Applications for 2022/23 are now open

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Visual Communication:
Design, Society, Nature

A one-year, part time postgraduate programme

This new one-year course is designed to give students a unique foundation in the fundamental principles of Visual Communication and centred around the concepts Design, Society and Nature. The Margate School will issue a certificate of attendance on completion of the course.


Students will study six key practice-led design subjects, spending five weeks on each:

  1. Visual language

  2. Typography

  3. Image

  4. Narrative

  5. Identity

  6. Human centred design


The last five weeks will be spent on a final, self directed project. 


The practice-led modules will be supported by Critical Studies and Design History, regular one to one tutorials and a programme of workshops and lectures, some of which will be shared with our Fine Art Masters students.   

In addition, students will have the opportunity to help develop and take part in Margate’s first Design Festival.

Subject tutors and visiting lecturers will include established academics and Visual Communication professionals. Students will benefit from links with our French partners, the renowned art school from Normandy L’École Supérieure d’Art et Design Le Havre-Rouen (ESADHaR). 


‘Design, Society, Nature’ will be delivered one day a week, on a Thursday. Students will be expected to attend the school on that one day per week plus spend 15 hours per week on self directed study. The course is ideal for those wishing to work part time during their studies.


By joining this course you will become part of a community, comprising TMS students, academics, support staff, studio holders and exhibitors and the surrounding local communities / general public. The School is situated in one of the UK’s poorest wards and most pressurised high streets in the country. Our open door policy, public events and outreach work help to reinvent our High Street and help to alleviate the social pressures that come with social and urban deprivation. This is essential to our mission. We welcome students who will embrace this philosophy, and who will work in a way which benefits this community. 


You will be part of an intimate cohort, bringing the first course of its kind to Margate. You will be studying in a busy, sociable environment. Classes will be hands on, dynamic and collaborative. 


The Margate School is about people. As part of the course we will seek opportunities to learn outside the immediate context of the School. We believe that learning in a collaborative and critical environment will nurture independent thinking, self-confidence and raise aspirations. ​We are inspired by Margate’s past and passionate about the future. The course will support Margate’s artistic development, thirst for social justice and environmental conscience. 

Student at an independent art school, printing on a banner for a protest

Why study with us?

  • Part-time, flexible study allows you time for your work and life

  • Supports the creation of new career paths, step up to Masters study or the acquisition of visual communication skills for professional practice

  • Ideal for portfolio building

  • A stunning location - in the heart of Margate, a stones throw from the beach

  • A pioneering liberal art school

Arnold Schwartzman and Tracey Emin at The Margate School

It is now 70 years since I first attended art school in Margate where I took the course in graphic design. My graduation finally led to my recognition as a Royal Designer, (RDI) as well as becoming an Oscar winning film director. This wise choice of profession led to the fruitful life I enjoy to this day.


Arnold Schwartzman OBE, RDI FRSA and TMS Patron

Students at The Margate School participating in a screenprinting workshop
Visual Communication students listening to a lecture in the auditorium


  • Spacious  studio space with evening and weekend access

  • Adobe CC license during the course

  • Communal project space

  • Research library

  • Photographic studio and Darkroom

  • Screenprinting 

  • Printing facilities

  • 3D Printing

  • Laser cutter

  • Digital suite

  • Woodwork

  • Cafe


Tony Pritchard—Visual Language & Typography

Phil Gomm—Image & Narrative

Graham Woods—Identity

Libby Scarlett—Human Centred Design

Katarina Dimitrijevic—Critical Studies & Design History


Design Society Nature will support you to develop as a critically-minded designer, equipped to contribute to our local community. You will leave the course with a completed portfolio to take to work or further study in fields such as:

  • Graphic design

  • Editorial design

  • Illustration

  • Identity design

  • Web design

  • Animation

  • Information design

  • Design theory



Transferable skills

The transferable skills you will gain from undertaking the course will include:

  • An understanding of the fundamental elements of visual communication

  • The ability to develop individual ideas and collaborate with others

  • Strong observational, research and analytical skills

  • Creative problem solving

  • The ability to learn from criticism and be objective about your work

  • An openness to new influences and concepts

  • Business and client-facing skills

  • Event planning

​The Margate School is also developing a Masters level course in Visual Communication which will be accredited by our partners ESADHaR. Our Masters in Design Society Nature will accept this Certificate course as proof of prior learning. 

Course fees

The price for the one year Design Society Nature course, including your own studio space at The Margate School and an Adobe CC license is £3,500 per annum.

Discounts on selected short courses will also be offered to students.

To register your interest in the course or to ask a question, get in touch with Rebecca Thomas, the Course Co-ordinator: 

Entry requirements

We welcome applicants from a broad range of backgrounds. Applicants will usually hold a degree or equivalent, however this does not need to be in an arts related subject. We welcome mature students, those with experiential learning or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning.


We expect students to begin the course with a working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Software is not taught on the course however TMS can recommend software courses for you to attend prior to beginning your study with us.


Candidates will attend an interview with TMS members of staff and present a portfolio or evidence of experience they feel is relevant to their application.

Women in Design Panel Talk



How do I apply?

Applications are now open, fill out an application form and send it to

What are the entry requirements?

We expect applicants to hold an Honours degree or equivalent experiential learning or work experience. This doesn’t have to be in an arts related subject.

We expect a working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop and a 3D package (ie. AE / C4D). Software is not taught on the course. However TMS will seek to recommend online learning tutorials if required.

Depending on the students we can also provide additional workshops provided by external facilitators, at an additional cost.

We will also be looking for evidence of: visual ability - an ability to express ideas through visual means, critical thinking - an interest in the subject area and an eagerness to learn more, social and environmental engagement, self-initiation - evidence of working towards a solution alone or leading others and the right attitude - the ability approach learning in a mature, independent and responsible way.

What should I include in my personal statement?

Tell us about yourself - what has your learning and career journey been so far, why would you like to join the course and how do you fit the criteria.

Do I need a portfolio of work?

No, not if you don’t have one. Some examples of ideas which demonstrate you fit the criteria will suffice. The rest we can draw out through discussion.

Can I pay in installments?
Yes, we do offer payment in installments for those who struggle to pay in one go, please get in touch for more details.

Can I work and study?
All of the teaching will be on a Thursday. As long as you can commit to the additional 15 hours per week of independent study then there is no reason why you can’t work and study this course.

When should I apply?
Applications for the next academic year are now open and will close August 2023