Course Title: Research visual communication history and theory

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2015

Course Code: COMM7313C

Course Title: Research visual communication history and theory

School: 320T Architecture & Design

Campus: Brunswick Campus

Program: C5316 - Diploma of Graphic Design

Course Contact : Leigh Milward

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 9426

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 55

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

There are no prerequisites for this unit, however this unit is delivered alongside BSBDES402A Interpret and respond to a design brief in a studio cluster called Design 1.

Course Description

While undertaking this unit you will research visual communication history and theory and to apply that research to own professional practice. Visual communication professionals inform and enrich their practice through their understanding of history and theory. It provides context, inspiration and reference for contemporary design solutions. History and theory may relate to a particular period of time, a particular aspect of visual communication, or be broader in nature. At this level, research is an independent activity, with some guidance and mentoring as required.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUVGRD501A Research visual communication history and theory


1. Select focus for research

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Select a focus for visual communication research based on specific needs and perspectives
1.2 Challenge own assumptions and preconceptions about the research process and potential information sources
1.3 Select relevant historical and contemporary sources for investigation


2. Conduct critical analysis

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify and investigate issues and ideas in the development of visual communication
2.2 Evaluate ways in which meanings, messages and information are communicated in both a historical and contemporary content
2.3 Seek out and compare the critical views of others in chosen area of inquiry
2.4 Allow the process of analysis to take exploration of issues in new and potentially unintended directions


3. Present ideas about visual communication history and theory

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Develop substantiated opinions and ideas about visual communication history and theory
3.2 Make informed contributions to professional discussions of visual communication practice as a result of research
3.3 Present ideas in writing with clarity and accuracy


4. Develop own practice from research

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Determine potential for integration of research findings into own work
4.2 Relate visual communication history and theory to business practice considerations
4.3 Recognise connections and associations between history, theory and contemporary practice
4.4 Develop relevant ideas about how research impacts on own professional practice and its future direction

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate your competency in the above elements.

Details of Learning Activities

Learning activities will take place in a studio and computer laboratory using industry standard tools and resources. You will complete exercises and industry style projects. You will also be required to undertake independent study.In class activities will include:

class exercises
practical demonstrations
group discussion
review and revision
peer learning
peer teaching and class presentations
teacher directed group activities/projects
workshopping of student projects including peer/lecturer feedback


Out of class activities may include:
independent research
independent project based work
studio practice
online tutorials and activities
review and revision

Teaching Schedule


Session descriptionCUVGRD501ABSBDES402A
1Intro - icebreakers and design games.  1-4 1
2Lecture: Difference between graphic design and fine art. Role of designer in relation to client and target audience.
Presentation and class discussion.
 1-4 1,2
3Summative task delivery - Write a brief/respond to a brief.What’s inside a brief? Examine the components of a brief, discussion
on how it can be answered.
Lecture: Early nineteenth century Graphic Design influences 1920s, Dada/Constructivism, Composition
 1-4 1,2
4Summative Assessment Task 1 due in class.
Brief 1 - Write a brief/respond to a brief -
Lecture/ presentation: colour blocking.
1-4 1,2
5Lecture: The Poster. Delivery of Summative Assessment Task 2: Social poster 1-4 1,2
6Composition principles and elements 1,4 1-5
7The Grid 1-4 1-5

Create symbols/pictograms

Summative assessment task 2 due.

 1-4 1-5
9 ISOtype 1-41-5

Researching designers

11Student presentations about designers 1-41-5
12Folding and booklets 1-4 1-5
13Students to work on Giants of Design booklet - concept stage 1-4 1-5
14Students to work on Giants of Design booklet - development stage 1-4 1-5
15Students to work on Giants of Design booklet - final stage and hand in finished booklet 1-4 1-5

Submission/Folio Week



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

None required


Lupton, 2008, Phillips Graphic Design: The New Basics
Dabner, Calvert, Casey, 2010, Graphic Design School
Timothy Samara, 2007, Design Elements: A graphic design style manual
Ellen Lupton, 2009, Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the field

Heller, Steven and Vienne, Veronique, 2012, 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, Laurence King Publishing.
Aynsley Jeremy, 2004, Pioneers of Modern Graphic Design: A Complete History, Octopus Publishing Group.
Hollis, Richard. 2004. Graphic Design; A Concise History, Thames and Hudson.
Meggs, Philip B. 1992: A History of Graphic Design, Second Edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold   

Other Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software. You will also have access of the library resources. The University Library has extensive resources for Graphic Design students. The Library has produced a subject guide that includes quality online and print resources for your studies

The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarian Mary Mavroudis

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is on-going throughout the course. Assessment tasks will require you demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills through practical projects and/or written tasks. Assessment tasks in this course are:

  • Design Project 1 (50% of final grade)
  • Design Project 2 (50% of final grade) 

Assessment Tasks

Tasks in this course are either formative or summative. Feedback throughout the course may be written, verbal or a combination of both.
Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks and you should engage in all formative tasks.
This course has 3 Summative Tasks, all of which must be completed/submitted. Each task has an allocated percentage of the total grade. You are required to demonstrate all learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard.
Formative assessment
Design principles and elements exercises which will be delivered throughout the semester and explore the following:
• components of a brief
• image creation
• intellectual property and copyright
• environmental concerns
• class discussions and presentations
• feedback

Assessment Tasks
Project 1: Write and Respond to a Brief. (100% of final grade for GRAP5306C - Interpret and Respond to a Design Brief)
Analysis of a brief. Write a brief. Give the brief to another student. Respond to a student brief with written and sketched ideas, and verbal/visual communication. Must have meetings with the ‘client’. Self evaluation and peer evaluation. Emphasis on the quality of the presentation of ideas.
DUE week 4

Project 2: Social Poster. (50% of final grade for COMM7313C - Research Visual Communication History and Theory)
Research a social issue – make a poster around an issue incorporating contemporary design trends.
DUE: Week 8

Project 3: Giants of Design Booklet. (50% of final grade for COMM7313C - Research Visual Communication History and Theory)
Research a graphic designer – make a booklet in the style of the designer. This printing will incur some out of pocket costs
DUE: Week 15

At the completion of the course, grading will be offered in addition to, and after, competency based assessment.

Grades which apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also use gradedassessment are:
CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available from the course contact person (stated above).

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that you attend
all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to be successful in this course.

You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on
how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student feedback at RMIT:
Pick the following link to access the Student feedback webpage

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential.
Pick the following link to access the Student progress policy webpage

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges
that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.
Pick the following link for Cover sheet for submission of works

Special consideration Policy & Late Submission
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level.
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.
Pick the following link for details on applying for Special consideration

Late Submission & Extensions
Any student seeking an extension, should aim at doing so a minimum of 2 days before the deadline. Work submitted late and without an extension at any point will incur late penalties in accordance with university policy.
If you require an extension you must complete an extension form with evidence supporting your application and hand this to your instructor. Further links - Application for extension of time

On Time Submission and Impact of Late Submission
On time submission is an important factor in your assessment. Employability skills are embedded in all courses and these include Planning & Organising and Self-management. For this reason, late work impacts on your overall grade for each assessment task.
The following adjustments for late submission will be made: Grades will be reduced by 10% for each day (or part thereof), for the first two days. If submissions are three days or more late, the work will only be assessed as a pass or fail – it will not be graded. Submissions seven days or more late should still be handed in, however they will not be assessed and will be kept as a record only.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity.
Pick the following link for more information Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview