School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering
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School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering

Design & Layout for Electronic Media

  • Analyse and respond to a creative brief using appropriate visual metaphors
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of layout and composition including the use of the grid system
  • Use web editing packages, HTML mark-up and stylesheets to compose and layout web pages
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of typography and use graphics packages and web technologies to format type
  • Create or scan and edit digital images for use in electronic publications.

In this module students conceptualise, design and code the front-end of a sophisticated website-often for a real-world client

Graphic design skills have been rated as the #2 creative skill required by interactive media professionals and in this class, taught by Neil Thurman, students are given an intensive grounding in the theory and practice of web design.

Lectures on composition, typography, graphic design grids and other design principles are complemented by instruction in the tools-like Photoshop-used to prototype web sites. The second half of the module focuses on front-end web development skills, to enable students to produce well-formed and standards-compliant XHTML and CSS.

Students usually work with a real client to a real brief and, if their work meets the client's expectations, can see that work used for real.

The professional nature of the work students undertake makes this module excellent preparation for the job market. In past years students have worked with clients such as:

Mercedes-Benz UK
on the prototype of a new e-commerce site.
Rokpa Trust
on a site redesign for a London community centre.
The Mundus Journalism
consortium on a new site to promote a prestigious international degree programme.
The Apex Trust
on a site to help ex-offenders into work.
Old Town
on a prototype site for this British manufacturer of high-quality traditional clothing.
Drukpa Trust
on a new site for a school for underserved children in Ladak, India.
PHD
on a prototype site to promote a new range of clothing for this innovative outdoor equipment manufacturer.

Students' Feedback

  • "[I liked] dealing with a real world client and receiving constructive feedback through each iteration of the design. Very good for confidence and getting a taste of its real world application"
  • "I wouldn't change any of it - very useful, practical, challenging and enjoyable. Good stuff!"
  • "If you want a good feel for what real-world web design is like - if you're thinking about a career in web design - then this is the module for you"
  • "Perfect mix of practical sessions and lectures"
  • "I thought this module was the best I've had this year. The lecturer is direct, clear and is generally a very good instructor. He taught us the core of what we needed to grasp and so we could go on to build to complete projects."
  • "The lecturer shows passion and interest in this module, and knows what he is talking about. The course is well run and organized."
  • "The content is clearly explained, the coursework is challenging, the teaching staff helpful, and the technical content is well contextualized."

Alumni

Students taking this module who have gone on to successful careers as web designers include:

Indicative Reading

  • Arntson, Amy E (2006) Graphic Design Basics, Wadsworth Publishing.
  • Cederholm, Dan (2009) Handcrafted CSS: More Bulletproof Web Design, New Riders.
  • Clarke, Andy (2008) CSS Artistry: A Web Design Master Class, New Riders.
  • Cranford Teague, Jason (2009) Speaking in Styles: Fundamentals of CSS for Web Designers, New Riders.
  • Mono (2005) Branding: From brief to finished solution, Rotovision.
  • Powell, Thomas (2009) CSS & XHTML: The Complete Reference, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill Osborne Media.
  • Powers, Shelley (2008) Painting the Web, O'Reilly Media.
  • Roberts, Lucienne (2008) Grids: creative solutions for graphic designers, Rotovision.
  • Samara, Timothy (2007) Design elements: a graphic style manual, Rockport.
  • Sasson, Rosemary (ed) (2002) Computers and Typography, Intellect: Bristol.
  • Wyke-Smith, Charles (2007) Stylin' with CSS: A Designer's Guide, 2nd Edition, New Riders.