What is Visual Communication Design – VCD – all about?

This unit focuses 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 practice 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.

Through experimentation and exploration of the relationship between design elements and design principles, students develop an understanding of how they affect the visual message and the way information and ideas are read and perceived. Students review the contextual background of visual communication through an investigation of design styles. This research introduces students to the broader context of the place and purpose of design. Students are introduced to the importance of copyright and intellectual property and the conventions for acknowledging sources of inspiration. Students follow the design process in establishing a brief, generating design ideas and refining these and present visual communications that reflect the communication needs of the brief.

This study enables students to:

    • develop and apply drawing skills using a range of techniques• develop design thinking
    • develop a range of skills in selecting and applying media, materials and manual and digital methods to support design processes
    • apply a design process to create visual communications
    • understand how key design elements, design principles, media, materials and manual and digital methods contribute to the creation of their own visual language
    • develop a capacity to undertake ongoing design thinking while conceiving, communicating and presenting ideas
    • understand how historical, social, cultural, environmental, legal, ethical and contemporary factors influence visual communications.


The study is made up of four units.

Unit 1: Introduction to Visual Communication

Outcome 1
Create drawings for different purposes using a range of drawing methods, media and materials

Outcome 2
Select and apply design elements and principles to create visual communications that satisfy stated purposes.

Outcome 3
Describe how visual communications in a design field have been influenced by past and contemporary practices, and by social and cultural factors

Unit 2: Applications of visual communication within design fields

Outcome 1
Create presentation drawings that incorporate relevant technical drawing conventions and effectively communicate information and ideas for a selected design field.

Outcome 2
Manipulate type and images to create visual communications suitable for print and screen-based presentations, taking into account copyright.

Outcome 3
Apply stages of the design process to create a visual communication appropriate to a given brief.

Unit 3: Visual communication design practices

Outcome 1
Create visual communications for specific contexts, purposes and audiences that are informed by their analysis of existing visual communications in the three design fields.

Outcome 2
Discuss the practices of a contemporary designer from each of the design fields and explain factors that influence these practices.

Outcome 3
Apply design thinking in preparing a brief with two communication needs for a client, undertaking research and generating a range of ideas relevant to the brief.

Unit 4: Visual communication design development, evaluation and presentation

Outcome 1
Develop distinctly different concepts for each communication need and devise a pitch to present concepts to an audience, evaluating the extent to which these concepts meet the requirements of the brief.

Outcome 2
Produce a final visual communication presentation for each communication need that satisfies the requirements of the brief.


There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4.

Levels of Achievement

Units 1 and 2

School based assessment consisting of coursework, assessment tasks and an exam

Units 3 and 4

  • Unit 3 school-assessed coursework: 25 %
  • School-assessed task: 40%
  • End-of-year examination: 35 %

Proposed Subject Cost
Units 1 & 2 – $75
Units 3 & 4 – $75