Academy of Art and Design FHNW, Visual Communication Institute


The HGK FHNW (Academy of Art and Design FHNW) is a site of conceptualization, production and critical reflection.

The Academy of Art and Design FHNW with its ten Institutes, 750 students and 200 faculty sees itself as vibrant breeding ground for ideas, as a cultural-political catalyser and as a seismograph detecting socially relevant fields in art, design and science that are then refined, processed and communicated in an exemplary fashion through theory and practice. On the basis of differentiated perception and reflection, personal vision and understanding, the Academy see its role as facing today’s challenges through a variety of creative spaces and professional perspectives.

The HGK FHNW is a site of diversity of attitudes and openness

Through integrative infrastructure and a transitional framework, the reinvented Campus of the Arts facilitates interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary learning, research and production. Students can currently choose from seven BA and four MA programmes. Project-based work forms the core of the programmes, combining, as is done in research, artistically experimental, creative, technological and scientific approaches. Aiming at sustainably creating receptive space for works, high-quality artifacts and productive processes, the Academy actively supports and promotes the potentiality of experimentation and networking in contrast to conventional knowledge production.

The HGK FHNW is a place for dialogue – between students and teachers, disciplines and cultures, academia and the public.

As part of an international network, the Academy consciously seeks out exchange with leading partner institutions that operate within a similar critical discourse, pioneer solutions for future contexts and cultures, and are actively opinion-forming. Where teaching is lived and communicated as a synergetic process moving between society, art, politics and the economy. Central to the Academy’s social mission is the education of future generations of independently-minded and confidently competent artists and designers.

The Visual Communication Institute / The Basel School of Design

The Visual Communication Institute / The Basel School of Design is today a Department of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Academy of Art and Design (HGK). We offer curricula at the Bachelor and Master level in the field of Visual Communication with international accreditation (BA, MA, MDes). The faculty members are active participants in the design community and are involved in applied research projects. The central focus of all activities is the creation of images for communication. The Visual Communication Institute developed out of the influential tradition of the Basel School of Design beginning in the 1960s. We have expanded this background to address the challenges of the 21st Century. We are part of an international network of Art and Design Schools that provides many opportunities for students and faculty.

The Basel School of Design

The Basel School of Design and its students have influenced the international Graphic Design community since the 1960’s. Under the direction of Armin Hofmann and Emil Ruder courses for Graphic Design and Typography were developed. They were outstanding models for a modernist design education. Since the year 2000, the Swiss educational system has undergone an astonishingly rapid process of adapting its educational institutions to the international standards of the Bachelor and Master curricula at the University level. In this process, the Visual Communication department became a separate institute from the vocational level School of Design (Schule für Gestaltung Basel). We are now part of the University system of Northwest Switzerland and have developed a curriculum for the University level with international accreditation. This University-level institute is officially called the «Visual Communication Institute/The Basel School of Design» and forms together with seven other Design- and Art oriented Institutes the Academy of Art and Design Basel (HGK Basel) as a Department of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). Today the Visual Communication Institute/The Basel School of Design offers a Bachelor's Degree program, an international Master’s Degree program, international Summer Workshops, and is involved in many national and international research and development projects. We are proud of what our institute has achieved during the past few years. The institute has a curriculum for today and tomorrow’s design world continuing the rich tradition of Swiss Design and Typography.

Accredited by the British Skill Funding Agency (PCDL listed institution.


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