BA (Hons) Design for Publishing
  • BA (Hons) Design for Publishing

    Our BA (Hons) Design for Publishing degree covers creating effective design for printed books, newspapers and magazines as well as digital apps and online publications.

    You will explore how words and images can come to life on the page and screen to tell stories and to deliver information. Our highly regarded course will nurture your love of type, typography, typefaces, image creation and art direction.

    You will use industry-standard software to explore a broad range of editorial design approaches from storytelling with text and images to mastering typography, book binding and specialist print finishing, to complex data visualisation and infographics.

    Professional preparation

    You will work on projects set by our many partners from industry and have a chance to work on competition entries and live briefs set by professionals. There will be opportunities to pitch your work to visiting speakers and hear their feedback on your ideas and approach.

    You will be taught by passionate and experienced tutors, as well as many visiting professional designers, whose reputation for nurturing talent means that leading design groups and agencies actively recruit graduates from the course.

    Prepare for a design career

    Our course has a strong reputation with the publishing industry thanks to the calibre of our graduates.

    And the course has a long history of student success in national and international design competitions, including:

    • The British Book Design Production Awards
    • The Society of Publication Designers’ Student Design competition
    • International Society of Typographic Designers competition.

    Influential professional designers – including David Pearson (Type as Image), Rick Banks (Face37) and Hannah Little (Little, Brown Book Group) inform course content, contribute to the TALK lecture series and set live practical projects.

    Graduates work in a broad range of careers including

    • Magazine Designer
    • Book Jacket Designer
    • Graphic Designer
    • Editorial Designer
    • Newspaper Designer
    • Publishing Designer
    • Digital Publisher
    • Creative Director
    • Interface Designer
    • Copywriter Printmaker/Printer

    You’ll also get specialist creative careers advice from our team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

    Stefan Sagmeister visits NUA 

    Course information

    Institution code: N39
    Course 3 Year UCAS code: W2AD
    Course 4 Year UCAS code: W212
    Course length: 3 or 4 year options
    Sandwich courses: Creative Professional Development (1 year, Level 5 diploma), or Creative Computing (1 year, Level 5 diploma), available between years 2 & 3

    All courses run as a blend of on-campus and digital teaching and learning, and follow current UK government safety advice. Applicants and students will be notified directly if any changes need to be made.

    Course content

    • Year 1
    • Have your preconceptions challenged by projects that inspire you towards creative and bold new ideas
    • Develop key technical skills in various design-related digital media such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator
    • Develop skills in typography, printing, layout, photography, research skills, idea generation, visual narrative and story-telling
    • Develop skills in designing solutions to present complex data and information through editorial design and infographics
    • Explore print, paper, material, format and hand-craft/making skills.
    • Year 2
    • Focus on typographic detail, layout, and structure, readability, simplification of complex information and its effective communication
    • Explore editorial design, type for screen and digital environments, book binding, folding and experimental formats, specialist print finishing, newspaper design, book cover design, exhibition and spatial design, sound and motion design, art direction, visual journalism, user interface design, large-scale design, experimental image making, complex data visualisation, typeface design, type as image and creative writing
    • Understand storytelling through text and image
    • Explore working in a team and developing a creative role through course and university-wide collaborative projects.
    • Year 3
    • Enhance your creative thinking and problem solving to demonstrate mastery of typographic principles, experimental image use, art direction, dynamic use of composition and narrative based storytelling
    • Consolidate your understanding of print, digital design as well as exhibition, immersive/experience design and large-scale graphics
    • Create a professional portfolio of work - in multiple formats including physical and online - directed by your specific discipline interests
    • Respond to competition briefs and other professionally-focused projects
    • Complete a Research Report that provides broad contextualisation to your practice.
    Visit the Degree Show website

    Typical UK offers

    A / AS Levels – GCE
    GCE A/AS Levels 3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB. Where candidates are not taking 3 A-levels, NUA will consider combinations of A-level/AS-level and other Level 3 qualifications.

    BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction, Merit, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

    BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction*, Distinction* in an art, design or media related subject

    T Levels
    A T Level in any subject with overall grade Merit or above

    UAL Extended Diploma

    UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

    UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

    Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    A minimum of 27 points

    NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

    If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

    If the qualification that you are studying is not shown, do not worry as we are able to accept other pre-entry qualifications as well as combinations of different qualifications. Please do contact our Student Recruitment Team if you have any queries.

    International applications

    We accept qualifications from all over the world. To find our entry requirements from a specific country, please check our dedicated international pages.

    Most international students are required to hold an English language qualification. Applicants are required to have a minimum UKVI approved IELTS exam score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section. Equivalent English language qualifications are acceptable such as, IB English language syllabus A or B/English Literature (Grade 4).

    We also accept some alternative English qualifications. Learn more about our English entry requirements.

    You can email us on if you’d like to discuss your application individually.

    BA (Hons) Design For Publishing degree portfolio guidance

    We are calling the traditional portfolio a ‘development portfolio’. This is to emphasise that what we would like to see is where you are now in your creative journey. You don’t need to spend a long time making the perfect work, as we can assess your potential from your work in progress. Your development is the most important part of your learning.

    Your development portfolio should be relevant to this course, but you can include a wide range of work that shows your creativity, technical competence and understanding of communication.

    You may wish to include some of the following:

    • Editorial work and page layout
    • Book and magazine design
    • Typography
    • Photography and art direction
    • Illustration
    • Work created using Adobe Creative Suite or other appropriate design software
    • Spatial and environmental graphics
    • Digital & screen design
    • Drawing Skills
    • Print making
    • Book binding
    • Suggestions for context: books magazines, journals, newspapers, websites

    Further portfolio advice and tips

    Get more advice on presentation formats, layouts and when to submit your development portfolio in the application process.

    2022/23 University fees for new entrants

    NUA will assess students’ tuition fee status using the guidance provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs

    Students from the UK or Ireland and EU students with ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status will be charged ‘Home’ fees if they meet the relevant residency requirements.  They will usually be eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning that they won’t have to pay NUA’s tuition fees up front.

    Students who do not meet the necessary residency requirements will usually be charged ‘Overseas’ fees and will not be eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan. Since 2021/22, this includes new entrants from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who do not have ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status, because the UK has now formally left the EU.

    Fee status Course Annual fee
    Home Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £9,250
    Overseas Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £17,500

    In subsequent years inflation may be applied to the fees of those who started in 2022/23, at no more than the Office for Students’ recommended measure based on forecast RPI-X.

    See our Fees and Funding page for further information which is also available in a downloadable format.

    Financial support for UK students in 2022

    Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are usually available to UK and some EU students, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries based on family income. Find out more about applying for funding.

    All students have an opportunity to spend a year, between the second and third year of their course, enhancing their employability options through a Level 5 Diploma.

    These courses are offered in Creative Professional Development; a structured programme of input sessions and work-based learning, and Creative Computing; designed to build the foundation skills in coding and software design that are in high demand in the digital and creative industries.

    Four year degree – BA (Hons) Design for Publishing

    Four year degrees offer students a chance to build on their experience within their undergraduate course of choice.

    Year 0 will help to build confidence and develop subject specific practical, creative and conceptual skills – making full use of University studios and workshops.

    Typical UK offers and entry requirements for Year 0 entry

    GCE A/AS Levels
    2 A-level qualifications at grades CC or higher. 

    BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Merit, Merit, Pass in an art, design or media related subject

    BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

    T Levels
    Pass (D or E on the core)

    UAL Extended Diploma
    An overall Pass

    UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    An overall Pass

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design 

    Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    A minimum of 24 points

    NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

    If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

    Wild Paths students stand in Urban Jungle Norwich with pumpkins for a Norwich University of the Arts photoshoot

    Wild Paths Festival design team

    "I’ve learned a lot about how dedicated my friends & fellow students are to their creative practices, and I’m so proud of them for how much they’ve pushed themselves on this."

    Norridge Porridge duo Rowan and Liv and Design for Publishing Students at Norwich University of the Arts stand in their pop up

    Rowan and Liv

    "Our studies and our hygge inspired business feed into each other. What we learn on our course provides us with the skills and knowledge to develop the work we do for Norridge, while working on Norridge allows us to explore our creativity in a broader sense, which in turn gets our ideas flowing and helps us be more experimental with university projects."

    BA (Hons) Design for Publishing

    BA Design for Publishing student Sophie Ebbage in the digital design studio, perching on a desk next to an Apple iMac, looking out the window

    Sophie Ebbage

    "Everyone should care about typography because without it the world would be a much duller place!"

    BA (Hons) Design for Publishing

    photo of alum Matthew Longley sitting on a white chair and smiling at camera with hands crossed in lap and short brown hair wearing a loose blue and white checked buttoned shirt with several computers on benches in background

    Matthew Longley

    "I love working on live briefs, they offer a great change of pace but more importantly they contextualise my practice. The briefs are thought provoking and often require a change of style or way of thinking"

    BA (Hons) Design for Publishing

    photo of alum Alice Bridle smiling and looking away from camera with long brown hair and an open long sleeved top

    Alice Bridle

    "My skills have developed so much since Year One — it’s challenging but I like that tutors encourage us to push our ideas further."

    BA (Hons) Design for Publishing


    • Mette Ambeck

    • Emma Bailey

    • Bryony Birkbeck

    • Christopher Challinor

    • Martin Devenney

    • Maria Fletcher

    • Mike Harrington

    • Neil Hedger

    • Andrew Johnson

    • Professor Laura Jordan Bambach (Visiting Lecturer)

    • Sean Perkins and guests (Visiting Lecturer)

    • David Pearson (Visiting Lecturer)

      David Pearson Design

    Need help? Chat to our friendly recruitment team

    Book a place on an Open Day, or to find out more about how to apply for a course at Norwich University of the Arts, please give us a call.


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