Undergraduate Degree




DV2001 Visual Communication I

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To deliver to students the basics of graphic design as a formal and process-based activity. To deliver to students an historical overview of the key themes and ideas of design practice.


This course is the first in a series of four graphic design courses. It introduces students to the principles and elements of design in the context of visual communication. This is a process and idea-driven class, where students are encouraged to explore visual making methodologies. The student will begin to establish a design vocabulary and have a familiarity with how to engage in constructive group critiques.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

• Research historical and international graphic designers 

• Introduce relevant design software

• Review the formal elements of design

- line, shape, colour, value, texture, format etc

• Review the principles of design:

- Balance, emphasis, rhythm, unity etc

• Analyze: Signs and Symbols

• Introduce semiotics


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• Identify historical graphic styles 

• Develop a climate of peer review and group critique

• Discuss personal design process


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The students will know the basics of the graphic design practice. The students will be familiar with the discursive nature of idea development. The students will be familiar with an understanding of how to read graphic design as a language-based phenomenon.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 30%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart, A Smile in the Minds Eye, Phaidon Press

  2. Lars Muller, Paul Rand, Josef Muller-Brockmann, A Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design, Lars Müller Publishers

  3. Paul Rand, Design, Form and Chaos, Yale University Press

  4. Broos & Hefting, Dutch Graphic Design, The MIT Press

  5. Evans & Thomas, Exploring the Elements of Design, Delmar

  6. Erik Spiekermann and E M Ginger, Stop Stealing Sheep, Adobe Press

    Alan Fletcher, The Art of Looking Sideways, Phaidon Press

  7. Louis Ocepek, The Principles of Graphic Design, Prentice Hall

  8. Philip B Meggs, Type and Image,

  9. Philip B Meggs, Visual Design, Van Nostrand Rienhold

  10. Ian Noble, Russell Bestley, Visual Research. An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design, AVA Publishing