Graphic Communications

For an overview of the pathways through the curriculum, please see our information page here.


Welcome to the Graphic Communications Department

Our Vision

The Graphics courses covers a range of activities and you will have the opportunity to experiment with different media such as drawing, painting, printing and photography in order to produce Graphics products based, branding, book and magazine illustration and more importantly investigating letter design through typography.

Graphics is only taught in year 8 on one rotation and students can opt to continue with it in years 9-11. Students will already have some experience of using the materials and processes, together with some knowledge of contemporary and historical art and design.

The main aim of Graphics is to develop your visual language skills and for you to build a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the written word and visual language and how this impacts everyone one living in our modern world.


KS4 Curriculum

KS4 Graphics continues from the visual arts that you have completed in year 7 and 8 in design. It develops your understanding of visual communication and its meaning and uses.


Year 10 & 11

You already have some experience of using art materials and processes, together with some knowledge of contemporary and historical art and design.

You will know that in GCSE Graphics for the next two years you will learn how

  • to use specialist practical skills
  • to produce ever-higher standards of work
  • to gain a higher understanding of the Formal Elements used within Design
  • to use variety and diversity in your thinking
  • to develop critical appraisal and analysis in your work
  • to record ideas, make experiments, show analysis and produce outcomes
  • to develop a subject specific vocabulary
  • to know how to use graphical terms
  • to be able to discuss the work of designers, techniques and values of design
  • to build upon your sketchbook skills and extend presentation techniques and recording work from your Art/Design lessons at KS3

The GCSE course lasts for five terms in KS4.

You will work on three projects over the first four terms called the Personal Portfolio (Unit 1). In class, we normally call this Controlled Assessment work. We will study the following topics in that time:

  • Typography (how letters, words and text is designed)
  • Illustration (how images are placed against words to improve meaning)
  • There are two opportunities for Mock Examinations that will contribute to the Personal portfolio work.

In your last term, you will be working on your exam task called the Externally Set Assignment (Unit 2). This is of a set of 7 questions set by the exam board, of which one will be chosen to research and develop a personal response. This will be  approximately 20 hours of preparatory work in lesson time followed by 10 hours in an art room to produce a final response.

The GCSE covers a range of activities and in-depth assignments. You will have the opportunity to experiment with different media in order to explore your strengths and preferences. There is a wide range of options within several areas Graphics. Whatever you choose, the main aim of the course is to develop your visual language skills and for you to build a comprehensive portfolio of work to progress to further courses or employment.

In Key Stage 4 students follow AQA’s “Art & Design specification specialising in: Graphic communication.

Art and Design: Graphic Communication


At GCSE students will be assessed on the grade criteria from the exam board.

Controlled Assessment – 60%
During the course at KS4 students will learn techniques and processes based on a theme and/or artists. They will have guided starting points but independent work and research is encouraged for students to develop a personal style and response.

Exam  – 40%
The exam at the end of the course is a practical exam that consists of approximately 20 hours of preparatory time and 10 hours (over two days) in the art room to produce the final outcome.

AO1 – Develop – 25%

Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.

AO2 – Refine – 25%

Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.

AO3 – Record – 25%

Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.

AO4 – Present – 25%

Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.

All students have the right to express and explore their creativity and are entitled to:

  • A positive, safe, learning environment that encourages the development of Design skills and the sharing of work within a culture of mutual respect and shared responsibility.
  • Be actively engaged in their own learning whilst being challenged and motivated to take responsibility for their own development and take risks.
  • Experience well planned lessons which challenge them, provide clear assessment and regular Design opportunities whilst reflecting upon their own learning and development.
  • A personalised and independent creative journey in which they are able to learn from their mistakes and challenge ideas.
  • To experience a range of materials, techniques and Design practises to create ‘real’ outcomes.


Design enables pupils to:

  • Explore and develop confidence and self-esteem.
  • Investigate ideas and record from reality.
  • Develop higher thinking skills.
  • Critique evaluate and adapt.
  • Learn from the work of others to be able to explore and develop own ideas.
  • Communicate through many different forms.
  • Encourage creativity through tangible outcomes.
  • Link into the world and community.
  • Take responsibility for their own work, be able to take risks and be able to fail in a safe environment.
  • Be involved in a creative process.
  • Have a spectrum of experiences across all Design fields.
  • To be able to develop literacy and numeracy within Design lessons in a practical environment.