Art & Design (Graphic Design)

BTEC Level 3 Diploma

Art & Design (Graphic Design)

Why should I study this course?

If you are a creative individual with a passion for design then this two-year course, which is equivalent to 2 A-Levels is definitely for you. This course will provide you with the skills and knowledge to be at the forefront of all aspects of the design industry. The need for talented and creative designers has never been stronger. Whether you wish to develop a career in graphic design, illustration, interior design, architecture, advertising, marketing, digital media, animation or games design, this course will extend your range of design skills and provide you with the experiences to prepare you for university study or employment.

Across the two years you will develop creative skills in graphic design, illustration, creative typography, visual identity, advertising and photography. You will learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and develop your artistic skills. Our facilities have all day open access and specialist teachers to guide you, so that you will have all the tools, space and freedom you need to experiment and hone your skills.

What will I study?

Year One Units

Coursework units will explore graphic design, creative typography, visual identity and packaging design. You will complete externally set graphic design assignments and learn about graphic designers and artists through contextual studies. You will learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator alongside drawing, painting, printmaking and 3D techniques to create your designs.


Year Two Units

Coursework units will further develop your drawing, illustration, photography, design for advertising and graphic design skills. You will prepare a personal professional portfolio to help you apply for an Art Foundation course, university degree or apprenticeship and you will complete an externally set graphic design unit.


Throughout the course you will meet visiting artists and professionals working in the creative industries which will inspire you to explore new and exciting ways of working. You will also have the opportunity to enter competitions, exhibit your work and visit art galleries on our popular trips.

Examination board


How is the course assessed?

Work is assessed to Pass, Merit and Distinction criteria at the end of each unit. Some units are marked internally and moderated by an external examiner, others are marked externally. You will receive regular feedback on your progress towards your final grades.

What will the course prepare me for?

This course provides you with excellent experience to go into a wide variety of design-based creative industries including graphic design, illustration, interior design, architecture, advertising, marketing, animation or games design and can lead to a career in web design. It is the equivalent of 2 A Levels and would be a suitable choice if you are considering studying an arts-related subject at university, completing an Art Foundation course or applying for an apprenticeship.

Each year £80 billion is generated by creative people in the Art and Design industry, so there are plenty of opportunities to find work after finishing your education.

Private study

You are expected to complete at least 10 hours 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 researching, preparing for your lessons and continuing to develop your design 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. You will have access to a wide variety of resources on Microsoft Teams including links to exam board 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 and there is a list of recommended background reading on the VLE if you wish to purchase some of your own.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught for 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. You will be expected to continue your learning independently out of lesson time.

This course is for you if...

You are willing to work hard and want to get a qualification that will lead you into a creative, design-related career where there are always opportunities and demands for new ideas.

Your application starts here

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What are the course requirements?

Four 9 – 4 (A*- C) GCSE grades or equivalent in 3 or more subjects including a grade 4 (C) in GCSE English Language. You will need a 4(C) in GCSE Art or a BTEC Level 2 Merit grade in a Diploma, Extended Certificate or Certificate.

If you have no Level 2 experience you should bring a portfolio of work to your interview for us to assess whether you are suitable for 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 a course programme that best suits your ambitions and achievements.

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

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