Why Herts?
  • Successes in the most-coveted student award schemes every year.
  • Outstanding connections to industry, including high profile live briefs.
  • A forward-thinking curriculum which prepares our graduates for a wide range of careers.

About the course

This forward-thinking and multi-award-winning course will give you a thorough grounding and understanding of the commercial applications of graphic design. Our aim is to develop creative thinkers and visual communicators who aren’t confined by the conventional boundaries of the industry. We encourage you to think imaginatively to develop engaging and purposeful ideas, and to execute them beautifully. The first year is partly shared with our Illustration course and is about learning core skills and finding the right pathway for you. Find out more about the Illustration pathway. Later, we focus on professional projects, emphasising commercial constraints and expectations; as well as digital projects featuring interaction and motion. In the final year you’ll produce a high-quality portfolio tailored around your career aspirations.

If you've already completed an Undergraduate degree, why not take a look at our Postgraduate degrees and specialise in MA Graphic Design or MA Illustration?

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BA (Hons) Graphic Design 2020 Course fact sheet 1 BA (Hons) Graphic Design
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 BA (Hons) Graphic Design 2020 Programme specification 1 BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Graphic Design Gallery

Why choose this course?

Our Graphic Design BA (Hons) programme is driven by a desire to develop graduates that are ready for employment. Our location on the doorstep of London means we've been able to develop relationships with some of the world's biggest and best agencies and brands. In recent years our students have worked on live briefs with the likes of Prada, Lacoste, Sky, Mini and Red Bull. We've also partnered with design and creative agencies that include Droga 5 (named D&AD’s ‘Best Agency’ and Campaign Magazine's 'Agency of the Year' 2019) and Design Studio (the designers of the Premier League and Airbnb branding).

We have an enviable record of success. In recent years our students have won over 100 awards in all of the most prestigious national and international design competitions. These include: at least one D&AD pencil every year since 2011; the coveted D&AD Yellow Pencil; Designer of the Year at New Designers; countless other ISTD, YCN and agency awards; and various runners-up/finalists’ places in other competitions such at the Penguin Random House Design contest.

Clever, original ideas are vital for a successful career working at the top end of the profession and our course is committed to teaching students how to generate brilliant concepts. We foster a fun yet demanding atmosphere that encourages our students to think independently, question the world around them and be opinionated.

Our proximity to London allows us to easily bring in high-quality visiting tutors, all of whom have worked for renowned agencies, and inspiring guest speakers.

Key staff

Nick Lovegrove
Programme Leader for Graphic Design & Illustration
Find out more about Nick Lovegrove

Rich Mitchell
Lecturer in Graphic Design
Find out more about Rich Mitchell

Sebastian Chaloner
Lecturer in Graphic Design

Professional Accreditations

Ranked 10th in the country in the design and crafts section of the Guardian's 2017 University League Tables.

Course details


Recent graduates are working at some of the most highly regarded design businesses in the UK, as well as some high profile agencies abroad. We encourage versatility, which can leading to a wide range of career opportunities within the creative industries. We always try to keep in touch with our graduates and maintain an extensive alumni network, with regular reunions where current students can meet and learn from those now in industry.

What job can I get?

Recent graduates are working at some of the most highly regarded design businesses in the UK and internationally. The course can lead to a wide range of career opportunities in design and illustration; particularly in the fields of branding, advertising, interaction, motion graphics, editorial design and art direction. Our graduates have also gone on to set up their own businesses or persued careers as studio managers, teachers, photographers and printmakers.

Teaching methods

The first year is all about core skills, and finding the pathway that suits you best. Through a series of focused workshops, you'll learn a wide range of skills in software, typography, art direction, printmaking and generating clever ideas.

In the second year, you'll start to develop your practice to a professional level. There'll be an emphasis on live briefs and digital skills, with opportunities to explore motion, user experience (UX) and design for web, as well as having opportunities to work on international competition briefs.

In your final year you'll get to work on more live and competition briefs, whilst continuing to build your creative skillset and focusing on producing your portfolio and 'personal brand'.

Teaching consists largely of project-based work supported by appropriate 'skills' based workshops. Students tackle a huge variety of briefs ranging in complexity and time scales. Some projects will take many weeks to complete whilst others will be solved within a matter of hours. There's also a huge variety to the pattern of learning experiences with some projects being team-based and others are worked on individually. We encourage a competitive, demanding yet light-hearted atmosphere. We pride ourselves on providing a lot of direct contact between staff and students. Tutorials and seminars include one-on-one, small group, medium-sized groups for workshops and large groups for lectures.

The first year is about core skills and finding the right pathway for you. The first semester will allow you to explore both graphic design and illustration, before choosing one to specialise in for the rest of the course. Teaching encourages creative thinking, the generation of ideas and problem solving, with hands-on workshops in software, typography, photography and physical crafts like bookbinding and laser-cutting.

The second-year focuses on digital skills and professional projects, emphasising commercial constraints and expectations. It includes high-profile live projects which allow you to develop a real understanding of what employers expect. We explore future-facing areas like user experience, interaction and motion graphics.

The final year is focused around building a professional portfolio with the chance to enter the best student competitions, as well as developing your own interests. You can choose from multiple briefs, allowing you to tailor your portfolio to the kind of work you’d like to do when you leave. The staff team are nationally and internationally recognised designers and illustrators who bring their research and professional interests directly into the student environment. In each year there is a module which encourages students to learn and explore the history of the discipline, as well as question and interrogate current industry practice.

Work Placement

Work placements are actively encouraged, with a dedicated 'professional practice' module during Level 5 that prepares students for taking on internships and placements. Course tutors have numerous high-profile links with industry and we often place students within these prominent businesses, as well as drawing on others within London and our local region. Students can either conduct placements as part of a taught module, or during non-taught weeks, or by taking the Sandwich Year option. This allows students to undertake a year’s worth of professional experience between Levels 5 and 6 either in the UK or abroad. Our students are currently on, or have recently completed year-long placements with Urban Outfitters, The Body Shop, Disney, Warner Bros as well as many smaller design studios. The University also offers a ‘self-employed’ placement year which helps students set up their own practice.


  • Year 1
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    C&CS L4 Graphic Design and Illustration 30 Credits Compulsory
    Visual Communication 45 Credits Compulsory
    Graphic Design Essentials Pt 1 45 Credits Compulsory
  • Year 2
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    C&CS L5 Graphic Design and Illustration 30 Credits Compulsory
    Graphic Design Essentials Pt 2 45 Credits Compulsory
    Graphic Design Professional Development 15 Credits Compulsory
    Live Projects 30 Credits Compulsory
    Professional Work Experience 15: Design 15 Credits Optional
  • Year 3
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Year Abroad 0 Credits Compulsory
    Graphic Design Advanced Practice Pt 1 30 Credits Compulsory
    Graphic Design Advanced Practice Pt 2 60 Credits Compulsory
    Graphic Design and Illustration L6 Degree Essay 30 Credits Compulsory
    Sandwich Year (Creative Arts) 0 Credits Optional
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    International Students

    Full time
    • £12350 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    UCAS points A Level BTEC
    96 CCC MMM

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 3 Years
    • Sandwich, 4 Years
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/201926/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
    23/09/201922/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    23/09/201920/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    26/09/202026/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202022/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    28/09/202020/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    26/09/202126/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202122/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    28/09/202120/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    Optional Sandwich Placement or Study Abroad year
    We welcome applications from international and EU students