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Visual Communication Design

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Learning in Visual Communication Design

In Visual Communication Design, students develop the skills and practice to communicate ideas and messages in visual communications. Visual communication design practice includes the use of design thinking skills and design as a process. Drawing conventions and the use of design elements and principles are the primary components of the visual language that students use to represent concepts, in relation to a specific purpose and audience. Students investigate the work and practices of a range of Australian and international designers, from different times, places and cultures.

Students explore the practices of a diversity of designers and investigate the role of visual communication design in different societies, cultures and contexts, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

All teachers must follow the relevant protocols when teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. The protocols provide guidelines about how to protect the integrity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural expressions and enable all Victorian teachers and students to engage respectfully and feel connected to this identity. For advice, please refer to the Department of Education and Training's Koorie Cross-Curricular Protocols.

Further advice is also available from the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc., (VAEAI), which has produced Protocols for Koorie Education in Victorian Primary and Secondary schools. These protocols include advice to assist schools to provide a welcoming environment for Aboriginal community members and how to work respectfully with the Koorie community to enrich schools' teaching and learning programs.

Making in the Visual Communication Design curriculum (VCD) involves the communication of ideas and information through the use of drawing conventions, design elements and principles, skills, techniques and processes. Students communicate concepts through generating and making visual communications in different forms and styles. They use materials, media, methods and technologies to plan and make visual communications for specific purposes and audiences.

Responding in VCD involves students responding to their own visual communications, and as audience members, when they view, analyse, enjoy, appreciate and evaluate visual communications. Responding also focuses on investigating, identifying, and describing whilst developing skills in appreciation, criticism and aesthetics.

In both making and responding, students engage with the key knowledge and skills of visual communication design practices. Students explore the practices of a diversity of designers and investigate the role of visual communication design in different societies, cultures and contexts. Through the study of designers and their practices, students will gain an understanding of the knowledge and skills that are used to plan and make visual communications. The following information serves to articulate the main parts of the broader conceptual areas of Knowledge and Skills. These are not an exclusive, exhaustive list, but an indication of the breadth of study within Visual Communication Design.


Students explore their knowledge and understanding of visual communication design practices as both designers and audiences. As students’ progress through the Visual Communication Design curriculum, their knowledge and understanding of different design fields increases as they view and develop a range of styles of visual communication. They discover new ways of communicating and presenting their ideas through the use of new methods and technologies. Students tailor the presentation of their ideas to meet the needs of specific audiences. They apply critical thinking to reflect on their ideas and use of design elements, design principles, materials, methods, media and technologies.

Visual Communication Design Practices

Visual Communication Design practices involve students investigating, making, analysing and evaluating how the designer generates, develops and presents their intended ideas. The students' own visual communications are informed by the research into the practice of designers from different historical periods and cultures. Students select and apply materials, methods, media and technologies to create visual communications. Their practices also include the use of design elements and design principles to communicate ideas and information. They also respond as an informed audience to visual communication presentations in a range of fields and formats.

Drawing Conventions

Students develop an understanding of visualisation and communication by using drawing conventions. They communicate and present concepts and ideas using a range of materials, media, methods and technologies in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) formats.

Design Elements and Principles

Students learn about and explore traditional and contemporary conventions involved in the making of visual communication designs. These include the use of design elements such as point, line, shape, colour, tone, texture, form and type, and principles such as balance, contrast, scale hierarchy, cropping, proportion, figure-ground and pattern.

Visual Communication Design Process

Students learn critical, creative and reflective thinking. The stages of a design process form a framework for the creation of visual communications. Students respond to/or write a brief and research, generate ideas, develop concepts and refine visual communications.

Skills, techniques and processes

Through making and responding students become increasingly proficient with methods, materials, media and technologies. As they progress in their learning, students develop skills in observational drawing for the purpose of visualisation and the presentation of ideas. They develop communication skills as they intentionally plan, develop and refine visual communications for various audiences, purposes and contexts.


Students learn a wide range of technical processes used to make visual communications. They understand that media and materials are applied with different methods to create two and three-dimensional presentations. Methods include traditional and contemporary techniques, and processes such as drawing, painting, printing, digital processes, collage, photography, and 3-dimensional processes. Drawing conventions are used to observe objects, visualise and present ideas, and students acquire specific skills in both manual and digital drawing conventions.


Students learn to manipulate and adapt a wide range of physical media. They understand how media are applied to produce visual communications. Media may include using traditional materials such as paint, graphite charcoal and ink and contemporary media such as computer software or applications, including vector and raster-based programs.


Students learn to apply media to a wide range of physical materials. Materials may include paper, card, wood, glass, metal, clay, stone, plastic, textiles and digital screen-based technologies.

Information Communication Technologies and The Arts

Information Communication Technologies (ICT) are powerful tools that can support student learning. Students can develop and demonstrate their understanding of concepts and content in The Arts through using a range of ICT tools. It is also important that students know how to use these ICT efficiently and responsibly, as well as learning how to protect themselves and secure their data.

Details of how ICT can support student learning in The Arts is set out in the attached Information Communication Technologies and The Arts pdf.

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