GD5013 - IMPLICATION: Can Graphic Design Saves Lives?

What will I learn on this module?

This module will enable you to focus on the positive social and cultural impacts of Graphic Design practice. The design solutions that practitioners create can help change lives, human behaviours, and culture within societies.
Graphic Designers have been at the forefront of facilitating modern societal change for over a 100-years across the world. In this module, you will build on this legacy by choosing from a set of briefs that cover design manifestos, ethical and sustainable design, designing for the third sector (charities and NGOs), etc. You will use your developing creative skills to impact positively on other people’s lives.
You will research your chosen sector and use the skills and knowledge acquired so far, along with your technical skills to design an appropriate, creative and meaningful solution.

How will I learn on this module?

From an initial briefing that will outline the project, you will choose from a range of briefs. Through this brief you will further develop your critical and analytical skills as well as your understanding of how Graphic Design has positively impacted on people’s lives.
You will be encouraged to develop your critical thinking, research skills and personal reflection on your chosen project, through a blend of on-line and studio critique sessions. In doing so, you will come to understand where your creative practice might make a positive contribution within a wider socio-cultural context, and how you can make ethical value judgments on the nature of the work you undertake.
Appropriate project-specific on-line and studio based workshops will develop your new skills and encourage an experimental approach to working practices. Student-led presentations will encourage engagement at a professional level, and develop an understanding of creative practice within the design industry, in preparation for future authentic client presentations.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

This module builds upon your own continuing development of visual skills, principles and practices required for a creative career.
To develop your individual graphic design/illustration practice this module aims to:
• Investigate how design thinking can be used to create social and political commentary that can positively impact lives.
• Introduce and support the development of practical and conceptual approaches to problem analysis, idea generation and development of a successful positive creative solution.
• Encourage you to look critically at the ethical role of Graphic Designers, and understand how the history of design practice has positively impacted on societies and cultures. Peer and Independent Support
• You are encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning to develop your project.
• Studio based activity also supports the development of appreciation and evaluation of your peers’ work.

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?

1) Demonstrate your ability to critically analyse, reflect and evaluate your research as evidenced through your development work. 2.
2) Show evidence of critical thinking by conceiving, progressing, evaluating and communicating potential creative solutions to Graphic Design outcomes through your development work and final design project. 2.
3) Evidence ability to proficiently use technical and craft skills in the realisation and presentation of Graphic Design solutions to high standards. 3
4) Demonstrate an ability to evaluate your own progress and exercise an enhanced level of self-criticism whilst showing a professional approach to your studies via your engagement with module staff and peer interactivity. 1, 2.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed against your chosen brief, with consideration to the creative processes deployed and the assigned learning outcomes highlighted in the module descriptor.
The assessment and feedback strategy is:
a. Formative Assessment
You will receive verbal formative feedback both individually and in groups throughout the module. This feedback will allow you to reflect upon your own work and act upon feedback prior to final submission.
b. Summative assessment
All project briefs will identify the assessment criteria and submission requirements (deliverables) appropriate to the topic of the brief. This will enable you to demonstrate the process and technical skills developed throughout the module. A single grade will then be aligned to the submission based upon the deliverables.
c. Feedback strategy
Feedback will be delivered verbally at the point of each seminar, where discussion will clarify future direction. This module is exempt from the Anonymous Marking Policy. The nature of working closely and directly with the students in workshops makes anonymity unfeasible





Module abstract

Can Graphic Design Saves Lives?
From road signs to pharmaceutical packaging, the solutions that Graphic Designers create can, we believe, if not directly save lives, certainly help maintain or improve them. Graphic Designers have been at the forefront of facilitating modern societal change for over a 100-years across the world from the Constructivists and Dadaists in the early 20th century through to advocates and practitioners of today’s sustainable packaging design.
This thought-provoking module, enables you to explore graphic solutions to pressing problems, from global warming, and the prevention of communicative diseases to things that affect us much closer to home such as caring for an aging population or creating signing system for busy public spaces.
You will use your developing creative skills to consider how graphic design can positively impact on other people’s lives.

Course info

Credits 40

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 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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