Assessment Report

Level 3 Design and Visual Communication 2018

Standards 91627  91631


Part B: Report on standards

91627:  Initiate design ideas through exploration

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • used visual communication techniques (e.g. observational sketches, sketching from photographic sources and other existing images, to 3-D modelling) to explore shapes, forms, and other aesthetic elements (textures, line, negative space, etc) to visually analyse a starting experience
  • varied the starting experiences but often included natural influences such as plant, shell, animal, and/or bird forms. Other starting experiences included existing product and spatial designs, and occasionally themes from literature, film, and music
  • used visual communication strategies (explanatory note 4) such as: abstraction, re-combination, tessellation, exaggeration, rotation, inversion, translation, translocation, deconstruction to interrogate and regenerate new shapes and forms
  • selected promising foundation points from their explorations to regenerate into design ideas with some aesthetic and some functional qualities. Demonstrating some links to a potential design idea is a requirement of the standard
  • did not constrain their idea initiation to a brief
  • had a train of thought, but this was not being used to inform the design ideas.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not use a starting experience, just began to generate ideas, e.g. a house, a bike
  • used a brief that asked them to begin generating concepts straight away
  • did not use the starting point alternatives and variations to explore and regenerate ideas
  • did not link idea initiation to their own design ideas, using it to merely explore shape in an independent manner and treating it as a separate assignment exercise with no connection to anything
  • carried out initial exploration of shapes and forms but did not regenerate these into their own design ideas
  • submitted only ‘ideation’ exercises on shape and form
  • derived shapes from a source and repeated these shapes to generate surface patterns of the same shapes. This was common in a fashion context, where patterns were used as an appliqué or print, but not taken and regenerated into structural, silhouette or design lines
  • did not generate any original ideas, only copies of pre-existing ideas from well-known designers
  • used starting experiences and forms too literally and lacked visual interrogation. For example, a crystal was a crystal lampshade, or a seashell was a seashell house
  • submitted only design refinement and research - not preceded by idea generation
  • submitted evidence for a different standard. For example, the internal standard AS 91630
  • did not produce evidence of level three visual communication skills
  • included extensive research pages that were unnecessary, and had too little or no starting experience explored, and too little or no regenerated design ideas connected to the earlier explorations
  • included parts of multiple projects that had no connections or regeneration of design ideas.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • showed evidence where they had selected an idea that had been explored and regenerated, and showed further analysis and re-interpretation with context during development
  • took an emerging product or spatial design and further interrogated it with an obvious theme (a train of thought) emerging that informed design ideas
  • used thoughtful and carefully chosen visual communication strategies to extend and grow ideas and to consider alternatives, then reconstructing and recombining ideas
  • showed elements of risk taking by allowing their ideas to be continually adapted through further interrogation and purposeful exploration that informed what they are doing
  • produced evidence that purposeful research and knowledge was undertaken and applied, through in-depth visual communication of design drawing details.  The research was not included but was evident that it had occurred
  • regenerated their ideas by using analytical visual thinking. This included iteration, reworking design elements, depth of thinking through experimentation and level of creative play
  • introduced new and extra elements to their ideation, with secondary exploration to take the design idea to a new stronger and more considered outcome.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • were well organised and communicated their thinking very clearly with a strong narrative
  • used sophisticated and varied visual communication techniques and strategies
  • showed extensive exploration to challenge thinking through extended and transformed alternatives by continually exploring and investigating alternatives of their design idea
  • questioned / stimulated new thought, by engagement with discovery and understanding in relation to the context of their design
  • showed an ability to extend and transform both aesthetic and functional elements of the design idea. These were usually symbiotic and complementary, i.e. aesthetic elements informed functional elements and vice versa
  • reinterpreted and combined dissimilar ideas and identified connections between them that challenged predictable outcomes. This led to enhanced solutions and ideas that had unexpected non-predictable newly evolved outcomes
  • continued to redevelop and reflect on their design ideas after substantial development
  • demonstrated clear consideration of thought of human and environment interaction within spatial projects
  • presented an overall submission that covered a variety of elements to the design outcome without being drawn out or too narrowly focused.

Standard specific comments

‘Ideation’ continues to consolidate through teaching and learning in DVC programmes and is increasingly being included in Fashion and Workshop programs.

It is encouraging that more briefs are being used that are designed to include 'ideation' as an integral stage of the design process, and there is less use of outdated briefs which do not expect candidates to spend time initiating design ideas. The starting experience needs to be considered carefully and ensure it is one that will be able to generate extensive exploration from. 

Teachers and candidates are advised to refer to the Assessment Specifications which outline restrictions on what should be submitted. 

Some candidates unnecessarily used all the possible visual communication strategies, when a limited range (two or three) would have been more suitable.

Candidates were more likely to succeed if they experimented with and explored potential shapes and forms without a pre-determined design idea.

Although this standard is assessed separately it is intended to be part of the same design work for the internal standards “Resolve a spatial design through graphics practice” and “Resolve a product design through graphics practice”. Evidence for Ideation AS91627 will be found in the divergent thinking (initial experimentation and initial idea generation) and convergent (development) work of these internal standards.

Evidence for technology standards project(s) is unnecessary in the candidate’s submission and does not benefit the visual communication of the design idea.

While an appropriate design brief is a crucial part to candidate’s success, the timing of its introduction is also important. Introducing the brief early can predispose candidate thinking towards an outcome without the benefit of unhindered creative thinking. Successful submissions had briefs that had a context which allowed for candidate understanding of function, purpose, and aesthetics, and to have a narrative and personal viewpoint within their design exploration

The use of transparent and multi layered drawing paper has benefits when it is used with purpose and is a meaningful visual communication strategy. Often it is now being used for non-functional ‘beautification’ which is not necessary.

Where a sketchbook is used as a presentation technique but does not enhance the visual communication and is not fully utilised, it would be better to remove and submit selected appropriate pages from the sketchbook.



91631:  Produce working drawings to communicate production details for a complex design

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • selected a design of adequate complexity to produce working drawings for
  • included views and modes that would conventionally be used as a set of working drawings, including site plans, floor plans, elevations, cross-sectional views, assembly views, detailed views and/or material information
  • included exterior and interior detail related to their construction and/or assembly
  • showed some proficiency in drawing conventions such as labelling, section planes, details and views, dimensioning, use of appropriate scales, line weights and types
  • indicated the relationship of one drawing to another using recognised conventions for cross-referencing of drawings, e.g. north point symbol, elevations, section and detail reference symbols
  • identified materials using appropriate hatching, colouring or symbolic reference of material types or use of labels
  • produced elevations which were drawn neatly using conventions, and a sectional view was available to show some detail of either materials that would be used or how it would be assembled.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • selected a design of inadequate complexity such as; simple furniture, letterboxes, decks
  • produced working drawings of the exterior or interior, but not both
  • did not produce appropriately detailed drawings to communicate the construction or assembly of their design
  • did not communicate materials or components / parts adequately
  • produced only generic design working drawings, generally from a pre-published source
  • produced class exercises
  • lacked understanding in the use of drawing conventions such as titles, dimensioning, use of appropriate scale, detailed drawings, line quality and accuracy
  • produced drawings that were not linked to each other or showed no relationship to each other
  • included drawings with contradictory information, e.g. different measurements for the same item
  • did not complete a set of working drawings. 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • showed precise measurement and dimensioning, accurate line-work and good application of drawing conventions. The use of CAD helped candidates to produce precise drawings but still requires knowledge and application of conventions used in New Zealand
  • produced a complete set of linked drawings with accuracy, with the exterior and interior detailing helping to explain the construction and assembly of the design
  • showed that this was the outcome of considered design thinking and represented a solution to a design problem.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • showed skilful and consistent use of drawing conventions and standards
  • included all relevant drawings to clearly communicate detailed construction and assembly information using carefully selected series of plans, elevations, section views, assembly views and enlarged detail views
  • included three-dimensional drawings, pictorial views and/or CAD models or animations to convincingly communicate assembly and construction. The animations offered sequential information that clearly communicated assembly and rotational views that explained three-dimensional design details.

Standard specific comments

This standard is suited to candidates with strengths in CAD and/or those with strong two-dimensional, manual drawing skills. It is about producing a set of related instrumental working drawings showing exterior and interior detail of components related to the construction and assembly of a design.

The most common type of submission this year was through spatial design, with many submissions being produced using CAD. This growing media is enabling candidates to produce complex designs that are directly related and accurately executed. However, students must also understand the projection, conventions and standard drawing practices used in New Zealand. For example, sectional planes facing the wrong way, cross hatching all running in the same direction and at the same angle. Some submissions used non-recognised scales. Some candidates enlarged views to better fit the page but to unacceptable scales like 1:1.765 or similar. The CAD submissions also frequently showed details of unrelated parts of their design. For example, incorrect symbols or components that did not make sense. Some did not show any detail at all.


Design and Visual Communication subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 224KB)

2017 (PDF, 66KB)

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