Graphic Design (Visual Communications)

QQI Level 5  – Year 1
QQI Level 6  – Year 2

Why study Graphic Design?

Students who complete the QQI Level 5 award can progress into QQI Level 6. On completion of our Level 6 award, students can apply for advanced entry to visual communications degree level courses in all of the major art & design colleges, entering at year two or year three*.  The course is also aimed at students who want, after successfully completing the Graphic Design Level 6 award, to go directly into employment in the design industry.  Past students work for leading design agencies, and in graphic design related areas such as branding, advertising, publishing, animation, user interface design, web design, illustration and packaging design.

The Graphic Design (Visual Communications) course is based in our Raheny Campus, which is easily accessed by train or bus. Our facilities include a full Apple Mac Graphic Studio, library and art rooms. Students have access to a colour laser copier, printer and photocopier up to A3, as well as a full-size inkjet plotter printer that prints A0 size. We also have a great student canteen.

What will I study?

We like new ideas, new ways of doing things, new ways of exploring. We continually encourage our students to experiment and take risks with their design projects.  Our working environment creates a positive design culture that encourages creative thinking.

You will develop visual communication skills with an emphasis on creative problem solving for design. We use the latest graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, we also explore social media platforms such as Instagram, WordPress and LinkedIn.

A team of experienced art & design tutors will work with you, to help you refine your ideas. The subject areas you will cover are Visual Communications, Design Thinking, Design Principles, Graphic Design Practices, Professional Development, Typography, Design History, Motion Graphics, Packaging, UI Design and Web Design.

Students have a busy schedule with regular trips to galleries, museums and design conferences. Regular lectures and workshops are also run by visiting lecturers in areas such as typography, printmaking, book binding and professional development.

We continually encourage students to enter design competitions. Students get to work on live projects and have the opportunity to engage in work placement. The course concludes with a negotiated major project and group exhibition in a professional gallery space. Students will have developed the skills necessary to work in the graphic design industry and will leave with a professional standard portfolio.

Studio Virtual Tour

Course Content 

Year One – 8 modules

The first year includes modules such as Graphic Design, Design Skills, Drawing, Typography, Computer Illustrated Graphics, Digital Photography, Appreciation of Art, Craft and Design, Personal and Professional Development, Communications.

Year Two – 8 modules

The second year is designed to build on the foundational skills acquired at level 5. This year includes modules such as Drawing, Typography, Computer Illustrated Graphics, Illustration Skills, Web Authoring, Personal and Professional Development, Communications, Design Skills.

Work Experience & Erasmus Programme

Each year some of our students have joined the Erasmus programme to complete a three-week work placement in a European city. The students are selected via an interview process and accompanied by a tutor for the first week of work placement. This is an exciting opportunity for our design students and the programme is fully funded.


Year 1 QQI Level 5
Year 2 QQI Level 6


1-2 years

Entry Requirements

Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied. Mature and postgraduate students are also welcome.

Students can be considered for direct entry into the second year (QQI Level 6). Prior experience in related areas will be considered, e.g. a Level 5 award achieved in a relevant area.

All applicants must upload 5 examples of creative work to the application login, eg: drawings, sculpture, collage, 3D work, technical drawing, poster design, photography etc.

Career Opportunities

Graphic design, UI/UX, marketing and publishing studios, freelance design and illustration work, web design and development companies, branding and advertising agencies, print companies and large multinationals in Ireland and abroad.

Course Charges

Year 1: €400
Year 2:

This course is free for those over 21 and in receipt of a social welfare payment*. Click here for more information and to check eligibility.