VPA101 Fundamentals of Design 1 (8)

This subject imparts directed theoretical and practical knowledge of the elementary principles and theories of two dimensional design.  The major emphasis of the subject is upon studio-based design process and the primary critical importance of design as it relates to all visual disciplines.  Students will begin to develop an understanding of the dynamic application of the abstract visual language of design and the order and structure of design that is determined by human perceptions shaped by human psychological, physiological and biological function. Close consideration is given to design conventions by selectively engaging analogue and digital technologies, framed within the social, political, economic, and technological contexts that shape design needs and changing patterns of communication in the contemporary world.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Port Macquarie Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: VPA101. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Communication and Creative Industries

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have successfully completed GRP101 or SLV101

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and theories of design via directed applied design processes
  • be able to undertake basic visual research, design development and iteration via a range of design processes and contexts
  • be able to identify via a range of contexts the value of a developing individual aesthetic and adaptable approach to design
  • be able todemonstrate a knowledge of and ability to assign interrelated aspects of visual design to a range of discipline specific visual communication contexts
  • be able to analyse and selectively engage analogue and/or digital tools as appropriate to particular design tasks
  • be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the underlying factors that have shaped changing conventions and developments in design


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Design process - concept, research, content and iteration
  • Form and function - the role of the designer
  • Visual structure - the dynamics of complex relationships of elements in 2D design organisation
  • Gestalt principles of visual communication - coherence and visual weight
  • Spatial relationships - pictorial and spatial dynamics
  • Colour theory - additive and subtractive colour systems and contextual applications
  • The design field - conventions and developments


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or ask@csu.edu.au or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.