Graphic Design

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Are you creative? Do you want to design your own content and play a great role in many areas such as marketing? There are a large number of courses available in this area and if you think this is the career for you then take a look at some of the information we have gathered below. 

What is graphic design? 

Graphic design is the art of creating visual content in order to communicate a certain message. Examples include magazines, advertisements, labels and signs. 

What third level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Graphic Design
  • Graphic and Digital Design
  • Education (Design Graphics and Construction)
  • 3D Design and Graphics (PLC)
  • Advertising and Graphic Design (PLC)
  • Art and Design Portfolio with Illustration & Graphics (PLC)
  • Graphic Design and Illustration (PLC)
  • Multimedia with Graphic Design (PLC)

Studying Graphic Design in college

There are both PLC courses and undergraduate courses to choose from in this area. PLC course will last a year while undergraduate courses will range from 3-4 years. Courses in this area have a  large emphasis on practical work. 

In a PLC course you will learn the basics of graphic design, what it is, what work is involved and gain a foundation to help you decide if this is the area for you. Graphic design is often studied with another related area such as advertising, digital design or illustration in a PLC. 

In an undergraduate course you will help you to gain experience in areas such as a variety of media and utilise different communication tools in order to get across a certain message. Your first year will act as a foundation year and allow you to delve into areas such as design principles, professional practice, contextual studies and visual research, to name a few. 

You will gain all the relevant skills and knowledge to work in the area. As the course goes on, you will begin to look at more complex and in depth areas and put your knowledge to practice. There is often the opportunity to take work experience/placement in graphic design courses to help you become both comfortable and familiar with the area.  

Career options 

Following on from a PLC course you can study at postgraduate level and should you want to specialise in a related area, there are also postgraduate courses available. You can work as a graphic designer or specialise in a related subject. Some related jobs are listed below. 

Important skills to have in this area include excellent IT skills, the ability to use photo-editing and software, good time management skills, strong communication skills, attention to detail, very accurate with work, keep up with the latest trends in a commercial environment, strong communication skills and good writing skills.

Potential employers may include advertising companies, brand agencies, media publishers – books, magazines, newspapers, television and broadcast companies, the packaging industry and in-house graphic design. 

Related Jobs

  • Graphic designer
  • Artist
  • Marketing and Advertising 
  • Creative director
  • Illustrator
  • Animation
  • Media/Multimedia

Further Study

Visit for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should

include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

PLC courses will accept Leaving Certificate results. Specific courses may have their own requirements. For example, some courses may have a certain interview process or expect a portfolio of sorts so it is always important to look into these things in depth. 

Often, an interview or portfolio can be required in order to get into certain courses. The highest points required for a course in this area in 2020 were 855 points including an interview/portfolio. The lowest requirement was 179 points.  

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • It is predicted that there will be a rise in the demand for graphic designers in the coming decade!
  • Graphic designers play a critical role in marketing and are great assets to businesses and organisations in advertising and promoting products and services
  • There are seven different elements of graphic design – line, colour, texture, shape, type, space and image.


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Aedín Dunne

Computer Programming
Web Design


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