What is this subject about?

This is a broad-based and diverse three-dimensional design course in which the design scale can vary. It is primarily concerned with designing for product, architecture, interior, jewellery and stage to meet a need in a functional and aesthetic manner. We want you to design innovative concepts that consider not only aesthetic and technical issues, but also the environment and the role of the designer in the community. On the course, you’ll master design from conception to production. Learning through designing and making, you’ll experiment creatively with traditional design production processes as well as 3D digital technologies including CAD/CAM. You will experiment with media and processes and develop and refine your ideas before presenting your outcomes.

Our aim is to feed your imagination and open your eyes to the possibilities of 3D design and the difference you can make to the world. This course is delivered through skill development in Year 1 and 2 course work units, with project work supported by lessons, demonstrations, professional experience and tutorials.

What will I study over the two years?

During the first year you will develop your design skills including sketching, developing and recording ideas and how to design and use a variety of approaches and techniques. Through a series of activities and short projects you will develop your appreciation of form and function and use a range of materials and manufacturing processes for both commercial and one-off production. This will include the use of drawing and rendering techniques to communicate your ideas using CAD/CAM as part of the design process. You will become familiar with major design movements and the work of other designers in order to broaden your appreciation of good design. There is an emphasis on learning how and why designs are developed and how you as a designer can make improvements.

In your second year you will have more freedom to explore your own area of design and you will take on the role of a professional designer through a mixture of set and self-generated projects giving you a wide portfolio to demonstrate your skills to universities and potential employers. You will undertake a detailed ‘personal study’ with practical outcomes from a personal starting point.

How is the course assessed?

Assessment is 60% coursework, in the form of a Personal Investigation which is presented as a design portfolio and practical outcome(s). There are also marks allocated to a written Related Study (20% of the coursework grade). In addition to the coursework there is an externally set practical, which is worth 40% of the overall A Level mark. Projects are marked by the teachers and externally moderated by the examination board.

What skills will I need and develop on this course?

On this course you will develop investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills, aesthetic understanding, critical judgement and presentation skills. You will experience working with a broad range of media and develop an enthusiasm for art, craft and design.


​What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

Any field of design but especially Architecture, Engineering, Product Design, Jewellery Design, Interior Design, Furniture Design and Set Design.

Entry Requirements

​What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Aside from the general criteria that the College requires, you will need to achieve a minimum of:

• Grade 4 in any Art/Design related subject or any Design Technology area

Students who have not studied an Art or Design subject at GCSE still achieve success on this course. You will need to talk to the Design department and complete some creative tasks which must be presented at enrolment. Acceptance on to the course will be at the discretion of the Head of Department.

Extra Support

​What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer?

The course will include a number of design related trips and visits aimed at broadening your understanding of design throughout the two years of the course. In addition ‘live’ projects will be carried out with companies and there will be a number of talks by guest speakers.

Subject combination advice

​Subject combination advice:

3D Design can be combined with Fine Art, Fashion or the Art and Design BTEC National Diploma or the Extended Certificate. However you should be aware that there will be continual coursework throughout the year and you will need to manage your time accordingly. This combination will give you a strong portfolio for applications for Art Foundation or Design related degrees. This course also combines well with Media and Business Studies for those wishing to progress to Design Management or Business. It can provide a creative and practical dimension to a science or humanities programme.

What is the difference between 3D Design and BTEC Art and Design?

3D Design is a focused 3D Design course which means that unlike the BTEC Art and Design course you will not do any fine art. However you will do some graphics and Computer Aided Design work. In the first year you are set themed projects or given briefs to work to. In the second year emphasis is placed on individual design briefs. This means that you will be allowed to investigate architecture, engineering, product design, jewellery design, interior design, furniture design, or set design and develop a broad range of skills through coursework. The 3D course is 60% coursework and 40% practical assessment with a supporting portfolio.