The bachelor’s programme in visual arts, graphic design is built around Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration, each with their own studios. Together, these three disciplines represent all the practices that make up the arts of graphic design. In the master’s programme, the distinction between them disappears.
The graphic design department is the working terrain of printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators. It encompasses a field that is historically, and certainly today, very diverse and interdisciplinary. The blossoming of the graphic arts is linked to the emergence of modern visual culture. Since the creation of the art of printing, and as a result of the massive expansion of communications media and visual culture in the 18th and 19th centuries, artists have systematically involved themselves with printed media. The book, pamphlets, the illustrated novel, the daily newspaper, periodical publications and visual journalism became the playing field of printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators. A complex set of graphic practices came into being which determine the appearance and development of our current mass visual culture. They are interwoven with non-artistic flows of images, data and information production. In daily visual communication, graphic practices play a central role: in the visual communication strategies of companies and institutions, in graphic communications in public spaces, in packaging design, the visualization of data, the development of interfaces for online communication and so on. The digital revolution gave a totally new impetus to visual culture, and in the meantime, the influence of interactive media can hardly be underestimated. In this digital visual culture, as illustrators are hard at work and in the interactive world of media designers, old and new graphic practices determine the greater image. Illustration, printmaking, graphic design and media design cannot be seen in isolation from one another. As a result of these interdisciplinary evolutions, the practice of the printmaker, illustrator, graphic or media designer has many faces.
The graphic design trajectory is based on the three basic disciplines of Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration, each with its own studio. In the first bachelor year, students are initiated into each of these three practices, each one with its own design methods and artistic working processes. Insight into the technical aspects, contexts and artistic problems of these disciplines is essential for any budding graphic designer or artist. It allows them to develop as an interdisciplinary artist or designer. It gives them the knowledge to make informed choices when delving into a partial aspect of this large and highly diversified field. By experimenting with the possibilities of the various graphic media, students discover their own strengths and preferences.
Beginning with the second bachelor year, students select one of the three disciplines of printmaking, graphic design or illustration. This means that they learn to investigate the specific technical aspects, the contexts and the artistic and/or design problems involved with their chosen discipline in a specialized way, and to employ them in their individual practice. There is moreover a strong focus on cooperation across disciplines. The hybrid and interdisciplinary character that typify this field do not just require insight into the totality of the field, but also the need to work together across the specialties of all three disciplines.
For this reason, the Graphic Design programme provides working studios for each discipline (Printmaking II and III, Graphic Design II and III, and Illustration II and III), each of which reaches more deeply into the characteristics of the practices associated with each of the three disciplines.
On the other hand, Project Workshops I and II rely on intensive cooperation. This responds to the realities of the workplace, where active collaborations are legion. Illustrators and designers together create books, corporate identities and communications projects. Graphic and interactive designers work together on interactive web projects. Graphic designers develop digital periodical publications in which interactive artists and designers all have a hand, and so on. The setting of the project studios offers students the opportunity to view and develop their individual practices as illustrators, printmakers or graphic designers, separate from other contexts. This encourages more thorough and innovative investigation.
In the graduate programme, master students are given even more space to develop their own practices. The programme supports and stimulates the independent development and coordination of students’ own projects. They choose which mentors to serve as their sounding board. Theoretical stimuli are offered in specialized master seminars, also of the student’s own choice. Frequent consultation and contact with all the other master graphic design students guarantees an open, fresh view on each student’s own working process. Testing and nurturing students’ own artistic practice also takes place in relation to the working field. Graduate students are expected to actively participate in professional design studios and agencies, newspaper and weekly publishers, art print studios, as assistants to artists, in museums and/or the cultural field as a whole. The master programme culminates in a finished master project that is assessed by teachers and specialists in the field.
Filip De Baudringhien
Stéphane De Schrevel
Jan Van der Veken
Stijn Van Rossem
SEP 10 2022, 09:30-12:30
If you want to enrol for an academic Bachelor of Visual Arts, you first have to pass an artistic admission test. To enter the master’s programme, you take part in an orientation test. These are organised several times per academic year.
Do you have a question? Contact the student’s office.