The International Master of Design UIC/HGK (MDes Basel) is a collaboration of the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) and The Basel School of Design, Visual Communication Institute FHNW/HGK. It focuses on graphic designers, visual communication designers and media designers, with a bachelor's degree and professional design experience.

  • The MDes Basel addresses students who want to be part of an international program influenced by the tradition of Swiss Graphic Design and our current academic perspective and standards. Unique to this program, is the opportunity to graduate with an internationally accredited Master of Design (MDes) from UIC and the Swiss equivalent, MAS in Graphic Design I, Iconicism and Graphic Design II, Mediality from the HGK. Students are matriculated and registered at UIC with classes being held at the FHNW/HGK Visual Communication Institute in Basel. This is a 4 Semester, 120 ECTS (60 US Credits), full-time program.
  • Application deadline: March 31st, 2018
  • Semester begins: September 17th, 2018
  • Course language: English


  • Candidates
    Students entering the MDes program with a BA or BFA degree in Graphic Design, Visual Communication, Communication Design or Media Design wish to deepen their design skills through a process-led approach to solving visual problems. Gaining the ability to conduct a reflective and goal oriented design process and develop an individual vocabulary applicable in the design practice.
    • Program
      Continuing to build upon the influential Swiss design tradition set by The Basel School of Design, an emphasis is placed on process throughout the elements which form visual communication. We break these modules into imagery, typography, medium and theory. Process-oriented projects in imagery seek to extend the visual vocabulary of the students. Medium (new media), introduces creative coding as a strategy generate compositions and images through programming. This is combined with an understanding in the volatility of digital media and the visual artifacts found in their failure. Letterform design and typography deal with the formulation, organization and structure of character sets in order to convey information. With the rise of pictorial messages, a product of digitization, our practice-led research aims to address the discrepincy in studies on the impact of images relative to that of language.
    • Structure
      Balancing theory and practice, the first two semester’s consist of core classes (design theory, design practice, new media) and elective tools (photography, typography, graphic form, video, research). The third semester continues this trajectory, while a mini-thesis begins the investigation into a topic of choice which one will be dedicated themselves to in the fourth semester.
    • Travel
      First-hand experience’s are important. In our program, class excursions to exhibitions and studio visits play as important a role as discussions and critiques in the classroom. Every odd year we visit UIC in Chicago for a week of student exchanges and cultural visits. In even years a trip within Europe is planned by students to gain insight of that cities design field.
    • Professional Field
      The acquisition of such design related practical expertise, with a theoretical basis, opens the gates to a range of employment opportunities in internationally oriented design offices, corporate design agencies, new media agencies, publishing houses, bureaus for exhibition design, architectural firms or starting ones own design studio. Our MDes program is well suited as a preparation for teaching design at a university level. Apart from the specific professional qualifications in the fields of graphic design and design research, the acquisition of soft skills is an explicit part of the learning outcome. These include writing and verbal expression skills, research methodology, presentational skills, and social and trans-cultural competence.


  • Fall Workshop
    Recently, we've kicked off the year with invited faculty and students from another country. Including, Taipei University and most recently PaTI (Paju Typography Institute). Here visual and culinary cultures mix between both groups as the invited faculty organize a variety of workshops.
  • Fasnacht Workshop
    Every spring during Basel's carnival week, MDes candidates participate in a one week workshop given by an invited designer to match the intensity of music in the streets. Previous workshops have been given by: Ludovic Balland, Ronnie Füglister, Hamish Muir, Alex Rich, Just van Rossum, David Schwarz, Hahn+Zimmermann.
  • Summer Workshops
    MDes candidates are invited to participate in our international Summer Workshop series following their first year, an event their fellow master students from UIC also participate in. Developing a network with these students is key, as every other year the students of Basel travel to Chicago to further enrich this collaboration. Summer workshops include weekend field-trips to local design highlights within and across the German and French borders, including: Vitra Design Museum (G), the Isenheimer Alter (F) or Ronchamp (F). In Basel the Fondation Beyeler, Tinguely Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Schaulager and the Museum of Contemporary Art are world renown.

Poster Design, Leander Eisenmann, 25.6. – 29.6.2018
Inquiry by Design, Prof. Michael Renner, 2.7. – 6.7.2018
Time: Designed, Ted Davis + Gregory Vines, 9.7. – 13.7.2018
Type Design, Prof. Philipp Stamm, 16.7. – 20.7.2018

baselsummerworkshops.ch









Since 2013, we're located at a new campus in the Dreispitz areal of Basel. With the move, we join forces with our fellow institutes of the Academy of Arts HGK, expanding the shared pool of resources available to each student.


  • Professional Workshops
    Printing and Bookbinding (Foil embossing, heat-transfer, perfect/ring binding, world-format screen-printing, book-press, cutting-press, large-format plotting), Metal (Lathes, welding, drill-press, box/pan brakes), Rapid Prototyping (Laser cutting, 3D printing (makerbots, objets), 3D scanning), Synthetics (Vacuum/heat-forming, lathes, plastic molding, band-saws), Wood (CNC, lathes, drill-press, table/band/scroll-saws, lamination, vacuum-forming, planing)
  • Campus of Arts
    HeK – House for Electronic Arts
    Atelier Mondial
    i art
    Herzog & De Meuron
    OffCut
    Oslo 10
    Radio X
    Schaulager
    SfG Library
Ted Davis
201?

Philipp Stamm
Adrian Frutiger – Typefaces. The Complete Works

Ted Davis
201?

Jiri Oplatek
Doing Fashion Show Plakate 11

Ted Davis
201?

Mischa Leiner
Frank Gehry On Line
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton NJ

Ted Davis
201?

Michael Renner

Ted Davis
201?

Ted Davis
OscillDraw_NotRecognized, 2017

Ted Davis
201?

Gregory Vines
Gewerbemuseum Basel/Museum für Gestaltung

Ted Davis
201?

Jonas Schaffter
OFFSIDE ISTANBUL

Ted Davis
201?

Kambiz Shafei



  • Arts and Design
    Home to one of the richest cultural centers for the arts within Europe, Basel with only 37 square kilometers, hosts nearly forty museums. This includes the Vitra Design Museum, 60,000+ collection of original posters in the Basel Plakatsammlung (Poster Archive) and the Museum of Design Zürich located an hour away by train. At the beginning of each summer, the world's premier international art show for modern and contemporary works, Art Basel, takes the city by surprise. In addition to housing the Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel is both the home base and playground for a handful of world-renowned architects.
  • Cultural Events
    Spring is met with a surprising side of the Swiss as they fit themselves with costumes, masks and instruments for 72 hours of Carnival, known as Fasnacht. The largest of its type in Switzerland, the festivities begin when all of the city lights are turned off at precisely 4:00am on the monday following Ash Wednesday. In summer the Rhine River, which flows directly through the center of the city, is filled with orange fish (dry bags) and their owners who float to cool off. In the fall and winter one can look forward to Herbstmesse / Weihnachtsmarkt (Autumn Fair/Christmas Market) for traditional foods and crafts spread across the city. Throughout the year, one can also find a wide range of specialty art, film and especially music festivals.
  • Travel
    Centrally located, Switzerland connects both northern and southern parts of Western Europe through its mountainous Alp region. Situated in the north-west of Switzerland, Basel borders both Germany and France, providing ample opportunity for diverse short-distance travel. By bike one can easily peddle between all three countries in less than an half-hour. Distant travel is made easy with train stations going directly into neighboring countries as well as a local airport offering cheap flights to 60+ destinations. Together with an extensive Swiss Railway system, offering many discounts based on age and location, ones study in Basel will benefit greatly from the wide range of culture found throughout its many surroundings.

2017

Promphan Suksumek + Elham Namvar
Plotting Lyrics

Yann Patrick Matrins
2017

Elham Namvar
The Library – Alternative Ways of Organizing Knowledge

Yann Patrick Matrins
2017

Rasha Dakkak
The Prayer Mat: Re-interpreting Ritual Aesthetics
Photo: Yann Patrick Martins

Hala Al-Ani
2017

Hala Al-Ani
Voluntary Traces
Photo: Hala Al-Ani


2017

Ju Hyun Kang
Experiments of Writing with Experience


2017

Scott Vander Zee
Untitled (2013–2014)


2017

Zeynep Basay
Interpreting Reality By Drawing

Our alumni's impact can be found around the world.
A selection of profiles since the program began in 2007:

Pouya Ahmadi, Iran
Assistant Professor UIC

Mano Ahn, South Korea
Senior Designer, Kerb Associates

Pegah Ahmadi, Iran
Designer, Morningstar Inc

Matthew Terdich, USA
Creative Director, Chicago Design Museum

Pablo Berger, Mexico
Co-Founder, berger + stadel + walsh

Emily Verba, USA
Assistant Professor, DAAP

Sungwon Chang, South Korea
UX Designer 2, Microsoft

Riem Ibrahim, Dubai
Assistant Professor, American University of Sharjah
Co-Founder, Mobius Design Studio

Engy Aly, Egypt
Assistant Professor, American University in Cairo

Scott Vander Zee, USA
Designer, Hubertus Design NYC

Jude Kang, South Korea
Part-time Lecturer, Seoul

María Marín de Buen, Mexico
Lecturer Mexico City
Co-Founder, Proyectos ninguém

Hala Al-Ani, Dubai
Co-Founder, Mobius Design Studio



Sent by post or Email:

Theodore Davis
Freilager-Platz 1
Postfach
4002 Basel
Switzerland

theodore.davis@fhnw.ch
Subject: MDes 2018 Application


  • Step 2
    Portfolio, letter of intent, resume/cv, recommendation letters.
    Submitted by Slideroom.

The portfolio should consist of up to 20 examples, we encourage process work alongside final outcomes.
Limit image sizes to 1280px, 72dpi and keep PDF file size under 10Mb. A second PDF may be uploaded if necessary. For media or interactive works, please provide screenshots and/or links for online viewing. Three letters of recommendation, requested from teachers or professional contacts, organized in Slideroom. Place additional documents listed above at the beginning of a multipage PDF, followed by your portfolio work. Do not send by E-mail, use Slideroom.

Deadline: March 31st, 2018
Notification for interviews: April 6th, 2018
Confirmation of participation: May 4th, 2018
Waiting list notification: May 11th, 2018



  • Tuition + Fees
    25,000.– CHF per year for international students
    20,000.– CHF per year for US citizens
    Payable in yearly, semesterly or quarterly installments.
    Anticipate up to 1,000.– CHF per year for materials.
  • Scholarships and Grants
    Self organized by applicants. Your local government may have international study financing. You may qualify for an art school scholarship from the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists.
  • Work parallel to study
    After 6 months, a student may apply for a work permit for up to 15 hours per week. Some students continue to pursue freelance work, but keep in mind that this is a two year full-time intensive program.
  • Non-design background
    While a bachelors degree is required, it may vary in background. Candidates should have either working experience in the field or come from an arts background.
  • English TOEFL requirements
    No certificates required, however candidates must be strong in English.
  • Difference between MDes and MA programs
    Our MDes program is limited to a smaller group size for more direct contact (max 7 per year vs. 20). It places an emphasis on international design practice and is composed of a very international group of students. Recent students have come from: Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States of America. Candidates of the MA program receive a Master of Arts degree from The Basel School of Design, whereas our MDes program is dual-degree program, with candidates receiving an internationally recognized Master of Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a Master of Advanced Studies from The Basel School of Design (HGK).
  • Need to speak German
    We encourage students to take an evening German course, covered by your tuition. Basel is an international city, bordering both Germany and France, and it's very easy to get by using English. Within the institute and campus one will find a very friendly atmosphere where students between all programs and levels interact frequently. The city and university offers many clubs and sports, so one should be able to find a group of common interests easily.
  • Involvement with UIC in Chicago
    Each summer both 1st year MDes classes meet and partake in the Summer Workshops held in Basel. Every other year, a class trip is organized to visit Chicago for a combination of workshop, presentations, cultural and studio visits. On the odd years, a class trip is made within Europe. The location and activities of this trip are both decided and organized by the MDes class.

For additional questions, please feel free to contact us.



Brigida Brunetti, Administration
brigida.brunetti@fhnw.ch
+41 61 228 43 47

Ted Davis, Program Coordinator
theodore.davis@fhnw.ch
+41 61 228 41 24

Prof. Michael Renner, Head of Institute
michael.renner@fhnw.ch
+41 61 228 40 85


Stay informed for Fall 2019



The International Master of Design Program UIC/HGK
is a collaboration of University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.



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Design, Code
Kambiz Shafei, Ted Davis
Basel