Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

It is beneficial if you have studied an Art and Design course at GCSE (Art, Commercial Art, Graphic Communication etc) as this is an Art and Design course. If you have studied Graphic Products this can be appropriate, but may not have prepared you as fully for the creative thinking skills required in an Art and Design course. Drawing skills are not essential, but enthusiasm and a creative approach are.

This course focuses on the specialist aspects of Graphic Design, which is usually in the form of a 2D (flat) outcome. Those interested in 3D modelling courses should refer to Product Design or Art - Three Dimensional Design.

Course Content

Think of Graphic Communication as Commercial Art; it is about exploring ideas visually and creating beautiful outcomes that communicate a message, and have a commercial application. We always work to a brief and tight deadlines to prepare you for higher education and the design industry.

We spend a lot of time researching and exploring ideas to help us come up with the best and most unique ways to respond to a brief.

We work with a range of media; traditional paints, rollers, various printing techniques, collage, as well as using the latest edition of Adobe Creative Cloud software and 2D design to create work. With two laser cutters and two CAMM cutters in our department we are kitted out to be able to produce high quality outcomes that look professional.

We aim to set you up with a range of skills and a body of work which could be presented in a portfolio at interviews for University and Art Foundation courses. Many of our students have gone on to study a creative Graphics based courses after finishing college.

You are expected to work outside of lessons, and a reasonable expectation is that you would spend between three and five hours outside of the classroom working each week. You must have this level of motivation or you will find the course increasingly difficult.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

You will receive a series of one to one assessments on your progress and termly progress tutorials. Your final assessment is as follows:

Year one includes an introductory period where we will teach you skills and techniques, and give you lots of opportunities to respond personally to short projects. You will record all work in your sketchbook which allows you to build and learn new skills and techniques in a range of design related areas.

This introductory period will be followed by Component 1: Personal Investigation, where candidates are required to build upon the knowledge, understanding and skills gained in year one introductory period.

  • Component 1: Personal Investigation (worth 60% of A level)
    The Personal Investigation consists of a major in-depth, practical, critical and theoretical investigative project/theme-based portfolio. Learners will be required to carry out an extended critical and contextual analysis (1000 word minimum requirement).
  • Component 2: Externally set assignment (worth 40% of A level)
    Learners will be required to independently develop a personal response to one of a varied range of stimuli. Learners will develop their response during a preparatory study period culminating in a 15 hour sustained focus study.

Where Could It Take Me?

A Level Graphic Communication enables access to further study, through a portfolio of work onto Art foundation courses and courses at BA Honours Degree Level. 

Relevant degree courses include: BA Honours Graphic Design, BA Honours Visual Communication, BA Honours Illustration, BA Honours Digital Media, BA Honours Animation, BA Honours Architecture etc.

Financial Implications

Material costs are covered by a one off payment each year, which includes access to a range of materials for experimentation and an A3 sketchbook for coursework. Students will need a memory stick (16GB minimum).

It is important to stress that Graphic Communication can be an expensive subject, and should you wish to use more specialised media this may well involve some personal expense. The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Mathematics and English.

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 12 14 27 10 4 1 0 68
Percentage 17.6 20.6 39.7 14.7 5.9 1.5 0.0