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Graphic Design (Visual Communications) Level 6

Course Code AGH

NFQ Level 6*

Duration 2 Years

Award Year 1: Pearson BTEC Higher National Certificate in Art and Design (Graphic Design)

Award Year 2: Pearson BTEC Higher National Diploma in Art and Design (Graphic Design)

* The Higher National Diploma is recognised by the QQI as being comparable to the Higher Certificate at NFQ Level 6

We use Apple Mac and cover web & graphic design, typography, illustration, corporate identity, packaging, advertising, UX design and UI design.

2-year Level 6 Higher National Diploma course covers graphic design, typography, illustration, corporate identity, packaging, advertising.

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Why choose a HND in Graphic Design?

BCFE’s award winning two-year Higher National Diploma in Graphic Design is where to start your graphic design career. This exciting and intense programme will equip you with all the skills and know how, to begin a successful and rewarding career as a design creative.

Working to tailored in-house and live competition briefs enables you to develop exceptional technical and visual language skills, while developing the ability to respond to a wide range of challenging graphic design projects.

You will be actively encouraged to engage with a range of methods, digital and non-digital, to explore the entire spectrum of graphic design practice including typography, magazine design, illustration, idea generation, corporate identity, and branding, developing personal style, art direction, packaging design, motion and interactive graphic design, and graphic design history and theory.

What will you study?

Year 1

  • Typography
  • Graphic Design Practices
  • Techniques and Processes
  • Professional Development
  • Screen Based Practices
  • Packaging Design
  • Contextual Studies
  • Individual Project

End of Year 1 Certification Higher National Certificate in Art and Design (Graphic Design)

Year 2

  • Advanced Graphic Design Studies
  • Advanced Digital Design Studies
  • Branding and Identity
  • Professional Practice
  • Applied Practice – Collaborative Project

End of Year 2 Certification Higher National Diploma in Art and Design (Graphic Design)

What do you need to apply?

In addition to the Entry Requirements, please note for this course you will also need to provide a portfolio of your recent Please see the ‘Portfolio Guidelines’ for details.

Year 1 Higher National Certificate

Year 2 Higher National Diploma

  • Students who have successfully completed year 1 and have achieved a Higher National Certificate in Art and Design (Graphic Design), can progress automatically to year 2.
  • Applicants with an equivalent Higher National Certificate, and subject to module compatibility may also apply directly to Year 2, Higher National Diploma in in Art and Design (Graphic Design).

Portfolio Guidelines

When you come for interview, please bring a well- presented portfolio of selected recent work. For example, listed below are some suggestions of what that portfolio could contain:

  • Drawing – this should show strong use of line, tone, and composition. Your work should be from life/ observation and in a range of media showing a variety of subject matter.
  • Colour Work – work can range from painting, collage, printmaking, photography, and textiles to mixed media.
  • Digital Work – this can be any type of computer- generated visuals such as Photoshop designs, digital layout, digital painting, illustration, or motion graphics.
  • Work of Personal Interest – sketchbooks showing development and progression of Rough work demonstrating work practice and thought processes.

Course Facilities

  • Each Student uses a top-of-the-line industry standard Mac
  • Each student is licensed with the full Adobe Creative Suite
  • Students use professional quality scanning and printing facilities, ranging from A4-A3 Laser printing and up to A2 photo quality printing.

Course Features

Ongoing talks and workshops by visiting guest lecturers enrich and inform the students’ own practice and build important and beneficial links to the world of professional graphic design.

Progression Opportunities

  • Graduates of this course may also apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme for entry to higher and advanced certificate and degree programmes at national Institutes of Technology, Technological Universities and Universities (applicants should confirm linked awards and eligibility requirements with the relevant Higher Education Institution).
  • Graduates may also apply for advanced entry to honours degree programmes in international third-level institutions

Career Opportunities

  • Our award-winning students, (OFFSET Future Illustrator 2019; ICAD UPSTARTS 2005-2021 and YCN Advertising Campaign 2019), complete this course with industry-ready portfolios of graphic and illustrative work, and upon graduation may directly enter paid employment in the graphic design sector.
  • Our graduates go on to be successful designers, illustrators and art directors in advertising, television, print, packaging, web and interactive UX.

Students' Work

We use Apple Mac and cover web & graphic design, typography, illustration, corporate identity, packaging, advertising, UX design and UI design.
We use Apple Mac and cover web & graphic design, typography, illustration, corporate identity, packaging, advertising, UX design and UI design.


I would highly recommend the Graphic Design course at BCFE to anyone interested in studying or working in the field. It is an incredibly diverse, challenging and rewarding progamme of study that went way beyond my expectations of what is possible to learn in just two years. There is a wonderful variation in the different modules taught in the course; design history, typography, motion graphics, ideas generation, editorial to name just a few! Everyone has their own Apple Mac computer to work on and high quality printers are provided for printing up final projects. In terms of value, there is no comparison. The teaching staff are fantastic! Their experience and  enthusiasm for the subject of visual communication is inspiring. They are generous with advice and always patient and encouraging. The dedication they show to teaching is really motivating. It is unique to find such willingness to share expertise and their contribution to the success of the course cannot be underestimated. From the beginning they in-still a great work ethic, which is vital when it comes to finding work in the industry. I came to the course as a graduate of Fine Art. Having completed my degree almost ten years ago, I was nervous that I might find it difficult to use the computer software. This was never an issue, lessons were meticulously planned out and guidance was always available where needed for any students. I was delighted to be able to start my career as a Graphic Designer as soon as I finished the course. When I started work I found that everything I learned at BCFE had fully prepared me for the job and I am so grateful for that. If you want to be a Graphic Designer, DO THIS COURSE!!
Emily Good, Graphic Designer
Design – Graphic Design (Visual Communications) Level 6 Higher (AGH)

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On successful completion of Year 1 of a two-year Higher National Diploma (HND) an Higher National Certificate (HNC) will be claimed for each 1st Year HND student. It will be included as part of the overall HND award on successful completion of Year 2.