Undergraduate Degree




DV3007 Contemporary Issues in Visual Communication Theory

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: DV2004; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To deliver to students an overview of modern and contemporary design issues. To develop in students an ability to critically review modern and contemporary design issues.


From an analysis of its general themes to a close examination of particular graphic design works and their conceptual platforms, this course focuses on the ideas and problems in the field of contemporary visual communication. It will present a critical examination of the designer’s relationship to areas such as consumerism, mass culture, autonomous design, urban identities, unfeasible design, trans-disciplinary work and curatorial proposals. Students will build up research, writing and presentation skills while working with the literary production generated in the fields of graphic design such as manifestos, projects and critical reviews.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

• Review of definitions of Design, its norms, values and functions.

• Discussion on research methodologies, presentations and writing techniques

• Analysis of the meaning of modern design and its consequences for the current design practice development.

• Study of contemporary design works and their conceptual platforms (with emphasis on Asia-Pacific region)

• Examination of the visual communication field when exposed to interdisciplinary studies.

• Presentation of individual and/or collective research written project


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• Analysis of Postmodernism and its implications for the current design practice development.

• Review of the effects of technology on design practice 

• Presentation of individual and/or collective research written project

• Examination of ‘autonomous’ design examples 

• Design and Ethics considerations

• Review of recent curatorial propositions


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The students will have developed an ability to write and think about contemporary design issues in a clear and lucid manner. The students will have an overview of cutting edge and speculative practices in graphic design.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 40%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 60% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. Aldersey Williams, Hugh Cranbrook, Design: The New Discourse, Rizzoli

  2. Michael Bierut, William Drentell, Steven Heller, D.K. Holland (Eds), Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design 1–4, Allworth Press

  3. Friedman Dan, Radical Modernism, Yale University Press

  4. Hal Foster (Ed), The Anti-Aesthetic, Verso

  5. David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, Wiley-Blackwell

  6. Victor Margolin (Ed), Design Discourse, History, Theory, Criticism, University of Chicago Press

  7. William McDonough, Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, North Pont Press

  8. Rick Poynor, Design Without Boundaries , Boothe-Clibborn Editions

  9. Rick Poynor, No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism, Yale University Press