Faculty of Arts


Communication, Writing and Design


This course examines the principles underlying the relation between communication, writing and design.

"Writing" is taken in a post-digital sense to include image, text and network. The course thus focuses on communicative practices in domains of work, entertainment and art practice. It understands that written and graphic materials are interpretable and mobilised within a wider communicative system of users. 

With an emphasis on grasping the myriad actors, both human and non-human, that constitute a writing network, or environment of design, the course focuses on the technical operation of the communicative act and enables students to produce persuasive and effective communication strategies and objects. The course is useful for students seeking to make a career in public relations, digital content strategy and writing, marketing and advertising, art and media practice.

Methodologically, the course is particularly interested in the concept of impedance, which involves error, dysfunction or unintended outcomes. It asks students, as a matter of critical thinking and creative design, to address and resolve problems of failed communication. This involves attending to the relation between document or text, image and design. 

Whilst largely practical in orientation, the course develops a critical vocabulary for analysis that includes semiotics, actor network theory and info-graphics. Game-based and problem-solving activities ask students to collectively consider what inhibits a user within a network of communication, and how that "impedance" might be removed by its redesign.

The course links to other courses in Arts and Business that include media and writing studies, organisation studies and marketing, creative writing and art history.

Assignments address the connections between text, document and work as a matter of design. The course is project-based, and approaches communicative media as objects of persuasion and provocation.

Assignments combine "graphematic" analysis with creative construction of documents, objects or artefacts, both written and visual, commonly found in environments of work, art and entertainment.

Its key concern, at base, is how to grasp, resolve and improve problems of communication and design.

Learning aims

By the end of this course students will be familiar with

  •  Principles of visual design
  •  Graphic or "graphematic" analysis
  •  Strategies for writing digital content
  •  Core skills of professional writing
  •  Practices of research, writing and design
  •  Project design and assembly

Availability 2019

Not taught in 2019




Coursework only


COMMS 309: 15.0 points


15 points from COMMS 200-208 and 15 points in BA courses



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