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6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

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6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3

Nature of technology (NT)

6-1 | 6-2

7-1 | 7-2

8-1 | 8-2

Design in technology (DET)

6-1 | 6-2

7-1 | 7-2


Manufacturing (MFG)

6-1 | 6-2

7-1 | 7-2


Technical areas (TCA)


Construction and mechanical technologies (CMT)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3 | 6-4

6-5 | 6-6 | 6-7

7-1 |  7-2 |  7-3 |  7-4

7-5 |  7-6 |  7-7

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3 | 8-4

8-5 | 8-6 | 8-7

Design and visual communication (DVC)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3

Digital technologies (DTG)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3 | 6-4

6-5 | 6-6 | 6-7 | 6-8

6-9 | 6-10 | 6-11 | 6-12

7-1 |  7-2 |  7-3 |  7-4

7-5 |  7-6 |  7-7 |  7-8

7-9 |  7-10 |  7-11 |  7-12

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3 | 8-4

8-5 |  8-6/7 | 8-8 | 8-9

8-10 |  8-11 | 8-12

Processing technologies (PRT)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1/2 | 8-3

Visual communication DVC 8-1

Visual communication refers to the effective communication and presentation of design ideas using modelling and graphic design techniques. Visual communication underpins student’s ability to undertake graphics practice.

Learning objective: DVC 8-1

Students will:

  • demonstrate understanding of, and skills in, complex visual communication techniques to visually communicate and promote the intent and details of design ideas.


Students can:

  • apply visual communication strategies that aid divergent design thinking to enable the creative and analytical interrogation and re-generation of design ideas
  • produce a visual presentation that demonstrates the understanding of compositional principles, modes and media, and the relationship between the presentation and its context (for example location, viewer, content)
  • use specialist spatial design visual communication techniques and approaches (such as architectural drawing and rendering, models, fly-through animation) to express spatial design ideas
  • use specialist product design visual communication techniques and approaches (such as industrial design drawing and rendering, models, moving-part animation) to express product design ideas
  • produce a set of related 2D and 3D working drawings and/or models that show details of components and information related to construction and assembly. 


Initially students learn to communicate and present their design ideas and information by applying 2D and 3D drawing techniques such as sketching, rendering, digital, annotations, instrumental, templates, collage, overlays.

Students progress to effectively and clearly applying complex and high quality visual techniques and knowledge that communicate a story to an audience - the intent of their design ideas.

Teacher guidance

To support students to demonstrate understanding of, and skills in, complex visual communication techniques to visually communicate and promote the intent and details of design ideas at level 8, teachers could support students to:

  • understand how to select and use visual communication techniques to best communicate the qualities and intent of design ideas
  • understand the integration of different drawings/models for the effective communication of complex visual information
  • develop visual communication strategies (such as abstraction, re-combination, exaggeration, transformations and deconstruction) for re-generating design ideas
  • understand the selection and use of presentation techniques and formats
  • develop advanced media techniques and digital technologies
  • develop a cohesive set of drawings and/or models.

To support students to develop understandings about the interaction between design and the world at level 8, teachers could:

  • provide opportunities for students to meet and listen to design professionals so they may develop an understanding of their design practice and how innovative design ideas evolve
  • provide opportunities for students to interweave, overlap, and infiltrate others’ practice into their own work
  • allow time for students to research methods, current trends, and the work of other designers to gain inspiration and an understanding of how they prioritise design principles and elements
  • provide opportunities to experiment with design elements and principles
  • discuss what design thinking is – inspiration, ideation leading to a process of generating, developing and testing ideas that may lead to solutions
  • promote students to be integrative thinkers by being analytical and to recognise all the salient aspects of a problem
  • promote students to work in interdisciplinary ways to develop deeper understanding of the design they intend to solve.

Contexts for teaching and learning

To support students to develop the skills and knowledge at level 8 when initiating design ideas, teachers could:

  • arrange local visits (museum, beach, bush and so on), or collect unusual objects or natural objects so students can observe and sketch to gain a starting point or let them interpret music or a film clip that will grab their interest
  • provide a list of designers to investigate and draw upon their visual literacy
  • teach students how to draw from observation. Use grids, Betty Edwards clear frame or any method that supports students in visually interrogating
  • develop a culture of divergence that leads to coherence
  • support students to develop divergent thinking by being optimistic, exploratory, and experimental
    • sharing and collect all possible ideas from all students
    • supporting the strange, striving for the unusual, and encouraging different perspectives when developing ideas
  • create an environment that allows for all kinds of visual expression, encourage students to take risks with their ideas, celebrate failure as another means to be clear about direction, support individual expression (design thinking relies on an interplay between analysis and synthesis, breaking problems apart and putting ideas together)
  • develop literacy understanding and students ability to do: abstraction, re-combination, tessellation, exaggeration, rotation, inversion, translation, translocation, deconstruction from a given starting experience (discuss these terms by using visual examples)
  • provide support and encouragement when ideas are blocked
  • encourage autonomy and ownership
  • help the students to appreciate how they design by supporting metacognition processes 
  • use SCAMPER as a tool to develop divergent thinking:
    • Substitute: What are the alternatives?
    • Combine: How can you combine seemingly disparate ideas?
    • Adapt: How can you adapt something you’re already doing/using for a project?
    • Modify: What materials, processes, and methods can you modify to solve a problem?
    • Put to other use: Can you put an aspect to another use?
    • Eliminate: What can be eliminated?
    • Rearrange: How can you move around ideas to solve a problem?
  • demonstrate and encourage students to explore a variety of visual communication strategies
  • develop confidence in your students so they are encouraged to extend their ideas beyond the norm in a dynamic and effective manner 
  • show students how other designers have developed ideas from an starting experience, have examples displayed and get students to critique them in a group situation
  • encourage students to communicate their interrogation of ideas without annotation to ensure they visually explore all possibilities, aesthetically and functionally using both 2D and 3D techniques.

Encourage students to:

  • work from a starting experience (such as: listening to music, a visit to the zoo, beach, city, local bush, art gallery, poetry, observational drawings of birds or motor engines
  • engage in a personal design journey that transforms these initial starting observations /sketches/photographs/sketch models and so on into a new way of looking and thinking to create new design ideas
  • re-interpret ideas that shows a depth of thinking and reflection in the formation of ideas
  • challenge their design thinking and extend ideas beyond the norm
  • develop ideas that are highly divergent and challenge established conventions/practices and perceptions
  • use visual communication strategies to support their exploration of ideas through physical and visual manipulations
  • record their visual journey using more than one visual strategy: 2D, 3D and 4D modes (such as: freehand sketching, drawing, modelling, animation).

To support students to develop the visual communication skills and knowledge at level 8 when producing working drawings, teachers could:

  • Teach this as a stand-alone unit where students are required to interpret design details from a design idea, or allow students to develop these working drawings from an integrated unit from either product or spatial design. Students must be allowed to decide on the views and production details so this cannot be a class exercise.
  • Ensure students' designs have multi-components.
  • Show students a variety of working drawings that allow a design to be constructed/modeled: architectural plans, engineering plans, animations, traditional and computer generated, 2D, 3D and 4D.  This will allow them to select a set of drawings to suit their designs. (Third angle orthographic, paraline drawings, perspective drawings, exploded views, isometric, mechanical perspective and so on).
  • A set of related drawings could be of different scales, different views, 2D, 3D, animations that all communicate one design outcome.
  • Allow students to use both 2D and 3D modes to communicate their design outcome.
  • 4D refers to animations, motion graphics design.
  • Show students the complexity required at this level. It is important there is enough suitable level of detailing (it does not have to be done at a comprehensive level though).
  • Show students work from professionals and investigate how they are communicating their design thinking.
  • Teach students the correct conventions: line types, construction lines, outlines, section lines, drawing and text layout, dimensioning plus the conventions used by engineers and architects.
  • Invest in computer software.
  • Purchase high GSM paper, good pencils and clean instrumental equipment.

Encourage students to:

  • Produce a set of related drawings that can utilise two dimensional and three dimensional modes instrumentally constructed/modeled using either traditional drafting equipment or computer applications.
  • Use digital animations to support the related drawings.
  • Related drawings show information which allows construction and assembly of a multi-component design.
  • Select the views and modes (traditional methods or computer applications) that suits the accepted practice and conventions for the design context.
  • Communicate the design details of either a spatial or product design to a level that will allow the design to be manufactured or constructed.
  • Show exterior and interior details that would allow production of key aspects of the details of the design outcome.
  • Use the correct conventions for either an engineering or architectural drawings.
  • Apply drawing techniques with accuracy and precision.

Literacy considerations

Support students to understand:

  • the language associated with the assessment as well as the specialist language related to visual communication
  • the following words are used in Achievement Standard 91627:
    • Abstraction - abstract design is a design which has no referents to anything concrete (either mechanical or organic) in the real world.
    • Re-combination - an occurrence that results in things being united, to join together again.
    • Tessellation - a tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps. For example:
      • composed of small blocks of variously coloured material arranged to form a pattern formed of or ornamented with mosaic work
      • combined or arranged so as to form a mosaic
      • consisting of or arranged in small cubes or squares: chequered, reticulated.
    • Exaggeration - represent (something) as being larger:
      • to heighten extravagantly or disproportionately in effect or design: as, to exaggerate particular features in a product/spatial design.
      • Synonyms - to strain, stretch, over colour, caricature.
    • Rotation - the act or process of turning around a center or an axis:
      • a single complete cycle of such motion.
    • Inversion - to turn inside out or upside down:
      • to reverse the position, order, or condition of.
    • Translocation - a movement from one position or place to another.
    • Deconstruction - to break down into components, dismantle.

Resources to support student achievement


  • Sketching, drawing techniques for product designers: Koos Eissen and Roselien Steur
  • Learning Curves: An inspiring guide to improve sketch skills: Klara Sjolen and Alan MacDonald
  • Design Sketching: Erik Olofsson and Klara Sjolen
  • Visual Literacy: Judith Wilde
  • Contemporary Fashion Illustration Techniques: Naoki Watanabe
  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: Betty Edwards


Assessment for qualifications

  • AS91627 Design and visual communication 3.30: Initiate design ideas through exploration
  • AS91628 Design and visual communication 3.31: Develop a visual presentation that exhibits a design outcome to an audience
  • AS91631 Design and visual communication 3.34: Produce working drawings to communicate production details for a complex design

Key messages for DVC standards

Last updated May 23, 2018