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Graphic Design: Studio Practices (20 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course explores the potential of contemporary graphic representation through a series of focused projects, each responding to a graphic design brief. Students will begin to develop a professional approach, showing initiative in analysing and researching each brief, generating and pitching ideas, and developing a 'graphic' resolution, using Adobe software. Students will be supported and guided as they work through their creative briefs, being encouraged to reflect upon how their own developing skills and interest align with the varied professional contexts of Graphic Design.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students should have some previous Graphic Design Knowledge, possibly having taken the Introduction Graphic Design Course and have some practical knowledge of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.

Special Information

Material you will need to bring to the first class:

  • Notepad

  • USB / memory stick or external HD

In addition to the course fee, students are expected to provide the following list of indicate tools, materials and equipment:

  • Notepad

  • USB / memory stick or external HD

  • Sketchbook

  • Visual reference materials as directed by tutor

Content of Course

The course introduction will set a template for the core processes of graphic design:

1. Research. Evidenced through journaling and presentation.

2. Ideation and selection. Evidenced through a body of sketches and presentation.

3. Iteration and resolution. Evidenced through development from pitches, peer critique, tutorials, and 'client' presentation.

The evidence from all three (journal, sketchbook, and resolved graphic designs) will be provided for both formative and summative assessments in accordance with established formal assessment points within the Centre for Open Learning.

Teaching method(s)

Students will initially research, develop, and resolve a graphic design that is a case study of a professional graphic design practitioner. This learning and teaching arc is echoed within each other block of the course, with parallel expectation of process, outcomes and evidence.

The format of each later delivery block will be a separate practical project requiring the exploration of directed themes and issues through the use of professional industry-standard tools. Each project will be set through a 'client brief', with students provided 'client', peer and tutor feedback and academic guidance at key stages.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate creative purposeful ideas and targeted research methods for meeting visual communication briefs and demonstrate reflexivity about one's role as practicing designer.

  • Demonstrate ability in utilising a range of graphic design methods, approaches and processes that are appropriate to specific visual communication briefs.

  • Evidence appropriate judgement to document, select and present several targeted graphic design responses which are appropriate to the client brief.


Core Readings


  • Baldwin, J. & Roberts, L., 2006. Visual communication: from theory to practice, Lausanne [Switzerland]: AVA.

  • Davis, M., 2012. Graphic design theory, London: Thames & Hudson.

  • Kane, J., 2002. A type primer, London: Laurence King.

  • Lupton, E. & Miller, J.A., 1999. Design writing research: writing on graphic design, London: Phaidon.


  • Ambrose, G. & Aono-Billson, N. (2017) Basics Graphic Design 01: Approach and Language. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Leonard, N. & Ambrose, G. (2017) Basics Graphic Design 02: Design Research: Investigation for Successful Creative Solutions. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Leonard, N. & Ambrose, G. (2017) Basics Graphic Design 03: Idea Generation. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Shaughnessy, A., 2009. Graphic design: a user's manual / |c [written and designed, Adrian Shaughnessy; foreword, Michael Bierut]., London: Laurence King.


Details of the Art and Design assessment requirements can be found on the short course website. Please click on the following link for more information: Submission and Assessment Information

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.