The curriculum rests upon a common foundation of design concepts and methodologies, but is structured so that after the second year students can gradually become more familiar with specific problems and identify particular areas that they wish to pursue.
All students share a common theoretical background centering around Design Theory, which they study throughout the four years of the course, and Semiotics, which they study in their second and third years. In addition, they share common basic design concepts as a result of the methodologies learned in Morphology and Chromatics, required subjects in their first and second years.
Students continue to pursue their own design topics and solutions to problems through various design projects conducted in research seminars and practical seminars, which they are free to choose after their second year.
Through the study of theory in related scientific fields (such as specials topics in sociology and artificial intelligence), which are electives in the third and fourth years, students continue to pursue their own ideas for design topics as well as explore broader fields to find solutions to design problems.
The choice of design seminar in the fourth year is based on a subject that they took in their third year. In this seminar, they pursue a topic or methodology that becomes the basis for their graduation thesis or art project, although they receive separate faculty guidance regarding their graduation thesis or project. Since these graduation projects are the culmination of four years of study at the university, there are high expectations about the student's ability to devise a research topic, develop it, and find a creative solution.
We start by reading the environment that surrounds us as a text woven from various pieces of information. Collecting information through field research and the study of resource material and the relevant literature, reading and understanding this information, and disseminating it as new information demands an integrated process by which each subject is approached from various viewpoints. Opening their minds to the potential of computers and other forms of technology, students explore the possibilities of new modes of perception and methods of expression transcending existing frameworks.
We explore design involving visual perception that plays such a large role in our everyday lives in forms such as pictograms, notation, diagrams, typography and posters. This means more than simply acquiring the techniques to convey messages; it means understanding visual communication in the context of its relationship to contemporary perceptual psychology and historical awareness, consciously "observing" rather than unconsciously "seeing", and approaching design from a holistic perspective.
From home and workplace to leisure activities, our lifestyles are sustained by industrial products. Here students explore the design of those products; however, rather than looking at individual items, students consider them as elements forming an interconnected environment. The process requires developing a viewpoint that integrates multiple elements including the functions, culture, technology and economics of objects, plus the wide-ranging conceptual ability to find and propose ideas for new ways of using things.
Theory of Design
The objective of this section is to view design from a very broad perspective, traversing the many fragmented disciplines of design in light of the history of design in the West and in Japan, approaches to design and design methods. Students contemplate psychological processes such as the human sensory perceptions and emotions generated by the ways in which people and objects (manmade objects) act on each other, and actual activities in the workplace, such as influential behaviors, identify issues in design, and extract ideas from them.