Design - 3D Design

This is a creative course that allows you to design, make and model, environments, products and artefacts. 3D Design requires high levels of visual awareness, including drawing skills and the ability to work skilfully with tools and materials. You will create functional and decorative designs in response to given starting points or project briefs. To help us give the best advice and guidance it is really beneficial if you have photographs of your art/design work with you when you come to any interview or enrolment.

Awarding Body

Available As

A Level

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What will I study?

A two year A level course is offered to new students.

An AS level course is only available by special arrangement.


How will I learn?

Most projects will start with some visual research which will involve you drawing and photographing man-made and natural objects or environments. You will investigate the work of other artists and designers and develop an understanding of historic and contemporary creative practices. You will be introduced to a range of materials and methods such as clay, woods, metals and plastics and you will learn how these can be manipulated and combined to create new and innovative 3D outcomes.
Projects might include:

• Architectural: exteriors, interiors and landscape
• Product Design: transport, consumer goods, lighting, furniture.
• Jewellery: body adornment, object d’art, fashion accessories.
• Ceramics: functional, ornamental and sculptural pottery.

During the individual project work you will develop a personal direction within your creative work. You will select a theme that will serve as the inspiration and direction for your coursework. You will carry out visual research in the form of drawings and photographs and also experiment with materials and processes to establish what is possible and develop specific skills. You will generate a design brief and record and explore your ideas using sketches and maquettes to communicate your concepts. Your ideas will evolve and develop allowing you to produce your final work to a very high standard. You will work on your personal theme for about two and a half terms allowing you to develop sophisticated concepts and create larger scale outcomes than on the AS course. You will also produce a written essay based on the study of artists and designers that relate to your theme or the materials and techniques in which you choose to work.
This is a creative course and the emphasis is on developing visually exciting work regardless of the materials or processes that you choose to work with.

How will I be assessed?

 Personal Investigation (60%) : This is a long coursework unit that is started during the first year and concluded during the second year.
The Externally Set Assignment (40%) is set by the examining body (Eduqas). You will start your preparation for this in the February of the second year and produce your final work in 15 hours (normally three days) under controlled conditions in the studio.

Both elements are internally assessed and externally moderated.

Are there any trips on this course?

Yes, you will have the opportunity to visit major museums and galleries in this country. You are likely to visit London at least once.  We also take advantage of local exhibitions, opportunities and events, for example  we visited Westonbirt Arbouretum to see the award winning archtitecture and the inspirational landscape that has been created.  In addition we usually offer a residential trip.

You will also be offered visits to universities/careers fairs through the tutorial programme.

We are currently unable to offer trips but expect to resume these as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Are there any extra costs?

You will need to purchase a "starter pack" (Around £30.00) and pay an annual  "workshop fee" of £25.00 to cover the cost of woods, metals plastics, ceramics and other materials that you will use. You may be  asked for additional payment if you use large quantities of materials or very expensive ones.

Investing in good quality materials and equipment will enhance your enjoyment of the course. A PC/laptop that will cope with Design sofware such as Fusion 360 is a valuable asset but not a requirement.

Are there any specific entry requirements?

Grade 4 or a MERIT or DISTINCTION at BTEC Level 2 in Art or Design subject.

If you have not studied a creative visual course at GCSE entry may also be made via portfolio/interview.

Your portfolio should include drawings, photos, things you have made and any other evidence of creative work.

How do I Apply?

The standard procedure applies unless you have not taken a creative visual/practical subject at GCSE(or a vocational equivalent). In this case you will need to collate a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your ability to respond creatively to the 3D world. This is likely to include: drawings, photographs and things you have made. You will need to arrange a time to present your portfolio to the course leader.

What enrichment activities are offered?

Different opportunities arise each year for competitions, community activities, speakers and visits. We always try and select the best of these to offer our students.

What work experience opportunities are there?

There is no requirement to complete work experience on this course but doing so will enhance your application for any future course or apprenticeship. If you intend to apply for a place that is known to be competitive it is advisable to enhance your CV with a relevant and recent placement.

Careers Information


Is there a written exam?

No, however, you still need to be good at English to write your extended written essay and other research, analysis and evaluations.

Will CAD or CAD/CAM be used?

You can use CAD to explore and communicate ideas but most ideas will be explored with traditional sketching. You will have access to a laser cutter and a 3D printer, however the emphasis in this course is on craft skills.

Can I choose my own project?

At the start of the course you will work from some set starting points but you will be able to develop your own personal direction from these. During the personal investigation you can choose your own theme from which to work and produce any type of 3D design outcome.

Do I have to be good at drawing?

Yes. This is an art based course and drawing is essential for recording observations, exploring ideas and communicating designs.

Is this course like resistant materials?

Some aspects are very similar such as the need to be skilful at cutting, shaping and manipulating materials. However, you will find much greater emphasis placed on aesthetic considerations and high level craft skills.  If your GCSE coursework was all computer based you will have to learn some new skills.