Course Title: Design and manipulate complex layouts

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

Course Code: GRAP9454C

Course Title: Design and manipulate complex layouts

School: 320T Architecture & Design

Campus: Brunswick Campus

Program: C5316 - Diploma of Graphic Design

Course Contact: Alistair Briggs

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 9152

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Sarah Bunting

+61 3 9925 9186

Nominal Hours: 65

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


Course Description

In this unit you will develop the skills and knowledge required to design complex publication layouts. This involves combining creative design skills with technical software proficiency.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUVGRD505A Design and manipulate complex layouts


1. Analyse design needs

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Confirm communication objectives for the publication based on the design brief and consultation with relevant people as required 1.2 Evaluate particular specifications of the design brief 1.3 Source and evaluate other information pertinent to the project


2. Develop and refine layout ideas

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify relevant sources and conduct research to inform layout ideas 2.2 Consider the opportunities and constraints offered by different techniques and technologies 2.3 Assess the different elements that need to be incorporated into the overall layout 2.4 Create and refine ideas and options by working with the fundamental elements and principles of design 2.5 Refine ideas through use of ongoing technical experimentation 2.6 Evaluate and select approaches based on their potential to meet the communication need 2.7 Produce and present visual representations of design ideas and communicate with others to confirm as required


3. Create and manipulate layouts

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Set up the document using the capabilities of appropriate software 3.2 Manipulate and enhance the layout through use of an extended range of tools and features 3.3 Support communication objectives with effective integration of text and visuals 3.4 Identify and resolve technical problems based on developing expertise 3.5 Achieve desired outcomes through application of design skills and technical expertise 3.6 Enhance outcomes by allowing the creative and technical processes to work together 3.7 Establish and follow safe work practices in the work process


4. Evaluate design work

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Critique the layout from both a functional and aesthetic perspective in the context of the design objective 4.2 Seek feedback from others as required, and make appropriate adjustments 4.3 Make assessment of own work and identify key learnings to inform future work


5. Finalise technical aspects

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Edit and refine layouts to meet technical requirements 5.2 Follow correct protocols for saving, exporting and storing files 5.3 Establish appropriate file formats for output and appropriate colour management profiles

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:

  • demonstrations and presentations by teacher
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • group discussion
  • review and revision
  • peer learning
  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • ‘workshopping’ of student projects including peer/lecturer feedback 

Out of class activities will include:

  • independent project based work
  • online tutorials and activities
  • independent research
  • studio practice
  • review and revision

Teaching Schedule

Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

There will be a number of prescribed tasks and projects (see Assessment Tasks below).




Session Description

Assessment due

Learning Elements



Overview of course and resources. InDesign revision.
Task 1: Simple tables. Working with tables and rules in InDesign. Understanding their uses and limitations.




Task 2: Complex Tabs and Tables. Working with more complex forms in InDesign using tables, tabs and rules.

Task 1



Finalise and submit Task 2: Complex Tabs and Tables

Introduction to Project 1/1A: Breaking Records. Resources. Discussion of genre & its relationship to typography. Exploration of related styles. Focused research.

Homework: research 2 genres. Select subject.

Task 2



Pin up and discuss findings from homework.

Exercise: Type, Set, Match.

Present subject selection and genre research, identifying and clarifying appropriate characteristics, moods &  styles etc. Research contemporary typography and design. Source appropriate imagery.




Present type and image research. Develop concepts.

Experiment with media, styles, and layout ideas. Grids - margins/columns etc. Document setup.Feedback and discussion.




Present research and development to class in guided presentation format. Refine concepts and layouts based on feedback. Revision and development of type styles. Source text for liner notes.




Develop and refine subscription form (Part B). Class demonstration of required techniques. Feedback and discussion.

Homework: source second-hand record for mockup.




Present designs for final feedback and discussion. Technical checks and submission details. Printing of 1 x sleeve for packaging mockup - supply file.




Finalise and submit Project 1/1B

Project 1



Introduction to Project 2: Type Topics. Form groups, develop communication methods and timelines. View examples, discuss concepts and research methods. Receive assigned topics.

Homework: research and concept development. Develop mood and visuals.




ANZAC Day Public Holiday, NO CLASS this week




Present research, mood boards and concept development. Discuss in groups. Pin-up and present findings. Develop layout ideas. Demonstration: table of contents and page numbers.




Refine layout ideas and develop designs. Feedback and discussion. Develop pack designs.




Refine layouts and pack designs. Feedback and discussion. Peer review and action feedback.




Feedback and discussion. Technical checks and ready for production.




Finalise and submit Project 2.

Project 2



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Coles, Stephen, The Geometry of Type: The Anatomy of 100 Essential Typefaces, Thames & Hudson Ltd; 1st edition, 2013


Lupton, Ellen, Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students 2 Rev Exp Edition, 2014, Princeton Architectural Press


Middendorp, Jan, Shaping Text: Type, Typography and the Reader, 2012, BIS Publishers


Spiekermann, Erik, Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, Third Edition (3rd Edition), Adobe Press, 2013


Williams, Jim, Type Matters!, Merrell Publishers, 2012


Kane, John, A Type Primer (2nd Edition), Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011


French, Nigel, InDesign Type: Professional Typography with Adobe InDesign (3rd Edition), 2014, Adobe Press


Highsmith, C, Inside Paragraphs, 2012, The Font Bureau Inc


Garfield, Simon, Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, 1st (first) Edition (2010)


Other Resources

Prescribed Texts

There are no compulsory prescribed texts in this course. This course has recommended books listed under ‘References’


You are advised to look at the Learning Hub at myRMIT site for ongoing updated information. A range of learning resources and references are provided throughout the year.

You will require a personal storage device and tools as outlined in tool kit list.

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 to the library resources.

Amongst the library’s electronic resources is the ability to access for online tutorials and lessons. You may be given these tutorials (and other resources) to supplement your classroom learning. The University Library has extensive resources for 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

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 
  • Design Project 2 

Assessment Tasks

This course has 2 Projects. You are required to demonstrate all learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard.

Task 1: Simple Tables. Due Week 1.

Task 2: Complex Tables & Tabs. Due Week 3 start of class.

Project 1 Part A: Students will design and produce 2 x album covers and 1 x album liner notes. Due Week 9

Project 1 Part B: Students will design and produce a subscription form. Due Week 9. 

Project 2: Students will design and set the text for a multi-page publication. This will be a group project. Due Week 16.

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 graded assessment 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

An assessment matrix demonstrating alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency is available from the course contact person (stated above).

Other Information


The major aspect of your 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 for success.



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


Student Progress

Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Student progress policy



When submitting work for assessment you are required to complete a declaration of authorship. This must be done for every summative assessment task. This statement acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications. For non-­digital submission use the printed form provided. For digital online submission please use e­ Submission process.Information regarding the e­Submission process


Special Consideration Policy, Late Submission & Extensions

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

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: Work submitted late will be assessed for competency only. Submissions are only permitted during the period that the competency is scheduled.


Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity. Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview