The course aims to expand and develop your skills, knowledge and understanding of Graphic Communication by investigating a variety of areas within the subject. During the first year students will be involved in experimental projects that aim to extend their abilities in using typography and letterforms, illustration techniques, appropriate contextual reference as well as the use of digital media including Photoshop and Illustrator. They will also develop an analytical approach to their work and the work of other artists and designers to create a body of work that is personal to them and develops their interests while still meeting the assessment criteria.
During the second year the course seeks to build on knowledge gained during the first year and develop the ability to work independently through sustained investigations, development of ideas and in depth analysis. Students will also work on a variety of briefs but they will be more personally directed and in depth. They will look at their work in a more professional context as well as developing a more experimental approach using processes such as screen printing and risograph printing. The conclusion of the 2 year A-level course will be for students to present two components of work in the form of a portfolio and an externally set assignment.
It is recommended that you have grade 4 or above in an Art or relevant Technology subject. If this is not applicable, you should bring a small portfolio of work to your enrolment interview. Being open to experimentation and to trying new things, as well as having a creative outlook and a willingness to work hard is highly valued.
Graphic Communication develops observational skills as well as technical and creative ability in drawing and design. It is good for entry onto any creative or Art & Design based degree course. We have students who are now practising artists, designers, and architects.
Students have gone on to study degrees at institutions including Central St Martins, Royal College of Art, London College of Fashion, UCA (Farnham, Epsom), UAL (Kingston, Camberwell), Manchester Metropolitan, Bournemouth, Falmouth, Brighton, Winchester and UWE (Bristol).
There are 4 assessment objectives which assess how students: develop ideas in response to contextual references, explore a variety of media, record observations, develop ideas and produce final outcomes and evaluations.
Assessment is 60% coursework and 40% externally set assignment.
Portfolio Component: Work for this component requires students to research, analyse and establish coherent and sustainable links between their understanding of their own emerging art and design practice with that of historical and contemporary references. This study will be mainly a practical investigation following a theme that will be negotiated with the teacher, but should be of personal relevance to the student. Students will also be expected to analyse and evaluate their work and the work of others. The aim of this component is to develop students’ ability to investigate and research art and design in depth and respond creatively to their findings. Students will also be required to successfully resolve the problems that emerge as an inevitable part of the process of creating art and design work.
Externally Set Assignment Component: The externally set assignment will represent the culmination of the A-Level course. Students will be given a preparatory period during which they will develop ideas relating to the given question. After this, students will produce their own work over a 15 hour timed period.
There is a studio fee of £40 which will cover most of the materials and equipment needed, however Graphic Communication students will need to buy additional print credit during the year. There will also be the opportunity to take part in a residential, cultural trip.
During your time in Art, Craft & Design you will be given the opportunity to go on trips to galleries and locations to enhance your experience through looking at the work others and engaging in practical activities away from the classroom. We believe that these experiences are vital to your development as an artist and would urge you to take these opportunities whenever you can. To see more photos from our trips please look on our Instagram page.
One of the key experiences we offer is our annual trip to Venice at the start of the second year. The students who come with us get an amazing experience and come back having developed their practice and understanding and with a body of work which really pushes them forward as photographers and artists. Below is a sample of just some of the work produced during or as a result of this trip.
As well as the work you produce for your A level, you will be given opportunities to enter local and national competitions and engage in projects outside of your normal studies. We regularly have talks from universities, artists and companies to give you a broader understanding of future options and if you decide to pursue Art past A level, we will work with you to put together your portfolio and prepare for interviews.
We also offer enrichments within the art department, such as Professional Art Practice, to help develop your skills and give you a broader experience which will benefit your future ambitions. To learn more, please have a look at our enrichments guide.
Our Head of Department, Tom Cops will be happy to help.