Unit 1 examples



I have a planning day in two weeks and was wondering if anyone would like to share what they have done already in regards to unit 1, as in exams, task sheets and changes of the TLAP?

To kick things off I have attached the draft copies of my design challenge and project.

Would welcome feedback.

unit 1 exam topic 1 and 2.pdf (300.7 KB)
unit 1 project idea.pdf (189.9 KB)


Syllabus wise both assessment look good to me. My only concern might be that the for their first Unit you might be asking a little too much from the students (especially if they have never done Design related subjects before). My personal opinion might be to give them a little more guidance or a little less freedom of choice
For the exam you could have a little more specificity in the Design Criteria - help students be a little more focused and generate ideas and allow for easier evaluation against the criteria.
For the project you could perhaps specify a design style? I know that the higher achieving students will love the freedom, however, I have found that some of the lower achieving students can be a little bit overawed with too much freedom of choice. I guess it all depends on your students.

For our design challenge we are doing a concert promotional poster and for our project we are doing Art Bouveau style clothing (or anything wearable). Whilst this limits students to only designing a product (as opposed to product/service/environment) our main aim is to develop their core skills and sets them up for Unit 2 where we can start exploring these things in more detail.


Thanks Catriona for starting this valuable thread.
I have attached here a draft Examination that is based on the QCAA example and tailored to our local school.
How can it be improved?
Kind regards,
Ben Webb
Ben Webb Unit1 FIA1 Examination.pdf (953.1 KB)


Hey Ben,
Looks good yet I noticed that the Topic for the exam is Topic 3: Design Styles but you’re not getting the students to create the design in any particular design style (art deco, art neaveau, bahaus etc) or have asked the students to consider a design style. Might be something worth investigating.

I’ve also attached a copy of our draft IA and IA2for Unit 1 - happy for any feedback

ISHS Year 11 Design IA1 combined.pdf (624.3 KB)
ISHS Year 11 Design Unit 1 IA2.pdf (70.1 KB)

Sam Nicholas



We’ve started teaching Unit I already (as I know some schools have) with our current year 10s. Given the gap over the summer break and having a shorter term 4, we’ve decided to do IA1 as an exam for topic 2. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on doing something that wasn’t poster or sign related? Or would this be too much for the first half of Unit I?

Would love some feedback.

Josie Broughton


I am thinking about doing a bus stop, have a look at my exam in the top post. I also know some people are considering doing seating for toddlers or camping furniture. Some of the other items I have consider are hair dryers, drink bottles, door handle and cloths hooks, Hope this help


Hi Sam,
Thanks for perusing my task and providing that feedback. That is very valid and I will rethink the item with a style to include.
I’ll peruse your tasks too in time and provide some feedback.
Kind regards,


Hi Sam
Topic 1 - My concern is that you are asking for a poster, which is graphic design and you won’t be teaching elements of graphic design until topic 3:
“apply the elements and principles of visual communication
­ elements form the basic components of visual communication, specifically space, line, colour, shape,
texture, tone, form, proportion and scale
­ principles are ways of arranging or organising the elements, specifically balance, contrast, proximity, harmony, alignment, repetition and hierarchy” page 24, bullet point three

Not sure what you have covered in year 10 or what your TLAP looks like - you might be teaching topic 3 first.
I have noticed at networks meets, online spaces and chats around schools that a lot of planning for exams, in unit 1, are looking at graphic design tasks.


Hi Stuart,
Thanks for the reply and pointing this out. Will definitely look over this and discuss with other staff members.


Hi all,

I’ve just been having a quick look at everyone’s task sheets. Thank you for sharing. They are all so different… I’m really concerned about getting it right and not having someone from QCAA ensuring tasks are right. What does everyone else think?

I feel like I misunderstood the training days… but aren’t tasks meant to facilitate response that could be either a product, service or environment? Or is that only certain tasks? All of the ‘practice’ tasks we wrote had to have this in the question. I’m probably really wrong on all of this… so would love some feedback…

Thank you



Hi Joy,
Yes you are technically correct. I can’t speak for other schools but our main aim in Unit 1 is to get the students used to the design process and build up their sketching and prototyping skills (give them a bit more guidance and build confidence). For Unit 2 and onward we are getting students to start designing either a product, service or environment - along with the other requirements of the unit/s.
I guess it really depends on the school’s approach - but I believe by Unit 3 students should definitely be looking at responses that are either products, services or environments.




In my opinion there is a lot of miss conceptions regarding topic 3. Yes we teach the student design history and styles, the fundamentals of many modern designs have influences from the past or the great designs of their times.

However, is the purpose of teaching these to specify a design style to design too?
Or is it to provided the students an opportunity to break designs down to the fundamental key design feature of the product or style? The form and functions that those amazing design styles used and the design philosophy they followed? Give our students some culture and design history?
For those teacher who have worked in the design field - we have been taught or have a passion for design and beautiful objects. We researched it at uni and for many clients.
For example- when I designed bespoke furniture for a client I would look at - The style of house or final lacation of the item, the furniture within it, materials visable, the art on the wall and the colour pallet in the rooms etc. These are all analysed by the designer (me). I listen to the clients needs and wants, so I design an item of furniture that is what the client wants, needs and it fits in to the surroundings.

The purpose of teaching the student, about the stated, styles, individuals and design groups is to give them experiences in break them down. So, they can then break down other styles.

For example- the QCAA exam for topic 3 is a coffee shop sandwich board. They don’t give you a “style”. The student are required to look and analysis the stimulus material and decide for themselves.
The QCAA example does not specify bauhaus or Art Deco in the exam. The students need to break the coffee shops style or key design features (KDFs) down:
what colours are used? What forms and materials are used in there furniture and other items? What font are used on the menu? What pictures are in the wall or logo? What do they serve? ETC
That’s the key design feature the student should be designing there sandwhich board too! The key design features or the design “style” of the coffee shop not anything else.


Hey everyone,
I’ve finally decided on the context for my unit 1 design challenge. Would love to have some feedback.
(Not sure if we’re supposed to use the ISMGs for Y11s but I think the students would do well to get used to them)
Thanks in advance!

u1__exam-v1.pdf (456.8 KB)



I think that’s quite a good problem to solve and leaves the students some good opportunities to design either architecture, product design (to some degree) and they will have to incorporate some graphic design as well.




Hi everyone,

We have put together an exam and a project for Unit 1. I would love some thoughts on these please.
Thanks for helping out.

DESI U1 FA1 Exam 2019.pdf (871.7 KB)
DESI U1 FA2 Project 2019.pdf (471.0 KB)


Hi everyone,

I have a question relating to the Unit planning.

I found the examples too disjointed, and found that students don’t really contextualise the various ‘skills’ that are being taught. In my experience teaching design, the best way to help students get the connections is to embed them in an overarching project so that they can see application.

Has anyone done that with unit one, or are most following the example closely?

Could I ask a favour too, if you post a reply, could you state whether you come from a creative field into teaching, or whether you were a teacher first.

Thanks so much.



Hi Carl, I come from the field of Architecture. For my unit planning I am embedding their learning in context.


I have split unit one into a few small task due to the reasons you mentioned. I have my students working as app developers, graphic designer, product designer and architects. I have always been a teacher (20+ years) but I did a design degree first then my teaching qualification.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Catriona! Yes. Best of luck, I hope all is going well with you.


Thanks so much Evie, that’s great. Good luck, I hope that all goes well.