Graphic Design

Why should I study this subject?

The Visual Arts department offers students the opportunity to be creative, and develop their independent working skills in an exciting and supportive environment. This creative Graphics course aims to develop students’ ability to communicate visually, produce exciting and thought provoking work independently.

In Year 12 the course is structured to develop you the skills you need and in Year 13 gives you more freedom to develop your own strengths and interests. The course covers a range of traditional skills including drawing, painting and mixed media as well as professional digital techniques. The use of typography is integral; either hand rendered or computer generated. Amongst the areas explored as part of this course are: illustration, advertising & packaging, animation and computer graphics. Students are encouraged to develop their skills in original drawings which can be applied to advertising, packaging, website design, album artwork, illustration projects, leaflets, posters, book covers, etc.

What will I study?

The course will begin with skills building which will develop your technical ability as well as expose you to new ideas. This will cover a wide range a wide range of graphics skills and professional graphics packages such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

You will look at a wide range of other artists’ work both traditional and contemporary and use these to inspire and inform your own work. This will all be done whilst developing your independent working skills and allowing you to determine the direction of your own projects. You will then be able to select your own direction to work in, picking ideas and media that interest you.

What are the entry requirements?

Please check this subject table for full details of our A Level entry requirements.

What skills do I need?

  • You should possess a genuine interest in graphic design.
  • An ability to work practically and creatively
  • Comfortable with the demands of a coursework subject
  • Organisation and time management
  • Creativity skills are essential to succeed on this course
  • An ability to work independently on projects set by your teachers


How will I be taught?

A combination of traditional teaching and demonstrations moving onto independent student led sessions. In Year 12 there will be an introduction to a range of artistic skills and media with structured projects. In Year 13 the emphasis will be on you directing your own interests and projects.

How will I be assessed?

In Year 12, component 1 is a skills building unit which will be assessed internally. Moving into Year 13 there will be personal project, written essay and final piece as well as an externally set assignment and timed final piece which will be internally assessed and externally moderated.

What will the course prepare me for?

Creativity and visual communication are essential in many careers both inside the Creative Industries and out. You may go on to study a Foundation Diploma or other higher education course such as Design, Graphics, Animation, Illustration, Web Design as well as many other options. You will also produce a portfolio of work that will prepare you well for both university interviews and when looking for employment.

How much private study should I expect to do?

As an approximate guideline this subject will require 4 hours of independent study each week.

What materials will I need to purchase?

Art materials maybe required throughout the course depending on specialism. A £10 fee will be charged for essential art materials.

What is the exam board?


This subject is for you if… You are a creative person who wants to develop original design work for commercial use, likes coursework subjects and is self-motivated.

This subject is not for you if… you struggle with coursework subjects and working independently.