Communication Design Major - Bachelor of Design

Communication design focuses on developing and visually communicating ideas and messages.

Study communication design at AUT and examine historical and modern concepts of visual langage and design. You work on a diverse range of projects that respond to societal, environmental, design industry and commercially relevant issues.

Within this major you can focus on an area of communication design by selecting a specialised studio programme in your second year.


This is part of the Bachelor of Design.

Start date: 2020

You need to complete 120 points each year and 360 points for the entire degree. You study core papers each year that cover design solutions, critical thinking, research practices, user experience, creative processes, information management, prototyping, market/cultural/industry case studies.

Throughout the major you’re supported by lecturers and professional designers, as you work independently and collaboratively on speculative and real-life design projects.

All students are offered a choice of a minor in Semester 2.

List of minors

Year 1

You study the following papers

You also study one paper from your chosen minor.

Year 2

You study the following papers

You also study two papers from your chosen minor.

Year 3

You study the following papers

You also study one paper from your chosen minor.

More details about papers in this programme

Detailed programme structure and paper outlines (Blackboard)

Search for a paper (Arion)

Email artbox@aut.ac.nz

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all requirements and availability of papers.

In Year 2 you choose a specialised studio programme - a specific area of communication design you want to focus on. Some studio programmes may have a limited number of places.

Depending on your chosen studio programme, you study either at the City or South Campus.

South Campus studio programme

Communication Design

This unique inter-disciplinary studio-based programme gives you the opportunity to work across a range of visual communication practices including graphic design, advertising and branding, digital interactivity and moving image. Our students can work on real-life projects and engage in social awareness campaigns, explore personal and social narratives and work directly with communities to research and produce communication design solutions.

You'll work in designated design studio spaces, learning and using the latest technology, including augmented reality/virtual reality, smart phone applications and 360 degree photography. Project work includes social campaigns, information and environmental graphics, print publications, e-publishing, visual identity and brand development, digital animations, music videos and title sequencing.

City Campus studio programmes

Graphic Design, Advertising and Branding

Our advertising and branding students are known for their fresh creative minds and strong affinity for new media technologies.

You’re involved in idea generation, campaign design, strategy, social media marketing, identity and systems design. Employing design thinking methodologies and user experience research, you initiate projects and create solutions tailored for diverse markets and audiences.

Working across print and digital media processes, you develop individual projects underpinned by research practice including commercial contexts, social/environmental concerns and speculative design. Throughout your studies you develop robust and individual processes responsive to the craft of graphic communication and the world of visual culture.

Graphic Design and Image Making

In the age of the image, illustration, photography and handauthored, mechanical and digital media are at the centre of communication arts.

You become skilled in concept development, content generation, image making and type relationships to communicate messages and meaning. Working across print and digital media processes, you create individual projects underpinned by research practice, including commercial contexts, social/ environmental concerns and speculative design.

A range of publishing contexts guide your individual and professional practice, driven by a desire to connect with audiences to inform, persuade and entertain. You develop robust and individual processes responsive to the craft of graphic communication and the world of visual culture.

Design and strategy

  • Advertising and brand creative
  • Online and social media manager
  • Creative or account director

Image-making

  • Photographer and videographer
  • Content and narrative illustrator
  • Printmaking

Graphic design and typography

  • Communication or graphic designer
  • Publication design and magazine art director
  • Print and packaging designer
  • Information designer
Communication-design.jpg

Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Communication Design Careers

Key features
  • Covers a range of tools, technologies and materials for print, digital and interactive project work and media
  • Offered at the City and South Campus
  • Students entering the first year of the Communication Design and Interaction Design majors share a common first-year programme
See yourself as
  • A visualiser and brand aware
  • Interested in advertising and packaging
  • Having strong drawing skills and story-telling skills
Awhina Hinepare Shortcliffe
Aimée Preston
Finn Clark
Toni Clark
Siobhon Joe

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.