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Graphic Design

Exam Board Specification: AQA

How the course is assessed

Component 1 – Personal Investigation

  • No time limit
  • 60% of A-level

Component 2 – Externally set assignment

  • Preparatory period + 15 hours supervised time
  • 40% of A-level

Description of course

Students learn specific design based skills on this course. They produce practical work in one or more areas of graphic communication including illustration, advertising, packaging design, design for surface print, and communication graphics. Students explore a range of graphic media, processes and techniques. They develop their creative ability to provide a personal and meaningful response to an issue, concept or idea, working to a brief or answering a need in a chosen area of graphic communication.

For Component 2, students respond to a stimulus, provided by the exam board, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within specified time constraints. For both components students are expected to explore an in-depth journey of ideas in response to their chosen brief/topic, which leads to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes.

As students work through ideas and explore different creative possibilities they gain inspiration from contemporary and historical art and design practice.

Regular extra-curricular visits are organised to galleries, museums and cultural places of interest. These first hand experiences enrich student’s cultural knowledge and enable them to gain first hand source material to inform and develop their coursework projects.

Higher education, future careers and progression routes

The A Level qualification in this subject lays an appropriate foundation for further study in subject areas related to Graphics Communication such as Graphic Design, Advertising, Illustration, Animation, Games Design and Surface Design.

Some students opt to study either one or two art related subjects because they have already made a decision that their future will be within the field of Art & Design. Many students also choose an Art related subject to support their university applications, demonstrating independent and creative skills which is desired by a wide range of university courses.

Art related courses give you invaluable problem solving skills that can be transferred to other subject areas. Students who are creative in their thinking are able to approach a task in a multitude of ways, experimenting and exploring until they reach an informed outcome. Art teaches you to think with an open mind, find alternatives and tackle any situation with real creativity.

Students from the Southern Consortium who choose career paths in Art and Design regularly achieve places on courses at major institutions such as University of the Arts (Chelsea, Central St Martins and London College of Communication), Kingston and Edinburgh. These students have pursued degree pathways in Art, Fashion, Graphics and Architecture. Over the last few years many of our students have achieved success in obtaining their first choice universities for courses in Art, Design photography and architecture.

Entry Criteria:

Students must meet the Consortium minimum entry criteria for A Level courses, that is, a GCSE grade 4 or higher in English Language, grade 4 or higher in Maths (point score of 46 or higher).

To study A Level Graphic Design, students are also required to have a GCSE grade B or equivalent in an Art or design related subject or a grade 5 in English Language if no GCSE.

Additional information:


The Southern Consortium is extremely fortunate to have a fantastic partnership with UAL. Our students not only have opportunities to broaden their skills and knowledge of Art and Design through workshops delivered by university tutors but they are also provided with valuable information, support and advice about higher education and possible courses/career routes.

Our students are extremely fortunate to be involved in the following activities and events:

  • Creative pathway workshops delivered by lectures and student ambassadors from UAL.
  • Life drawing workshops delivered by practising artists/lecturers from UAL.
  • Autumn and spring workshops where students experience specialist areas of the creative arts, which include, graphic communication, animation, photography and film. Students get to work with specialist tutors at degree level and experience being a student in the heart of London, at the prestigious Art and Design colleges.
  • Mock interviews in preparation for university
  • Portfolio Advice
  • General higher education advice

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