Visual Communications 3: Advanced Practice

Course Level: 3 (HE6) | HE Credits: 40 | Approx. Duration: 15 months at 10hrs/week


Building on the learning undertaken at previous levels, this unit provides an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and understanding of contemporary illustration, graphic design or visual communication practices. You are encouraged to explore an increasingly personal voice within your practice and improve the quality and presentation of your work.

The unit will develop the design skills necessary to undertake work at this level through the application of your interpretive and creative problem solving skills, research methods, and idea development. You will be encouraged to research into contemporary contexts, identify gaps in your knowledge and understanding and develop self-directed projects that extend your skill set and help develop a sense of specialism or personal voice within your practice.
Audience focused projects will provide an opportunity to produce artwork that is of a high visual standard, can communicate effectively and ready for commercial printing or other appropriate outcomes.

The unit supports your growing autonomy as a learner and deepening understanding of your practice by establishing self-directed projects, critically evaluating your work, researching and reflecting on contemporary contexts, and thinking about how your practice can best be presented. Your learning log will be used to document these reflections.


The unit aims to

  • A1 support a detailed and specialist understanding of contemporary practice and its contexts
  • A2 encourage greater levels of autonomy by establishing self-directed projects that show an increasingly personal voice in creative ideas and visual outcomes
  • A3 extend existing design, visual and technical skills in order to produce high quality artwork
  • A4 implement creative problem solving, research and interpretive skills to find effective creative solutions to a range of audience focused projects
  • A5 support self-reflection and communication skills in order to identify, contextualise and present your personal voice within your practice.


On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • LO1 demonstrate a detailed critical and contextual understanding of your own practice and in relationship to wider contemporary contexts (A1, A5)
  • LO2 establish self-directed project work and use creative problem solving and interpretive skills to respond creatively (A2, A4)
  • LO3 communicate ideas effectively and creatively through an increasingly personal and specialised approach to your practice (A3, A4)
  • LO4 demonstrate proficiency in design, research and visualising skills in order to present your ideas and practice to a high level of visual quality (A3).

Course content

  • Understanding your practice: An investigation into contemporary and professional practices within the fields of illustration, graphic design and/or visual communication. Using this research as a starting point, you will undertake a critical reflection of your own practice in order to identify areas of interest, specialism, gaps in your knowledge and understanding or areas for development, and undertake self-directed projects in response.
  • Text and image: Creatively explore the use of text and image to communicate ideas through a combination of image-making, layout and typography. An overview of commercial print and web processes will provide the context to develop artwork in appropriate formats and to a high visual standard.
  • Audiences: A critical examination of how to approach designing for an audience through creative problem solving, conducting research, developing and testing ideas, undertaking audience focused project work and reflecting on the results.
  • Presenting your practice: Explores a range of ways your practice can be presented through the use of portfolios, exhibitions or other promotional material; a reflection on the ways your practice can conceived and described; and ways through which your personal creative voice can be extended through self-directed project work.