Before you start

Go back to VCE resource list

1. Check key subject information

Visit VCAA to check the subject information so you know what’s involved:

  • Study Design: outline of what you’re asked to do
  • Assessment Criteria (‘Administrative information for school-based assessment’): how you’re assessed
  • Technical Drawing Specifications: the key drawing skills and how to draw them (You definitely want to check this one out!!!!)

I know they look so difficult to read and understand – so focus on keywords, skim through to get the overall idea of how it will go.

2. Know the terms

It’s important that you understand some of the most frequently used terms in VCD.

There are three categories of design, and you will need to decide what your presentations will focus on based on these categories. You can choose two distinctive presentations from one of three categories, but most of students choose two categories (e.g. communication design and environmental design).

<Example 1> your client is a summer music festival organiser, and based on their needs, you might decided to design:

Presentation 1 (communication design): festival brand identity (logo design & colour scheme) and posters

Presentation 2 (environmental design): design of a special festival stage set, represented in 2D drawings and a 3D model.

<Example 2> your client is an animal shelter organisation and based on their needs, you might decided to design:

Presentation 1 (communication design): web design for the organisation and official app design for social interaction between pet owners

Presentation 2 (industrial design): design of the protective wears for dogs and cats used at the animal shelter

You’ll hear ‘methods’, ‘media’ and ‘material’ so many times, so let’s clarify what each of them means. The lists below are some of the examples of methods / media / materials, however there’s no limit to what you can use. (reference: study design 2013-17)

Drawings have three main types. You’ll need to show at least one observational drawing per presentation.


In VCD, the folio is the design process in which you respond to the client’s needs. You’re asked to complete two presentations. It includes:

  1. Brief: the backbone of the folio – setting parameters
  2. Research: gather & analyse information & inspiration
  3. Generation of ideas: come up with various possibilities based on research & inspiration
  4. Development of concepts: select and develop a number of strong ideas from Generation of ideas
  5. Refinement: modify the selected design based on feedback and evaluation
  6. Resolution of presentations: present visual communications that respond to the brief

*Note: the structure of the Folio may have been modified in 2020 to mitigate the impacts of coronavirus disruptions. Please check the altered marking rubric & study design and ask your teacher.

2. How to annotate

Annotation makes it easier for the viewer to understand what you’re thinking. It’s the easiest way to bump up your marks because you’ll be annotating throughout the folio process!

When describing something:

What + (When) + Where + (Who) + How + Why

When analysing / evaluating something:

Design principles & Design elements + Their effects + How it impacts the audience

3. Keep a cheat sheet of Design elements & principles handy

Make your own cheat sheet of Design elements & principles to refer to whenever you write.

Make sure to include:

  • definitions & types
  • Its effects
  • Descriptive words
  • Key terminology associated

Here is my version of the cheat sheet (click images below) and lists of adjectives – they’re not perfect and I’d recommend making your own to remember them better.

4. Know & apply Design Thinking

Design thinking is a group of thinking methods that help you throughout the design process – although you MUST demonstrate that you can apply design thinking techniques, at their core, they are essential ways of thinking for any kind of projects you do.

There are three design thinking approaches:

Details about each technique will be explained on other pages of the resource (so that you know which ones you should use for which stage).