• Code: DA (Year One); DB (Year Two)
  • Certification: BBTEC Higher National Certificate in Art & Design - Graphic Design Level 6+                                                     equivalence on the NFQ achieved after year 1                                                                                                           BTEC Higher National Diploma in Art & Design - Graphic Design Level 6+                                                           equivalence on the NFQ achieved after year 2 (603/0909/X)
  • Duration: Two Years


Learners undertake a two year Higher National Diploma course which qualifies them to work in this industry. This course will enable learners to explore modern graphic design procedures and develop problem-solving skills. All learners have access to the most up to date computer design facilities using industry standard software such as Adobe suite - Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design and Dreamweaver, internet access, a modern design studio and a well-stocked library of art and design texts. Final year learners will exhibit their work at our end-of-year exhibition in the Institute.

Programme of Study

HNC - Year One

• Professional Development
• Contextual Studies
• Individual Project
• Techniques and Processes
• Typography
• Graphic Design Practices
• Printmaking
• Photographic Practices

HND - Year Two

• Professional Practice
• Applied Practice Collaborative Project
• Advanced Graphic Design Studies
• Web Design
• Branding and Identity
• Digital Animation

Components subject to change

Entry Requirements
  • Leaving Certificate or equivalent with some higher papers
  • QQI Level 5 award in a related discipline
  • Mature Applicants – experience will be considered in lieu of formal qualifications

Places are offered following a successful interview. Learners should be computer literate. Applicants must bring a portfolio/collection of work to the interview.

Career Opportunities
  • Design
  • Web and Graphics
  • Page Design and Layout
  • Interactive Media
  • Packaging
Higher Education Progression*

UK and Northern Ireland Universities:

  • Final year of an Honours Degree in Graphic Design (Apply through UCAS system)

Irish Universities & IT’s:

Learners may proceed via advanced entry to Honours Degree courses for eg:


  • Visual Communications Design Level 8 (DL826) (Year 3)

IT Tallaght

  • Advertising & Marketing Communications  (Year 2)

Carlow IT (Wexford Campus)

  • Visual Communications & Design Level 8 (CW088) Year2


  • Product Design (DT001) Year 2/3;
  • Visual & Critical Studies (DT533) Year 3;
  • Design – Visual Communications (DT545);
  • Print & Digital Media Technology Management (DT596) Year 3;
  •  Visual Merchandising and Display (DT598) Year 3;


*Places are not guaranteed in these institutes and are subject to students meeting certain criteria. Please consult the individual college websites for more information on application. Information available also at www.cao.ie

Course Co-Ordinator

Emma Deering

Where are they now?

 Meet BIFE students who have graduated from this course...

"My background in school was always technical so deciding to  study graphic design in BIFE was a big step but from the initial interview to the graduation I was always shown that I would have the creative freedom to explore the subjects with a personal approach. I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 years at BIFE, students are like a small family in there.

The best part of all of this was that the graduation in graphic design opened many doors and even before I graduated I was able to secure a Web Designer position with a Silicon Valley ISP. I feel that I'm still learning every day and that for me is one of the most important aspects of this profession, it never gets boring. ." - Rodrigo Cunha


Daniel Skorka

My interest in design came from my teens when I wanted to make movie posters and design for games. After studying Game Design at Level 5 for two years I decided a career in Graphic Design was the one for me. I chose to go to BIFE, the course forced me to explore design avenues I had not considered before and made me aware of how limited I was with my visual understanding and skills.

Since attending BIFE I have become far more adept at understanding how design works and how to deal with the business of Graphic Design in the real world. I made good friends with students from all walks of life and we had the opportunity to collaborate and bounce ideas off each other. The teachers changed my perspective

and gave me a good all round appreciation for design. I am now working in a start-up company as their head designer, and I am very content in the path that BIFE set me on.

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