Graphic Design

A Level

Graphic Design is an excellent choice if you have a vivid interest in visual communication, the art of conveying an idea with word and imagery for a commercial purpose. The course enables you to explore aspects of graphic design such as illustration, typography and advertising through a varied approach of media.

Throughout the course, you are encouraged to combine traditional hand rendered methods painting and printmaking with digital methods such as Photoshop. We offer an imaginative course with considerable opportunities to experiment with media and creative design work, where you will work with a variety of materials, techniques and processes in order to express and answer a visual problem with imagination.

The course demands a strong work ethic and independent commitment. If you achieved well and enjoyed Art & Design at school this could be the course for you. Graphic Design is often studied alongside related courses such as Fine Art and Photography, but can also serve as a complementary study route, offering an element of variety to an intense academic programme.

40% Examination
60% Coursework


Course content


A Level Graphic Design requires you to achieve at least the minimum entry requirements for your chosen pathway plus a grade 6 or higher in GCSE Art or similar (unless work produced is seen at our Wyke Start taster days)




The course is rooted in direct creative activity supported by individual tutorial discussion and reference to exemplar material created by teaching staff and established historical significant artists, designers and illustrators. Careful guidance is given with regard to the construction and presentation of individual, outcomes, sketchbooks and portfolios, supported by visual example, written and verbal instruction.

The Graphic Design studio forms part of a purpose built open plan teaching space offering access to drawing painting and printmaking facilities. You can access digital equipment including Photoshop and Illustrator. A wider range of visual and contextual materials are made freely available, many designed by the teaching team.

This two year course is delivered as three distinct units of study, which introduce and expand the skills of visual communication, in relation to the discipline of Graphic Design. Each unit builds upon prior knowledge which tests creative skills and imagination in working towards design brief resolutions.  You will communicate ideas, through inter-play of words and images, media handling, contextual research and visual realisation.

Quality of written expression is especially important in the second year of study.

An A Level in Graphic Design may lead naturally to a pre-degree foundation course and then degree level study in a wide range of art & design based disciplines. The study of Graphic Design at degree level can lead to career opportunities in a wide and varied field Graphic Design students become freelance creative practitioners or work for design companies in many areas including; interior design, jewellery, graphics, illustration, animation, architecture, set design, fashion and textiles, and a host of creative digital industries. Graphic Design study may also open opportunities in the field of animation web design advertising and illustration.

Phase 1: Introductory Component
A first body of coursework is internally set and marked and involves the construction of a portfolio that builds on existing skills, combining traditional art based image-making skills with digital image manipulation platforms. Typography, illustration and packaging are all themes central to the course. During a typical first year, three themed projects are completed.

Phase 2: 7203C. Internally SET, Externally moderated Coursework Component (60% of A Level)
A personal investigation is initiated in the final months of the first year of study offering the opportunity for an in-depth investigation on a chosen theme agreed via negotiation between the individual student and the course team. This component of the course offers a real opportunity for the creation of an original Graphic Design portfolio and also requires an illustrated essay related to the theme of the project.

Phase 3: 7203X. Externally set exam component (40% of A Level)
An externally set exam paper is released in February offering a choice of themes for independently researched visual development and contextual work. The culmination of this component of work is a fifteen-hour exam undertaken in April in which a summative piece of visual work relating to the exam question is undertaken.


The department offers an open door policy, in order that space, materials and creative opportunities are maximised. Regular twilight studio sessions are held throughout the year and the studio is available every lunchtime for private study. Further individual support is always available on request and the level of pastoral care afforded by the department is highly regarded.


This course is creatively demanding and requires an open minded and industrious approach. The best preparation for this course can be direct observation drawing undertaken on an almost daily basis, studying at length and in detail the qualities of everyday objects, architecture and figurative subjects in addition a keen interest in graphic styles, packaging, typography and photography. Taking an active interest in the history of the subject is also recommended. Both the Ferens Art Gallery in the city and Beverley Art Gallery offer splendid opportunities to view paintings and artefacts at first hand.

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