Visual communication design

Visual communication is one of the most universal forms of design. Visual communication designers no longer just design posters, brochures and books, or websites and apps - they design experiences, services and even the whole way a business operates.

In VCD studio courses you will work about 50:50 in groups and on your own. You work on projects that develop your ability to convey a message, express a point of view, and/or persuade others. You will learn how to think like a designer, how to produce technically excellent work, how to work with clients, and how to generate innovative responses to any challenge. 

What first year courses to take if you want to major in visual communication design

  • To get into the visual communication design major, you must take either 222.157 Screen or 222.158 Type in first year. View the Screen and Type videos here.
  • You have two elective slots in first year, where you are free to follow your interests, for example:
    If you want to use illustration in your work, you could focus on drawing skills in 213.154 Contemporary Drawing and/or 213.155 Drawing the Body.
    If you are interested in digital media and interactivity, you might consider 197.119 Coding for Creative Practice and/or a creative media production course such as 289.102 Visualisation for Media Production, 289.101 Introduction to Web and Mobile Media, or 289.103 Introduction to Animation.
    If you are interested in print media, you might consider 222.104 Printmaking.
    To develop your photography, you could take 221.157 Lens as another core studio course (alongside Screen and/or Type). There is also a photography elective, 221.100 Photography as an Agent of Change.
  • There are many more options - see the Yellow Book for details.

Key facts

Massey visual communication design graduates include:

  • Michael Crosbie (Designworks)
  • Dan Collins (Insight)
  • Celeste Holmes-Skachill (Te Papa)


Employment paths for a communication designer are ever-increasing. They include the ‘traditional’ paths such as graphic designer, illustrator and web designer, and now include new areas such as interface designer, service and experience designer, brand manager, concept artist, visual effects artist, and visual name but a few.

Refold project video