Visual Communication Design

Director of the Master's Programme

Professor Zach Dodson

Learning Outcomes

Upon earning the master’s degree, students will:

  • Apply design knowledge and skills in multidisciplinary productions in the field of visual communication. These productions might take the form of information visualisation, concept design, visual narrative or design that is investigative and critical in nature;
  • Use visual analysis, design research methodologies and academic writing to investigate design-related research questions;- Engage other disciplines and industries using design thinking and methods, authoring both content and form in order to respond with targeted design narratives;
  • Situate design responses within cultural, social, conceptual, and ecological contexts using ethnographic research to create an awareness of users and audiences, both narrowly cast and global, with a sensitivity to cultural perspectives and an open empathetic feedback loop.

Students with a Concentration in the Information Design will also be able to:

  • Create compelling and insightful data visualizations, infographics and maps, based on a variety of different data;
  • Effectively deploy a wide range of different information and research from a variety of fields, including scientific, technical and economic data;
  • Design and program interactive data visualizations that demonstrate awareness of current professional standards in user interface and new media design.

Students with a Concentration in the Visual Narrative will also be able to:

  • Express the frameworks and theory of visual and verbal literacy by analysing and interpreting designed narratives;
  • Solve problems and publish projects with visual vocabularies using publishing, new media and emergent technologies and entrepreneurial strategies;
  • Demonstrate mastery of visual narrative, employing skills such as writing, story architecture, typography, mapping, interactivity, hierarchy, and aesthetics.

Education Content

The Master’s Programme in Visual Communication Design allows students to execute demanding design assignments which develop their conceptual and aesthetic design skills. Students acquire methodological skills in design research and develop a responsible view of the effects of visual communication while deepening and broadening their competencies.

The master’s programme is intended to be completed in two years. Students make a personal study plan that builds on their interests and special skills, and supports their master’s theses. The degree structure provides students with an opportunity to pursue studies towards a minor in the other schools of Aalto University or at other national or international universities.

Visual Communication Design with a Concentration in Information Design

The concentration in Information Design offers a practical education in visual communication of information. It has been estimated that humanity doubles its data every two years. The demand for design solutions for visual presentation of information is driven by, among other things, this rapid expansion of available data, and the accompanying growth in computational capability to process it. Information design is a competence with applications far beyond the traditional design professions. It finds use also in, for example, journalism, science and engineering, business intelligence, and the civil service. Information design is at its core a highly interdisciplinary field, combining skills from graphic design, new media, interaction design, computer science, statistics, geoinformatics, journalism, and more. At the intersection of design and technology, Aalto is uniquely positioned to provide the eclectic mix of expertise needed for this growing field.

Visual Communication Design with a Concentration in Visual Narrative

The concentration in Visual Narrative offers an integrated, transmedia and innovation-focused education in the future disciplines and practices of Visual Narrative. Visual Narrative is an exciting, emerging field that touches on many disciplines, and brings together a synthesis of skill sets from graphic design, writing, interactive media, film, animation, graphic novels, and games. We approach these forms as explorations into visuals that tell stories. For visual communication designers, aesthetics remain an important part of solutions that now include forms such as story-telling, experiences, and authorship. Publishing, on traditional as well as emerging platforms, is addressed as the production and distribution of authored works. Founded with the methodologies of design and sequential art, this concentration will embrace the digital innovations that are transforming all narratives - in books and games, on film and the web - into hybrid media.

Major Studies 90 ECTS

Code

Name

ECTS credits

Compulsory joint studies for a master's degree in the Department of Media

11

DOM-E0000

Understanding Media, Art and Design

4

DOM-E0001

Research Skills/Tutkimustaidot

4

In addition student chooses one of the following courses.

LCA-1022 

Academic Writing (in English)

3

LCA-7001

Tieteellinen kirjoittaminen maisteriopiskelijoille (in Finnish)

3

Compulsory studies for the degree program in Visual Communication Design

46

DOM-E1023

Discourse in Design

6

DOM-E1001

Project Studies

DOM-E1010

Master's Thesis Seminar

4

DOM.thes 

Master's Thesis

30

Alternative studies

33

Students choose 33 ECTS of alternative courses.

For all MA-students in Visual Communication Design

DOM-E1001

Project Studies

6-12

DOM-E2002

Design as Critical Practice

6

For Information Design students 

 

 

DOM-E2100

Information Design I

3

DOM-E2101

Information Design II

3

DOM-E2102

 Data Now!

 3

DOM-E2105

Advanced Information Design Studio

6-9

DOM-E5032

Software Studies for Media Designers

3-5

DOM-E5033

Dynamic Visualization I

5

DOM-E5034

Dynamic Visualization II

6-8

DOM-E5103

Topics in Visualization and Cultural Analytics

3-5

For Visual Narrative students

DOM-E2202

Visual Narrative I

3
DOM-E2210

Advanced Visual Narrative Studio

6-9

DOM-E2211

Moving Image and Production Design

6

DOM-E5038

Generative and Interactive Narratives

3

DOM-E5035

Storytelling 1

3

DOM-E5036

Storytelling 2

3

 

Elective Studies 30 ECTS

In addition, students choose 30 ECTS of elective studies. As elective studies, students can complete minor studies and/or take individual courses from other programmes at Aalto University or other Finnish universities, participate in an international student exchange programme, do an internship in Finland or abroad, or take elective courses offered by Visual Communication Design. The programme’s own offering is presented in the following table.

Elective Studies in Visual Communication Design

Code

Name

ECTS Credits

DOM-E0003

Common Advanced Workshop/Project at the Department of Media

3–20 *

DOM-E1025

Optional Advanced Workshop in Visual Communication Design

2–6

DOM-E1001

Project Studies

6–12

DOM.trai

Practical Training

5–15 *

DOM-E1007

Optional Advanced Theory Course

2–10

DOM-E1008

Optional Advanced Tutoring/Working as an Assistant

2–10

DOM-E3024

Basic Issues in Media Aesthetics

2

* ) Students have the right to be credited with components of courses from courses over 12 ECTS.

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