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Art & Design: Graphic Communication AQA A Level at St Bernard's High School

Course description

Graphic Communication is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. The form of the communication can be physical or virtual, and may include images, words or graphic forms. The experience can take place in an instant or over a long period of time. The work can happen at any scale, from the design of a single postage stamp to a national signage system, or from a company’s digital avatar to the sprawling and interlinked digital and physical content of an international brand. It can also be for any purpose whether commercial, educational, cultural or political.

The field of graphic design represents a large profession, one of the largest in the world. The profession embraces change, requiring those pursuing graphic communication careers to learn new and diverse skills continually.

Graphic Communication includes electronic and traditional printing, publishing, packaging, digital imaging, computer graphics, website development, digital photography, printable electronics and related areas. The discipline includes media and mass communication involving the creation, production, management and distribution of advertising, marketing, web-sites, books, magazines, newspapers, catalogues, packages and other media in printed and digital form.

Course content

Students are introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of graphic communication media, processes and techniques, and they are encouraged to investigate both traditional and new media.

Students explore the use of drawing for different purposes, using a variety of methods and media on a variety of scales. They explore relevant images, artefacts and a diverse range of resources, including European and non-European examples and their responses and final outcomes responses are evidenced through practical and critical activities that demonstrate their understanding of different styles, genres and traditions.

Students are required to work in one or more areas of graphic communication, such as those listed below, and they may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas including:

  • interactive media (including web, app and game design)
  • advertising
  • packaging design
  • design for print
  • illustration
  • communication graphics
  • branding
  • multimedia
  • motion graphics
  • design for film and television.

Entry requirements

  • B Grade in Art & Design or Graphic Products at GCSE level.


Year 12

  • Unit 1: Coursework Portfolio 
  • Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment 

Year 13

  • Unit 1: Personal Investigation
  • Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment

Future opportunities

Depending on the business context and stage of career, graphic designers can find themselves with a number of different job titles.

Within many publications, institutions or agencies, a junior designer will typically rise to a senior designer, then art director, and then creative director.

There are many universities offering graphic design courses from pure graphic design and graphic communication to the highly specialised fields including areas such as animation, game and app design.

Employment opportunities are varied and span the world of publishing, television, web design, typography, packaging and music.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Bernard's High School directly.

Last updated date: 04 January 2017

Key information


  • More information
    • In line with current educational thinking, all Key Stage 5 courses have fully integrated the full range of Thinking Skills.  These ensure that our students develop life-long transferable skills, become independent and resilient learners and are ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.  These enable all students to be independent enquirers and creative thinkers who can be focused team workers and effective participators because they can be self-managers of their workload and thus reflective learners.

      All courses emphasise opportunities to develop the core skills of communication and ICT, with many also placing emphasis on application of number.  In addition, the process of learning is enhanced through a problem-solving approach to the curriculum which facilitates students in improving their own learning and performance. These skills dovetail with the development of independent learning, so crucial for a successful Sixth Form student. Students will have the opportunity to broaden their skills by participating in either of the following as part of their core curriculum: AS Citizenship, AS Government & Politics or an AS Critical Thinking Programme. These provide students with an additional AS qualification and increased UCAS points for university entry.  In addition, students will have the opportunity to undertake an Extended Project Qualification should they desire.  This is designed as a ‘stretch and challenge’ opportunity and is highly regarded by major universities and potential employers. All Sixth Form students also undertake a general RE course which focuses on transferable skills of research, debate and presentation.

      In order to support a healthy lifestyle, students also have the opportunity to continue with a range of PE and sporting activities.

      A full tutorial programme is offered which focuses on the needs of young adults as they make the transition from the school environment.  In addition, the ‘Gifted, Able and Talented’ Programme will offer the opportunity to attend external conferences, as well as Easter and Summer Schools.

      Work Experience and work shadowing can be arranged and are a valuable preparation for the next stage of a student’s career.