Course Description

An in-depth introduction to communication design theory, this course examines theoretical perspectives of design practice within the larger discourse of design and visual culture. Communication models, the nature of representation, the dimensions of context and semiotics are explored through critical readings in key documents from the early decades of the twentieth century to the present. This course is Writing Intensive (WI).

Learning Outcomes

Through hands-on experiments, collaborative learning, and individual projects, students will demonstrate:

  • Develop a historical appreciation of communication design including designers, technologies, media, and processes, and creative expression, challenges, effects and significance.
  • Acquire an understanding of different forms, traditions, processes and styles of communication design in different national and international contexts.
  • Demonstrate an ability to think critically, to distinguish between fact and opinion, in the analysis of different kinds of design.
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate critical and historical materials for the study of design and to construct a coherent and substantiated argument, written in clear and correct prose.
  • Develop communication skills and demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on the learning process.


The following syllabus presents the college approved course requirements, learning outcomes, suggested weekly course outline, etc. Your students should meet the defined learning outcomes and COMD Standards, but please adapt the weekly outline, project guidelines, and grading scheme, as needed.

Model Course

If available, a cloneable model course contains learning outcomes, suggested weekly topics and projects, video resources, quizzes, and more.

Course Coordination


Name: Jenna Spevack

Title: Professor Communication Design


Office: N1127



Course Resources

This course utilizes the following Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or zero cost resources:

BFA Resources

Please review and share the following resources with your BFA students.

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