Faculty of Film, Art and Creative Technologies

BA (Honours) in Visual Communication Design

Award Code : Level 8 DL826

Associated Course Information
Course InfoDetails
Duration:4 years (full time)
Awarding body:IADT
Head of department:Mr Liam Doona
Course co-ordinator:Dr Linda King / Mr Ger Fox
Printable Version

About BA (Honours) in Visual Communication Design

Level 8 Award 

Application: CAO


What is Visual Communication Design?

Visual Communication Design takes diverse information and designs it for both print and screen based media. From print (newspapers, magazines, books, tickets, posters) to screen (web interfaces, film titles, television graphics and indents) right through to environmental applications (exhibitions, signage systems), you will discover how graphic design informs and assists us in almost everything we do. It demands creative thinking and an eye for detail.

Small class sizes and a practical teaching approach ensure that you achieve a high quality education, as well as the training to help you meet the demands of contemporary design practice. The programme encourages experimentation, critical enquiry, critical awareness, discourse, collaboration and innovation in project design. 

Aims and Learning Objectives


What modules will I study?




  • Visual Research Methods – a shared Faculty module that provides an introduction to basic visual research methods
  • Design Basics – fundamentals of design elements, vocabularies and processes
  • Image-making – communication concepts and techniques using broad range of image-making techniques: drawing, mixed media, photography, digital media and screenprint
  • Typographics – fundamentals of typography and composition, introduction to book design
  • E-graphics – fundamentals of storyboarding, narrative and motion graphics
  • Spatial Design – fundamentals of 3D design, form and structures
  • Interdisciplinary Design – combination of for 2D and 3D design communication
  • Critical & Contextual Studies 1 – Contexts and Histories introduction to design history, design analysis and visual culture
  • Critical and Contextual Studies 2 – Signs, Symbols and Identities exploration of the contexts in which designed objects and visual images are produced and methods of analysis





  • Image-making – communication strategies using a broad range of image-making techniques
  • Typographics – typography and composition principles for poster and publication design
  • E-graphics Motion – storyboard design and digital animation
  • E-graphics Web – introduction to web design basics including navigation, information design and HTML/CSS
  • Spatial Design – introduction to signage design and wayfinding systems
  • Interdisciplinary Design – self directed project combining 2d and 3d design
  • Critical & Contextual Studies 3 – Modernism & Modernity focuses on the spread and ‘myths’ of Modernism that emerge between the early and mid-20th century 
  • Critical and Contextual Studies 4 – Pluralism & Diversity focuses on late Modernism, Postmodernism and their legacies


In addition, you will be able to choose one module from the School of Creative Arts’ bank of electives. *




  • Typographics – identity design and production for print and spatial media
  • E-graphics – advance web design and production 
  • Professional Practice – professional design and production methods and processes including ‘live’ projects and competitions
  • Interdisciplinary Design – print and motion graphics project 
  • Critical Debates and Contemporary Practice – contextualises contemporary design practices and research methodologies 
  • Thesis Proposal and Advanced Research Skills – explores research methods for developing dissertation topic and corresponding work plan





  • Interdisciplinary Design – professional communication design projects in print and screen media (web and motion graphics)
  • Final Project and Exhibition – major self directed project combining print and screen media that is exhibited at the graduate show in June 2010
  • Standard Dissertation – development and production of a 8,000-10,000 written and illustrated thesis, examining an aspect of design, material or visual culture.
  • Extended Dissertation (E) – development and production of a 11,000 to 14,000 word written thesis, includes a 15 minute peer-peer or viva presentation.


In year 4 you can choose between two different credit weighting options for your Practical and Critical and Contextual Studies modules.


Are there any costs for materials and/or field trips?

Approx. €1,000 per year plus exceptional purchases and field trips 

Graduate Exhibition cost in year 4


What will I be able to do when I graduate?

You can look forward to beginning a career in a broad range of fields in both the private and public sectors, such as: 


  • Graphic Design (branding, corporate design, identity, packaging)
  • Advertising and art direction
  • Web design 
  • Interactive Media (games, DVDs, software applications)
  • Motion Graphics and Post-production for TV and film 
  • Exhibition and Environmental Design
  • Print and Publishing (newspapers, magazines, printers)
  • Illustration and Photography
  • Design education
  • Design journalism and criticism



Many graduates have established their own companies in corporate design, publishing (Ampersand Design), exhibition design, web design (Cron Design), advertising and information design, motion graphics (Lovely Productions, DADDY) and interactive media.

Recent graduates have started careers in companies base in Dublin (Design Factory, Design Works, Zinc, Zero-G, Piranha Bar, Windmill Lane Studios, Martello Media and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), London (Why Not Associates), Amsterdam (SO Design), and Manchester (JudgeGill).

Other graduates have gone into postgraduate study and research in design and related fields both at IADT and other institutions in Ireland and abroad.


What are the Entry Requirements?  


  • Leaving Certificate Examination or equivalent with a minimum Grade C3 in two higher or common level papers, together with Grade D3 in four other subjects, to include Maths and English. Foundation level maths is acceptable
  • A portfolio of relevant work
  • Applicants may be called for interview if further clarification on your portfolio is required
  • Applicants with FETAC Awards require distinctions in 3 of 8 modules



FETAC Links for this programme are:

 Any full FETAC level 5/6 award with at least 3 distinctions


CAO Points in 2013: 639 (Combination of Leaving Certificate and Portfolio assessment points)

We welcome applications from mature students, who must apply to the CAO.


What should my Portfolio include?

A portfolio is a sample collection of your best work. It should be edited, easy to look through, and well presented.

Your portfolio should:


  • Be selective: include and highlight only your best work, excluding early works unless there are some exceptional pieces. Do not “pack” it with any more than 30 pieces. (We appreciate quality, not quantity)
  • Show evidence of hard work, commitment and quality
  • Not include 3D work (only 2D documentation of 3D work)
  • Clearly identify your role if team work is included
  • Include notebooks, cuttings, creative sketchbooks or visual diaries indicating your interest in the discipline
  • Present your work to your best possible advantage
  • Not be a copy from photographs. Do not include any artwork which is a copy of someone else’s work
  • Include a CV (one per programme applied to) with details of hobbies, technical skills and involvement in activities related to the programme you are applying to. As information on age or educational background is not used for assessment purposes, this should not be included in your CV.


We would like to see a portfolio that demonstrates a high level of visual skill, creativity, self-motivation, inventiveness, experimentation, flexibility and stylistic variation.


For this programme, make sure you include:


  • Project work (set projects and self-initiated work) – including notebooks, development work and finished pieces – showing in-depth visual exploration and creative thinking around a theme/object(s)/place/idea, etc
  • Observational drawing from life/still life (not from photographs) 
  • Drawings/visual studies using a range of different media and demonstrating colour exploration including painting, collage, etc 
  • Any photographic work (optional) or support work of personal interest
  • Photographs of 3D work.



* Second Year elective modules

During your second year you will have an opportunity to choose one module from a bank of elective options.

This module allows you to work with students and staff from other programmes in the School and to explore combinations of materials, processes, creative strategies and critical thinking which will give you a greater appreciation of your main area of study.

Electives have been designed to encourage collaboration and experimentation and to broaden and deepen your understanding of the creative arts. They range in content from theatre and performance to media and politics, and include a wide range of learning experiences including overseas visits, practical workshops, lectures and seminars.


The current bank of elective modules includes: 


  • Photography - Digital Imaging
  • Performance in the Arts
  • Animation Principles Experimental / 3D
  • Theatre Workshop
  • Drawing
  • Introduction to Comics: Art and Culture
  • Media and Politics in Ireland
  • Sonic Arts 
  • Creative Cities
  • Puppetry


Follow Visual Communication on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VisComms.IADT to see the project work of our current students and graduates