ASHS Coursebook: 2DES (Level 2 Design)

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Information icon.svg 2DES
NCEA Level:
Primary Qualification:
Primary Learning Area:

What is this course about?

In Senior Design the emphasis is on developing and challenging the creative thinking process and you are encouraged to generate a range of responses to visual and conceptual problems. Design offers opportunities to explore, create and combine symbols, images and typography to visually communicate ideas and messages. The course encourages you to actively engage in all aspects of graphic design from posters, corporate identity, book and packaging design through to marketing,illustration and logo development.  You will research artists by investigating their methods and ideas relating to design and apply them to your own work. You will generate and develop ideas to produce a body of work based on a range of Design Solutions.

What will I learn?

In the process of working with industry based briefs you will become skilled in working with the software. You receive a brief introduction to hardware and the open source software packages GIMP,Inkscape and can use a Wacom drawing tablet to extend your drawing into a digital environment. You will learn about colour theory, design principles, marketing and problem solving skills which are all components covered at great length throughout the first year of Design. Students will also gain experience and knowledge of Print production techniques and correct file management. You are expected to develop practical skills in the production of multi-page documents, campaign driven brand development, briefs, corporate identity, illustration, packaging and logo development.  We will spend time looking at relevant and contemporary designers, both internationally and in New Zealand. We will look at how to develop visual ideas using design procedures, developing processes and your individual methodologies.

What sorts of things will I do?

The first part of the course involves 2 x 4 credit standards (internal). You will research methods and ideas relating to design, as well as contextual information around a social issue or area of design you base your work on. You will use drawing as a way of generating and developing ideas. This drawing could be done in a traditional way with pen and paper, but will also move into digital or computer based drawing to a larger or smaller degree depending on your own strengths and interests. Design solutions could be based around posters, corporate identity, illustration, book and packaging design, and logo development. This will form a context for the portfolio which covers a large portion of credits offered in the Level Two Design course.  

The external standard is worth 12 credits and it involves the production of a closely related and systematic body of work. This 12 credit standard is presented on a two board folio and this work will need to show further developments and extensions of ideas evolved out of the previous 2 internal standards. Students may wish to explore a new theme not related to the previous internal standards however this option will have to be discussed in detail with the teacher first. This work must have clear relationships to established design practice and show a generation, development and analysis, clarification and resolution of the ideas.

You will be expected to spend a lot of time working on the computers so homework is essential in this subject choice. There is also a large theoretical component to Level 2 Design and requires a solid foundation from Level One English.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4











Key Dates / Milestones
  • Due end of term 1
Key Dates / Milestones
  • Due end of term 2
Key Dates / Milestones
  • Due term 4

Key Dates / Milestones

  • Due late Oct

What standards can I enter?

Summary of standards:
NCEA Level: Standard Number: Name of standard: Version Number: Credits: Assessment:
2 2.2 - 91310
Use drawing methods to apply knowledge of conventions appropriate to Design
2 2.3 - 91315
Develop ideas in a related series of drawings appropriate to established design
2 2.4 - 91320
Produce a systematic body of work that shows understanding of art making conventions and ideas within Design        1      12 External

No further assessment opportunities attach to these standards
Total available credits:       20

Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.  Follow this link to see the profile for this course.

A merit or excellence course endorsement for Visual Art Design may be obtained by completing 14 credits in the above standards at merit or above for merit course endorsement, or 14 credits at excellence for excellence course endorsement. The 14 credits must include at least 3 external credits, and must be completed in the same school year. More information about NCEA course endorsements is available here:

Frequently asked questions:

Q: Where might design lead?

A: Creative/Art Director, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Interior Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Designer, Sign Writer, MAC Operator, Print Designer, Package Designer, Advertising and Marketing industry, Print Publication Designer, Developer, User Interface Designer, UX Designer, Multi-Media Artist, Animator, Technical Illustrator, Curator, Film Producer, Secondary Teacher.

Q: Should I have taken level 1 visual arts?

A: You are encouraged to have taken level 1 visual arts as it is an important foundation for Level 2. If you have not, you will need to meet with the Specialist Subject Leader or Specialist Design teacher to discuss your level two course.  It is also important that you are able to work on the computer as this forms 50% of course requirements.  It is recommended that you spend time learning the open source software we use like GIMP, Inkscape and Scribus.

Q: What will it cost me to do this subject?

A: A course take home materials & production cost of $95 will be charged. This covers the cost of photo printing paper, a workbook, folio boards and a variety of other materials used during the course. If you do have access to a laptop or computer at home this will also help you with homework tasks.