· Announcement ·

Ofsted have given Thomas Rotherham College an Outstanding judgement. Inspectors from Ofsted rated the College as ‘Outstanding’ – the highest grade possible – in five out of six areas of inspection, including Outstanding for ‘Overall Effectiveness’. Click Here

Graphic Communication

Level 3

Qualification: A Level

Duration: 2 years


What will I study?

Graphic Communication is essentially art with a purpose. It is the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, space, image and colour. It is visual communication and the aesthetic expression of concepts and ideas using various graphic elements and tools.

This course is part of the Art and Design specification and as such has a lot more in common with Art rather than more digital based design. There is a focus on practical skills such as printmaking, illustration, digital photography and analogue processes such as darkroom and cyanotype. This is in line with current trends and contemporary design, focussing more on the combination of traditional techniques for a modern age. Students are encouraged to base their work around their own individual identity, incorporating cultural influences or personal experiences and interests. This is not just about learning how to advertise or sell something, we look at how design has a societal purpose and can be a force for change.  

Although most of the assessed work is practical, and sketchbook based, there is a separately assessed written essay. This encourages student to explore the work of other artists who inspire them and look at their work in a wider context. The course culminates in an impressive exhibition which showcases each students Major Coursework Project. Students are involved in the planning, preparation and staging of this, giving them valuable experience of how to showcase their work. Videos of our previous exhibitions can be found on our YouTube channel. 

It is important to note that Graphic Communication at TRC is a pathway that belongs to the Art and Design A Level syllabus and, therefore, is creative and art based, not media/ design technology based.

Study Visits

First Year: Day visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Second Year: Day trip to Manchester (February).


Day trips: contribution towards petrol, between £10-£15 per trip.

Sketchbooks: Students will need to buy their own sketchbooks, however we have high quality monogrammed sketchbooks available to purchase at cost price from us. We recommend buying these from the department to ensure that they are of a good enough quality. These range from £7.00-8.00.

Starter portfolio pack including basic materials – £12.00-£15.00 (subject to materials/availability).

Printer Credits – Graphics is a visual subject and will rely heavily on good quality print outs. Students are given a certain amount of ‘printer credits’, however, they may need to top this up.
The department provides many consumables such as paint, printing ink, glue, fabrics etc. However, you will need to purchase your own paint brushes, pencils, pens, canvases and paper. We buy these in bulk and sell them on at cost in order to keep prices as low as possible. To help with the cost we offer a levy system where students can pay an amount to the department and have the cost of materials deducted as they go.


The course consists of two components.

Component one (60%) is coursework and will start in September and continue through for approximately 4 terms.

Component one allows for you to develop your technical and analytical art skills through the use of skills based workshops and the development of a journal exploring a set theme. This component also includes a separate written study based on contextual research. This will be completed alongside your practical work over the four term duration of the first component.

Component two (40%) is the exam unit which sets a theme to be explored with a timed test at the end in which you produce your final outcome under exam conditions.

Entry Criteria

Grade 5 GCSE Art or Graphics related course. (Grade 6 if taken in combination with another Art based course.)

This A Level is under the Art and Design specification so requires good practical skills, experience with drawing / painting is advisable. Digital skills are useful but not required.

Grade 4 English Language.

If you have not studied GCSE Art you may submit a portfolio. Please contact the department for details.

Useful Supporting Courses

Photography, Fine Art, Media, Film, Music and Performing Arts. Most subjects contrast well with, and support, the study of Graphic Communication from Sciences to History and Literature.

You can have a look at the subject specific Instagram sites by searching:



Most of our students progress onto a broad range of Art Degrees at University. These range from Graphic Design to Architecture, as well as Games Design, Film Production, Web Design and Interior Design.

Careers include:

Animator, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Advertising and Marketing, Events Promotion.

Culture Vulture

Check out our Culture Vulture link to see what takes your interest.

Graphics  Culture Vulture

Flying start

Click the link and have a go at our 10-week learning plan to get you off to the best start.

Graphic Communication Flying Start

Course Overview

Follow the link to see an introduction to the course, identifying what you will study with us in the first few months and what you might already know.

Graphic Communication Course Overview