Graphic Design
Type: A Level
Entry Requirements: Two Bs and three Cs in five subject areas at GCSE to include a minimum of a grade 4 in Maths and English Language. However, due to the new GCSE grading, we do recommend that you are working towards at least a grade 5 in both Maths and English Language. Students must also have a grade C in an Art related subject and a portfolio of work. Applicants who are not studying a GCSE Art related subject, but who have a strong portfolio will be considered for an interview.
Start Date: Sept 2017
Length: 2 years
Course Overview

The UK creative industries are rapidly expanding and seeking highly skilled people in digital design. If you are a creative person who enjoys the design process and would like to pursue a career in the exciting and challenging design industries, an A Level in Graphic Design would be a great course for you. This A Level will give you an understanding of illustration techniques, processes and materials, computer aided graphics (DTP, Motion Graphics and Adobe Illustrator), graphic design history and typography. You’ll explore visual language composition, colour, texture, line and mark making.

You will also learn how to respond quickly and inventively to set project briefs covering a range of themes and ideas.


What will I learn?

You will produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas including interactive web and app design, interactive media, advertising, packaging design, design for print, illustration, communication graphics, branding, multimedia, motion graphics and design for film and television.

Component 1
This personal investigation consists of coursework with no time limit and is worth 60% of the marks. You will choose one of the six titles available and work on this throughout the course.

You will develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or a series of related outcomes. It must be supported in your second year by written work of between 1000-3000 words.

Component 2
This is an externally set assignment, worth 40% of the A Level. Each title will have its own paper with a choice of 8 questions to be used as starting points; you will choose 1.

Students have 10 hours (year 1) and 15 hours (year 2) of supervised exam time to produce a final outcome. Your work can be presented as design sheets, sketchbooks, models or workbooks.

How will the course be assessed?

You will be assessed according to the following objectives:

  • Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.
  • Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.
  • Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.
  • Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

As an Art and Design student you will be given the opportunity to attend a variety of industry trips and specialist visits which might include galleries in Liverpool and Manchester, the National Film and Media Museum, artist studios and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


We have spacious computer suites with the latest Adobe Creative Suite software. You will also have access to DSLR cameras for creating your own imagery.


Materials and other information

Students will pay a consumable fee of approximately £35. This covers the cost of two sketch books, two mount cards and a compulsory visits to Manchester or Liverpool galleries.

Progression and Careers

Some universities require students to complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at College before progressing; we offer this at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form. However many of our students progress directly to university.

Former students have gone on to study art related disciplines at a number of top universities, including the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester, the University of Bradford, Kingston University and Leeds College of Art. They have progressed onto exciting degree programmes including Graphic Design, Marketing, Illustration, Advertising, Web Design and App Design to name but a few.


Ready to apply?

Apply online or download an application form to become part of Nelson and Colne College.

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