n the Aalto VCD programme, communication design is seen as a material practice involved in multiple and diverse knowledge domains. Our education and research work has an investigative approach that works through the areas of graphic design, visual narratives, and information design. The master’s programme encourages you to situate your own practice within societal, cultural, political and environmental frameworks. The programme supports you in finding your own individual design approach, while fostering a sense of community, collaboration, and peer learning.
Admission procedure and programme-specific requirements
Prospective students of the Master’s Programme in Visual Communication Design (VCD) apply to the programme in the master’s degree admissions process for the field of art and design.
The Visual Communication Design programme offers specialized courses on two focus tracks: Information Design and Visual Narrative. Applicants are invited to indicate their choice of track, however in the programme they will be able to plan their studies combining courses from these domains according to their individual study path.
The VCD programme seeks students with a background in graphic and communication design and adjacent fields. Also applicants with other backgrounds, motivated to redefine their practice towards communication design, information design, and visual narrative, are considered. VCD expects prospective students to be open to learning with an exploratory approach, to commit to deepening and broadening their design skills in an international community, and to be motivated in participating an academic discourse in communication design. The programme appreciates applicants with a motivation to develop and reposition their practice, and to set their skills and knowledge in conceptual and theoretical frameworks in practice-based research.
For the Visual Narrative track, VCD welcomes backgrounds or interest in graphic design, critical and speculative practices, writing, comics, animation and games. In Information Design we welcome design backgrounds as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines – hands-on experience of programming or processing is appreciated but not necessary.
The admission is based on a two-stage entrance examination, where qualified students are selected to continue after each stage. The first stage is based on the application documents: a set of work samples/portfolio containing a short assignment, a letter of intent, and CV. Based on those, a selection of applicants is invited for an interview.
CV (curriculum vitae)
Applications must include the applicant’s CV indicating personal data, education and work experience, with possible exhibitions, publications, awards and grants, and study trips. Applicants should upload their CV to the application system in a single PDF file before submitting the application.
The work samples/portfolio is an opportunity to present your accomplishments. It should be an expression of artistic and/or academic pursuits and skills. Applicants are asked to include a diverse selection of previous work, be it design, information design/graphics, writing, data visualization, comics, web sites or apps, typography, stories, programming samples, data analytics, motion graphics or video. Process pieces that show the origins of work and the techniques used to arrive at solutions are also welcome.
We currently only accept digital work samples/portfolios. Your work samples/portfolio should be a single PDF of your best work. A good collection of work might include, for example, some of these:
- 20 images or less of visual work.
- 20 minutes or less of interactive, web, apps, video or time-based work.
- Writing sample no longer than 5 pages.
- Theoretical / research work with visualization outcomes.
And must include:
- The preliminary assignment mentioned below.
Please do not send physical works: the work samples/portfolios will not be returned to you. If there are protected links make sure that passwords are included. If the work is done in collaboration, you should clearly describe your role.
Create a visualization that tells a narrative about yourself. The assignment must be included in the work samples/portfolio PDF.
The visualization assignment is a chance to show your visual communication and conceptual skills, and to let us know who you are. The format is up to you, but the end result should be digital, a PDF or link to interactive site. No previous work: please complete original work for this assignment.
The narrative can be anything, for example an autobiography or personal background, a journey or aspirations in the field of communication design, or a fictional anecdote made for this purpose. How your narrative is expressed in a visualization is part of your challenge, but it will likely involve collected and displaying data or information of some sort. This work could also be a showcase of design skills, so use professional techniques in the production of the final work.
The assignment will be evaluated on originality of thought and use of visual language and/or data.
Letter of Interest
Write a short (no more than 4000 characters) letter in English about why you would be a good candidate for the Master’s Programme in Visual Communication Design. Address your particular interests and aspirations within the field. You should indicate which of our tracks, Visual Narrative or Information Design, you are interested in, and why. We appreciate hearing about your tentative topics of interest and exploration, possibly leading to your master’s thesis. Your essay should also state on how you expect a master’s degree in Aalto ARTS to help you accomplish your goals.
Letter of interest is part of the online application form.
Interviews will be conducted at the invitation of the department.
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