Graphic Design

Major in Graphic Design

Three years courses - Milan

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The course of Graphic Design aims to form a designer of visual communication. This professional role foresees the ability to create communication tools, and to create the language and images which are capable of effectively transmitting the message and the value they are striving for.

Professional Profile: Graphic Artist, Visual Communications Manager, Multimedia Designer

The course is recognized by Italian Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR) as an Academic Diploma Level I (180CF)

  • Credits
  • Start date
    October 2016
  • Duration
    3 years
  • Language
Enrol within March 30th to benefit the Early Intake facilitations

The areas in which the Graphic Designer operates, range from the design of the visual identity of a company or product, to the realization of the packaging, to the creation of the graphics used in all company communication channels on line and off.

The first year of the course of Graphic Design is dedicated to the introductory aspects of the field, and specifically to acquiring the basics, with regard to the culture, the tools and the rules which distinguish and characterize a project based behavior. In particular: font types used as tools of the graphic artist, the genesis and perception of forms and colors, software specific to graphics, the elaboration of images, including the cultural knowledge which allows one to interpret and decode the language of visual communication and cinema.

The second year concentrates on the methodology and project design internships. The future Graphic Designer gains knowledge and competence in several specific professional fields, through practical experience in three areas of visual communications: the area of expressiveness, where symbols are transformed into trademarks, logos, posters; the area of rationality, where story building takes place through text, images and pages, and where each element has a precise role, and finds its place through the graphical and typographical choices made; lastly the interactive area, and the organization of information which is available to the end user.

During the third year of the course of Graphic Design, the student concentrates on advanced project design through professional real world assistant training, experiencing real life situations as required of a Graphic Designer: from the corporate image, to product communication projects, editorial graphics to interactive design and television graphics, all through an extensive cross-media experience. The final thesis project is both complex and detailed, carried out in collaboration with organizations and companies who work together with the European Design Institute and who are looking for original and innovative solutions.

The course is recognized by MIUR as an Academic Diploma Level I


Early Bird Discount – 2015 Undergraduate Programs Entries

Apply early to IED Istituto Europeo di Design for our Undergraduate programmes and receive a 15% discount from your tuition fee.

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  • 1st Year


      This course studies our visual and aesthetic culture by experimenting with contemporary artistic research and how it relates to technical and technological innovation and to the various different forms of expression and communication: from the advent of industrial civilisation in the mid-nineteenth century to the way that everyday life is reshaped in the daily flow of images conveyed by the media, by advertising and by the cinema; from the independent expressive codes generated by the avant-gardes of the early twentieth century to the links of sign and culture in mid-century and on to the very latest expressions of fragmented reality today.
      In particular, the course focuses on analysing the birth of aesthetics and the independence of art, how the concept of art changed pursuant to the introduction of industrial machinery, the birth of photography and how it has related to traditional techniques of representation, and the historical and critical developments of the leading artistic movements of the twentieth century, for the purpose of imparting knowledge about contemporary art as a tool for making stylistic interpretations of images.


      In this course, students learn to identify the visual and tactile qualities of objects - both 3D pieces and graphic artefacts - and to understand how they fit into an historical, technological and methodological narrative, as well as one of form. They learn about the culture of design - be it of products or of communications - by analysing and dismantling a selection of “symbolic” objects.


      Designing means progressing along a road that starts with a problem and passes through a series of phases until it reaches its solution. Those phases include research, analysis, the definition of a conceptual synthesis and its visualisation, exploring possible solutions and defining, checking and finalising the most effective solution. The course studies the origins of industrial design, the leading European schools and the elaboration of design theory, from the Bauhaus to the Ulm School, taking in the roots of graphic design in Italy, from Albe Steiner and Bruno Munari to Bob Noorda, and completing the picture with the contemporary international panorama: working in graphic design in the global digital world.


      Students are provided with an extensive, profound familiarity with Photoshop, both in technical terms and from the standpoint of the working method adopted by the graphic designer who has to be capable of preparing images for printing and for the web. Adobe Illustrator is used to create graphic, illustrative and typographic elements in a vector environment. By the end of this course, students have consolidated their technique and are capable of making a thoroughly professional use of both software programs.


      This course introduces students to the creative, technical and technological procedures that accompany the typographic preparation of a text to the layout of the page and eventually to the finished publication, by learning to use the professional software packages common to publishing. The complexity of this process of construction starts with a correct approach to the work flow and includes studying the organisation of the 2D space, the characters and the texts, their visibility and legibility and the system of communication stimulated by the contrasts and matches of colours, styles and visuals. InDesign is the professional software used to manage text and image layouts. Students start by defining the layout’s format, margins and grid and progress to defining style sheets and typographic hierarchies and constructing the complete mock-up, optimising the workflow throughout.


      The course studies the basic aspects of composing in a “field”: how to structure a layout grid, positioning the various elements and determining their spatial relationships, dimensions, deformations and perceptive characteristics. As it has emotional, cultural and symbolic values, colour plays a decisive role in strengthening or weakening a visual message. During the course, students learn to observe its presence and distribution in a given subject, to distinguish between iconic and syntactic colours and to understand the chromatic scheme of spaces, objects and images. The typeface is introduced as the “ABC” of graphic design, the basic tool for every visual communication project. The course looks into the topics of drawing and composing all letters of the typographic alphabet, so as to impart a knowledge of both the history and the forms of typographic characters and thus convey an understanding of their differences of form and corresponding nuances of expression, so that students learn how to use them correctly and coherently in all fields of visual communication.


      This course investigates the world of sensory perception and cognitive processes, illustrating the scientific theories that explain how our senses function and correlating this with research into the psychology of form. It tackles principles of colour theory, then uses applied sciences as a means for providing the technique for analysing the relationship between object, space and person, knowledge of crucial importance for designing a work in relation to sensory responses. The psychology of form establishes relations between the mechanism of perception and issues concerned with the use of that form and the consequent elaboration of creative languages.


      This course teaches students to read the relations between contents, texts and image and the narrative processes used by the various different forms of visual communications and by the media. The learning method adopted consists of examining the bonds between form and content, aesthetic effects and systems of usage. The aim of the course is to analyse the process of communications, setting out to examine and dismantle its mechanisms, using the methods developed by the various schools of semiotics. A closer look is taken at audiovisual communications, with a special focus on the cinema and advertising communications.

  • 2nd Year


      The methods and instrumental knowledge acquired during the first year are now developed on, using techniques and software for managing moving images and graphics in audiovisual and in digital videos: Premiere is a video editing software, After Effects a motion graphics software.


      This course develops on the theoretical principles and the instrumental and design techniques used in the field of hardcopy and web publishing, experimenting with selected methods that imitate the latest forms of creativity. Magazines, catalogues and websites are ultimately stories made up of texts and images. The typographic hierarchy of the page or the screen, the relationship between text, hypertext and the various kinds of images (photographs, videos, illustrations and animations), the sequencing of the various issues under discussion, the definition of the structure used to surf the site and the interface and how it interacts with users: all these graphic elements enable readers to find their way around these stories. The course also discusses the use of software for making websites.


      This course studies the languages and techniques of photography, both past and present, so as to understand the different uses that have been made of it, from making a documentary record of work to expressing the photographer’s own artistic language. The course provides students with the elements they need to interpret and produce an image for use in visual communications. The part spent in the workshop enables students to experiment with the medium of photography, using both traditional and digital techniques and tools, so as to identify the best approaches and methods for each kind of photo shoot. The course teaches students to analyse the context and develop their own spirit of observation, as well as to relate to the photographer, so with the point of view and the entire complexity of what happens before the image is actually produced.


      This course builds on the development of phenomenology as a science or a method that expounds on the relationship between reality and artistic expression, so as to impart tools for interpreting contemporary artistic phenomena and how they relate to historical and cultural contexts and to social dynamics. The teaching method used helps students understand how contemporary forms of creativity come about and are represented and perceived. The course sets out to provide an interpretation of the contemporary visual arts by analysing certain practices, procedures and strategies used to construct an image. It also highlights these practices’ cultural implications in a broad context that takes in many different expressive styles and techniques of contemporary culture, so as to encourage students to develop an analytical and critical capacity.


      A product’s visual communications generally have a two-way flow: from the firm to the product and viceversa. A product’s packaging and its graphic design are the result of the 3D transformation of the firm’s image in such a way as to tell the story of the contents: they tell us how to use and behave with the product itself, but also its collective imagery. Considered both individually and in terms of how they relate to one another, materials, forms and graphic design provide us with information and characteristics that tell us about the overall personality of the producer and, as a reflection, of the consumer. The aim of this course is to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills for developing a brand or product communication project, with a packaging design that starts from the creative phase and culminates in making the mock-up.


      Examining the relations between words and images, the course discusses several techniques of writing, so as to encourage students to develop their powers of observation and pay special attention to what happens around them and escapes observation. Every design has a form: the form of a graphic design develops from the combination between image and word. Imagining, thinking and writing are all phases of the intellectual adventure at the basis of every design. Special attention is focused on contemporary cross-fertilisations between the languages used by various different media. The course also discusses the techniques and languages of writing an advertising text. Copywriters know they have to interact with rules, but also that they have to aim at overcoming them using intuition, inventiveness, creativity, a spirit of observation and the ability to provoke and stimulate curiosity and interest, accepting the challenge of writing to be convincing. In particular, the course studies the relationship between words and images and the techniques of creativity, evocative words and verbal synthesis, titles, headlines, pay-offs, naming and the five “W”s: Who, What, When


      By studying the processes of the media and analysing up-and-coming forms of communication, this course sets out to provide students with a basic grounding in the theoretical, methodological and technical tools used to analyse the processes of communications and media, focusing on contents, languages, forms of organisation and the analysis of the target audience.


      The cinema is investigated as a complex system, in which forms of expression and styles of representation are the result of a new order of cultural organisation and a new way of experiencing the world. This course illustrates the salient milestones in the history of the cinema to the present day, describing it in terms of the relationship between technology and aesthetics. The course starts from films, and not from existing critical historiography, then proceeds to focus in particular on certain milestone films that have pointed the way to subsequent developments and  ontemporary trends. The evolutions in the cinema’s styles, expressions and narratives are put into the context of the technological advances achieved by the means of production and the consequential evolution of movie language.


      This course studies the supports, tools and techniques used for the serial reproduction of a printed product, from the paper and its properties to the various kinds of bindings, how images, texts and graphic elements are treated and the right way to prepare files for pre-printing procedures, so as to achieve optimal reproduction in the various different printing processes: digital, typographic, offset, rotogravure and screen printing. Every constituent element of the product of publishing is observed and considerable attention is focused on learning the terminology used in the trade.


      Interaction is the most eloquent and exciting opportunity and terrain for investigation to have been generated by the digital revolution. This course covers all the stages of designing interactive environments, considering relations with single and multiple users and the interconnections between scenarios, sound and actions. Cinema 4D is a software package that enables real or virtual objects and environments to be represented in 3D. As such, it is a useful tool both for visualising a design (such as a packaging or an installation) and for creating contents earmarked for the web or other digital contexts.

  • 3rd Year


      The contents of this course cover the historical construction and the structural and linguistic analysis of the methods of production and distribution of mass communications, the essential characteristics and categories of leading media markets (television, cinema, publishing and multimedia) and the strategic behaviours of the business concerns that operate in the various fields in question. The procedures studied encompass traditional and new media, the press, radio, analogical television, terrestrial digital and satellite television, the various forms of web and mobile TV and potential future scenarios.


      The fundamental characteristic of the graphic design disciplines taught in the final year is that they approach the design of a system that is structured in the various fields of communication. Various areas are tackled in this course: the design of interactive systems for both the web and mobile devices or otherwise, publishing design and editing, aimed both to paper books and magazines or digital publishing products. The approach adopted sets out to give students a realistic simulated taste of professional practice: from the brief to the “end product”, they apply a process whose every phase is methodologically correct, considering both the conceptual approach and the technical and linguistic issues specific to the tools and the contexts in which the design project is developed.


      Two major themes are discussed during this course: on the one hand, students’ familiarity with software for motion graphics, while on the other hand, these same skills are applied to designing graphic interfaces and graphics for audiovisuals and for television. Students then develop a “television interface” project, featuring all those kinds of input that are used increasingly in television language to state a channel’s identity, distinguish its programmes and convey information additional to the filmed images.


      This course provides students with the skills for planning, promoting and managing cultural and design activities, with a special focus on the market of the applied arts and of communication. The strategic principles of marketing, which aim at identifying, developing and launching every product, are adapted here to the specific field of the creative industries, for the purpose of understanding and anticipating the expectations and needs of consumers and users. The course develops on both the tools of strategic marketing related to the work (the phases and methods of execution, time frames, costs and benefits) and the mechanisms that drive the markets and consumption, the social context and the targets who are the ultimate recipients of the designers’ work. The course develops the skills that students will need to manage the phases of the creative process and design teams, co-ordinating different skills and directing the work to cater for market expectations: from managing cultural heritage to creating extended services, design management sketches alternative rationales of competition and perspectives of change in the local economy, adopting an interdisciplinary approach.


      For the maximum benefit to accrue from works of art and the places devoted to creativity calls increasingly for the design of an extensive communications system focused on spaces and architectural containers, whether permanent or impermanent, of the needs of the community and of the independence of the artist and the designer. The aim of this course is to provide an overview of contemporary design work in this field, so as to define, develop and experiment with the skills and capacities used by designers to break out of the 2D confines of the sheet of paper and get to grips with the 3D reality of urban spaces, territories and buildings, with projects of architectural graphics, installations, events and temporary architecture. Or to study how the didactic apparatus of information captions in an exhibition or a museum display is structured.


      The design disciplines discussed in the third year address topics that are covered in part autonomously by individual lecturers, each following his specific remit, but that at the same time also converge on a workshop where those specifics are harnessed to build a complex, yet homogeneous and unitary, system of communications. The input to this workshop is methodological, cultural, technical and specialised.

Remarkable is that teacher who accomplishes himself what he teaches to others.
(Italian proverb)

IED faculty are professionals that daily face the market. Here you can read their bios.

Annbjer Daniel

Annbjer Daniel
Daniel Annbjer is a Swedish Graphic Design & Art Director, graduating in 2008 from the IED Graphic Design 3 year course in Milan he now collaborates and works for various design and advertising agencies developing Branding, Corporate Identity, Illustration, Campaign and Strategic thinking in both ATL and BTL projects with National & International Clients. 2010 set his first solo exhibition in the Tortona 20 gallery displaying illustrations and graphic works, he then founded the creative platform and indie brand FVSD as well as the art collective Pastel Castles in 2013 collaborating with various artists and brands connected to popular culture and urban art and from 2014 he collaborates with IED Milan teaching Branding and Product Communication.

Billiotte Claire

Billiotte Claire
Claire Billiotte (1972) lives and works in Milan. After 8 years working in the videogame industry, she studied graphic design at the Istituto Europeo di Design and graduated in 2007. In 2009, she co-founded Yvat & Klerb with Ivana Tubaro, a studio with a special interest in editorial design, typography and calligraphy.

Branzaglia Carlo

Branzaglia Carlo
He’s involved in design and innovation. He teaches at Academy of Fine Arts, Bologna, where he established the Graphic Design and Design Management programs, and Design Center Bologna. He’s also the coordinator of the Master in Graphic Design at Ied, Milan. He wrote several books (last one: Comunicare con le Immagini, third edition, 2013). The editor in chief in quarterly graphic design magazine Artlab; he is President of Adi, Emilia Romagna Delegation.

Callejas Paula Andrea

Callejas Paula Andrea
Industrial Designer, born in Medellin Colombia.Graduated from the ÒUniversidad Aut?noma de ManizalesÓ (1997) and Master in Design from Domus Academy (1999) where she has been appointed Seminar Assistant for various master courses.Has worked within the Domus Academy Research Center (D.A.R.C.) and collaborated with other studios in Milan (Italform, Mdp, Francesca Valan, Future Concept Lab) participating in different industrial, graphic and research projects, approaching different design fields: C.M.F. and trends, environmental design, playing concepts and toys. Since 2002 she heads the project 100%natural - monitor, dedicated to design, materials, jewellery, trends and crafts.

Casolo Francesco

Casolo Francesco
I was born in Milan in 1974, where I currently live after having studied as well as worked in both Paris and Berlin for several years. I recently wrote, directed and filmed a documentary film called I resilienti (The resilient ones), set in Egypt, which was awarded at the Lampedusa film festival and selected at the Beirut International Film Festival.Since many years, I write for cinema (I collaborated to the screenwriting of a movie called, Cutting the grey parts, Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival for the best first feature, and I was awarded for an original script, Gli altri due), publishers (I work as editor and ghost writer for RCS-Rizzoli Media group) and magazines (I’ve been correspondant from Berlin and Paris for some Italian tourist magazines). Since 2006, I also work as visiting Professor c/o Istituto Europeo di Design (IED).

Di Virgilio Bettina

Di Virgilio Bettina

Gelpi Andrea

Gelpi Andrea
Andrea Gelpi earned a Ph.D. in Sociology of Communication from Catholic University Milan. Worked as teaching assistant in the subject of  intercultural communication and history of the radio and television. Worked as a free-lance qualitative researcher for several university research institutes on the subject of media, technology and communication. Currently working as a director of qualitative research in market research.   

Gorla Marcello

Gorla Marcello
I graduated in in Service Design at the Politecnico of Milan, with a thesis about knowledge sharing and social networking. I’ve been involved in product usability field researches inside university collaborating with the Product Usability Lab and, after my graduation, I’ve been following an open design and user innovation research focusing on interface and interaction of web applications. Since 2005 I’m a teaching assistant at Politecnico of Milano Design Faculty, for first and third product design students. I work as a freelance web designer and web developer collaborating with design agencies.

Liuzzo Giuseppe

Liuzzo Giuseppe
Born and raised in Catania, a perky and stimulating city of Sicily. Fascinated by Visual arts he moved to Rome to attend the IED. Among his years of studies, he has also attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, until the graduation at the IED of Milan.He began his professional career working with many Design and Communication agencies , accomplishing national and internashonal projects of Brand Identity and Brand Communication. In 2010 he creates "Liuzzo's Factory", one of the most eclectic and active Italian collective, famous for its icon BOB. In 2011 he founded his own studio in Milan and collaborate with national and international agencies and companies, developing projects of Brand Identity, Corporate Communications and Strategic.

Lucchini Alessandro

Lucchini Alessandro
Alessandro Lucchini is a videomaker and Motion Graphics Artist.After graduating in Video Design at IED in 2006, he starts working as a freelance editor.His work is divided between traditional editing for non-fiction movies and commercials, and content production for interactive installations.This particular interest, originated from the professional partnership with studio N!03, represents now the most important part of his work.

Marzotto Claude

Marzotto Claude
Claude Marzotto is a visual designer and illustrator. Partner of Atelier Vostok studio since 2005. Member of AIAP, the graphic designers’ Italian association, she collaborates as en editor with its magazine “Progetto grafico”. MA (Hons) and Ph.D. in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano. 

Romano Gianni

Romano Gianni
Gianni Romano is an art critic and art teacher since the late Eighties. He curated art exhibitions and teaching seminars in Europe. His most popular book is "Contemporanee" (Costa&Nolan 1999) an important survey on the work of women artists since the Seventies. In 1955 he founded one of the first art websites ( which will later, in 2002, turned into a publishing company with the name of "postmedia books".

Solaini Raffaele

Solaini Raffaele
Raffaele Solaini received the degree magna cum laude in Philosophy of language from the University of Pavia, and the Ph.D in Semiotics from the University of Bologna. He started teaching at the University of Pavia. Since 2006 he teachesSemiotics and Branding at the European Institute of design.He has worked with important market research agencies, such as Baba, Valdani&Vicari, Cried, Gpf, and Episteme, developing qualitative analysis projects, based on etnographic and semiological tools.

Temporin Stefano

Temporin Stefano
Right after a master degree in Communication Design at the Politecnico of Milan, he worked several years for Leftloft as graphic and type designer.Art director of Zero Magazine and professor at IED since 2007.

Vitale Graziano

Vitale Graziano
Graziano Vitale is an Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Certified Instructor.Graphic designer naturally born he works for advertising and publishing art. He works as author and illustrator for children's book, Graphic designer for advertising, publishing art, web and mobile applications, and teaching in Ied since 2005 for several Graphic design and Fashion Courses.

Marina Bonanni

Marina Bonanni
Graphic designer who works in the field of communication and publishing for over 25 years, before as an Art Director, and since 2000 as a freelance offering his advice both in the editorial that for private and small enterprises, for which care of the image, advertising and graphic design in all its aspects. Since 1991 she is professor at the Istituto Europeo di Design in the corse of Graphic and Media Design. She is a member AIAP.