Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship Design and Visual Communication 2022

Standard 93602

Part A: Commentary

There is no single approach in attaining success – candidates who were successful in Scholarship utilised a variety of approaches and strengths. The top submissions engaged deeply with their context, which informed a personalised and highly thoughtful approach to designing. The candidates engaged their own design perspectives that were responsive to the needs of the brief. This typically led to convincing and well-considered design thinking and elegantly resolved outcomes.

A range of ideation strategies could be used by candidates.  Successful candidates used freehand sketching, physical modelling, and digital tools such as CAD software effectively to explore and experiment with ideas. Candidates who explored one starting point in a variety of different ways rather than trying many different starting points were more likely to be successful. It is advisable to use starting points that are suited to the context, e.g for spatial contexts it is useful to use a starting point that includes some sense of a spatial experience rather than starting points that are more form-based. Ideation that moved into exploring ideas in context helped candidates to move forwards and develop their creative thinking. Knowing when to stop initial ideation and move into extending and evolving ideas was often a critical factor in completing a successful project. The most successful candidates recognised their best ideas and ensured that these were carried forward.

Candidate projects covered a good range of suitable contexts. The most successful submissions used contexts that candidates could fully engage with. This may have been a specific site that could be visited and well understood or a human need or opportunity that the candidate could connect with. Candidates are advised to select contexts that they are willing to engage in fully and fearlessly. A simple context that has been explored and resolved innovatively and in depth is often better than a very complex context that is only dealt with superficially.

Candidates need to ensure that they send the best evidence possible of their work. Some candidates submitted small photographs of exhibitions. It was not possible to gauge the quality of visual communication from small photographs of outcomes. Candidates should ensure that they present images of final outcomes that contain suitable detail and definition. Larger presentations on paper can be folded to fit into the A3 bags. 

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • demonstrated sustained levels of sophisticated thinking and convincing communication
  • demonstrated sophisticated and perceptive integration of either the themes or the technical details relating to the context
  • presented a design process with conviction and integrity
  • recognised and pursued quality ideas that showed a personal design point of view
  • explored the context bravely and developed clever ideas
  • engaged deeply in ideation to discover interesting, original design ideas and fresh thinking
  • produced design work that was convincing in its approach and decision making
  • engaged in a development process that added complexity and meaning to the developing idea
  • thought deeply about the context while refining their ideas and made decisions that resulted in an elegant final design
  • used visual communication approaches that powerfully conveyed the intent and meaning of the design ideas and expressed the design decisions in a convincing and compelling manner
  • expressed a captivating visual story using fluent and sophisticated visual techniques and strategies.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • demonstrated clear thinking that stemmed from understanding the design context
  • engaged with the context during the development of ideas and showed decision making that improved the quality of the idea
  • recognised the problems that they were solving and demonstrated clear and relevant decision making
  • demonstrated application of skills and knowledge. This may have been through incorporating skilful visual communication techniques or through application of design or technical knowledge
  • formed a design point of view that led to original thinking
  • engaged in meaningful ideation at various stages throughout their process
  • recognised good ideas during ideation phases and pursued these further
  • clearly communicated their ideas and design thinking using visual techniques, e.g. sketching, model-making, formal drawing or presentation drawings, as suitable to the strengths of the candidate
  • used visual techniques to show a variety of viewpoints, explain function or use, and to show the relationship with the context
  • used visual communication strategies that allowed them to deepen their understanding of design ideas and to develop and express them in increasing detail.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • did not demonstrate a clear understanding of the nature of the design context
  • were superficial in their treatment of the design issues, and did not express their ideas in a way that demonstrated a high level of detail, skill and knowledge
  • submitted projects that carried out a design process but often lacked a personal, original design response
  • used a variety of strategies to explore and generate ideas but only on a superficial level
  • often did not connect ideas to a context or did not show a deepening engagement in the ideas
  • failed to recognise good ideas and opportunities that were worth exploring further
  • over-simplified ideas during development and refinement phases rather than adding layers of complexity
  • were unable to use high quality visual communication skills to explore and refine ideas in depth
  • did not communicate a well resolved outcome using visual techniques
  • submitted incomplete or unresolved work, lacking the completion of a finished outcome; often this was due to an over emphasis on ideation and initial idea generation.

Subject page


Previous years' reports

2021 (PDF, 140KB)

2020 (PDF, 125KB)

2019 (PDF, 81KB)

2018 (PDF, 80KB)

2017 (PDF, 49KB)

2016 (PDF, 193KB)




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