Communication Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts
in Communication Design

The digital revolution has opened up communication design to new disciplines that require students to excel not only in traditional design skills, but in design research methodology, human-centered concept development and system design processes.

Communication designers give form to information in advertising, publishing and editorial design, corporate and exhibition design, websites, multimedia, environmental graphics, signs and maps, service design, interaction design, film and video. In all these fields, the need to clearly and succinctly inform, entertain and persuade remains a critical concern.

Located in an internationally renowned mecca for artists and designers, PCA offers Communication Design majors a unique opportunity to broaden their cultural and creative perspectives. Not only is the metropolitan landscape an ideal setting to experience graphic design in action, but the city’s vibrant community of design professionals is a rich resource for students as they develop their own visual language.

The comprehensive curriculum at PCA establishes a solid foundation in visual form and design principles, as well as addressing the methodologies and issues behind contemporary graphic design. Visits to Parisian art and design institutions like the Pompidou Center, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, La Gaité Lyrique, and the Palais de Tokyo provide a wealth of opportunities to view the trajectory of European communication design from its historical roots through to its latest trends.

Curriculum

Credits

Foundation Year

fall

Drawing I

Code
FFND 0176
Description

Drawing–across all first year studio courses and in every progression track at PCA–is considered a fundamental discipline for creative practice. The aim is to give students both a vital course in traditional skills and an introduction to contemporary and emerging approaches to drawing. Included in this class are subject specific workshops such as: digital illustration, gesture/dance, experimental fashion drawing, drawing and film. The purpose of this course is to instill a lively and inspired discipline that students will continue to practice in many forms beyond their foundation year.

Materials and Dimensions I

Code
FFND 0110
Description

This course is an introduction to dimensions in art and design (2D, 3D, Photography and Moving Image) through material processes. Over the course of the semester students rotate for one month through three discipline areas. A common theme links the three courses and projects overlap and develop progressively. All first years take part in a joint critique of their work. Students are taught how to use practical tools and shown methods for handling materials that provide concrete starting points for creative practice. These include, but are not limited to: book-making, basic printmaking, black and white printing, sewing inductions, moving image workshops, and the operation of woodwork machinery.

City as Studio

Code
FFND 0174
Description

Students explore their immediate neighbourhood and the city at large as a site of inspiration. The city and its spaces become an extended classroom. Students respond to a theme designed to encourage interaction and integration with their surroundings and new, unexpected ways of looking at their environment. Site visits, walks, lectures, readings, and practical exercises guide students through different approaches to the creative process with the aim that they develop their own methodologies and engage with the city as potential artists and/or designers.

Introduction to Digital Media I

Code
FFND 0170
Description

This course aims to equip all first year students with the necessary skills and confidence to be able to use digital tools. The curriculum is project-led and structured so that students can apply their growing skill-set to realize their ideas. All projects are contextualized with examples of work by contemporary artists and designers who are working with digital media. Students are introduced to the possibilities for digital tools as part of their creative work.

Introduction to Art & Design

Code
FHCA 0103
Description

This course introduces students to themes and topics relevant to the production and reception of the art and design disciplines taught at PCA. Using art and design objects located in Parisian collections as the basis for visual, contextual and cultural analysis, students will develop ways of seeing, contextualizing and describing art and design, while tackling a common set of issues, including but not limited to: chronology, style, authorship, form, function, composition, originality, narrative, and the decorative. Students will be guided as to how to conduct research in local collections and libraries and will produce a short contextually-oriented research paper on an art or design object or an artist or designer based on first-hand access to the object, artist, designer and archives.

Critical Thinking & Writing I

Code
FLIB 1011
Description

This year-long course is designed to improve critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students learn to understand the inherent argument and logic of a text, to think more systematically and critically, and to write more effectively by developing skills in the structure, grammar, and mechanics of writing. Students also work toward the more focused goal of situating design and art practices within larger intellectual, historical and philosophical frameworks by exploring the indissoluble connection between ideas and the products of human culture. This is achieved by introducing students to texts representing and describing various methodologies applicable to art and design, which can then be used to critique and analyze visual and material artifacts.

spring

Drawing II

Code
FFND 0177
Description

Students require the fluency and confidence in the act of drawing developed in Drawing I in order to engage in more ambitious work. ‘Professional’ drawing classes are designed to relate directly to art and design specialisms (Fine Art, Illustration, Fashion, Interior Design, Communication Design and Photography). Students are encouraged to take a self-motivated and questioning approach to drawing; equipped with the basic skills they become increasingly open to experimentation and the potential to communicate in many forms. Through a series of workshops stereotypical ways of thinking and seeing are challenged so that students understand drawing as an activity that continues to be relevant and re-invented.

Materials and Dimensions II

Code
FFND 0111
Description

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’ students develop their ideas with more autonomy whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructors. In this course students focus on the relationship between design, process and final outcome in 2-Dimensions. After an introduction to color theory and symbolism, students learn about color through print. Students are taught to question and analyze the image-making process. Through set assignments students explore different media and techniques and learn how to select the most effective methods to communicate their ideas.

Introduction To Digital Media II

Code
FFND 0171
Description

Students develop projects with a growing complexity, employing the computer less as a tool and more as a medium to be manipulated with greater confidence and control. The aim of the course is to create an awareness of the potential for digital techniques to solve visual and communication problems. Advanced skills are taught during the Semester that support and encourage an ambitious approach to the digital field. Students integrate digital and non-digital practice and explore mixing different softwares and media. All projects are contextualized with examples of work by contemporary artists and designers who are working with digital media. By the end of the course all students are confident to use digital tools as part of their creative work.

Personal Project

Code
FFND 0175
Description

All students are given a common theme from which to design and create their own project over the course of the Spring Semester. ‘Personal Project’ is a seminar-led course where students present their ideas and the evolution of their work for critical feedback to their peers. This course is run by Instructors with specialist knowledge in areas of art and/or design and students are allocated a group according to their emerging interests.

Artistic Migrations: Paris

Code
FLIB 1104
Description

This course introduces students to the notion of the city as palimpsest and the center of cultural and social exchanges. It will expose them to a selection of writers and artists who have travelled to and from Paris, and help them understand the role played by this city in relation to cultural and political capitals throughout the world. The city itself will be the subject of a visual and intellectual inquiry via themes that focus on Paris as a historically significant urban social, political and cultural center past and present.

Students will learn about key moments in French history, from the Romans on, via the Middle Ages and the Revolution, they will be introduced to such themes as political migrations and colonialism, and will explore the city from a variety of points of views including literary and artistic exchanges, urban history, architecture, and ecology. Active exploration of the environment is strongly encouraged and students are asked to observe and analyze phenomena of the city through site visits, the examination of texts and images, and first-hand encounters with museums, galleries, and libraries, as well as other art and design-related resources in the city.

Critical Thinking & Writing II

Code
FLIB 1012
Description

This year-long course is designed to improve critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students learn to understand the inherent argument and logic of a text, to think more systematically and critically, and to write more effectively by developing skills in the structure, grammar, and mechanics of writing. Students also work toward the more focused goal of situating design and art practices within larger intellectual, historical and philosophical frameworks by exploring the indissoluble connection between ideas and the products of human culture. This is achieved by introducing students to texts representing and describing various methodologies applicable to art and design, which can then be used to critique and analyze visual and material artifacts.

Sophomore Year

fall

Typography I

Code
FCMD 0211
Description

For decades, typography has been everywhere. As the art of visual language, typography is inherently communicative. Spoken language is ephemeral and intangible. When written, language is captured in a visual and spatial form, permanent and concrete. Students discover the domain of typography, gain familiarity with typographical language and terms, and learn to work with typefaces for printed matters and digital use. The course will recall the history of typography, from the tradition to contemporary uses and students are introduced to digital typesetting and page layout software.

Graphic Design I

Code
FCMD 0220
Description

The course provides the fundamental skills of graphic design. Students will become familiar with the visual vocabulary that builds the graphic design practice, through practical projects. Exploring the basic elements (form, colour, type, image and their interconnections) and experimenting on different media and at different scales, the students will become familiar to the graphic design process and the visual problem solving.

Editorial Design

Code
FCMD 0207
Description

This course will focus on different multi-page documents design, with a particular emphasis on magazines and books (in printed and digital form). Students will acquire the skills to create continuity and variety across a range of pages, present different kind of information in context or appropriate formats, and develop an identity through the pages.

Motion Graphics

Code
FCMD 0323
Description

This course develops the design methodology and technical skills to produce time-based linear narratives, animations, television graphics, opening credits, music videos, etc. The integration of sound and image is central to the development of motion graphics projects. After Effects and Final Cut are the principal programs taught in this class, along with the language and tools of motion graphics. Students learn to develop concepts and storyboards before commencing their final drafts.

Introduction To Visual Culture

Code
FHCA 0340
Description

This interdisciplinary course explores the rise of visual media, communication and information, within the context of a broad cultural shift away from the verbal and textual toward the visual, which has taken place since the advent of photography and cinema in the late 19th century, through the birth of television, to the present proliferation of digital media worldwide. We will consider the critical practices of looking, historicizing and interpreting that have accompanied this ‘visual turn’. Our readings will primarily address the theoretical foundations of the study of visual culture, which is understood to incorporate a variety of visual media and visual technologies: painting and sculpture, scientific imagery, material culture, the internet. If everything can be visual culture, what remains of traditional notions of medium specificity? What critical tools must be invented to analyze visual events from a visual cultural perspective? The relationship between the visual arts and visual media, especially with respect to the ‘global’ contemporary visual landscape, will be a focus of this course.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

spring

Typography II

Code
FCMD 0204
Description

The second part of this yearlong course builds on the fundamental typographical forms and functions acquired during Typography 1. The course extends the vocabulary and approaches more complex problems related to typographic hierarchy, context, sequence and scale. A deeper exploration of typography behaves across media will be the opportunity for students to experiment on complex typographical systems, implementing applications in private or public space, environment, or digital time-based projects.

Graphic Design II

Code
FCMD 0221
Description

This course is the second part of year long course for sophomore students studying Communication Design.

Principles of Branding

Code
FCMD 0350
Description
The course study how brands establish their territory, how they grow, prosper, adapt, evolve, stumble and bounce back. Topics we will explore include: naming, logo design, corporate identity, advertising, marketing, merchandising. During the course, students will approach and discuss how to support the online presence of a brand. At the end of the course students will be able to analyse existing brands, evaluate their performance, and propose repositioning strategies that take into account the latest trends. PREREQUISITES: TYPE: CORE CONCEPT AND DESIGN OR EQUIVALENT

Interactive Media Design

Code
FCMD 0236
Description

This studio course requires a basic knowledge of computer graphics and is centered on multimedia authoring software. The focus is authorship, in that more so than a formgiver, the designer acts as a content creator familiar with advanced concepts in interactive multimedia. Students are encouraged to conceptualize, design, prepare and program a multimedia project for eventual publication on the internet.

Prerequisites: Digital Imaging and Multimedia or equivalent

Introduction to Design Studies

Code
FLIB 1162
Description

As an introduction to design in general, this seminar provides students with a contextual understanding of specific movements in design history. ‘Design’ has come to mean many different things. It has been defined as problem solving, communication of an idea, an aesthetic decision, but it is rarely discussed as a vital business concern, though design communicates to us and makes us desire things in order to sell something. The weekly sessions will incorporate topics ranging from avant-garde movements, technology and media, information theory, business and marketing practices, sociology, and psychology, set within a broad historical narrative.

Studio Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

Junior Year

fall

Junior Studio I

Code
FCMD 0300
Description

This junior level studio course builds on sophomore year’s curriculum by contextualizing general design theory and practice of their areas of interest. Social responsibility, sustainability, intellectual property, ethics and business practices are introduced into the design process. Research and ideation are integral components of this class, as it prepares students for their senior thesis project. Students apply this to projects for an industry sponsor, ngo/non-profit organization, or competition.

Prerequisites: Sophomore Core studios. Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2.

Web Design

Code
FCMD 0330
Description

This junior laboratory/technology studio course focuses on the design process and technical background required for designing effective interactive experiences, with an emphasis on design methodology for evolving systems. HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Flash, and Web 2.0 CMS will be introduced along with specialized web design, imaging and animation tools. Students will design and mock up websites. The second semester delves further into notions of interface design, information architecture and web infrastructure.

Prerequisites: 2D Integrated Studio 1 + 2 or equivalent. Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2.

Math/Science Elective

Description

Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

Studio Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Art History Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Art History Program page for more information.

spring

Junior Studio II

Code
FCMD 0301
Description

This junior level studio course builds on sophomore year’s curriculum by contextualizing general design theory and practice to each student’s areas of interest. Social responsibility, sustainability, intellectual property, ethics and business practices are introduced into the design process. Research and ideation are integral components of this class, as it prepares students for their senior thesis project. Students apply this to projects for an industry sponsor, ngo/non-profit organization, or competition.

Prerequisites: Sophomore Core studios. Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2.

Advanced Typography

Code
FCMD 0342
Description

This course is aimed to equip students with a deeper understanding of typography, from its design to its composition. Typography is everywhere: publications (printed or digital), packaging, wayfinding systems, advertising etc. The class will focalize on how handling, in detail, typographical compositions applied to these different media and in different sizes (from the very small to the very big). The line, the paragraph, the page and the multi-page product will be studied. A specific vocabulary related to deep typographical concept will be acquired: (not exhaustively) leading, kerning, tracking, hyphenation, white spaces, break characters etc. An historical overview of the evolution of the typography will be also covered, supported by lectures on case studies. PREREQUISITES: TYPE: CORE CONCEPT AND DESIGN OR EQUIVALENT 2 credits (2.5 hours)

Art History Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Art History Program page for more information.

Studio Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

Senior Year

fall

Senior Thesis I

Code
FCMD 0450
Description

Seniors work on a year long self-defined research and design project, culminating in a Senior Thesis Exhibition in the Spring. The senior thesis project demonstrates the student’s intellectual, technical and critical maturity through both a visual component and a written component. Senior thesis advisers – outside experts in the students’ chosen subjects – provide guidance and critical feedback.

Prerequisites: Advanced Studio – Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2

Senior Studio I

Code
FCMD 0400
Description

This year long senior studio continues the exploration of topics broached in Collab Studios. Students expand their design methodology through system-level assignments (such as environmental graphics, corporate identity, packaging, distribution tracking or information systems) that push their design thinking skills to new levels. The spring semester is devoted to an industry-sponsored project in the student’s chosen field, hopefully leading to strong portfolio pieces and job opportunities.

Prerequisites: Collab 1 + 2. Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2.

Entrepreneurship

Code
FDMT 0202
Description

This course introduces students to the world of entrepreneurs by giving them access to the Parisian ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. Students will meet young entrepreneurs and learn about what it takes to generate and develop a new business, understand the challenges and the common mistakes to avoid, but also the opportunities and tactics for growing a business. The course is also the occasion to analyze a variety of business models and learn how to generate a successful business model.

Studio Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

spring

Senior Thesis II

Code
FCMD 0451
Description

Seniors work on a year long self-defined research and design project, culminating in a Senior Thesis Exhibition in the Spring. The senior thesis project demonstrates the student’s intellectual, technical and critical maturity through both a visual component and a written component. Senior thesis advisers – outside experts in the students’ chosen subjects – provide guidance and critical feedback.

Prerequisites: Advanced Studio – Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2

Senior Studio II

Code
FCMD 0401
Description

This year long senior studio continues the exploration of topics broached in Collab Studios. Students expand their design methodology through system-level assignments (such as environmental graphics, corporate identity, packaging, distribution tracking or information systems) that push their design thinking skills to new levels. The spring semester is devoted to an industry-sponsored project in the student’s chosen field, with the aim of leading to strong portfolio pieces and job opportunities.

Prerequisites: Collab 1 + 2 (FCMD 0300, FCMD 0301). Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2.

Studio Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

Overall Credits Total
120

Communication Design Final Projects

Communication designers’ aim is to give form to information in different fields such as advertising, publishing and editorial design, corporate and exhibition design, websites, multimedia, environmental graphics, signs and maps, service design, interaction design, film and video.
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