Diploma in Design

Diploma in Design

The NVQ Diploma in Design at QCF level 3 will develop knowledge and skills in areas such as researching a design concept, writing and interpreting a design brief and following the design process.

It includes the concepts and techniques used in branding; developing and extending critical and creative thinking skills; and collaborating in a creative process.

Market research, presentations and budgets are also covered.

This qualification is available through approved centres.

Why deliver this qualification

This qualification offers centres flexibility and choice because of the comprehensive range of optional Units.

This NVQ Diploma in Design at QCF level 3 can be offered in any of the following modes:

  • full-time
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes
  • evening provision

Who does this qualification suit

This qualification is suitable for a wide range of candidates, aged 16 and over,  including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • people in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • individuals who wish to start their own business


This Diploma in Design at QCF level 3 is included as a component in the Level 3 Design Apprenticeship framework.

Candidates may wish to do this qualification as part of the Apprenticeship, or on its own.   If candidates complete this qualification as part of the Apprenticeship they will be required to undergo additional training, over and above the core qualification, in areas including employment rights and responsibility and/or English and maths.

They may wish to consider taking this qualification outside of the Apprenticeship framework:

  • to maximise their employment opportunities within this sector, as not all employers offer Apprenticeship places for this particular job role
  • the full Apprenticeship may not be relevant to those who are already in employment but wish to gain recognition and/or certification of their skills
  • if they meet the entry requirements to take the qualification but not those required for the apprenticeship route


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre.


Learners who have achieved the Diploma can progress to job roles relating to their chosen pathways.

  • Desktop Publishing Assistant: with responsibilities such as working as part of a team; designing and producing collateral; and preparing and proofing copy for online and offline marketing and communication materials.
  • Technical Illustrator: with responsibilities such as using illustration to visually communicate information of a technical nature.
  • Junior Graphic Designer: with responsibilities such as working on print-based materials, presentations, art work and graphics; liaising with printers; and taking projects from briefs to completion.
  • Junior Product Designer: with responsibilities such as producing technical drawings, prototypes and samples then developing these further to create a final product.
  • Assistant Copywriter: with responsibilities such as preparing and proofing copy for online and offline, internal and external, marketing communication materials.

They can also do further qualifications to build on their skills, such as:

  • Foundation degrees, for example Art and Design, Graphic or Fashion Design and Manufacturing, Production Design and Development
  • BA Honours Degrees in Product Design Teacher training for Design and Technology
  • other vocational qualifications related to or relevant for the creative and cultural industries


Centres will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Each Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for the Unit.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification Structure

The NVQ Diploma in Design at QCF level 3 requires the learner to achieve a minimum total of 49 credits: 29 credits from the ten Mandatory Units in Group A plus a minimum of 20 credits from the Optional Units in Group B.

Group Award Code: GK34 57 (49 QCF credit points)

Ofqual Qualification Code: 601/5158/4

For information on the structure of this qualification, please refer to the Qualification Structure.

Unit specifications and Assessment Guidance

Unit and Assessment Specifications and Assessment Guidance for these qualifications are available on SQA's Secure website. These are available from your centre's SQA co-ordinator. For further information, please contact mycentre@sqa.org.uk

Assessment Strategy

Creative and Cultural Skills Assessment Principles (234 KB)