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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The Communication Design Laboratory proposes an educational programme aimed to develop students’ acquisition of theoretical knowledge, methods and instruments required to design communication artefacts.

The course introduces students to the basics of graphic design, visual perception and publishing (typography, printing, composition, ...) with the objective of developing strategies and solutions that give form to printed work and products.

The programme has a clearly defined structure, however it is flexible and open to any variations and 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 – is the first design experience carried out by the newly enrolled students of the course and does not require specific prerequisites, such as software proficiency, but it 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

The students of the Course will be trained for todays' communications need through both theory and practice. The 2019-2020 Course programme will develop projects around the topic of books and magazines that will be at the basis of the students’ final examination projects.
Students are encouraged to develop their creativity in relation to the intrinsic properties of individual crafts – material (products) and immaterial (contents) – and in terms of the relations that can be established between products and public.

Didactic methods

The course includes a series of theory lessons 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 role of the final exam is to verify the level of achievement of the previously mentionded training objectives.
These objectives are pursued, with increasing complexity, through the succession of three sequential phases:
- the first and second phases concern the learning of conceptual and instrumental methods together to the production of project drawings;
- the third phase concerns the exposition-discussion of the achieved results.

First phase
Students will deal with low complexity practical-analytical exercises to be carried out in the classrooms, under the supervision of the teachers who will give theoretical and instrumental lessons on the topics of typography, graphic design, editorial publications and merchandising, too.
Each exercise is evaluated in thirtieths and it will contibuite to establish the average of the various exercises carried out in the first phase of the course; the average will affect 30% on the final evaluation.

Second phase
During the advanced phase of the didactic calendar, students will carry out the project of communication design concerning to the theme of the Course: for the A.A. 2018-2019 the experience is focused on “Image and identity: a merchandising project for University”. The work will be mainly performed in the classroom in groups and carried out in the form of co-design (through sharing, integration and transfer among the members of the group) .
The project consists in the development of the assigned theme whose results will be delivered through a series of artefacts (in two-dimensional and / or prototyped print - in three-dimensions - 1:1 scale) based on the briefing requests explained by the teachers.
The projects - constantly shared with the teachers - will evolve along the timetable of the official calendar of the course, to which are added final moments before the exam.

Third phase
The exam is held through the discussion of the works at the ground floor of Palazzo Tassoni Estense.
The groups will present their projects by illustrating the thematic research and the initial analysis, the general concept, the choice of communication elements (font, iconography, colors, proportions, composition).
The evaluation will take into account the originality, consistency and precision of the project and the presentation will highlight the level of linguistic-conceptual acquisition on Communication design resulting from the study of the reference literature of the Course suggested by the teaching staff.

The evaluation of the works concerning the project of “Image and identity: a merchandising project for University” will affect 70% on the final evaluation.
Furthermore, teachers will take into account attendance and participation during lessons and they may assign different votes to the individual members of the group.

Reference texts

Reference texts

Massimo Vignelli, Peter Laundry, Graphic Design for Non-Profit Organization, New York, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1980, pp. 48.

Gavin Ambrose, Paul Harris, Il manuale del graphic design. Progettazione e produzione, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2009, pp. 191.
Franco Achilli, Fare grafica editoriale, Firenze, Editrice Bibliografica, 2018, 175.

Veronica Dal Buono, Comunicare l’Università. Tra ricerca e didattica, Ferrara, Media MD, 2016, pp. 96.