Graphic Design

Are you interested in using a variety of media to creatively communicate ideas and concepts that can inform, challenge, educate and potentially transform lives?

Do you like to solve  problems and think outside the box? Do you think you would thrive on a structured programme that  will help you to think critically and provide you with a wide range of digital and manual skills.?

Visual Communication, or Graphic Design, is a problem-solving practice which uses image and text to communicate an array of messages that can be personal, cultural or commercial. The key elements of visual communication are typography, illustration, photography, interactivity and the moving image.

Distillers Press is located adjacent to the main Visual Communication studio and all students have the opportunity to avail of this unique letterpress and relief printing facility. With several operational presses, it has a substantial collection of wooden and metal type in a wide variety of fonts, which can be used in conjunction with linocut imagery.

Studying Visual Communication you will learn to incorporate the traditional skills of drawing, printing, photography and other graphic processes with the new digital realms of video, sound, animation, moving image and multimedia. As you proceed through the programme you will undertake both real/commercial projects and self-directed projects, which are negotiated between tutor and student.  There is also an emphasis on team-based work, though ultimately the staff’s ambition for each student is that their innate individuality is fostered and that they find their own voice in the context of the broad visual communication domain.

Year 1

See First Year

Year 2

The focus in the Second Year is on developing a personal visual language and the skills necessary to translate this into successful Visual Communication practice. You will also focus on researching and defining a specific audience and developing a market understanding through professional practice.

Year 3: Studio + & International

Studio+ is an optional year open to all Design students allowing you to engage with the world beyond NCAD by gaining practical work experience in the form of internships and industry placements on live commercial, social or community projects. Studio+ can also include a work placement abroad or a study abroad period through the Erasmus programme with internationally recognised art and design faculties partnered with NCAD.

Final Year

In the Final Year students are ready to develop their own programme of study, which reflects each individual’s skills and interests within Visual Communication. This will culminate in a substantial body of work for assessment and display at degree shows, exhibitions and events.

Each year is supported by a series of lectures by leading creative practitioners and theorists, collaborative interdisciplinary opportunities, live industry projects, field trips and study visits.

How will I be Assessed?

Coursework, essays, practical design project are assessed at key points throughout the year. Formal assessment results are issued at the end of each academic year. 

Download NCAD Prospectus

As a consequence of the range of skills acquired, Visual Communication graduates have a wide range of local and global opportunities open to them.

Visual Communication graduates are employed by design consultants, book and magazine publishers, multi-media and web design companies, advertising agencies and as in-house designers for large corporations, and public sector bodies. Opportunities for graduates also exist in the fields of television, film and exhibition design. The knowledge and skills gained through study of this subject are highly transferable so graduates may find themselves working collaboratively with experts in a wide variety of other fields.

Increasingly graduates progress to further study at Postgraduate level to refine their creative abilities and approach. The School of Design offers a range of innovative Masters programmes, as well as a practice based PhD programme supported by the Graduate School for Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM).

The School of Design has actively participated in the EU-funded LDV (Leonardo Da Vinci) PLM (People in the Labour Market) programme since 2010 which offered recent graduates the opportunity to avail of 13 week internships in high profile design companies within the European Union. The LDV PLM  programme was designed to foster close industrial relations and collaborations in order to meet the needs of design graduates and the EU ‘creative industries’.

Over the past four years 102 graduates from across the NCAD design disciplines have successfully undertaken LDV PLM internships in many European countries. All gained a range of specific skills and work experience relevant to their sector within the 'creative industries'.  A number of participants continue to be employed on an ongoing basis by these companies, and the professional practice skills developed during the programme has had a significant impact on helping participants find employment within the creative industries in what are economically challenging times. Developing language skills, gaining inter-cultural awareness and a sense of being 'European' is in-built into the activity of going on an EU work-placement abroad. 

The hugely successful LDV / PLM programme came to an end in December 2014 and has been replaced by the EU-funded Eramus + Traineeship programme.

Please see the Study at NCAD section for full application details. 

Duration 3/4 Years BA
Places 25

CAO Course Codes:

AD102 Graphic Design/Moving Image Design

AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry)

Entry Requirements

Leaving Cert: 6 Subjects (2 X H5 and 4 X O6/H7)

Subjects must include English, Irish and one of the following: a third language or Art or Design & Communication Graphics (DCG)

FETAC: 5 Distinctions Full Award

NCAD Minimum Entry Requirements

Portfolio Requirement NCAD Portfolio Submission 
Degree Awarded BA Graphic Design / BA Design & Visual Culture/ BA Design (International) 
All Undergraduate applications for Year 1 entry and Advanced entry through the CAO.

For further Information please contact:

School Secretary

David Bramley