Assessment Report

Level 1 Design and Visual Communication 2021

Standards 91063  91064  91065 

91063:  Produce freehand sketches that communicate design ideas


Candidates are required to demonstrate that they can produce freehand sketches that explore and communicate design ideas and visually convey the candidate’s design thinking in response to a design brief. The sketches must show the candidate’s design thinking.

Evidence must be in the form of freehand sketching using appropriate two-dimensional and three-dimensional freehand sketching techniques and will be submitted as a portfolio.


Briefs that encouraged students to expand their creative scope were more successful. (Briefs such as skateboard design limited the student’s functional exploration.)

Responding to multiple design briefs makes it difficult for candidates to produce the depth / body of sketches required for Excellence.

Exploring the relationship between the user, object and context is one means of communicating the intent of the design. Some design briefs limit the candidate’s opportunity to generate appropriate evidence for the standard. For example, static objects with no moving parts, tend not to have enough scale and complexity to explore the object in depth. Briefs that are based on the adaptation of an existing object or have a significant number of standard components can also constrain the generation of a candidate’s own design ideas. Including evidence from both the product and spatial contexts allows candidates to demonstrate a wider range of skills and techniques.

Submissions from a resistant materials context often focused on construction and structure, and did not address aesthetic considerations, limiting the submission to an Achievement grade. Candidates need to ensure they explore a range of ideas, or variations of one idea to meet the achievement criteria of “design ideas”. To achieve at excellence level, candidates must not only be proficient in the skill of sketching, they must also use that skill to explore and communicate design ideas. A predominance of ideation sketching in a portfolio may communicate some aesthetic qualities, but it does not explore functional aspects. This often precludes the candidate from achieving at either Merit or Excellence. To achieve these higher grades, candidates must demonstrate consideration of both aesthetic and functional properties of a design. Tracings of instrumentally-constructed drawings cannot be considered for assessment as Explanatory Note 3 states sketches “… must be created / produced unassisted by the use of instruments…”

Textiles submissions:

Showed strength when exploring designs that allowed clear communication of design intent, for example, items that could be contained in a bag, or how a fashion product functioned on the body). These were successful when pattern and construction details were clearly linked to relevant design ideas, e.g. by using arrows to show where on the design the details apply. Pattern pieces when drawn should be in proportion to one another and suggest a sequence of construction. An idea needs to be complex enough to give candidates the opportunity to explore / refine it in some depth and detail – a bucket hat or t-shirt does not provide enough opportunity for this.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • communicated their own design ideas using appropriate sketching methods to show both 2D views and 3D forms of these ideas
  • presented more than one design idea
  • focused on showing the aesthetic qualities of their design
  • used of a limited range of recognised sketching techniques, e.g. crating, line hierarchy and rendering.
  • did not provide enough / any functional information about how their design worked or was constructed
  • demonstrated some evidence of design exploration but did not explore any one area in depth often just looking at the exterior shape / form but not going beyond that
  • used design briefs or contexts that did not provide the scope for candidates to produce anything but simplistic ideas
  • showed little exploration or refinement of ideas beyond shape and form
  • had some inaccuracies in scale and / or proportion.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • presented only had 2D or 3D drawings, not both
  • produced only one design idea
  • produced sketches that did not communicate design ideas. This often-included incomplete drawings that lacked evidence of design elements
  • produced sketches that were not the students original design ideas, e.g. class sketching tasks
  • used instruments instead of freehand sketching.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • used a wide range of sketching (both 2-D and 3-D methods) to clearly show an exploration of design ideas, e.g. considering a range of alternatives at the conceptual stage or refinement in the development stage
  • showed proportion by having either dimensions, a person / human body part for scale or showed proportion between key features of their design
  • rendered designs to clearly indicate materials, textures and / or surface finishes
  • communicate visually more than surface details and features, e.g. the construction or interior components or some aspects of its use
  • presented some technical sketches but did not clearly communicate the context or detail that would make it easy to understand, what it would look like, and how it would work
  • included some source drawings (such as architectural details or examples of wood joins), but these were not clearly related to the design ideas.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • showed design ideas from a range of viewpoints.
  • embedded context (people, place, use) into the design sketches or presented a final drawing that showed how the object would be used / where it would be placed
  • presented details relevant to the design, indicating that they had processed what they had learnt from their research and applied it to their designs
  • communicated function well through sectional, detail and exploded views showing construction details, human forms such as hands interacting with design ideas, and the object by showing it in use and / or context
  • communicated aesthetic qualities such as form, shape, texture, surface finish that clearly indicated the materials being used
  • produced a wide range of sketches, including thumbnails, showing the evolution of the design. Arrows were often used to communicate a process, function or movement
  • communicated an aspect of the design through a series of related sketches, e.g. the operational sequence of a mechanical device or the evolution of an aspect of the design
  • presented work on a context that showed candidate engagement and had enough scope to explore and refine design ideas to a level where a comprehensive set of sketches could communicate both aesthetic and functional details in depth
  • communicated construction and assembly features in textile submissions, e.g. stitching, pattern, details of construction components
  • used a combination of technical sketches (exploded / sectional / sequential / zoom in details / cutaways) to show in depth knowledge of their design ideas. These drawings were related to one idea and were consistent in proportion and style, showing effective communication.

91064:  Produce instrumental, multi-view orthographic drawings that communicate technical features of design ideas


Candidates are required to show evidence that they can produce multi-view orthographic drawings to communicate the technical details of design ideas.

Evidence of projection must be included, and all construction lines should be evident.

Detailed drawings could include sectioned views, auxiliary views, hidden detail, and drawings that show more internal or external features or components of the design.

For computer-aided drawings: projection lines do not need to be shown; views must be aligned. All other line types and conventions used should be correctly set up. Evidence will be submitted as a portfolio.


Some candidates are presenting very well-drawn orthographic projections but showing no individual design input. In some cases, drawings are identical, or have ‘token’ changes. Explanatory note 5 in the standard clearly states: Design ideas are student-generated responses to a design brief.

Some section views produced from templates show no more information or detail than the elevation in the previous drawing.

CAD submissions were around 50% in 2021 with CAD submissions noticeably improving in quality. It is important that teachers show students how to check that the settings are set to NZS in the software application they are using. CAD is clearly being taught well in many schools. Using quality programmes that allow students to manipulate entities to New Zealand standards is clearly happening in many schools. Some packages like SketchUp and ArchiCAD do not always produce good well-aligned orthographic projections without skilful manipulation.

Project drawings did not need to have multiple pages to achieve Merit or Excellence. Two pages of succinct, precise drawings conveying detail can achieve merit and excellence grades. Some excellence grades were achieved with one precisely executed page showing in-depth information.

Grade awarding
  • Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
  • understood third angle projection with views aligned and correctly placed
  • labelled views either with words or reference lines with planes identified
  • identified some dimensions and scale
  • did not show hidden detail or have a section view
  • did not identify some sections.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • produced basic geometric shapes with no design features
  • submitted class exercises
  • did not align views
  • produced views that were not correctly placed (two views minimum aligned required to achieve)
  • presented drawings that were hard to visualise
  • submitted freehand orthographic projections.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • labelled and projected views correctly
  • selected a suitable scale and dimensioned correctly
  • section view and / or hidden detail communicated internal detail
  • had correct line types but not necessarily line weights
  • presented drawing / drawings that clearly communicated their design ideas.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • were accurate with measurements, scale and dimensions
  • presented in-depth information drawn using one or more section, auxiliary view, or detail drawing
  • maintained consistency of line weights and types
  • presented clear and accurate information of external and internal details.

91065:  Produce instrumental paraline drawings to communicate design ideas


Candidates are required to demonstrate that they can produce paraline drawings using instrumental drawing techniques and conventions, to communicate their design ideas in response to a design brief. Evidence is submitted as a portfolio. Freehand sketching and perspective drawings are not acceptable as evidence for this standard.

Important aspects and details of the design could be explained through a series of related paraline drawings, e.g. exploded, sequential, or cut-away 3D view. The use of instrumental drawing techniques to accurately produce the paraline drawings should be demonstrated by accuracy in measurement, line intensity, and line clarity.


A good brief or context allowed students to explore ideas and let them have the chance to produce work where they could effectively communicate in depth and show details about the design idea using a range of different paraline drawing techniques and methods. Basic briefs / context with limited scope often prevented candidates from achieving the higher grades as they were unable to communicate additional detail about the design. Full use should be made of paraline drawings (exploded, zoom in, specific part detail, fixing, joint, construction, and sequential) to effectively communicate all details / aspects about the design idea. Candidates should be encouraged to communicate new / additional detail about the design with each new paraline drawing, rather than repeat the same information over different paraline drawing methods.

Each candidate should have an individualised design idea. The submission should be able to communicate and answer any questions about the design idea (even with a drawing that has complex form). Using ready-made or generic components from CAD programmes can be problematic. Contexts need to allow for individuality so as not to limit the candidate’s ability to demonstrate and communicate their own design idea. Selecting the right CAD programme is important. This is formal drawing assessment and the use of modelling programmes that produce picture type image can limit student achievement.

Rendering drawings can detract from clear communication of the design idea. With pencil hand drawn drawings, the rendering can make it difficult to see construction, outlines and detail. In CAD rendering can also cause similar problems with clarity of linework and details of the design idea. Using wire frame on CAD drawings should be avoided as the drawing becomes difficult to view clearly. Using generic / standard components with the design idea drawn around the component should be avoided as the redrawn component cannot be considered as a design idea for assessment, i.e. light fittings used in a lamp design. All construction lines should be kept (do not erase) and candidates should avoid using templates and drawing in construction lines after the drawing have been completed. When using the oblique paraline drawing method complex forms should be drawn on the oblique face.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • presented a basic design idea and communicated basic features of the design idea
  • presented one drawing only using a paraline method with no other supporting drawings to communicate additional / technical detail. For example, an open drawer on a desk / workstation or a basic exploded drawing (no joint or fastening detail) does not communicate any additional information
  • presented several drawings (all of the same design idea repeated) using different paraline methods with no other additional detail communicated
  • lacked complex form. The context may have been too limiting, not allowing students to communicate enough additional information. For example, a simple architectural design of a DOC hut where only furniture was added (bunks, tables, fireplace)
  • did not link drawings were to a common design idea / context.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not communicate a valid design idea
  • did not use instruments to construct the drawing (too much freehand used)
  • presented tracing with no original drawing included
  • did not present a paraline drawing
  • presented an incomplete drawing.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • presented a set of drawings that communicated new information other than surface features (information that could not be seen from the basic outline of the design)
  • submitted at least one other supporting drawing. For example, the outline drawing of a house / building supported by a second drawing communicating the room layout of the house / building
  • drew design detail to appropriate size, so the information communicated was clear
  • presented drawings that had a degree of difficulty, typically complex form
  • did not provide in-depth communication of technical details (for example, operation, construction, fixtures) required for Excellence.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • used a body of related supporting drawings
  • communicated a lot of other detail such as construction methods, fixings / fittings, how materials connect using exploded, zoom in, cut away drawings that communicated other in-depth detail / features information that was not clear in other drawings.
  • communicated other / new / more / additional information about the design in each drawing
  • linked all drawings together, clearly and effectively answering any questions about the design idea
  • presented paraline drawings that effectively communicated how it would be possible to manufacture / construct the design, how the design idea operated / worked
  • presented high quality drawings with precise line work. For example, circles were seamless.

Design and Visual Communication subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 218KB)

2019 (PDF, 223KB)

2018 (PDF, 111KB)

2017 (PDF, 54KB)

2016 (PDF, 220KB)

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