A Level Graphic Communication


What is it about at sixth form level?

Graphic Communication may be defined as the process by which ideas are communicated through the use of symbols, drawings, photographs and typography to convey concepts and/or emotions. This option encompasses a wide and developing area of study, incorporating a variety of related disciplines and utilising traditional skills, such as hand-formed lettering, alongside cutting-edge digital technologies. The boundaries between related graphic processes are becoming increasingly blurred but aspects, such as advertising, illustration and typography provide an indication of what might be covered within the option. Possible areas of study include: illustration, typography, advertising and branding, book covers and record covers.

Lower sixth

Our approach is to support and encourage the development of analytical and expressive skills in appropriate, structured projects. We introduce a range of two-dimensional media: everything from printmaking to painting and electronic media. You will learn how to develop your ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding. You will explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, and review and refine your ideas as your work develops. You will record your ideas, observations and insights relevant to your intentions, reflecting critically on your work and progress. As a student in the heart of London, you will have access to some of the world’s best museums, galleries and exhibitions. This will result in a personal and meaningful response which, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will develop your skills and understanding to a higher standard. You will continue to be given close technical instruction and supervision, but you will be required to adopt a much more independent and student-led approach. You will be working on your personal investigation, which is the first of the two components of your final assessment. This component consists firstly of a major, in-depth, practical, critical and theoretical investigative project or theme-based portfolio and outcomes. It is accompanied by an integrated and extended written piece of critical and contextual analysis (1000 words minimum).

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

An A level in Graphic Communication is an excellent complement for other art courses at A level. It is also an excellent basis on which to apply to study the subject further at art college or university as, along with the skills, it will provide you with the portfolio you will need for your application. It is also very useful if you wish to work or study in areas relating to design, fashion and architecture. The course will develop your skills in drawing and visualisation and these have value far beyond courses such as those mentioned already.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

A background in art such as a GCSE or IGCSE is preferred.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

The AS is a one-year course and is entirely assessed by coursework, this being the results of your thematic approach to an internally-set theme.

A level

The A level is a two-year course and all assessment takes place at the end of the second year. There are two components. Component 1 is your personal investigation, which is the coursework component. Component 2 is the externally set assignment. You will be required to develop independently a personal response to one of a varied range of stimuli within specified time constraints. The assignment consists of a series of visual (including moving image) and written stimuli set by the exam board. You will develop your response over a preparatory study period. Following the preparatory study period, learners will be allocated a period of 15 hours sustained focus study to realise their response unaided and under supervised conditions. Component 1 is worth 60% of the A level and Component 2 is worth 40% of the A level.


End of Print
By D. Carson
Published by Cinko Press, ISBN 978-1856692168

AGI: Graphic Design Since 1950
Edited by B. Bos
Published by Thames & Hudson, ISBN 978-0500513422 

The A-Z of Visual Ideas
By J. Ingledew
Published by Laurence King, ISBN 978-1856697149

History of Graphic Design (4th Edition)
By P. Meggs, A. Purvis
Published by John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0470168738

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: WJEC Art and Design B654QSL, A level: WJEC Art and Design A654QSL 

Greg Ioannou
Head of Department