Art & Design - Graphics and 3D Design Pathway — Solihull Sixth Form College

Art & Design – Graphics and 3D Design Pathway

Why study Graphics?
  • This course allows learners to develop their 2D & 3D design, illustration and digital photography skills, as well as introducing a range of computer design software.
  • This is a creative course, with the emphasis on practical project work, supported by analytical and written elements.
    Graphic & 3D designers are always in demand, particularly those with digital skills.
  • A Graphics qualification opens the door to a huge range of careers including Graphic Designer, Product Designer, Brand Identity Developer, Packaging Designer, Illustrator, Motion Graphics Designer and Web Designer.
Why study Graphics at Solihull Sixth Form College?
  • Learners have successfully gone on to study Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University, Architecture at University of Manchester, Games Art at University of the Arts London, Fashion Branding and Marketing at Birmingham City University and Graphic and Communication Design at the University of Leeds.
  • Essential and meaningful gallery visits will help inform your contextual investigation and support your idea generation.
  • In additional to local visits, there will also be the opportunity to take part in a range of additional trips and visits. In previous years, learners have visited places such as the Ikon Gallery and the Design Museum. An overseas trip to visit galleries and museums in a major European city is also open to all Visual Arts learners.
  • You will also have the opportunity to collaborate on a live brief. Previous briefs have included creating Health & Wellbeing Illustrations and designing Exhibition Posters, gaining invaluable vocational experience.
  • Your end of Year 12 and Year 13 final outcomes will be exhibited in the department’s end of year exhibition. You will be supported in developing a portfolio of your work throughout the year which will aid your progression to both HE and/or employment.
Course Outline

Year 12
The specification allows for an introductory, skills based period. This is an opportunity to work with a wide and exciting range of materials, media and processes. You will develop skills in areas such as drawing, 3D design and making skills, the use of computers and design related software as well as printing techniques. You will be supported by your teachers in preparing you for the challenge of the personal investigation project, which you will start later on in the year and continue with in Year 13.

Year 13
The second year is split into two components; the personal investigation project that will be completed by January, and the externally-set assignment, which runs from the start of February to the handing-in day in the middle of May. Both of these projects will be an opportunity for you to follow a personal direction, building on your individual strengths, interests and future progression goals.

Personal Investigation: The personal investigation project, which is practical by nature, leads to a final piece(s) and is supported by a compulsory written element that links the work of other practitioners to the project. You will be encouraged to work in a variety of ways, exploring fully the subject you have chosen. You will work within 2 areas of study for this component (Graphics & 3D design).

The Externally Set Assignment: Similar to the last component, but working from a series of starting points set by AQA, you will produce a portfolio of work that leads to a final piece(s), produced in exam conditions. This work will be personal to you and can be produced using techniques and materials that you have chosen. Students, by this stage, are independent learners who work alongside the teachers in the department to realise their ambitions and be given support with their chosen progression pathway. You will work within 1 or more areas of study for this component (Graphics &/or 3D design).


The Personal Investigation (Coursework) – 60%
Externally-set Assignment (Exams) – 40%
Examining Board – AQA.

Special Entry Requirements

A GCSE or equivalent qualification at grade 4 or above in Art, Photography, Graphics, Textiles, Design and Technology or Media is essential. Creative iMedia is not accepted. Learners must be prepared to work hard and have a passion for this subject. A personal approach is encouraged throughout the course and it is expected that learners will work in their own time to independently develop their projects. In addition, standard A level entry requirements apply.

Prohibited Options

Learners can only study on one pathway (Graphics & 3D Design, Photography or Fine Art). For this reason, learners interested in 2 or more pathways would be best suited to the BTEC Art & Design Practice course.

What do our learners go on to do?

Learners wishing to go onto an Art or Design career, can progress straight on to specialist degree level courses or in some cases take an Art Foundation course for one year. We are very successful at placing our learners on these courses. We also aim to provide learners with relevant employability skills to support progression in the work place. Through the year, ex-students visit to share their experiences of progression both at HE and in employment. We also host a wide range of talks from universities and professionals.

Cost Implications

The College supplies most materials that you will need during your lessons and materials such as paint, print ink, paper etc. Learners are expected to buy a Graphics & 3D Starter Pack at the start of the year which contains sketchbooks and materials from the department. This is approximately £30. Learners are expected to top up their printer credit regularly. This can be actioned on ParentPay. In both Y12 and Y13, learners are required to attend a compulsory local visit at a cost of £20-£30. Students who choose to go on the overseas residential trip will usually pay approximately £650 for this.

Complementary Subjects or Enrichment Courses

Year 12 learners can join the College’s Visual Arts Academy, which is a Qualification Enrichment. This course allows you to focus your Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on an area of study that is not covered in the A level. Other enrichment options that complement Visual Arts courses include the Student Magazine and the Stretch & Challenge programme.

This information is correct for September 2024 entry.

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