VCD Unit 3 AOS 1.1 Environmental design analysis

Analyse environmental design.

Outcome 1

(Full Outcome statement for the six part Area of Study)

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

  • Create visual communications for specific contexts, purposes
    and audiences that are informed by their analysis of existing visual communications in the three design fields.

What you will do

This task is from the field of environmental design. 

The first task in the six part Area of Study 1 in Year 12 Visual Communication Design.

In this task we look at examples of environmental design and identify components, explore factors that may have influenced their design and begin to describe them in detail.

There will be three different analysis tasks. One for each design field. Each task will increase in complexity.

Read below for instructions.

Quick menu

Model answer

Samples to be posted as they become available.

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.
Image Image

Elements and principles

in environmental design

When we think elements and principles of design we naturally think communication design. But did you know they exist in environmental design as well? This section will show you how.

Identifying elements and principles of design in environments

The easiest and most effective way in to analysis of design is to identify dominant the elements and principles of design. Doing this is like identifying the ingredients in a cake. Once you know what it's made of you can discuss it well.

I have posted sixteen photos of buildings and environments from my travels below. Each one represents one element or principle of design. Your task will be to see if you can identify each one then describe it.

Click on the image at right to find out more about the elements and principles of design.

Elements and principles of design in environmental design


tasks 1

1.1 Identify and describe

Save off each of the 16 pictures shown above. Create a new file in Adobe InDesign at A3 portrait.

Set up page margins at top 40, bottom 123, left 20, right 20 mm. This will give you a square field. Make on square at 64.25 mm across. Place each picture into the squares. (Hint, if you set the size for one picture, you can copy it for each).

Lastly, name each element or principle and make a short description that describes how it is evident in the picture. Use design language gained from the page on elements and principles of design.

If you can't identify one of my images, or you don't like it, shoot one for yourself and use that.

An example of one square is shown below.


3 factors

influencing environmental design

As part of our analysis we need to consider the factors that influence (or shape) design. We will begin with three key factors; audience, purpose and context.

Identifying and describing audiences for environmental design

Click on the image at right to visit my page on audience.

Make sure you are familiar with the ways to describe audiences for visual communications. The ways that divide the audience are called audience characteristics. It is customary to use two or three of these when describing a specific target audience.

Who is this for?

A hair salon from Mid Century. ( /01/ inside-vintage-beauty-salons-from-1950s.html/) Accessed 18 November 2019.

tasks 2

2.1 Describe audiences
Visit my page on target audiences. Write down the six audience characteristics. List one piece of environmental design that you think would appeal to one sub-division of each of the characteristics.
2.2 Suggest changes

Collect one image of environmental design that you think would appeal to one sub-division of the audience in each characteristic. For example, if you take gender, then find one image that you think might appeal more to females or males. I choose a picture of a hair salon that I think appeals to females.

Now consider another sub-division of the characteristic and describe two changes that could be made to the environmental design so that it might appeal to another audience. To continue with my example above, I will now consider the sub-division of males in the characteristic of gender. I now need to describe two changes I would make to the environmental design to ensure that it appeals more to men.

How does purpose shape environmental design?

Click on the image at right to visit my page on purpose.

Make sure you are familiar with the purposes for visual communications.

Take care when discussing purposes for visual communications in the fields of environmental and industrial design. You will need to differentiate between the purpose of a building or object itself (for example, a house is to provide shelter for someone) and the purpose of a visual communication that represents or depicts a design. (For example, plans and elevations depict a building). See the images below for visual communications with a range of purposes related to environmental design.

What is this for?

Ariel shot of O'Hare Airport, Chicago. ( 2019/03/27/chicago-ohare-global-terminal-concourse-studio-ord-studio-gang/) Accessed 18 November 2019.

tasks 2

2.3 Identify and meet purposes

Revisit my page on purposes for visual communications. List each purpose the you think would be relevant for visual communications in environmental design. Discuss these together, it is not as easy as it appears.

(Remember that these purposes refer to purposes for presentation formats not buildings or the build environment).

Now sketch an example of a presentation format used in environmental design that could mete the purposes you have identified.

Annotate your sketches to describe one or two important features each example would need to have to ensure that it meets the needs of the purpose you have chosen.

How does context shape environmental design?

Click on the image at right to visit my page on context.

Context means where a visual communication will be seen or where it is located.

When we analyse the context for presentation formats in environmental design we often refer to visual communications that depict built environments. For example, the context for a model or a perspective rendering might be an architects office.

However, as we will be designing a building that is suited to a particular location, we will also examine how particular characteristics of locations influence design. This is also referred to as context for design.

Make sure you are familiar with the contexts for visual communications.

Context shapes design


House Tokyo.
( 2017/06/19/tiny-house-kobe-japan-fujiwaramuro-architects- skylights//) Accessed 18 November 2019.

tasks 2

2.4 Context influences design

Collect three images of environmental design. These may be buildings landscapes or presentation formats that depict environmental design.

Copy them into a page and identify the context for each.

Now, explain how context has played a part in shaping the way the visual communications have been designed.


Other factors

influencing environmental design

There are a range of other factors and considerations that influence environmental design. This section will look at them.

Describing how factors shape designs

In this section you will explore what other factors and considerations influence and shape design.

Designers need to respond appropriately to factors and considerations shaping their work. For example, designers of buildings in Antarctica need to respond to a huge range of factors including - audience, purpose, context, social, technology, the environment and economics. In fact, while you are here quickly discuss how they might respond to each one of those factors and considerations when designing an Antarctic base.

We will work through a variety of tasks to ensure that we understand how factors and considerations influence design.

Click on the image at right to find out more about the factors that shape design.

Examples of factors influencing design


Architecture by Zaha Hadid. ( Accessed 18 November 2019.



Kitchen Layout
( /study-notes/space-planning/) Accessed 18 November 2019.



Johnson Wax Headquarters is the world headquarters and administration building of S. C. Johnson & Son in Racine, Wisconsin. Designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939.
( designing-a-healthy-innovative-workspace/) Accessed 18 November 2019.



A Futuro house is a round, prefabricated house designed by Matti Suuronen, of which fewer than 100 were built during the late 1960s and early 1970s. A Futuro at Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland
( Futuro#/media/File:Futuro_WeeGee_ Espoo.jpg ) Accessed 18 November 2019.



A small and smart loft apartment - IKEA
( inspiring-ideas-for-a-tiny-studio-pubbc8ceea1) Accessed 18 November 2019.



Local Authority Building and Maintenance.
( /special-report-housing-fit-future/attachment/homes-of-the-future-are-needed-today-infographic-pdf/) Accessed 18 November 2019.

tasks 3

3.1 Describe the way factors influence design

Consider the images above. Choose two and save and print them.

Write detailed descriptions to explain the role the factor associated with the images you chose had in shaping the completed design.



To new designs

The final step of this task will be to examine how existing designs can be used to inform our new design work. The information gained here will be carried into the next phase of this Area of Study.

Communication needs and concepts

You will be designing a café and hire store to be situated in national parks across the top of Australia. Consider the climate up there (or here if you are reading this there!) Shipping containers are a well know solution for building modules. They are a fairly eco-friendly option because of the re-use and re-purposing of existing materials and construction resources. They will also make a great foundation for learning Sketchup, a CAD program in the next part of the task. But back to the Territory. What do you know about the climate up in Kakadu National park. Click on this link to see the temperature in Kakadu now.

However. Take a look at the image of a shipping container here. Discuss, the suitability of this box to house a café in Kakadu’s climate and determine what would need to be done to make it more suitable for people to work in.

What is tropical design like?


A 20' Shipping container.
( Accessed 19 November 2019.

Research time

Do some research on design for the tropics. Read these and other articles to investigate how designers create buildings suitable for the tropics.

Click on the links at right to see where Kakadu National Park is and read two articles on design for the tropics.

tasks 4

4.1 Investigate location and climate
Create a section called 'Context for design'. Investigate and record details about the location and climate of Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.
4.2 Investigate designs

Investigate how designers approach designing for the tropics. Find out if there are any similar climates around the world and check them out too.

Write a list of features buildings shown on the two sites linked above have to deal with heat and humidity. Add some images to illustrate your findings.

4.3 Connections

Create a new section called 'Connections between existing and created visual communications'.

Make an informative annotated diagram that suggests at least 10 features that would need to be changed or added to a shipping container to make it suitable for use as a café and hire store in Kakadu National Park Northern Territory.

You will use this diagram to inform your design work in the next task in this Area of Study.


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?
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 written answers and visual diary for submission.

Check the assessment criteria below to see if you have prepared your work for each criteria. If not, take the time to complete it.

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.

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 identifies and explains:

  1. Characteristics of audiences that influence visual communications, including age, gender, interests, location, socioeconomic status and cultural background

  2. Factors that influence design

  3. Characteristics and functions of design elements and design principles

  4. Connections between existing and created visual communications

  5. Use of appropriate terminology.

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.