Visual Communications Course

This Visual Communications course focuses on elements and principles of design and key theories of perception relevant to effective design and visual communications.

Practical, evidence-based information is provided and key learning objectives include:

  • Learning styles and the impact on graphic design and visual communications
  • Visual literacy and its role in graphic design and visual communications
  • Gestalt theories of perception  and how to harness these to improve graphic design
  • Human visual perception and how this impacts graphics design
  • Elements of design: Colour, light-dark contrast, direction, shape, size, line, texture, typography
  • Principles of design and compositional/layout techniques
  • Colour strategies for effective branding, graphic design and visual communications
  • Effective application of contrast: Creating/diverting attention, creating focus, mood and ambience
  • Perceptual effects and how to use/avoid these in graphic design
  • Design factors: Content aesthetics vs. functionality
  • Using design elements to enhance content, narrative ‘sparklines’ and communication objectives

This 12-week course (3 hours per week) was developed as a TEQSA-compliant elective for the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning at the University of Sydney in 2011 and delivered at USYD through to July 2015. The course has also been delivered at a private college and through seminars annually since 2011.  At USYD, the course is currently listed as ‘Introduction to Visual Communications Design’ (DAAE2011) and you can view the course in the USYD online Handbook.


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