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Versione italiana
Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

It is expected that students acquire:

– basic knowledge in the history of design and graphic design;
– an understanding of modern and contemporary design culture;
– a critical understanding of the past and current issues regarding design’s social, cultural, economic and political role;
– an ability to contextualise design artefacts and phenomena in the framework of cultural, economic and social developments;


No prerequisites.

Course programme

The course aims to introduce students to the main historical developments of international design and graphic design, from the nineteenth century to the new millennium.
Relevant features and figures in this story, as well as their diverse approaches to design, will be addressed. The crucial stages of the discourse and debates that have accompanied the cultural, technological, economic development of industrial design and graphic design – from the emergence and affirmation of the role of designers to the subsequent crisis and redefinition of that role – will be also discussed.
Seminars and group discussion will be held during which students will learn and use concepts relevant to the contextualization and interpretation of various types of design artifacts and phenomena.

Didactic methods

Lecturing, seminars and group discussion, visits.

Learning assessment procedures

The exam consists of a written, intermediate, test and a final oral examination.

Not attending students should contact the professor in order to receive an individual reading list in view of the final examination.

Reference texts

Required readings:

– Renato De Fusco, “Storia del design”, Bari: Laterza, 1985 (e edizioni successive).
– Tomás Maldonado, “Disegno industriale: un riesame”, Feltrinelli, Milano 1999 (I ed. 1976).
– Carlo Vinti, “Grafica italiana dal 1945 a oggi”, Art&Dossier, 2016.

Complementary readings on design:
– John Heskett, “Design: A Very Short Introduction”, Oxford: OUP, 2002.
– Alice Rawsthorn, “Hello World: When Design meets Life”, London: Penguin, 2013.

Complementary readings on design in Italy:
– Alberto Bassi, “Design anonimo in Italia”, Milano: Electa, 2007 (o successiva).
– Vittorio Gregotti, “Il disegno del prodotto industriale: Italia 1860-1980”, Milano: Electa, 1986 (o edizione successiva).
– Raimonda Riccini, “Pensare la tecnica, progettare le cose: Storie dal design italiano 1945-1980”, Bologna: Archetipolibri, 2012.

Supplemental readings will be provided during the semester.

Not attending students should contact the professor in order to receive an individual reading list in view of the final examination.