Fundamentals of Visual Communication

This course examines the principles and methods of visual representations that are more readily understandable, supporting perception, cognition and usability.

Design, being an extremely expansive field, includes experts with highly specialized skills. While excelling in their respective areas, many lack the basics of good visual communication design, relying on commonplace or trendy graphic design expressions. Yet being able to communicate ideas that don’t yet exist is a key part of bringing them to life. This course intends to address this gap and develop this essential skill of any advanced designer. In addition to the basics of visual communication, this course also introduces the idea of balancing the needs of the communicators and the qualities of the topic/offering to guide appropriate choices for visual representation.

Learning Objectives
Giving students with minimal-2D visual skills the ability to clearly represent their ideas based on integrating:

  • content categories
  • offering attributes
  • communication goals and audience situations

…while simultaneously learning:

  • basic visual communication design methods and principles
  • different sign systems—text, pictures, diagrams—for effective and clear communication


Learning Outcomes
After completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • an improved understanding of information related to describing a designed offering and the various ways in which it can be represented via sign systems
  • the ability to create visual representations through applying basic visual communication principles in layout and typography to better organize and visually structure the information
Managing Interdisciplinary Teams Design Connoisseurship Engaging Stakeholders in Innovation Special Topics Faculty Research Design Process and Knowledge Making the User Centered Case
Modeling Complexity Theories of Communication Fundamentals of Visual Communication Advanced Diagramming Metaphor and Analogy in Design Diagram Development Communication Strategies Communication Design Workshop
Extensions of Media and Technology Interactive Space Interaction Design for Embedded Systems Interaction Design for Immersive Systems Prototyping Interactions Persuasive Interaction Design History of Interaction Design Interaction Design Methods Digital Development Workshop Interaction Design Workshop
Planning + Strategy
Designing Futures Adaptive Leadership Strategies for Open Innovation Organizational Models for Innovation Social and Economic Context of Design New Venture Design Innovation Methods Planning Implementation Business Models and Value Webs Business Frameworks and Strategy Design Planning Workshop Introduction to Portfolio Planning
Design Development & Implementation Product Architecture and Platforms Form and Materials New Product Definition Product Design Workshop
Systems and Systems Theory in Design Networked Objects Networked Cities Human System Integration Systems Modeling and Prototyping Platform-based Design Strategy Systems Approach to Design Information Structuring and Management Structured Planning Workshop Service Systems Workshop
User Research
Stimulus in Design Research Behavioral Economics Online Research Methods Principles and Methods of User Research Coding and Analysis Co-Design and Participatory Research Methods Survey Methods Cultural Probes Experience Modeling Interview Methods Research Photography Research Planning & Execution