AOD presents of its most cutting edge and in demand design programmes – Visual Communication Programme

The products of visual communication design are so ingrained in every aspect of our lives that we hardly notice their presence. They inform, entertain, educate, and even contribute towards the improvement of people’s health and well-being. Behind these great solutions however, are multi-skilled communicators within every industry, responsible for analysing a society’s needs, and creating solutions that shape how the future of that society evolves. Quite literally making the world a better place.

With a BA (Hons) Visual Communications Design degree from the Academy of Design (AOD), students are equipped with a comprehensive and versatile toolkit that will help them face, but more importantly thrive, in an uncertain future – empowered with the skills, confidence, and ability to face any challenge with ease.

A multi-disciplinary degree in itself, the three-year programme from Sri Lanka’s pioneering design institution focuses on teaching the different aspects of visual communication design, combined with problem solving skills; aimed at producing innovators and change-makers bent on positive disruption for the betterment of the world they live in – each in their own way encouraged to utilize the enormous potential of design to see through their vision.

A combination of tutorial guidance, project ‘crits’, lectures, workshops, competitions, live industrial projects and placements, AOD’s BA (Hons) Visual Communications Design degree is affiliated with the reputed Northumbria University in the UK. Tutored and mentored by a global faculty –each with a unique portfolio- , course subjects cover a range of graphic design fields, and provide a look into theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts. Professional development helps students gain a firm footing as they establish themselves as designers, and exposure to national and international competitions provide both a taste of industry experience prior to graduation, and an opportunity to work with peers from around the world.

Final year Visual Communications Design students were able to showcase their projects at the annual graduate Reveal exhibition 2021; a wide display of innovation across the many AOD programmes, but also an exhibit of how passion and skillset can combine to create meaningful impact through design.

“Design can be powerful tool in building connections with people; going beyond the barriers of language, and traversing the boundaries of many limitations,” said Alefia Adamaly, a final year Visual Communications Design student, while explaining the inspiration behind ‘Mind Waves Surf School’ – her passion project for Reveal. Through the project, she hopes to provide a unique solution for overcoming the detrimental effects (physical inactivity, psychological distress, etc.) of the pandemic on children, by creating an environment for positive youth development through improving physical and mental wellbeing. By bringing the calming effects of the sea into the children’s lives, she hopes that they can be inspired again, and reconnected with the outdoors as well as their inner selves.

For his final major project, Zakwaan Asim chose to combine his love of motorcycles with community empowerment. Working closely with the medical community as well as amputees who have been disenfranchised from society, Zakwaan was able to craft and design prosthetics that would enable amputees get back to doing what they love, or need, again: riding motorcycles. “I have also designed alternative open-source medical prosthetics which can be downloaded, printed, and also modified for free; making the method of acquiring prosthetics more convenient, cheap and effective, as well as customized to your liking.”

“Throughout my three years of study I have really enjoyed building concepts and creating illustrations; in this way coming up with different forms of conversations. I now can look at problems and focus on solutions,” said Ashha Mikdhar, on how she was able to come up with her final design project. For her submission, Ashha chose to translate her newfound skillset into addressing the needs of her Muslim community; more specifically on trying to alleviate the identity crisis faced my Muslim youth today as a result of negative Muslim stereotyping in the media and real life. Having conceptualised and created board games that will help remind Muslim youth of their role in society, Ashha hopes that she has come up with a solution to help the next generation question their life choices, and as a result, make changes to get back on the right track.

For her final year submission, Liv Ratnayake chose to raise awareness for young victims (both) direct or third party) of domestic abuse in Sri Lanka, by incorporating a fashion element into her project. “My concept was to create a juxtaposition of childrens’ instinct to close their eyes in the face of fear, with the choice adults make to intentionally close their eyes in the face of pressing issues; the intention being to make adults view domestic abuse through the eyes of a child.” Liv’s range of eyewear, named ‘Seems okay’, includes 5 different glasses, each design inspired by the different coping mechanisms and emotions a young domestic abuse victim undergoes with their eyes closed. With her project, Liv hopes to collaborate with an eyewear retailer, for proceeds from sales to actually go into helping child victims of abuse; but also primarily to get people to first take notice and stand up against this very real problem.

Fathimath Marin Mottaki is from the Maldives, and enrolled at AOD be able to pursue a world-class design education. “I have always been fascinated by the concept of art, and here at AOD I learned in-depth the different aspects of design, and the importance of exploring these further to tackle real-life problems.” Her project, a tactile picture book for visually impaired children, incorporates braille and imagery of animals in the hope that these children will find the confidence to actively take part in society, when otherwise they would have been reluctant to do so.

From designing prosthetics to raising awareness of domestic violence abuse victims, from giving back confidence to visually impaired children, to helping find a solution for community identity crises, AOD’s annual Reveal showcase explored just a fraction of the immense potential visual communications holds. Not just in the design space, but for creating waves of change for societal development -the university’s portfolio of successful alumni representing even more general and niche possibilities.

AOD invites Sri Lanka’s designers and change-makers of the future to learn more about its BA (Hons) Visual Communications Design degree, and the world of problem-solving and career opportunities it opens up. For more information, reach AOD Colombo on 0775727772, email or walk in between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R A De Mel mawatha, Colombo 4