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BDes Hons Design and Communication

Course description for the undergraduate Design and Communication programme at the School of Creative Arts, University of Ulster

The course has been developed for the student who wishes to pursue a career in Design and Communication or to work in allied professions. Students will be introduced to the fundamental principles of 2D, 3D and 4D design. From year two of the course students will be able to choose a specialist study route in either Graphic Design for print and screen, 3D Design (product or virtual worlds), Games Content, Interaction Design, 2D and 3D Animation or Moving Image Design pathways. No matter which route is chosen, the central aim of the course is to develop in students a holistic understanding and approach to design. In year one all modules are compulsory and form a solid Design foundation. In year two all modules are optional where 3 from 4 in each semester must be selected. After year two there is an optional year to either study abroad or take a paid placement year. In final year semester one is optional with a choice of 3 out of 4 modules and semester two is compulsory, but is self directed in the student’s specialist field.

 

The underlying contextual emphasis of the course, closely allying technical application with creative practice is further enhanced by an integral entrepreneurship input which aims to develop the economic and professional awareness now so essential to the practice of designing. While curiosity is a fundamental quality for a designer, it must be accompanied by a wide-ranging interest in the social, cultural and industrial transformations that are constantly taking place. The historical context and social implications of design are, therefore, highlighted and discussed throughout the course of study.

 

Industry and the professions require competent design practitioners in specific or related fields of design, but equally valuable are design graduates with an entrepreneurial approach to the subject. The course is, therefore, structured to prepare students with a choice of either single discipline expertise or who wish to pursue a more diverse route.

 

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Modules

    Year 1

  • Drawing (DES122)
    Semester 1
    • This 12-week module is an introduction to drawing.  The students engage in a number of activities to develop and explore the fundamental role of drawing in all disciplines of the design course.  This module consists of individual and group study supported by lectures, seminars, critiques and tutorials.

      Credits: 20

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

  • Issues in Visual Culture (DES108)
    Semester 1
    • Issues in Visual Culture is a 12-week module.  It explores key issues within Visual Culture in general and in design and film studies in particular.  During the first 6 week block there will be 12 lectures dealing with a wide variety of topics within the given areas of visual culture along with seminars on basic research and essay-writing methods, use of the library and electronic resources.  The second 6 week block will be seminar and tutorial-based.  There will also be a field trip to the Belfast Campus library and the Ulster Museum.  Students will develop their essay choosing a topic based on one of the lectures.  They will give evidence of their progress by filling in 3 different worksheets, which document their research and the basic structuring of their essay.  Feedback will be given in seminar group discussions as well as one-to-one tutorials.

      Credits: 20

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

  • Introduction to Design & Communication (DES121)
    Semester 1
    • Introduction to Design & Communication is a 12-week module, which explores the principles of design for 2D, 3D and 4D solutions. It will be divided into three 4-week blocks. Each block having a set design brief.  The following is a typical schedule: Wk 1-4 Graphic Design, Wk 5-8 3D Design and Wk 9 -12 Narrative Design. A range of lectures, workshops, and design development seminars will support each of the set design briefs. Interim group critiques will assist with feedback.

      Credits: 20

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

  • Typography & Communicating Design (DES110)
    Semester 2
    • The module specifically works in two segments. Typographic Design and Communicating Design. Typographic Design explores the principles of creating effective typographic design solutions for prescribed visual problems. Communicating Design is the process of developing students appreciation of how good communication is created and applied in a commercial of artistic context. Although students may use technology to finish out projects, the latter half of the module is essentially about coming to terms with the role of design in multimedia so that students may be confident in the way they use it in future work.

      Credits: 20

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

  • Image Making (DES123)
    Semester 2
    • An introduction to methods of image making. Through practical exercises, students will explore the diverse array of graphic techniques in terms of Visual Enquiry, Visual Expression, Visual Communication, and Visual Awareness.

      Credits: 20

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

  • Introduction to 3D Design (DES124)
    Semester 2
    • Through lectures, assignments, case studies and related information students will be introduced to the multi-disciplinary nature of 3D design.  The module provides and insight into the commercial world of 3D Design by studying the working methods and skills required in the field.  The core element of this module is formed by competencies of form, function and purpose. Students will learn how to research, effectively communicate, think creatively, analyse and problem solve and effectively visualise in 3D.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Year 2

  • Interaction Design (DES310)
    Semester 1
    • This module extends design awareness and introduces applied multimedia design. It gives students a critical appreciation of these issues and introduces them to basic applied design methodology. It achieves this by a series of lectures and seminars and by design project based course work.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Graphic Design (DES306)
    Semester 1
    • This module introduces students to the concepts and methodologies of graphic design, the creative thought, the technical processes involved, their applications and effects. The students will explore 2D and 3D graphic design in a number of different formats.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • 3D Object Design (DES307 )
    Semester 1
    • This module nurtures a development of 3D design into specific fields of product or character development but bringing interdisciplinary approaches together to inform each practice through the emotional domain. Students will use 3D problem solving relating to functional, social, behavioural, cultural, gendered and emotional contexts to develop 3D solutions which have market appeal.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Animation Design (DES316)
    Semester 1
    • Animation Design is a 12-week module, which explores the principles of animation, animation design technique and its application in animated media production. It will be divided into three 4-week blocks. Each block having a set design brief. The following is a typical schedule: Wk 1-4 Animation Principles, Wk 5-8 Animation Technique and Wk 9 -12 Animation Production. A range of lectures, workshops, and seminars will support each of the set animation design briefs. Interim group critiques will assist with feedback.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Graphic Design Screen (DES317)
    Semester 2
    • Graphic Design Screen explores the principles of design for screen. The module is intended give students the opportunity to examine the design options available in this discipline. The students will produce research and development work specific to their module brief although they will self direct the content through their written proposal. Where possible LIVE projects will be encouraged but this is not essential. The focus is on exploration and experimentation. A range of lectures, practicals, and seminars will support each of the design options. Interim group critiques will assist with feedback.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Design Dialogues (DES320)
    Semester 2
    • This module engages students in discussion of relevant design dialogues in the context of contemporary design practice. There is a strong commitment to the integration of theory with practice and providing the student with conceptual tools and experiences that challenge and inform their developing practice.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • The Moving Image (DES322)
    Semester 2
    • This module introduces the student to the importance of the concepts and methodologies in relation to the moving image. In recent years it has become more apparent that students should be more aware of the moving image, its importance throughout the design scenario and the control thereof. Advertising, film, web and televisual input exemplify the critical areas looked at in this module. Students will make a short moving image presentation (2 mins) as the substantial part of their course work.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • 3D Object Simulation (DES312)
    Semester 2
    • This module focuses on bringing controlled dynamics and interaction to different types of 3d objects. Students will be introduced to key concepts of 3d animation including linking, hierarchy, morphing, inverse and forward kinematics, skinning and rigging techniques. Students will learn to develop hierarchical structures to control the motion of objects in virtual 3d space simulating real world motions. They will learn to apply sound to their animations in post production and to synchronise their animations to sound during development for lip syncing and time reactive purposes.Outcomes will include finished professional animations of both products and characters within a virtual 3d environment.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Year 3

  • Study Abroad (DES310)
    Semester 1
    • This programme provides for the cultural, theoretical and practical development of a student within the context and environment of a foreign university. In undertaking these linked modules a student has the opportunity to enrich their overall educational experience. Students are expected to attend all lectures and seminars of their chosen host institution and thus develop oral, listening and written skills, as well as broadening their cultural base through research, analysis and engagement with aspects of their practice, which will directly lead to developing their own critical enquiry and studio work in the final year.

      Credits: 60

      Staff

  • Industrial Placement (Diploma of Professional Practice) (DES309 M4)
    Semester 1
    • The module aims to compliment design education by providing practical professional experience in a working environment under supervision from the employing organisation and the University. Minimum duration 25 weeks.

      Credits: 60

      Staff

  • Year 4

  • Innovation: Graphic Design/Image Making (DES507)
    Semester 1
    • Innovation: Graphic Design/Image-making, is a 12-week self-directed module. It offers the opportunity to create innovative design solutions to complex graphic design/image-making problems.  It will be divided into three 4-week blocks, each having a set design task. A typical schedule might be: Weeks 1-4 Market/Design Research Report & Project Proposal, Weeks 5-8 Design Project Development, Weeks 9-12 Design Project Resolution. Group seminars and critiques will assist with feedback.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Innovation: 3D Design (DES514)
    Semester 1
    • An exploration of 3D/Interactive Design presentation. Example Design Briefs will be used to guide students to develop more innovatively. Students will gain a further insight into the commercial world of design, exploring Design within a 3D/Interactive context, using appropriate multi-media to present their ideas dynamically.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Digital Compositing (CRE514)
    Semester 1
    • This module will introduce students to more advanced production techniques for compositing and film effects.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

      Mark Cullen - Module Co-ordinator

  • Innovation: Animation/Moving Image (DES515)
    Semester 1
    • Innovation: Animation/Moving Image is a 12-week self-directed module. It offers the student the opportunity to examine Innovation in Animation/Moving Image.  It will be divided into three 4-week blocks, each having a set design task. A typical schedule may be: Wk 1-4 Research & Project Proposal, Wk 5-8 Animation/Moving Image Development, Wk 9-12 Project: Resolution. Group seminars/critiques will assist feedback.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Minor Design Project (DES511)
    Semester 1
    • The module consists of several small and quick response projects to broaden portfolios and prepare students for faster commercial deadlines indicative of the Industry. This must include evidence of practical experimentation and iterative prototyping of the evolving project. All proposals should be able to demonstrate the potential for dynamic interactivity with well-developed visual communication. Students specialise in their preferred design discipline in response to generic problem based project briefs.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Major Design Project (DES509)
    Semester 2
    • For the Major Design Project, a  Design brief is undertaken that combines all prior knowledge/skills. The 12-wk module is divided into three 4-week blocks, each having a set design task. A typical schedule might be: Wk 1-4 Market/Design Research Report & Project Proposal, Wk 5-8 Design Project Development, Wk 9-12 Design Project Resolution/Analysis Report. Group seminars and critiques will assist with feedback.

      Credits: 40

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

      Paul Mc Kevitt -

  • Major Design Report (DES518)
    Semester 2
    • For the Major Design Report, a written report supporting a Design brief is undertaken that combines all prior knowledge/skills. A 12-wk module is divided into three 4-week blocks, each having a set design task.  Concurrent critiques are held to support student/staff dialogue, which focuses on critically evaluating student developmental practice. A number of advanced research/writing skills workshops are held to support student learning.

      Credits: 20

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

      Paul Mc Kevitt -

Staff

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