CTS 1 GMD Unit 14/15

Contextual and Theoretical Studies 1 | Year One | Unit Four | Credit rating 20| Level of study 4


This unit introduces you to histories, theories and debates in relation to graphic design and visual culture. It will focus on the development of twentieth and twentyfirst century ideas in graphic design and visual communication and explore the common themes and cross-fertilizations that occur between theory and culture. We will examine graphic design practice through a range of media and representations from drawing and print to moving image and graphic environments. These examples will be located in their broader social, historical and cultural contexts in order to consider the multiplicity of meanings and functions assigned to visual culture. The individual forms of graphic and media design studied will be related to discourses such as: modernity/modernism, postmodernism, low and high cultural values,
semiotics, relational aesthetics, reception theory and authorship.

The unit will enable you to consider the impact of contemporary graphic design in relation to visual and design culture by linking your contextual and theoretical research to studio projects and practice. The aim is to broaden your perspective by positioning design within the sphere of the creative industries; to encourage you to make connections to wider issues and context; and to provide you with an introduction to the theoretical tools and methodologies that will open up your frames of reference. The unit will support you in the development of research and written and oral communication skills.

Indicative Content

• Key aspects of visual communication & graphic design
• Theories and context of visual communication & graphic design
• Production, consumption, reception & appropriation of graphic design
• Processes, institutions & technologies that support graphic design
• Models for analysing visual artefacts


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