The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course introduces students to a variety of theories, definitions and histories of design. It will explore key historical moments and people in the development of the specific design practice of visual communication in relation to broader historical events. This examines the manner in which ideologies presented during those events are embodied in the visual language and messages of the day.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Communicate an understanding of some the key historical and theoretical moments in the development of visual communication design;

2. Explain the way visual design elements and principles are used to communicate meaning and ideology;

3. Identify the role and significance of key people in the development of visual communication design;

4. Conduct basic academic research and demonstrate relevant information literacy;

5. Communicate their research findings using appropriate presentation, written and visual forms of communication.


Topics will include:

  1. Theories and definitions of design within a visual communication context
  2. Histories of visual communication design
  3. The impact of historical events on visual communication design
  4. The relationship between visual design elements and principles and the communication of meaning and ideology
  5. The impact theories and definitions of design have on design practice and visual communication design practice.


This course replaces DESN1470. If you have successfully completed DESN1470 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assessment items

Presentation: Oral Presentation with relevant audio-visual content - 30%

Written Assignment: Journalistic style report or review - 40% *

Journal: Reflective Learning Journal - 30%

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks starting in week 1


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks starting in week 1