M.Des. (Communication Design)

Objective of the program | Outcome of the Programme | Curriculum | Pedagogical Principles | Course Abstracts | Teaching Methodology | Admission Process

Objective of the program

The Master of Design (Communication Design) is a two-year post-graduate program (4 semesters). The program offers the students opportunity to specialize in Visual Communication Design and Interaction Design. Its distinctive pedagogic format encourages learning of basic design skills, the use of digital technologies and an understanding of the cultural and aesthetic aspects of communication practices. The objective of the program is to prepare young professionals for careers in the publishing, creative media and infotainment industries and the academia. Unlike other Design programmes offered in various institutions, the MDes programme in DAIICT blends Design concepts, skills and practices with Liberal Arts inputs from the domains of sociology and anthropology that help the student to understand and engage with diverse real-life contexts within which they have to evolve specific communication strategies.

The overall objective of the programme is to prepare students towards employability in the creative media industry (as a conceptualizer, visualizers, app developers, advertising creatives etc) to develop their own independent studios and start-ups and also pursue further studies in Design Research and Teaching.

  • To create a uniquely creative individual who would be capable of using digital technology, (among others) to integrate various channels, forms and media of communication in a culturally sensitive manner that is crucial for meeting the challenges of the modern world.
  • To train individuals who are thoughtful, creative and have an understanding of techno-aesthetic. The aim is to produce individuals capable of carving a unique position for themselves in the world of ICT by equipping them with the knowledge of multi-disciplinary approaches to issues of communication.
  • To situate ICT in a domain of intellectual engagement that arrives at a more effective understanding of the multiple cultures of communication that hold societies together.
  • The training provided at this Institute is aimed not at just providing students with skills required in the market but to make them learn and apply the ever-increasing tools of communication in culturally sensitive ways.

Given the growing and ever-changing demands of the market, the program wishes to direct the creative potential of its students to two major areas of specialization viz. ‘Visual Communication Design’ and ‘Interactive Communication Design’. Both areas of specialization would be built upon a strong foundation that will impart training in basic design sensibility, the uses of digital technologies and the cultural and aesthetic components of communication practices.

Outcome of the Programme

At the end of the two-year programme students would have acquired a range of skills and conceptual tools that would enable them to design communication through the use of various media- including print, film, photography and interactive digital media. They would be able to conceptualize visualize and prototype solutions to various communication problems. Apart from being able to use and apply a range of communication design software, students would be able to design and illustrate books, compose photographs, make films (documentary, feature and animation), design websites and develop apps. In brief, they would have acquired the conceptual, aesthetic, technical and craft skills that make for effective communication design.


The two-year program of study leading to M. Des. degree is divided into four semesters along with a summer semester between the first and second years. Each semester the student will take up four courses offered by the program (see details below). In each semester, a student must register for a minimum of 12 credits.

An M. Des. student must have a minimum CPI of 6.0/10.0 in order to graduate and must maintain a minimum CPI of 5.0/10.0 in order to continue in the program. The student must earn a minimum of 60 credits in order to obtain the degree.

Semester I. Foundation
1. Approaches to Culture & Communication PC721
2. Fundamentals of Design – I PC722
3. Object Oriented Programming PC723
4. Principles of Interaction Design PC724
5. Writing, Presentation and Communication skills PC720
Semester II. Extension of Foundations
1. Research Methodologies – Ethnography and its Applications PC 731
2. Introduction to Narratology PC 725
3. Fundamentals of Design – II PC 732
4. Web Design: Applications, Inter-connectibility PC733
5. Open Elective
Semester III. Joining concepts and applications
1. Animation PC 741
2. Information Design PC742
3. Thematic Seminar/Workshop OR RR (Reading/Research) course if no thematic Seminar/Workshop is offered PC743
4. Research Application: Constructing Narratives PC745
5. Research Proposal Seminar: Rationale, Process, Outcome PC740
Semester IV.
Individual design Project

Pedagogical Principles

  • Initial one-semester foundation component is proposed to bring students with the varying background to one benchmark level.
  • Each semester’s course content will try to include project work.
  • Integration of theory and practice will be stressed throughout the program.
  • The teaching approach for each course would comprise a combination of lectures, seminar, studio, and practical sessions. Lectures would mainly focus on basic ideas and concepts, which would be substantiated and discussed through seminars, engaging students in active participation project work. Lecture sequences in a course may be conducted by multiple faculties, and the seminars would be designed to provide a bridge between the lectures and the practical sessions. Emphasis would be that students learn how to learn what is needed and when it is needed in an environment of ever-changing needs and technologies.
  • For each course, the emphasis would be on research and project work that utilizes the methods and ideas learned from other courses.
  • Each course is not a stand-alone learning experience but it would be expected that in course of study the connections, both vertically and horizontally, are made by the student culminating in their final semester’s project.

Courses in the third semester (second year) are focused more on individualized work rather than classroom sessions in order to apply the theory and practice in preparation for the final student project. The final student project must be completed in the fourth semester.

Course Abstracts

Semester I

This course will introduce students to a series of lectures and discussions on the role of technology and culture in communication. It aims to explore the ways in which technology mediates and transforms cultural meanings in practices of social communication. It will introduce students to a range of analytical frameworks derived from visual anthropology, aesthetics and semiotics. Students will be encouraged to understand that the intent of communication is a significant factor in the process of effective communication design and that it is important to develop the ability to decode ‘point of view’ and ‘perspective’ in relation to meanings.

The course which will be organized through lectures and seminar format will help students to relate the domains of design and technology with society and culture. It will provide the essential conceptual foundations for them to develop a more in-depth understanding of the principles of Visual Communication or Interaction Design.

Design is an inter-disciplinary activity characterized by the constant preoccupation of co-relating disciplines, dealing with and trying to understand the complex and interesting worlds of the physical, human, natural and imaginary worlds all of which are multivariate in character. The Fundament.als of Design course is an attempt to sensitize students to this complex, dynamic and multi-dimensional scenario. The main objective of this course is to acquaint students of Communication Design to the means and methods of approaching, investigating and solving problems creatively by providing them with appropriate conceptual and craft skill sets.

The areas that would be covered would be drawing – a process of observation, recording and representation; which would include various kinds of representation for 2D. The course would provide the student with a foundation in the grammar of design for communication based on ideas and concepts in colour, composition, typography, Illustration and layouts/space for specific needs. The course would culminate in a project that would require students to integrate their understanding, learning and skills.

Interaction Design involves designing for meaningful interactions between humans and their artifacts and this idea is easily extended to include interactions between humans with the help of their artifacts. Designing for interaction requires understanding human engagement and communication with technology and to use that knowledge to design artifacts within specified contexts and constraints that create more useful and satisfying experience for the users. With the explosive growth of digital technology, interaction design is now being applied largely to interactions with digital artifacts. Interaction design includes elements from the fields of human factors; human computer interaction, collaborative work and learning, digital design, cognitive ergonomics, informatics, information systems, and interface design.

This course will cover the underlying principles of a wide range of issues, and includes empirical studies with design implications and extensive work on lab and field based exercises. This course is designed to cover the breadth of the field and to enable the students to be adept and competent in grasping and dealing effectively with design issues involving interaction with a range of devices, services and users. The course has been structured as a series of lectures and projects that will enable students to engage with design issues that involve interaction through practical applications. This course requires the students to investigate a specific area or a context in depth and develop understandings and design implications in order to deliver an innovative proposal and prototype.

The course is designed to impart knowledge and develop skills required to solve real world problems using an object oriented approach with Java language as a tool. It aims at developing skills in programming, software design and development and would introduce students to the concepts of object oriented programming with Java; basic structures in Java, abstraction, objects and classes, inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation, reusability of class, interface, GUI Programming, deploying Java applications and accessing databases in Java.

This course is meant to underscore the significance.nce of written and verbal skills in the processes of conceptualizing and designing communication. The course will combine a seminar and workshop format where students will be focusing on one specialized aspect of written or verbal communication every week. They will be introduced to both the formal conventions of academic and technical writing as well as the wider range of styles associated with creative writing. Their verbal skills will be developed through group discussions, extempore speaking, and rot-mal presentations. This course arms to help students formulate Ideas, and articulate these to appropriate target audiences and contexts..

Semester II

This course deals with the advanced aspects of colour, composition, virtual 3D spaces, Typography as image, Illustration for Information design, and Digital image making as means to explore, visualize and communicate complex ideas with high levels of data. This course would present an entry point to moving images. It would introduce students to structure in still and moving images and sound. The course would encourage students innovate and experiment on developing concepts and methods for different communication media – 2D and virtual 3D environments, cinema and animation.

Contemporary information technologies are often said to be immersive, creating distinctive and highly detailed virtual experiences. Thus the discipline of ethnography, which teaches researchers to understand social activity through immersive exposure, seems particularly appropriate in the study of Communication Design appropriate to study of communication design. Ethnographic analysis provides powerful tools to understand how communication systems deeply affect individuals and societies. The course introduces students to the foundations and basic methods of ethnography derived from the fields of social and cultural anthropology. Students would be expected to undertake fieldwork assignments and related applied activities such as collection of empirical data, qualitative data, contextual inquiry and usability testing which provide the foundations for user-centred interaction.

This course will introduce students to the critical place of ‘story-telling’ in communication practices. The theoretical starting point of this course will be an understanding that narratives are found and communicated through a range of media such as verbal and written language; gestures, music, visual art and mm. Narratives have also acquired new forms in computing environments and digital networks. By the end of the course students will be expected to develop a deep understanding of both the thematic and modal aspects of Story-telling. In other words, they will be engaging with both the structure of the narrative and the manner of its telling. This course is intended to prepare them for a subsequent course on the construction and translation of narratives in different media.

Through discussions and the analysis of various examples students would be introduced to Web Concepts and Design; the basic technical requirements and production processes necessary for basic website development and construction. The topics would include site design, image processing, visual web editors, html and layout, interface design and basic behaviours of the tools. Along with these aspects of connecting to a network hands on experience would be provided in the form of a class project. Students would start by setting up a site that would become a context to apply their learning. They would thereby learn to present the work for others. The emphasis would be on design, concept development, collaborative techniques used in professional multimedia prototyping and the end product.

Additionally students will learn and be concerned about a variety of hardware and software options including, but not limited to, image editing, digital video and input/output.

The course will cover the concepts of web animation and interactivity, video and audio for the web and interactive web products. The primary objective is to present and explore concepts and tools for interactivity in multimedia.

Students will select one Open Elective offered by the Institute. It could be a Technical or Non Technical elective but the individual student will have to make a case and the program Co-ordinator and the course instructor would have to give their consent.

Semester III

The aim of this course is to sensitize students to the structure, nature, systems and communication potential of the medium of animation. This course would be an introduction to the fundamentals (principles and dynamics) of motion and movement in animation – both theory and practice. The course would equip students with the basic concepts, methods/means and language to conceptualize and visualize simple ideas through animated sequences/films. Storytelling, Storyboarding, Animatics, Kinetics and Setting a stage for animated films would be the main areas that the students will explore.

The course examines and explores ways to communicate complex ideas and hidden worlds effectively using the language of animation for entertainment, education, instruction and gaming. The course would also introduce students to the art of developing and visualizing characters for animated films. Exploration and experimentation with lip synchronization, aesthetics of sound, track laying, and creating animated sequences to sound.

Information design covers the promoting and enhancing of making the complex simple. It facilitates and transforms complex, unorganized, or unstructured data into useful, usable information both with efficiency and effectiveness. The attempt would be to discover and articulate the meaning in data, and create the map that allows others to use the information easily, through meaningful reductions and interpretations of complex data by using writing and analytical skills to transform unstructured ideas into concrete, meaningful information.

The course would cover the defining, planning, and shaping of the contents of a message: it is designing understanding for a particular environment it is presented in with the intention of achieving specific objectives with reference to the needs of users and creating navigation and hierarchy that makes information intuitively and easily accessible.


The course would also cover the essential aspects of Information Systems and Architecture to establish and understand types of information systems and the role of such systems and their technological foundations. The key components of Information Systems and key issues in implementation, explaining how design problems are conceived, researched, analyzed and resolved in different contexts would be discussed. The methods and frameworks used in conceptualizing, designing and implementing information systems, through Information Architecture would also be considered.


The course encourages exploring how information can be structured and visualized to create effective communications and to stimulate viewer attention and engagement through design. Building sensitivity, via case studies, Information Collection, Conceptual Data Analysis, Information Mapping and Visualization along with User Studies are introduced as means towards developing concise, clear and visually sophisticated communication material. The course provides students with an introduction to structuring and presenting information with an emphasis on meaning, clear communication and visual aesthetics that in turn enhance how people read, understand and use information.

Faculty involved with the M.Des program and/or visiting faculty would conduct a seminar or a workshop for the students to either learn or explore some new areas of multimedia techniques and applications. If and when required an open elective offered in the Institute may be considered as a substitute for this seminar course. In case a seminar or workshop is not offered the student could take up a reading and research (RR) course with any faculty member after providing the formal plan of arrangement between the student and the faculty concerned to the M.Des committee. Please note that the focus of this course has not been fixed in order to take advantage of students’ changing interests, faculty’s own research interest and the particular area of expertise that a visiting faculty brings from outside including the design industry.

This course is meant to encourage students to apply the theoretical insights drawn from the earlier course on narratives and develop their own narrative form around a particular idea or message they wish to communicate. They will encourage translating narratives from one medium to another and analyzing the differing demands of each.  This course will involve a group project wherein students will be tested on their capacities to work together and develop a product that reflects coordinated team work. For example, they can work together to develop a public interest message through paper, voice and screen and develop a keen sense of the narrative as it takes shape through each medium.

This seminar’s main focus will be help students to formulate their final project proposals. Students will be required to provide a clear rationale for the selection of a project and explain how they intend to implement the skills and aptitudes gained from the courses offered in the program. They are expected to apply the research methodologies learnt in the previous courses and write up a concrete proposal in accordance with a set of given guidelines. The primary objective of this seminar is to enable students to make informed decisions about the nature of the project they wish to undertake and the range of intellectual skills they need to work on it. This course should help the student to initiate and plan the individual research project in the IV semester.

Semester IV

The last and final semester is dedicated to developing and completing the research proposal developed in the previous semester (See Semester III).  This semester will offer the individual a chance to undertake and execute the final project for which they have been provided the general foundation as well as a specialization that has been developed along with the research and creative attitude. Each student would be responsible to work in close individual collaboration with two faculty members (at least one of them must be a regular faculty of the institute) to complete the final design project. The faculty would evaluate the work done and accordingly submit the project for final processing by a jury of examiners.


It is expected that the individual student will work independently under the guidance from the research committee. Consultation with the committee members is essential to avoid poor quality work- leading to failure in the last module; in final analysis nobody but the student alone is responsible for hi/her project.

  • The last module will culminate into the seminar presentation where the students committee has to be present.
  • This seminar MUST be scheduled and held before the last week of the term.
  • It will be student’s responsibility to organize the final seminar date.
  • Each student will have to organize individual presentation for the study committee and be engaged in a discussion after the individual presentation is made.
  • This session would be open to the whole institution and subject to evaluation.
  • The committee members will evaluate the final product and it’s presentation and asks for the two copies of CD as well as a document on the project itself. Committee members may invite individuals or individual specially to assist in the evaluation of the student work from within the institute or out- side of the institute.
  • Document must be made available to committee members prior to the seminar.
  • If the final assessment requires that student makes some alterations to the final project, the committee would set up the dead line by which the revisions must be made by the student.
  • This would be required for the student to earn the final degree.

Suggested outline for what the presentation should include:

  • Identification of the communication event or the need of communication.
  • How multimedia is utilized
  • Aspects of designed communication
  • Technology as combined to create the desired communication
  • Presentation of the final product in form of a CD

Key: L = Lecture, T = Tutorial, P = Practical, C = Credit

Teaching Methodology

In this program, each course is not a stand-alone learning experience but it is expected that in the course of study the connections, both vertically and horizontally are made by the student that culminates in their project in the final semester.

The teaching approach for each course comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, studio, and practical sessions. The lectures would mainly focus on basic ideas and concepts, which would be substantiated and discussed through seminars, engaging students in active participation in project work. Lecture sequences in a course may be conducted by multiple faculties, and the seminars would be designed to provide a bridge between the lectures and the studio and practical sessions. Emphasis would be that students learn how to learn, what is needed, and when it is needed; in an environment of ever-changing needs and technologies. For each course, the emphasis would be on research and project work that utilizes the methods and ideas learned from other courses.

Courses in the third semester (second year) are focused more on individual work rather than classroom sessions in order to apply the theory and practice in preparation for the final student project. The final student project worth 15 credits must be completed in the fourth semester.

Opportunities after M.Des

The Media industry, Entertainment industry, Gov and non-Gov organizations who need to communicate in one or the other way, Academic and research institutions, Information publication and production houses, corporate consultancy sector, publicity outfits. Students trained in this program would be in a unique position to also contribute to the growing future of e-education and info-entertainment within India as well as Asia. We have looked enough at the west for the potential market but the growing consumer culture of Asia shares the uniqueness of cultural diversity that is also an intrinsic aspect of India. Keeping in mind the growing Asian market and its cultural diversity students trained at DA-IICT has a good potential in the job market.

Admission Process

Details on the application process, admission criteria, fee structure and financial assistance can be found here