That Blue Square Thing

Applied ICT A Level Unit 1 - ICT and Society

Note: this page applies to the AQA Applied ICT A level specification. This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013. The content will be retained as an archive and because it has some stuff that might be quite useful for someone or other

Mobile phone imageBlock Five - Design

This block develops some key design skills and starts to get a lot more practical with some newsletter design.The key objectives are:

The Design Process:

You need to design your publication for your unit 1 exam. The process to follow is:

  1. audience analysis and research informs choices
  2. produce up to three draft designs with annotations showing how they meet the audience needs
  3. test these and record findings
  4. use information from testing to produce a final annotated design

The key to the final design is that it should be able to be implemented by a competent third party. This means it needs to be complete - to show measurements, define font types and sizes, specify colours and show precisely what content is going to go where.

PDF iconDesign notes presentation slides

A Working Design :

Let's apply some of those design ideas to a newsletter.

I've taken a page from an actual newsletter - one produced by a student association - and produced a detailed, annotated design from it. This is the sort of thing you need to produce for your prep work for the final exam.

PDF iconActual newsletter page - note that this is really quite a simple newsletter design

PDF iconDesign work - a detailed design specification for the same newsletter page

PDF iconOrder of work - a basic order of work which will let you create the newsletter page using the design and the resources below

Use this as an opportunity to become more familiar with Desk Top Publishing software and produce your own copy of a similar newsletter. You'll need to use the Software Guides page to find the help sheets which will show you how to use Page Plus effectively.

Just as in the real exam, you have a selection of text and image files to work with:

Note that you are allowed to take as many text and image files as you want into the exam. I suggest that a new text file for each story will make your life a lot easier. Make sure these are suitably named - you will need to produce a screenshot showing the files.

Download these files and then use the annotated design to create the newsletter page using suitable desk top publishing software.

Image of NUT magazineOther Design Ideas:

There are, of course, a wide range of other design possibilities. The image on the right shows some of these - you'll find an annotated version of this on my Flickr Photostreamexternal link (although this is blocked by e2bn in school so you'd have to look at the annotations at home...)

You should be able to find all sorts of interesting design ideas to get ideas from. I rather like some of the ideas you'd find in places like I, Science, a magazine produced for students at Imperial College in Londonexternal link, although elements of this are actually quite complex (too complex for your exam needs) I think there are other ideas you can easily use. Of course, maybe you might prefer to take a look at Saga Magazineexternal link and get some layout ideas from there?

Bear in mind, though, that these are magazines rather than newsletters. A lot of their features you simply don't need, although ideas such as coloured blocks or pull quotes might be worth thinking about using.

PDF iconanother page from the same simple newsletter - to highlight a different sort of arrangement of content. This is a front page. Front pages will tend to have some different design features

PDF icondesign work for a simplified version of this page - the three column layout is something worth thinking about for some of your pages

Image iconfootprint newsletter - to demonstrate a couple of slightly more interesting techniques

PDF iconelements of a newsletter - how the parts of a newsletter might be developed

PDF iconbasic design - this might be a useful starting place to work from for most pages

You should probably look at That Blue Square Blog for all the really good other A Level stuff.