Ballyfermot College of Further Education BCFE

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Design – Graphic Design (Visual Communications) Level 6 Higher

Course Code AGH

NFQ Level 6*

Duration 2 Years

Award Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Art and Design

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

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.

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

This 2-year HND course covers web & graphic design, typography, illustration, corporate identity, packaging, advertising, UX design and UI design.

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Start your Graphic Design career right here, on BCFE’s award winning two-year Higher National Diploma in Graphic Design. 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.

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. This key component of the course enables you to gain valuable feedback from tutors and industry sources alike.

You can see students’ work below, on our graphics design course website and also on the uplift 2021 website.

Course Content

Year 1

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

Year 2

  • Advanced Graphic Design Studies
  • Advanced Digital Design Studies
  • Branding and Identity
  • Professional Practice
  • Applied Practice
  • Group Project
  • Web Design

Entry Requirements

Portfolio Guidelines

Students should bring to the interview a professionally presented portfolio of recent and original works from life/ observation and in a wide range of media showing a variety of subject matter, including:

  • Drawing, showing strong use of line, tone, texture and composition.
  • Colour, 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.


  • Graduates who achieve a merit/distinction profile may apply for entry to the BA (Hons) in Media Production Management in BCFE which is validated by Dublin City University.
  • 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).
  • Students may 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 2019 and YCN Advertising Campaign 2019), complete this course with industry-ready portfolios of graphic and illustrative work, and upon graduation may enter paid employment in the graphic design sector.

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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