Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

A confident ability to solve a variety of product design problems through the application of a structured, iterative design process is fundamental to the development of expertise in product design. In this unit, students acquire conceptual, procedural and professional levels of discipline-specific content, knowledge and skills on the principles of design using graphic and computer aided drawing. This unit also contributes to an accredited sequence of Design and Technologies units that is recognised by state-based Initial Teacher Education standards authorities (NESA, VIT and QCT) and aligns with the Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies.

This unit introduces students to the design environment in technologies and provides an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and understanding which will support their ongoing learning in the technologies sequence. This knowledge and these skills will be applied to their own designs. Students will learn to identify, select and evaluate and apply design principles. User-centred design principles as a means for developing ethical solutions to various human needs is emphasised.

The aim of this unit is for students to explore a range of graphic and computer aided drawing and design techniques for the communication of design ideas to support iterative design development processes.

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 Define and describe principles of design and product design factors (GA5)

LO2 Interpret and illustrate principles of design. Apply graphic and computer-aided drawing and design communication conventions (GA9, GA10)

LO3 Develop a solution for a user-centred design problem (GA2, GA4, GA6)

LO4 Evaluate designed products and iterative design processes (GA5, GA8)

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 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

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

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


Product Design and product design factors  

  • Purpose, function and context  
  • User-centred design  
  • Innovation and creativity  
  • Visual, tactile and aesthetic design principles and elements 
  • Sustainability  
  • Social and ethical  
  • Environmental  
  • Economic  
  • Economics – time and cost  
  • Labour issues  
  • Legal responsibilities  
  • Intellectual property 
  • ISO standards, regulations and legislation 
  • Workplace Health and Safety  
  • Materials – characteristics and properties  
  • Including emerging material technologies  
  • Technologies – tools, processes and manufacturing methods  
  • Including emerging manufacturing technologies  

Design process and design methods 

  • Incremental design development 
  • Research and information reduction 
  • Analysis and synthesis 
  • Design decision-making and critical evaluation 

Design theory and practice 

  • Divergence, transformation, convergence 
  • Creativity and innovation 
  • Design research methodologies 
  • Design methods for the generation of a solution (concept sketching, model making, detail resolution)  
  • Double diamond method 

User-centred design 

  • Physical, psychological and sociological dimensions of human factors 
  • Moral and ethical values within the design context 
  • Design attributes and criteria for good and bad design 

Introduction to graphical communication techniques and conventions  

  • AS1100 drawing standards 
  • Freehand drawing and rendering 
  • Orthogonal and pictorial projections 
  • Introduction to Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, In-Design, Photoshop) 
  • Introduction to CADD (Fusion 360) 

Technologies Workshop Safety

  • Safe Operating Procedures for Computer Aided Manufacturing including a laser cutter, 3D printer and CNC mill and related Computer Aided Design file development
  • Safe Operating Procedures for a range of model making hand tools, equipment and machinery
  • Introduction to management practices for technology teachers including safety and risk management, budgeting, selecting, storing, maintaining and replacing materials, equipment and other resources related to product design technologies

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A student-focused, problem-based learning approach is used in this unit. Students encounter concepts and principles of design and design theory through interactive lectures, concepts are discussed and understanding of them broadened through analysis of specific case studies and further informed by independent research during development of design projects. In tutorials students design, illustrate and evaluate items. Design thinking skills are introduced through a practice-oriented learning method. This method involves the parallel development of procedural and conceptual skills required for design, development, communication and documentation of designed products in technologies. Students develop solutions to user-centred design problems using a design thinking methodology and a user-centred design approach. They develop conceptual knowledge alongside procedural knowledge of communications technologies by completing design projects. Students draw on principles of user-centred design to design, communicate about and evaluate items. The method enable the development of conceptual, procedural and professional knowledge and skill which allows students to practice design thinking and problem solving in design technologies contexts.  

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments used in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The problem-based learning strategy employed in this unit is supported by the integration of progressive authentic assessment tasks completed at critical points of the students’ learning. Theoretical conceptual knowledge and practical, skills-based knowledge are developed simultaneously in that acquisition and assimilation of knowledge develops during application in design practice. Initially students acquire knowledge through drawing and design communication tasks. Design principles and key concepts are introduced in the lecture and develop students’ skills in design and communication through practical tutorial classes. Practical tutorials provide opportunities for formative assessment which supports assimilation of knowledge of knowledge. Summative assessment aims to assess students’ application of knowledge, skills (conceptual, procedural and professional) and competencies holistically using an integrated approach common in design education which focusses on the assessment of an entire design activity rather than specific elements in isolation. In this unit the method aims to assess students’ achievement of a synthesis between design theory and practice, and their ability to communicate using a range of modes of communication. Therefore, the main assessment method used is design projects which include design documentation folio and drawings of a designed product. Folios document students design processes and include evidence of project definition, research, ideation, CAD prototyping, iteration and evaluation.

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include tutorial exercises, quizzes and practical design projects with folios. Assessment tasks will address all learning outcomes as well as relevant graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task

Technologies Workshop Safety Induction

Requires students to demonstrate correct safe use of hand, machine and Computer Aided Manufacturing technologies in a workshop environment including related CAD file development and related OnGuard WHS online safety training and testing records. 



GA5, GA10

Assessment Task 1 

Graphical communication:

Requires students to demonstrate their ability to communicate using appropriate graphic design drawing conventions and terminology.


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2 

Computer Aided Design Drawing:

Requires students to demonstrate their ability to communicate using computer aided design drawing conventions and terminology. 


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3 

Design Project:

Requires students to demonstrate critical design thinking, development and communication skills by developing and documenting a design project. The folio document the student’s design processes and should include evidence of project definition, research, ideation, CAD prototyping, iteration and evaluation.


LO3, LO4 

GA2, GA4, GA6, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Ambrose, G., & Harris, P. (2015). Design thinking for visual communication (2nd ed.). London, UK; New York, NY: Fairchlid Books, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. 

Bertoline, G.R. (2009). Technical graphics communications. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Boundy, A.W., & Boundy, A.W. (2012). Engineering drawing (8th ed.). North Ryde, NSW: McGraw-Hill Australia.

Bryden, D. (2014). CAD and rapid prototyping for product design. London, England: Laurence King Publishing.

Faulkner, A., & Chavez, C. (2019). Adobe Photoshop CC: Classroom in a book. San Jose, CA: Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Goetsch, D.L., & Rickman, R.L. (2016). Technical drawing and engineering communication. Boston MA: Cengage Learning.

Madsen, D. (2017). Engineering drawing & design (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Mital, A. (2014). Product development: A structured approach to consumer product development, design, and manufacture (2nd ed.). Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier.

Osakue, E.E. (2018). Fundamentals of technical graphics: Volume I. New York, NY: Momentum Press.

Parsons, T. (2009). Thinking, objects: Contemporary approaches to product design. Lausanne: AVA Academia.

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