Intent Statement

The Graphics curriculum at Key Stage 3 aims to give all students comprehensive understanding of the range of visual choices that are made by designers in variety of contexts and how they influence our everyday decision making. By looking at and creating consumer profiles students gain an understanding of working to an audience. The aim here is to allow students to be able to not only decipher and understand, but also to question the visual world, making them informed and understanding consumers.

The curriculum is designed to give students a varied range of subject specific IT knowledge, as well as building Graphics knowledge such as rendering, typography and Photoshop.  Students study a variety of skills within Graphics including drawing and keyboard use that helps to build and develop fine motor muscles, improving dexterity which not only helps students to continue to become better at drawing but also can improve the carrying out of other tasks, for example improving handwriting. Students study a range of digital techniques as contextually many students are coming into Year 7 as ‘digital natives’ but predominantly the digital world with which they are accustomed is that of mobile phone technology. Graphics teaches students how to use a wide range of computer-based skills that will continue to develop our pupils as proficient digital users. For example from year 7 students look at the use of Shortcut key combinations e.g. CTRL+ C for copy and CTRL + V for paste, this kind of knowledge considerably impacts the speed with which one can work on a computer and improves efficiency, something which in a predominantly digital world is crucial to their ability to, not only complete work in other subjects but also later when they begin their careers.

The curriculum is designed to ensure that students are either building schema in one subject and cementing it in other DT subjects or vice versa. To achieve this the Graphics curriculum has been designed to work with the rotation system of ADT, creating a curriculum that is both spiralled horizontally across the year but also vertically through the course of KS3. For example, in year 7 a student may look at analysis of a product or image in Graphics and then continue to produce product analysis across Resistant Materials and Textiles, finishing the year analysing artists’ work in Art therefore developing this a schema across the year. Although this schema will be slightly different based on a specific student’s rotation, for example, with a more perceptive product analysis in Textiles as students are returning to this disciplinary knowledge for a third time this year and with a wider range of substantive knowledge at their disposal, all students would be thoroughly grounded in all ADT disciplines. This may then encourage students in year 8 for example, to use a range of analysis and compare and contrast to inform visual research that they develop into their design ideas for the packaging project.

Year 7

Students in year 7 begin by developing offline knowledge with each of the drawing-based elements in the project is designed to inform and contextualise the computer techniques they will learn. For example, rendering their Lego character on paper before using it as the design on their packaging. The disciplinary content they will learn focuses on computer and drawing best practice, and how to use the computer to help create efficiency. The project is taught sequentially beginning with hand drawn elements before digital work begins. The reasons for this are twofold, because students coming into year 7 will predominantly have experience of drawing from primary school, meaning that this knowledge is being built upon rather than introducing new knowledge straight away and because it is the natural start point of the design process. The sequence encourages students to consider a range of design options presented to them and develops their ability to adapt and refine their work before moving onto working with it digitally. For example, students learn to create and design their own typography sample before they edit the type for their packaging. The project seeks to introduce key programmes such as Microsoft Office and Photoshop, starting with these programme packages as they are the key programmes used in industry. Students will also often come into school with a very basic understanding of some Microsoft Office programmes, meaning that we can build upon this knowledge to introduce the more complex Photoshop tools.

Year 8

In Year 8, they build upon prior knowledge in Graphics by exploring a packaging project where students work in groups to choose their product and target audience, therefore helping develop the ability to be analytical, encouraging students to think carefully about the design and development of packaging and understand how designers in industry use subtle visuals to influence our choices. They will explore packaging specific to the product they have chosen, with particular focus on its effectiveness and aesthetics but also identifying common features to ensure they are using in their packaging. This then leads into finding packaging that students like visually and exploring what it is about the packaging that interests them, encouraging students to delve into their own opinions and be able to articulate them. They will use maths knowledge to design and build a range of nets to explore the physical element of packaging design, that is, how the shape of a product can impact consumer decisions. They will gain experience working as a group, similar to how designers would work in industry, to create a response to the brief before each designing and creating their own packaging based upon the ideas they have formulated. The project builds upon the knowledge learned in year 7 while also looking at working to a brief and using consumer profiles to influence and inform visual choices made.

Year 9

In Year 9, the Graphic project seeks to combine art and design learning with thinking like an art director and project management. Students build digital artist knowledge through photography and type, as well as disciplinary knowledge of project management and analysis. In the magazine project, students build upon KS3 schema developed so far to introduce more complex substantive content of layout and type. Students are taught how to take high quality portrait photography, exploring photographers work to build high level art knowledge of artist analysis, having developed this knowledge across KS3, to be able to break down and decipher the photographers work. Encouraging students to explore these visuals means there is open discussion of PSHE themes of self-worth and body image, students explore not only the ability and ease of manipulating images but also how commonplace the practice is. These themes are explored at a time where students are particularly vulnerable to issues of self-esteem and unrealistic societal expectations of beauty. By exploring image manipulation, students become more aware of how imagery is changed to fit a particular aesthetic and how important knowing the difference is between using Photoshop to create art and using Photoshop to alter the human figure to fit into what is considered “the correct” look. Students will become more aware of the content they are ingesting and will be more willing to question the ethics of such practises. They explore the fundamental rules of type setting and layout looking at publications that follow the rules as well as discussing those that break them and what the visual impact of this is. Students have, in other years, looked at typography and creation of type, in the magazine project they will move to look at type setting and the importance of text from a visual standpoint. Students have studied title fonts and the creation of fonts over the course of KS3 gaining an understanding of the rules of typography, year 9 seeks to develop this knowledge by teaching students how to think about the visual importance of copy text, and why the font used impacts readability as well as the overall design of the page.  The project enables students to tie together understanding of visuals with high level design choices of text and layout. The project is designed to stack practical digital manipulation skills in a logical sequence, providing students with a proficiency in industry standard software.


High-Level Plan

Foundation CourseExtending Skills, knowledge, attitude and conceptsDeveloping skills and learning concepts
Base Component: Repeating Patterns
Component 1: What is typography and how do we use it?
Component 2: How do we use art skills to begin our ideas in Graphics?
Component 3: How do we use computer-based design skills in our work?
Component 4: How do you draw using one-point perspective?
Component 5: Evaluation of work
Component 1: How do we use visual research to influence design?
Component 2: The role of an Art Direction team, how designers work in a team
Component 3: Using design processes- How do we use drawn elements to begin designing our ideas?
Component 4: Digital Design elements
Component 5: Evaluation of work
Component 1: How do we use visual research to influence design?
Component 2: How do drawn elements form part of the design process?
Component 3: How do you plan for and execute a photography shoot?
Component 4: How do we use digital design elements to complete the design process?
Component 5: Evaluation of work


Medium-Term Plans

Year 7

Year 8

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