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Art & Design (Visual Communication) UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma at Macclesfield College

Course description

The Visual Communication pathway will introduce you to a range of creative and practical subjects that are designed to build up an excellent portfolio of work. Visual Communication has natural links with Graphic Design and Photography as the course progresses students may wish to specialize in one of these areas. Visual Communication also includes drawing, painting and printmaking.

During the course you will create advertising campaigns, magazine and editorial designs, websites and digital artwork and also explore Photographic processes including studio and location work and post production editing using both digital software and traditional darkroom techniques. You will have projects that involve traditional illustration, painting, drawing, photography and printmaking as well as taught sessions on software used by industry.

You will be involved in a number of ‘live’ assignments with real clients. You will be pitching to clients in meetings and adapting your outcomes based on their feedback. There will also be a number of guest speakers from industry to inspire you. Expect a lot of collaboration with other creative students in the department! Students will be advised on the production of a high quality portfolio of work and will be given guidance on appropriate presentation within your budget.

The structure of the qualification, with units linked to provide coherence, will allow learners to synthesize newly acquired practical skills with theoretical knowledge and understanding as they explore their aptitude and ambition and the particular characteristics of a broad range of art and design disciplines.

Learners will be encouraged to recognize, not only the unique characteristics of different disciplines, but also the dynamic and potentially innovative relationships between those disciplines, particularly in a technologically driven environment.

Graphic Design is one of the specialist pathways within the course. The qualifications will require learners to develop a coherent and effective working methodology, through immersion, reiteration and reinforcement, which will enable them to react positively and creatively across a diverse range of assignments and creative activities within Graphic Design.

Course content

This qualification aims to enable the candidate to: 

  1. Have a critical and contextual awareness of different perspectives and approaches within art, design or related subjects of study or work in graphics 
  2. Research, analyze and evaluate relevant information and ideas in order to develop creative solutions in graphics
  3. Understand, adapt and safely use appropriate and practical methods and skills for creative production in graphics 
  4. Solve complex problems through the application of practical, theoretical and technical understanding in graphics
  5. Critically review the effectiveness and appropriateness of methods, actions and results
  6. Use evaluative and reflective skills in order to take responsibility for own learning, development and decision making
  7. Take responsibility for the research, planning, time management and actions to access progression opportunities. 
  8. Effectively present themselves and their work to appropriate audiences through internal and external exhibitions of work and presentations.

Entry requirements

For this course you will need to have achieved one of the following;

  • 4 GCSEs at Grade C or above including Art & Design
  • Level 2 Diploma in Art & Design at Merit grade

On receipt of your application to study this course you will be invited to attend an admissions interview with a member of the teaching team to discuss the course and its requirements further. You will be required to present a portfolio of your work at this interview.


The UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma units are assessed through a portfolio of evidence, practical demonstration and assignment work. There are no external examinations. An overall grade of Pass, Merit or Distinction will be awarded on the exhibition of your final major project in your chosen specialist area.

GCSE and Functional Skills qualifications are assessed through external examination and portfolio work.

Financial information

Students will be issued with a kit list at induction. 

Future opportunities

On successful achievement of this course you may wish to apply to study at Higher Education to undertake the Foundation Studies, HND or BA Hons degree.

Career Opportunities
Progress to further education or employment within the creative industries.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Macclesfield College directly.

Last updated date: 26 October 2016
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    • Macclesfield College of Further and Higher Education has been built around what you need and is designed to inspire you to succeed. The open-plan campus is state-of-the-art, with industry-standard training facilities and a number of specialist art and design studios. Come and see us - walk around our purpose-built campus and experience the incredible wow factor for yourself!