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Art & Design

Why choose this subject?

Every successful company knows that creative thinking and good design are important factors in running a world-changing business. In the 21st century job market, your creativity isn’t just a way of exploring your artistic interests, it can also open the door to exciting career opportunities.

Within the Art and Design A-level, there are six specialist areas of which you can choose two to focus on. This means that you could be doing a combination from ‘sculpture with graphic design’ to ‘fashion photography with set design’. Surrounded by students from all the different specialist areas, you will have the chance to share ideas, get inspiration and potentially work collaboratively across different disciplines. There are few A-levels that offer such flexibility for students to tailor the direction of their work to their personal fascinations and interests.

If you enjoy project-based learning and working towards a visual/practical outcome that you have crafted and refined over a period of time, then this course will give you the skills and knowledge to develop as a creative practitioner.

Who is this course for?

Throughout the course, you will respond to briefs that require you to be a curious and critical user of the world around you. You will therefore need to be independent, motivated, organised and prepared to take risks.


We will interview students based on a portfolio of work so it is most suitable for students who have already studied GCSE Art and Design, or D&T Resistant Materials or Graphics (preferably achieving a B or above) and have experience of creative projects.


There will be some critical and contextual analysis, which requires students to write about their work and the work of others. For this reason, we recommend a grade 4/5 or above in English, although we will interview based on a portfolio of work and your references. If you don’t meet these requirements, it does not mean we would not consider you but would expect some evidence of experience in realising your own ideas through a visual medium.

Course details

At Six 21, we will offer three specialist areas, or ‘endorsements’ within the Art and Design course, these are: Craft and Design, Graphic Communication and Three Dimensional Design.


These could involve working in: ceramics, woodwork, print media, textiles or Computer Aided Design. We have a flexible workspace and will try to facilitate the processes and materials you want to work with.


You will be set a series of project briefs, which are structured around themes and inquiry questions and you will be expected to show evidence of your process towards a final outcome. You will be encouraged to experiment with different approaches and ways of presenting your work. Because the assessment objectives are based on your ability to evidence a process, we are not restricted by a fixed content curriculum. However, there are key skills and areas of knowledge that we will introduce you to so that you are aware of the distinct history the subject has within the domain of Art and Design.


The course takes place over two years and involves two assessed units: Unit 1 includes two or more projects based on titles provided by the school and Unit 2 is an examination project with a set brief decided by the exam board.


The Art Department staff are highly qualified and experienced in the field of art and design so will be able to advise you on whichever route you choose to take. As a school, we have a growing network of partners in the creative industries and links to local and international business so there are many opportunities for collaboration and personal development.

Higher education and career opportunities

Students may go on to higher education in art or design based courses and then join the world of advertising as graphic designers, get into prop design for the film industry or become architects, sculptors, web designers, to name just a few. There are countless routes to employment in the creative industries.


Others might study this course due to their enjoyment of the subject and as a way to develop their creative and expressive abilities without the intention of getting a job in the fields of art and design as an adult.


However, if going into higher education as an art or design student, it is common to study a foundation course which gives a broad base of experience in the arts prior to deciding on one of the many courses offered by universities. It also allows you to develop your personal portfolio before applying to art school.

Higher education and career opportunities

  • ‘Icon’, ‘Wallpaper’ and ‘Frame’ are all great magazines to get a feel of what is happening now in the design field.

  • Blogs:




Design Theory:


  • Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, Victor Papanek

  • The Craftsman, Richard Sennett


Three-Dimensional Design:

  • 100 Chairs in 100 Days in 100 Ways, Martino Gamper

  • Printing Things, Unfold


Graphic Communication:

  • Tactile, High Touch Visuals, Sven Ehmann 

  • I swear I use no Art at all, Joost Grootens

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