About the course
This multi-award-winning course will give you a thorough grounding and understanding of the commercial applications of illustration. 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 about core skills and finding the right pathway. Teaching guides you to be creative, generate ideas and solve problems, with workshops in software, typography and printmaking. Later, we focus on professional projects, emphasising commercial constraints and expectations. We also explore areas like digital design, interaction and motion graphics. In the Final Year you’ll produce a high-quality portfolio. For more information about the Graphic Design pathway click here.
Why choose this course?
We have an enviable record of success. In recent years our students have won over many awards in all of the most prestigious national and international design and illustration competitions. These include: the overall winner of the Carmelite Prize, coveted D&AD pencils; various awards at New Designers; countless YCN awards; and many short listings and nominations in competitions such as the Penguin Random House Design awards, Folio Society, the London Transport and Lloyds TSB Illustration awards.
Clever, original ideas and excellent craftsmanship are vital for a successful career working at the top end of the profession and our course is committed to teaching students how to achieve these skills. 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 (20 minutes on the train) is a core part of our success. It allows us to easily bring in high-quality visiting tutors, guest speakers and live-projects. It means we have great industry connections and study trips to museums and companies are a regular part of the curriculum.
What will I study?
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. Active participation is expected at our lively and fun end of project crits.
Our aim is to nurture well-prepared, ideas-driven people able to work in a wide variety of creative industries. The emphasis is giving our students the skills to develop industry-focused portfolios with a wide range of transferrable expertise.
The first year of Illustration is about core skills and finding the right pathway. 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 drawing, printmaking and software.
The second year focuses on professional projects, emphasising commercial constraints and expectations. It includes high-profile live projects which allow you to develop a real understand of what employers expect. We also explore areas like animation, interactive illustration and new technologies such as VR.
Final year Illustration students, focus on building a professional portfolio with the opportunity to enter the best student competitions, as well as developing your own interests. All projects in third year, reflect the standards of professional illustrative practice, developing individuality and confidence as an image maker. It is intended to provide an experience from which you can emerge as a work-ready creative. The staff team are nationally and internationally recognised designers and illustrators who bring their research and professional interests directly into the student environment.
Ranked 10th in the country in the design and crafts section of the Guardian's 2017 University League Tables.
Recent Illustration graduates are working in all areas of the creative industries in the UK and abroad. Encouragement is given to the development of versatility, leading to a wide range of career opportunities in design and illustration in the fields of publishing, marketing and publicity, and advertising as well as freelance illustration.
What job can I get?
Our Illustration graduates’ work is regularly seen online, in books, newspapers and advertising campaigns. Many graduates work as freelance illustrators, while others work in publishing, marketing, publicity and advertising.