FdA Graphic Design

Key information

Why choose this course?

This programme aims to develop your creativity and skills in carrying out projects to meet the needs of clients and audiences. In addition, the programme will provide you with:

  • An emphasis on personal development and employability within the creative industries.
  • Excellent employer engagement, live briefs, industry feedback, guest speakers, study trips and overseas visits. 
  • An opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification in two years of full-time study. 
  • Progression route to the final year of an appropriate honours degree programme at the University of Hertfordshire. 

What's the course about?

Our FdA Graphic Design programme focuses on developing creative and technical skills which provide a strong foundation for a career in the creative industries. You will undertake a range of vocational projects, which challenge you to provide communication and design solutions in the areas of advertising, branding, digital illustration, editorial design and packaging, as well as new and emerging media. You will learn how to use a range of digital and non-digital techniques to design solutions. 

Ideas are at the heart of the course and there is a strong emphasis on practical experimental work. You will be challenged to respond to vocational based briefs in a creative and considered way, evaluating and analysing your work as you progress. This course will develop both your creative and technical skills and at all stages, you will be taught how to use established and emerging media through workshops, industry guest speakers, tutorials and seminars delivered by experienced industry professionals. 

Through contextual studies and an ongoing seminar programme you will be introduced to the issues of analysis, aesthetic and theoretical frameworks as used in this industry. Through the course's emphasis on work-based learning you will be encouraged to find work placements and job shadowing with industry professionals. You will be working in teams to simulate industry practice across the two years and hone your presentation and communication skills. Through our excellent industry links, both local and national, you will be regularly visited and supported by leading members of the design community.  

Where can I progress? 

All progression routes outlined below are currently valid; however available progression will be updated on an annual basis in accordance with changes in University of Hertfordshire provision.

Entry to Level 6 is contingent on successful completion of the FdA.  Additional routes may be available to students at the time of FdA completion.  

The FdA Graphic Design offers articulated progression into the final year of the following courses:   

What will I study?

Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, small group tutorials, course work and practical assignments. You are encouraged to undertake independent study to consolidate your learning and to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the subject. You will also experience working collaboratively on projects with other higher education courses. There is the opportunity to take part in industry live briefs with local community businesses, organisations, groups and head offices as well as prestigious national and international design competitions; these include D&AD New Blood, YCN Student Awards, ISTD Awards, The RSA Student Design Awards and illustration competitions such at The Penguin Random House Student Design Award.  

You will have a dedicated design studio space and access to state-of-the-art facilities including workshops and Mac suites as well as industry standard resources. We have a Creative Enterprise Shop that stocks products designed by you. The shop also pops up at local community events, shops, empty shop units, external exhibitions both local and inner London.  The teaching team combines full-time teaching staff with part-time industry professionals, who split their time between teaching and working in the creative industries. Throughout the programme there is an international study trip, as well as national study trips and visits to businesses, agencies, museums and galleries. 

You can visit our Instagram @creative_enterprise_hub and follow our current students creative exploits. 

Check out our student blogs

Student Blogs

Emma Thorn - From college to university

I studied FdA Graphic Design. I chose this subject because from leaving school (in year 11) the only thing I was good at was art. I wanted to go into something that would allow me to experience this on a day-to-day basis. So, I did Level 3 Graphic Design at college and then moved up to the foundation degree to carry it on.

Experience studying at college

My experience studying at Hertford Regional College was really positive. Moving up to the foundation degree was the best decision I made. I applied during clearing which can be a stressful time, but I got accepted. I do have to say my fist year on the foundation degree was fun and exciting, but due to being ill I missed quite a lot of time with my friends and developing my skills. But this didn’t stop me! All the tutors and technicians are really nice, helpful and will support you if you need it. The facilities that are available to us are unbelievable, they have all industry equipment in the studios. All you need to know is how to use it and get permission, then you are all set. The best bit of the two years was the last year, it was like a wakeup call to me, I knew I wanted to get a distinction so I put in the work! Staying late, going in on independent study days, showing that the first year wasn’t going to hold me back… and it didn’t, I got the distinction I wanted. Also, it’s a great time to be with your friends and go through it all together and support each other, and at the end of it you have the option to find a job, take a gap year or carry on with the final year.

Progressing to university

Progressing onto the last year (level 6) at University of Hertfordshire was the right decision. Due to COVID-19, I was really nervous to start as it was a change to what I was used to but it got better as I got to know the tutors and people. The whole set up for applying was simple because you just follow the instructions within the emails that are sent out. If you get stuck there is always an email or phone number that you can call. If you have a disability like me (I have dyslexia), there is a support team in place to help you with anything.

When getting started, all the tutors were really helpful, if you need more time on a project for extenuating circumstances, there are extensions available to you. You just need to keep the tutors updated on how you are and they can help! I am really pleased that I was able to push myself to do it, as I have become more organised than I was before and I feel confident that I will be getting a job at the end of the year (fingers crossed).

There are a lot of facilities available to use, and like college you have to know how to use it first, then it’s accessible to you. These are great ways to develop skills and use them in your projects. Due to COVID-19 though, I am unable to get the real experience of these facilities so hopefully when we go back I can. If you have the chance to use it… then use it. Also don’t be afraid to sign up to sports or clubs, you will make more friends and develop as a person.

After I graduate

My next steps after I finish this year is to find a job within the graphic design industry. The University and my studies have supported this. At the moment there is a scheme where we have a mentor who is either from the industry, or a graduate who is in it too. They are able to help with support, tell you what it’s like in the industry and look at your portfolio and give advice. We have portfolio lectures to help get them perfect when applying for a job too. Then we are set!

Tips for applying:

I'd give any applicants the following tips:

  • have confidence that you can do it!
  • do your student loan as soon possible
  • be organised with all the emails and paperwork
  • there is always someone to talk to if you need help.