Graphic Design


The BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Graphic Design offers those who hold a passion for design the opportunity to explore graphic design through a range of digital and traditional methods. This course is ideal for individuals who have decided that graphic design is the area of work for them. Developed in consultation with the Chartered Society of Designers and the Creative and Cultural Skills Organisation, the HNC is a specialist work-related programme of study, covering the key knowledge, understanding and practical skills required in today’s graphic design industry.

This nationally recognised qualification offers direct progression onto the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Graphic Design following the successful completion of Year 1, or direct entry into employment. After completion of the HNC/HND in Graphic Design, students can apply for official ‘Chartered Society of Designers’ status.

Type of study
Full-Time, Higher Education

Along with a passion for art, media or design, you will require one of the following qualifications to enrol on this Level 4 HNC course:

3 GCE A Levels (A*-C grades) including an art, design or media subject, BTEC Level 3 qualification in a design, art or media subject, Access to Higher Education Certificate

All applicants will require a portfolio interview with a member of the lecturing team. The portfolio should include work produced on the student¿s A level or BTEC Level 3 course.

If you currently do not hold any of the above qualifications, the College may be able to offer you an alternative full-time course or Apprenticeship, to support future progression onto this HNC programme.

As a Havant and South Downs College HNC student studying graphic design you will participate in undertaking formal work placements and/or part-time employment to develop your professional experience. You will also have the opportunity and access to live briefs, competitions and design industry connections, alongside utilising the latest industry standard equipment and software to support you in your learning. If you choose to progress to a second year of study (HND), you will participate in undertaking formal work placements and/or part-time employment to develop your professional experience.

The HNC in Graphic Design comprises of four core course units as follows:

HNC core units (Year 1):

  • Visual Communication
  • Ideas Generation and Development
  • Contextual and Cultural Referencing
  • Professional Practice

HNC specialist units (Year 1):

  • Design Principles
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Typographic Skills
  • Visual Communication in Graphic Design

Together with undertaking the four core course units, you will develop your skills to a high level, both personal and technical, including:

  • Focusing on the development of higher-level skills in a graphic design context
  • Developing a range of skills, techniques and attributes essential for successful performance in working life
    An opportunity to gain critical awareness and the ability to research, synthesise and handle complex information
  • Cultivating skills in verbal, written and visual communication and presentation
  • The ability to manage yourself and gain real working experience

Following successful completion of the Level 4 HNC in Graphic Design (Year 1) you can choose to progress onto the Level 5 HND in Graphic Design (Year 2) which will develop your skills to a higher level through a range of specialist units as follows:

HND specialist units (Year 2):

  • Advertising
  • Illustration
  • Typography
  • Working in the Digital Environment

For both levels of qualification, each unit is developed in consultation with a range of colleges/universities, subject sector employers, the Chartered Society of Designers and the Creative and Cultural Skills Organisation.

You will attend 15 hours of workshops, lectures and tutorials each week over a period of 32 weeks per academic year. The course will be taught with an approach that delivers:

  • A balance between practical skills development and knowledge acquirement
  • Links made between theory and practice in the workplace
  • Utilisation of industry knowledgeable staff
  • Constant links and work with industry employers
  • Opportunities to apply learning to actual events within the sector through working upon live creative briefs

The HNC in Graphic Design is assessed continuously through a range of assignments, projects, group projects, lectures, workshops and formative tasks.

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I’m really happy and pleased with my grades. I really loved my time at the college, I have also made lots of friends, it’s a really nice place to be, I don’t want to leave.

Lauren Piper, A Level student

I got into both of the universities I wanted to. It happens so fast and it’s an amazing feeling when you think that all of the work you’ve done has paid off in the best way possible.

Anton Sukhorukov, A Level student

College is definitely worth all the effort you put in, you get to meet lots of different people and it’s amazing.

Ebony Puttock, A Level student


The HNC in Graphic Design is a one-year full-time higher education course, providing natural progression onto the HND, or alternatively direct entry into employment.

Following successful completion of the HNC qualification, students can choose to enrol for a second year (full-time) and upgrade their qualification to the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Graphic Design.

The HND in Graphic Design can be advanced to a full degree (Level 6) by undertaking a second or third year degree (or honours degree) at university, depending on the match of the HND units to the degree course and each institution¿s entry criteria.

Direct entry into employment offers both diverse and highly fulfilling opportunities for talented designers in areas such as web design, photography, multi-media design, flash design, illustration, creative direction, brand identity design, packaging design, computer games design and freelance work.,