BA (Hons) Design for Publishing

BA (Hons) Design for Publishing

Institution code: N39
Course 3 Year UCAS code: W2AD
Course 4 Year UCAS code: W212
Course length: 3 or 4 year options

All courses starting in September 2020 will run as a blend of on-campus and digital teaching and learning and will follow UK government safety advice. We may need to adjust course delivery if advice changes. We will notify applicants and students of any changes directly.​

You will explore how to deliver exceptional design for print and screen experiences on our highly regarded Design for Publishing course.

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

You will base your work on thorough research as you experiment with graphic design through typography, image and surface design in traditional formats and with new technologies.

And you’ll follow a proven path that has led our graduates to find success in leading publishing houses, design studios and creative agencies.

Experiment and collaborate

You’ll learn essential design techniques in large open-plan design studios – the perfect place to collaborate, share and debate ideas.

Your creativity will be informed by the content you are working with and the brief you are challenged to answer.

We’ll encourage you to experiment and test new ideas and techniques that redefine design experiences and user interactions with text and images.

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 Careers Team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

Stefan Sagmeister visits NUA 

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 #Disrupt

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

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 interview and portfolio review 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 interview 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

Your 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:

  • Drawings, painting or illustrations that demonstrate your image making skills, including life drawings, images drawn from observing people and landscapes or from your imagination
  • Models or sculptural works in any medium
  • Experiments in various print making processes
  • Typography
  • Editorial work
  • Collages, montages and mixed media
  • Web design
  • Sound design
  • Film or animation work
  • Photography
  • Work created using Adobe Creative Suite or other appropriate design software package
  • Package design
  • Visual identity
  • Advertising
  • Brand extension – how your idea works across a range of media
  • Suggestions for context (i.e. where you see this work being used)

Further portfolio advice and tips

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

Your interview

After you apply to study BA Design For Publishing at NUA we’ll invite you to an interview on campus or by Skype or telephone, depending on your circumstance.

If you apply by the UCAS deadline of 15 January your interview will usually take place in February. We’ll ask you to prepare your portfolio ready to bring with you or submit online ahead of your interview.

Read our tips for interviews at NUA

Fees and Funding

The cost of your course is determined by your status as either ‘UK/EU’ or ‘International’, so it’s important to check your fee status. If you’re unsure, the UKCISA website will help you determine whether you’re eligible to pay a UK/EU fee (also called a ‘home’ fee). If you’d prefer to speak to NUA directly, please contact

UK/EU students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning you won’t have to pay your fees up front. Further details about tuition fee loans are provided below. International students are not eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan.

2020/21 Tuition Fees For New Entrants

Citizen status



UK/EU nationality

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


International (non-EU)

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


Fees will remain the same for each year of your course. 

International students

Find out more about 2020 fees for international students and the support available.

Financial support for UK/EU students

Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are available, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries that take into account family income. Find out how to apply for funding.

Tuition Fee Loan for Undergraduate study

Tuition fee loans are available for UK and EU students.

  • Available to cover the full cost of your tuition
  • You don’t have to pay for your course up front yourself
  • Only start paying back when you are earning over £25,725 per year

Maintenance Loan for Undergraduate study – 2020/21

Student Maintenance Loans are available for UK and eligible EU students to help with living costs such as accommodation, food, clothes, travel and course expenses. The amount students receive is dependent on household income and any maintenance grant received.

  • A loan of up to £9,203 may be available if you live away from home.
  • A loan of up to £7,747 may be available if you live with your parents.

How can you find out more?

To learn more about loans, repayment calculations and other financial support, visit Student Finance. If you have any questions about fees, please email


Find out about scholarship programmes available to NUA applicants.


For new entrants whose household income is assessed as £25,000 or less, the university will offer a contribution towards the costs of studying at NUA (such as equipment, materials and other course-related costs). This will be £200 for new entrants to Year 0 and Year 1, rising to £300 in Year 2, followed by £500 in Year 3. Find out more about bursaries at NUA

NUA alumni, staff and feeder staff discount

All NUA alumni are eligible for a £1,000 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees. All NUA staff and staff from feeder institutions are eligible for a £500 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees.

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.

Year 0 is a new option for this course in 2020.

*subject to validation

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

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 interview and portfolio review so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

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

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

  • 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

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