This practical course has an emphasis on visual communication skills and the exploration of media. It promotes an experimental approach and the development of creative and innovative methods of expressing personal design concepts.
The course is suitable for students who wish to explore the types of Graphics used in all creative branches of the Design and Advertising industries.
Graphics students have an excellent record in gaining places at university and to apprenticeships, potentially leading to a career within the creative industries. There are many students who take the subject for their own interest to further develop their communication skills such as branding and visual awareness for complimentary subjects such as Business Studies or Media. Additionally Graphics can offer a creative output and complement other less practical subjects.
Many students go on to gain places at the UK’s top universities (including Oxbridge) to study art and non-art related degrees, having taken Graphics as one of their three A Levels.
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Graphics goes well with the majority of subjects, especially other creative subjects such as Art (Fine Art), Photography, Media, Film or profession related direct subjects such as Business, Travel and Tourism, Psychology and Sociology.
A Level Graphics is a fun and rewarding course. However it does involve a high level of practical work, including intensive projects that need to be completed outside the classroom, requiring at least five hours work per week. Although all the Arts subjects complement each other, students are not allowed to take more than two because of the expected workload.
Many students go on to take a one year foundation course at an Art College, or enrol directly on to a degree course in the area of design they want to specialise in, including Graphic Design, Illustration, Game Design, Advertising/Branding or Architecture. Students can also progress to careers in all areas of print and digital media, from illustrating hand-made books to website design.
Students will undertake projects designed to explore different aspects of Art, Design and Graphics.
Each project will focus on the skills required for different career pathways within the creative industry, e.g Typography, Printmaking, Drawing, Packaging Design, Advertising, Model Making, Digital Photography and Photographic Manipulation.
From the spring term of the first year, students will have the opportunity to develop individual skills that will focus on the specialist area they wish to pursue based on set themes.
There will be opportunities to work on assignments in conjunction with other Art-related departments at Reigate College, as well as regular trips to visit galleries, museums and other inspirational places.
Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences
Graphics students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In the past, these have included trips to:
- A variety of galleries
- New York
- Graduate showcases
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
This course is assessed through coursework based sketchbook work culminating in a final practical based exam at the end of the 2nd year.
Students are expected to complete a variety of time-consuming independent assignments outside College.
The exam board for Graphics A Level is Eduqas.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum requirements:
- Grade Grade 4 in GCSE Art or Graphic Design (if taken)
Students without a GCSE Art or Design subject will be considered subject to proof of ability.
Students will need to demonstrate a high level of commitment and interest in Art and Design. They should have a creative imagination and be able to apply problem solving and creative thinking to Art and Design briefs.
Being organised and meeting deadlines are also critical to success. Good drawing skills will be beneficial.
Can you explain how the course is structured over the 2 years?
The units in the first year are quite structured. The projects are a mixture of teaching skills such as digital design (Photoshop and Illustrator), traditional drawing skills and project idea/concept development. Students develop a unique design aesthetic as their work progresses. At the start of the first year, we explore diverse graphical skills through a range of workshops. This is followed by a larger sustained project called ‘Passions and Obsessions’, where students start to develop their personal design practice.
At the end of the Lower Sixth students sit a progression exam, which gives feedback and targets for their second year.
The second project offers students a much broader choice of media and topics and encourages them to develop their ideas and creativity linked to the individual themes they are interested in. In March of the first year we begin work on the Personal Investigation Project, which is the examined part of the course. This runs until February of the second year when students are issued with the externally set assignments for the timed test in April.
Is there much writing on the course?
Students are expected to analyse other artists’ work in depth and also reflect on and evaluate their own work. The department has writing frames to help with this. Students are never expected to write in exam conditions.
Will I get help applying to Art school?
Yes, in the Upper Sixth students will be placed in a specialised Art-based tutor group with an art tutor if they select the option. Moreover, we run sessions to help with applications, portfolio preparation and interview technique.
Is there a cost implication to studying Graphics at College?
Yes, there is a studio fee each year which covers introductory materials such as sketchbooks, folders, art papers, small scale printing and specialist equipment such as lino printing. Students would also be able to hire digital cameras, tripods and digital drawing pads.
Is drawing important?
Yes, it’s an important part of the course. However, you don’t need to be brilliant to start with – but we do expect you to try hard. Practice will improve drawing and we spend time developing drawing skills. There are all sorts of drawing; not all with a pencil, and we work to establish the best working methods for each individual student.
Should I take more than one art-based subject e.g. Graphics and Photography?
Carefully consider the workload before taking two art-based subjects. You will have enough work for a good portfolio with just one, however, if you are really creative and certain that you want to pursue a creative pathway, then it can be a good idea and many students choose to do this. Two is the maximum though.