Communication Design - Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design

Study communication design and you’ll learn to apply graphic design and digital skills, design thinking and strategy to create typographic and visual meaning in graphic and interaction design, branding, illustration, photography, advertising, motion graphics and art direction.

Communication design focuses on generating content and visually communicating ideas, messages and meaning to respond to societal, environmental and commercially relevant themes and issues.

You’ll work in open studios and computer labs with industry standard software, and have access to a printmaking lab, risograph, photographic studio and book bindery.

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This is part of the Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design.

Start date: 2023

Throughout the major you’re supported by lecturers and professional designers, as you work independently and collaboratively on graphic design and communication design projects.

If you're a full-time student, you normally complete 120 points each year (360 points for the entire degree).

Year 1

You’ll study core courses that introduce you to design principles, research methods, critical thinking, creative processes and design prototyping.

In the first semester, you’ll focus on media experimentation, use type and image to exploit graphic design conventions, and communicate ideas. In the second semester, you’ll explore design systems, industry case studies, information and content management to prototype and communicate messages to an audience.

Courses you study this year

You’ll also take two courses from your chosen minor(s) or an additional major.

Year 2 & 3

You’ll work on studio projects and workshops where you will:

  • Explore design systems and branding, including marketing channels, campaign strategy and visual identity
  • Engage with core analogue image-making, digital tools and applications, and communication strategies
  • Focus on typography, illustration, drawing, moving image and opportunities to explore image-making and narrative structures
  • Work on projects with social impact, and partner with creative studios, design researchers, designers and other industry stakeholders
  • Apply industry standard lens-based image-making processes and technologies, professional workflow, and market-level management and communication systems
  • Develop a portfolio

Year 2 courses

Year 3 courses

You’ll also continue with your minor or additional major courses.

More details about courses in this programme

Search for a course (Arion)

Email artbox@aut.ac.nz

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

You can study the following minors when you are enrolled in AUT’s design or visual arts degree:

Explore the process and materiality of animated drawing as a means for ideation and creative expression.

The minor has a studio lab component where you'll examine different animated drawing practices, including life drawing, and produce short animated films, installations, motion graphics, comics, graphic novels and picture books.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Cinematic Arts

Discover the possibilities of filmmaking through analogue and digital cinematography, sound recording and audio design, editing and post-production, storytelling and industry workflow, to make a short narrative, experimental or documentary film.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Contemporary Pacific

Develop your creative practice drawing on contemporary and traditional Pacific concepts, contexts and material culture. Pacific concepts and stories are explored in relation to pattern, movement, and spatial systems.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Creative Entrepreneurship

Build your creative business confidence and capability by combining your creative strengths with business skills and understandings to transform your ideas and concepts for the future.

Courses are delivered over one semester and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the courses below, including a Level 7 course or both compulsory core courses ARDN502 and ARDN702, in addition to 30 points from DESN600, DESN601, MARS501, ENTR501 of which at least one course or 15 points must be at level 6.

Level 5 courses

*Subject to CUAP approval

Level 6 courses

Level 7 course

Design for Health

Tomorrow's health and wellbeing will be driven by those who can apply creative and practical problem-solving skills to complex problems. This minor offers a fresh perspective through collaborative and cooperative tools, skills and mindsets. You'll design for positive social impact and lead transformative change in health and wellbeing.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Design for Social and Environmental Justice

Discover how design can make a difference. Explore strategies for social innovation and environmental impact and how these can contribute to towards a more resilient, sustainable and just future.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Design Thinking

Design thinking is a mindset and set of creative methods that can be used to interrogate, understand and solve real-life business, social and environmental problems. You'll develop an understanding of the needs of the people you're designing for, experiment and explore creative ideas, and create design solutions.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

This minor is aimed at students who are interested in developing design thinking expertise to support their major discipline area.

Minor must include

60 points from courses listed below including DESN501 with at least 15 points at level 7

Digital Fabrication

Explore how digital fabrication can facilitate art and design creative practices, through the utilisation

and application of a range of current and emergent technologies.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Enrolment in this minor is subject to approval from the Art & Design Minors, Head of Department.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Experimental Surface Design

Get involved in the experimental development of surface practice across a range of disciplines and potential applications. This minor emphasises the importance of learning through making and the relationship between the maker, the materials, the process of making and the work.

Students develop conceptual and technical surface design knowledge through applied materials practice.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you'll study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Enrolment in this minor is subject to approval from the Art & Design Minors, Head of Department.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Extended Reality

Explore extended reality technologies - XR, VR, AR and MR - as tools for design and ideation for creating immersive user experiences across a range of design and creative practices.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

In Print: Publishing Practices

Experiment with traditional and contemporary publishing practices using a range of media, conventions and technologies. Explore and design with text and image to develop personal, professional and community voices through the published artefact.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Motion Capture

Explore motion capture (mocap) technology that records human movement as 3D data for use in a range of design and creative disciplines.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Enrolment in this minor is subject to approval from the Art & Design Minors, Head of Department.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Photographic Practice

Discover visual conventions and develop technical competencies to include DSLR camera fundamentals, exposure and lighting control, composition principles and image making strategies for project outcomes.

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You'll need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Enrolment in this minor is subject to approval from the Art & Design Minors, Head of Department.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Temporary Practices/Temporary Publics

As artists and designers, we are interested in practising by making – doing projects that have currency and real-world capacity. We work through ideas of site, collaboration and publication in order to create events. Temporary Practices is an experimental, creative field of making. This minor supports the development of work across a range of disciplines and potential applications by using AUT facilities (3D Lab, WetLab, Bindery, Risograph printer).

Courses are delivered over one semester for each course and are worth 15 points each. You will need to complete 60 points for the entire minor. In each year, you will study and complete core compulsory courses alongside studio and specialist courses in the minor that you have selected.

Enrolment in this minor is subject to approval from the Art & Design Minors, Head of Department.

Available as a minor only.

Minor must include

60 points from the following courses:

Additional majors and minors for bachelor’s degrees

Add an additional major or a minor to your bachelor’s degree and study another area that interests you. You can choose from a wide range of additional majors or minors.

Additional majors and minors for bachelor’s degrees

Continue towards postgraduate studies, establish your own freelance business, or work in design or advertising agencies, print and multimedia companies, or inhouse design teams.

Roles may include:

  • Advertising and brand creative
  • Online and social media manager or content creator
  • Creative or account director
  • Graphic designer
  • Publication or information designer
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Motion graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Print-based designer
Communication-design.jpg

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

Communication Design Careers

Key features
  • Learn graphic design and digital skills, design thinking and strategy
  • Covers a range of tools, technologies and materials for print, digital and interactive project work and media
  • Prepares you for a wide range of design careers
  • Access industry standard software, a printmaking lab, risograph, photographic studio and book bindery
See yourself as
  • A visualiser and brand aware
  • Interested in advertising and packaging
  • Having strong drawing skills and story-telling skills
Kiarna Michie
Tola Thach
Sabrina David
Justine Macabasco
Aakifa Chida

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

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