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Design and Technology Visual Communications Technical Award

Course Description.

This qualification is designed for 14–16 year olds who want to study Visual Communication in a hands- on, practical way that helps them develop the knowledge, skills and experience that could open the door to a career in the creative design industry.

An interest in Art would be an advantage, but not essential as there are skill based units in Year 9 which focus on developing techniques in this area. You will also need to be able to work as part of a team as teamwork is involved in some of the projects. There is a lot of designing involved both by hand and on the computer. You will also work with a wide range of materials including wood, metal, plastics and card to develop your practical making skills. It will particularly appeal to students who are looking for a course that is practical in nature and can lead to further study and career opportunities within the creative design sector.

What will the course involve?

It will encourage pupils to:

  • Produce high quality graphic design work, artwork and 3D work creatively and imaginatively.
  • Use digital software applications including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Make models and test concepts by producing 3D prototypes, both manually and digitally that demonstrate ingenuity and innovation.
  • Use Computer-aided Design (CAD) and Computer-aided Manufacture (CAM) with a range of modelling materials as well as developing manual skills working with wood, metal and plastic.

Pupils will also study:

  • Graphic design, advertising and corporate branding.
  • Drawing, marking out, model making,
  • Photography, digital software and image manipulation.
  • Web page design and construction.
  • Materials, components and technologies and the ability to select these appropriately.
  • Commercial and industrial practices, printing, CAD/CAM, publishing, business organisation.
  • Career opportunities in the sector.


All of the project work will be assessed under the following headings:

  • UNIT 1: Skills demonstration 30%. A portfolio of mini projects to show your practical skills.
  • UNIT 2: Extended making project 30%. This will be a mixture of design and practical work.

An example of the project titles for this unit is as follows:

  • Design a logo and branding for a music festival and produce designs and prototypes for posters, advertising and merchandise.
  • Create the branding for a new range of beauty products along with suitable packaging and advertising for the products.
  • Pupils are also allowed to develop their own project briefs based on a hobby or interest of their choice providing that the chosen topic covers the main assessment objectives.
  • UNIT 3: Written examination 40% this will be based on the topics studied in units 1 and 2.


What could this qualification lead to?

Further study and careers in: Graphic Design, Product Design, 3D Design, Interior Design, Web Design, Graphic Illustrator, Teaching, Publishing, Creative and Visual Arts, Printing, engineering.

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