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Universidade Lusófona do Porto

Design Theory and Criticism


Communication Design

Level of Qualification|Semesters|ECTS

| Semestral | 4

Year | Type of course unit | Language

2 |Mandatory |Português



Recommended complementary curricular units

[Does not apply]

Professional Internship



1. Good and Bad Design: definitions, reviews, authors, design and philosophy;
2. Design and Future: possible relations between science fiction and design;
3. Loving the alien: Empathy and the ignorance / recognition of the other;
4. Communicating beyond barriers: linguistics, semiology, rhetoric, and even empathy;
5. Iterative processes, cognitive noise, visual thinking, language as a structure;
6. Connecting signals: Cartesian thinking versus non-linear thinking, clustering and the ¿eureka moment¿;
7. Complex systems, systemic thinking, systems design;
8. Speculating futures: design, utopias and dystopias.


The main objective of the discipline is to develop the students¿ ability to think critically about design and learn to see design critically.


At the end of the semester, students must:

  • Have a basic knowledge of the main concepts and areas of knowledge related to Design;
  • To be able to explore and express themselves critically about the fields of knowledge directly and indirectly related to the area of competence of contemporary Design;
  • Understand the breadth, complexity, implications and risks of the practice of Design in contemporary society.

Teaching methodologies and assessment

The discipline is based on:

  • Reading and discussion of texts and videos;
  • Discussion of the proposed topics with invited experts;
  • Inverted classroom and problem-based learning, with the exploration of the proposed themes by students;
  • Conducting research and seminars on the topics;
  • Evaluation of exercises and participation, added to a process of critical self-evaluation of the results achieved individually and by the discipline.


  1. Cardoso, R. (2013). Design Para um Mundo Complexo. São Paulo, Brasil: Cosac & Naify.
  2. Dunne, A.; Raby, F. (2013). Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. London, England: MIT Press.
  3. Gerstner, K. (1979). Diseñar Programas. Barcelona, Espanha: Editorial Gustavo Gili.
  4. Heller, S. (2004). Design literacy: understanding graphic design. New York, United States: Allworth Press.
  5. Rand, P. (2014). Thoughts on Design. San Francisco, United States: Chronicle Books.


Office Hours

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Horário de atendimento


Gabriel Patrocinio

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