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Level 3 Graphic Design

On the A-Level program students complete two projects. In the first year students work on a personal project in the area of Graphic design that interests them most. This is accompanied by a project essay which discusses the theory within their work.

The second project is an exam project, Students choose a starting point from the exam paper and are able to develop a project in response in their chosen specialist area.

Students on the BTEC extended certificate will complete two projects. Students start with a professional brief in year 1 to learn key theory and skills. In year two students can design their own project in the specialist area of there choice.

A BTEC Level 3 qualification in Graphic Design provides a progression route to programs in Higher Education such as BTEC Higher Nationals or related Degree programmes in the creative arts as well as producing portfolios of work suitable for employment or apprenticeship placements within the creative arts.

Course Content

Taught the basics

In the first half term all students will undertake a series of mini projects and workshops to help develop basic practical and theory skills in readiness for the main projects ahead. The workshops will introduce students to visual language and semiotic theory which are crucial for analysis and understanding the way a graphic designer works. Students will also be able to learn a range of new skills in both digital and hand made processes and will be introduced to many specialist areas within graphic design.

The projects

After the first half term students will either begin a self- directed one year project in their specialist area of their choice (A-Level program) or will be given a professional ‘live’ brief if they are on the BTEC program. Both projects demand that students write to a high standard; conducting focused research, identifying and discussing core theories, in depth analyse of the work of others and that they are able to fully justify and contextualise their own design work. Both projects require students to experiment with a wide range of specialist materials, techniques and processes and develop their practical skills to a high quality. The A-Level program also requires a written essay to accompany the project.

BTEC students will be able to create their own project in the second year of the course.

In the second year of study students on the A-level program will undertake an exam project. The exam project starts from an exam paper released in February of the second year of the course from which students are able to select a starting point. This may be a word that becomes a theme or a specific design brief. The project lasts two months and culminates with a formal exam in April in which students will produce the final outcomes for the exam project.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs grade 9-4, including English.
GCSE Art is desirable, but not essential.

Students should convey their interest and ability level through a portfolio of their work.


Possible career options:

Students that have studied on these courses have gone on to work in:

  • Illustration
  • TV and Film animation
  • Advertising agencies
  • Clothing and fashion design
  • Web design
  • Magazine design and book design
  • Architecture
  • Creative agencies