Visual merchandising is a key part of the marketing operation of all major retailers. In department stores and fashion multiples the visual merchandising manager makes sure promotions are consistent throughout the store and its advertising. Visual merchandising managers are responsible for designing and commissioning in-store promotion and display schemes and are experts in how to turn creative ideas into reality.
You'll develop your design and practical skills to standards that will impress the retailers you deal with, learning to source stunning materials, graphics and equipment to carry out your ideas, and to negotiate with suppliers to get the best deal. You'll work on photo-shoots to promote the latest fashion and home furnishing concepts, develop leadership and management skills to get the best out of your team, and learn to use a range of business and industry design software.
British Display Society Accredited
The Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising is recognised by the British Display Society as a UK 'Centre of Excellence'. Graduates may receive the award of ProDip.BDS upon successful completion of the course and have the benefit of membership of the British Display Society whilst studying at Hertford Regional College.
What makes the Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising at HRC special?
You will have an opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification in two years of full-time study, the knowledge and skills to embark on a career in Visual Merchandising and the ability to deal with space, product presentation methods and presentation techniques such as moodboards, visuals and model making.
This course allows students to develop in depth understanding, by working both independently and collaboratively with other discipline areas such as Graphic Design and Three Dimensional Design and through practical studio practice.
Strong industry related opportunities are an integral part of the course providing an insight into the visual merchandising industry. We have links with well-known leading retail brands such as Selfridges, Harrods, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, IKEA, TESCO (Space Range and Display team) and F&F Clothing with opportunities to gain in-depth work experience via work placements, 'live briefs', and presentations from industry specialists.
You will take part in various industry live briefs and in prestigious national and international competitions. These include The Harrods Graduate Challenge competition, following a strict design brief set by the luxury department store with the opportunity to showcase your work at the VM & Display Show held at the Business Design Centre, London.
You can learn while you earn; we have a Creative Enterprise Pop-Up Shop that 'pops up' at youth markets in the local community, within shops and empty shop units, at external exhibitions at both local and London venues as well as having an online presence. The day to day running of the shop contributes to the Work Based Learning module and is managed by a team of students. This is a great experience and excellent opportunity to develop and enhance your entrepreneurial skills and promote yourself as up and coming designer by marketing and selling your own products.
You will also have the opportunity to manage, curate and finance your own exhibitions both independently and collaboratively; exhibiting your work professionally in our in-house David Gentleman Gallery as well as at external venues.
You will have smaller class sizes, more tutor contact and extra support if the need is identified.
You will learn in subject specific studios and workshops with access to the latest equipment supervised by trained technicians. Equipment available to students includes a laser cutter, a 3D printer, enamelling/pewter kiln, silversmithing tools, screen printing table, vacuum former, heat press, printing presses, Mac/PC suites and a photography studio.
What do our students say?
"My experience of the foundation degree has been a very positive one, enabling me to make contact with many professionals and negotiate and undertake a number of work placements. One placement led to an extended internship with Habitat during the summer of my first year and now I that have graduated, I am working for the company to pursue my career in the Visual Merchandising industry. I would highly recommend the benefits of Work Based Learning at this level of study."
"I am now doing what I always wanted to do"
We're proud that many of our students are working at some of the most highly regarded retail, design and marketing businesses in the UK and internationally. The type of activities you'll undertake will depend on your employer and your level of seniority. Visual merchandisers working at higher levels can be based within head office teams, regional teams or at larger or flagship stores.
We encourage versatility which can lead to a wide range of career opportunities within the visual merchandising industry, in fields such as display design, events, props production, fashion promotion or marketing, or product styling. Some visual merchandisers work in-house or as freelancers or having started their own business.
The Foundation Degree Visual Merchandising programme has 98.5% progression onto employment or further studies on completion.
What can I do next?
When you successfully complete your Foundation Degree, you can choose to start working in the retail sector, in design studios supplying visual merchandising and exhibition concepts to the industry or to the BA Honours Top up Year Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design at Hugh Baird College or those offered other institutions. Students are eligible to progress to the final year of the BA Honours Interior Architecture and Design course at the University of Hertfordshire and will be supported by college and University staff in making their decision.
What will I be doing?
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, small group tutorials, course work and practical assignments. Throughout you are encouraged to undertake independent study to consolidate your learning and to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the subject.
In addition, you will be exposed to the application of Visual Merchandising skills and knowledge in the workplace through work based learning. You will study work based learning modules in year one culminating in a work based learning project negotiated with an employer in year two.
As part of your course, you will also undertake two work placements with a major retailer or design studio where you'll usually be given your own design project to manage.
Modules of study for the FdA Visual Merchandising programme are:
- Creative Problem Solving (HRC) - 30 Credits
- Creative Languages (HRC) - 15 Credits
- WBL: Developing Professional and Employability Skills (HRC) - 30 Credits
- Historical and Contemporary Context (HRC) - 15 Credits
- Creative Vocational Practice (Visual Merchandising) (HRC) - 30 Credits
- WBL Project: Professional Practice (HRC) - 30 Credits
- Contextual Studies (HRC) - 15 Credits
- Cultural and Ethical Debate (HRC) - 15 Credits
- Final Major Project - Visual Merchandising (HRC) - 30 Credits
- Portfolio Development (Visual Merchandising) (HRC) - 30 Credits
You will have the opportunity to take part in our enrichment programme which includes trips to galleries, museums and exhibitions in and around London in addition to UK residential and overseas visits to enhance your personal, creative and academic development. Previous visits have included New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Praque, Valencia, Bilbao and Iceland. These visits are not mandatory and the costs will be additional to your course fee. You will be given sufficient notice in order to budget for these trips. Visit our Instagram @creative_hub_enterprise to follow our current students exciting creative exploits.
How will I be assessed?
This programme is assessed from 100% course work throughout the two years. Assessment is continuous throughout the programme with tutor, self and peer assessment with a University Exam Board at the end of each semester.
48 UCAS points.Applicants who can demonstrate previous relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis.
What do I need to bring?
It will be necessary to buy materials to complete project work, build a kit of equipment and purchase a variety of books, publications and trade journals. We will give guidance before the course starts as to what the basic kit should include and where you can purchase these items.
£6,165 per annum is the fee for Foundation Degrees in 2019/20. Full and part- time students are normally eligible for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England. See www.gov.uk/student-financehttp://www.gov.uk/student-finance.