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Graphic Design: Editorial Design

Discover an expanded view of editorial design in an open and experimental online environment, under the expert guidance of RCA tutors Adrian Shaughnessy and Astrid Stavro.

Key details


  • Regular fee: £1200
  • May 2023 FULLY BOOKED


  • Online

    Eight sessions over five weeks

    Three hours 10.30am – 1.30pm BST per session

    Week 1:

    Tuesday 2 May 2023

    Week 2:

    Tuesday 9 May 2023

    Wednesday 10 May 2023

    Week 3:

    Monday 15 May 2023

    Wednesday 17 May 2023

    Week 4:

    Monday 22 May 2023

    Wednesday 24 May 2023

    Week 5:

    Tuesday 30 May 2023

An introduction to the craft and art of editorial design, which is defined as the presentation of information (text and image) in a coherent, relevant and innovative manner, allowing the reader access to subject matter of all kinds and on various platforms.

You will work on an individual project brief that develops your personal and professional skills, helps you to re-evaluate your working methodologies and consider ways in which you can improve and expand your capabilities.

You will be encouraged to discuss your work in the context of editorial craft and new communication platforms that allow greater fluidity in the way information is received and understood.

At all times, you will be supported by RCA staff and guests in a caring and mutually supportive environment. You will work towards validating and presenting your proposals to RCA tutors for review and critique, and in the spirit of the RCA’s studio-based learning philosophy, group discussions will form a fundamental part of the learning programme.

This short course will benefit anyone across a broad spectrum of editorial practice with a desire to develop editorial design skills that put them at the forefront of current practice. It is for those who have a basic understanding or advanced abilities, but who nevertheless feel a need to improve, develop or expand their horizons or unlock hidden potential. These new found skills can be used in both the professional realm or in more personal activities such as self-publishing.

The course is led by RCA tutor Adrian Shaughnessy who also leads the Typography short course.

The course is co-led by internationally-renowned graphic designer Astrid Stavro.

View our Case Study: Editorial Design Summer School 2022

About the course

In this course you will gain:

  • the confidence to recognise and develop editorial design skills that put you at the forefront of current practice.
  • the ability to discuss approaches and gather knowledge about contemporary and historical trends
  • an expanded understanding of what editorial design is in the current media landscape
  • the chance to work on MA-level projects and experience professional-level critique
  • a certificate of online attendance

By the end of this course you will have learnt to:

  • experiment with new channels and new platforms
  • produce editorial design that satisfies readers, content providers (such as writers, editors and photographers) through tuition, guidance and insight
  • develop your own editorial design projects and present them in front of RCA tutors
  • expand your skills and grow confidence in making editorial design approaches
  • ask critical questions about the practice such as - what is the role of sound and motion in editorial design?

  • Students will work on briefs in their own time and use the online sessions to present work, receive critique and engage in group discussions
  • Work with practitioners and educators to develop a critical, creative and insightful practice in an environment catered for personal exploration
  • Attendees are encouraged to make work in response to briefs, and then submit it to informed critique

The course is organised in synchronous sessions in a live virtual environment that combines various digital platforms and tools.


Using the videoconferencing service Zoom, the RCA's esteemed academics and facilitators deliver a mix of:

  • live lectures
  • case studies
  • guided assessments
  • presentations

Participants interact with the faculty and peers in breakout rooms in real time.


Participants engage in cross-functional team work with the use of visual collaboration tools.

Through the online whiteboard platform Miro, participants get to:

interact with various formats and templates

plan and brainstorm ideas

create processes and workshop activities in the digital workspace


The College's learning platform Moodle is personalised according to the course's requirements to provide participants with a secure integrated system where they can access the course content.

The hub hosts a range of useful resources to enable the learning experience, including comprehensive timetables, pre-reading materials, course slides, curated videos, tutorials and session recordings.


Participants stay connected and communicate via the channel-based messaging platform Slack throughout the whole duration of the course.

In this space, the academics, facilitators and delegates get to network, plan the course activities, share documents and files during the live sessions or offline.

You will come away from this course with:

  • A thorough re-appraisal and revitalisation of your current editorial design practice
  • An expanded notion of what it means to be an editorial designer and what forms editorial design can occupy
  • At least one piece of work that shows an ability to function at an advanced level, and which, if desired, can be used as a portfolio item
  • Above all, you should emerge with a new-found confidence in your ability to make work that avoids blandness or lacks ambition

Examples of course outcomes might be: test spreads for publications (print and digital)

  • current graphic design students
  • recent graduates with a need/desire to improve editorial design skills and knowledge
  • professionals working in publishing, advertising and communications
  • people interested in self-publishing
  • those preparing for Master’s-level study
  • most importantly, it is for anyone seeking an opportunity to improve, expand or revitalise a personal practice and experiment without professional constraint

This course is not suitable for beginners.

It is preferable for participants to:

  • have an undergraduate degree in a design or a demonstrably creative background
  • be familiar with some of the industry-standard software packages (e.g. Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, FontLab, Glyphs, etc)
  • use a desktop computer or laptop
  • have a basic understanding and some experience of editorial design
  • have a good level of English
  • be 21 years or over

*Limited number of places up to 15-20 participants.

Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described course as circumstances dictate.

The RCA Editorial Design Summer Intensive video above is intended to be informative and some elements are not possible for the online version.


Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Executive Education Team