Graphic Design

Bachelor and master Visual Arts > Graphic design

The degree program of Graphic Design is based on four core disciplines, each having its own studio: Graphics, Illustration, Graphic Design and New Media. From BA2 onwards students compose their own roster with ‘practice’ course units from one or more of these workshops: ‘Publication’, ‘Visual Identity’, ‘Typography’, ‘Artist Book’, ‘Art and Reproduction’, ‘Art and Mass media’, ‘Interface Design’, ‘Data Visualization and Infograhics’, ‘Illustration’, ‘Comics and Graphic Novel’, Illustrative Design’.

A multifaced practice

The degree program Graphic Design is the working area of graphic artists, designers and illustrators. It includes a workplace that is not only rooted historically, but that is also currently very diverse and interdisciplinary. The boom of graphic design coincides with the rise of the modern culture of the image. Ever since the invention of printing, and as a result of the massive expansion of communication media and the culture of the image of the 18th and 19th century, artists have systematically interfered in printed media. Books, editions, illustrated novels, the journal, periodics, visual journalism… became the playground of graphic artists, graphic designers and illustrators. This led to a complex environment of various graphic practices that had a huge influence on the development and outcome of our current massified culture of the image. They are entangled in non-artistic streams of image, data and information production. Graphic practices have a central role in the everyday visual communication: in the visual communication strategies of companies and organizations, in the graphic communication of public space, in packaging design, in the visualization of data, in the development of interfaces for online communication… The digital revolution gave the culture of the image a whole new élan. The influence of interactive media can hardly be underestimated these days. In this digital visual culture and in the interactive media of media designers old and new graphic methods determine the image, and illustrators are constantly searching for innovation. It is hard to still separate illustration, graphics, media design and graphic design from one another. As a result of interdisciplinary evolutions the practice of the graphic artist is multifaceted.

A broad basis

The degree program is based on four core disciplines, each having their own workshop: Graphic Design, Illustration, New (graphic) Media and Graphics. In BA1 the student is initiated in each of these four practices with their own peculiar methods and artistic processes. It is essential for the development of the graphic designer or graphic artist to gather insight in the technical aspects, the contexts and the artistic issues of these disciplines. It allows him to either develop himself as an interdisciplinary graphic designer, or to make a well-informed decision to specialize in one of the many aspects of the immensely diversified field of graphic design. Experimenting with the various possibilities of graphic media will allow the student to discover his or her own strenghts and preferences.

Specialization and personal image building

Aside from a further exploration of the four disciplines, BA2 and BA3 focus on the development of a personal artistic profile in the context of interdisciplinary graphic complexities. The student is given the possibilities to further immerse himself in one of the aspects or domains of the actual graphic spectrum and to turn his knowledge and skills into a concrete artistic perspective in one of the respective practices. He or she composes a personal package of course units, to be chosen from the following list: ‘Publication’, ‘Visual Identity’, ‘Typography’, ‘Artist Book’, ‘Art and Reproduction’, ‘Art and Mass media’, ‘Interface Design’, ‘Data Visualization and Infograhics’, ‘Illustration’, ‘Comics and Graphic Novel’, Illustrative Design’. Divided into smaller groups, students will be initiated into the possibilities that the specific domains have to offer, while further working and reflecting within the context of these separate course units. This way of working garanties an active environment in which the changing groups that have chosen different options still work together: illustrators, media designers and graphic designers can inspire each other and learn to work together. This reflects the professional reality in which collaborations are legion. Illustrators and designers make books together, they develop style guides and communication projects, graphic designers and interactive designers collaborate on interactive web projects, they create digital periodic publications in which other specialists have a hand as well, etc. Within this multiform whole, the student develops his own practice from a deliberately chosen orientation. Moreover, it gives him the opportunity to see his own practice from different angles, which again makes for a more thorough and innovative research.

Master Graphic Design

During the Master year, the student is given even more space to develop his own graphic practice. The MA program supports and stimulates the student to independently create and organize his or her own projects. The student decides which mentors will give him the necessary feedback. Theoretical stimuli are provided through a range of specialist Master seminars he or she can choose from. Frequent meetings and contact with the other MA students guarantee an open and fresh vision regarding the work process. Both exploration and the input of the artistic practice in the Master happens explicitly in relation to the professional field of activity. The student is expected to actively participate in design companies, editors of papers and periodicals, in art printing studios, as artist assistants, in museums and the cultural environment in general. The Master degree results in a completed Master project that will be professionally evaluated by lecturers and specialists that are actively involved in the field.