BDES VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN
A BDes Visual Communication Design degree prepares students to comprehend and generate creative solutions to answer visual communication needs of the time. Students enrolled in the Visual Communication Design programme will also develop the skills they need to understand and plan communication strategies needed
to develop effective imagery and product.
The programme is organised into a four-year system of study (including Foundation year) that provides a solid understanding
of design-thinking while utilizing a trans-disciplinary approach to meet the challenges of an ever-revolving marketplace. Studio work is supplemented with strong liberal arts components in the belief that designers should be grounded in a broad base of knowledge, including process, execution, form and content, within the context of user needs.
Specialization/Areas: Print Design | Interaction Design | Illustration | Animation
Duration: 4 Years | 8 Semesters
Concerned Department: Department of Visual Communication Design
Career Paths: UI/UX, Advertising, Animation, Broadcast / TV Graphics, Design Education, Game Design, App Design/ Development, Art Direction, Brand Strategy, Copy Writing, Corporate Design, Design Activism, Editorial and Book Illustration, Exhibition & Display Design, Multimedia Design, Museum Design, Print and Publication Design, Packaging Design, Service Design, Social Media Communication, Web Design, Interface Design.
Admission Requirement & Eligibility Criteria
You are eligible to apply for admission if you have successfully completed your FA/FSc. with 45% marks or have an A level pass in three subjects (IBCC equivalence certificate is required), or an equivalent national or international qualification. All applicants can find guidelines for admission process, online application form and dates for Entrance Test and interviews on the BNU webpage: www.bnu.edu.pk
Choose a degree programme
After confirming your eligibility, you must choose a department from within SVAD. Regardless of your choice of department, all successful applicants are admitted to the Foundation Studies programme. The Foundation Studies programme provides each student the opportunity to investigate the possibilities offered by all degree programmes at SVAD. You must indicate the programme of your preference on the application form, which will be your major for the duration of your degree. In special cases, you may be able to apply for another programme at the end of the Foundation Year. The faculty, who are not obligated to entertain a change of department application, on rare occasions may approve requests at their discretion.
You can find the online application form at BNU's online portal:
You must complete the application form online, following all the instructions. Once you submit it, you will receive a confirmation. You must then submit all required documents (mentioned in the application form) to the Admissions Office on campus. When the Office receives your documents, they will hand over instructions for the Entrance Test to you.
The admission test for the School of Visual Arts and Design is an online, open-book test
that can be completed from home. Students will be given 24 hours to complete all the
tasks. Candidates will be tested for reading comprehension, visual comprehension,
general knowledge, research etc. Further details about the test will be provided to you
upon application submission.
After the Test, you will be interviewed by a panel of SVAD faculty members. The
interviews will be conducted online on Zoom, for which candidates are encouraged to be
At SVAD, we look for motivated, observant, curious individuals, with visual intelligence
and an interest in reading. The Entrance Test and interview act as a catalyst for us to
assess your strengths and aptitude. We will evaluate your potential for development in the
programmes that SVAD offers, as well as your research into your desired area of study.
The interview is also your chance to ask us questions about SVAD. A portfolio is
encouraged, and will help us recognize your passion and commitment.
Semester I - Year 1 (Foundation Year)
Semester II - Year 1 (Foundation Year)
Semester III - Year 2
Semester IV - Year 2
Semester V - Year 3
Semester VI - Year 3
Semester VII - Year 4
Semester VIII - Year 4
Visual Communication Design Mandatory Courses
History of Ideas | Semester 3
Course Code: IDE-201 | Contact Time: 3 Hours Per Week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This course is an introduction to progression of change in human thought and modes of being. It focuses on developments beginning in the late 1700s till present, although the content often cuts across linearity. The course foregrounds intellectual development mentioned above but in conversation with social, political, economic and technological shifts which influence the creation of new world orders. It is proposed that such intellectual threads may be grasped from the territories of many disciplines thus providing a deep but flexible grounding of theory to practice.
Integrated Studio | Semester 3
Course Code: IDE-202 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
From the shifting coordinates of art, design and other creative fields, what does it mean to be “practicing” today? What are some actions and indications of it? This course tackles these questions from an interdisciplinary context, borrowing from poetics, functionality, and research. Students begin to define the idea of practice for themselves through rigorous coursework in which they are asked to consider this question from varying lenses. As a result, they are expected to understand production as having relevance in more than one arena including aesthetic, cultural, social, utilitarian and political.
Integrated Visual Arts & Visual Communication Design Studio | Semester 4
Course Code: VFD-221 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
In this course, students are encouraged to explore basic themes, ideas and practices that are common to Visual Art and Design. The formal and conceptual parameters provided to students are a springboard for the formulation of their own ideas and interests, expressed through mediums of their own choice. Through short, experimental assignments emphasis is laid on strengthening execution skills as well as perceptual and conceptual abilities. The main objective of this course is to familiarize students with current/re-current themes, critical ideas and lenses such as semiotics phenomenology. Thus, they are expected to become informed readers and makers of images in a variety of visual art and design formats.
Current Discourse in Visual Communication Design | Semester 7
Course Code: VCD-403 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
While once the word ‘design’ was intimately bound up in a historical process of the professionalization of its practice, what has it come to mean today? This course aims to question exactly that and orients students within the rapidly diversifying professional fields of design. Students are exposed to canonical ideologies, global and regional design discourses and practices through presentations, readings, videos, podcasts and guest lectures. Students are encouraged to understand and explore methodologies from a wide array of creative fields, helping them develop methods that might be relevant for them.
Professional Practices in Visual Communication Design | Semester 8
Course Code: VCD-452 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This course prepares final year students for their entry into the design profession. Students learn how to structure CVs, write applications for work and further studies, handle interviews, improve presentation skills and document their work in the form of online and physical portfolios. Visits to relevant professional organisations are also arranged to help students gain a better understanding of their professional and academic options following graduation. The course also supplements a framework for thesis report writing.
Visual Communication Design Major Studios
Visual Communication Design Major Studio I | Semester 5
Course Code: VCD-300 | Contact Time: 12 Hours per week | Credits: 6 | Studio
In this course students explore and apply ideation and implementation tools like mind-maps, mood boards, rhetoric techniques, presentation modes and display possibilities while working on one large thematic project throughout the semester. Consistency with a single project gives them exposure to long-form design as a productive possibility. Moreover, in addition to the quality of their work, they are assessed on planning, timelines and other organisational tools by which they bring ideas to fruition. Independent and team project handling as well as visual and verbal presentation skills are strengthened.
Visual Communication Design Major Studio II | Semester 6
Course Code: VCD-301 | Contact Time: 12 Hours per week | Credits: 6 | Studio
This course prepares students for their final year. Through short and long duration projects, students fine-tune multiple conceptual and technical skills acquired earlier. They are expected to broaden their scope of learning outside the classroom through focusing on interactions with the real world in the spheres of the environment, the public and its varying concerns and project partners from the industry. The course is conducted through individual discussions and group critiques to support the students’ projects as they develop and conclude.
Visual Communication Design Major Studio III | Semester 7
Course Code: VCD-400 | Contact Time:18 Hours per week | Credits: 9 | Studio
This course consists of supervised independent project work building upon real life interaction experience gained in the previous semester. With this semester, students commence laying the groundwork for their thesis project in which they apply design theory, practical skills as well as reflective and analytical skills learnt over the course of three years and apply them to self-initiated projects. By the end of the semester, it is expected that students would have a very clear idea of the subject matter that they would be proceeding with for the final semester.
Visual Communication Design Major Studio IV | Semester 8
Course Code: VCD-401 | Contact Time: 24 Hours per week | Credits: 12 | Studio
In this course, final year students propose an individual thesis project and follow a self-directed, conscious, dynamic and output-rich process. Individual discussions with instructors and group critiques generate feedback. Instructors recommend relevant professionals for consultation purposes. The expected outcome is a complex concept development and a high-end execution to be exhibited in the thesis display. A thesis report documenting project ideation, development, methodology and execution are required as the culmination of the thesis.
Visual Communication Design Studio Electives
The following applies to all advanced level courses: These advanced courses are independently constructed according to the individual need of students specializing in one of these chosen areas. Third level courses are designed in consultation with teaching faculty. Evaluation is through regular tutorials, critiques and presentations.
Intersections: Text & Image
Course Code: VCD-204 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course explores the relationship between text and image in visual communication. Text and image may be considered as binary ideas but when used together as a unit, they create an interesting play of reading and interpretations. Rene Magritte’s “This is not a pipe” is a classic example of such interplay of text and image and this course takes this idea as a point of departure. While exploring the study of semiotics, students are encouraged to work in a variety of mediums.
Poetry and Illustration
Course Code: VCD-205 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
The course celebrates the collaborative potential between poetry and illustration. Poetry, a format ripe with visual metaphor, lends itself to illustration. Similarly, illustration with its unique narrative possibility lends itself to poetry. Students enrolled in this course will understand how to develop an image based through the abstractions of
contemporary or classical poetry. Students will learn illustrative strategies to further understand the complexities of transforming word into image. Through this course, students will also understand the importance of popular culture and its influence on the imagery that is created through literature.
Course Code: VCD-206 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course builds an understanding of UI/UX design, its significance and application to various disciplines, ranging from something as basic as designing a poster or a layout of the text to navigational flow for a game, an app or a website. The course also develops an experience for physically interactive products with product packaging and strategies of how to design a product from scratch. The goal is to understand the flow of design before designing anything else and making it a part of the design practice.
Course Code: VCD-206 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
Students enrolled in this course will learn the fundamentals of the software and principles of animation. Students will be introduced to key-frame animation, basic compositing techniques and basic expressions in After Effects/2D animation. The course will focus on the process of ideation, narrative development, story-boarding, animatics and then final execution through various interlinked projects.
DIY World Building
Course Code: VCD-208 | Contact Time: 6 hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
World affairs, politics, social interaction, human behavior and intervention, religion, geography, ecology are only a few of the matters that influence the creation of visual culture. As part of this course, students will be creating cultures, aesthetics, and worlds through intensive research. The projects will culminate in an exhibition displaying independent concepts, worlds and their presentation per the students’ foci.
Course Code: VCD-209 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
Through sensory experience, students will understand how each sense plays an important role in communication and also contributes to our memory in creating a better understanding of things. In this course, students will not just create work that correlates to each of the senses but they will also learn to deal with the senses in the digital “realm” such as: how sensors work in immersive environments.
Altered States in VR/AR
Course Code: VCD-212 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
Technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality alter our perceptions. They either immerse us into a new world or help us in developing techniques to rethink time and space. The course will focus on such explorations and gain an understanding of this constantly evolving new medium.
Design in Motion
Course Code: VCD-213 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course offers the fundamentals of animation/time based narrative development. The course will start from the story-boarding process and lead the student to develop strategies of storytelling and the basics of time-based media. As a culmination, students will be able to build their own animation based narratives.
Fiction & Speculative Design
Course Code: VCD-214 | Contact Time: 6 hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
What is speculative design, how is it evolving and where is it headed? What are various forms of emergent design? This course, through an understanding of contemporary and speculative design practice, introduces students to visualize and speculate futures. The course will look at emergent media and the way these are creating a space for ideas of the future.
Sustainability through Design
Course Code: VCD-215 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This important course explores the code of ethics, aesthetics and numerous viewpoints that inform us about sustainable design and growth in the context of the developing world. It surveys the techniques, methodologies and important case studies in which present-day emerging methods of human-centered design practices and theories relate to the inclusive sustainability schema. Regular seminars and research-based exercises on creative aptitudes and possibilities are intended to enable students to develop contextual approaches to development and sustainability.
Digital Imaging: Pixels, Vectors & Others
Course Code: VCD-210 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
The course aims to develop an understanding of bit-based techniques as well as image manipulation and compositing. Students learn the basics of pixels, vectors, voxels and more, with the help of the software. Techniques such as matte painting, pixel mashing, and image manipulation are also explored extensively.
Sequential Narratives & Character Design
Course Code: VCD-211 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course introduces the processes involved in the development of personalities, character traits and eventually, the aesthetics of characters in animation, illustration, and comics. Students also learn about some of the key characters in popular culture and their story arcs through observation and research. The objective is to encourage students to be able to develop their own characters contextual to their medium of interest.
Visual Communication Design Theory Electives
Popular Culture & Appropriation
Course Code: VCD-216 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This course aims to study the development of popular culture through observing the behavior of media. Icons, myths, semantics and nomenclature of emergent culture and the ways in which these are appropriated across different mediums will be considered. The course will also consider popular culture as particularly apt for appropriation since it creates a unique public common where there is no distinction between high and low culture. Students will consider the implications of such appropriation in areas ranging from cross-cultural contact, accelerated distribution of images, authorship and the fine line between the private and the public in the contemporary world.
Course Code: VCD-217 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
In this course, we examine attempts where design is used in service of fictional pursuits as opposed to directly applicable functions in the real world. The lens of fiction allows one to consider possibilities without the physical limits of realisability. Thus, it points to fantastical and yet predictive and pre-eminent ideas. The course draws influence from scifi, retro-futurism, and selected strains of literature such as magical realism, historical fiction among others.
Real-Time Narratives: Social Media & Beyond
Course Code: VCD-218 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
To say that social media has profoundly affected the sense of self and viewership today would be stating the obvious. However, there is another complex, and sometimes overlooked, aspect of this phenomenon. It creates a new ephemeral live condition today where to be in sync with the physical time of others doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to be in their presence. This course examines this unique version of real-time, simultaneity, distance and participation.
Course Code: VCD-219 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This course will examine the process of design which is simultaneously a general human activity and a specialised practice.
It will focus on the role of design as an environmental, biological, symbolic and cultural construct. Key anthropological concepts such as ethnographic methods will be explored to understand how they are adapted to design investigations. The course will provide a platform for students to conduct in-depth design interventions in order to understand the social fabric of communities.
Course Code: VCD-220 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
Memes are usually comic interruptions in our virtual streams. They appear, entertain, disappear, reappear and so the cycle continues. It seems as if they exist in an infinite cloud of referentiality and that it is not possible for one of these to retain our attention spans for too long. This course considers these fleeting, seemingly benign images as cultural artefacts. Particularly, through a number of case studies, the course attempts to arrive at the mythical origin of profusely used viral visuals, returning specificity of context and maker to a medium that is typically hyperbolic in its reproduction.
Foundation: 36 credits | 12 courses
6 Mandatory Courses: 3 Studio + 2 Theory + 1 Studio Theory Hybrid + 1 Zero Credit course through advisement.
6 Elective Courses: 4 Studio + 2 Theory
Post-Foundation: 96 credits | 26 Courses
11 Mandatory Courses (51 credits): 6 Major Studio + 5 mandatory Theory Courses
15 Elective Courses (45 credits): 10 Studio Electives (min. 4 major specific) + 5 Theory Courses Electives (min. 2 major specific)
TOTAL: 131 | 38 Courses + Degree Show, along with an Extended Essay