Level 3 - Unit 27 - Design Software

Relevant LINKS


Handbook home page

Overview (Under Development)

The candidate can obtain and modify images for design work and mix and combine elements to meet a specific design brief.  They will be able to use design software to a professional level and be competent in all of the main editing and manipulation tools.

A work activity will typically be ‘non-routine or unfamiliar’ because the task or context is likely to require some preparation, clarification or research to separate the components and to identify what factors need to be considered. For example, time available, audience needs, accessibility of source, types of content, message and meaning, before an approach can be planned; and the techniques required will involve a number of steps and at times be non-routine or unfamiliar. 

Example of context – an example might be to create a complex graphic for a manufacturing process (such as a CAD design) or a 2D or 3D model.

Assessor's guide to interpreting the criteria

General Information

QCF general description for Level 3 qualifications

  • Achievement at QCF level 3 (EQF Level 4) reflects the ability to identify and use relevant understanding, methods and skills to complete tasks and address problems that, while well defined, have a measure of complexity. It includes taking responsibility for initiating and completing tasks and procedures as well as exercising autonomy and judgment within limited parameters. It also reflects awareness of different perspectives or approaches within an area of study or work.
  • Use factual, procedural and theoretical understanding to complete tasks and address problems that, while well defined, may be complex and non-routine.

  • Address problems that, while well defined, may be complex and non-routine.  Identify, select and use appropriate skills, methods and procedures.  Use appropriate investigation to inform actions.  Review how effective methods and actions have been.

  • Take responsibility for initiating and completing tasks and procedures, including, where relevant, responsibility for supervising or guiding others.  Exercise autonomy and judgement within limited parameters information and ideas


  • Standards must be confirmed by a trained Platinum Level Assessor or higher

  • Assessors must at a minimum record assessment judgements as entries in the on-line mark book on the INGOTs.org certification site.

  • Routine evidence of work used for judging assessment outcomes in the candidates' records of their day to day work will be available from their e-portfolios and on-line work. Assessors should ensure that relevant web pages and files are available to their Account Manager on request by supply of the URL.

  • When the candidate provides evidence of matching all the criteria to the specification subject to the guidance below, the assessor can request the award using the link on the certification site. The Account Manager will request a random sample of evidence from candidates' work that verifies the assessor's judgement.

  • When the Account Manager is satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to safely make an award, the candidate's success will be confirmed and the unit certificate will be printable from the web site.

  • This unit should take an average level 3 learner 50 hours of work to complete.

Assessment Method

Assessors can  score each of the criteria N, L, S or H. N indicates no evidence. L indicates some capability but some help still required. S indicates that the candidate can match the criterion to its required specification. H indicates performance that goes beyond the expected in at least some aspects. Candidates are required to achieve at least a S on all the criteria to achieve the full award.

Expansion of the assessment criteria

1. Candidates will 

1.1 I can explain what designs are needed

Candidates should be able to explain in detail the overall needs of the design.  This should include specific details about the format, colours, dimensions etc.

Evidence: will be from the supporting documentation produced by students.

Additional information and guidance

Candidates will go into detail about the designs that are required and how they intend to meet the requirements.  Some of the elements to be able to explain will be the resources required and any specialist equipment or materials.  If they are using a mixture of software packages, to make a mixed 2D and 3D design, do they need specialist training or to practice in order to get the skill set they need to complete the designs.  They could explain some design elements such as tones, colour pallettes or other data.

1.2 I can explain how the context affects the way designs should be prepared

Candidates should show a clear understanding of a different range of design principles.

Evidence: will be from supporting documentation and reflections.

Additional information and guidance

This unit covers a wide range of possible design areas and many of these areas will carry vey specific needs in terms of how the design is prepared, created and presented.  The idea here is that candidates display an awareness, in their chosen context, of these design affects.  For example, creating a design for a building will require students to have some appreciation of materials.  The could design a building for a specific purpose but use completely unsuitabla materials.  They could design a new logo for a local sport team, but not prepare enough versions and file formats of the logo for all of the media the design will be used in.  This sense of contect needs to be clearly visible in reflections on their write-ups or planing documents.

1.3 I can provide guidance on what and how any copyright or other constraints may apply to the use of own and other's designs

Candidates should have a clear awareness of copyright and how it affects their work.

Evidence: Evidence from descriptive reflections.

Additional information and guidance

Not everyone is aware of the importance or impact of copyright issues on digital material and it is up to the candidates to show that they fully understand it and where needed they can relate this to clients.  Many students do not appreciate the importance of copyright because digital technology makes it so easy to get copies of other people's material.  The fact remains that it is still stealing and there are large fines and punishments that come into play for breaches.  It would not be good for them or their client if this were to happen.  Equally, if they make a design for a client that is valuable for both parties, they need to consider creating some kind of license to potect their work.  It might be useful to include a table in their supporting documentation listing any copyright concerns.

1.4 I can obtain, insert and prepare designs

Candidates should be comfortable using a multitude of different elements in order to make their final design.

Evidence: Evidence from their final design and any client feedback.

Additional information and guidance

Much of this criterion should be obvious from the final design itself, but it may be useful for candidates to explain some of the thought processes that lie behind what they end up with.  If they mix different design elements together and it is not apparent from looking at it, they could explain what they did and how.

Some of the elements they find in their designs might be the wrong size or format, they may need adjusting in terms of tone or colour profile.  All of this activity needs to be shown in some form.

1.5 I can explain how file format affects design quality, format and size and how to choose appropriate formats for saving designs

Candidates should show a clear understanding of file types and their key properties.

Evidence: A range of file extensions and descriptors.

Additional information and guidance

Candidates should appreciate that different designs will be used in different ways and many have very specific file types.  Even something as seemingly straight-forward as a PDF file needed for printing may have different settings depending on the type of print required and the overall quality.

This image shows there are various settings for how the PDF will be displayed as well as any compression levels.  Other tabs here are to set a password for security and the adjust the colour performance based on whether it is for a web page or for printing.  The default image resolution here is set to 300 dpi (dots per inch), but higher resolutions will be required if the graphic is for a large poster, such as a bill board or A1 printer etc.

1.6 I can use appropriate techniques to organise and combine information of different types or from different sources

Candidates should be able to ix elements such as images, text, videos as required by the brief.

Evidence: Evidence from final work pieces and client feedback.

Additional information and guidance 

Candidates should be comfortable taking different sources, i.e, some text from a pdf document, and being able to format the text to the write type of font and size for their design piece.  They should be able to import graphics from one file and incorporate it into another.  The simple graphic below illustrates how a .png file (teh TLM logo) has been embedded into a previous graphic and twisted to match the angle of the other element.  The appearance is then of the logo being on the hard hat.

Candidates might use this kind of transparency in other designs or perhaps use green room techniques in video to insert different video sequences into the background of a pre-shot piece.

1.7 I can store and retrieve files effectively, in line with guidelines and conventions where available

Candidates should demonstrate file management abilities.

Evidence: Evidence from assessor feedback.

Additional information and guidance

Graphic files can be large and unwieldy and evidence here should be on how candidates best manage these files in an efficient and meaningful way.  If they are working for a client, it is likley the client has an internal policy and procedure process for how files are managed and deployed.

2. Candidates will ue design software tools to create, manipulate and edit designs

2.1 I can explain what technical factors affecting the designs needs to be taken into account and how to do so

Candidates should 

Evidence: Written 

Additional information and guidance

One way t

2.2 I can select and use suitable tools and techniques efficiently to create designs

Evaluation should 

Evidence: Evidence from 

Additional information and guidance

Candidates should 

2.3 I can use guide lines and dimensioning tools appropriately to enhance precision

Candidates should 

Evidence: Evidence from documented test procedures and feedback

Additional information and guidance

Candidates should 

2.4 I can select and use appropriate tools and techniques to manipulate and edit designs

Candidates should 

Evidence: Evidence from 

Additional information and guidance

Candidates should 

2.5 I can check designs meet needs, using IT tools and making corrections as necessary

Based on 

Evidence: Evidence from 

Additional information and guidance

Candidates should 

2.6 I can identify and respond appropriately to qualify problems to ensure that outcomes are fit for purpose and meet needs

Based on 

Evidence: Evidence from 

Additional information and guidance

Candidates should 



The assessor should keep a record of assessment judgements made for each candidate and make notes of any significant issues for any candidate. They must be prepared to enter into dialog with their Account Manager and provide their assessment records to the Account Manager through the on-line mark book. They should be prepared to provide evidence as a basis for their judgements through reference to candidate e-portfolios and through signed witness statements associated with the criteria matching marks in the on-line markbook. Before authorizing certification, the Account Manager must be satisfied that the assessors judgements are sound.