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VCE Art and Design

Visual Communication Design Unit 3: Visual Communication Design Practices


Visual Communication and Design Units 1 and 2 are recommended, however, students who wish to apply without having completed these should discuss this with the Head of Learning - Senior School Art and Design.

Course Description

In this unit students gain an understanding of the process designers employ to structure their thinking and communicate ideas with clients, target audiences, other designers and specialists. Through practical investigation and analysis of existing visual communications, students gain insight into how the selection of methods, media and materials, and the application of design elements and design principles, can create effective visual communications for specific audiences and purposes. They investigate and experiment with the use of manual and digital methods, media and materials to make informed decisions when selecting suitable approaches for the development of their own design ideas and concepts.


Areas of Study

Analysis and practice in context

In this area of study students explore a range of existing visual communications in the communication, environmental and industrial design fields. The focus of each design field is:

• communication – the design and presentation of visual information to convey ideas and concepts;

• environmental – the design and presentation of visual information for built/constructed environments;

• industrial – the design and presentation of visual information for manufactured products.

Students analyse how design elements, design principles, methods, media and materials are used in visual communications in these fields to achieve particular purposes for targeted audiences. Students draw on their findings from the analysis to inform the creation of their own visual communications and articulate these connections. In response to given stimulus material, students create visual communications for different purposes, audiences and contexts using a range of manual and digital methods, media and materials. The visual communications created by students include two- and three-dimensional presentation drawings.

Design industry practice

In this area of study students investigate how the design process is applied in industry to create visual communications. Students develop an understanding of the practices used to support collaboration between designers, specialists and clients when designing and producing visual communications. They select contemporary designers from the communication, environmental and industrial design fields for their study. Students develop an understanding of the function of the brief and approaches to its development. They examine how design and production decisions made during the design process are influenced by a range of factors. Students develop an understanding of the ethical and legal obligations of designers and clients with respect to ownership of intellectual property and how these obligations may affect decision making.

Developing a brief and generating ideas

In this area of study students gain a detailed understanding of three stages of the design process: development of a brief, research and the generation of ideas. Students develop an understanding of the contents of a brief and the critical role that it plays in forming the direction and boundaries for their research and generation of ideas. They apply this knowledge when developing a single brief that proposes and defines two distinct communication needs for a real or an imaginary client.

When defining the two needs for the client, students establish two clearly different directions that are distinct in their intentions and that will result in separate final presentation formats. For each need, consideration must be given to the target audience, the purposes of the communication and the possible contexts. These become the criteria to inform further decisions in the design process.

Students must apply the design process twice; once for each need. Students undertake research to gather information about each of the needs of the client and for inspiration in responding to the brief. Ideas are generated and explored, and possible methods, media and materials are investigated. Books, magazines, films, popular media, the internet, photographs, interviews, exhibitions and site visits can serve as sources of inspiration and information. Copyright and source acknowledgment conventions are observed. The findings of the research and explorations are collated and then analysed using annotations and sketches to explain how they may be used to satisfy the brief. Students use both observational and visualisation drawings to investigate and document their ideas and approaches. They apply design thinking to organise their ideas. This work informs the evaluation and selection of design ideas that are developed into design concepts and presented as final visual communications in Unit 4.


Outcomes Assessment Tasks Marks Allocated
(school-assessed coursework)

Analysis and practice in context






In response to given stimulus material, create three visual communications designs for different contexts, purposes and audiences. These visual communications will include evidence of:

• two- or three-dimensional presentation drawing

• use of manual and digital methods.












An analysis of the connections between the three visual communications and the stimulus material using one of the following forms:

• annotated visual communications

• written or oral report supported by visual evidence.

Design Industry Practice: 
Discuss the practices of a contemporary designer from each of the design fields and explain factors that influence these practices.

Any one or a combination of the following tasks:

  • A written report.
  • Short and extended responses.
  • Structured questions.
  • An annotated visual report.

Apply design thinking in preparing a brief.

Apply design thinking skills to prepare a brief, undertake research and generate a range of ideas relevant to the brief.

Unit 3 Outcome 3 is assessed in conjunction with Unit 4 Outcomes 1 and 2
Total Marks 100

Overall Final Assessment

Graded Assessment Title Assessment Exam Duration Contribution to Study Score (%)
1 Units 3 & 4 Coursework School-assessed   25
2 School-assessed Task School-assessed   40
3 Written examination November 1.5 hours 35


Reproduced by permission of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Victoria, Australia: