Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

Specialist Pathway: Visual Communication

Course duration: Full time 1 year Part-time 2 years

Start dates full-time:  Jan, April and  Sept

Assessment Criteria: Pass/Merit/Distinction

Progression:  BA (Hons) Degree in most of universities

Awarding Organisation: ABC Awards

Regulated by: OFQUAL (No 500/8476/8)

UCAS Tariff: Up to 112 points.

Requirements: Computer, good broadband & basic art materials

About the course

The Visual Communication pathway focuses on approaches to Graphic Design and Illustration. This pathway will equip you with the fundamental practices of contemporary two-dimensional design and will focus on a range of areas including typography, packaging design, narrative illustration. You will explore the use of and gain practical experience using of a wide range of digital design platforms including the adobe creative suite. This will be supported by appropriate theoretical underpinning.

During the pathway you will put together a portfolio of work to support an application to an appropriate degree course.


Degree Course Options:

Graphic Design, Visual Communication, Graphic Communication, Illustration


Career Options:

Graphic Designer, Packaging Designer, Art Director, Advertising and Marketing Designer, Exhibition Designer, Web Designer, Art Editor, Creative Artworker

*more detailed information about degree and career options will be given by subject pathway tutors during the course

Successful graduates earn a Foundation Diploma qualification that is equal to up to 3 A-Levels and accredited by one of the UK’s largest vocational awarding bodies, ABC Awards.

How it works

Registered students receive login details to access to their dedicated online learning portal where they can work throughout their registered course at their convince time and location 24/7.

Course modules and assignments are listed along with supporting resources, video tutorials skills development, step by step guides etc. Students can upload completed work to their learning portal for assessment and constructive written feedback from their teacher how to progress further.

Additionally students are invited to discuss with an experienced and qualified personal tutor their progress and receive feedback, encouragement and support.

Students may also benefit by using our interactive learning portal discussion forums and live chats with fellow students and teachers.

What you will study


The course comprises three distinct stages; Exploratory stage, Pathway stage and finally Confirmatory stage.


Exploratory Stage

In the exploratory/first stage students will explore and experiment with and gain an understanding of the principals of and have practical experience of Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, 3D Design, Fashion/Textiles and Lens Based Media.

Pathway Stage

In the pathway/second stage students will reflect on previous experience consider their strengths, area of interest and ambition to then specialise in one of the pathways areas.

Specialise pathway areas

  • Fine Art

  • Fashion/Textiles

  • Visual Communication

  • 3D design

  • Photo-Media

  • Creative Media 

Confirmatory Stage

The third and final stage ask students to confirm their learning by undertaking a final major portfolio, a self-set project (portfolio) using the learning and experiences from previous exploratory and pathway stages.

Entry Requirements

  • 16 years or over, 1 ‘A’ level preferably in a creative subject, GCSE / IGCSE Art or photography or good portfolio or equivalent.

  • Mature students require no exam qualifications, some ability to draw and paint and a desire to succeed are required. Send an example of your work if unsure of level.

  • For International students, equivalent overseas qualifications will be considered along with an IELTS score of 5.0 (with a minimum of 4.5 in each skill), or equivalent. 


*However, exceptions may be made in the case of exceptional ability it may be possible to make an offer to an applicant who will benefit greatly from being enrolled on the course. As with all applications, a portfolio of the candidates’ work will be reviewed by the course team and the final decision on suitability will be made by the director of study and the principle


You will be assessed continually through practical project work, coursework, written assignments and presentations. Your Final Major Project will be assessed externally by the exam board and this will decide your final grade. You will be kept informed every step of the way on how to improve your work.


The Foundation Course is often required by universities, because it gives students an opportunity to develop their own work and create a strong portfolio. From the Foundation Course students can go on to study a range of Higher Education degree courses or explore alternative routes in Creative industries.

The Foundation course is the preferred progression route to higher education art and design (BA (Hons) specialised study and the majority of students use this course as a stepping stone into higher education. 

We have an excellent track record of placing students at prestigious universities and art colleges/institutes throughout the UK