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Graphic Design

Visual communication is driven by innovation, technology and creative thinking. Recent years have seen a dramatic change in the way society interacts and communicates; graphic design is at the heart of these developments. This course has been designed to enable students to experience a broad range of design and communication theory and practice and to help them to understand the relationship between designing, materials, processes and manufacture.

Students are required to work in one or more areas of Graphic Design, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas.

  • Illustration
  • Advertising & Packaging
  • Film & Animation
  • Digital media
  • Print based media
  • Photography
  • Three-Dimensional Design

The first year of the course is aimed at developing a wide range of analytical, visual and conceptual skills in preparation for the assessed units which are undertaken in the second year. In the second year students will be able to focus upon Visual communication or Three-Dimensional Design. The first of these units is called the ‘Personal Investigation’, which provides students with the opportunity to devise and organise a personal project, focussing upon whichever concepts, styles and techniques they see fit. The second unit is set by the exam board and requires the student to respond to one of seven broad starting points or briefs, and will culminate in 15 hours of supervised time. Both units are assessed internally, and moderated by the exam board (AQA). The first unit is worth 60% of the marks at A-Level and the second unit is worth 40%.


Visual communication permeates all aspects of our cultural and professional lives. The means by which this communication is achieved is a fascinating area to study and the skill required to produce such work is highly sought after. This course is suitable for students who want to study any of the design disciplines at a higher level - including many of those emerging degree courses that combine maths, science and design such as product design, animation and data imaging – as well as for those who simply want to broaden their A level choices with a subject that deals in creative visual communication.


Graphic Design utilises and develops lateral thought, practical skills, problem solving and the fluent use of visual language. The course provides the opportunity to work with a range of media and techniques, to study diverse topics and concepts through project work and to gain a contextual understanding of visual communication within industry and society.


In the first year, the department sets a variety of projects covering photography, three-dimensional design, print media, film & animation and digital media. These are often supported by lectures visits and possibly live project links with working design agencies. Students are expected to generate independently their own ideas, directions and source material through researching widely, attending exhibitions, reading around the subject matter and establishing contacts with specialists when necessary.