Academic Year 2016/17

School of Design

Degree Programme of:

Communication Design
Laurea (Equivalent To Bachelor Of Science)

Milano Campus

1. General Information

School School of Design
Code Reference Law1088
NameCommunication Design
Reference LawOrdinamento 270/04
Class of degreeL-4 - Industrial Design
Degree level Laurea (Equivalent To Bachelor Of Science)
First year of activation 2008/2009
Official length of the programme 3
Years of the programme already activated 1,2
Official language(s) Italian
Campus Milano
Dean of the School Luisa Maria Virginia Collina
Coordinator of the Study programme Valeria Luisa Bucchetti
Website of the School
Website of the Study programme

Student Office (Study programme) - Milano Bovisa
Reference office
Centro Orientamento Studenti Scuola del Design
Address Via Candiani 72, 20158 Milano
Phone 02 2399 7277

Central Student Office - Milano Bovisa

2. General presentation of the study programme

The significant development of the media, internet and digital communications systems, the increase in the services governing their production and management and in devices and the occasions for communicating and interacting - all this is making communication an increasing large and complex sector.

The communications and information sectors are characterised by generalised presence, in depth dissemination and strong and powerful framework. The communications and information industry is one of the driving forces in modern society. The artefacts and systems designed by communications designers are a constant and cross disciplinary presence.

Communications design is where culture meets publishing, where transport systems are computerised, where new methods of production and dissemination of data and information takes place. Communications design also operates where industrial products and services interact with users and - in perspective - with each other and their environment to favour conscious access and use, in large scale distribution where consumers meet goods, in the entertainment industry and sport, in the planning of the identity and dynamics of the great events and their dissemination on the various media.

Communications designers are cultural operators who make a contribution to relations between subjects in society which is always strictly connected to the contents which each information, persuasive or prescriptive type message is conveyed. Communications designers must take account of visual contamination, communications saturation and information overload phenomena, symptoms of a system in which technologies and apparatuses are in need of a direction, of choices, of planned trajectories.

“Communications designers” are at ease with all aspects of a communication project: publishing graphics, TV, audio-visual and multimedia publishing, co-ordinated corporate image and brand identity, product packaging and communication, script character design, web design, data and information visualisation, interactive communication artefact, service and complex communication system design such as social networks and joint platforms. All this takes place within a vision which sees communication as a fundamental strategic linchpin in contemporary society requiring design using specific tools and methods and an ability to work with the most modern visualisation and communication technologies.

In particular the specific skills of communications designers relate to integrated communications systems encompassing the two dimensional and three dimensional fields (static and dynamic), lettering, visual perception and variables, information sign, static and dynamic representation techniques (photography, graphic motion, movie design), designing communications products on analogue and - more and more frequently  - digital devices, off line and online (the Web and other internet platforms including mobile platforms).

The course catalogue encompasses a Laurea (equivalent to Bachelor of Science) course in Communications Design and a Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to Master of Science) in Communications Design. The laurea courses are designed for students with a solid cultural background, a great deal of interest in the subject of design culture in general and specifically in all aspects of communications and an openness to learning techniques, methods and languages in their most innovative forms.

3. Learning objectives

Note that the title of the Communication Design laurea (equivalent to Bachelor of Science) programme corresponds to one of the training profiles set out in the Class 4 degree description and that the course of study, as its title suggests, is designed to train professional designers working in the visual communication, graphics, multimedia and on-line interaction sectors.

The qualification does not overlap with the professional profiles encompassed by the Class 20 Laurea course category Communication Science which is designed to train professionals to work in analysis and critical understanding in the communications sector and professionals working in communication fields which are not strictly visual design linked.


The fundamental objectives of the course of study for Communication Design graduates are mastery of the cultural, scientific, methodological and technical tool elements which are the basis of artefact and communication systems design. The ability to take on the media system from the starting point of the world of communication users is of central importance with all the social, cultural , relationship, symbolic and perceptional elements which are so fundamental a part of the various forms of communication; the ability to interpret specific use contexts; the ability to translate analysis elements and the information content framework into new artefacts elaborating new communication formats, innovative format types both by applying analogue and digital communication technologies and by integrating the various systems and cross-media support solutions.


Communication designer training also requires mastery of the ability to visualise the design idea and the process in analytical form in its various creative and implementational phases: from the choice of design field to reference communication scenarios, elaboration of the concept, simulation and artefact implementation.

Abilities and skills relating to language and visual culture and the representation which is at the heart of suitable expressive processes are thus of fundamental importance.


As compared to the subsequent Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to Master of Science) programme the design focus of the Laurea course is aspects of technical project management and implementation with the aim of training graduates capable of interacting with project partners in the marketplace, including in the non-profit sphere, with an acquaintanceship with its language and skills and an awareness of evolutions in economic and productive systems and new open information and know-how exchange and dissemination methods.

The ability to monitor productive and implementational decisions relating to the technologies, media and devices which accompany design are thus of fundamental importance as is the ability to interpret these from the perspective of socio-economic sustainability.


The academic subjects on which the Laurea programme rests are:

  •        design culture studies (ICAR/13)

mastering and using the other subject fields studied in the form of ex cathedra lectures to design process ends - with laboratory type teaching methods.  In design this knowledge is used in the analysis phase (i.e. in the concept definition phase) to interpret problem solving in terms of design opportunities, limitations, potential, selection and priority hierarchies; for user-communication interaction analysis.

In relation to the information contents to be made use of: to analyse artefacts and artefact systems in their formal, structural, functional, type, morphological and interaction, etc. characteristics. In the design synthesis phase, by contrast, this knowledge is used for development-design ends involving an ability to:

-   translate communication demands into formats and artefacts;

-   define an artefact's components, technologies and assembly methods on the basis of the communication functions required;

-   link up product requisites with the communication system and its channels.

The goal of this core knowledge framework - on which a designer's education rests -

is to provide students with a method with which to take on a range of design themes on a medium design complexity scale by means of paradigmatic design experiences.

  •        humanities studies (SPS/08; M-PSI/01; ICAR/13)

which contribute to the analysis and interpretation of the social and cultural contexts of the products designed and the meaning systems which are created around communications artefacts in their aesthetic and cultural components. The humanities also contribute to integrating communication artefacts into culture and information production systems by means of socio-technical, anthropological and artefact value and sign interpretation tools as well as providing an understanding of the perceptional and communication qualities which characterise the product-user relationship.

The goal of this field of study is to supply students with methodologies and tools from semiotics for design and ethnographic, anthropological and sociological research applied to user analysis, contexts and uses.

  •        historical-critical studies (SSD ICAR/13, L-ART/03, L-ART/06; ICAR/18) which supply students with knowledge of evolutions in design culture and their links with evolutions in art, architecture, visual communication, design and fashion movements.

The educational objective of this study unit is to supply students with the ability to interpret design in its context of reference using historical study methods;

  •        visual culture and representation studies (SSD ICAR/13, ICAR/17, MAT/08) which analyse the use of language, tools and techniques related to morphological and functional representation of communication artefacts (drawing by hand to digital representation, photography to simulation and prototype model production); the ability to read and interpret visual languages; mastery of digital image production and manipulation techniques; knowledge of perceptional mechanisms, colour systems, etc.

The educational objective of this unit is to provide graduates with the ability to transfer analysis and design synthesis elements onto the visual plane.

  •        IT and communications studies (INF/01; ING-INF/05) providing in-depth study into the basics of IT system functioning and hardware and software skills as well as the languages on which multi-media and interactive graphic design are based.
  •        corporate economics and financial feasibility studies for design (SECS-P/13; ICAR/22; ICAR/13): in-depth study of economic systems, the corporate context, the market and problems relating to marketing; financial feasibility analysis techniques for communication products. Students are also taught the ability to interpret the fundamental features of companies which impact on design strategies.

The objective of this unit is to make students aware of economic decision making processes and the elements which characterise company coherence in design lead innovation processes.


The resulting professional is a 'design technician' with all the skills required to perform the multiplicity of technical-design tasks at the highest level at the creation, design, development and implementation phases leading to the production of product series and their distribution and dissemination in the media system.

Within this course of study specific subject areas can be studied in greater depth such as cutting edge developments for professional design development or strategic sectors for the development of the Italian and global economies.

4. Organization of the study programme and further studies

4.1 Structure of the study programme and Qualifications

Design Studies courses provide theoretical, academic and professional training for designers, i.e. professionals with know-how and skills relating to industrial product design, production and promotion. At the School of Design the term industrial product does not simply mean a concrete product such as a car, furniture item, object, garment or accessory but rather all communication and 'meaning' building elements relating to products such as graphics and brand design rather than websites or fashion cat walks.

This study sphere responds to training demands from the consumer product industry, local government, communication, interior and installation design companies and studios as well as the retail and distribution sectors for these products.

The courses of study offered are structured into two different laurea, the so-called 3+2 formula, the level I laurea and the Laurea Magistrale, a further two years of study.

The Laurea trains design technicians, i.e. graduates capable of playing a supporting role in all technical and design activities from the creation stage right through to production and distribution on the market with different characteristics for each laurea course.

The Laurea Magistrale trains graduates capable of managing design activities and identifying strategic ends. These professionals are capable of co-ordinating complex project activities aimed at creating structured and differentiated product systems in accordance with brand identity and market dissemination strategies.

These two programmes of study are supplemented by a wealth of level I university master courses which students can access with a three year laurea, and level II masters which students can access with a Laurea Magistrale. Lastly on completion of a level II laurea students can move on to Design Department PHDs, a qualification which is much sought after in the design researcher training context.

Level I Laurea


Level II continued study laurea

Product design

Product Design for Innovation

Communication Design


Communication Design

Fashion Design


Design for the Fashion System

Interior Design


Interior Design

Product design

 Design & Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Material and Nanotechnology Engineering


Product Design/Communication

Design/Interior Design/Fashion Design


Product Service System Design


Interior Design/ Product Design (Product)


Yacht & cruising vessel design- La Spezia campus

4.2 Further Studies

The qualification enables students to access Laurea Magistrale, Level I Specialisation Courses and Level I University Master's courses.

The Laurea Magistrale course which corresponds to the Laurea in Communication Design is the Laurea Magistrale in Communication Design. Students can also access the International Laurea Magistrale in Product Service System Design without supplementary studies.


5. Professional opportunities and work market

5.1 Professional status of the degree

In the communication area, profiles graduating from the Bachelor of Science are defined project Technicians and have a specialisation in operational communication projects via the management of the main IT and methodological tools for representation of graphic projects. Such profiles find positions in companies or institutions
with a strong vocation in corporate image or Internet presence with e-commerce; they find ample opportunities in multimedia and traditional publishing markets, in advertising and communication agencies, in IT consultancy companies, in cultural, museum and cultural heritage promotion/services institutions.

5.2 Careers options and profiles

This course of study responds to training demands from the communication artefact industry and its corollaries, graphics and multi-media communications studios and product distribution and retailing systems for all aspects relating to product communication.

Communication Design Graduates form part of professional systems taking on implementation roles, working in teams, interpreting and implementing design requirements and translating them into appropriate financial, ergonomic, manufacturing, representation and modelling forms for production. They also have the skills required to assist in the research and concept creation phase on the basis of the ability to interpret user needs and the social and consumer dynamics, formal languages, technologies and media channels best suited to design requirements. Graduates have communication design implementation skills via management of the main IT tools and graphic representation methodologies.

They can work as designers in the traditional and multi-media, on and off line publishing spheres, visual multimedia tool and product design, branding and advertising initiatives, product, institution, service and corporate promotional communication and lastly in the graphic and signing interface design field. Possible career outcomes - in addition to communications agencies - are IT consultancy companies and cultural, museum and cultural heritage institutions to say nothing of the growing potential for independent entrepreneurial freelance careers or setting up new businesses.


Surveys of University Assessment Commission

6. Enrolment

6.1 Access requirements

Italian secondary school leaving qualification or other comparable foreign qualification (level 4 EQF)

6.2 Requested knowledge

Adequate initial education is required and this is assessed by means of an entrance test.

Detailed information relating to admission and enrolment is available on the  Guidance and Counselling Office site 06

The educational offer at the Politecnico di Milano

6.3 Deadlines for admission and number of places available

There are 150 places (of which 5 are reserved for non EU students including 2 Chinese students on the “Marco Polo” project).

How to become a student at Politecnico di Milano

6.4 Tutoring and students support

The School has supplemented its information and guidance services for future students with the purpose of providing information on the teaching and educational contents of its programmes of study and clarifying future students educational objectives and potential career openings.

For students who are already enrolled at the School guidance activities designed to:

-   help students remove any obstacles to their attendance and learning with initiatives tailored to individual student needs, attitudes and requirements;

-  encourage a more active participation by students in the educational process.

A reference teacher/tutor has been selected for each study programme and he or she is the official reference point for any School guidance. The service is programme of study specific and deals in particular with:

-   support services for students who require help in solving problems or clarifying concepts;

-   approval and publishing texts relating to the presentation of laurea courses it represents;

-  identification of student projects from each specific laurea course to be used as guidance tools at Open Days and on the School's official communication channels.


7. Contents of the study Program

7.1 Programme requirements

Students graduate on completion of 180 study credits. Graduates from the Interior Design Laurea course must have a solid grounding in design subject matter on both its methodological and technical-operational elements. Specifically they must be acquainted with the tools, techniques and technologies of formal and functional interior design representation and its components (drawing by hand to digital representation, photography to three dimensional object and space modelling). They must also have mastered the basics of design with special attention to designing interior décor and installations and demonstrate an acquaintanceship with the ergonomic, functional, perceptional and environmental well-being factors which characterise the producer-user and object of use-architectural space relationship. The course also requires students to acquire scientific-technological skills specific to the engineering science and architecture technology sectors (materials, lighting, working and process technologies) and theoretical-critical knowledge (a knowledge of the history of décor product design, interior architecture in its socio-historical evolution, anthropology of private and public spaces, semiotics, aesthetics, etc.).

7.2 Mode of study

The programme is full time. It uses a number of educational methods: the single subject courses contain theoretical contents which are taught by means of ex cathedra lessons and assessed with tests and interviews throughout the year. Integrated courses involve more than one discipline or specific sphere and they are sometimes entrusted to two members of the teaching staff who integrate their contributions. The Design Studio offer students the opportunity to experiment and use the tools, technologies and equipment useful for the project. The Design Studio involve project work by students under the guidance of a teaching staff team each of whom offer their own subject matter as applied to the project theme. The Workshops are full time courses lasting a week in which students develop a project under the guidance of a well regarded professional or a company.

The Erasmus Programme and the other international mobility programmes are an opportunity for students to spend a study semester abroad at qualified European universities.

Internships take place at an internship workshop together with a company, body or foreign school.

7.3 Detailed learning objectives

Students' ability to choose the courses and credits to be incorporated into their study plans is subordinate to a series of rules imposed by the School which makes available an educational programme worth 60 credits for each year of the course (“nominal courses”).

Each year students can choose courses for a different number of credits than that specified by the nominal courses (60 ECTS per year) to graduate their study programmes according to their needs.

The minimum number of credits a student can enrol on is 30 unless the number of credits needed for course completion are fewer than this.

The maximum number of credits a student can enrol on is 80, respecting exam priorities.

The current framework of the study plan requires the course exam sequence to be respected as shown in the regulations.

Courses designed for later years of the programme cannot be inserted into an earlier year study plan (“advance study”) unless all previous and current year courses have also been integrated into it.

The School has also implemented an exam priority sequence on the basis of which certain courses can only be enrolled on if other, introductory courses have already been passed. Students may actually be able to enrol on fewer credits than is nominally the case as a result of this rule.

The System Regulations require a series of educational activities (specialist, elective or supplementary) which are present in the course of study in the form of single subject and integrated courses and Design Studio in which the two-year Laurea's educational content is conveyed.

In addition to these types of educational activities the System Regulations also require that a specific number of credits are attributed to types of activity which can be categorised as follows:

-  educational activities chosen independently by students (Optional courses);

-  educational activities relating to preparation for the final exams required for the qualification to be awarded and foreign language assessment (Final exam and Language);

-   activities designed to enable students to gain additional language skills, IT, telematic and relational skills which will help them in finding employment as well as educational activities designed to facilitate professional choices by giving students direct experience of working in the sector which the qualification can gain them access to including, in particular, educational work experience and guidance (Internships).

From the 2015/16 academic year onwards the course of study was modified by an amendment to the educational regulations. This means that 3rd year modules cannot be studied in advance by those enrolling in 2015/16.

1 Year courses - Track: C1 - C2 - C3 - Design della comunicazione

Code Educational activities SSD Course Title Language Sem CFU CFU Group

2 Year courses - Track: C1 - C2 - C3 - Design della comunicazione 1

Code Educational activities SSD Course Title Language Sem CFU CFU Group

7.4 Foreign language

Foreign language assessment will be carried out in accordance with the university's methods as set out on the “Student Services/Guides and Regulations/Guide to the English Language” web page

Students are encouraged to read this document carefully and respect the norms set out in it.

Specifically, note that: "Pursuant to Ministerial Decree 270/04 the Politecnico di Milano has adopted the English language as the European Union language which students must speak in addition to Italian".

Language courses

7.5 Degree examination

The final examination usually takes the form of  a dissertation by the candidate whose objective is to assess the student's design synthesis abilities and achievement of the course's educational standards.

Consult the Laurea exam regulations for further details.

Information concerning general rules and regulations, session calendars, registration and consignment of theses is available at

8. Academic calendar

The Laurea course calendar is drawn up in accordance with study assessment methods which, for the Design School's Laurea programmes involve “in-course” assessments during semesters. The academic year is made up of two semesters each of which consists of a teaching session with in-course assessment and learning assessment sessions (exam sessions). The teaching sessions of each semester are made up of two periods of lessons, practice and laboratory work each followed by a week's break to enable staff to carry out an overall assessment of in-course work and, at the end of the semester, by two weeks of learning assessment (exam sessions).

Academic calendar

9. Faculty

The names of the Programme of Study teachers and what they teach will be made available on the degree programme from September onwards.

The Degree Programme is published each year on the Politecnico di Milano's website.

The names of the teaching staff who will be teaching on the programme with their CVs are published on the university site by year and study programme.

10. Infrastructures and laboratories

Design Laboratories

The creation of large scale laboratories supporting design education is coherent with the Politecnico di Milano School of Design's tradition of experimentation, its inductive teaching model, in which 'knowledge' and 'know-how' are mutually supportive.

The purpose of these laboratories is the practice of activities which allow students to verify their design hypotheses and learn how to use the technical tools required for experimentation, representation and design communication.

The laboratories managed by the Design Department occupy an approximately 10,000 square metre space in the Milan Bovisa campus.

The Politeca, an integrated documentation system for design research, is an integral part of the laboratories.

For details on the laboratories

11. International context

Building an international dimension for the School of Design has been one of its priority objectives since it was founded in the year 2000.

There are many reasons for this: the nature of design which inherently draws its very lifeblood from its multicultural and multi-local character, its proximity to both the world of manufacturing - which has now taken on a global dimension - and the sphere of consumption whose dynamics and tendencies are visible in a range of local specific contexts; the very DNA of the design community which has always been international; Milan's acknowledged status as design capital, a crucible for designers from all over the world who have come here to study or open a studio; the desire to make educational trajectories increasingly permeable to impulses deriving from this stimulating context as in other dynamic foreign contexts. For the School of Design internationalisation has a two-fold meaning: supporting student (and teaching and technical staff) mobility outwards and the opposite, attracting students, researchers, professors and visiting professors into the Politecnico from abroad.

In relation to these two internalisation channels (dealt with separately, the first in this chapter and the second in the subsequent chapter) the School of Design has committed itself in recent years to enlarging its international contact network and it now works with 300 design universities the world over in Erasmus exchange programmes (with 150 European universities), bilateral exchange projects (with 70 non European universities), joint workshops with other schools, international internships and so on.

To these should be added more highly structured activities which aim to consolidate partnership relationships in the educational and research fields with a number of selected universities. This is the case of the MEDes_Master of European Design training for excellence programme (with 7 university partners) in addition to the many international research programmes under way.

The School of Design is a member of Cumulus, a network of Interntaional  design schools, and of the main international design associations. Like the city which hosts it - Milan is a veritable international design laboratory - the Politecnico's School of Design aims to be a meeting place between different cultures, between education, industry and the professions, in which professors, entrepreneurs and celebrated designers from all over the world take an active part in the students' educational experience.

12. Internationalization

International exchanges

The School of Design takes part in international student exchange programmes which offer students the opportunity to go abroad for a period of study at one of the Politecnico's partneruniversities. A list of the School's partner universities is available on the Politecnico's website and on the School of Design website in the Internationalisation Area.


The Erasmus Programme

The Erasmus programme was set up in 1987 by the European Community to give students the chance to carry out a period of study at a foreign university within the European Union from 3 to 12 months legally recognised by their own university, at Bachelor or Master level.

In 2014 the European Union's Erasmus+ programme was set up for education, training, youth and sport in the 2014-2020 period.

Specifically Erasmus for study enables university students to carry out a period of study at a university with a partnership agreement with their own university. This mobility can entitle students to a grant (under the conditions set out in the international mobility tender) and free registration at the host university. Students can thus follow courses and take exams at the partner university and have the exams recognised at their own universities.

Bilateral exchanges

The School of Design has also activated a number of bilateral agreements with non EU universities. These are mainly intended for the use of Laurea Magistrale students and can also be applied for by those who have already carried out an Erasmus period abroad during their three year study course.

The procedures for admission to such exchanges are the same as those for Erasmus exchanges with the exception of the study scholarship which is not guaranteed in such cases.

The bilateral agreement, in fact, enables students to attend a period of study abroad at a partner university without incurring registration fees at such universities. In some cases, however, a management fee for exchange students is payable (e.g. Orientation fee).


Master of European Design (MEDes)

In the 2002/2003 academic year a specific 5 year programme was set up at the School of Design.

This international study programme, promoted and designed by the school together with a further five prestigious European design universities and formalised in an agreement signed by all university partners, entitles students to an additional qualification on top of the Laurea Magistrale granted by the Politecnico di Milano. Students can graduate only from their own universities.

In addition to the Politecnico di Milano the universities taking part in this programme are:


The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland

Konstfack University College of Arts, Stockholm, Sweden

Ensci Les Ateliers, Paris, France

KISD - Köln International School of Design, Cologne, Germany

Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal


5 students are selected for this programme of excellence from all those enrolled on the 2nd year of the Laurea programmes in Industrial Product Design, Interior Design and Communication Design.

Candidates for the MEDes programme carry out two study periods at two partner universities:

Information on exchange programmes, double degree projects and international internships, European research and international relations projects are available at

13. Quantitative data

The University Assessment Commission performs periodic analysis on the overall results and on the quality of teaching degree programs, by monitoring teaching activities and the integration of graduates into the job market. Reports and studies are available on the website of the Politecnico di Milano.

14. Further information

For any other information the students are invited to visit the School website, in particular the teaching regulations of the academic rules.

15. Errata corrige