Phase 1: fundamentals
The first part of the programme (semesters 1–3) focuses on creative and design fundamentals. You learn the basics of typography, photography, text and illustration. You gain practical technical skills and creative techniques for conception, projection and realisation. Theoretical groundwork in the design-relevant areas of science and technology round off the first semester: a wide basis that gives you the space to discover your own interests, develop your own strengths and try things out.
The conceptional aspects of design are increasingly underlined with each semester. This enables you to move seamlessly into the second phase.
Phase 2: project work and practical
The second part of the programme (semesters 4–7) centres on specific project work. The focus is on conception, development of ideas, clarification of content, and communication. You have a lot of flexibility here in your choice of creative means and media. You can take a wide focus on all areas of communication technologies, or you can specialise on particular areas, design tools or media. The second part of the programme includes courses in design theory and history, philosophy and an introduction to the legal and business aspects of communication design.
Courses, lectures and seminars are ongoing in semesters four to seven, so as to encourage the exchange of experience. The fifth semester is an internship (work experience).
Fundamentals: getting acquainted, trying out, practice
Basic knowledge in relevant subjects and design techniques gives you a solid footing. You try things out creatively (and playfully), and gain your own experience in the wide field of communication design.
There are required project modules to cover the fundamentals: typography, photography, drawing and text. These are supplemented by technical tutorials and mandatory lectures on design practice, history and theory.
Extended fundamentals: consolidation, supplementation, intensification
The canon of typography, photography and text is now extended by illustration, interactive media, moving image and spatial design. From this range you select two elective subjects. Typography remains a required subject. The mandatory theoretical lectures (on practice and the basics of design history and theory) continue.
Initial projects: getting serious …
Now you can apply the skills you learned in the first two semesters to design projects.
The third semester consists of three foundation projects: the one in the compulsory subject of graphic design is supplemented by two in photography, illustration, text, interactive media, moving image or spatial design. All three projects highlight the conceptual aspect. They are accompanied by the theoretical modules History and Theory of the Moving Image, Communication Theory and an elective general subject.
The design fundamentals are supplemented from semester three onward by technical courses. Here we teach you various design techniques: courses or workshops in scripting and programming, film/video, animation, digital editing, sound, studio and lab photography, and the software you need to master in modern communication design. Then there are practical courses in offset printing and book-binding. In the following semesters you will take four of these technical courses.
Projects: in medias res
In semester four you work on a focus project (Consolidation Project 1) and a design project (Project 1). For both these projects, courses are offered in the following areas: graphic design, photography, illustration, text, interactive media, moving image, spatial design. You chose projects from two different areas.
The mandatory module Practice/Agency Contact prepares you for your internship in the fifth semester. In the fourth semester you also choose the second of your four technical courses (see above, Semester 3). The basic theoretical modules are continued by the course Media Theory. You also take an elective general subject.
Practice: applying what you have learned
You don’t spend your fifth semester at college, as it is reserved for your 20-week internship. You can do this in design offices, advertising agencies, publishers, multimedia studios or, by agreement, in other companies engaged in design. Some students combine their internship with a semester abroad. However you spend it, during your internship you gain substantial experience of professional life and can develop a clear picture of design activity within your chosen sphere.
The internship is very carefully prepared and intensively evaluated. You benefit from the excellent connection of the FHWS to the advertising and media landscape and learn from students in their final semesters.
Still more projects!
Similarly to the fourth semester, in your sixth you work on a focus project (Consolidating Project 2) and a design project (Project 2). Here you chose from the following subjects: graphic design, photography, illustration, text, interactive media, moving image and spatial design. These are supplemented by the mandatory modules Philosophy and Design Management, along with another technical course, the third of four (see above, Semester 3).
The bachelor exam – and yet another project
In semester seven you work towards your examination. But you can also choose another focus project: Consolidating Project 3. Then there are the two mandatory courses Design Management and Theoretical and Scientific Methods, together with the last of the four technical courses.
The bachelor project is usually tackled in the seventh semester. You suggest the theme and your first and second examiners. You have several weeks preparation time, after which you present the result to a colloquium. On successful completion the Faculty of Design awards you the academic title of Bachelor of Arts (BA). Finished! Or … further studies towards an MA …