Communication Design

Communication Design plays a large role in our everyday lives, guiding interaction and communication in both physical and digital forms. In the Communication Design Studio, you will develop visualization skills and creative thinking through a mix of experiments in various forms and media. As you learn a visual language, design principles, and thinking methods, the program also provides experiences of exploring contemporary issues and concepts and examining how designers contribute from commercial design to social awareness campaigns.

The Communication Design studio runs online July 5-30, 2021, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9am-4pm (Pacific Daylight Time, GMT -7). This studio is offered through the Summer Institute for Teens 2021. Please visit the Summer Institute for Teens main page to learn more about the program and download the registration forms.

Learning outcomes

Through successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the key stages of the visual communication design process
  • Apply basic knowledge of colour, composition and typography to all projects
  • Demonstrate creative problem-solving within visual communication design projects
  • Understand contemporary applications of Communication Design
  • Engage in critique processes in a professional and constructive manner
  • Gain technical skills in industry-standard software
  • Develop pieces that communicate a message to an audience

Materials & Resources

Students participating in SIT will be required to have their own access to the required hardware and supplies for their registered studio.

Estimate cost of supplies: $30-$40

Required software:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign

Required hardware:

  • Computer with webcam. Computers should meet the following minimum requirements to run Adobe CC.
  • Headphones and microphone
  • Tablet or a smartphone to document progress of your work.
  • Suggested: Printer

About the instructor

Natalie Gagnon is a Vancouver-based art director, publication designer, brand strategist + design educator who brings brands, content and minds to life with strategic design, multi-platform publishing and clear communication style. With a decade of art direction and marketing experience in the magazine and advertising industries, six years teaching post-secondary design courses, certificates in copywriting and book binding, and holding a Masters of Arts (Graphic Branding and Identity) from the London College of Communication, she is well-equipped to solve a diverse variety of communication needs. Natalie empowers brands to live their most distinct life and inspires students to be passionate designers.

Natalie maintains a strong respect for an efficient workflow and the need to continually learn. When not busy designing for clients in the private sector or teaching design courses at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and Simon Fraser University, she is likely heading to her pottery studio to make pieces for her small business, Nima Stoneware, or creating crochet patterns for her company, Nattypat Crochet. Past design clients include: Vancouver, Western Living, Modern Dog, Modern Cat, MONTECRISO, and NUVO magazines, as well as Black Press, Glacier Media, and The Sutton Place Hotel Group.

Natalie believes that successful design is achieved through the creation of immediacy + icon. Immediacy, the need to communicate information and ideas effectively, and icon, a strong and memorable visual identity and form are interdependent. Take one away and the work will be unsuccessful—take immediacy away and the message is lost, take icon away and the message is not remembered.