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Design - Graphic Design A Level at Varndean College

Course description

Graphic Design is about communicating information in a creative and visually exciting
way. It is about extending the visual possibilities of language, exploring new ways
to express yourself. You will have access to digital media, as well as a wide range of
materials for producing two-dimensional imagery, including digital photography, to
enable you to investigate layouts, textures and surfaces. A specialist studio will allow
you to explore the possibilities of book illustration, packaging, corporate identity,
digital technology and contemporary layout techniques.

You will have extensive tutorial help with computer software such as Photoshop and
be taught by tutors who are practising artists or designers. You will be involved in live
projects, working with client-based units to build up a portfolio of work and you will
be supported at all stages. Lessons involve practical work backed up with exploration
of the work of designers and artists through lectures, discussions and independent
study. You will study a number of areas of Graphic Communication and will be taught
how to critically evaluate and analyse your own work as well as the work of other
designers and artists.

Course content

Year 1:

  • Illustration
  • Typography
  • Packaging
  • Design for print
  • Digital graphics
  • Surface pattern
  • Corporate identity

Year 2:

  • Drawing techniques
  • Adding depth to your knowledge, understanding and skills
  • A written critical and contextual study
  • Individually-negotiated project
  • Ambitious final project
  • An exhibition of your work

Entry requirements

Standard advanced course requirements plus:

  • Grade 5 or B in GCSE Art or Technology 


  • Merit or Distinction in BTEC Level 2 First Certificate in Art & Design


  • If GCSE Art or Technology have not been taken, suitably qualified students with a good portfolio of work will be considered.



40% exam project, 60% coursework


Future opportunities

Many students continue their studies through foundation courses or degrees in illustration or graphic design.  Others study degree courses outside the Design area including Art, Textiles, Architecture, History, Politics, Economics and English.

Further information

Regular visits are made to design museums in London, as well as trips to New York, Venice, Florence, Paris Berlin or Barcelona.  There is an enrichment programme which is particularly useful for students who are considering further courses and careers in design. We also have regular visiting practitioners who come in and speak to the students about professional practise and personal experience.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 07 September 2017
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Key information


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    • At Varndean College our aim is to offer all our students the rich, broad and enjoyable experience they need to develop, flourish and achieve their goals in the adult world.

      Teaching and Learning is at the heart of the successful partnerships between students and staff here and we are proud of the skilled and imaginative approaches to teaching taken by our staff to make learning exciting.

      Equally important to the success of our students is the enjoyment they gain from feeling part of a community: a community that is created through the wealth of opportunities to engage with others offered by our extensive enrichment activities. From: Code-breaking to Sport; Music to Peer-mentoring; Drama to Politics Society, there really is something for everyone.