DESN 3013 Social Design: Research and Practice

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102274

Coordinator Leo Robba Opens in new window

Description This subject introduces students to the idea that graphic designers can be agents of change. Set project briefs will focus on social and political issues exploring the potential inherent in graphic design practice to make a real difference to society. The subject will encourage students to go beyond the definition of a problem solver, encouraging them to act as a problem seeker, who can use their design thinking skills to develop ideas that respond proactively to society's problems rather than reacting to a client's set brief. The subject will introduce further design-led, social and participatory research methods, that continue to build on the design process, and further expand the methods that underpin aspects of research and practice during the remainder of the degree. Students will refine and develop their visual language skills, in combination with material and digital skills, facilitating their development as an independent learner.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Graphic Design Studies

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) DESN 2006 OR
DESN 2014

Equivalent Subjects DESN 3004 Design Research Training

Assumed Knowledge

Students should have completed one major pairing.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Undertake independent research relevant to a brief, with particular emphasis on the effective critical review of research findings and the translation of these into design strategy and outcome in an iterative process.
  2. Exhibit a reflective and creative approach to project development and the design process
  3. Employ a design process and practice in a context that requires sensitivity to, and an awareness of, social, cultural and environmental issues
  4. Design an appropriately targeted communication strategy for a defined audience, group or stakeholder
  5. Demonstrate ability to work collaboratively and respond effectively to feedback
  6. Demonstrate ability to explain the process of design development and present soundly justified design concepts and ideas.

Subject Content

- introduction to social design
- Responding to A social design brief
- developing A theory of change to inform targeted and strategic design responses to The brief
- applying design research methods to immerse in The real World context defined by The brief
- engage stakeholders to learn more about The real World context defined by The brief
- developing design concepts in An iterative process of research, design development and reflection
- work collaboratively to refine design concepts
- Seek meaningful feedback from stakeholders and peers


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
Report 1,000 - 1,500 words plus images 40 N Individual
Applied Project 500 - 750 words plus images 30 N Individual
Professional Task Student group will produce design campaign collateral (as per brief) to be featured in a 3 minute pitch video linked to a website. Plus a report of 500 words plus images. 30 N Group

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Leo Robba Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window