Assessment Specifications

Level 1 Design and Visual Communication 2023

General information


Design and Visual Communication

Method of assessment

Portfolio submission


91063  91064  91065

Information relating to all achievement standards

Assessment will be in the form of a portfolio of evidence for each standard selected from a normal design and visual communication programme. A portfolio is an organised collection of selected evidence that communicates the candidate’s knowledge and understanding relevant to the external design and visual communication standards the candidate has entered. For each standard, candidates should select only the material that represents their best work for the externally assessed achievement standards for inclusion in the portfolio.

All material submitted should not exceed A3 (297 × 420 mm) size. 

The following presentation formats are recommended:

  • A3 pages
  • Digital submissions – in a PDF, PowerPoint, HTML, or QuickTime format.
    • Schools are required to store securely a backup copy (or originals) of all digital submissions. Schools are required to virus-check digital submitted material.

The following are not acceptable:

  • visual diaries
  • submission material contained in clear files
  • laminated material
  • additional packaging, e.g. boxes
  • models – only photographs are to be submitted
  • submissions submitted electronically on USB flash drives or MP3 players.

The work presented for assessment should be free of teacher comments, marks, or grades that may have been applied.

Candidates must develop their own ideas within the context of the design brief. Design briefs may focus on (but are not limited to) such areas as:

  • spatial design, which could include architectural, interior, or landscape design
  • product design, which could include such areas as fashion, packaging, media products, technological, and engineering design.

For each standard, there must be some indication included with the work that identifies the design topic or context, e.g.:

  • the design brief
  • the title statement
  • a one-sentence description.

Instrumental drawings may include computer-generated drawings. Evidence for Design and Visual Communication 91063 must be in the form of freehand sketching, and digitally enhanced imaging must not be used.

Submissions instructions and authenticity requirements will be provided for schools at the end of Term 2 on the DVC subject page.

Writer assistance

Writer assistance is excluded from all external achievement standards. This is due to the nature of drawing and design and visual communication. Any queries regarding this must be addressed to NZQA through the Principal’s Nominee.

Specific information for individual achievement standards




Produce freehand sketches that communicate design ideas



Number of credits


Original copies must be presented for assessment.

A candidate's portfolio should not exceed 10 (A3) pages for this standard.

Candidates will be required to demonstrate that they can produce freehand sketches that explore and communicate design ideas and visually convey the candidate’s design thinking in response to a design brief. The conceptual sketches do not have to be to presentation standard, but they must show the candidate’s design thinking. Candidates could be producing a variety of sketches during the year that show how they have generated and developed ideas in response to design-brief situations.

Evidence must be in the form of freehand sketching using appropriate two-dimensional and three-dimensional freehand sketching techniques. Three-dimensional freehand sketching methods are:

  • isometric
  • oblique
  • planometric
  • dimetric
  • trimetric
  • perspective.

Sketching techniques also include the use of:

  • crating
  • line hierarchy (thick and thin lines)
  • quick rendering
  • use of different media to enhance shape and form.

Digitally generated or enhanced imaging is not considered to be freehand sketching, and will not be accepted as evidence, except for some visual rays to vanishing points in a perspective sketch.

Candidates will be required to produce 2D and 3D freehand sketches that form part of a design process, and show the qualities of their own design, such as functional and aesthetic details. A candidate’s level of performance will be based on the way the candidate communicates the design ideas.

Explanatory Note 2 states that freehand sketches will be in proportion. Proportion refers to the relationship of one part of a design to another so that it looks visually correct. Refer to the Technology Teaching and Learning Guidelines.




Produce instrumental, multi-view orthographic drawings that communicate technical features of design ideas



Number of credits


Original copies or high-quality printouts should be presented for assessment.

A candidate's portfolio should not exceed 5 pages for this standard.

Evidence of projection must be included, and all construction lines should be evident.

Detailed drawings could include sectioned views, auxiliary views, hidden detail, and drawings that show more internal or external features or components of the design.

Computer-aided drawings: projection lines do not need to be shown; views must be aligned.

All other line types and conventions used should be correctly set up.

The use of ink pens is appropriate. Line weightings need to be differentiated when using ink pens and should not conceal construction lines.

Refer to the Technology Teaching and Learning Guidelines. Also, a useful guide to determining the conventions used within this achievement standard can be found in Technical Drawing for Candidates: SAA/SNZ HB1:1994, by Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand (ISBN 0 7262 9196X).




Produce instrumental paraline drawings to communicate design ideas



Number of credits


Original copies or high-quality printouts should be presented for assessment.

A candidate's portfolio should not exceed 4 pages for this standard.

Candidates will be required to demonstrate that they can produce paraline drawings using instrumental drawing techniques and conventions, to communicate their design ideas in response to a design brief.

Freehand sketching is not appropriate evidence for this standard.

Perspective drawings are not acceptable as evidence for this standard.

For Achievement with Excellence, the important aspects and details of the design could be explained through a series of related paraline drawings, e.g. exploded, sequential, or cut-away 3D view. The use of instrumental drawing techniques to accurately produce the paraline drawings should be demonstrated by accuracy in measurement, line intensity, and line clarity.

Digital and Visual Communication subject page

Examination timetable and submission dates

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