Theory of Design and Communication

Academic year
Subject Area
Audio-visuals and media production
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

No recommended prerequesites.

Teaching Methods

The cognitive method of learning is valued through: • Theoretical classes supported by case study classes, encouraging the active participation of students; • Presentation and discussion classes of reference Design projects, as well as bibliography; • Practical exercises development classes aimed at solving real problems in a simulated context; • Articulation between theory and practice - theoretical knowledge through exercise; • Presentation, evaluation and collective discussion of the practical exercises developed as a moment of learning.

Learning Outcomes

In this course Design is understood as a discipline that proposes communication solutions. By exploring their thinking, writing, drawing, speaking and design skills, students acquire the tools to respond to audiovisual communication problems. In this context, students are expected to: • Know the basic fundamentals of two-dimensional design applied to static (eg paper) and dynamic (eg ecran) substrates; • Understand the structure and hierarchy of audiovisual communication; • Be able to interpret the role of images and sound in communication; • Understand universal concepts of Design in line with the anthropological understanding of the discipline; • Develop the understanding of Design as a cultural and configurative activity; • Develop the Designer's understanding as a communicator; • Be able to explore the relationship between digital editing software and visual thinking.

Work Placement(s)



1. Introduction to the Design process - research methodologies and practical exercises; 2. Contexts and organization of professional practice; 3. Basic fundamentals of two-dimensional Design (dot, line, color, texture, grid, among others); 4. Theory of signs based on principles of Semiotics and Gestalt applied to audiovisual communication; 5. The role of images and sound in communication; 6. Structure and visual hierarchy of verbal messages; 7. Interpretation of text, image and sound; 8. Copyright in Design - notions of reference, citation, parody, plagiarism, open source licenses, among others; 9. Presentation and communication of the Design project; 10. Evaluation of the design project.

Head Lecturer(s)

Ana Madalena de Sousa Vasconcelos Matos Boavida

Assessment Methods

Other: 25.0%
Project: 75.0%


Lupton, Ellen & Phillips, Jennifer Cole (2009). Novos Fundamentos do Design. São Paulo, Cosac Naify.

Allen, Brooke (2007). This Mean This, This Means That – A User's Guide to Semiotics. London, Laurence King Publishing.

Vossoughian, Nader (2011). Otto Neurath – The Language of the Global Polis. Rotterdam, NAi Publishers. Kramper, Martin et al (2007). The World of Signs – Communication by Pictographs. Ludwigsburg, AVEdition. Kuwayama, Yasaburo (1989). Trademarks & Symbols of the World – Volume Three – Pictogram & Sign Design. Tokyo, Kashiwashobo.

Shaughnessy, Adrian (2005). How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul. London, Laurence King Publishing.

Shaughnessy, Adrian (2009). Graphic Design – A users guide. London, Laurence King Publishing.

Heller, Steven & Vienne, Veronique (2003). Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsability. New York, Allworth Press.

Hollis, Richard (2012). Writings About Graphic Design. Berlin, Occasional Papers.