Edexcel BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Graphic Design

Provided by Beacon International College

Course introduction


The Higher National Diploma is designed to focus on:
  • Providing an education al foundation for a range of careers in graphic design
  • Providing opportunities for students to gain an internationally recognised vocationally specific qualification to enter employment in graphic design or progress to higher education vocational qualifications
  • Developing the knowledge, understanding and skills of students in the field of graphic design
  • Providing opportunities for students to focus on the development of higher-level skills in a graphic design context
  • Providing opportunities for students to develop a range of skills and techniques and attributes essential for successful performance in working life

Edexcel BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Graphic Design: Course Structure

The Higher National Diploma course comprises of sixteen subject units of study and seven areas of common skills.

The subject units are as follows:

Level 1

- Computer Applications in Art and Design

The aim of this unit is to introduce learners to the creative potential of the computer in the context of 2D design. It will provide the opportunity to explore software and its relevance to the area of study. It aims to provide an overview of a variety of painting, drawing, typographic and desktop publishing software. It encourages combinations of traditional and digital design practices, leading to innovative presentations.

- Historical and Contextual Referencing

This unit introduces learners to the cultural history which informs current thought and debate in design. Emphasis is on research and study skills and learners acquiring source material and knowledge. Presentation skills will also be applied in a practical context.

- Ideas Generation

This unit introduces a number of idea-generating techniques to demonstrate that creative thinking is a skill that can be continually developed. Learners will originate ideas which fulfil graphic communication objectives. Learners will also be required to use mark-making techniques to express their ideas on paper and they will be able to identify the cultural contexts in which their ideas work.

- Drawing Techniques and Approaches

In this unit learners will be encouraged to develop visual thinking and creativity as fundamental to all design work. It will enable learners to experiment with drawing approaches and techniques in order to broaden their experience and understanding of visual language. Learners will need to use materials and media which are specific to design, as well as unusual materials and media which will extend their visual language and creativity.

- Design Principles

In this unit learners will develop an understanding of how attitudes of designers influence the appearance and function of graphics products. These attitudes involve the ethics of commerce, and the changing values of society which determine the context within which the graphic designer operates.

The unit establishes principles and encourages learners to develop their own distinctive approach to design. Work produced for this unit should be in the learners' chosen design specialism.

- Advertising Campaigns

This unit is about the production of advertising. Learners will study the operations and functions of advertising agencies, learn how advertising objectives are defined and gain an understanding of what goes into developing advertising strategies. By devising advertisements in response to advertising briefs, learners will develop an understanding of how advertising campaigns work.

- Business Practice

This unit provides an introduction to professional business practices and freelance opportunities within design. It develops learners' knowledge of business operations and freelance procedures together with a variety of marketing strategies.

- Animation Techniques

This unit aims to provide the learner with an introduction to a variety of animation techniques used in multimedia and video. The unit will equip the learner with the knowledge and skills needed to select the technique most suitable for meeting production requirements.

- Visual Communication

The aim of this unit is to explore meanings, messages and information that are communicated in design work. Learners will explore professionals' work to develop understanding of how they use visual language to communicate with an intended audience, purchaser or user. Learners will apply their skill and understanding of visual language to create effective work.

Level 2

- Professional Studies

This unit is intended to help learners relate practical studies in design to a professional context. It deals with legislation affecting designers and develops understanding of professional ethics and responsibilities. The unit requires learners to examine business organisations and to compare job roles of designers working in different kinds of organisations. Learners are also expected to investigate the ethics and responsibilities of designers in relation to society and the environment.

- Critical Studies

This unit provides the learner with knowledge, understanding and skills to define and research a historical context and relate it to the present. It also provides an opportunity for learners to evaluate these references within the context of their chosen specialism.

The aim of the unit is for the learner to have developed an independent view of one area of design context that relates closely to their own work.

- Ideas in Context

This unit extends and develops ideas generation. Learners are required to generate ideas to fulfil complex graphic communication objectives involving commercial constraints. Learners will adapt ideas to suit a range of different applications, and work with others in generating and developing ideas. Learners must also prepare ideas for professional presentation.

- Corporate Identity

In this unit learners apply design to corporate identity through an understanding of the historical origins, philosophy and contexts in which corporate identity has evolved. Learners will also gain practical experience in developing and applying creative and effective solutions through logotypes, symbols and styles of presenting the corporate message.

- Multimedia Web Authoring

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to produce interactive web pages that have multimedia content. The unit will cover the creation of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) code through to the inclusion of Java applets to enhance web page design and production.

- Packaging

In this unit learners examine packaging as a starting point for gaining knowledge and confidence in producing new and radical packaging solutions. Consideration of practical, cosmetic and environmental issues will be combined with awareness of the needs of current technology in packaging manufacturing and a creative and practical exploration of materials and processes.

- Communicating with Images

This unit requires learners to explore the potential of visual imagery as a means of communication. The study of visual communication and codes used in different cultures and sub-cultures will be an important aspect of this exploration.

Learners will be expected to recognise the importance of style and genre in visual imagery and to examine the roles of time and sequence in visual communication.

Common Skills
  • Managing & Developing Self
  • Working with & Relating with Others
  • Communicating
  • Managing Task & Solving Problems
  • Applying Numeracy
  • Applying Technology
  • Applying Design & Creativity


The course is mainly conducted in the classroom via face-to-face learning which encourages student-teacher interaction. Students are encouraged to attend field trips and bazaars organised by the school to encourage experiential learning.


This course is assessed by outcome-based coursework which involves doing a report, presentation or project work.

Entry Requirements to Edexcel BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Graphic Design
  • Diploma
  • China Senior Secondary Year AND IELTS 5.5 *
  • SMU 3 AND IELTS 5.5 *
  • GCE ‘A’ levels - 2 passes
  • ITE Higher NITEC 2.5
  • STPM - 2 passes
  • Vietnam Grade 12 AND IELTS 5.5 *
  • Any other equivalent qualifications
*Those without IELTS 5.5 are required to attend an English Course at a fee.


Candidates who successfully complete all 16 units of this programme will be given the internationally recognised Edexcel BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Graphic Design awarded by Edexcel International (UK).

Course Schedule for Edexcel BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Graphic Design

This Award takes approximately 960 hours excluding the development and implementation of coursework.

  • 3 - 4 units per semester
  • Recommended Duration : 1½ years (Fast Track)
  • Recommended Duration : 2 years (Normal Track)

  • 2 units per semester
  • Recommended Duration : 2 years 8 months

Class Size

Class size: Maximum 25 pax per class for practical and tutorial lessons
                 Maximum 35 pax for lecture

Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to demonstrate the following skills:
  1. Synthesis of a range of concepts, knowledge and skills relating to Graphic Design
  2. Application of complex theories to practical, realistic work situations in the Graphic Design sector
  3. Independence of approach to study and the generation of Graphic Design evidence
  4. Ability to engage with complex and/or unpredictable situations in the Graphic Design contexts
  5. Ability to take responsibility to manage and direct their own and others’ activities
  6. Insight and judgement in relation to the margins and consequences of error
  7. Research and investigative skills
  8. Responsiveness to change and ability to multi-task
  9. Ability to innovate and work in a creative way
  10. Demonstrate the ability to work independently as well as effectively as a member of a team.

Fees & Funding

Please enquire below for course fees and financial grants: