Visual Communication Design

Visual Communication Design changes human behaviour by providing compelling forms of non-verbal information and new ways of thinking. These highly valued skills are increasingly used in everything from the interface of computers and phones to children books, animation, filmmaking, and advertising and includes UX design, information big data translation, visualisation, wayfinding, graphic designs, Apps, typography, and countless other examples.

Why study a PhD or Research Masters in Visual Communication Design at Newcastle?

Led by Professor Mario Minichiello, Design at the University of Newcastle (UON) continues to build its reputation for world-class inter-disciplinary research, postgraduate training and innovation by working with HMRI and the UON Medical School, both ranked at the highest rating of 5 in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). Our discipline offers PhD and Research Masters candidates expert supervision, as all our academics have professional experience and PhDs.

Take a look at an example of our innovative cross-disciplinary research:

Stroke Recovery App Prototype

What you can research

Research proposals are invited in the following areas:

  • design practice
  • research and thinking
  • design pedagogy
  • user-centred, participatory, and user experience design
  • visual storytelling
  • visual methodologies
  • materiality and hapticity
  • typography
  • photographic theory and practice
  • illustration theory and practice
  • speculative design theory and practice
  • animation theory and practice

Research methodologies

Most research in design is either a practice-lead or a practice-based enquiry. Students use qualitative as well as quantitative approaches in their research. Student increasingly apply  "designerly ways of thinking and communicating" that are different from scientific and scholarly ways of thinking and other forms of communication. In this way each student is seeking to establish an individual epistemology of practice.

Research projects in Design can include Thesis and Creative Practice Projects where the artefact is submitted with a written exegesis. The Design artefact can take any design or media form.

Take a look at the below example Pop-Up by Stuart McBratney, which is the practical element of his thesis: “Pragmatism and Bricolage in Microbudget Feature Filmmaking”

"Pop-Up" - teaser trailer from Stuart McBratney on Vimeo.

Find a Visual Communication Design Supervisor

Before you apply, contact a supervisor for discussion on possible research projects. This will allow you to frame your proposal to align with established disciplines and areas of supervisor capacity.

  • Professor Mario Minichiello: human design for; behaviour, Visualisation, Visual Narrative and story telling, Branding, Animation, film and moving imagery, drawing, conflict art and design for medical applications.
  • Associate Professor Mark Roxburgh: design practice and theory; photographic practice and theory; user-centred, participatory, and user experience design; visual representation, visual storytelling and visual methodologies.
  • Dr Caelli Jo Brooker: visual art; mark-making; drawing; painting; print media; artists books; graphic design; typography; hapticity: practice as research; visual research methodologies; materiality; visuality; visual literacies; the nexus between art and design; art and design pedagogy; art theory and the philosophy of art and design.
  • Dr Michael Dickinson: transforming creative ideas through design into commercial realities. Design for innovation and engagement. Expertise in design theory and practice led research.
  • Dr Simone O’Callaghan: user experience design and human interaction as well as creative practice-based methods for research
  • Dr Jane Shadbolt: research into relationship between stop motion animation and special effects in live action cinema. It looks at ideas of illusion and the visual representation of the impossible through theory and practice.

How to apply