The BA (Hons) Degree in Retail Design is the ideal course for those wishing to pursue a career as a professional interior designer with a keen interest in retail design or alternatively anyone seeking to expand their knowledge and skill set of the interior design retail market. At NDA 'online flexible learning' means exactly that! Unlike other institutions, at NDA there are no terms or semesters, you can choose your own start date and study at your own pace – not the pace dictated by the institution or other students. At NDA we treat every student as an individual. Find out more.
About the course
The BA (Hons) in Retail Design course offers students the opportunity to specialise and focus on, their main area of interest; designing for the retail sector. This course offers students a more in-depth and professional approach to specific design projects with an emphasis on retail design. Not only will this course allow students to possess the unique and highly sought after skills of a retail designer, but will also provide them with a fully accredited BA (Hons) degree qualification to add to their CV, an essential element in such a competitive and growing market.
This course is the perfect academic progression for students who have already successfully completed the Diploma in Professional Interior Design Skills with the National Design Academy, a previous qualification in a relevant subject or alternatively substantial industry experience. It will allow students to build on their existing knowledge of interior design whilst specialising in retail.
This course covers a wide range of modules aimed at guiding students through the required processes in order to ensure that their design projects exactly match the specifications of a client brief. The modules for the full BA (Hons) Retail Design course will cover a variety of core topics, whilst also providing students with a solid background in business advice and practice, invaluable skills when looking to set up a business in the design market.
Teaching and learning
This BA (Hons) degree is studied part-time, flexibly online through our specially created Virtual Learning Studio (VLS) via the internet using your computer. Here you can access numerous links to interior design information, and you can contact your personal tutor direct. The course is designed to fit around your work & home life. You will receive informative and timely feedback on your assignments from your personal Tutor; you will not have to take an examination. You can telephone the NDA Helpline at any time (Monday - Friday 9.00.a.m. - 5.00.p.m.) to receive an instant answer to your question from a member of our Tutor Team. You can make new friends and keep in touch with other students and alumni and share ideas and see examples of other students work, through our lively Student Forum.
The majority of NDA students will complete their BA (Hons) Degree online in just 3 years, others may take a little longer and a few may need the maximum study time of 8 years. Find out more
Employability & progression
Following the successful completion of the full BA (Hons) Retail Design course, many students opt to further enhance their CVs and knowledge of the interior design market by completing the MA Interior Design course with the National Design Academy. This qualification will help add further weight to a student’s CV whilst continually building on the skill set and knowledge of the design market as a whole.
Many students also opt to enrol on to an alternative diploma level course such as the Diploma in Garden Design Skills or the Diploma in Skills for Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings. These additional qualifications on a CV will allow students to prove that they have a broad knowledge of the design market and will aid their credibility in the market when pitching to clients.
The BA (Hons) Retail Design course offers students the opportunity to promote themselves to clients and employers as a professional interior designer with a specialist knowledge of the retail space with proven academic knowledge of the design world.
Many of our students will go on to be employed in a design-based company, where they hold a specialist retail designer role. Alternatively, we have many students who have set up their own interior design practices that focus on the retail design market or alternatively those who choose to work on a freelance basis.
Take a look through some of our case studies from past BA (Hons) Retail Design students and see how they found the course.
No upfront fees
(If you are not a previous NDA student do not apply for Student Finance until you have been approved to join)
Now you can afford to study for a degree
Student loans (or tuition fee loans) are the most popular way for NDA students to study as they cover the entire cost of their degree. Loans are not based on income or means tested and most students in England will qualify. Repayments only start after four years - but if you earn less than £21,000 per year you will not have to repay.
PLEASE NOTE: When paying by Student Loan, you are required to apply for the instalment fee amount not the full fee
Student loans explained
Not using a student loan?
You can spread the cost and pay tuition fees by monthly instalments at no extra cost.
What Will I Study?
Module 1. Research and Contextualisation
This Module introduces the research skills and methods which will to help you to locate and retrieve information and which you will use throughout the remainder of the Degree programme. Also within this Module, the work of leading residential and commercial interior designers from around the world who have produced work of an exceptional standard will be investigated. The Module provides a comprehensive introduction to interior design, including a guide to the history of interior design and designers, from the ancient world to the present day.
Module 2. Space Planning
This Module investigates the way that interior space may be organised according to a particular set of requirements. Such requirements vary according to the designated function of an interior. Whether a space is intended for residential or commercial use, appropriate space planning ensures that a space is used efficiently, comfortably and safely and is at the core of successful interior design. Space planning may also have ‘hidden’ attributes such as brand reinforcement within a corporate or retail context, or visitor engagement and improved viewing space within a museum or gallery context.
Module 3. The Customer Experience
The development of retail environments and their expansion into the provision of a distinct retail experience is one of the most dynamic and exciting products of our culture. Within this Module, you will become familiar with an overview of the history of shopping and the evolution of contemporary shopping which is focused on the understanding of customers’ lifestyles. This Module analyses the methods that retailers use to develop a relationship with their customers and concludes with a study of best practice and innovation within retail design and the significant effect that retailing has had on architecture and interior design.
Module 4. Branding
Within this Module, you will study the development and application of branding within a retail environment. Customer loyalty is vital to a successful retail business and branding is the single most important element in ensuring that loyalty. Branding is also directly responsible for the positioning of a product or company within the marketplace, directly impacting on the perception of quality, ethics and value. This Module investigates the principles and components of brand development and how such findings directly affect the customer relationship.
Module 5. Visual Communication and Merchandising
Visual communication and merchandising are integral parts of the marketing process within a retail environment and are essential to the successful presentation of products or businesses to a retailer's customer base. Within this Module, you will look at how these two interrelated aspects of retail design work together to attract customers into a store and direct them to particular areas of products. Merchandising methods such as colour blocking, horizontal and vertical grouping and symmetrical merchandising will be examined, alongside essential promotional methods and the Module concludes with a detailed look at the vital components of visual communication and merchandising such as lighting, colour and materials.
Module 6. Sustainable Design and Technology
Responsible and sustainable design is an essential consideration for the contemporary interior designer. This Module looks at the differing and sometimes contradictory approaches to ethical and ecological design and design products with particular emphasis on a sustainable approach using clean technology. The Module also introduces the choice of sustainable materials and construction methods used within interior design and discusses their impact upon the outcomes of a particular scheme as well as providing an overview of Building Regulations and other relevant regulatory factors.
Module 7. Professional Practice
This Module will take you step-by-step through the stages of establishing and running your own interior design practice, including the identification of brand values leading to the design of a corporate identity, alongside the development of office management, business planning, strategic markeking and financial forecasting skills.
Module 8. Level 5 Retail Design Final Project
Within this Module, you will be encouraged to evidence your creativity through the research, development and completion of a specific major retail design project. Within the project you will address specific areas of retail design such as; research and analysis, branding, legislation, visual communication, merchandising and designing for a target market. In addition, the Module will provide the opportunity for you to express your research, organisational, space planning and presentation skills.
Module 9. Exhibition Design
Within this Module two main exhibition design approaches will be examined; the commercial trade exhibition stand format and the role of the designer within permanent public gallery spaces and interpretive installations. The Module also provides an overview of interior design issues particularly relevant to exhibition design including; public access and participation, enhanced space planning and visitor flow and an overview of exhibit media and exhibition types.
Module 10. Retail Space in a Wider Context
Within this Module, you will consider specific factors which influence the design of those retail environments which are, in turn, located within other environments. Such locations may include; hotel lobbies, museums and art galleries, exhibition venues and visitor centres, railway station concourses, airport lounges and concourses. Designing retail environments for these locations carry their own particular criteria and challenges. the most significant of these challenges is designing a retail space which retains its own identity whilst simultaneously enhancing the values of the host brand and all relevant factors will be looked at in detail within the Module.
Module 11. Research Study Project
Within this Module, an area of study will be selected in consultation with your tutor and a title for discussion identified. Your tutor will advise you on the scale of your selected area of study and ensure that there is sufficient available material for you to research. You will then undertake an in-depth literature search and conduct any primary research followed by a review of your data and an analysis of its potential within your project. Finally, you will interpret and present your findings. Interpretation is essential as it shows the ability to evaluate and draw conclusions rather than simply reproducing the evidence which has been gathered.
Module 12. Independent Study Project
This Module is a double-length Module (60 credits) based upon clear proposals with specific criteria established in discussion with your tutor. You will liaise with your tutor to agree a title and area of study followed by approval of the client brief. This practice-based assignment includes the presentation of a completed interior design project comprising; plans, visuals, presentation boards, development sketches and product specifications, supported by an element of critical evaluation.
If you still have questions feel free to call us for further information on 01159 1234 12, or click on Live Chat. Alternatively, why not book a place on one of our Interior Design Course Open Days at our studios in Nottingham UK, come along and talk to the Tutors, view students' work and take a tour of the Academy?