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HND in Graphic Design (Visual Communications)

Course Code: AGH

Duration: 2 Years


The Higher National Diploma in Graphic Design at Ballyfermot College of Further Education is an intense, rigorous and professional programme, which aims to mould learners into confident and skilled graphic design practitioners. This Higher National Diploma has been running with great success for nearly thirteen years and has developed an outstanding reputation for both the quality of the programme and it’s graduates. The course has been designed to give learners a unique and professional portfolio of work, coupled with the technical and creative skills to go straight into industry or apply for advanced entry to either 2nd or 3rd year of an honours degree programme in Ireland or the United Kingdom.

Students explore a wide range of visual communication techniques, with a particular emphasis placed on strong conceptual thinking and innovative design solutions. This design process is enhanced further with intense practical software and digital technology classes. Students may have no previous computer experience before beginning this programme, but upon completion of the course students will have a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively and appropriately apply technology in the design process.

Learners use Apple Mac computers in class and receive full training in the operating system, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, QuarkXPress, Flash and Dreamweaver. Topics introduced to students on this course include image manipulation, web design, typography, ideas generation, illustration, corporate identity, packaging, advertising among others.

The ability to draw well lies at the heart of all art and design programmes and so plays an important part on the HND in Graphic Design; we encourage learners to integrate traditional art & design techniques with digital media wherever appropriate in the design process. Students are given classes in traditional illustration techniques and traditional design craft skills.


  • Vector Applications in Graphic Design
  • Ideas Generation and Development in Art and Design
  • Contextual and Cultural Referencing in Art and Design
  • Typographic Skills
  • Editorial Design
  • Personal Style in Graphic Design
  • Digital Image Manipulation Applications
  • Photographic Techniques
  • Corporate Identity in Graphic Design
  • Computer Applications in Graphic Design
  • Motion and Interactive Graphics
  • Advanced Typographic Design
  • Art Direction for Advertising
  • Techniques and Processes in Specialist Visual Communication
  • Packaging in Graphic Design
  • Critical Study in Art and Design


View past students’ work.


Leaving Certificate/LCVP with a minimum H5 in Art and one other H5/O1 and three O6/H7 grades or equivalent or QQI level 5 award with a merit profile or BTEC National Diploma with a merit profile. The academic entry requirements may be waived for mature applicants (21+). Suitable Level 5 courses include:


HND in Visual Communications (Graphic Design)

This award is made by the UK awarding body BTEC Pearson and is not, at present, placed on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) A Higher National Diploma is recognised by the QQI as being comparable to the Higher Certificate at NFQ Level 6.

QQI Comparability Statement


Please bring to the interview a professionally presented portfolio of selected recent works including:

  • Drawing showing strong use of line, tone, texture and composition. Work should be from life/observation and in a wide range of media showing a variety of subject matter.
  • Colour Work showing use of colour and tone. Work can range from painting, collage, printmaking, photography and textiles to mixed media.
  • Work of Personal Interest
  • Sketchbooks – showing development and progression of ideas and rough work demonstrating work practice and thought processes.
  • Work should be creative and conceptual.


Students complete this course with an individual and dynamic portfolio of graphic and illustrative work. Some graduates of the course go straight into industry while many more go on to further education with advanced entry to degree level in both Ireland and the UK.