Course Outline

DES306 Art of Illustration and Design

Course Coordinator:Alistair Ward ( School:School of Business and Creative Industries

2021Semester 1

USC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course focuses on your professional illustration skill development. You will demonstrate innovative and creative illustration skills for specialist, commercial and professional contexts. You will experiment with drawing skills, photography and painting and in combination with software applications to produce a professional body of work.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Lecture – 1 hour online lecture content for 12 weeks (or equivalent). 1hr Week 1 12 times
Laboratory 1 – On campus laboratory for 12 weeks (or equivalent). 2hrs Week 2 12 times
Online – 3 hours online content for 12 weeks (or equivalent). 3hrs Week 1 12 times

Course Topics

Professional Illustrators
Brainstorming themes
Idea Pitching
Persuasive Design
Poster production
Design Principles

What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Apply professional approaches to managing technical and workflow issues associated with design projects. Empowered
2 Critically analyse and evaluate illustrative/design/digital techniques and methodologies. Creative and critical thinker
3 Experiment uses various design methods such as drawing, painting, handcraft/digital illustration and photography. Creative and critical thinker
4 Produce complex illustrations. Engaged
5 Document concept development. Engaged
6 Effectively interpret a design brief. Empowered

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable



Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

It would be assumed that you have highly developed skills in digital graphic software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign and printing procedures.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Early formative feedback will be provided in tutorials along with summative feedback upon submission assessments.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 30%
Poster + minimum 10 pages of annotated process journal
Week 5 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 30%
12 postcards plus minimum 10 pages of annotated development journal
Week 9 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 40%
Book cover + 500-word rationale
Exam Period To Supervisor
All - Assessment Task 1:Creative Illustration for Persuasive Poster
You will create a persuasive poster to promote a behavioural change for a defined audience. This task will develop your professional illustration skills through your demonstration of management of workflow; using different design methods; and effectively responding to a design brief.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
Specific brief and requirements will be on Blackboard in your Task 1 folder. Your illustration should define and capture the brief requirements through: 

- Engaging with handcraft medium, sculpture, art, photography, digital software or a combination that strongly communicates the message of the brief. 
- Developing a number of concepts, mood board mapping, research and exploration. References should be included in your process journal, including references for text, inspirational or hero images, and critical and reflective analysis of your process.

- Final PDF Illustration adhering to creative brief and technical requirements. 
- 500 word rational, include this on your last page of your process journal. 
- Minimum 10 page process journal. 
- Place all PDF's into a zipped folder with your name and submit into Blackboard
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Evidence of professional workflow management.
Application of various design methods.
Production of a professional complex illustration.
Interpretation of design brief.
Assessment criteria are mapped to the course learning outcomes.
1 2 3 4 5 6
All - Assessment Task 2:The Alphabet as Illustrated typography
You will execute a fresh illustrative approach to typographic designs. This task will develop your professional illustration skills through your demonstration of management of technical and workflow issues; using different design methods; documenting concept development and effectively responding to a design brief.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
This task requires you to create three types of illustrated alphabet: one which is digitally manipulated from an existing type face, one you craft yourself and the final alphabet is created from found objects observed and photographed. Each must contain a minimum of 20 letters

a) Digitally manipulated - This illustrated alphabet requires you to digitally manipulate a well-known typeface, (eg. Helvetica, Arial etc.) to manipulate in an illustrative manner to form a new alphabet.

b) Handcrafted-Choose 20 letters from the alphabet to illustrate using a variety of handcraft mediums, eg. pencil, acrylic or gauche paint, water colour, wax crayons, soft crayons, within this section you may bake letter biscuits, create a letter sculpture or create letter cut-outs, this illustrative style is very open; explore your creativity. 

c) Found objects - Select 20 letters from the alphabet to photograph from your local environment. These may be from signs, logos, they may be deteriorating letters from signs, they may be objects that look like letters; this exercise is about observation. 

Finally, create a 3 x set of four postcards from your letters, supply as PDFs with correct pre-press. 

A full brief is prepared for you on Blackboard. Your artistic exploration and practice should focus on the creative, innovative and expressive potential of digital, handcrafted and photographic mediums.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Management of workflow and technical issues.
Application of various design methods.
Production of a professional complex illustration package.
Interpretation of design brief.
All - Assessment Task 3:Illustrate a Book Cover, PDF process journal and rationale
You will create an illustration for a high-end book cover for the commercial market. This final professional task will develop your graduate illustration skills through your demonstration of management of technical and workflow issues; using different design methods; documenting concept development and effectively responding to a design brief.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
You will design/illustrate a book cover, document a process journal and include a 500 word rationale.

You are required to: 
- Choose one from a selection of themed books provided
- Integrate type and image into a cohesive narrative inspired by the content 
- Utilise visual hierarchy to support the clarity of the message 
- Analyse and apply the visual elements and the design principles in your composition. 
- Analyse basic layout tools and the characteristics of type in graphic design software 
- Complete the creative problem-solving process from the preliminary planning stage and exploration through revisions to the final product 
- Include the front cover, back cover, spine and inside flaps, size A3 wrap 297 x 420 mm. 
- You are to explore digital printing techniques and the variety of papers available for inkjet printing in which to print your cover.

Submission requirements: 
- Export your PDF Book Cover Design showing correct pre-press and crop marks. Include one file with illustration only, and one file with Illustration and text.
- A photograph of your book design cover as it would appear on a real book, you can use a template to showcase your cover and include these in your process journal. This is your mock-up.
- A 500-word rationale explaining why you chose your concept, the design process, choice of illustration and paper choice. Include this as the last page in your process journal. 
- Your process journal should be in PDF format.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Management of workflow and technical issues.
Application of various design methods.
Production of a professional complex illustration package.
Interpretation of design brief.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements

You will need to bring to class the basic drawing materials required for each weeks exercise. These are listed on Blackboard in the weekly lesson folder and in the weekly planner. This course requires some commercial software or hardware which is provided at USC campuses for student use. If you elect to do this course online, you may either; attend a campus at which it is available, discuss alternative open source solutions with your course coordinator that would enable you to demonstrate the learning outcomes, or if you prefer you may acquire this software and / or hardware at your own expense.

How are risks managed in this course?

Risk assessments have been performed for all laboratory classes and a low level of health and safety risk exists. Some risk concerns may include equipment, instruments, and tools; as well as manual handling items within the laboratory. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


USC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

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Student Charter

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General Enquiries

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