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Communication Design




Build on your design knowledge and technical skills while also developing a critical and socially engaged design practice, where people and the planet come first.

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Entry Requirement:

BA(Hons) or relevant experience, which does not need to be directly related to the field of visual communication


Evidence of previous creative practice shown in a pdf portfolio, Instagram or website (eg illustration, photography, printmaking)

All applicants will be invited to have a tour of school and an interview with one of the course tutors


Part-time October 2024 to June 2025

Taught sessions on:

Thursday. 15 hours minimum independent study


Cohort size:

Up to 15 places

What is Visual Communication Design?

Visual Communication is now the most widespread form of communication in the 21st Century. Visual Communication is how we communicate information, tell stories, and design experiences with purpose and clarity.

This course includes many of the key principles and practices of Graphic Design, such as typography, editorial design and semiotics, and also invites you to explore Visual Communication across animation, film, photography, illustration, art, architecture and digital visual culture.

At The Margate School we take a critical and multi-disciplinary approach to design. We believe design has the power to inform, educate, challenge the status quo and to tackle some of the most urgent social and environmental issues of our time.

This course will enable you to develop your design knowledge and technical skills while also developing a critical and socially engaged design practice, where people and the planet come first.

This one-year course is suited to those who already have some creative education and practice but is also accessible to those coming from another discipline or background who wish to explore visual communication.


You will receive a solid grounding in the basic principles and practices of visual language and communication, followed by thematic modules allowing you to explore image, typography, and moving image in more depth.


Students then focus on a self-directed body of work, exploring a theme, context and medium of their choice. Examples of final projects in recent years include exploring and re-interpreting ‘seaside typography’; interrogating how design can reduce car use and pollution locally; a visual study of Margate’s iconic architecture.

Final Show Artwork by Rebecca Jones

Design Society Nature supports every student to develop as a critically-minded designer, equipped to contribute positively to your community and the wider world.


This course, unique in its approach to design education, will support you to develop:

  • A solid understanding of the principles and practice of visual language and communication

  • Independent and critical thinking

  • The confidence and skills to pursue your creative ambitions

  • An understanding of and experience of socially and environmentally engaged practice including Human Centred Design and ‘Design Futuring’ (Tony Fry 2008)


What you get

  • Practical thematic modules combined with design history and critical studies sessions

  • Tutorial support - regular one-to-ones with tutors, peer and tutor reviews and critique

  • A diverse programme of practical workshops, guest lectures and gallery visits to support your personal and creative development

  • Collaborative opportunities with others on the course and the wider TMS community

  • Live design briefs in partnership with local businesses and organisations

  • Workshop inductions at TMS, including dark room, screen printing and sound design workshops

  • Introductory tuition in Adobe Photoshop, In Design, Illustrator, After Effects and Premiere Pro

  • The opportunity to collaboratively plan and design the course final show, which is an integral part of Margate Festival of Design

  • A portfolio of diverse design work to take you onto your future creative endeavours


£4,000 per academic year, including hot desk, and computers with Adobe Creative Suite.


or £691 per individual module

We believe that your financial situation should not be a barrier to education, please get in touch by email ( for a conversation to discuss how we can assist

Individual Module Short Courses

The following course units can also be booked as stand alone 6 week short courses without the requirement to take part in an interview

Visual Language: 11 January to 15 February

Typography: 22 February  - 28 March

Image: 11 April - 16 May
Moving Image: 23 May - 27 June

The price includes induction to facilities and 3 months TMS Fellowship on completion of the module

Apply now

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Why study with us?

  • The schedule allows you to work part time alongside study​

  • The course can open up new career paths, step you up to Masters study or further your existing practice​

  • Small student numbers means more individual attention

  • Ideal course to build your portfolio

  • Outstanding roster of permanent and visiting tutors

  • Stunning location, a stone’s throw from the beach

  • Locally-focused sustainable learning practices and human-centred design

  • A pioneering liberal arts school

  • ​Free or heavily discounted access to all TMS events, workshops and inductions

  • Community focused - group lunches, film nights and peer support

  • Community gardening sessions

  • Student discounts with local businesses

  • Be a key part of Margate Festival of Design with free ticket to all events

Course Modules

The course comprises of 6 practical modules, supported by critical studies and design history sessions, which underpin and strengthen your learning, alongside software sessions, collaborative projects, workshops, guest lectures, maker sessions and tutorials.

Practice Module


Visual Language

Visual language takes you back to the very basics of graphic communication - using dots, lines, form, placement, symbolism and colour. These sessions will be hands on and off the computer and are a fun, interactive introduction or reminder of the fundamental principles of visual communication. 

*Available to study on an individual basis.

Email to enquire

Practice Module



In these sessions you’ll explore classifications and anatomy of type, style, space, scale and sparkle alongside typographic hierarchy and digitising your type. Also included is an afternoon of quick fire typographic experiments and a letterpress workshop. 

*Available to study on an individual basis.

Email to enquire

Practice Module



You’ll explore image making through photography, collage, data visualisation and comic art. Included is a guest lecture, screenprinting, binding and print workshops.

*Available to study on an individual basis.

Email to enquire

Practice Module


Moving Image

This module takes you through animation, film and sound. Included is a software session, guest lecture and workshop with our Sound Arts tutors.

*Available to study on an individual basis.

Email to enquire

Practice Module


Final Project

Compiling all of your learning on the course so far, you’ll spend 6 weeks developing your own final project in an ‘open studio’ format with tutor and peer support, focussing on an issue that you are passionate about and would like to tackle through Visual Communication. Also included is a paper session with leading paper manufacturer G . F . Smith and further production support, which is defined by student project needs.

Practice Module



For this section of the course you’ll work as a group to design and realise your final show - your physical contribution towards Margate Festival of Design. You’ll work on a clear brand and marketing campaign which will be used to promote your event and design and build the exhibition as a team.

Core Module

Critical Studies + Design History


This subject will run alongside all of the practice-led modules and support your learning by developing critical thinking and exploration through design theory and historical context. In these sessions you will also cover sustainable practice methods and a human-centred design approach.

Students will maintain a blog throughout the course and write two essays which explore what they have learned in class.

Software sessions

Introductory sessions in Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects and Premier Pro are provided, with additional support on hand outside course hours if needed. 

Guest lectures

One guest session is included per module. Past speakers have included Lucienne Roberts, Rob Lowe (Supermundane) and Anthony Burrill. 



Students work together on a collaborative task per module. Past tasks have included designing a poster for an exhibition and creating a typographic mural in the School. 


One individual tutorial is included per module, alongside open studio support for your final project and an assessment advice day before your final hand in.

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