Professional Practice in Visual Communication Design (M.A.)


Design is thinking made visual
- Saul Bass


Young graduates of applied art, commercial art, graphic design and visual communication design often feel the need to step out of the daily demands of the profession to engage in new learning, to experiment and enhance their creative capabilities and to sharpen their thinking and making skills so as to transform their abilities and become proficient practitioners. The MA in Visual Communication Design will enable such a graduate to integrate existing models of thinking and making with emerging technologies and methods in the field of visual communication. The course will equip young graduates with agile professional abilities, become meaningfully resourceful, artistically inclined and process oriented in the field of visual communication.
Study of the nature of visual information processing and comprehension forms the basis of this course. Students intersect their learning with six key domains of visual communication design: aesthetic, functional, historical, symbolic, perceptual, and cultural. The discipline of Visual Communication focuses on providing core competency in developing visual literacy, visual thinking, visual perception, imaging, and representation. Design processes, research methods, history and theories of design form the building blocks for developing comprehensive and successful branding strategies and creative communication material.
The curriculum approaches visual communication through theoretical frameworks that not only inform and enhance the practice but also encourage the students to question the norms and scale traditional boundaries. The course will provide a platform to use design thinking to break rules, to express unique ideas, to question norms, and, to explore and experiment with the tools and methods of visual communication. Students will thus experience design both as a complex societal, corporate activity and an intense, exploratory, personal search into meaning.

Key Values of this curriculum are:

  • Build on the foundation and understanding of design as a discipline.
  • Explore Gestalt Principles of Art & Design and intersect these with local aesthetics
  • Provide a strong understanding of the history of art & design, thereby creating a context within which the profession is situated
  • Learn to decode, understand and create meaning through variety of visual forms
  • Ways of analyzing meaning and communication using research, analysis and critical thinking.

Who is it for?

Graduates of Art & Design related Disciplines:
The course is designed for graduates of applied art, commercial art, mass communication, architecture, animation, fine art, printmaking, photography and other visual art related disciplines. This course provides an ideal opportunity also for design professionals who wish to breathe new energy into their creative career without giving up their jobs and assignments.
Graduates of Non-Art & Design Disciplines:
The course is also for those who do not have any undergraduate studies in the related disciplines but are passionately imaginative, are drawn to visual arts and dream of pursuing a creative career in visual communication design.
Working Professionals:
Applicants to this course could also be working professionals who have completed 3 years of undergraduate studies in any discipline and who wish to acquire knowledge base & skill-sets in Visual Communication through intellectual and creative engagement with the design process, design theories and reflective practice. This course will also enable a graduate of any discipline who is currently employed in creative sector, to enhance her/his design practice in visual communication with added capabilities that fosters excellence in creative and professional competence.

Modes of Learning offered by the course

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Course Structure/Components

Learning opportunities in the Professional Practice in Oral History program are embedded in the following structures:

Tutorials and Studios: The tutorials comprise of face-to-face or online master classes, seminars, and workshops. Tutorials are faculty-led learning spaces where students develop core disciplinary skills and knowledge. Tutorials are designed to encourage students to collaboratively and creatively design solutions for complex, layered and contextual briefs. Face-to-face classes will deliver core-learning units offered in classrooms at Srishti campus for two days every week. Each Tutorial will last for 4 hours and will be scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays. This will ensure that a working professional misses only one day’s work each week. Tutorials lead to Studios, where students work on assignments and projects that are either individual or group activities that foster making, experimenting, and learning by doing. Studios will not be mentored by faculty and on an average, students will be required to dedicate between 20 to 30 hours of studio work every week

Critiques: These will be faculty led sessions, discussions and forums to encourage presentation of creative works, conversations, thinking and sense making. Critique sessions may be face-to-face as well as online through blogs, discussion board conversations and webinars.

Practice: This includes experiential, embodied and physical engagement as a working professional, or self-study and reflective documentation (for example, documenting ideas and projects through sketches and notes, and, maintaining reflective blogs).

Webinars: Forums for receiving feedback on projects undertaken and for presenting and defending a written paper and dissertation in response to a given situation, context or proposition.

Electives: Engagement outside the workspace that allows for extension and building connections. This can include visits to exhibitions, places, talks, walks, participation in workshops and studios. It also includes the option to take another unit or course in a parallel course of professional practice (such as in heritage preservation, films, design thinking etc.).

Portfolio: Development of a reflective and curated body of work that represents professional practice over a time period.

Dissertation as Personal Mastery: Practice based research/design project and its documentation, dissertation and viva voce in the final semester.

Learning Approach

Discussion-based learning, learning by making, and project-based learning are some of pedagogical tools employed to create insights into real-life situations and industry needs. The learning approach will encompass hands-on design thinking, design research, deep understanding of principles of cognition and perception, and creative thinking, in combination with contextual thinking. The course prepares the students to participate and function in the areas of creativity and visual communication across print and digital media by training and exposing them to various skills such as but not limited to Design Thinking & Processes, Collaborative projects, Leadership Skills, Social Concerns, and Technical & Written Communication and Presentation.

Learning is driven by engagement with theories, methodologies and advanced skills of Design Thinking, Critical Thinking, Research and Analysis, Reflection, and, Documentation & Presentation through three overarching modules:

• Unpack Meaning

  • Ways of analyzing meaning and communication using research, analysis and critical thinking
  • Theoretical study of Semiotics, Denotation, Connotation and Visual Symbolism
  • Study of historical milestones, and its influences on ways of communication, Visual Culture and Visual Literacy

• Construct Meaning

  • Visual Narratives, Image Making, interaction of Type and Image to make meaning
  • Constructing and shaping meaning using Symbols, Icons, Pictograms, Motifs and Patterns
  • Constructing and shaping meaning in communications for advertising and marketing
  • Font Design, Data Visualization, Story Telling, Conceptual representation

• Interplay Meaning

  • Explore varied media for visual expression
  • Transformation of forms and meanings
  • Examining Critical and Essential Influences

Capability Sets

  • Understand design process and employ the tools and principles of visual communication design to formulate creative and meaningful design solutions
  • Awareness and knowledge about historical contexts as well as latest developments and concerns in the practice of visual communication design and ability to add to these developments and concerns his/her own voice within the context of his/her own practice.
  • Demonstrate autonomy and proficiency to be a critical creator.
  • Ability to work against prescribed notions of design practice thus setting new standards and novel approaches to design research / processes / ideation / production.
  • Apply principles of cognition and perception and fundamentals of visual design to create meaningful, desirable & appropriate visual messages and experiences that are empathetic to cultures, contexts and environment.
  • Work with diverse media and materials rapidly to create visual/experiential solutions.
  • Communicate compellingly the design process to invite critique & develop a community of stakeholders for the work.


Graduates of MA in Visual Communication at Srishti will be able to contribute to and make a positive difference in a variety of creative service industries such as of Branding & Advertising, Marketing & Communication, Graphic Design, Publication & Publishing, Retail and Exhibition. Our graduates will be highly effective to work as Art Directors, Senior Designers and Design Consultants.


This course is led by Kumkum Nadig, Dean & Senior Faculty, School of Design, Business & Technology, at Srishti.
For further information, kindly email:

Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following disciplines:

Book Making and Publication Design
Branding and Marketing Communication
Design Research
Design Thinking
Digital Media
Information Visualisation and Experience Design
New Humanities

Research and Collaboration

The students under this program will have the opportunity to work with the following centers and labs at Srishti.

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