Unit of competency details

CUAGRD505 - Design and manipulate complex layouts (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUAGRD515 - Design and manipulate complex layouts 15/Apr/2021
Supersedes and is equivalent to CUVGRD505A - Design and manipulate complex layoutsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages and clarify intent. 14/Jan/2016

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 15/Jan/2016


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100501 Graphic Arts And Design Studies 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100501 Graphic Arts And Design Studies 24/Jun/2016 
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Unit Of competency

Modification History



Release 1

This version first released with CUA Creative Arts and Culture Training Package version 2.0.


This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to design complex publication layouts by combining creative design skills with technical software proficiency.

It applies to individuals working in various industry contexts such as graphic design, commercial printing, advertising, publishing, television and marketing. At this level, individuals work independently and are responsible for the overall layout design.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Unit Sector

Visual communication – graphic design

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Analyse design needs

1.1 Confirm communication objectives for the publication based on the design brief and consultation with relevant people

1.2 Evaluate particular specifications of the design brief

1.3 Source and evaluate legal, ethical and contractual information pertinent to the project

2. Develop and refine layout ideas

2.1 Identify relevant sources and conduct research to inform layout ideas

2.2 Consider the opportunities and constraints offered by different techniques and technologies

2.3 Assess the different elements that need to be incorporated into the overall layout

2.4 Create and refine ideas and options for layouts

2.5 Refine ideas using technical experimentation

2.6 Evaluate and select approaches based on their potential to meet the communication need

2.7 Produce and present visual representations of design ideas to others for their approval

3. Create and manipulate layouts

3.1 Set up the document using the capabilities of appropriate software

3.2 Manipulate and enhance the layout through use of an extended range of tools and features

3.3 Support communication objectives with effective integration of text and visuals

3.4 Identify and resolve technical problems based on developing expertise

3.5 Apply design skills and technical expertise to achieve desired outcomes

3.6 Enhance outcomes by working creative and technical processes together

3.7 Establish and follow safe work practices in the work process

4. Evaluate design work

4.1 Critique the layout from functional and aesthetic perspectives in the context of the design objective

4.2 Seek feedback from others as required, and make appropriate adjustments

4.3 Make assessment of own work and identify key learnings to inform future work

5. Finalise technical aspects

5.1 Edit and refine layouts to meet technical requirements

5.2 Follow correct protocols for saving, exporting and storing files

5.3 Establish appropriate file formats for output and appropriate colour management profiles

Foundation Skills

This section describes language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills incorporated in the performance criteria that are required for competent performance.


Performance  Criteria 



1.1-1.3, 2.1, 4.1,

  • Interprets and evaluates complex textual and visual information from a range of sources to identify content relevant to own work

Oral Communication

1.1, 2.7, 4.2

  • Participates in discussions using active listening and questioning techniques to confirm understanding of design requirements and seek feedback from others
  • Presents detailed information using language, tone and pace appropriate to audience and purpose

Navigate the world of work

1.3, 3.7

  • Considers legal requirements and responsibilities when planning responses to design briefs
  • Takes responsibility for establishment and adherence to safe work

Interact with others

1.1, 2.7, 4.2

  • Selects and uses appropriate communication methods and practices to identify shared goals, seek feedback and present information to others

Get the work done

1.3, 2.1-2.7, 3.1-3.6, 4.1-4.3, 5.1- 5.3

  • Takes responsibility for planning and managing tasks and processes within own workload
  • Invests time in developing options using a combination of creative and analytical thinking, technical exploration and design refinement before production of preliminary layout visuals
  • Makes intuitive and analytical decisions about manipulation and integration of text and type into layouts that meet aesthetic and communication requirements, solving technical problems as they arise
  • Reviews effectiveness of aesthetic and technical decisions to meet objectives with input from others, and appraises design solutions for opportunities to inform future work
  • Considers purpose when selecting and using software tools to develop and refine visual information

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title  

current version 

Code and title 

previous version 


Equivalence status 

CUAGRD505 Design and manipulate complex layouts

CUVGRD505A Design and manipulate complex layouts

Updated to meet Standards for Training Packages and clarify intent.

Equivalent unit


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=1db201d9-4006-4430-839f-382ef6b803d5


Assessment requirements

Modification History



Release 1

This version first released with CUA Creative Arts and Culture Training Package version 2.0.

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to:

  • analyse layout requirements in briefs and other information sources
  • develop and present layout concepts
  • create original designs for the layout of at least two publications
  • use an extended range of tools and features of relevant software with a high level of technical proficiency
  • integrate technical and creative processes to produce outcomes that meet design objectives
  • evaluate the effectiveness of layouts.

Note: If a specific volume or frequency is not stated, then evidence must be provided at least once.

Knowledge Evidence

To complete the unit requirements safely and effectively, the individual must:

  • explain common features and formats of different types of publications
  • identify sources of information for developing ideas about different layout options
  • explain interrelationships between different visual design components within a complex layout
  • identify the current range of software programs available to graphic designers and explain the opportunities and constraints of their application to different technologies
  • identify different graphic file formats and explain how and why these are used in different contexts
  • explain technical requirements for the manipulation and formatting of visual components and file types
  • discuss file management protocols and procedures for a range of publications, both print and web-based
  • explain key safety requirements for the use of computer and keyboard.

Assessment Conditions

Assessment must be conducted in a safe environment where evidence gathered demonstrates consistent performance of typical activities experienced in creative arts industry environments. The assessment environment must include access to:

  • briefs for complex layout work
  • information sources
  • opportunities to present ideas to others
  • graphic design software.

Assessors of this unit must satisfy the requirements for assessors in applicable vocational educational and training legislation, frameworks and/or standards.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=1db201d9-4006-4430-839f-382ef6b803d5