Web and Digital Design

University Master's course

Length of the course 15 months

Start October 2017

Academic training + internship

The Master’s course  is intended to enable students to develop and implement projects in a web-based environment. The academic approach focuses both on brand and user experience in order to generate an effective digital strategy and create applications, websites and mobile interfaces that can prove engaging, usable and accessible.


The aim of the Master’s course in Web and Digital Design is the creation of different professional profiles within the web media design area which are able to plan, produce and share through the online communities a new generation of content and services in an effective way. The program offers an experimental pathway at the forefront of design, marketing and technology. Students blend sound design competence with strategic vision, knowledge of technical aspects and project management skills in order to coordinate all the different stages in the development process. The plan of studies blends art direction and design contents with solid technical skills and an in-depth background in digital marketing and communication. The programme develops in the interplay between theoretical teaching and practical tasks. Project-based activities in particular are central to the learning experience and leverage abilities and information acquired in the other courses. The projects follow a professional workflow encompassing the definition of the digital strategy, the interaction model and user’s journey, the design of the interface and its look and feel,  the creation of a prototype using front/back end programming tools. As the user experience is increasingly developing through social media, companies are changing their business accordingly: this new and thrilling scenario is deeply investigated with specific regard to the integration of content and navigation flow between websites and search/social platforms and viceversa. The overall didactic experience provides the students with professional abilities that allow them to engage in dialogue with the different figures involved in digital media projects.



Upon selection, the Master admits graduates in Media Studies, Communication and Graphics, IT Sciences, Design or Architecture and their equivalents or candidates who have gained significant professional experience in the field. The program has a limited number of places available. Applicants will be admitted upon selection based on the student’s CV, portfolio and on an interview. Applications must be sent to the SPD Academic Office. More information on the admission process here.


The Master lasts 15 months (from October to December 2015, with a summer break in August). Attendance is compulsory and full time. The total workload of the course corresponds to 1500 hours/student encompassing lessons, class exercises, internship and individual study.



At the end of lessons, students start a three-month internship at companies or professional firms in the field.


The Master’s course is held in English.


After passing the final exam, eligible students will obtain a Master’s Degree from IULM and SPD. The Master corresponds to 60 ECTS credits.



Programmes and teaching staff to be updated






  • Xhtml/Css/Jquery I, I I
    Claudio Tesei

    The course is set up to provide an overview of web design and give students the technical knowledge necessary to build javascript driven xhtml web pages.
    The programme will examine design, interface and interaction concepts, it will cover the potentials and restrictions of web design. The course will make use of Adobe Dreamweaver as design/coding tool to create and manage xhtml and css.

    Due to the rapid changes in web techologies and in order to stay ahead of the new trends in interaction and interface design, the course will provide an introduction to javascript and in particular to jquery library.
    It will also look at how to target specific devices, from mobile displays to handsets.

    Covered topics:
    – understanding html design
    – print vs web design
    – usability
    – accessibility
    – interaction

    – building a web page
    – structure of html page
    – adding text
    – h1, h2 …. p, br
    – images
    – tables
    – lists
    – div
    – span
    – links

    – understanding css
    – local and global styles
    – class selector
    – id selector
    – fonts
    – colours
    – units and measurements
    – styling text

    – basic layout with css
    – box model
    – margin-collapsing
    – resetting css
    – floats
    – positioning
    – column layouts
    – background images
    – rollovers
    – pseudo class
    – menus
    – vertical menu
    – horizontal menu
    – drop down menu
    – styling forms

    – firefox plug-ins for developers

    advanced topics:
    – introduction to javascript and jquery
    – introduction to html5 and css3
    – introduction to mobile development and multiscreen authoring
    – introduction to developing apps for IOS and Android using PhoneGap and JqueryMobile

  • Web Technologies
    Claudio Tesei

    – Presentation of the programme
    – Slow internet and connections
    – ICANN and regulatory bodies
    – Anatomy of a browser
    – Hit, pageview and bandwidth
    – Anatomy of a page
    – Anatomy of a web server
    – The first W in WWW
    – Newsletter and HTML
    – Security and on-line commerce
    – Search engine beyond the keywords
    – Differently able
    – From SGML to HTML5 (sidestepping into XML)
    – Regular expressions
    – Server-side programming
    – PHP programming
    – AJAX
    – Database and dinamic web sites
    – Content management system

  • Motion Graphics
    Arif Bashir

    The course is dedicated to the planning of digital productions based on video technologies. Lessons deal with theoretical investigations and with the pratice of applications such as Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects.
    – space
    – time
    – sign
    – elements of semiotics
    – sequence
    – analysis of editing and direction elements
    – historical hints and relevant case studies

    Adobe Premiere
    – audio/video project set up
    – work interface: tools, monitor and timeline
    – editing operations
    – transitions and effects
    – titling
    – output and compression
    Adobe After Effects
    – project set up
    – work interface: tools, preview and tracks
    – three-dimensional space: lights, 3D layers and cameras
    – animation of an object’s characteristics through keyframes
    – transparency and keying
    – output and compression
    This course requires the students to maintain a strong commitment to their work and exercise the tools presented during the lessons through systematic independent practice.

  • Colour Management
    Onnik Pambakian

    The course starts with an introduction to the concept of colour and presents the technical and scientific tools in order to work in a professional context. This is the main program:
    – History and Basic Models: historical outlines of colour models up to Goethe; colour models up to CIE
    -Light and Optical Perception: light as radiation – corpuscle; the electromagnetic and quantum theory; the spectrum; the definition of colour by wavelength; the prism experiment; physiology of the eye; vision as an elaborate sensation; observer’s definition; attributes of perception; perceptive and absolute vision; adaptation of sight to light, the observer’s adaptive process; the blackbody and the Kelvin scale; artificial illuminants; definition of the standard illuminants; spectral prediction applied to pigments and illuminants; metamenrism; experiments with various illuminants; relationships among light, observer and object; metamerism term; colour sampling; outlines on principles to determine the use of special colours.
    – RGB colour methods and profiles: metamerism and the case of cobalt blue; the tristimulus method, XYZ space, LAB, universal space 14; RGB light method; colour spaces and RGB profiles; ICC definition; concept of profile and colour space; gamut; check on the work carried out.
    – CMYK colour Methods and Profiles: review of the exam concepts; the subtractive method; CMYK print method; geometric or stocaistic screen value; screen value optical effects; dithering.
    – CMYK colour and Profiling Methods: separation of black in CMYK; 1 bit canals; GCR and UCR examples putted on files; printing problems (point enlargement, trapping, overprinting); colour management in Postscript documents
    -PS management and disinstallation for the printing; colour in PDF; Check of the plates in PDF. Visit to a typographic company and knowledge of the PRE-print flow, print and finishing; purposes of rendering; profile loss in RIP; characterizations of printing presses; check on the final work; comment on printing test and review of problems; RAW documents and transformation into TIFF; weight calculation in image documents.

  • Computer Design I, I I
    Arif Bashir

    New technologies supporting graphic communication make tools available for experimenting creative solutions simply unthinkable only a few years ago. Softwares such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign have been a real turning point for the work of graphic designers revolutioning their work and allowing more flexibility, beyond the severe compositive schemes of the past. The advent of alternative or unconventional solutions in graphic design has cancelled as a consequence the predetermined association page=bidimensionality enabling the appearance of a different architecture generated by a system of relations between leading players (photo, illustrations, lettering, signs) and their followers. It is therefore necessary to recognize leaders and hierarchies in the relationship between full/empty, dimensions/colour but also value less usual attributes such as transparency and light.
    The teaching methodology combines technical, functional and creative with the development of increasingly complex tasks projects.

  • Initial Workshop
    Letizia Bollini, Marco Catani, Dmitry Gontarev

    The purpose of this initial workshop is to identify each and everyone’s design potential and pinpoint their strengths along with their weakness and critical abilities to be improved. The workshop Area Media convergence. A practical application. is intended to help the students to find creative, innovative and functional communication solutions using the new media modern visual languages. With the introduction of the web 2.0 in 2004, communication has changed. Interaction, user-focused design, social networks, video and content sharing, wikis, RIAs, multiuser games and other technological and content production advancements have modified the concept of communication and information delivery. Today, mass communication cannot rely exclusively on the old marketing and entertainment rules but needs to face with the changes technology has brought.
    The workshop will be divided in two parts: the first (day 1) will deal with the theoretical aspects of modern communications. It will discuss concepts like media convergence, viral marketing and digital divide. It will examine case histories from campaigns which have made successful use of the new trends and it will also look at the work of artists who have to use technology as a form of art. In the second part (day 2-5) students will be asked to apply what they have learnt to develop a strategy in response to a explicit communication need.

  • Digital Art Direction Laboratory
    Paulo Bernini

    The course guides students in the creation of digital communication projects achieving higher professional standards. The programme covers the analysis of the main elements of Art Direction for digital environments/platforms, from the reception of a client brief and the development of the project strategy up to the presentation of the concepts. A specific brief will be given by the tutors at the beginning of the course. The purpose of the assignment is stimulating the students’ creative problem solving skills allowing them to develop web projects that communicate the client’s message in an effective and professional way, technology wise.

  • Social Media Marketing
    Marco Catani, Dmitry Gontarev

    Social media platforms have been dramatically changing the way companies and institutions do their business. The goal of these classes is to increase the students’ awareness in this respect and help them to develop a project based assignement to test the abilities and information thus acquired.
    The course deals with the following subjects:
    – how social media changed the way companies do business today.
    – evolution from web 2.0 to Social Mediasphere.
    – you cannot improve what you cannot measure: Social Media explained from a return on investment (ROI) point of view: objectives, goals, KPI’s and targets.
    – what can brands do with social media: listening before you talk; setting up a consistent social media landscape; community management; online reputation management; crisis management; eCRM (the superhero model)
    – how to drive traffic, create engagement and favourite sharing through social media campaigns
    – social Media overview: Facebook for brands and the Open Graph, Youtube, Twitter, Foursquare.
    – how to market yourself: setting up an efficent Linkedin profile.

  • Responsive Web
    Marco Catani, Dmitry Gontarev

    The aim of the course is to provide students with the basic knowledge of user interface design techniques. These are going to be the main subjects:
    – human information processing
    – user centered design
    – 2 gulfs (Norman)
    – 10 Usability heuristics (Nielsen)
    – user experience documentation
    – evaluating usability: user testing
    – responsive design: designing for multiple screens
    The course will have a project assigned, where students will be able to learn by doing what they have been studing during the year.

  • Responsive Web Design Laboratory
    Andy Scupelli

    Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.
    The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities.
    In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.
    Why should we create a custom Web design for each group of users; after all, architects don’t design a building for each group size and type that passes through it? Like responsive architecture, Web design should automatically adjust. It shouldn’t require countless custom-made solutions for each new category of users.
    Responsive Web design requires a more abstract way of thinking. Some ideas are already being practiced: fluid layouts, media queries and scripts that can reformat Web pages and mark-up effortlessly (or automatically).
    But responsive Web design is a whole new way of thinking about design in web-based environments.

  • Social Media Laboratory
    Andy Scupelli

    This class is held in close association with the Social media marketing course and develops in a constant interplay between theoretical teaching and its practical application. A project-based approach is central to this experience that investigates the new and thrilling scenario offered by the new social media platforms both to the users and to the brands. A design task will be assigned to the students. Under the guidance of the tutors of the Social media laboratory and Social media marketing courses jointly, participants will have to follow a proper workflow encompassing the definition of the digital strategy and its relevant objectives up to the concept and design phases.