Last updated: 
6 October 2020

Representations are illustrations, digital images or photographs of your design. They are an important part of your application as they show the visual features of your design to others.

Representations should:

  • be clear and of high quality
  • contain enough different views to show all aspects of your design
  • be consistent
  • match the additional information in your application

Unclear and inconsistent representations could:

  • cause delays in processing your application
  • create difficulties in protecting your design as the scope of the design may not be clear
  • create issues for the public in understanding the protection which you seek

Avoidable mistakes

Before your design can be registered, it must meet the legislative requirements. We call this the 'formalities check'.

During this 'formalities check' we pay close attention to your representations. If your representations do not comply, we will let you know in writing.

While issues raised at this stage are generally easy to overcome, many can be avoided. Before applying, consider the following:

  1. Representations must be consistent and only show one design
  2. Representations must show the whole product with physical and tangible form
  3. Different views should be labelled, such as 'side view', 'perspective view', 'top view', etc.
  4. Photographic representations should be against a neutral background
  5. Representations should only show the visual features of your design

Representations must be consistent and only show one design

Example 1

You can include more than one representation to help show the features of your design. Each representation must be consistent and only show one design.

three sneakers, one white, one black, one red

Colour is an important aspect of the overall visual appearance of a product. If colour is a key aspect of your design and you are wanting to protect your design in more than one colour, you will need to apply for each individually. You can do this by filing separate designs applications for each coloured design or, in certain circumstances, by filing an application for more than one design. Learn more about applications for more than one design.

Example 2

Multiple images of a chair. The images are in different formats such as CAD drawings and photos.

Different formats, such as CAD drawing, photos and line drawings, can be used to represent your design. You should choose one format, rather than a combination of different formats.

Example 3

Your representations can highlight the new and distinctive features of your design by using solid and dotted/dashed lines.

  • Solid lines can be used to highlight new and distinctive elements of your design.
  • Dotted/dashed lines show the visual features of the entire product the design is applied to.

The above example demonstrates that the head of the hammer is the new and distinctive feature of the design.

Learn more about Statements of Newness and Distinctiveness.

You should make sure that the combination of solid lines and dotted/dashed lines are consistent in each representation you provide.

Representations must show the whole product with physical and tangible form

A design right aims to protect the visual appearance of a whole product that has physical and tangible form.

Example 1

A box featuring an image of a turtle, as well as the image of the turtle on its own.

A logo on its own cannot be protected by a design right. If the logo is applied to a product that has physical and tangible form, such as packaging, you can protect the overall visual appearance of the packaging, which includes the logo.

Example 2

An image of a toothbrush head, as well as a close up of the bristles.

If the new and distinctive features of your design are a partial design feature of a product, such as the bristles of a detachable electronic toothbrush head, you must show the entire product the design is applied to. You may provide a close-up view of features of your design, however this is not mandatory.

Different views should be labelled

You can provide different views of your design to show all features. All different views should be labelled accordingly.

Example 1

Photos of a knitted wine bottle cork saver

The above example demonstrates an ‘environmental view’. This is a view that shows the product in the environment it is intended to be used. If you are providing an ‘environmental view’ this should be clearly labelled as such and be and accompanied by at least one complete view of the whole product.

Example 2

Two images of a water bottle, the first fully assembled, and the second showing individual parts such as the main bottle, the lid and the filtration system.

The above example demonstrates an ‘exploded view’ alongside a complete view of the assembled product. The exploded view is a view that shows the different components in a single product and how they fit together. If you are providing an ‘exploded view’ this should clearly be labelled as such and be accompanied with a representation of the assembled design.

Example 3

 one where the laptop is fully open, the next when it is half closed, the next where it is three-quarters closed, and the final photo where it it fully closed.

The above example demonstrates how to show a product that can be configured into different positions. Each different configuration is represented by a separate image and labelled accordingly.

Photographic representations should be against a neutral background

Example 1

Two photos of a guitar, one by itself and another in a recording studio.

If you are using photos to display your design, you should ensure there is a neutral background. In the above example, as there are multiple objects in the background, there may be some confusion over which product your application relates to.

Representations should only show the visual features of your design

Example 1

Two photos of a chocolate rabbit, one with measurements and a company name, the other without these details.

Your images should not include unnecessary details such as measurement, arrows or brand names.

3D representations

When applying for a design right you can choose to include a 3D model image file. This is in addition to your mandatory 2D representation. Only one 3D model per design may be submitted.

If you choose to include a 3D model with your application it must be in one of the following formats:

  • 3D PDF encoded as a Universal 3D (U3D) 3rd edition
  • Product Representation Compact (PRC)

Your 3D model will only be used as a visual aid during the examination process. This means it:

  • will not form any part of the specification
  • will not define the scope of the protection will not be published on Australian Design Search or on any certificates
  • should not be referenced in your Statement of Newness and Distinctiveness (SoND). Learn more about Statements of Newness and Distinctiveness.