• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Design
  • Areas of interest Creative Arts, Design
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Mitchell Whitelaw
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

Digital data is ubiquitous in contemporary culture: it documents environment, health, communication, government, arts, professional and private realms. For designers and practitioners data offers a profound opportunity to investigate, reveal and creatively represent this increasingly significant layer of our society.

This practical course grounds students in data as a key element in contemporary design practice, and in the design and production of data visualisations. Through a series of hands-on exercises students will develop static, dynamic and interactive representations of data for screen-based and tangible forms, and come to understand the functional and poetic dimensions of visualisation as a creative practice. The course introduces students to the cultures and contexts of data visualisation and design, and the analysis and interpretation of visualisations. It also introduces critical perspectives on the questions of representation and interpretation that are central to the field. This course will be of interest to students from a wide range of fields including design, fine arts, digital humanities and information technology, where the visual representation of data offers both immediate challenges and creative opportunities.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. source, handle and manage data for applications in visualisation;
  2. create static, dynamic and interactive data visualisations using established techniques;
  3. research and analyse data visualisation artefacts and cultures of practice;
  4. respond to the cultural and technological contexts of data and visualisation design; and
  5. critically reflect on practice and substantiate design outcomes with research and rationale.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Visualisation Techniques: Sketches and Exercises (30) [LO 1,2]
  2. Visualisation Design Project (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Research and Rationale (1500 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Assessment includes periodic critique and review sessions that provide formative feedback on work in progress. (null) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact comprising lectures, tutorials / workshops.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed DESN2002 or DESN2010. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed DESN6003.

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable

Preliminary Reading

Ben Fry, Visualizing Data: Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment. O’Reilly Media, 2008.
Scott Murray, Interactive Data Visualization for the Web. O’Reilly Media, 2013.
Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. 2nd Ed. Graphics Press, 2008.
Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher. Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions. O’Reilly Media, 2009.

Assumed Knowledge

Familiarity with basic computer programming techniques for graphics and design.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $3600
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4980
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7509 25 Jul 2022 01 Aug 2022 31 Aug 2022 28 Oct 2022 In Person View

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