Where will this course lead?

On successful completion of the course you will be qualified to enter Higher Education to pursue a UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Higher National Diploma or Degree course. You will also develop the necessary skills to enter the workplace or apprenticeship should you choose to do so. You could even become a freelance designer or animator.

What will I study?

The course covers many aspects of graphic design and animation, and you will have the opportunity to learn core graphic design skills and theories; such as working with the principles and elements of graphic design, typography, page layout, promotion, branding, visual communication, and visual language. You will develop a range of animation skills, understanding how to use hand-drawn, clay and cell techniques, as well as digital techniques, all of which are linked to the principles of animation.

Throughout the course you will develop a wide range of digital and traditional design techniques and software skills. You will use the latest Adobe Creative Suite in the development of much of your work. You will learn how to use a variety of materials and become confident in a range of techniques and processes. In addition to practical design and animation skills, you will explore contextual influences, looking at the work of historical and contemporary designers and animators to inform your own ideas.

How will this course be delivered?

The course is classroom based with individual, small team and wider group workshops, exploring and developing ideas, digital skills, and the use of theoretical principles in graphic design and animation. There will be a number of assignments each year which will allow students to work on their own choice of outcomes. Some of these assignments will be 'live', and working with clients and industry professional. There will also be the opportunity to work with specialists during enrichment and work experience activities. 

Sketchbooks and design boards are used to document the development of your ideas throughout each assignment and should contain your initial research, visual studies, design development and experimentation, along with your final designs and evaluation. It is expected that you annotate your ideas and reflect on your development as the assignment progresses.

What qualifications will I get?

The course leads to a UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Graphic Design & Animation (equivalent to three A-Levels). It is a two-year, full-time programme at Level 3.

How will I be assessed?

Assignments form the basis for coursework. The lecturing staff will introduce each new assignment as the course progresses. You will be assessed all the time you are working, but your main assessment is through assignment work, where you will be graded for each assignment and then given an overall grade for the final assignment of each year.

How do I get a place on the course?

You should apply through the College application process, via the website, telephone, or open events etc.

What are the entry requirements?

You need to have 4 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, one of which should be Maths or English, and also a creative subject such as Graphic design, Art, or Photography.

What else do I need to know?

As part of the programme you will undertake 'live' projects and competitions, which will give you an insight into the way in which professional designers work. As a department we have strong industry links with local employers and organise regular visits from professionals who work commercially and are regularly published within their field. They offer invaluable industry knowledge and current up-to-date skill.

At the end of the first year, and going into the second year of the course, you will receive advice on university courses and apprenticeships, along with methods of application. Guidance regarding the job market and employment opportunities will also be available. Portfolio building will form an important part of the second year as you prepare for interviews.

What can I do after this course?

You can progress onto university, an apprenticeship, freelance work, or employment in such subjects as Graphic Design, Illustration, Animation, Digital Art, and Concept Art. Skills learnt on the course are also transferrable into such subjects as Gaming and Web Design.


Stratford-upon-Avon College

Start Date






Course Fee

N/A For 16 to 18 Year Olds

Course Code


Study Mode

Full Time

CAD Technician/Draughtsperson

CAD Technicians or Draughtspersons prepare technical drawings, plans, maps, charts and similar items.

What’s Involved?

A CAD Technician examines design specification to determine general requirements. They consider the suitability of different materials with regard to the dimensions and weight and calculate the likely fatigue, stresses, tolerances, bonds and threads. They prepare design drawings, plans or sketches and checks feasibility of construction and compliance with safety regulations. They prepare detailed drawings, plans, charts or maps that include natural features, desired surface finish, elevations, electrical circuitry and other details as required. They arrange for completed drawings to be reproduced for use as working drawings.


Animators bring drawings and computer generated characters to life on screen.

What’s Involved?

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on the type of animation you're doing. You could visualise storyboard and script ideas, use animation software or hand drawn techniques to create characters and scenes, add lighting, shading and special effects, paint in backgrounds and character colours, add textures to digital models, use motion capture methods to create lifelike expressions and movements, use stop-motion techniques to film 3D models, combine separate layers of animation into one to create the final product.


Jobholders in this unit group investigate and write up stories and features for broadcasting and for newspapers, magazines and other periodicals, evaluate and manage their style and content and oversee the editorial direction of these types of output and publication.

What’s Involved?

Journalists determine subject matter and undertake research by interviewing, attending public events, seeking out records, reviewing written work, attending film and stage performances etc. They write articles and features and submit draft manuscripts to newspaper, magazine, periodical or programme editor. They select material for broadcast or publication, check style, grammar, accuracy and legality of content and arrange for any necessary revisions. They also liaise with production staff in checking final proof copies immediately prior to printing.

Creative Director

Advertising accounts managers and creative directors plan, design, organise and direct the advertising activities of an organisation.

What’s Involved?

Creative Directors liaise with clients to discuss product/service to be marketed, define target groups and assess the suitability of various media. They conceive advertising campaigns to impart the desired product image in an effective and economical way. They also review and revise campaigns in light of sales figures, surveys, etc. They stay abreast of changes in media, readership or viewing figures and advertising rates. They also arrange conferences, exhibitions, seminars, etc. to promote the image of a product, service or organisation.

Pre-press Technician

Pre-press technicians prepare, format and compose text and graphics in a form suitable for use in a variety of print processes.

What’s Involved?

Pre-press Technicians determine from specification the kind and size of type to be used. They use computer applications to generate images and text. They scan and retouch digital images to create sample proofs, plan and lay out artwork to match planned design. They examine proof copies, check for quality and accuracy and make any necessary alterations. They also process filmsetting or desktop publishing output to produce image on film and transfer to printing plates and digital output. They arrange and paste printing material onto paper ready for photographing.


Artists create artistic works using appropriate techniques, materials and media; design artwork and illustrations; and restore damaged pieces of art.

What’s Involved?

Artists/Illustrators conceive and develop ideas and ways of working for artistic composition. They select appropriate materials, medium and method. They prepare sketches, scale drawings or colour schemes. They also build up compositions into finished work by carving, sculpting, etching, painting, engraving, drawing, etc. They approach managers of galleries and exhibitions in order to get finished work displayed. They use artistic skills to restore damaged artworks. They liaise with writers and publishers to produce book illustrations. They also market and sell finished work directly to customers. They produce work on commission basis for clients.

Product Designer

Product, clothing and related designers plan, direct and undertake the creation of designs for new industrial and commercial products, clothing and related fashion accessories.

What’s Involved?

Product Designers liaise with clients to determine the purpose, cost, technical specification and potential uses/users of product. They undertake research to determine market trends, production requirements, availability of resources and formulate design concepts. They prepare sketches, designs, patterns or prototypes for textiles, clothing, footwear, jewellery, fashion accessories, set props, wigs, ceramics, plastics, motor vehicles, domestic appliances and engineering products. They also prepare sketches, designs, mock-ups and storyboards for consideration by theatre/film director or client. They submit design to management, sales department or client for approval, communicate design rationale and make any necessary alterations. They also specify materials, production methods and finish for aesthetic or functional effect, and oversee production of sample and/or finished product. They observe and manage intellectual property issues.

Web Designer

Jobholders in this unit group design, develop and maintain websites to meet a client's specified requirements.

What’s Involved?

Web Designers liaise with internal/external client in order to define the requirements for the website. They present design options to the client. They design web pages including graphics, animation and functionality to maximise visual effectiveness and facilitate appropriate access. They also develop the website and applications. They design and develop web interfaces for relational database systems. They establish methods to ensure appropriate website security and recovery. They write and publish content for the website. They also test website interaction and performance prior to going 'live', and monitor and maintain functionality of the website. They activate the 'live' website.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers use illustrative, sound, visual and multimedia techniques to convey a message for information, entertainment, advertising, promotion or publicity purposes, and create special visual effects and animations for computer games, film, interactive and other media.

What’s Involved?

Graphic Designers liaise with clients to clarify aims of project brief, discuss media, software and technology to be used, establish timetable for project and define budgetary constraints; They undertake research into project, consider previous related projects and compare costs of using different processes; They prepare sketches, scale drawings, models, colour schemes and other mock-ups to show clients and discuss any required alterations; They also prepare specifications and instructions for realisation of the project; They liaise with other parts of the production team to ensure graphic design fits with other elements, processes and timescales; They produce or oversee creation of the final product.

Secondary School Teacher

Secondary education teaching professionals plan, organise and provide instruction in one or more subjects within a prescribed curriculum in a secondary school.

What’s Involved?

Secondary School Teachers prepare and deliver courses and lessons in accordance with curriculum requirements and teach a range of subjects. They prepare, assign and correct exercises and examinations to record and evaluate students' progress. They prepare students for external examinations and administer and invigilate these examinations. They also maintain records of students' progress and development. They supervise students and maintain classroom discipline. They undertake pastoral duties. They supervise teaching assistants and trainees. They also discuss progress with students, parents and/or other education professionals. They assist with or plan and develop curriculum.

HE Lecturer

Higher education teaching professionals deliver lectures and teach students to at least first degree level, undertake research and write journal articles and books in their chosen field of study.

What’s Involved?

HE Lecturers prepare, deliver and direct lectures, seminars and tutorials. They prepare, administer and mark examinations, essays and other assignments. They advise students on academic matters and encourage independent research. They also provide pastoral care or guidance to students. They participate in decision making processes regarding curriculum, budgetary, departmental and other matters. They direct the work of postgraduate students. They also undertake research, write articles and books and attend conferences and other meetings.

Arts Director

Arts officers, producers and directors assume creative, financial and organisational responsibilities in the production and direction of television and radio programmes, films, stage presentations, content for other media, and the promotion and exhibition of other creative activities.

What’s Involved?

Art Officers/Producers/Directors choose writers, scripts, technical staff and performers, and assume overall responsibility for completion of project on time and within budget. They direct actors, designers, camera teams, sound crews and other production and technical staff to achieve desired effects. They break scripts into scenes and formulate a shooting schedule that will be most economical in terms of time, location and sets. They also prepare rehearsals and production schedules for main events, design of sets and costumes, technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals. They ensure necessary equipment, props, performers and technical staff are on set when required. They also manage health and safety issues. They select, contract, market and arrange for the presentation and/or distribution of performance, visual and heritage arts.

Visual Merchandiser

Merchandisers and window dressers replenish stocks of goods in stores, advise retailers on the optimum display of merchandise and create displays of merchandise in shop windows.

What’s Involved?

Visual Merchandisers monitor stock movements, consider customer requirements and assist customers in completing orders. They supply information about the product to the retailer and sales staff and deal with customer enquiries. They consult with advertising and sales staff and advise retailers on the optimal display of a product and of any promotions. They also implement plans from display designers or display managers or develop ideas and plan for merchandise display or window dressing. They prepare area for new display, construct or assemble displays from a variety of materials, and dismantle existing displays and return merchandise to relevant departments. They provide feedback about displays to senior managers.


Architects plan and design the construction and development of buildings and land areas with regard to functional and aesthetic requirements.

What’s Involved?

An Architect liaises with client and other professionals to establish building type, style, cost limitations and landscaping requirements. They study conditions and characteristics of site, taking into account drainage, topsoil, trees, rock formations, etc. They analyse site survey and advise clients on development and construction details and ensure that proposed design blends in with the surrounding area. They prepare detailed scale drawings and specifications for design and construction and submits these for planning approval. They also monitor construction work in progress to ensure compliance with specifications.

Predicted Employment

How much can I earn?


Employment by Region

The career paths provided are to give you an idea of the careers that you could progress onto in the future. However, for some, you may need to complete higher level qualifications and gain experience before your dream job becomes a reality. The information provided is to support further research and to generate some initial career ideas when choosing a course. Please check entry requirements to degree courses, apprenticeships, and jobs as this may vary from year to year and across providers. For further advice and guidance, please contact: careers@solihull.ac.uk.