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.

Faculty

Lucrezia Russo

Lucrezia Russo

Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs - Communication Design
Frederique KRUPA

Frédérique Krupa

Chair, Transdisciplinary New Media
Deborah WICKHAM

Deborah Wickham

Professor - Communication Design Dept.

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.

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.

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

Type Core: Design

Code
FCMD 0237
Description

This core studio course offers an in-depth study of letterforms and their relationship to space and furnishes the foundations of mastering the relationship between concept, form, layout and communication. Students evaluate and prioritize information based on size, weight and positioning of letterforms. They learn the importance of eye travel and movement, and examine the past, present and future development in typography. Using the pencil, brush, camera and computer, emphasis is placed on the development of strong communication skills. While this is essentially a studio course, occasional theoretical readings are proposed in order to foster a critical assessment of the typographic history and to stimulate an awareness of contemporary issues in both print and multimedia design.

Prerequisite(s): Foundation Year or Equivalent

 

Type Core: Concept

Code
FCMD 0238
Description

This core studio course introduces students to a variety of design methods and materials used throughout the communication design field. Students learn basic design methodology from researching to conceptualizing to execution, as well as the importance of design thinking. A variety of projects will introduce the student to the manipulation of two-dimensional space through an exploration of typography. Students will use a combination of hand skills and digital skills to complete assignments. While this course is essentially a studio course, occasional theoretical readings are proposed in order to foster a critical assessment of the media and to stimulate an awareness of contemporary issues in both print and multimedia design.

Prerequisite(s): Foundation Year 2D Integrated Studio 1 & 2 or Equivalent.

Type: Core Lab

Code
FCMD 0208
Description

In this core studio, a variety of projects will introduce the student to the manipulation of two-dimensional space using a combination of hand skills and digital skills to complete assignments. In this course, traditional and contemporary tools and techniques are employed to produce high caliber documents (maquettes) for presentation purposes. Working within established sets of parameters, students learn to design simple editorial material with an emphasis on specific technical constraints. With this understanding of basic pre-press production information, students are encouraged to use various techniques and tools (photography, collage, montage, drawing, transfer processes, digital design, etc.) to produce strong, persuasive designs.

Prerequisite: 2D Integrated Studio 1 + 2 or equivalent.

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.

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.

Introduction To Design Studies

Code
FLIB 2212
Description

This course focuses on how design processes, design products, and design discourse are interrelated. It encourages students to reflect and write critically about design and provides them with a foundation in research methods that impact design practice. Readings from leading designers, theorists and historians lead students to situate their own approaches to design within a swiftly changing contemporary context, while visual materials and visits to design-related exhibitions allow them to broaden their base of design references.

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

Form: Core Design

Code
FCMD 0234
Description

An in depth study of letterforms and their relationship to space. Students evaluate and prioritize information for communication based on size, weight and positioning of letterforms. They understand the importance of eye travel and movement. They examine the past, present and future development in typography. Using the pencil, brush, camera and computer, emphasis is placed on the development of communications. We will criticize the work, compare notes, discuss, look at documentations, books, read, do research together. Becoming well-versed in typography will help you in many ways, regardless of your creative direction & areas of concentration. As visual communicators, you will not only work with images but with words too.By understanding typography history, language, applications & power, your strength as a designer will be heightened. Once you understand the principles, you will be free to play.

Form: Core Concept

Code
FCMD 0235
Description

The second part of this yearlong course builds on last semesters Type Studio: Concept course. Emphasis is again placed on methodology, research and conceptual development as well as the successful communication of ideas. Through a series of applied assignments that focus on form, a stronger set of visual, conceptual, technical and verbal skills will be developed. Structured progressively, assignments will culminate in a complete and coherent identity and expose students to various creative approaches. Through this process students will gain a deeper understanding of the role form plays in the design process, focusing on the intellectual, practical, and emotional characteristics that construct meaning through form (usefulness, usability and desirability). Through lectures, hands-on exercises, assignments, critiques students will learn to use typography to solve communication and visual problems.

Form: Core Lab

Code
FCMD 0224
Description

The manner in which an idea or finished project is presented is crucial. Improve your ability to communicate visually in this hands-on design workshop in which a variety of both traditional and contemporary tools and techniques are used to produce tangible documents for presentation. This class will, however, give students the opportunity to take their work beyond the presentation stage, as some of the projects will be printed professionally. Students will be required to produce print specifications which include choice of paper, use of color (i.e. Pantone or CMYK), size of print run, finishing, etc.

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

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.

Culture of Design

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.

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.

Juinior 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 I

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.

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.

Art History Electives

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.

Web II

Code
FCMD 0331
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.

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.

Art History Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Art History 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.

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.

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 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.

Art History Electives

Description

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

Overall Credits Total
134