DESN 1009 Graphic Design: Understanding the Principles

Credit Points 20

Legacy Code 102261

Coordinator Alison Barnes Opens in new window

Description This subject introduces students to the fundamental principles of visual language and graphic design practice. Through a series of workshops, exercises and project briefs, students will learn how elements such as colour, composition, text, typography and image can be used to communicate meaning in a variety of contexts. Through the project briefs students will begin to develop their awareness of graphic design as a problem solving activity and apply their understanding of the design process in relation to research skills, idea generation, reflective practice, and both written and verbal communication skills. Students will learn the importance of prototyping, developing and refining their ideas through practice, and aspects of the digital print production process will also be introduced. Students will be introduced to design software packages and to support the ongoing development of their digital media skills they will be provided with access to resources for independent online learning.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Graphic Design Studies

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 20cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 1 subject

Equivalent Subjects DESN 1010 - Graphic Design Understanding the Principles (WSTC)

Incompatible Subjects DESN 1016 Introduction to Typography DESN 1006 Digital Design Production

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Develop, refine and present digital and non-digital outcomes to a professional standard.
  2. Generate compelling solutions to visual problems that demonstrate an applied understanding of type, image colour and composition using the principles of design.
  3. Implement a design process, including research, idea generation, prototyping and reflection, when answering a brief.
  4. Use relevant media and image-making processes in developing solutions to visual problems within a set brief.
  5. Use the major features of Adobe CC as an industry standard software application for production.
  6. Undertake methods of peer evaluation and critique, and apply an iterative process to their design work.

Subject Content

What is graphic design?
Elements of design and principles of design
Lateral thinking and idea generation
Communicating through text and image
Typography and layout tutorials as specified: i) Foundations of Colour, ii) Foundations of Typography, iii) InDesign CC Fundamentals, iv) Illustrator CC Fundamentals


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Portfolio Design practice, therefore no length/duration applicable 25 N Both (Individual & Group)
Practical Design practice, therefore no length/duration applicable 25 N Individual
Portfolio Design practice, therefore no length/duration applicable 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Sherin, A. (2018). Introduction to graphic design: A guide to thinking, process and style. London ; New York : Bloomsbury Visual Arts

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2022)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Alison Barnes Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Autumn (2023)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Alison Barnes Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window