Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Design and Visual Communication 2019

Standard 93602

Part A: Commentary

The top-ranking submissions, especially the ones that gained Outstanding Scholarships, showed varied approaches and strengths and showed that there is no single approach in attaining success. These candidates engaged deeply with their context and this informed a personalised and highly thoughtful approach to designing. They engaged their own design perspectives that responded the brief, typically leading to convincing and well-considered design ideas and thinking.

The effective use of ideation strategies used for the generation of ideas can aid opportunities for success. However, approaches to initiating ideas that are generic activities do not allow candidates to engage purposefully with the design context, nor do they encourage the expression of a personal design perspective.

The successful submissions not only used ideation strategies effectively in the initial stages but recognised where they had generated ideas that were worth pursuing and extending further. The most successful candidates recognised their best ideas and ensured that these were carried forward. Extending and exploring ideas further in context and exploring how ideas interact with people, place and purpose is important. 

Candidates need to be careful not to include too much research or inspirational material. The presence of this material can inhibit the clear narrative of the candidate’s own design thinking. Many candidates included examples of work and research but did not credit the original designer. In some instances, it was hard to tell which work belonged to the candidate and which was research. It is important for projects to express the voice of the candidate as a designer and not become interrupted by too much other material.

It is not advisable for candidates to use stakeholder feedback as the main basis for decision-making. Those who obtained stakeholder feedback often demonstrated narrowed thinking and did not convey their own critical voice.

Candidate projects covered a good range of suitable contexts. Spatial projects that engaged with a specific site and type of activity were often well done. Fewer candidates presented work within the field of product design although projects from this area often did well.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • presented compelling ideas that engaged the viewer
  • presented design work that had a clarity of purpose, and a clear designer point of view
  • recognised strong ideas and pursued them in depth by investigating them further, stretching them, and enriching the ideas through further design thinking
  • pursued and extended one idea in great depth rather than initiating many different starting points
  • used ideation and design thinking to develop a unique and personal design perspective that led to a design outcome that expressed fresh thinking with integrated layers of meaning
  • genuinely engaged in a design context in a meaningful way that suited their own interests, expertise and approaches to design
  • produced authentic and believable design work that was convincing in its decision making
  • expressed a captivating visual story using fluent and sophisticated visual techniques and strategies
  • employed outstanding visual presentation techniques, working to their own personal strengths with a visual impact that was convincing and left a lasting impression that evoked the spirit of the design.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • selected a project context that they understood and was manageable
  • engaged in ideation that became contextualised through connecting ideas with people, place and purpose
  • recognised, extended and used good ideas
  • used ideation to generate and discover ideas that were then connected to further design thinking
  • understood the nature of their project and thought about the design considerations encompassed within the context they had chosen
  • explored, refined and resolved design ideas leading to well considered solutions
  • used the interaction between ideas and the design context to inform design thinking that improved the quality of the design in relation to its context
  • understood that they needed to visually communicate their thinking to a viewer
  • used visuals that showed a variety of viewpoints, explained function or intention, and showed the human experience of the design
  • used visual communication strategies that allowed them to deepen their understanding of design ideas and to develop and express them in increasing detail.  

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • initiated many different ideas using a large range of ideation activities but did not extend and deepen ideas and connect them with further design thinking
  • generated a range of ideas that focused mainly on form or aesthetic features
  • developed chosen ideas by carrying out a series of design stages where features of the design were described rather than exploring the idea further for the purposes of improving and refining the outcome
  • showed minimal exploration of ideas in context
  • did not engage purposefully with their design context to drive the evolution of ideas and decision making
  • lacked the visual communication skills required to competently describe design ideas, to show a clear design narrative, or to present a refined outcome
  • relied on written explanations to show thinking and decision making rather than 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
2016 (PDF, 193KB)

2017 (PDF, 49KB)

2018 (PDF, 80KB)

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