Visual design

One Year course

Length of the course 10 months

Start October 2017

The OneYear Course is taught following a single theme approach with cycles of lessons on theory integrated with workshop exercises and subjects. In this way students acquire the solid cultural, methodological and operative foundations necessary for following a Master’s course in Visual Design and Web Design.



Characteristics and aims

The OneYear course aims at consolidating the basics of visual design thereby allowing a critical approach to the design stage. The study plan includes lessons on Basic Design alongside general training. The first of these provide an historical, cultural and scientific background to visual design focusing in particular on visual processes, also studied from a theoretical and physiological point of view. The coherence between the subjects covered helps in constructing a design methodology, a designer’s most vital possession. The general training, on the other hand, provides the necessary creative, technical and methodological skills for the further study of visual communication and design during the Master’s year. There is in fact a continuous learning process that starts from the OneYear Course and leads to the specialist Master’s course.


The OneYear Course lasts for one academic year  from October to July. Attendance is compulsory and full-time commitment is required including the participation to lessons, class exercises, visits and the individual study.

Professional openings

Allows admission to:
Master’s course in Visual Design
Master’s course in Web and Digital Design

Programmes and teaching staff to be updated


  • Visual Design laboratories 

    Through a series of creative exercises – developed both digitally and with mockups – students will face stimulating projects with a professionally conscious attitude. The content of these courses embraces all the different phases of the design process, from the conceptual research to the development of the idea, from finishing and production to the communication of the project. The various tasks deal with the main areas of activity in the professional practice and namely with identity design and editorial. The key elements of the visual alphabet and its syntactic structure are taken into careful consideration: lettering and typography, layout and compositional matrixes that allow control of text and imagery by defining their inner hierarchy up to the exploration into non-grid based systems. During the development process, the notions of history of typography and graphic design, of visual semiotics or colour theory transferred in the theoretical courses are constantly recalled in order to combine cultural and technical training with design practice. The outcomes of the exercises become material for the construction of an individual portfolio.

  • Basic typography laboratory

    This area of studies focuses on the morphology of alphabetical signs and in particular on the print character. The alphabetical sign plays a primary role in contemporary society and even more so in a society started up towards globality and instantaneous communication.  From this comes the need for a designer in communication to have an in-depth understanding of the genesis of alphabetical signs and their characteristics. Classes provide the notions for their better comprehension and correct use. Type sketching techniques and basic type design are covered for acquiring a more sophisticated control in the usage of typography into design practice. Every topic will be tackled both theoretically and practically. The didactic approach privileges studio-based practice: theoretical explanations alternate with exercises and projects asking the students to produce what they just learnt.

  • Computer Design

    This area is closely tied to other design oriented laboratories. The aim here is rounding off the tools and getting familiar with the creative workflow of graphic artifacts through the use of technological applications such as the Adobe softwares. The integration of these programs enables an enormous number of creative developments, as long as their features are thoroughly understood and their purpose is clear and consistent with the overall design approach. During the course participants will deepen the necessary information to gain a professional control of their functions. The methodological approach emphasizes the design experience and the production of complete graphic artworks.

  • Design history and methodology

    The course provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of design in its broader and comprehensive meaning, both from a theoretical perspective and through a historical overview. Design here is intended as part of an historical, linguistic and philosophical “conversation” where every image is the result of visions, perceptions, objects and visual artifacts we have seen or recalled from our memory and may represent a visual language we can share with theothers. In the first lessons the focus will be on definitions and methods, while in the following part the main areas of graphic design and product design will be analysed through their development over history and the current practice. Through the illustration of several visual examples of a different kind (products, advertising, graphic design, works of art …) locating them in time and space and outlining their mutual relations, the course will seek to provide students with a broad visual repertoire.

  • Sketching

    Free hand drawing is the first technique to represent ideas. The goal is enabling students to express their creativity by checking its potential in a fast yet precise way and share it with all the professionals involved in the design process. Particular attention is devoted to the analysis and application of the fundamental rules for free hand drawing: perspective, composition and proportions according to a geometric approach. Fast colouring techniques are also introduced in order to help communicate a concept idea. The resulting knowledge is particular beneficial in the layout design process and as a primer to type design practice.

  • Colours 

    This area is devised in order to transfer a broader awareness of colour as an essential component of a designer’s grammar. Tuition is arranged in two different parts. Firstly, a series of theoretical lectures introduces the basics of color theory discussing the main notions and applying them to the construction of two and three-dimensional models. The second part is organized as a personal researchwork on a given topic related to colour design issues and to the personal experience and sensitivity of the student.

  • Presentation techniques

    The course aims at teaching students a variety of methods to use the world of images to achieve appropriate communicative purposes. Graphic design stands between phenomenology and anthropology of styles. In particular the graphic designer has the responsibility to condense imagery representing the Zeitgeist of his time through palettes of shapes and colors that filter meanings through the perceptual impact. A phenomenology of styles allows the construction of possible worlds, the re- interpretation of the past, the encoding of sub-cultural sensitivity and so on. The goal is to obtain the maximum speed of decoding and the highest effectiveness that can be understood by the users. The aim of the course is to enable students to fully use the visual elements in their communicative processes and to integrate functional, aesthetic and behavioral goals.

    In order to achieve this goal, different methodologies will be combined: theory of perception, iconography, iconology, semiotics etc. The interpretation will be strictly pragmatic, aimed at building operational tools for the construction of images.