Art gives you the opportunity to learn new techniques and a diverse range of topics. It has improved my communication and confidence by going out of my comfort zone and trying new things.

Georgia Davies

Georgia Davies

Course Description

During the two-year Graphic Communication A Level, students will encounter a broad range of techniques and processes, and develop skills, ideas and experiences that support their creation of high-quality graphic designs and communication. Work produced on this course will demonstrate the use of creative skills to develop individual thoughts, feelings, observations and ideas within their projects.

The course will introduce students to all aspects of graphic communication which could include advertising; packaging design; design for print; illustration; communication graphics; branding; multimedia; motion graphics; and design for film and television. Students will learn vital graphics skills as well as studying the work of other graphic designers to inspire their work. They will learn analytical skills in studying the work of others, as well as creating meaningful collections of their own.

Entry Requirements

Standard pass (grade 4) or higher in GCSE Fine Art, Photography or Graphic Design

Course Content

A Level Year 1
Extended Project Portfolio
During Year 1 students will follow a broad project within their discipline with a given theme. In the first term they will be challenged to develop an understanding of a wide range of techniques and processes within their specialisms. Students will be taught new skills which they can begin to use and develop with a high level of competency. Students will link their work to a given theme and throughout their practical explorations they will research and analyse the work of artists and practitioners across all disciplines, as well as critically reflect on their own work as it develops. In the latter part of Year 1 students will begin to develop their own work from a chosen theme utilising the key skills they have developed. This will result in a final outcome in a medium, and using techniques, of their own choosing.

A Level Year 2
Component 1 – Personal Investigation
In Component 1, students develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Practical elements will make connections with some aspect of contemporary or past practice of artists, designers, photographers or craftspeople and include written work of between 1000 and 3000 words to support this practical work. Students will continue to employ skills learnt in Year 1 and work with ever-increasing levels of independence. This will result in a body of work and final outcome that will form 60% of their overall A Level result.

Component 2 – Externally Set Assignment
In Component 2, students respond to a stimulus, provided by AQA, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within time constraints. They will develop a personal and meaningful response which addresses all the assessment objectives and leads to a finished outcome, or a series of related finished outcomes. They will then sit a 15-hour practical exam that is the culmination of this preparation. This will form 40% of their overall grade.

Assessment

All work is finally assessed at the end of Year Two
Component 1 – Personal Investigation
96 marks
60% of A Level
NEA (non-exam assessment): portfolio of work, final outcome(s) and 1000-3000 word essay

Component 2 – Externally Set Assignment
(non-exam assessment followed by 15-hour external exam)
96 marks
40% of A Level
Portfolio of preparatory work, and a final outcome generated in a 15-hour exam session in the summer

Future Opportunities

Art and Design subjects can lend themselves to a broad variety of future opportunities. The skills learnt and developed throughout the course are extremely important if students wish to progress onto Visual Art courses offered by Higher Education institutions or obtain a career within the creative industry. Career opportunities following on from these courses are endless, but some examples may include:

Fine Art:
Fine artist, architect, museum/gallery curator, printmaker, jewellery designer, illustrator, stylist, art therapist, arts administrator, commercial art gallery manager, multimedia programmer.

Graphic Communication:
Advertising, art director, animator, graphic designer, illustrator, printmaker, production designer, theatre/television/film, exhibition designer, fine artist, interior and spatial designer, landscape architect, medical illustrator, multimedia specialist, photographer.

Photography:
Graphic designer, magazine features editor, medical illustrator, photographer, press photographer, television camera operator, advertising art director,
digital marketer, film/video editor, media planner, visual merchandiser, web designer.

Textiles:
Clothing/textile technologist, interior and spatial designer, fashion designer, textile designer, further education teacher, higher education lecturer, industrial/product designer, printmaker, retail buyer.

In addition, the creative and critical skills developed through the study of art and artists, the ability to manage one’s own time across lengthy projects, and
the drive to work independently, are all skills valued in any area of higher education or employment.