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Graphic Design BTEC HND (with BA Hons degree pathway option)

This full-time qualification is designed to equip you with the knowledge, flexibility and skills required for a successful career within an exciting and ever-widening industry. You will be encouraged to develop a highly individual, ideas-based portfolio, either within broad-based graphic design or tailored to a specialism, such as advertising, illustration, typography or new digital media.

You will regularly engage with leading UK design professionals through ‘live projects’ and talks, and benefit from our impressive track record for both gaining employment and winning national competitions – read more about some of our students' recent successes. The course is an active member of British Design and Art Direction (D&AD), and has forged strong industrial links with both local and national designers. At the end of the year you will exhibit your work both in Bedford and at a major London venue as part of D&AD’s New Blood exhibition. Work experience opportunities will also be made available to you in the latter stages of the course. A list of visiting contacts and speakers is available on request.

Award-winning students

Six design awards have been won by our HND Graphic Design students in the YCN 2015 European
Design competition. Of all the colleges and universities that entered Bedford College had the second highest number of winning entries with an equally impressive success rate of 50%. Fourteen of our students worked within teams on live briefs set by Santander, Syfy, Save the Children and Topdeck Travel.

» View work by previous Bedford College YCN award winners

DanielleHear from former Graphic Design HND student Danielle Harrington

“I really enjoyed the two years I spent on the course. I learnt so much which has prepared me for working life within the design industry.”

» Read full article

Full-timeD&AD New Blood 2015D&AD New Blood 2016


“When I finished my Foundation Degree course I had the option to go to university but I specifically chose to stay at Bedford College and do a HND.  The main reason why I chose this route was because I had spoken to the teachers and students on the HND course and realised how good it was.  It was also a much cheaper option than university because I could live at home.”

“The course was designed to provide as much professional exposure and experience as possible, and that was why so many students went on to great success. We undertook live projects and each one focused on a different area of graphic design such as advertising, magazine layout, corporate identity and web design.  For each area we learnt how to use the latest industry software including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.”

“The teachers were brilliant.  They each had their individual talents and industry knowledge that helped to enhance what they taught us in the classroom.  For example our graphics teacher also worked as a designer at Bonfire design agency and he arranged for our class to have a portfolio assessment with one of his colleagues.  I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why I got my current job as a designer for an events company so quickly.”

“Overall, I had an amazing time at College – they taught me everything I needed to know for a successful career in design.”

Lauren - Graphic Design HND

Entry requirements

To begin this course you will need an Art & Design Foundation Diploma, or a National Diploma in an Art & Design subject, or an equivalent Level 3 qualification, or relevant professional experience. Applicants from A-Level programmes displaying high levels of creativity will also be considered, as will mature students, who will be considered individually on experience rather than qualifications. Entry will also be subject to a successful interview, where you will be asked to present a portfolio of your creative work, including developmental worksheets or sketchbooks.

You will be suited to this course if you can evidence the ability and/or potential to:

  • Work imaginatively in graphic and visual media
  • Generate and develop creative ideas in response to a wide range of briefs
  • Articulate and communicate your creative intentions clearly
  • Show willingness to collaborate and discuss your work in group situations
  • Reflect critically on your activities and learning, and demonstrate intellectual inquiry
  • Embrace new ways of thinking and exploit digital technologies.

Course content

During this course you will study the following core compulsory units:

  • Visual communication
  • Ideas generation
  • Contextual and cultural referencing
  • Professional practice
  • Project design and implementation.

You will also study a selection of the following units:

  • Advertising campaigns
  • Illustration
  • Typography
  • Editorial design
  • Corporate identity
  • Branding
  • Drawing techniques
  • Digital design
  • Copywriting
  • Design methods
  • Managing the design and production process.

You will also be introduced to web design and motion graphics in the second year.

Assessment methods

You will work with a range of specialist lecturers, including practising designers, in well-equipped studios and workshops. Projects briefs will be set for each assignment, and you will be encouraged to develop a personal response to each task. All activities will be supported through one-to-one tutorials and group discussions to inform you of personal progress and to aid assessment. Assessment will be continuous throughout the course, with assignments graded at the end of each task.

Further study and career options

On successful completion of the HND you can move directly into employment within the advertising and design industry, or alternatively top-up the qualification to a full Bachelor’s degree at Bedford College or elsewhere.

Upon successful completion graduates are employed as graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, web and digital designers throughout the UK with some entering Europe and the USA. Alternatively, you could continue your studies with a Master of Arts (MA) qualification at University.

Additional information

Additional costs

  • Basic art & design equipment such as layout pads, pens, scalpel, ruler, and external hard drive as per materials list.
  • Resource fee of £150 to cover all in-studio colour laser printing, use of specialist studio materials, papers and adhesives, provision of studio journals, two key texts, visiting speakers’ travel expenses and for completing students a contribution towards exhibiting at a major London venue.
  • Developing a personal portfolio (completing students) and self-promotional items approx. £100, and occasional visits by train to London.

To enrol on this course you must apply through the University & Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) using the institution code BEDF B23 and the course code 012W. Visit or call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Course information & how to book

You will need to complete a UCAS online application form to apply for this course, available at The codes needed are located in the 'Additional information' section above. Please call the College on 01234 291000 if you have any queries about your application.

LengthStart DateFee per unitLocationCourse Code
2 years 21/09/2017 £630 Cauldwell Street L511

Part-time course already started?

Our upcoming 2017-18 Part-time Course Guide will be out in May.
You can request a copy via the form below...

Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, problems with English and Maths, are deaf or hearing impaired, or missing the essential skills needed to complete your course, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.
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