, interpretation, trial solution, and resolution. There is a greater opportunity to work on commercially viable projects, produce professional printed work, take part in industry visits, obtain work experience within the creative field and continue with practical specialist processes.

Electives may include:

  • Visual Narratives
  • Contemporary Art
  • Home Truths
  • Expanded Cinema
  • Shopping for Cultural
  • Cultural Threads


Each student identifies their own personal direction and style. The projects set will give greater choice and thus opportunities for personal viewpoints and exploration. Competitions and live projects are an important part of the programme, allowing students to compare their work with that of their peers, engage in dialogue with clients, respond to feedback, and gain genuine experience of production. Emphasis remains firmly upon innovation and creativity through a process of problem-solving.

Professional Practice

Professional Practice is also embedded throughout all programmes and at all levels at the College to ensure that you develop the necessary range of intellectual, professional and contextual skills in order to maximise the opportunity for success in your chosen career after graduation.

The Professional Practice course provides an introduction to aspects of working in the visual communication industries and starts our students on the process of researching and planning their careers.

Additional information

Career opportunities: Career prospects open to graduates are wide and varied. Within the traditional sense - working within a design agency or in a freelance capacity and include brand/corporate identity, exhibition design, computer/screen-based work, packaging, publishing, advertising and promotion. Graduates of graphic design also move into many other areas across the creative field, combining their specialist skills with advanced IT skills for example, and working in the mutlimedia, digital gaming, film, tv, press and educational industries, to name just a few.

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