VCD Unit 1 AOS 2
Design elements and principles.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to;
select and apply design elements and design principles to create visual communications that satisfy stated purposes.
What you will do
This task is from the field of communication design.
You will research beautiful illustrations from the 1950s and 60s - sometimes referred to as the great age of illustration. This was a time before iPads and digital programs. It was a time when commercial artists were a sought after commodity. A time when commercial art or 'finished art' was a trade who worked beside graphic designers. Illustrators from this period had a keen eye and beautiful, slick brush work. We will use their work as inspiration to power our ideas.
The presentation format for this Outcome will be to create an illustration to depict our favourite meal, in the style of the illustrators we research. Think about your family's cultural background. What does your mother, father or do your grandparents like to make best? What do you love to eat when you visit them? Write these down and draw them.
If we are able we will then work together and create a real calendar like the one shown below. This makes our work real. Take a look.
However, the true purpose of this task is for you to learn how to identify, describe and use the design elements and principles in visual communications. That's the 'take away' you'll need Year 12 and exams.
Top. A sushi plate. Mira Eva-Wilson (2018).
Bottom. This is a cool extension task my students suggested doing. A group of interested students worked at lunch time to put the class work together as a real calendar.
Learning intentions should be set at the commencement of each unit, then at regular intervals during the task.
Read through the content on this page. Discuss what you think could be learnt and form them into three 'learning intentions'. Use sentences like, 'I will learn about making 3d drawings', or I will learn about 'media codes'.
Write your three learning intentions.
For advanced learning intentions, go with 3 different levels.
- 1 - What you will learn. (For example, the media code of camera describes the techniques camera operators use to record a scene)
- 2 - How what you will learn can be used to create meaning or structure. (For example, camera techniques are combined with sound and/ or editing to create suspense).
- 3 - How could your understanding of the learning be extended or related to other learnings. (For example, the use of camera has changed over the years and the invention of digital formats have allowed anyone to become cinema photographers)
Success criteria should be negotiated between students and their teacher. The class group agrees about what is successful completion of the task. Identification of success criteria is done at the commencement of each unit, then at regular intervals.
Now that you are familiar with what you will learn in this task, it's time to lock in how you will be able to demonstrate that you know it, or can do it.
Write three success criteria, using sentences like the examples in the next column.
I will demonstrate that I have mastered the learning by;
- 1 - I Can identify all of the camera techniques used in the selected clip.
- 2 - I can use a camera to film clips in the ways I have identified.
- 3 - I can explain how camera is combined with other codes to create meaning in a narrative.
Design elements and principles and analysis.
Design elements and principles
Let's begin by forming a clear understanding of the design elements and principles and their role in communication design.
Below are the design elements and principles for Visual Communication Design. Look through them then commence the tasks below.
Look carefully at the visuals I made to depict the design elements and principles. Before we discus them, in pairs, visit my page on Design elements and principles and write a short description. Share your understanding as a class.
Now, check the descriptions on the Visual Communication Design, Advice for Teachers (click here). Read them all and evaluate how well you understood each element or principle.
Correct your own descriptions. Then evaluate my new icons. Which ones do you think illustrate the definitions best? Suggest how some could be improved, why?
Finally, look at the grey boxes below. We need to fill them. During this first week of this Outcome, take pictures of examples of design elements and principles you see in the real world. Come in close to make them abstract and really try to emphasise the element or principle you are illustrating. Then email them to me and I will fill the chart with the best ones!
How can we show we can use the elements and principles?
The activities below refer to the three shapes shown above. In this task you will be asked to redraw them so that you emphasise individual elements and principles of design.
In each example you may decide if you use one, two or three or repeat any of the shapes.
Create 2 A3 sheets with 8 rectangles on each. You will use these to complete your designs.
Application of design elements
Using the shapes shown above draw a design that emphasises each of the elements of design. Remember you are to try to use each element exclusively. This means to draw with that element alone, without displaying others. Don't forget to draw each design in a rectangle.
Application of design principles
Using the shapes shown above draw a design that demonstrates your understanding of each of the design principles. Don't forget to draw each design in a rectangle.
The next part of our task is to ensure that we are competent in discussing design elements and principles and their role in design.
In order to complete a visual analysis on design elements and principles, we need to search up some appropriate design work. I have selected three designers who designed in collaboration with Earth Greetings, a card and stationary company. Their style is contemporary, but it does seem to be informed by the sensitive pastel colours and shapes of the past.
Click the image at the right to visit their site. Take a look around, but make sure you view the work from these three designers/ artists.
Look at (click names to visit):
Look at the work from the three designers mentioned above. Look especially for an example where you think a group of design elements and principles have been clearly emphasised. Save the picture, print it and stick it in your visual diary.
When you do copy work belonging to another designer, note below, how we need to observe copyright.
Now answer the following questions about the card you have collected:
- What is the name of the designer?
- What is depicted in the design?
- What would most likely be the target audience and why do you think so?
- Nominate two design elements that have been emphasised in the the design, then explain how they function to engage the target audience.
- Identify the kind of balance in the design. Explain how it has been created.
- Identify one of these design principles: contrast, figure-ground, hierarchy and explain how the two design elements you selected in question 4 work together to create the principle your have identified.
Keeping it legal...
A most important part of our course, that can not be ignored.
In VCE Visual Communication Design we are required to work in ways that observe copyright.
When an art or design work is made the 'right to copy' remains with the artist or designer. They own the work and the way it is used. (There are exceptions here, but we are not going into them now!)
As students and designers, we need to respect their legal right. Failing to do so is illegal and is a kind of stealing. Very simply, no art or design work that has been created by another person can be used as part of ours. So how will we use one of these images in our visual diary?
Fortunately, one exception regarding copying copyright content exists for the purpose of study. We may copy and print a design work only if we acknowledge the designer and the site from where we found it.
The actual laws regarding copyright are much more complex than this, but if you always acknowledge other's work in your study, you're working legally.
Did you know?
When you, or anyone else paints a picture or designs something you don't have to register it to have it protected. The Australian copyright laws automatically protect your work from being copied by someone else.
Everyone, artists, musicians, writers, photographers and designers work is 'copyright' from the moment it is made.
Yes that's right, even your work!
In this task we are going to use the 'design process' to design an illustration for a calendar where each page includes a favourite international recipe for each month. We will be working in the style of illustrators we will research. You will be required to read the brief carefully then implement each stage of the task for successful assessment.
Expectations and constraints
- Follow the style of the illustrators shown below,
- Strongly emphasise the design elements colour, shape, line.
- Emphasise the design principles hierarchy, contrast, figure-ground, pattern.
- Use vector art work for the final illustration
Your image is to be supplied as an A3 landscape, Adobe PDF format. Do not submit an Adobe Illustrator file.
Research, analysis and interpretation
In this section you will research the following artists and examine the illustrations.
You will analyse the role of design elements and principles in order to interpret their individual styles.
Use the artist's names to make your Google searches. Collect some images, remembering to acknowledge them properly in your visual diary.
let's do some research
Mary Blair, cover illustration "I Can Fly," 1950, gouache. (Courtesy Penguin Random House LLC / Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art) - (Retrieved from http://www.wbur.org/ artery/2016/ 02/15/mary-blair)
let's do some research
Research, analysis and synthesis.
Collect a range of children's book illustration pictures by the artists shown above. If you want, you can broaden your search by looking for any 1950-60s children's book illustrations. However we have to ensure that the pictures we find continue to emphasise, shape, colour and line. Do not use pictures that emphasise form or tone. That is another kind of illustration. Paste the pictures in and don't forget to reference them.
Next, identify the dominant design elements and principles. Describe them and discuss how they are used together. Continue your analysis by making some swatches of the colours used, hand drawing the shapes and type forms. This will get you to interact with the stimulus you found.
Lastly, synthesize what you have found into new ideas. Combine some parts of different pictures into new compositions. Try cutting or collaging them. Try drawing the kinds of things (foods) you will be drawing in the style of several key images. Use colour to enhance your pages.
Create 2 to 3 pages of research.
Choose one image from one of the artists shown above, that demonstrates strong and clear emphasis of some design elements and principles. Print it or place it in a Word file and then answer the following questions:
- What is the image depicting?
- Who is the image aimed at?
- Describe the use of shape in the illustration.
- Describe the use of line in the illustration.
- Describe the use of colour in the illustration.
- Describe the balance in the illustration.
- Describe the contrasts found in the illustration.
- Describe the figure-ground relationship in the illustration.
- Describe the style of the illustration in a summary of your analysis.
- Write down your choice of recipe then describe how you could use this style in your illustration.
Purposes of visual communications
Visual communications have many purposes. The purpose means the intention.
When making a new design, the purpose of a visual communication will be identified in a brie,f and must be kept in mind to ensure the brief is satisfied. A visual communication may have more than one purpose. Here is a list of the usual purposes for our study. Study these for tests.
- To advertise = to help achieve sales,
- To promote = to persuade in a belief, to raise awareness, to create social change, to create a positive image,
- To identify = to create brand recognition,
- To depict - to illustrate,
- To teach = to describe or explain a process,
- To inform = to give details about an event or similar,
- To guide = to provide directions.
What do you think will be the purpose of your illustration?
Generation of ideas
In this stage you are going to use freehand sketching to create a broad range of visualisation sketches to indicate possible concepts. Keep you work loose and free. Populate your pages.
Generation of ideas
Complete at least 2 A3 pages of ideas for your food illustration. You may draw single ingredients or place them together. Work in grey-lead and in colour pencil.
Evaluate your ideas with written annotations that reference the use of design elements and principles.
Indicate the direction you could take to develop (improve) each concept.
Development and critical thinking
The development phase of the design process is intended to give life to your visualisation sketches and make them communicate more strongly in relation to the requirements of the design brief.
We will handle development in two stages;
Development with manual methods
Development and critical thinking
Develop at least two possible concepts (two separate compositions) in sketches of the complete meal. To ensure that each one is different, you may choose to arrange the ingredients differently, or to use a different colour palette.
Use a wide range of manual drawing and painting methods to develop your ideas.
Develop the same (or create different) compositions using digital-based vector application methods.
Create each illustration using a digital vector drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator. Print stages of your work.
Print and place your manual and digital work in your visual diary. Select two preferred concepts. Reflect on your use of design elements and principles in relation two the brief. Ask yourself if your designs really look like they were made in the 1950s, 60. Remember this is an expectation in the brief.
Discuss your evaluation with a friend. Note the suggestions they make. Remember the end game is to emphasise design elements and principles in ways reminiscent of the designers you have researched.
The development stage should take around 6 x A3 pages.
Select once concept for refinement. In this stage, work back into your illustration to resolve all of the questions that may have opened up during the development stage.
To refine your work is to make it print ready. Many minute changes in size, space, colour will be made to get your illustration right.
Refine each component
Complete your illustration by honing every aspect of the composition. Even in refinement, be open to new ideas. Add them and try them. If it becomes too busy and strays from the brief - subtract components. Find the balance.
Print several stages of your refinement for your visual diary.
When refinement is complete export your work as a PDF. Ensure the artboard is the correct size as shown in the brief.
Submit your work.
Completed presentation drawing.
Evaluation and deeper learning
In this section we will think about the learning we have done. We will review the main topics and evaluate our learning. Follow the steps in the tasks shown here to prepare your folio for presentation and grading.
What have I learnt?
Answer the following questions (on paper or if you use a computer, print them and stick them into your visual diary).
- Describe what is meant by the term 'communication design'.
- Which design element have you enjoyed working with the most in this task?
- What is illustration?
- What do you think the purpose of your work was to do?
Putting it together
Find where you wrote up what you thought the success criteria might be. Check that you have done something for all of the steps you wrote down.
Print final and organise your folio for submission.
Check the assessment criteria below to see if you have prepared your folio for each criteria. If not, take the time to complete each section.
Hand up your work on the due date as instructed.
Evaluation and deeper learning
Below is shown a broad indication of the evidence a student should show.
The extent to which the student:
- Uses appropriate drawing methods to generate visible ideas and develop concepts in response to research, investigation and analysis,
- Selects and applies different design elements and design principles when generating and developing alternative design options
- Uses manual and/or digital methods, media and materials appropriate to visual communication purposes in the refinement and production of visual communications,
- Creates a presentation format to meet the purposes and limitations and expectations stated in the brief.
- Applies practices that fulfil legal obligations in visual communications when using images belonging to others.
To achieve good marks in criteria based assessment you must remember to include some work for each part of the task required. Spread your time evenly across the task.