Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements:

You must have achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, and at least a grade C in GCSE Art & Design – Fine Art, Unendorsed or Graphics (not to be confused with Design Technology Graphics). Students without these requirements who nevertheless have firm career ambitions requiring AS/A2 Graphic Design will be interviewed by the Head of Department to establish whether progression on to this course is possible. 

If you have been graded under the new numerical grading system at GCSE, please visit our entry requirements page to see the grading equivalent and for further information.

Is Graphic Design for you?

  • You enjoy the challenge of delivering a project to a deadline and within the constraints of a brief.
  • You enjoy analysing existing contemporary, graphic design in order to develop an understanding of industry processes and techniques.
  • You enjoy the challenge of developing skills across industry standard software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. 
  • You enjoy developing creative design work in response to a brief which appeals to a specified target audience. 

What will I learn?

Year 1

Coursework Portfolio

You will create a portfolio of work based on a brief. You will use Adobe Creative Suite and related digital materials and techniques to produce your work.

Externally set assignment

You will receive an exam paper set by the Exam Board AQA, from which you are expected to produce preparatory work and a finished piece in response to one of a choice of starting briefs.

Year 2

Coursework Portfolio

You will continue to produce guided coursework projects and will develop graphic design products based on a provided brief which must be supported by an extensive essay.

Externally set assignment

You will receive an exam paper set by the Exam Board AQA, from which you are expected to produce preparatory work and a finished piece in response to one of a choice of starting briefs.


You will be given the space to be creative in our School of Art & Design that offers students a professional, modern environment with its five large teaching studios.

All students will have to use the College facilities at certain times to complete homework or carry out additional work on your projects outside of your timetabled lessons.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a mixture of coursework (60%) and exam projects (40%) which you will complete in the studio within a fixed time period. Guidance and support will also be provided to ensure that you develop the analysis and written skills required to undertake these tasks.

What activities can I get involved in?

You will have the opportunity to take part in visits to local Art Galleries such as FACT and you will also learn from designers visiting the College. You will have the chance to produce work for local and national competitions and see it exhibited both externally and within College at the end of term.

The College has lots of exciting enrichment and C.V building opportunities including the chance to earn the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award, learn a new skill, learn a language, join a club, take up or develop a sport or take on a new challenge. See the College Prospectus for further information about what is on offer.

Where does it lead?

An A Level in Graphic Design will help you develop creative, analytical and evaluation skills necessary for success in a broad range of design careers. Many students progress into Higher Education with an interest in becoming Creative Directors, Art workers, Branding Designers, Copywriters and Art Directors. You can either apply to study a higher level qualification direct from college or, more often, complete a one year Art, Design and Media Foundation Diploma which will help you to decide which specialist qualification to apply for.

You can complete the Art, Design and Media Foundation Diploma here at The Sixth Form College.

The creative industries are one of the biggest employers in the UK. Art and Design related subjects are valuable for careers in such fields as advertising, marketing, fashion design, graphic design, architecture, publishing and the media.

What our students say…

“It was exhilarating to be able to present my work to industry experts and the experience has left me with much more confidence in my work as well as a better understanding of how the sector operates”

“I found that working within the parameters of a brief forced me to be more innovative with my designs in order meet my client’s needs”


Click here to download a printable version of our Graphic Design Leaflet

*We have made every effort to ensure that the information displayed is accurate. The College reserves the right to make changes and cannot accept liability arising out of, or in connection with any revision. 
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