Graphics is an exciting and creative subject to study. It can lead to a wide range of interesting and worthwhile careers. The subject involves you working somewhere between how a graphic designer and a model maker would work in industry; your classroom becomes not only a design studio, but also a place to make high-quality models in 3 dimensions. You will have the opportunity to be creative and design new products and understand how and why the design process works. You will learn variety of design skills from drawing and presentation techniques to computer aided design and model making.

Graphics at Key Stage 3

At KS3 the first Graphics project has been designed to introduce the subject and help create a foundation of skills for Graphics. Students will use basic designing skills to create the branding for their own product. Designs focussing on typography and promotional characters which will be used to create packaging graphics. There is also theoretical content based around sustainability and materials used for the packaging of products.

In Y8 the aim of the project is to take some of the skills used in the Y7 graphics project and develop them further. It follows the design process from performing market research such as product analysis and introduces the students to some basic skills using Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop (industry-standard computer applications) by using techniques to enhance their drawings/design work.

Year 7 curriculum map - Each term students study a different DT subject.

Year 8 curriculum map - During the academic year, students study a range of DT subjects on an 8-week rotation.

Design and Technology KS3 Assessment Grids

Graphics at Key Stage 4 including exam boards

At GCSE level students will study the AQA Design & Technology specification which comprises of a Non Exam Assessment (course work project) and a theory exam, both worth 50%.

The course has been designed to encourage candidates to be able to design and make products with creativity and originality, using a range of graphic and modelling materials.

They will be encouraged to learn through images to use, understand and apply colour and design, to develop spatial concepts, and to understand graphic materials and their manipulation. They will design and make products using graphic media and new technologies to prepare them for the world of work.

The course is designed to foster awareness of the need to consider sustainability and the environmental impact of their design.

Students are taught by developing their practical skills through projects ranging from packaging design, illustration, hand-drawn & computer-aided design, branding & promotional materials and technical drawing. Students will also learn about industrial processes, materials and the work of existing designers.

NCFE Technical award in Graphic Design | Key stage 4

This course is aimed at 14–16-year-olds who are interested in any aspect of graphic design, including sourcing ideas and design.

The qualification is appropriate for students looking for an introduction to the skills, knowledge and qualities needed in the graphic design sector. It is for learners who are motivated and challenged by learning through hands-on experiences, working with a variety of design media such as drawing, printing, computer-aided design and a range of graphic design skills.

The course is divided into 4 units, that will introduce students to a range of skills, enable students to prepare a professional design portfolio and work towards a design brief with a practical design and make exam at the end of Year 10 and Year 11.

This course links directly to vocational skills relating to a range of design industries.

Year 9 curriculum map | Year 10 curriculum map | Year 11 curriculum map

Graphics at Key Stage 5

A level Graphic Communication is a highly creative and fascinating subject that allows you to explore areas such as illustration, design for print, advertising, packaging design, communication and computer graphics.

A level Graphic Communication students are introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of graphic communication media, processes and techniques.

They learn both traditional and new media and explore the use of drawing for different purposes.

In Year 12 students will be introduced to a variety of mark making techniques and media such as drawing, print making, painting, collage and computer-based applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

Students will use sketchbooks/workbooks/journals to underpin their work which will lead to a finished graphic product/outcome. Throughout the course students must take inspiration from existing designers, artists and movements.

In Year 13 students will work write their own brief for their ‘Personal Investigation’ portfolio which makes up 60% of the course. They will use the skills and media techniques developed during Year 12. They will also sit a practical exam (15 hour studio session) where they must complete a finished outcome in response to a selection of tasks set from the exam board (AQA).

Equipment List:

  • Range of graphite pencils
  • Fine liners
  • Watercolour paint set
  • Small set of fine brushes
  • Pastels – oil & chalk
  • Glue Stick
  • Rubber
  • Sharpener
  • Spirit makers – range of colours

Year 12 curriculum map | Year 13 curriculum map



In school creative days often have a Graphics based focus such as the sign writing placard project. GCSE students go on a trip to Museum of Brands to see how products have been developed over time.

Career and future pathways

Graphic designer, product designer, illustrator, architect, games designer, sign writer, app designer, web designer, progression onto foundation &/or university courses.


Revision Guides:

  • Collins AQA GCSE 9-1, All – in – one Revision Guide and Practice book, ISBN: 978-0-00-822740-1
  • CGP GCSE AQA, Design & Technology – For the Grade 9-1 Course, The Revision Guide, ISBN: 978-1-782-78294-752-3
  • CGP Grade 9-1 Design & Technology AQA Complete Revision & Practice, ISBN: 9781782947554

Question cards:

  • CGP GCSE Design & Technology AQA Revision Question Cards, ISBN: 9781789084115

Practice Exam Questions & Answer Book

  • CGP Grade 9-1 GCSE Design & Technology AQA Exam Practice Workbook, ISBN: 9781782947530
  • Grade 9-1 GCSE Design & Technology AQA Answers (for Exam Practice Workbook), ISBN: 9781782947547
  • We advise buying the following ‘bundle’ for a comprehensive collection of CGP products at a discounted price:
  • GCSE Design & Technology AQA: Revision Essentials Bundle, Product code: TACUB41
  • Link to CGP website, Essentials Bundle:
  • GCSE Design & Technology AQA: Revision Essentials Bundle | CGP Books

Website for theory content:

Take a trip to: