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Design is an important aspect of the world in which we live
and our everyday lives. Design focuses on the generation
of ideas and their realisation. All constructed or created
objects, places, events, systems and visual or sound
communications involve aspects of design.
Design is evident in the way different elements are
selected, constructed and/or created to achieve particular
expressive, aesthetic and/or functional purposes. The
selection and arrangement of design elements in any
object, place, event, system visual or sound communication
will influence how it looks, sounds, feels, smells, tastes and
Why do we design?
To create a functional product, for example:
• a building to live in
• a piece of furniture built to store something
• a set of instructions to use a piece of equipment.
To express and communicate ideas, for example:
• a presentation to explain a concept
• an artwork or piece of writing that expresses a feeling
• a map that describes the physical features of a place.
To fulfil an aesthetic or sensual purpose, for example:
• a comfortable chair
• an elegant mathematical solution
• a piece of music for listening pleasure.
Design in the AusVELS
Effective Design
Design Awareness in Schools is intended to support all
teachers in developing their own, and their students’,
understanding of design elements and principles and how
these can be applied across the curriculum.
The Victorian Government is committed to building
Victoria’s design capability through a series of initiatives
that will enhance design production, promotion and
Using this resource in the classroom
Design Awareness in Schools is both a teacher reference and a
classroom teaching tool. It can be used to stimulate
classroom discussion and learning activities about design. For
example, this resource can be used with students to:
• foster deep learning about the place of design in the world
• explore the notion of design
• demonstrate the design process
• enhance the presentation of ideas
• illustrate the application of design elements and principles
• explore careers in design.
Design in the Standards
In curriculum programs developed from the AusVELS,
learning opportunities must be provided for students to:
• develop an awareness of design
• understand design elements and principles
• apply design skills across the curriculum.
An awareness of design can stimulate creativity and
innovation, and enhance the presentation of work that
demonstrates students’ understanding in all areas of
Design in the Standards
Design Awareness in Schools illustrates how understanding
of design can be developed through the three strands of
the AusVELS; Physical, Personal and Social, Disciplinebased, and Interdisciplinary.
This resource provides a range of student activities which
focus on:
• design elements and principles
• the design process
• design in ICT
• careers in design.
Design in the Standards
Schools will continue to teach design in specialist
subjects that draw specifically on the Design, Creativity
and Technology, Information and Communications
Technology and The Arts domains.
This resource is not intended to make all teachers design
specialists, but rather to demonstrate ways in which
design can be effectively incorporated into student
Effective design
Effective design arises from vibrant environments that
• creativity
• aesthetics
• critical thinking
• diversity.
Effective designs are sensitive to human needs.
Effective design
Creativity involves:
• generating new ideas
• solving problems
• developing products
in a unique and original manner.
Creativity can be the result of:
• imagination
• intuition
• step-by-step thinking
• knowledge application.
Effective design
Creativity and innovation result in new products or ideas.
Creativity requires:
• an openness to possibilities or the unknown and
unexpected (what if …?)
• making connections between apparently unconnected
ideas and forms
• integrating different ways of knowing, for example
physical, emotional, kinaesthetic.
Creativity is aided by:
• being able to give and receive constructive feedback
• interpersonal and personal awareness
• lateral thinking or viewing issues from different
• risk-taking.
Effective design
Aesthetic appreciation involves perspectives that are:
• cultural
• social
• historical.
Aesthetics may be applied to:
• perceptions
• products
• performances
which are judged to have significance or appeal.
Effective design
Aesthetic judgments are often made routinely and almost
unconsciously. We might, for example, have a preference
for a colour or the way stripes run. There is nothing
inherently superior in the object, idea or performance
being judged.
Other areas associated with making judgments about
aesthetic qualities are knowledge and familiarity.
Effective design
Critical thinking
Design thinking involves:
• seeking multiple solutions to problems
• innovation
• imagination
• judgment
to create new images, products and outcomes.
The design process involves:
• thinking coherently and strategically
• responding to challenges by producing solutions
• problem-posing
• reasoning
• a willingness to admit errors and seek explanations
• articulating processes and techniques using appropriate