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Graphic Design Course

Higher National Diploma

Ballyfermot College of Further Education

Photo composite for Charles Dickens 'Bleak House' created in Photoshop by Edel Quinn

Left to right, photo composite for ‘All My Sons’ by Lukasz Sitnikow, Vector illustration for ‘Excalibur’ by Helen O’Higgins and ‘Venison Packaging’ Design by Ruth TuttyVector illustration for John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ by Helen O’Higgins

Course Code: AGH – Duration: 2 years full-time

Get your graphic design career off to the perfect start at Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE). Our award winning two year Higher National Diploma in graphic design course bcfe, has been producing skilled industry professionals for over twenty years. Our highly-regarded programme enables students to develop strong technical and visual language skills. As a result, this much coveted skill set allows our students to respond to a wide-range of challenging design problems. Our graduates are much sought after in industry as a result of having completed the graphic design course at BCFE.

Our award-winning students (OFFSET Future Illustrator 2019ICAD UPSTARTS 2023 & YCN 2019) produce industry-ready portfolios so they can move straight into a graphic design career. Graduates can also choose to continue their studies to degree level with advanced entry if they wish, though this isn’t needed to get a design job after finishing the programme at BCFE.

For more information on the entry requirements for the HND in Graphic Design at BCFE go to the Application Page.

The BTEC HND qualification is recognised worldwide and is equivalent to a level six-plus on the QQI National Framework.

Vector illustration for Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Pitt and the Pendulum' by Emily Good

Vector illustration for Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Pitt and the Pendulum’ by Emily Good

“I was delighted to be able to start my Graphic Design career as soon as I finished the course. The Graphic Design Course at BCFE had fully prepared me for the job and I am so grateful for that.”

Emily Good

Senior Graphic Designer , Conference Partners International

To see a range of student design work from editorial to digital illustration go to the Gallery page.

Graphic Design Course Content

The class size is a max of twenty four students, with twenty two hours of class contact a week. Though students will need to put in extra study hours outside of class time. However during class each of our students has access to an iMac desktop computer in college. We also issue an Adobe Creative Cloud License to each student, which allows access to the Adobe software from anywhere. The graphic design course students also have access to A2, A3 and A4 printing in the Graphic Design course studio.

Elephant Man photo composite poster design by Cliodhna Ryan

Photo Composite Illustration for ‘The Elephant Man’ by Cliodhna Ryan

The key subject areas students will cover in Year 1

  • Digital Illustration using a range of software from vector to digital painting and compositing.
  • Photography, digital and traditional darkroom techniques.
  • Typographic skills starting with the very basics and building to the complex details of this discipline.
  • Ideas and concept generation to develop an effective process for generating good design solutions.
  • History of design which examines the origins of visual communication and how it evolved to the present day.

The key subject areas students will cover in Year 2

  • UX Design, which explores the role of the end user in design.
  • Web Design including basic HTML and CSS as well as the structure and layout of good web design.
  • Corporate Identity from basic logo design to branding guidelines.
  • Editorial Design using industry standard software to manage copy and images together.
  • Motion Graphics and it’s ever expanding role in graphic design.
Editorial Design for article about ‘Yayoi Kusama’ by Chiara Tallarini

Editorial Design for article about ‘Yayoi Kusama’ by Chiara Tallarini

“Having completed a university degree in Modern Languages and Literature, I decided to go back to study Graphic Design. The two-year course at BCFE gave me practical tools and covered all the most important aspects of graphic design – such as typography, illustration, editorial design, web design and animation. I would totally recommend it!” 

Chiara Tallarini, YCN Award Winner & ICAD UpStart 2019

Digital Marketing Executive & Graphic Designer, Bua Marketing

Ideal for Undergraduates & Postgraduates

Our course is ideal for both undergraduates and postgraduates who are looking to acquire the full skill set needed to become a graphic designer. We have developed the course to get people into paid design work after just two years. As a result the course is intense and challenging, but very rewarding.

Looking to Change Career

If you are looking to change career and have always thought about becoming a graphic designer, then this is the course for you. As a result of completing the Graphic Design Course at BCFE we have helped people from all types of careers to successfully make that change.

Vector Illustration Poster for ‘Excalibur’ by Sarah Flanagan

Vector Illustration for John Boorman’s “Excalibur’ by Sarah Flanagan

Graphic Design Employment

Our graduates can go straight into work without the need for further training, thanks to the skill set they have acquired. For example students learn all the fundamentals of good graphic design. Such as developing sound concepts right through to the subtle details of good typography. We also pride ourselves on teaching students how to use and apply software to a professional standard. For example by requiring students to use the software, in their own unique design work, they must learn the skills. As a result of not relying of step by step notes, students really get to grips with the software. Both our software and design training covers traditional print media right through to motion and interactive graphics.

Advanced Entry to Third Level

Graduates of the Graphic Design course can gain advanced entry to second and third year of Vis-Com BA programmes in both Ireland and the UK. Though what year of advanced entry is subject to the quality of the graduates portfolio.

Photo Composite poster Design for Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children by Margarita Galli

Photographic Composite Poster Design for ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ by Margarita Galli

How Much Does the Graphic Design Course Cost?

There are no tuition fees for Irish or EU citizens undertaking a PLC Course. However all students are required to pay a Resource Fee, which covers registration by the certifying body, student services, books and equipment where the item purchased becomes your personal property. Non-EU citizens will be required to pay a more substantial fee, as laid down by the Department of Education.

A list of fees is available from the General Office, telephone: (01) 6269421 or by email from

A non-refundable deposit of 40 euro is required to secure a place on the course. Though at enrolment that amount will be held as a down payment on the charges outlined above. The charges for certification/registration with certifying bodies may vary, depending on the certification authority involved.