VCE Visual Comminications

Unit 1: Introduction to Visual Communication Design

Outcome 1: Design elements and principles

Curriculum

Key knowledge

  • key features and functions of design elements such as point, line, shape, form, tone, texture, colour and type
  • key features and functions of design principles such as figure-ground, balance, contrast, cropping, hierarchy, scale, proportion and pattern (repetition and alternation)
  • aesthetic and functional factors that influence the selection and application of design elements and design principles
  • different manual and digital methods, media and materials for exploring and applying design elements and design principles

Key skills

  • select and apply different design elements and design principles when generating and developing alternative design options
  • use selected manual and digital methods, media and materials appropriate to visual communication purposes

Digital tools

Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Why

  • Illustrator allows students to accurately trace their manual drawing.
  • Adobe Illustrator allows students to generate digital visual communications using industry standard software and tools.

Lesson plan

Key knowledge

  • key features and functions of design elements such as point, line, shape, form, tone, texture, colour and type
  • key features and functions of design principles such as figure-ground, balance, contrast, cropping, hierarchy, scale, proportion and pattern (repetition and alternation)
  • aesthetic and functional factors that influence the selection and application of design elements and design principles
  • different manual and/or digital methods, media and materials for exploring and applying design elements and design principles

Key skills

  • select and apply different design elements and design principles when generating and developing alternative design options
  • selectuse selected manual and digital methods, media and materials appropriate to visual communication purposes

Learning intention

Create a visual communication presentation using digital technologies and applying the design elements and principles. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of both manual and digital methods used in relation to the purpose of this visual communication. This task is part of a broader learning outcome.

Description of task

Develop a character using manual freehand drawing. Digitally refine the character. In both steps of the process, students will apply the design elements and principles. This character will be used in the layout of a book cover. Students will consider and follow copyright obligations in the creation of their visual communication presentation.

How will digital technologies be integrated into this lesson?

  • Students select a cartoon and use Illustrator for tracing their selected manual drawing using the pen tool. They then fill their drawings with colour and save their work.
  • Using their traced drawing students are asked to modify their digital drawing five times exploring the design elements and principles. They can explore line, texture, pattern, tone, point, form, colour and balance.
  • These digital drawings are then annotated discussing what design elements and principles have been used and whether or not they were effective. Annotations to be typed up next to each drawing.

Why

  • Illustrator allows students to accurately trace their manual drawing.
  • Adobe Illustrator allow students to generate digital visual communications using industry standard software and tools.

Preparation

Lesson procedure

  1. Provide the pen tool worksheets for students to use while watching the video tutorials (see teacher preparation). The teacher may need to pause video at points so students can keep up with instructions.
  2. Students scan their selected development drawing and email it to themselves to open it up in a vector-based program. They create a new layer and using the pen tool, trace their character drawing with their stroke on black and their fill on transparent.
  3. Once they have completed their tracing select, delete the layer with the scanned manual drawing. Select sections they wish to colour and change the transparent to a colour.
  4. This drawing is saved as a PDF file titled ‘Refinement 1’ and then select the type button to type annotations next to your drawing. Identify and describe the two dominant design elements and one dominant principle. Evaluate how effective they are in the character design.
  5. Students go back to their drawing and modify it, exploring line through changing the brushes in the brush library. They trial different patterns from the pattern library and textures through applying different filters. Add shadows and highlights using the brush tool and darker and lighter tones from their selected colour to create form. After they modify each digital drawing, annotate it choosing different elements and principles to discuss. Save it as a PDF file titled ‘Refinement 2’ then 3 until they have five in total all annotated.

Teacher quote

‘Students are asked to annotate in real time, so once they finish a development, they select the type tool and type their annotations next to the drawing. Annotations in real time allow students to express their thoughts more clearly as they work on each of their drawings. This prevents their annotations from being inauthentic as something they have to do as an afterthought. They can use the selection tool to move their annotations to the place they want once they have finished.’

Teacher Story

Further resources

Video tutorial on using pen tool in Illustrator:

Student work

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