Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Good graphic design is essential to effective visual communication. Good graphic design is both appealing and informative, useful and available to everyone, connected to history and willing to wrestle with complex social, political and environmental challenges. In this unit you will be introduced to the design process steps, principles and techniques of professional graphic design production. Assessment tasks increase in complexity, promoting critical thinking and building upon design research and technical skills. At the end of this unit students will have gained fundamental competence with design software and a foundation from which to effectively create and communicate design concepts, strategies and decisions.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - acquire and demonstrate competency in technical skills applicable to graphic design (GA4, GA5, GA10)

LO2 - demonstrate the ability to use design thinking strategies in a collaborative and iterative design process (GA4, GA5, GA7)

LO3 - communicate concepts, design solutions, and arguments clearly and concisely through visual, verbal and written means (GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO4 - interpret, represent and respond to the socio-economic and cultural contexts of communication design and the ethical responsibilities of the professional designer (GA2, GA4, GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics may include:

  • Digital imaging and graphic design software skill acquisition
  • Application of design principles and choices in document layout
  • The role and responsibilities of peer feedback in the iterative design process
  • Imagining design solutions and outcomes in everyday contemporary culture

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students will develop skill acquisition in graphic design software and knowledge of design principles and practice during each workshop. In this unit students are encouraged to engage in an independent learning experience to develop their scholarship and research skills about contemporary and historical design practice. Their knowledge, skills and personal values will develop through active learning and real-world experiences in the design area. This strategy aims to develop critical reflection and continuous improvement in the student’s technical skills and academic engagement.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: Electronic print designs, artworks, visual journals, student presentations and critical evaluations of art.

The assessment strategy for this unit is criterion-referenced assessment, standards of achievement (criteria) are set in advance and student performance is evaluated according to those criteria. Assessment tasks have been chosen that will appropriately assess the learning outcomes included with each assessment. Criteria and standards for the assessment tasks have been organised in a marking scheme. Moderation has been planned with markers to develop shared understandings of the expected standards and facilitate consistent application. Students will receive feedback for each assessment task.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Critical Response to Design Brief mages and Photoshop


LO1, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA10

Visual communication through design


LO1, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10

Concept development and design response outcome


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Required text

Aynsley, J. (2001). A century of graphic design: Graphic design pioneers of the 20th century.

Recommended references

Saccani A., (2013) Letterscapes: a global survey of typographic installations London: Thames & Hudson

Barnes S.B., (2012) An introduction to visual communication: from cave art to second life New York: Peter Lang

Ambrose G., Harris P., (2010) Design Thinking AVA Publishing: London

Roberts L., & Wright R., (2010) Design Diaries: creative process in graphic design, London: Laurence King

Aynsley, J. (2001). A century of graphic design: Graphic design pioneers of the 20th century. London: Mitchell Beazley.

Fawcett-Tang, R., (2007). Experimental formats and packaging: Creative solutions for inspiring graphic design. Hove: RotoVision SA.

Fawcett-Tang, R., (ed.). (2007). New typographic design. London: Laurence King.

Newark, Q., (2007). What is graphic design? Mies, Switzerland: RotoVision SA.

Weinmann, E., & Lourekas. P., (2008). Illustrator for Windows and Macintosh, Visual Quickstart Guide.PeachPit Press: Berkeley CA.

Weinmann, E., & Lourekas. P. ,(2008). Photoshop for Windows and Macintosh, Visual Quickstart Guide. PeachPit Press: Berkeley CA.

Further references

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