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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The programme offered by Laboratorio di Design della Comunicazione (Communication Design Laboratory - studio), is aimed to develop students’ understanding and mastery of the principles, theories, methods and instruments required to design communication artefacts.
The course introduces students to the basics of graphic design (lettering, colour, composition), with the objective of developing strategies and solutions that give form to printed work and products.
The Lab promotes an open, dynamic and collaborative approach between students and teachers.
The programme has a clearly defined structure, however it is flexible and open to any changes, variations, improvements that may become appropriate as the course progresses and the lectures and collective works of the students in classroom inspire new opportunities.


The Communication Design Laboratory - studio – the first project work for the newly enrolled students– does not require specific prerequisites, such as software proficiency, but it presumes and/or stimulates the acquisition of good design thinking and handicraft drawing skills using basic materials (such as paper and cardboard). Students’ abilities will be strengthened thanks to practical activities included in the programme. Of course, interest and commitment to the subject are essential enrolment requirements.

Course programme

Both theory and practice focus on educating and training designers for today’s communication needs, in tight connection with the project for the creation of products to promote institutions, public bodies, brands.

“Paper Design” – in its two dimensional format (books, magazines) and three dimensional format (displays, exhibition and internal design fixtures) – has been chosen as subject of study and included in the project for its accessible, flexible, adaptive and practical characteristics, well suited to the Laboratory's research, planning and prototyping activities.

Students are encouraged to develop their creativity in relation to the intrinsic properties of individual crafts – material and immaterial – and in terms of the relations that can be established between products, public and the space, thanks to collective display and exhibition activities.

The curriculum includes lessons on the fundamental elements of visual perception, book design, desktop publishing with the use of a professional software.

The 2016-2017 Course programme will develops projects around the topic of small merchandising object for the University of Ferrara and a system of signage (wayfinding) for the campus of the Department of Architecture of Ferrara.

Didactic methods

The course includes a series of theory lessons – conducted by teachers and visiting teachers – and a number of activities and tests which will take place on the premises of the Department of Architecture. The laboratories and state rooms on the ground floor of Palazzo Tassoni Estense will be used for mid-course tests to evaluate the students’ presentation abilities and, at the end of the course, will host the final exam and the exhibition of their work.
Attendance is mandatory. In their evaluation, teachers will take into account attendance.

Learning assessment procedures

The exam will focus on the results achieved during projects and prototyping activities carried out during the course, and will include a collective display of the students’ work organised in an exhibition (planned and set up, with the teachers, following the co-design approach), which will take place at Palazzo Tassoni Estense.
The final evaluation will also take account of the results achieved in the intermediate applied exercises.
The final evaluation will take into account the results of the theory and practice tests carried out during the course, attendance and participation during lessons, the complexity of the final project, the research carried out for the final project and its oral presentation.

Reference texts

Testi di riferimento

Gavin Ambrose, Paul Harris, Il manuale del graphic design. Progettazione e produzione, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2009, pp. 191.

Riccardo Falcinelli, Critica portatile al visual design: da Gutenberg ai social network, Torino, Einaudi, 2014, pp. 321.

Francesco Trabucco, Design, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2015, pp. 139.

Testi consigliati

Bruno Munari, Da cosa nasce cosa, Bari, Laterza, 1981, pp. 385.

Adrian Frutiger, Segni & simboli. Disegno, progetto e significato, S.l., Stampa alternativa, 1996, pp. 318.

Bruno Zevi, Saper vedere la città. Ferrara di Biagio Rossetti, «la prima città moderna europea», Torino, Einaudi, 1997, pp. 216.

Michele Spera, Abecedario del grafico. La progettazione tra creatività e scienza, Roma, Gangemi Editore, 2005, pp. 541.

Daniele Baroni, Maurizio Vitta, Storia del design grafico, Milano, Longanesi, 2007, pp. 335.

Gavin Ambrose, Paul Harris, Il libro del layout, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2009, pp. 232.

Philipp Meuser, Daniela Pogade, Wayfinding and Signage. Construction and design manual, Berlino, Dom Pub, 2010, pp. 428.

Ellen Lupton, Caratteri, testo, gabbia. Guida critica alla progettazione grafica, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2010, p. 192.

Alfonso Acocella (a cura di), Paper Design, Firenze, Altralinea, 2015, pp. 208.

Veronica Dal Buono, Comunicare l’Università, Firenze, Media MD, 2016, pp. 96.

Massimo Vignelli, Vignelli Canon.