University of Technology Sydney

87221 VC Studies: Histories of Visual Communication

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


The subject examines the philosophical or other theories that have shaped contemporary visual communication design. Students gain an understanding of visual culture and the impact of contemporary thought on the design of visual communication. Discussion covers topics raised by modernism, deconstruction and post-modernism.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. creativity and innovation
2. communication and Interpersonal Skills
3. attitudes and values
4. practical and professional skills
5. critical thinking and reseach skills

Teaching and learning strategies

3 hours per week, combination of lecture, tutorial and workshop.

In addition to traditional lectures and tutorials, students will have the opportunities to discuss and present ideas, students will be required to work in small learning groups to support the development of research and writing skills.

Content (topics)

This subject will consider the history of visual communication over the last 150 years and focus on three main periods, the Industrial Age, roughly 1850 to 1900, the Machine Age, 1900 to 1960 and the Information Age from 1960 to the present. ‘Visual communication’ will be treated as an open inclusive term and will include art, design, commercial media and popular culture. Students will respond to this material in the forms of a visual outcome, a presentation and a written outcome.


Assessment task 1: Imaging history, printed poster - group project

Weight: 20%

Assessment task 2: A Moment in History seminar and tutorial activity

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 3: A Moment in History essay and poster

Weight: 50%

Required texts

The essential readings are provided on UTS Online

Recommended texts

Recommended texts posted on UTS Online.