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VCE Art and Design

Visual Communication Design Unit 1: Introduction to Visual Communication Design


There are no prerequisites for this unit although students are encouraged to have undertaken two units of Visual Communication Design in the Middle Years and a semester in Year 10.

Course Description

This unit focusses on using visual language to communicate messages, ideas and concepts. This involves acquiring and applying design thinking skills, as well as drawing skills to create messages, ideas and concepts, both visible and tangible. Students practise their ability to draw what they observe and they use visualisation drawing methods to explore their own ideas and concepts. Students develop an understanding of the importance of presentation drawings to clearly communicate their final visual communications. In this unit students are introduced to four stages of the design process: research, generation of ideas, development of concepts and refinement of visual communications.


Areas of Study

Drawing as a means of communication

This area of study introduces the knowledge and skills that underpins some of the stages in the design process of generating ideas, developing concepts and refinement of visual communications. It focusses on the development of visual language and design thinking. Students use observational, visualisation and presentation drawing as the means by which ideas and concepts are communicated. Through observational drawing students develop their understanding of the aesthetics, appearance and function of objects and structures. Students investigate ways of representing form and surface textures, and apply different materials and media to render drawings. Students use three-dimensional drawing methods such as paraline and perspective to create three-dimensional freehand drawings that maintain proportion. Students use third-angle orthogonal drawing as a means to represent three-dimensional objects.

Students use observational drawings as a starting point for visualising new design possibilities. They creatively use a range of media to generate drawings that represent alternative visualisations. Freehand visualisation drawing methods are used to make thinking visible and to communicate ideas.

Drawing is also used as a means of presentation. Students learn how to produce presentation drawings to resolve ideas, refine techniques and to demonstrate an understanding of the application of selected media and materials.

Design elements and design principles

This area of study focusses on design elements and design principles. Students experiment with these elements and principles, using manual and digital drawing and methods such as photography, digital photography, print-making and collage to visualise ideas and concepts. Students undertake the design process stages of generation of ideas and development of concepts for a stated purpose and develop knowledge of how design elements and principles are used together.

Students investigate the purposes behind creating particular visual communications, and consider how the relationship between design elements and design principles contributes to achieving these stated purposes. Students develop knowledge of their legal obligations regarding ownership of images and apply this knowledge when visually communicating ideas and concepts.

Visual communications in context

Visual communication design draws on a broad range of sources to support creativity and innovation. Historical and cultural practices and the values and interests of different societies influence innovation in visual communication designs. In this area of study, students explore how visual communications have been influenced by social and cultural factors and past and contemporary visual communication practices in the design fields of communication, industrial and environmental design. Students consider the works of designers in terms of their visual language and the use of materials, methods, media, design elements, design principles and presentation formats.



Assessment Tasks
(school-assessed coursework)

Create drawings for different purposes using a range of drawing methods, media and materials.

  • Draw from direct observation, in proportion, and render the drawings.
  • Complete instrumental drawings using a range of paraline  and perspective drawing methods.
  • Use of visualisation drawings to generate ideas for a conceptual finished presentation drawing of an environmental or industrial themed object.

Select and apply design elements and design principles to create visual communications that satisfy stated purposes.

Apply design elements and principles through freehand drawing and computer-generated design using the visual communication design process.

Describe how visual communications in a design field have been influenced by past and contemporary practices, and by social and cultural factors.

Written report supported by visual material explaining the economic, social and technological influences on visual communication practices.  Historical and social research into past and contemporary designs from different fields of design.

Overall Final Assessment

End of Semester Examination –  1.5 hours.

Information can be obtained from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Victoria, Australia: