Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design

Aalto University

Program Description
EFMD Equis Accredited
AACSB Accredited

Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design

Aalto University

Visual Communication is changing rapidly. Design thinking now includes new forms such as story-telling, experiences, and data visualization. Our programmes represent an expanded trans-media discipline of communication and expression. When it comes to stories, many creatives have them: Graphic Designers, Authors, Animators, Graphic Novelists, and Children’s Book Illustrators. Be an explorer that uses visuals to create compelling original content in our Visual Narrative major. Likewise, the demand for well-designed infographics is expanding. Our Information Design major has applications far beyond the traditional design professions. Apply to make data-driven messages that sing.

Learning outcomes

Upon earning the master’s degree, students will be able to:

  • apply design knowledge and skills in multidisciplinary productions in the field of visual communication. These productions might take the form of information visualization, 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 local and global, with a sensitivity to cultural perspectives and an empathetic feedback loop.

Students with a Concentration in 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 a user interface and new media design.

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

  • express the frameworks and theory of visual and verbal literacy by analyzing 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, visual concept, interactivity, storyboarding, world-building, 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 support 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

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 of explorations into visuals that tell stories. Students study forms such as story-telling, narrative architecture, 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 major will embrace the digital innovations that are transforming all narratives - in books and games, on film and the web - into hybrid media.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the programme will have skills and knowledge to work as design professionals in visual communication design.

Concentration in Information Design are qualified to work as information designers, either independently or within a design agency or other organization. Other possible job titles include visual journalist, data journalist and data analyst. The skills learned in the Major can be combined with other studies to qualify the student for a job in a related field, such as cartography, interaction design or service design.

Concentration in Visual Narrative is original content creators, directors and authors, with all the tools of visual design. The focus on digital publishing for new devices means students will be able to publish eBooks and narrative apps. With courses from New Media, they might become a Narrative Designer for a video game or interactive company. Combined with courses in film or animation they might become a screenwriter, storyboard artist or content creator. They will be attractive candidates for production or publishing companies. Each student will emerge from the major with a polished portfolio, innovative narratives, and a unique, self-initiated body of work, preparing them to be the story-tellers of tomorrow.

Visual Communication Design graduates can also work as design directors, graphics editors, or in another managerial role. In addition, the Master of Arts degree enables students to apply for doctoral studies in art and design.

Internationalisation

Exchanges programs, work placement abroad, international lecturers and students give the master’s programme an international dimension.

Admission procedure

Prospective students of the Master’s Programme in Visual Communication Design apply to the programme in the master’s degree admissions process for the field of art and design. Please indicate which major you are most interested in. The key admission criteria for the master’s programme in visual communication design are artistic talent, motivation and the potential for the applicant’s development. In addition, applicants are required to have methodological abilities for conducting artistic and scientific research.

The admission is based on a two-stage entrance examination, where qualified students are selected to continue after each stage. The admission is based on the application documents, a portfolio, a short assignment, a letter of intent (in which applicants reflect on their areas of interest and propose the topic of their master’s theses), a CV and an interview.

This school offers programs in:
  • English


Last updated December 12, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
Duration
Duration
2 years
Full time
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Application period: 2016-12-15 - 2017-01-25
Locations
Finland - Espoo
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Finland - Helsinki
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Finland - Mikkeli
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Finland - Pori
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Dates
Aug. 2018
Finland - Espoo
Application deadline Request Info
Application period: 2016-12-15 - 2017-01-25
End date Request Info
Finland - Helsinki
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Finland - Pori
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Finland - Mikkeli
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End date Request Info
Price €15000 / academic year for non-EU/EEA citizens