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Graphic Design 1: Core Concepts

Course Level: 1 (HE4) | HE Credits: 40 | Approx. Duration: 12 months at 8hrs/week


This course is currently in the process of being updated. The new version will be made available in 2018.

The course provides a practical and contextual introduction to the visual language, practices and processes of graphic design. You will develop an understanding of the basic visual language of graphic design, including typography, composition and layout through predominantly paper-based graphic design practices, such as poster design, page layout and logo design using both hand-rendered and computer techniques. You will explore creative problem solving, research as well as the processes for generating ideas. Central to the course is the development of an appreciation of the historical and contemporary contexts of design. You will do a range of practical assignments that pose real graphic design problems that require both visual flare and effective communication.

Software requirements

Students enrolling will need to make use of design software while doing this course. Ideally students will have access to Desk Top Publishing software, Illustrator and Photoshop. OCA advises students to buy the software once enrolled on the course in order to make substantial savings that will offset the cost of the course. Click the following link to see an £800 plus saving on the cost of the software.

Christian Lloyd on Graphic Design 1


  • Demonstrate an ability to select, test and evaluate creative problem solving processes
  • Use the basic visual language of graphic design, appreciating the demands of both form and function
  • Develop typographical ideas into visual outcomes, taking into account their historical and cultural contexts
  • Generate creative ideas and visual outcomes in response to a chosen brief

Course content

  • What is graphic design and how do you do it?
  • Typography & typesetting
  • Creative Typography: the visual word
  • Visual dynamics – composition, colour, layout
  • Introduction to Illustrator / Photoshop

Unit Leader

Beth Dawson

Unit Leader for Graphic Design 1: Core Concepts

“I have a personal interest in online distanced learning and how these resources can be used to make education more accessible to a wider audience. I believe that everyone (no matter their current skills or mindset) can benefit from creative education and development and look to individually support all my students on their own journey through this…”

Read the rest of Beth’s profile here