Graphic designers work in many different industry contexts. They may be employed in graphic design studios, commercial printing companies, advertising agencies, book and magazine publishers, television stations or in the marketing division of any business. Graphic designers also frequently offer their services on a freelance basis.
A complex layout is one that requires the application of technical and design skills to achieve its communication objective. This may involve challenges such as large amounts of information, incorporation of many different visual elements, or particular restrictions on format or size.
At this level, the designer is responsible for the overall layout design and works independently. Mentoring and guidance are available as required.
Elements and Performance Criteria
1. Analyse design needs
1.1 Confirm communication objectives for the publication based on the design brief and consultation with relevant people as required
1.2 Evaluate particular specifications of the design brief
1.3 Source and evaluate other information pertinent to the project
2. Develop and refine layout ideas
2.1 Identify relevant sources and conduct research to inform layout ideas
2.2 Consider the opportunities and constraints offered by different techniques and technologies
2.3 Assess the different elements that need to be incorporated into the overall layout
2.4 Create and refine ideas and options by working with the fundamental elements and principles of design
2.5 Refine ideas through use of ongoing technical experimentation
2.6 Evaluate and select approaches based on their potential to meet the communication need
2.7 Produce and present visual representations of design ideas and communicate with others to confirm as required
3. Create and manipulate layouts
3.1 Set up the document using the capabilities of appropriate software
3.2 Manipulate and enhance the layout through use of an extended range of tools and features
3.3 Support communication objectives with effective integration of text and visuals
3.4 Identify and resolve technical problems based on developing expertise
3.5 Achieve desired outcomes through application of design skills and technical expertise
3.6 Enhance outcomes by allowing the creative and technical processes to work together
3.7 Establish and follow safe work practices in the work process
4. Evaluate design work
4.1 Critique the layout from both a functional and aesthetic perspective in the context of the design objective
4.2 Seek feedback from others as required, and make appropriate adjustments
4.3 Make assessment of own work and identify key learnings to inform future work
5. Finalise technical aspects
5.1 Edit and refine layouts to meet technical requirements
5.2 Follow correct protocols for saving, exporting and storing files
5.3 Establish appropriate file formats for output and appropriate colour management profiles
communication skills to liaise with others about work requirements
critical thinking and analytical skills to:
interpret and respond to a design brief
evaluate information from a wide range of sources to develop design ideas
initiative and enterprise skills to consider new and different ways of achieving required design outcomes
literacy skills to interpret technical information associated with using software programs at an advanced level
planning and organising skills to develop and monitor a logical workflow for the technical design process
problem-solving skills to identify and resolve technical and conceptual issues with layouts
numeracy skills to use numerical aspects of software programs
self-management skills to plan and coordinate own work
technology skills to:
use the advanced features of a range of industry-current software programs
manage files and file formats.
common features and formats of different types of publications
sources of information for developing ideas about different layout options
interrelationships between different visual design components within a complex layout
current range of software programs available to graphic designers and the opportunities and constraints of different technologies
different graphic file formats and how and why these are used in different contexts
technical requirements for the manipulation and formatting of varying visual components and file types, including:
file management protocols and procedures for a range of publications, both print and web-based
intellectual property issues and legislation to be considered in the context of graphic design work
OHS requirements as they apply to the use of computer and keyboard for periods of time.
The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.
Overview of assessment
Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit
Evidence of the ability to:
create original designs for the layout of at least two publications
use an extended range of tools and features of relevant software with a high level of technical proficiency
integrate technical and creative processes to produce outcomes that meet design objectives.
Context of and specific resources for assessment
Assessment must ensure access to:
industry-current graphic design software.
Method of assessment
A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:
evaluation of audience response to layouts produced by the candidate
evaluation of processes used by the candidate to develop the work
evaluation of technical aspects of the layouts
direct observation of work in progress, including use of software tools
evaluation of a candidate’s visual diary or other forms of documentation showing the development of the designs
group peer review of layouts created by the candidate
questioning and discussion about candidate’s intentions and the work outcome
review of portfolios of evidence
review of third-party reports from experienced practitioners.
Assessment methods should closely reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy) and the needs of particular groups (e.g. people with disabilities, and people who may have literacy or numeracy difficulties, such as speakers of languages other than English, remote communities and those with interrupted schooling).
Guidance information for assessment
Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:
CUVGRD504A Create and manipulate graphics.
The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.
other artists and designers
client’s organisational background
considerations, such as:
product characteristics and statistics
Sources may include:
art and design texts
examples of similar publications
Opportunities and constraints may relate to:
audience capacity or skills
own level of technical expertise
potential for innovative approaches
visual elements, such as graphics and photo images.
Fundamental elements and principles relate to:
positive and negative space
simplicity or complexity
Technical experimentation may involve:
challenging established ways of doing things
combining different approaches
using new features and tools.
Tools and features may include:
adjusting strokes and fills
cutting, extending and closing paths
filters and special effects
gradients and mesh
moving in increments
other object manipulation tools and features
scaling, rotating, skewing and distorting
slicing and cutting
specialty fills and swatches
stroke and outline adjustments
trim, merge and outline
Safe work practices
use of consumables.
cut and fold marks
File formats may include:
encapsulated postscript (EPS)
graphic interchange format (GIF)
joint photographic experts group (JPEG)
other suitable formats
portable document format (PDF)
portable network graphics (PNG)
tagged image file format (TIFF).
Visual communication – graphic design
This unit contains employability skills.
No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.