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VCD Theory The Brief

Brief.

How to define a design challenge

The main driver

What is a brief?

How and when does a brief originate?

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Specifically for VCE Visual communication design

Teachers and students must consult relevant documentation for their course. Specifically, the 'Study Design for Visual Communication Design' and the 'VCE Visual Communication Design: Administrative information for School-Based Assessment' in the relevant year, both published by VCAA, must be consulted for up to date requirements of a brief for the School Assessed Task in Unit 3 and 4, VCE VCD.

This information will include descriptions of the content required for a brief, formats to be used, word limits. They will also document the requirements regarding when a brief is to be written, when it is to be signed off by the teacher and the correct assessment of a brief.

Please consult these documents regularly as they are updated from time to time.

This page will address content generally found in briefs prepared for VCE VCD.

The format for a brief

Sample brief

Brief and examples

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Presentation 1: Branding and festival merchandise, Tiea Sacco, 2019.
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Presentation 2: Promotional poster and festival pack, Tiea Sacco, 2019.

Client

Target audience

PRESENTATION 1: BRANDING AND FESTIVAL MERCHANDISE

Communication need 1

Purpose

Context

Constraints and expectations

Presentation format

PRESENTATION 2: PROMOTIONAL POSTER AND FESTIVAL PACK

Communication need 2

Purpose

Context

Constraints and expectations

Presentation format

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In detail.

Below are detailed descriptions of each component of the brief.

Client

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A client is a real or fictitious person or organisation requesting a new design. Your client might be a multi-national corporation, a small business or an individual. We learn how to describe our client by explaining the nature of their business and what it seeks to do.

You need to conduct some research into your client. Find out details about them. Explore their background and what motivates them. Three ways to describe a client are:

  • the kind of business our client is.
  • the scope andsize of their business. You will also give the location of the business.
  • your clients' business missionor values. involves capturing the businesses' overall aim. It's why they exist.

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Model discussion

‘LUSH’ is a privately-owned cosmetics firm established by two people in the UK to design and sell natural hair and beauty products. Initially making hand made products based on the look of fruit and vegetables they also created original scents. LUSH have expanded and lavishly designed concept stores can be found in shopping centres around the world. Their target market is young urban adult women ages 18 – 45. They have strict advertising and ethical policies. Believing that they should not waste money on advertising and that animals should not be used for testing of cosmetics.

Audience

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An audience is the group of people to which a product, media product or visual communication is aimed.  Audience is also referred to as the target audience or specific (target) audience.

Although audience and client can seem the same they are not. A client is the person commissioning a design whereas an audience are the people who will use it.

We refer to audience characteristics when we describe the target audience in a brief. These are;

  • Age,
  • Gender,
  • Culture,
  • Location,
  • Socioeconomic level,
  • Interests, beliefs, life-styles, values.

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Model discussion

The audience for ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ is adult men and women who own or rent their home, they are from a medium to high socio-economic (AB) quintile, are parents, aged 30 + and considered frequent travellers. (http://www.pacificmags. com.au/wp-content/uploads/ 2019/03/BHG- Media-Kit-2019-.pdf)

Purpose

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A visual communication is a commercial product that is intended to perform a particular function. Each visual communication is created for a reason. The reasons are known as the purpose.

In our study these are;

  • advertise,
  • promote,
  • identify,
  • depict,
  • teach,
  • inform,
  • guide.

When students are writing about the purpose of their presentations for their SAT, they should refer to the purpose for the proposed presentation format. This means they will more often be making presentations that depict, promote or advertise objects and not listing the function of the object itself.

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Model discussion

The purpose of the billboards will be to advertise cosmetics and promote brand recognition of the company.

Context

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Context refers to the location or situation where a visual communication will be seen or used.

Presentation formats for communication design, are usually submitted in their real context.

However, when students are designing in the fields of industrial or environmental design, further consideration is necessary for context. As our study does not require students to make actual functioning products then it is more likely, that a designer will be presenting a 2 or 3-dimensional depiction. The context for these kinds of presentations is the place where the presentations will be made.

To describe context in a brief, students should identify both the context for an object if it was manufactured and the context in which the depicting presentation will be shown.

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Model discussion

The proposed billboards will be seen alongside Melbourne free and toll ways on tall platforms. They will be placed beyond bends for maximum visibility and be illuminated at night. The context for the presentation to the client will be a digital presentation made in the advertising agency boardroom.

Constraints and expectations

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The term constraint refers to a limit placed on the design of a visual communication. Clearly articulated targets provide clarity and direction for a designer.

Constraints usually applies to functional aspects of a design. This is easy to understand for industrial design. For example, to be able to fit in a certain size space or be foldable. Identifying constraints for communication design is a bit subtler. For example, constraints for a poster, may include the content required, the language captions are in, the imagery, or type and colours. Constraints refers to characteristics that can be measured.

The term expectations is often used with constraints. Expectations may include targets a design should to meet. For example; a high-chair is expected to be safe and painted with non-toxic paints.

Expectations also refers to the desires of a client regarding the aesthetic qualities or style of a design. A client will frequently want a design to reflect certain aesthetic characteristics. These kinds of expectations refer to style and as such can’t be measured but are evaluated with experience.

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Model discussion

Constraints and expectations for the electric bicycle are,

  • Retain the appearance of a traditional bicycle,
  • Have a removable battery for recharging in owners’ homes,
  • Have large tyres for rough urban street crossings,
  • Have mudguards and lights,
  • Have small luggage carrying racks,
  • Be easy to clean and maintain,
  • Be made from durable weatherproof materials and finished,
  • Be adjustable for seat height by the owner,
  • Look good in a range of bright colours,
  • Be a unisex design.

Proposed presentation format

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Presentation formats refers to the kind of visual communication made in response to a communication need. Although your design process will conclude with the construction of final presentations, students may refer to them as ‘proposed presentation formats’ in the brief. This provides scope for experimentation and development of ideas prior to resolution of concepts.

The presentation format is the real-life object produced in Visual communication design. 'Object' is used broadly and includes any 2 or 3-dimensional, or even projected or web-based outcome that may be the final step in the design process.

Presentation formats use visual language and conventions. An understanding of visual language relating specifically to chosen presentation formats is required.

They also use specific technical processes in production. An adequate knowledge of the structure of chosen presentation formats is also required.

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Model discussion

The proposed presentation formats for the building design are Floor plans and elevations accompanied by three-dimensional perspective renderings. A model of the building’s form will also be considered.