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VCD Unit 2 AOS 3

Applying the design process.

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to;

  • apply stages of the design process to create a visual communication appropriate to a given brief.

What you will do

This task is from the field of communication design. 

You will do observational, visualisation and presentation drawings.

This is a your last task in Year 11. You will put all your knowledge together to work independently to solve a major design problem. You work from a given brief to modernise the image of your college canteen by designing a themed identity package including a logo, menu and signs.

You will really develop your understanding of working with the VCAA design process and practise creative, critical and creative thinking to improve your designs.

You will develop the complex and multi layered design skills needed to undertake the SAT in Year 12. 

Quick menu

Model answer

A final on the '1950s Diner' brief. Tiea Sacco, 2018.
A logo on the 'Rainforrest' brief. Kristina Persl, 2018.
A logo on the 'Art Deco' brief. Kristina Persl, 2018.

Learning intentions

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

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 process.

The VCAA VCD design process

When we start designing we will enter a process called the design process. We will be required to work in a sequence. The sequence includes steps of understanding a design need, researching and synthesising ideas gleaned from others' designs, drawing initial ideas, thinking creatively, critically and reflectively, improving design options, making final design presentations and evaluating them.

There are many different ways to visualise the design process. A range of different models have been proposed during the latter part of last century. First it was though that a design process was linear (that the designer works in a sequence of steps followed each other from start to finish) but more recently it is thought that a design process is cyclical (that a designer's work within each step goes round and round, or maybe back to the start when needed, before passing to the next, or even that the designer may revisit earlier steps as new ideas come or designs are improved). The VCAA VCD design process is cyclical and looks like the image at right. The official steps are;

  • brief
  • research
  • generation of ideas
  • development of concepts
  • refinement
  • resolution of presentations

Design thinking, incorporating creative, critical and reflective thinking occurs during any stage of the process.

VCAA VCD design process

Copied from VCAA Visual Communication Design Study design p 11, figure 1.


Communication design need

Your college canteen is a rather average place for students. It has not seen a transformation in years. Your college has commissioned you to design a logo and menu to assist with transforming this space into an enjoyable place for students and staff. They require a range of visual material including a new logo, chosen type faces, a menu and posters to promote their food, snacks and drinks.

The target audience is secondary school students and staff of all ages. They are members of the college community so share common values in keeping with the college.

The context for the presentations will be inside the canteen and on the walls around the space. They may decide to use the menu materials in college newsletters.

The expectations are that the canteen be given a themed appearance. They are interested in three theme ideas;

  • Art Deco, Orient Express, Ritz Hotel theme,
  • Refreshing garden theme,
  • Retro 50's drug store, diner, garage cafe theme.

The final choice will be up to you. They expect that any visual and written material will be appropriate to the wide ranging target audience and culturally inclusive.

The constraints are that the materials can be read easily inside the Cafe, in English and can be printed by laser printer when required. It must contain content you determine after consultation with the client.

Presentation format

An A1 client presentation board displaying'

  • Logo flexible for a range of applications and print modes,
  • Typography styles,
  • Menu,
  • Menu item posters.

Choosing a theme


Search up the themes to see which one you would like to work with.

The brief

The VCAA VCD design process begins with a brief. In this task you have been given one. Let's begin by talking about a brief and how to respond to it.

Responding to the brief

Read carefully through the brief above. Discuss and define the words in bold. If you were to write your own brief you would be writing it under the same headings. What do they really mean? Think about the communication need your client wants. Think about your role in this process.

To find out more about writing a brief click the image on the right.

Target audience

In Visual communication design theory and practical work we constantly refer to 'designing for a target audience'. Target audience means people who will see, read and/ or consume a visual communication. We identify and describe a target audience by referring to relevant audience characteristics.

To find out more about target audiences click the image on the right.


We discuss audience by identifying and referring to one or more of the audience characteristics (shown in detail on the page linked at right). Many exams ask students to define the audience for a visual communication by identifying two audience characteristics. When choosing the right characteristics go through the list and see which ones stick out as relevant.

Two tips for identifying an audience

  • Be careful not to include characteristics for the sake of it (always choose ones that you can see evidence for in a visual communication).
  • Be careful not to think you are choosing two characteristics, but you are actually choosing one. For example; If you describe an audience by saying that they 'like music and are interested in the outdoors', then you have only chosen one characteristic: Interests. You must identify another characteristic if you are asked for two. You could say; 'The visual communication is non gender specific as it targeted to males and females (gender) and people who are interested in both music and the outdoors' (interests).

To view the full list of audience characteristics, click the image at right.

Purposes for designs

Two terms used to describe what a visual communication is for and where it will be shown or used are purpose and context.

Visual communications have many purposes. The purpose means the intention or reason why it was made. The purpose will be defined in a brief and must be kept in mind when designing 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 logo or menu?

To view the full list of purposes, click the image at right.

Contexts for designs

Context in our study means the place where the visual communication will be located or seen by the target audience. An understanding of the context is important as the location has an influence on how a visual communication is designed. Typical contexts in our study include, in a magazine, on a website, outside at a music festival, on a supermarket shelf, on a train station wall. There are additional factors besides the purpose of a visual communication that influence the aesthetics and function of a design. These include;

  • The activity of the target audience
  • The visual surroundings of the visual communication
  • The distance the viewer is from the visual communication
  • The physical environment for the visual communication

To view a list of contexts, click the image at right.


1.1 Brief

Read through the brief above. Write down a heading 'Brief' then define each of the terms in bold in separate sentences.

1.2 Choose your theme

Make some research investigation, (see below in the task on research) about the theme you will use for your cafe. Decide on one of the themes and write it down in your visual diary.

1.3 Identifying a target audience

Get on a computer and look at an image for a cover of these three magazines.

  • K-Zone,
  • Dolly,
  • Architectural review.

Copy one image of each cover into your visual diary. Identify and describe the target audience for each magazine. Make reference to two audience characteristics and explain what visual elements (type or imagery) led you to this conclusion.

1.4 Understanding purposes of visual communications

Read through the purposes for visual communications above. Locate a series of images on the internet, concerned wth food or cafes, that was designed to fulfil each of the purposes for visual communications. 

Paste each image into your visual diary, with a reference. Identify its purpose and describe one dominant visual element that has been used effectively to achieve it's purpose.

1.5 Understanding contexts for visual communications

Suggest a context for each of the following visual communications. Collect one image of each and write them up in your visual diary.

  • A free postcard,
  • An A4 advertisement,
  • An electronic sign logo,
  • A cloth banner,
  • A billboard.

Kristina Persl, 2018.


Kristina Persl, 2018.


Kristina Persl, 2018.


Design process #1

The logo.

What if i design multiple presentations?

In this task you will be called upon to design several presentation formats for your client. These include a logo and a menu.

I am structuring this task so we will work through one design process for the logo first. That is, we will undergo all the stages of *research, generation of ideas, development and refinement and resolutions of presentations with design thinking for our logo before we start on the other presentations.

When we are happy with our logo we will then work on applying it to the other presentations. We will then begin again in more separate design processes where we will generate ideas, develop, refine and resolve design presentations for the other presentations.

During this task you will probably complete two to three separate, yet linked design processes.

*Note: your research on the theme and cafe only needs to be done once, but there will be separate research to do for each presentation format.


Did you know?

You know now that a design process is cyclical. That means you might go back and forwards through the process as you work.

But did you know you might be involved in more than one design process at the same time? If you are asked to design more than one presentation, you will have to undergo two or more design processes. Depending on how your teacher constructs the task, these processes with either be sequential or simultaneous

Research and analysis

Now that you know what we are going to design it's time to take a look around and see what has been done by other designers in this field. It will also be a time to get to know the preferences of your target audience by making a simple audience survey.

Research needs to be broad. Look at a broad range of logo designs used in the hospitality industry. 

Research also needs to be from a range of sources. In this task, do some drawings of the existing location and take your own photos in cafes or food stores you think might inform your ideas.

Analyse your research. Discuss and describe how they work using design language and how they might appeal to their target audiences. Make brief comments beside images. Draw selected section of your research. Create colour swatches. 

Finally, synthesize ideas found in your research. Bring together selected components of separate ideas in new and creative drawings. Imagine new things beside your research images. 

How do i know who designed it?

As design practitioners it is our responsibility to start to know who the designers we like are. Searches in Google images do nothing to develop our knowledge and understanding of the design industry. Just like we have our favourite musician and artists, let's get to know our favourite designers. 

Use websites called 'Designspiration' and 'Behance' to search up designs from known designers. Narrow the search with filters. It will return projects by contemporary designers. Click on them to see their work. Learn their names. Discover other projects they've done.

Click on the images below to visit Designspiration and Behance.

Annotating research

Press the image link at right to visit annotations for this stage of the Design Process.

A better way to search

Use the search field in This is the search it returned for cafe logos.
Use the search icon in the top right of the screen in Behance. I searched for "cafe logo, identity". It returned this search of current designers.

Research and investigation


Kristina Persl, 2018.


Kristina Persl, 2018.


2.1 Research and analysis
Research for the hospitality industry

Conduct broad and insightful research and analysis for the logo required in the brief.

Ensure that your research is from a variety of sources as described above.

Annotate your research  and evaluate how effective the designs you have collected might be according to your brief.

Research for your theme

Conduct broad and insightful research and analysis into the theme you have selected. 

Collect a broad range of images that will help power the aesthetics of your cafe designs. Create colour swatches or close ups of textures and patterns you might use.

Annotate and reference your research images. 

2.2 Observation and synthesis

As you populate your pages with research images and annotations, begin to sketch some of the ideas you see. Start to combine ideas and images. Start to change and adapt ideas, fonts and designs to create new ideas.

Take photos and make observational drawings of the real college canteen space.

Use this process to help shape the direction you will take in your use of visualisation drawings in the next stage.

You should complete 4-6 pages.

2.3 "Houston we have a problem!"

Later in the task we will be called to evaluate our design options in critical and reflective thinking tasks. In order to do this we need to know if they have solved our problem. Many students have trouble with this because they didn't see their design need as a problem. After all, why would we design something new, if not to solve a problem. No problem, no need to design. 

Define the problem that needs to be solved with the new logo. In order to do this, think about and describe what the logo will be required to do and what aesthetic and functional qualities it should have to do it.

Write a heading 'The design problem' and define it beneath.

Generation of ideas

In this section you will propose a range of ideas that could be developed for your logo.  Create 4 - 6 pages of visualisation drawings. Work with different scales, colours, textures and shapes. Try to make your ideas as different from each other as possible.

Generation of ideas with visualisation drawing

A page of generation of ideas sketches. (Similar task). Brett Lambert 2013.
A page of generation of ideas sketches. Kristina Persl, 2018.

Design thinking #1

creative thinking

Part of our job is to see things differently. Creative thinking is to thinking outside the box. Some designers refer to this as blue sky thinking.

By now you will have come up with a selection of ideas but how can you expand this range? The answer is by using a creative thinking technique. Some of these techniques are aimed at getting you started and others are aimed at enlarging them.

Click on the image link at right to visit my page on creative thinking.

Annotating generation of ideas

Press the image link at right to visit annotations for this stage of the Design Process.


3.1 Generation of ideas

Complete 3 - 6 A3 pages of initial design ideas for the logo.

3.2 Creative thinking

Read through my page on creative thinking.

Make a separate page called "Creative thinking". Choose on of the techniques in the Generation of Ideas phase of the creative thinking page.

Conduct a little research around the technique you have chosen. Use the technique to broaden your range of ideas in at least one additional page.

Development and refinement of concepts

In this section you will trail the use of  design elements and principles and different materials, methods and media to improve your designs so that they fulfil the communication need in the brief.

You will begin by evaluating and selecting the best ideas from your Generation of Ideas phase then develop at least two of them. You will end this phase by again evaluating your work before making and resolving your final presentations.

Design thinking #2

critical thinking #1

If creative thinking is thinking outside the box then critical thinking is thinking inside the box. This means thinking about your design options in terms of the brief - and in particular, the audience, purpose, expectations and constraints of the brief.

Before we begin the development phase of the design process we need to select and evaluate at least two of our ideas against the constraints, expectations and requirements of the brief.

There are a variety of critical thinking techniques you can use. Some are;

POOCH = Identify the problem, consider the options, consider likely outcomes and decide what is the best choice.

SWOT = Consider the option's strengths, its weaknesses, the opportunities that may be present and what obstacles or threats will you face to resolve the option.

PMI = Consider the plus points or advantages of the option, the minus points or disadvantages of the option and the interesting points that might be a basis for further development with more work.

Create a new page titled ‘Critical Thinking’ for this activity. Use a critical thinking technique to evaluate two ideas and select them for development and refinement.

Click on the image at right to visit my page on design thinking. Critical thinking is in the second phase of the design process shown.

Image Image
A page of critical thinking. Kristina Persl, 2028.

Development and refinement of concepts

In this section you will trail the use of  design elements and principles and different materials, methods and media to improve your designs so that they fulfil the communication need in the brief.

You will begin this section manually, working through a range of techniques then use digital applications to develop and refine your design options. Remember to save and print digital work - this is graded in your complete folio.

Create 4 - 6 pages of development and refinement.

Development and refinement of concepts

Development of option 1, Kristina Persl, 2018.
Development of option 2, Kristina Persl, 2018.

Design thinking #3


Describe how you are developing and refining your concepts using informative annotations beside your images.
Informative annotations often;

  • Identify design elements and principles, materials, methods or media being trialled or emphasised at the time
  • Describe how they are being developed and improved
  • Link the improvement to the constraints and requirements of the brief
  • Evaluate improvements and identify the next step of how they could be developed further to meet the communication need.
Annotating development of concepts

Press the image link at right to visit annotations for this stage of the Design Process.

Design thinking #4

Critical thinking #2

To end the development and refinement of concepts phase we need to evaluate our work prior to resolution of final presentations. Use another critical thinking technique from the list above to evaluate your best concept from this stage of the design process.


4.1 Critical thinking #1

Read the part above on critical thinking.

Make a separate page called "Critical thinking ". Choose one of the critical thinking techniques; POOCH, SWOT or PMI and use it to evaluate your best ideas before you begin the Development of Concepts.

4.2 Development and refinement of concepts

Complete 3 - 6 A3 pages showing how you are developing and refining your logo. In your work you will experiment with and refine;

  • design elements and principles,
  • work with different materials, methods and/ or media,
  • work manual and digital. 

Don't forget to save and print all your changes and to annotate your design process.

4.3 Annotations

Read the part above on making effective annotations to describe your design journey.

Make annotations beside your work in real time.

4.4 Critical thinking #2

Use a different technique from the same list above to evaluate the designs you have developed in this stage. Identify the designs you are evaluating clearly in a separate page.

Resolution of presentations

The final stage in your logo design process is to refine your selected option and create the final versions for use on all your presentation formats.

Your work will now be digital, most likely on Adobe Illustrator and/ or Photoshop. Consider;

  • how the logo reads from a variety of distances,
  • how it looks on different backgrounds,
  • how it scales
  • and how it looks in colour, black and white and grey scale.

It must work well in these formats. Refine it, making adjustments as you go until it is ready for export and printing. 

Print your work as you go for your visual diary.

Image Image
Development and refinement of logo. Alana Lacy, 2018.

Design thinking #5

Reflective thinking

Reflective thinking is a metacognative skill. This means it is thinking about your process from the point of view of an observer - one that was not involved in the design process. In this stage, consider;

  • others' reactions to your designs (you may make a survey),
  • consider how the design fits in broader contexts; 
  • How does it look compared with other catering logos?
  • How does it look against older or different logos?

Knowing how your work sits in a broader context really informs your future work. 

Critical and reflective thinking made for the next stage the menu, Kristina Persl, 2018.
Annotating resolution of presentations

Press the image link at right to visit annotations for this stage of the Design Process.


5.1 Resolution of presentations

Continue to refine your designs until they are resolved. Read above for the ways in which your logo needs to work.  Print and test it as you go. Export and print the final versions.

Don't forget to save and print all your changes and to annotate your design process.

5.2 Reflective thinking

Read the part above on reflective thinking.

Make a separate page called "Reflective thinking ". Stick in some copies of your final logos. Use the questions above as a guide to evaluate your logo in the broader context. Write your analysis on this page.


Design process #2

Other presentation formats

The next part of the design task is to create the other presentation formats. You will use the design process again to create options, refine and deliver design solutions for your client.

Design process #2

Look back at the brief before you proceed. Check you know which other presentation formats are required. 

Now that you have designed and resolved the logo through the design process, there may be a temptation to simply 'make' your menu and other designs. I remind you that each of these presentation formats is a complex item that needs to be designed from the ground up, with the full knowledge of research, and experience gained though visualization of ideas, development and refinement.

I will outline the design process as it applies to the other presentation formats, but you may make the choice about whether you will make the remaining presentation formats sequentially or concurrently.

Research and analysis

Using the techniques learnt in the previous research phase of your design process, research broadly menus and cafe signs.

Generation of ideas with visualisation drawings

Using the techniques learnt in the previous generation of ideas phase of your design process, propose a range of ideas for the other presentation formats.

Development and refinement

Using the techniques learnt in the previous development and refinement phase of your design process, develop and refine your other presentation formats.

For development of design elements and principles, use layout techniques including the grid layout - learnt in Unit 2 Area of study 2 Type and imagery in context.

Resolutions of final presentations

Using the techniques learnt in the previous resolution of final presentations phase of your design process, develop and complete - print and export each final presentation.


6.1 Design other presentation formats

Conduct separate design processes for each of the other presentation formats. 

Apply creative, critical and reflective thinking at appropriate stages during each design process.

This work will amount to several A3 pages of manual and printed digital designs.

The final part of the design task is to create your client presentation board. This will be the format with which you present your ideas to your client.

Client presentation board

In the final stage you will design a simple presentation that brings all of your work together to present to your client. 

use Adobe Illustrator to compose a presentation with each of the components in their context, a title and project information.

Client presentation board

1950s Diner style logo, Deb Nguyen, 2018.
1950s Diner style menu, Deb Nguyen, 2018.
Here is a professional application of the same skills and theme. ( /rosebud-foreshore-rockfest/) Accessed 9 December 2019.


7.1 Client presentation board

Re-read the brief to make sure you understand how the design material is to be presented to your client (for assessment).

Apply layout techniques and image management skills to create a presentation for your client on one sheet.

Use Adobe Photoshop to apply each presentation in its correct context.


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 computer);

  1. What does the design process describe? Why is it shown in a circle?
  2. What are the main differences between generation of ideas, development and refinement of concepts?
  3. At which stages of a design process would you be more likely to do observational, visualisation and presentation drawings?
  4. Describe the differences between divergent thinking and convergent thinking. How do they relate to creative and critical thinking?
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

Complete the evaluation, deeper learning and rating tasks as shown above.

Print them and add to your folio.


Assessment criteria

Below is shown a broad indication of the evidence a student should show.

Click here to download a complete assessment rubric for this task

The extent to which the student:

  1. Researches and analyses information relevant to a given brief
  2. Applies and documents design thinking when engaged in the design process
  3. Uses freehand visualization drawings and annotations to make ideas visible
  4. Develops design concepts emphasizing selected design elements and principles and using suitable manual and digital methods, media and materials
  5. Evaluates the suitability of design ideas and concepts in terms of the requirements of the brief
  6. Applies techniques to refine and present visual communications
  7. Applies practices that fulfil legal obligations when using the work of others

Please note:

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.