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 fees 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. Recall and identify key graphic design principles.
2. Use the fundamental principles of graphic design in the creation of visual solutions to an assessment brief.
3. Develop design ideas based on research and analysis using a sketchbook to record this process.
4. Apply an iterative design process underpinned by experimentation in response to an assessment brief..
5. Develop visual solutions to an assessment brief using peer evaluation, critique and reflection. 
6. Design professional standard outcomes using relevant media (including the major features of Adobe CC) that are appropriate to the audience and the assessment brief.

Subject Content

1. What is graphic design?
2. Developing a design process
3. Understanding and applying fundamental design principles
4. Lateral thinking and idea generation
5. Communicating through text and image
6. Typography and layout
7. LinkedIn Learning tutorials as specified:
i. Color for Design and Art
ii. Graphic Design Foundations:Typography
iii. InDesign Essential Training (most recent version)
iv. Illustrator Essential Training (most recent version)

Special Requirements

Essential equipment

Students are expected to have:
• A basic kit of graphic design ‘tools’—pencils (HB, 2B, 3B), eraser, ruler, scissors/safety cutter and paper glue.
• An A4 plain paper (not lined) sketchbook
• Access to a computer 
• Access to Adobe CC
• A digital storage device (USB or external hard drive)


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 N/A 10 N Individual
Portfolio Design practice, therefore no length/duration applicable 45 N Individual
Portfolio Design practice, therefore no length/duration applicable 45 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • N/A

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Alison Barnes Opens in new window

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