Graphic Design & Illustration

BTEC Level 3 Diploma

Course Entry Requirements

4 A*-C grades or equivalent in 3 or more subjects including a grade 5/C in GCSE English Language.

Students wanting to take Graphic Design and Illustration should have a L2 qualification in Art and Design, either at least a grade C at GCSE or a BTEC certificate Merit. If they have no L2 experience students should bring a portfolio of work with them to their interview for us to assess whether they can be accepted onto the course.

If you are interested in joining the College we will arrange a meeting with an experienced subject counsellor who will help you to choose courses that best suit your ambitions and achievements.

All entry requirement details are correct at the time of publication, September 2018, however, the College may need to make some changes by September 2019 in the light of student demand, staff availability and external factors beyond the College’s control.


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What will I study?

Year One Units

During the course you will complete 5 Core units These will cover exploration into different approaches to drawing, the study of Art and Design and Illustration in the Twentieth Century, information graphics and creative use of media. You will learn how to draw, paint, use the computer and explore a variety of techniques appropriate to traditional and modem illustration and graphic design.

Year Two Units

In addition to continuing to develop your skills learnt in year one you will complete additional units and these will cover creative typography, location photography, mixed media image making, graphic image making, professional and personal development. These units will help you to develop the skills involved to produce illustrations which can be applied to books, television animation or the internet and lead you into all sorts of job opportunities including the more interesting and creative aspects of games design to illustration and animation.

What skills do I need?

  • The ability to use books and not just the internet for research
  • The ability to follow instructions, but be able to adapt your own ideas to them
  • The ability to organise your independent study time to complete your work
  • The common sense and care needed when working with machines

Examining Board


Why should I study this course?

The need for talented and creative graphic designers has never been stronger. In a world where there is now an emphasis on engineering there will be soon be a time where we will be desperate for young designers with a talent for a mix of traditional approaches attached to cutting edge technology. We live our lives by images and this course will provide you with the skills and knowledge to be at the forefront of all aspects of illustrative graphic design. It’s a well-rewarded job, but somebody has to do it.

So if you enjoy drawing, sketching, painting and generally being creative with your ideas to make pictures you will find new opportunities to develop your skills and ideas around themes which explore all aspects of illustration. If you want to spend your days in the art and design area this course is great for you. You will certainly experience lessons that are unlike any other subject!

This course is equivalent to 2 A Levels.

How is the course assessed?

All coursework units are internally marked and externally moderated. Work is assessed to pass, merit and distinction criteria for each unit and you will receive weekly feedback on your progress towards your final grades. You develop your units of work by responding to what you see other graphic designers doing. In this way each unit is marked as a set of work at the end, including the final outcome. In this way it is much better to work consistently throughout the whole course and make sure all work is as complete as possible. Your work is marked each week. You cannot cram all the work in at the end of the course like revision based subjects.

What will this course prepare me for?

This course provides you with excellent experience to go into a wide variety of design based industries including graphic design, interior design, architecture and games design. The course is also an excellent way of preparing you for the Foundation Diploma at Wilberforce which will guide you to the best HE course for you. Each year £80 billion is generated by creative people in the Art and Design industry, so there is plenty of opportunity to find work after finishing your education.

Private Study

At least 10 hrs of independent study each week, our studios are always open for you to work in your study time. You will be given advice on what to do during your independent study time but it will involve tasks such as reading, preparing for your lessons and continuing to develop your sketchbook work in progress. You will also be expected to access our VLE on a regular basis to support your learning and collect resources via Pinterest.

What materials will I need to provide?

You can buy a starter pack of equipment from us at the start of term along with a sketchbook. You will have access to a wide variety of resources on Moodle including links to exam boards specifications, useful website links, video and text resources.  You are expected to provide your own basic art materials including basic drawing materials.  There are extensive resources available from the library that you can borrow but there is a list of recommended background reading on Moodle if you wish to purchase some of your own.

How will I be taught?

You will have 9 hours each week where you are will experience a mixture of units and practical tasks throughout the course. As the course develops lessons become more focused on one to one individual tuition where you will be set targets for the week.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Graphic Design & Illustration is for you if:

If you enjoy hard work and you want to get a qualification that will lead you into employment where there are always opportunities and demands for new ideas.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Graphic Design & Illustration is not for you if:

Think that it will be easy or like to take short cuts, you only like to copy cartoons and prefer to take short cuts and easy options.