MA Web Design + Content Planning

Applied art for the web



In order to deliver a good user experience ~ any web site needs to meet a number of criteria, be visually engaging, work flawlessy and intuitively and remain accessible to the widest audience possible. While the technical aspects will need careful consideration and be executed well ~ the design itself also needs to deliver. Only when all components come together to form the end product will it succeed.

This course’s focus is on the design aspect of this process. Information design, graphic design, interaction design, branding, typography, photography and incorporation of other media (such as audio and video) all play a part in the creation of the website’s design and production. You will study aspects of good design and analyse and apply the concepts involved to your own projects. It’s all about learning to look, to really see and recognise good design. Critical analysis of your own as well as others’ work will improve your design skills.


The course develops a framework for critical and analytical thinking and working practice. It aims to introduce and evaluate the search for balance between the aesthetic aspects and the functional considerations of online projects. Discussing core principles of graphic design and considering how they apply to the web – the course will focus on principal topics such as composition, colour theory, typography and grids systems, developing creative thinking and problem solving skills.

You will be encouraged you to research and study good online design and apply your findings and conclusions to your own work. You will explore creative solutions to design problems and begin your collection of references and sources of inspiration.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course, students will:

  • be able to work effectively with imagery for use within websites
  • have a good understanding of composition and presentation techniques for visual information on the web
  • be able to work with image-editing software to create and optimise visual assets for online use
  • be able to apply graphic design principles to web projects
  • understand the history of typography and how to apply contemporary typographic principles to websites
  • develop an approach and language for the critical appraisal of websites
  • be aware of the principles of grid systems and be able to work with grids for page layout and content presentation
  • be able to apply the principles of good interface design to website design
  • have a good understanding of colour theory and be able to implement appropriate colour schemes for visually engaging as well as accessible design solutions for the web
  • understand the principles of information design and how they relate to websites
  • have a good understanding of the concepts of branding and brand building
  • understand the implications and considerations for embedding audio and video to webpages and be able to find creative solutions in their presentation

Indicative content

Each session focuses on a specific, relevant area of the applied arts and provides an understanding of the general principles and how these may be applied to the web. At each stage, a critical appraisal of appropriateness, quality of implementation and aesthetics is made. Topics covered in the course include Typography, Animation, Photography, Interaction Design and various aspects of Graphic Design.

The face-to-face sessions are designed to expose students to a range of creative graphic design topics and to give critical feedback on project work.