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Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Graphic Design - Year 1

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Course Description

If you want to develop the skills to enable you to work within the graphic design industry, this course is for you. You must have a passion for creative work and enjoy creating digital and traditional artwork and working on design projects.

The two year Level 3 course will develop your skills by combining technical and creative approaches. You are encouraged to develop your own individuality whilst working on the graphic design briefs and create exciting, imaginative and professional design work.

During your time on this course, you will be working on creative graphic design briefs and will be encouraged to experiment with ideas and techniques both digital and traditional through personal design projects. You will work in a professional environment on Apple Mac computers and will be introduced to industry standard software.

From the start, you will work on graphic design projects, develop and create a range of artwork incorporating both digital and traditional skills and also be introduced to animation, 3D, print and image manipulation using your own digital photography.

You will be encouraged to experiment and explore different skills and techniques, to understand and question the nature of design, express your concepts and ideas through personal project work using industry standard software and hardware - all set within the framework of a graphic design studio.

Working on tutor set and live industry briefs, you will learn all the necessary skills needed to inform your future career pathway at university and beyond. You have the opportunity to work on your own brief based on a general theme for the final unit in each year to showcase your strengths. In the second year we will help you create a portfolio for interviews in either university or employment.

This course is taught at our Rochdale campus, located in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.


BTEC Creatives Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Graphic Design

Entry Requirements

4 GCSEs grade C/4 or above to include English and Mathematics. BTEC Level 2 qualification, NVQ Level 2 or VRQ Level 2.


The Level 3 course is designed as a two year study programme, with an option to undertake a Diploma in one year instead. Please ask for more details at your interview.

Topics on this course include:

  • Graphic design practice
  • Adobe Illustrator techniques
  • Adobe Photoshop techniques
  • Drawing and Image manipulation
  • Use of digital photographs
  • Research techniques
  • Typography
  • Illustration
  • Drawing and Mixed Media
  • Animation
  • 3D/2D Visual communication
  • Ideas generation
  • Presentation skills
  • Print
  • Portfolio Creation and self -Promotion
  • Educational Visits to enhance the learning experience including gallery visits, GM Skills, Liverpool, Manchester

Work Experience

Work experience is utilised in the format of students undertaking live briefs and local and national competitions.


Upon successful completion of this course to the required standard, you can progress onto a Level 4 Higher National Certificate Diploma in Games Art or Visual Effects, here at Hopwood Hall College. Other options include progressing onto a university course of your choosing, entering employment or starting an apprenticeship.

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