AH5010 - Cultural Theory for Graphic Designers

What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will be introduced to key themes and issues in Graphic Design. Through a dedicated lecture programme of lectures and seminars you will examine the ways in which Graphic Design constantly evolves to both reflect and inform its wider cultural, social, economic and theoretical contexts. Supporting seminars explore the meanings, values and ethics of graphic design through the analysis of case studies of current and historical practice. Theories and themes will encompass ecological crisis, identity politics, activist design and sustainability. The module enhances your understanding of the theoretical questions which were introduced at level 4, and delivers key learning outcomes of: broadening and deepening students' appreciation of issues, concepts and theories in graphic design; enabling you to identify and evaluate relevant information within both delivered content and independent study; facilitating your development of independent study skills; and developing appropriate skills of academic presentation and the communication of ideas. Through developing analytical, critical, and theoretical skills, this module will enhance your studio practice and help prepare you for the extended individual research project at level 6. Additional sessions in semester two will be delivered in ‘GD5012: Differentiation: What makes you, you’, in which you will develop a topic, structure and research strategy for the L6 Design Report.

How will I learn on this module?

Cultural Theory For Graphic Designers is taught through illustrated weekly workshops comprising of illustrated lectures, seminar activities, readings and research skills development.. Your participation in sessions will help you to develop and communicate your ideas. Each workshop will involve presentations by the lecturer to establish key terms of reference, followed by group discussion of the conceptual and political issues raised. Hands-on workshops will help you to develop study skills relevant to graphic design practice, including archival research, fieldwork, visual analysis and presentation skills. Directed learning and reading will encourage independent research, visual analysis of graphic design and critical reflection on design theory and practice. You will be supported in the skills of academic essay writing though the use of formative and summative learning and through the use of Turnitin.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Academic support will be provided through seminars, individual tutorials and use of the eLearning Portal;
• Workshops and tutorials will give you the opportunity to identify and discuss assessment criteria, both at the planning stage and as you engage with
tasks. Tutorials will offer you support with any specific issues or concerns.
• Sample student work will be provided via the eLearning Portal to guide you in your preparation.
• Study skills sessions will ensure good practice for everyone following the module.
• Formative feedback will be ongoing in group learning sessions.
• Written feedback will be provided upon assignment submission within 20 working days according to university policy.

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: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

• Demonstrate knowledge of a range of issues in Graphic Design (1);
• Analyse and engage with key issues and debates in Design (1).
• Identify and engage with theoretical concepts relevant to the culture of design (2).
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Identify and evaluate relevant information in independent reading and accurately acknowledge sources located in and informed by current critical
debate (1/2).
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Demonstrate independent study skills such as time management and IT Skills (1,2,3).

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be carried out through seminar discussion and group tutorials.

Summative assessment is through an independently developed 2000-word essay, which shows your critical reflection and analysis of concepts raised throughout this module.


AH4010 History and Influences of Graphic Design



Module abstract

Cultural Theory For Graphic Designers develops your awareness and understanding of key themes and issues in Graphic Design. Delivered via flexible two-hour workshops, the course will examine the ways in which Graphic Design constantly changes and how it both reflects and informs its wider cultural context. Workshop activities explore the meanings, theories, values and ethics of Graphic Design through the analysis of case studies, key readings and concepts. Students will also improve your skills of independent study; and develop appropriate skills of academic presentation and the communication of ideas. Building these analytical, critical, and theoretical skills in this module will help enhance your studio practice, it will also prepare you for the extended individual research project at level 6.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years and 4 months

Location Various Locations

City Newcastle

Start January 2022

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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