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 design through projects in a number of industry-relevant areas. You work closely with lecturers and professional designers, and may work on real-life design projects as part of your study.

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: 2019

You need to complete 120 points each year and 360 points for the entire degree. In each year you study core compulsory papers within your major and selected minor.

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

Advertising and Branding

In this studio programme you study idea generation, campaign design, social media marketing, identity design, design systems and strategy. Possible careers include creative and art direction, marketing, account managment and design strategy in corporate or studio and agency environments.

Communication Arts

Illustration and photographic practices are at the centre of this studio programme, which focuses on visually communicating messages using images and narratives in publishing, advertising, film and moving image. These publishing contexts guide the development of your individual photographic and illustrative practices and professional portfolio by working on projects and live briefs. Communication arts prepares you for a career as an art director, content producer, commercial photographer, designer and illustrator.

Graphic Design

Gain the practical and conceptual knowledge to develop a diverse, contemporary design practice. This studio programme covers core skills like concept development, content generation, and image and type relationships to communicate message and meaning. Project work covers print and digital media processes. You can also work on design projects focused on commercial contexts, social concerns and speculative design. This wide-ranging studio programme helps you build strong industry links and prepare for graphic design roles in design studios, brand agencies and in-house design teams.

Interaction Design (User Experience/User Interface)

Interaction Design (UX/UI) covers the design of systems and interfaces to create useful, usable, and joyful experiences and products. This studio programme spans a range of media, from website design to app design and design for wayfinding. There is a growing demand for versatile interaction designers, who are technically savvy and can apply a human centred/user experience framework to design briefs to achieve creative and thoughtful design solutions. Career pathways include digital product design, front end design, and app design.

  • Advertising creative
  • Communication or graphic designer
  • Magazine art director
  • Multimedia or web designer
  • Photographer

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 and materials for print and digital media
  • Offered at the AUT City or South Campus, depending on which area of communication design you want to focus on
  • City Campus studio programmes: Advertising and Branding, Communication Arts, Graphic Design, Interaction Design (User Experience/User Interface)
  • South Campus studio programme: Communication Design
See yourself as
  • A visualiser and brand aware
  • Interested in advertising and packaging
  • Having strong drawing skills and story-telling skills
Michelle Young
Anzac Tasker
Siobhon Joe
Awhina Hinepare Shortcliffe
Camilla Wyness

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