Visual Communication and Design

There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. No Advanced Placements are available in this subject.

Unit 1 Introduction to visual communication design

This unit will focus on students developing a visual language to communicate messages, ideas and concepts. This involves learning and applying design thinking skills as well as drawing skills to make messages and ideas visible. You will develop skills in drawing from observation and drawing to visualise your own ideas. Drawing is also used as a means of presentation to communicate final message and ideas. You will explore design styles, the design elements and principles and their affect on the way visual messages are perceived.


  1. Drawing as means of communication
    Create drawings for different purposes using a range of drawing methods, media and materials.
  2. Design elements and design principles
    Select and apply design elements and principles to create visual communications that satisfy stated purposes.
  3. Visual communication designs in context
    Describe how visual comminications have been influenced influenced by past and contemporary practices, and by social and cultural factors.

Unit 2 Applications of visual communication within design fields

This unit focuses on applying design knowledge, design thinking and drawing methods to create visual communications that meet specific purposes. Students will create presentation drawings, incorporating technical drawing methods, which communicate ideas associated with environmental and industrial fields of design. This unit enables students to apply design thinking skills when exploring and manipulating ways in which typography and imagery can communicate ideas and concepts.


  1. Technical drawing in context
    Create presentation drawings that incorporate relevant technical drawing conventions and effectively communicate information and ideas for a selected design field. 
  2. Type and imagery in context
    Manipulate type and images to create visual communications for print and screen-based presentations, taking into account copyright.
  3. Applying the design process
    Apply stages of the design process to create a visual communication appropriate to a given brief. 

Unit 3 Visual communication design practices

This unit is focused on gaining an understanding of the processes designers use to structure their thinking and communicate ideas with clients, target audiences and other specialist. Though practical investigation and analysis of existing visual communications students will gain insight into how the selection of methods, media, materials, and the application of design elements and principles can create effective visual communications for specific purposes and audiences. Students will be able to use your research and analysis of visual communication designers to support the development of your own work. The work produced in Outcome 3 underpins the development and refinement of ideas you will undertake in Unit 4.


  1. Analysis and practice in context
    Create visual communications for specific contexts, purposes and audiences that are informed by their analysis of existing visual communications in the three design fields. 
  2. Design industry practice
    Discuss the practices of a contemporary designer from each of the design fields and explain factors that influence these practices. 
  3. Developing a brief and generating ideas
    Apply design thinking in preparing a brief with two communication needs for a client, undertaking research and generating ideas relevant to the brief. This outcome is the beginning of the major folio and continues into unit 4.

Unit 4 Visual communication design development, evaluation and presentation

The focus of this unit is on the development of design concepts and two final presentations of visual communications to meet the requirements of the brief. This involves applying the design process twice to meet each of the stated communication needs. Students will utilise a range of digital and manual drawingl methods, media and materials, as well as apply the design elements and principles to communicate messages to a target audience. Students will evaluate two final visual communications with a presentation that communicates your design thinking and decision making to an audience.


  1. Development, refinement and evaluation
    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.
  2. Final presentations
    Produce a final visual communication presentation for each communication need that satisfies the requirements of the brief.


Units 1 and 2

The individual school will determine levels of achievement.

Units 3 and 4

School-assessed coursework and end-of-year examination.

  • Unit 3 school-assessed coursework: 25%
  • Unit 4 school-assessed task: 40 %
  • End of year examination: 35%

Contact Teacher - Selina Braine