Key Stage 3 GraphicsKS3_Y9 model skateboard_1

In Design Technology, a carousel operates throughout the year. Different groups of students will complete units in Graphics at different times during the academic year.

Year 7

In Year 7 our aim is to provide opportunities for students to gain an understanding of how Graphics, (and design and technology as a whole), fits in to the world outside of school. Students are introduced to the design process whereby ideas become high quality products that are fit for their intended purpose. Learners complete one project over approximately 24 lessons, focussing on ‘mobile communication device’, this enabling them to develop their technical knowledge and practical skills through researching, designing, making, modifying and evaluating.

The project covers past and present designs, cultural issues, smart and modern materials, mechanisms and card engineering, 2D and 3D design using both traditional drawing techniques and computer-based design software.

Year 8

In Year 8 our aim is to provide opportunities for students to use a wider range of tools, materials and techniques within the area of Graphics. Learners complete one project over approximately 24 lessons, focussing on ‘Action Figure Packaging’, building on prior knowledge and skills, and enabling them to realise their own creative ideas and produce high quality, attractive and functional products.

This project covers a variety of industrial processes and methods of manufacture, including packaging nets, printing techniques, vacuum forming and one-off, batch and mass production. Students continue to develop a working knowledge of CAD/CAM.

Year 9

In Year 9 our aim is to nurture and inspire the future generation of designers and to lay a strong foundation for GCSE Design and Technology. We aim to ensure that students learn the necessary skills for GCSE and have the knowledge to enable them to make correct subject choices.

In Graphics, students independently design and make high quality products. Learners complete one project over approximately 24 lessons, focussing on ‘Business Branding’ which involves them developing and using in-depth subject knowledge, selecting and working with a wide variety of tools, equipment and techniques, and responding to a design brief in original and innovative ways.

Students are challenged to create an effective corporate identity for a business of their own choice and produce a quality model product to promote it; this encouraging them to experiment with ideas and explore new and alternative methods for making graphic products. The project covers designer and artist research, one and two-point perspective drawing, design and presentation skills including rendering and graphic techniques, typography theory, modelling and assembling graphic product. Students also continue developing their working knowledge of CAD/CAM, using software including 2D Design, Photoshop and Sketch-up, as well as equipment such as the laser cutter, Stika vinyl cutter and CAMM-1 plotter/cutter.



What to watch (also check You Tube and iPlayer): KS3_Y7 mobile device pop up mailer

How Stuff’s Made (Discovery Channel)

The Gadget Show (Channel 5)

Grand Designs (Channel 4/More 4)

George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces (Channel 4/More 4)

The Great Interior Design Challenge (BBC 2)

The Apprentice (BBC)

Dragon’s Den (BBC)


What to read:

Specialist design-based books and access to websites are available for you to browse at your leisure in A3, on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes from 1.15-1.45pm.




Where to go: Joes music CD packaging 3


National Centre for Craft and Design (formerly The Hub), Sleaford  FREE entry

Usher Gallery, Lincoln  FREE entry

Making it!, Mansfield

Rufford Craft Centre (Rufford Abbey and Country Park), Ollerton, Notts  FREE entry

The Design Museum, London

Clothes Show Live (early December), Birmingham NEC

The V&A, (Victoria and Albert Museum), London  FREE entry

Museum of Brands, Advertising and Packaging, London


GCSE Graphics (OCR)

Graphics is concerned with a whole range of products, materials, printing techniques and new technologies which affect our everyday lives. The OCR GCSE Graphics course is aimed at individuals with a genuine talent for the expression of ideas as a graphic designer.

Alongside a passion for the subject, you will need good imagination, an eye for colour and the ability to present your ideas clearly. Your drawing, ICT and written skills will need to be of a good standard in order to design and make quality products for this course. A strong sense of curiosity, logic, self-motivation, inventiveness, enthusiasm and a capacity for hard work are also traits of a successful designer.

Pupils will also benefit hugely from, and enjoy, extra-curricular visits which support the GCSE Graphics course; Clothes Show Live, the Design Museum and V&A in London, as well as educational tours around local businesses relevant to the design industry, are all opportunities which have been available for recent Graphics pupils. Such visits further pupils’ knowledge of the subject and provides them with insight as to how it fits in to the world outside of school.

Knowledge and understanding of D&T gained through KS3 projects provides a stepping stone for pupils wishing to study Graphics at GCSE level. Shorter skills projects run from September to December in Year 10, providing a solid foundation from which pupils will develop their practical skills and technical knowledge and understanding, as well as preparing them for success in the controlled assessment units.


Coursework (controlled assessment units)

The GCSE Graphics course comprises of two coursework units and one written examination. The first unit of coursework will be completed in Year 10 and the second in Year 11. Pupils will have the opportunity to select the topic on which their creative design portfolios will be based, from a list provided by OCR.


Current coursework themes include:KS4_Kimberleys bag design 1

  • Promotional items
  • Corporate/brand identity
  • Visual communication
  • Food and drink
  • Packaging
  • Education Retail environment
  • Travel and tourism
  • Theatre or concert staging
  • Exhibition stands
  • Signs and display
  • Pop-up book
  • Modern architectural building
  • Point of sale display
  • Flat-pack carrying aids
  • Sustainability and the environment

The two coursework units must be completed in school under supervision, and within 20 hours (excluding teaching time), as they are controlled assessed. Each unit of coursework represents 30% of the final GCSE grade. There is a paper-based written exam in June of Year 11, which assesses the technical knowledge and understanding acquired by pupils throughout the GCSE course. This exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes in duration and represents 40% of the final GCSE grade. Marks from both coursework units and the final written exam are accumulated to give the overall GCSE Graphics grade.

GCSE Revision - click here to see some useful GCSE Graphics Revision materials

GCSE Revision Checklist - click to read


Beyond GCSE

The GCSE Graphics course provides a sound foundation for pupils wishing to study AS and A’ Level Product Design (Graphics). Both courses equip students with valuable communication and problem solving skills, and the ability to visualise, present and develop concepts in innovative ways. For this reason Graphics complements a wide range of other subjects and is viewed by colleges, universities and employers as a highly desirable and versatile qualification – one that has strong links with an infinite number of career paths within the creative arts and design sectors.

From the look and feel of our living spaces to the colours displayed in advertisements, and the layouts of websites, design influences our lives in ways we don’t even realise. With this, design-based careers can take forms you might not have even thought about: people with art and design qualifications find work in nearly every industry imaginable, in niche roles that did not even exist ten or fifteen years ago. A full list of all the career opportunities open to designers would be almost impossible to write – here are just some of the careers open to the creatively-minded: graphic design and advertising, photography, illustration, web development, media, animation and motion picture, creative copywriting, marketing and PR, product design, manufacturing and production, architecture and physical design, and engineering.