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Bachelor of Arts in Graphics Design and Multimedia
  •  Undergraduate
  •   4
  •  122 Cr.Hrs
  •  49.232
Bchelor​ in Graphic Design and Multimedia​
Program Overview 

This program focuses on graphic design with multimedia as a complementary component reflecting the realities of contemporary practices in the creative industries. More specifically, the program covers topics such as visual communi- cation, typography, print and digital media, web design, interface design, branding, corporate identity and the design of linear and interactive narratives. This program normally leads to a variety of professional design destinations, related to the study experience and content, such as working for a design studio across print and digital media. The learning and teaching methods enhance creative and imaginative thinking, with graduating designers able to move into other related areas such as marketing, advertising, and promotions. The program enhances the continuing personal and profes- sional development of students in the workplace, and the pursuit of further studies. It offers the skills and competencies needed for graduates to succeed as graphic and multimedia designers in the global economy and the ever changing workplace environment. The program adopts creative processes from conception to dissemination that employ a range of tools and principles for application of the visual language across a number of media (print and digital); knowledge of time dimension, narrative, sound and interactivity are essential components of this process. It provides students with learning and teaching experiences that support creativity, innovation, critical analysis, inquiry, self-direction and inde- pendent learning, and is complemented with a well-resourced study environment. The program in informed by the most recent standards (October 2009)set out by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).Consistent with NASAD guidelines, the primary and secondary areas of focus (graphic design and multimedia design) cover more than sixty-five percent of the course, with the remaining consisting of art and design history and contextual studies, plus compulsory general studies units some of them in the form of electives offered by the University of Sharjah to all undergraduate programs. The overview of each stage below, describes the scaffolding approach adopted in structuring the teaching and learning experience, leading in the latter stages towards more independent learning and  refinement of professional practice.


Course #     Course Title                                     Theme   UK Credit Rating      US Credit Rating


Stage Two

0703206      Unit 1A: Fine Arts: Introduction to        4
                   Graphic Design                    

0703207      Unit 1B : Typography for Print and       4
                    Digital Media                      

0703208      Unit 2 : Information Design                  4

0703204      Unit 3 : Visual Identity                          4

0710201      Unit 4 : Contextual and Cultural           4
                   Studies                                    

0703205      Unit 5 : Integrated Project 1                  4


Stage Three

0703306      Unit 6A : Web Design                            4

0703307      Unit 6B : Design for Packaging               4

0710301      Unit 7 : Cultural Studies Elective             2

0703308      Unit 8 : Audio Visual Practices                4

0710302      Unit 9 : Cultural Studies Research           2
                   Project                                  

0703304      Unit 10 : Multimedia Design and            4
                   Authoring                             

0703305      Unit 11A : Integrated Project 2               4


Internship

0705305      Unit 11B : Internship (Internship             3
 counts for 3 credits towards Stage Four)


Stage Four

0710401      Unit 12 : Cultural Studies Dissertation     4

0703405      Unit 13A : Online Portfolio                     4

0703406      Unit 13B : Professional Development      4
                    and Practice                      

0703407      Unit 14A : Major Project Proposal          3

0703408      Unit 14B : Major Project                        6


Program Description

The BA Graphic Design and Multimedia program framework comprises a four-year full time mode of study including a common Foundation year in Art and Design during the first stage of the program together with 30 credit hours to fulfill general University requirements and electives.

Stage One: Stage I is structured around three core units in Art and Design studio practice and two units in Cultural Studies comprising lectures and seminars as described in the College Requirement section above.

Stages Two, Three and Four: After successful completion of Stage One - Foundation in Art and 
Design, the program is distributed across three broad learning areas:

Stage 2: The Underlying Design Principles, Concepts and Tools

Stage 3: The Application of Design 
Principles and Concepts 

Stage 4: Independent Thinking and Professional Practice

Those stages encompasses the units summarized in the following table.


Stage Two               Units 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4, and 5
Stage Three           Units 6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11A
Stage Four        Units 11B, 12, 13A, 13B,14A and 14B 

The corresponding units are described below.


Stage Two

This stage encompasses units 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4, and 5 described below.

0703206: Unit 1A - Introduction to Graphic Design
This unit consists of an intensive exploration of the fundamental principles and concepts of 
graphic design that govern effective design, composition, and page layout. Through a series of 
studio assignments, projects, critiques, readings, and lectures, learners will develop skills and 
build a body of visual work and a vocabulary for critically engaging with the world of design, in 
addition to developing their knowledge of the main software packages as tools for this vocabulary.  This unit covers design concepts such balance, proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast, whitespace, working with grids. This unit will also investigate the use of shape, color, hierarchy, and word/image relationships, as design com- municative tools. In addition, the digital media lab assistant will teach in parallel use of software covered to complement the content delivered by faculty. These additional sessions are needed so that students can master the technical skills required and faculty can focus on concepts and principles in a creative teaching and learning context.

0703207 Unit 1B: Typography for Print and Digital Media
This unit covers the applications and fundamental elements and categories of type, letterforms, 
typography and how these apply to print and digital media. This unit also covers the theory, 
practice, technology, history and evolution of typography, including Arabic calligraphy. Projects 
will explore: Grid systems, type design, proportion, hierarchy, legibil- ity, readability, kerning, 
the study of letterforms, and structures for composition of multiple type and letterform related 
elements. Students will combine the theoretical and underlying design related issues and concerns, with practical outcomes and assignments.

0703208 Unit 2: Information Design
In this unit, students will be taught that Information Design is the practice of gathering, 
filtering, and presenting informa- tion in accordance with effective design principles in order to 
understand - and communicate to others - the meaning of that information. The field of information design applies design principles to the process of translating complex, un- organized, or unstructured data into valuable, meaningful information for the purpose of practical use. The practice of information design combines skills in graphic design, writing and editing, instructional design, and human factors. With the electronic delivery of information and the Internet, the representation of information is becoming more complex. In the past, information was designed for a single output. Today, through the use of these technologies, information design applies to various platforms/ media. Through this unit, students will learn the principles and purpose of information design and how to apply them to different platforms and media. This is a theory and practice based unit. It entails both a theoretical and a visual/practical understanding of the concepts covered.

0703204 Unit 3: Visual Identity
This unit is an exploration and analysis of brands and visual identity, and will equip learners to 
integrate knowledge and inform creative and functional design solutions. The unit will investigate 
strategic thinking and brand positioning using specific case studies allowing students to gain a 
new level of understanding and appreciation of how design and communication can not only deliver a design solution, but also help define a company’s (product/service) message. Students will develop their own unique and consistent visual brand identity utilizing their research and creative skills to identify the organization’s personality or essence, designing a visual identifier. Students will create the visual elements that support the new brand and develop a visual voice and related message through multiple applications such as print collateral, Web, packaging and environmental.

0710201 Unit 4: Cultural Studies
This unit introduces the history of graphic design from the second half of the 19th century CE to 
the present. Further- more, topics include a basic terminology and an analysis of graphic design 
principles that will enhance the comprehen- sion of visual language forms through a historical 
survey of modern and postmodern graphic design. Attention is given to developments in printmaking, typography, book design, motion graphics and web design in their social, cultural, historical and political contexts. Finally, this unit investigates the role of graphic design in advertising and explores sustainable materials and their applications for the graphic designers and their clients. Parallel to the lectures, students will have the chance to advance their academic reading and writing skills through a series of seminar readings and projects on a weekly basis.

0703205 Unit 5: Integrated Project 1
The purpose of this unit is to integrate the learning experiences, skills and knowledge that was 
covered in all units dur- ing Stage Two. In addition, the purpose of this unit is to manifest that 
learning into coherent outcomes that demonstrate integration and consolidation of previously 
acquired knowledge and skills during Stage Two. In this unit students will be offered a set of 
briefs from which they have to select and complete one. This is the first stage towards independent learning in dealing with a major project. Working with faculty, studio work is intended to facilitate learner ability to un- dertake a sustained integrated project and manage it to a successful conclusion. In later stages, students will be able to determine the parameters of their own briefs, but at this stage it is imperative that tutors gauge the level of student acquired skills and knowledge before progression to Stage Three.

Stage Three

This stage encompasses units 6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11A described below.

0703306 Unit 6A: Web Design
The purpose of this unit is to provide students with the theoretical and practical skills and 
knowledge required to de- velop, design and publish websites. This unit enables learners to 
understand and use Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML), What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) software (such as Dreamweaver), and intermediate knowledge of Flash software (introduction to action script), in order to design web pages. Additionally, this unit addresses issues of usability, web standards, navigation, information design for the web, and overall site management.

0703307 Unit 6B: Design for Packaging
This unit covers the fundamental principles of packaging design from exploration of 3D form and 
materials to branding and visual identity. Students are exposed to the process of producing a 
package from the initial briefing with the client to presenting their own unique design solutions. 
They will explore how each element of design communicates, from the structure through to the 
graphics, including typography and imagery to create strong, focused brand communication. 
Experimentation with different materials is also covered. Students can develop an understanding of the processes of brand design and will complete their own case studies for inclusion in their design portfolios.

0710301 Unit 7: Cultural Studies Elective
The cultural studies elective is a unit that gives students the opportunity to complement and 
underpin their main area of study. It is situated at the start of Stage Three in order to build 
upon the program specific contextual studies in Stage Two and help prepare students for the 
critical interrogation and positioning of their practice in Stage Four. Students have the 
opportunity to engage with students from other programs and to engage in debate and discussion of the cultural issues. The unit 7 elective subjects enable students to develop in-depth awareness in one chosen area. Each elective option offers opportunities for the acquisition of a range of conceptual tools in the analysis of cultural products, whether arts, design, or popular culture.


0703308 Unit 8: Audio Visual Practices
This unit is intended to teach students the techniques of acquiring digital audio and video using 
industry standard soft- ware (AVID, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Sound Booth), and applying the related skills and knowledge in different design contexts. Students will be taught how to edit (linear and non-linear editing), apply effects and output in formats suitable for multimedia applications including online delivery. This unit covers the technical and analytical knowledge for the pre-production, production and post-production of audio-visual material for incorpora- tion into multimedia projects for the purpose of design solutions.

0710302 Unit 9: Cultural Studies Research Project
This unit offers an opportunity for students to carry out extended research on a topic of their 
choice in negotiation with faculty. Students identify a research problem and apply research 
instruments and methodologies in the development of a self-directed research project. Students 
develop a proposal relevant to fine arts and/or design that defines a research problem and produces a preliminary structure that informs the final dissertation (Stage Four, Unit Twelve).This unit provides students with an understanding of what research entails and examines a range of research methods, primary/ secondary sources and writing styles. Building on previous Cultural Studies units, students chosen topics are discussed and debated in a peer learning environment. This encourages students to think critically and develop their own ideas from an informed, well researched position. The work in this unit requires students to further refine previously acquired knowledge in academic protocols through written assignments.

0703304 Unit 10: Multimedia Design and Authoring
The purpose of this unit is to teach students how to use an industry standard multimedia package 
(Adobe Director)  for the purpose of creating interactive multimedia design solutions. Students 
will learn authoring skills and how to combine graphics, sound, video in one platform, as well as 
how to consider and design user interaction for specific target audiences. This unit will also 
cover navigational structures, non-linear narratives, cross-platform issues, techni- cal 
considerations, and issues of functionality. Emphasis is placed on adapting and co-coordinating 
conceptual, design and technical considerations involved in creating separate digital components 
into one coherent interactive multimedia product, giving priority to attaining optimum levels of 
sophistication, visual interest, appropriateness, functionality and user friendliness.

0703305 Unit 11A: Integrated Project 2
The purpose of this unit is to integrate the learning experiences, skills and knowledge that were 
covered in units during Stages Two and Three. In addition, the purpose of this unit is to manifest 
that learning into outcomes that demonstrate integration and consolidation of previously acquired knowledge and skills during Stages Two and Three. In this unit students will be allowed to develop their own brief within negotiable parameters. This unit entails independent learning with faculty increasingly (in comparison to Integrated Project 1) functioning as facilitators of knowledge. Studio work is intended to facilitate learner ability to undergo a sustained integrated project and manage it to a successful conclusion. The parameters of individual briefs will necessitate a level of negotiation, discussion and approval of faculty and super- vising teaching staff. Integrated Project2 entails a higher level of independent learning compared to Integrated Project 1, but less so compared to the Major Project in Year 4.

Stage Four

This stage encompasses units 11B, 12, 13A, 13B, 14A and 14B described below.

0705305: Unit 11B - Internship
Internship for the BA in Graphic and Multimedia design in relation to knowledge and skills gained 
through the curriculum and thus linking theoretical and practical skills and knowledge with 
professional practice. Emphasis is on the interaction of design practice in a professional 
environment. This internship provides exposure to professionalism, code of ethics, teamwork, design field realities and opportunity for learning methods and techniques commonly used in practice.


0710401: Unit 12 - Cultural Studies Dissertation
Following on from Unit Nine where students complete an initial body of research and identify key 
research questions, this unit facilitates the development of the major research dissertation. 
Students are expected to refine their research questions and to develop a coherent and reasoned 
argument of cultural, social or historical relevance to fine arts and/ or design. The dissertation 
project is a significant body of self-directed research, presented in an appropriate style, sup- 
ported by a bibliography and correct citation of sources. The dissertation can be supported by 
visual material. In this unit students apply their understanding of research and research 
methodologies in the development of the dissertation. The emphasis is on writing a well-structured and coherent outcome, involving critical analysis. This unit consolidates the development of students as thinking practitioners and prepares them to undertake studies at postgraduate level.

0703401: Unit 13 - Online Portfolio
Graduates of the program are required to prepare an online portfolio that showcases their work, 
skills and potential for future employers. Firstly, it is an opportunity for students to revise and 
build upon knowledge and skills acquired during the previous stage in relation to web design, and secondly, it allows students to focus exclusively on the development and design of their online portfolio. The unit focuses on simplicity, ease of use, hitting objectives, creating a unique visual identity that focuses on strengths and skills of the students, portfolio tips and some common mistakes designers make with their portfolios. The material covered in this unit is transferable to other web related projects.

0703406: Unit 13B - Professional Development and Practice
The Personal and Professional Development unit (PPD) compliments design studies across the 
Programs. This unit is divided into 2 sections, with the first section focusing on particular 
aspects of subject-based professional practice(s), career development and life-long learning. The 
second part is structured in a cross disciplinary way and involves team- work (mixed disciplines) 
to generate conceptual development to a common brief. The overall purpose of this unit is to 
provide learners with an opportunity to prepare for a professional environment and to reflect on 
their current skills and abilities, including collaboration, time management, team skills, 
presentation skills, and communication. The objective of the unit is to facilitate knowledge and 
skills that can support career paths in the future.

0703407: Unit 14A - Major Project Proposal
The purpose of this unit is to enable learners to develop a self-initiated major project proposal, 
integrating learning from all stages in the program. The major project proposal comprehensively 
describes and justifies the scope, parameters and nature of the major project design and 
development in Unit 14. Learners provide a clear rationale that justifies the chosen strategies and 
a summary of projected outcomes. The written rationale is supported by visual research and 
documentation of the chosen area of individual projects. The major project proposal represents 
student self-reflection, individual learning and professional direction. The project proposal 
underpins and informs the development and design of the Major Project in Unit 14.

0703408: Unit 14B - Major Project
Unit 14 is the culmination of the breadth of work and learning throughout the program. It enables learners to demon- strate their strengths as professional practitioners. At the start of Stage Four, learners developed a comprehensive project proposal, providing a clear rationale that justifies the chosen strategies and includes summary of projected outcomes. This unit is about making this project a reality. The major project embodies the manifestation of everything learnt in the program. It provides an entry point for the learner who is embarking into the professional design field, either for further development at postgraduate level, or as a distinctive practitioner within a chosen area of design. The outcome(s) of this unit will be displayed during the end-of year Design Degree Show. It is expected that learners will demonstrate advanced skills and knowledge in evaluating ideas and materials, ability to put together a new form with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure, a systematic organization of priorities and a clear understanding for resolving conflicts and other issues in terms of work across different areas of knowledge and skills.