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Course overview

The aim of the course is to develop the skills, techniques and problem solving ability needed for the production of a successful, varied and creative graphics portfolio. The course will help you identify and refine existing skills you may have alongside new and exciting traditional and digital approaches. An A Level in Graphics has the potential to provide a springboard into the creative industry, and support both arts based and wider academic progression to Higher Education.

Year 1: After a period of time leading up to Christmas, in which a number of short skills based projects in a range of media are set, you will begin work on a more developed personal project which will culminate in an ambitious timed piece. The variety of approaches change every year however you will look at poster design, typography and combinations of illustrative and computer generated artwork. Looking at and evaluating the work of a range of designers past and present will be a key part of year one as will development of a really considered, critical design sensibility.

Year 2: Building on the skills and ideas explored in year one, you will undertake two major practical modules (projects): 1. Personal Investigation and related study (60% of A Level final grade), A practical project supported by a related study of 1,000 words minimum. You will be encouraged to undertake a range of research in support of your chosen theme. This should include museum and gallery visits 2. Externally Set Assignment (40% of A Level grade) where you will choose from a variety of starting points, culminating in a 15hr controlled practical test. The two modules combined are internally marked and externally moderated. Your final A Level grade is awarded based on the quality of research, experimental studies and final pieces evidenced in these modules.

Themes can include; illustration, animation, logo design, publication design, promotional advertising and packaging. Software covered includes Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash.

You will be taught by experienced staff, with experience of working in the creative industry. We use a strong virtual learning environment packed with helpful links, FAQs and supporting materials. The course is structured to develop and encourage learners of different strengths, in a number of areas. Visiting speakers are invited in during the second year to offer specific course advice.

What else do I need to know?

Day trips and overnight excursions are offered on the course. These activities provide opportunities for the wider exploration and further development of knowledge, skills and understanding. We also invite in industry specialist guest lecturers.

What are the entry requirements?

You will have high overall GCSEs with a minimum of five 9-4 grades, which should include three or more at grade 5 or above. Your GCSEs should include maths and English at a minimum of grade 4.

To study Graphic Design, you will also need to attain a minimum grade 4 in an Art and Design based subject. You may also be accepted on the basis of a strong personal portfolio. You will need to show examples of your art and design work at interview. Please bring digital images if necessary.

How is it assessed?

In year 1 you will be introduced to a wide range of skills and processes relevant to the subject in an exciting series of mini projects. The last project of the year will be more sustained, to help prepare you for the second year units.

In year 2 you will produce:

1. Personal Investigation and related study (60% of A Level final grade, which is internally assessed and externally moderated).
A practical project supported by a related study of 1,000 words minimum. You will be encouraged to undertake a range of research in support of your chosen theme. This should include museum or gallery visits.

2. Externally Set Assignment (40% of A Level grade, which is internally assessed and externally moderated) where you will choose from a variety of starting points, culminating in a 15hr controlled practical test.

The two components combined are internally marked and externally moderated. Your final A Level grade is awarded based on the quality of research, experimental studies and final pieces evidenced in these modules.

Progression to year 2 will be dependent on successful completion of the first year taking into account Internal Progression Examination results and the Key Assessment Profile throughout the first year.

What financial support is on offer?

This course is free for anyone aged 16 – 18. If you are outside this age group please contact 01782 254188.
College Maintenance Allowance (CMA): Anyone with a household income under £21,000 can receive up to £20 per week financial support to help pay for travel and meals and meet the costs of essential trips, books, stationery and equipment. The payments will be subject to full attendance on your course. A range of other financial support is available, depending on your personal circumstances. For more details visit www.nscg.ac.uk/finance

What can I do next?

An A Level in Graphic Design will allow you to progress onto the College’s Foundation Diploma in Art & Design or directly into Higher Education. Students from the course have applied to study subjects including Graphics, Illustration, Animation and Games Design at top universities. Many former students are now practicing professional Designers, Teachers and Lecturers. The creative industries are one of the UKs top employers.

How do I find out more?

Follow the course on INSTAGRAM: NULC_ALEVELGRAPHICS

If you’d like to find out more please contact Simon Jones, Head of A Level Graphics, e-mail: simon.jones@nscg.ac.uk

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