AD3024 - Communication Design - Foundation

What will I learn on this module?

This module acts as an introduction to Communication Design and related disciplines, positioning it within the broader field of professional design. There will be an introduction to topics within the discipline and approaches to meeting communication design challenges in a professional environment. There will be instruction on the professional practices of the disciplines and how you can become employed following your education programmes. There will be some context to the background and histories of the subjects and how these affect the processes of design and design production. Key topics such as layout and composition, image and type, the design of interactions and designing for experience will be explored to create emphasis and frame the conditions for your subsequent design work. You will learn about design methods and design practices, how to ‘brainstorm’ and what it means to create an intervention. Through experimentation, discussion and evaluation, you will learn to use the design process to meet challenges and complete briefs. Finally, you will learn to present all your development work and final outcomes in a professional manner for summative assessment.

How will I learn on this module?

The School of Design operates an extended studio approach (X-Studio) that embraces our physical studios and making workshops as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to our learners’ needs. You will learn through a blend of directed and self-directed studies around a range of practice-based challenges and briefs that encourage you to consider the way communication design helps to build meaningful experiences for everyday life. Exposure to the work and experiences of academic staff from across the department will contribute to your understanding of design practices and relevant research activities, where the range and reach of these creative design disciplines will be introduced through a number of diverse design case studies. This research-rich and research-informed environment for learning will enable you to gain an appreciation for the wider contexts within which Communication design is practiced, furthering your knowledge and development in this dynamic field of study. Your learning will be enhanced through either onsite visits or virtual tours that will enable you to experience key communication design topics, such as publishing, wayfinding, exhibition and Museum design. The skills, knowledge and experience you will gain in this module are fundamental to this programme of study because they introduce you to ways of thinking, working and communicating that are seen as essential in all design disciplines. You will be given frequent formative feedback on the progress of your work to support your development towards final outputs. This module consists of two, semester-long, components. Each component of the module will be assessed upon submission, giving you the opportunity to rapidly build upon prior learning and accelerate skills and knowledge development.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through a blend of onsite and remote teaching practices. The module handbook provides details of sessions, reading lists and assessment criteria. This information in addition to teaching and learning materials, are made available on the e-learning portal. Whether onsite or online, module tutors will be available to guide taught sessions, as well as to provide guidance and feedback during consultation hours to discuss any queries or concerns you may have about how to succeed on the module. Moreover, feedback on formative work and the first summative assessments you receive will serve as ‘feed forward’, giving you guidance on how to improve during the module.
In addition, you have a designated Personal Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Personal Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)
You are advised to meet with your Personal Guidance Tutor at least three times each semester to review your academic progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding
1. Demonstrate your awareness of widely recognised theoretical, technical and professional practices in Communication Design and an understanding of how they both inform and give context to your work.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities
2. Demonstrate appropriate use of fundamental principles of design in your conceptualisation of communications.

3. Demonstrate your ability to apply graphic language and interactive media in the resolution of communication challenges.

Personal Values Attributes
4. Demonstrate your commitment to studies and learning by engaging in strategic conversations with tutors, peers and practitioners of communication design.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
Formative feedback is provided as an integral part of teaching and learning sessions, which may take the form of individual or small group critiques that include tutor and peer review.

Summative Assessment
Summative feedback in Semesters 1 and 2 is based on submissions of work (MLO2, 3), as well as annotated research and development work evidencing foundation level knowledge and understanding (MLO1), commitments to learning and attendance to studies (MLO4).




AD3023 40 YL Design Portfolio Skills
AD3025 20 Credits – Product YL
AD3026 20 Credits – Fashion YL
AD3027 20 Credits – Interiors YL

Module abstract

In this module, Communication design and related disciplines Graphic Design and Interaction Design are outlined and their relationship to the field of design as a whole is revealed through a series of graphical and digital projects that will be showcased in an evolving portfolio. The scope of the disciplines is explained through practical projects that highlight the importance of communication in a range of situations and environments. Drawing on research-rich learning and Technology Enhanced Learning techniques, specialist design staff will guide your knowledge and understanding in key areas of the disciplines, such as graphic media, image-making, typography, motion and interaction and their application in commercial and social settings. The module will help you develop an understanding of Communication Design and establish a strong basis for the conceptualisation and graphical representation of your work. Completion of this module will help you gain entry into subject-related undergraduate programmes which represent pathways to employment and a career in design.

Course info

UCAS Code W270

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time followed by a further 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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