Study Abroad

Study Abroad

Design is an increasingly complex profession where the limits between traditional speciality areas are become blurred. Designers today must be capable of covering every base in this extensive market and have expert knowledge of the diversity of services they can offer. These intensive courses take a comprehensive look at design and the new opportunities they afford.


15 weeks in ELISAVA School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona.

Free Elective Programme

Track A: For students without design background

  • 3 mandatory subjects (45 hours and 6 ECTS each)
  • Plus a choice of electives (45 hours and 6 ECTS each)
  • Plus optional Spanish language lessons (45 hours and 6 ECTS)

Track B: For students with design background (ELISAVA will require a portfolio)

  • A choice of electives a minimum of 3 (45 hours and 6 ECTS each)
  • Plus optional Spanish language lessons (45 hours and 6 ECTS)

Academic Year 2018-2019

  • Fall Semester: September 5th to December 18th 
  • Spring Semester: January 8th to 25th April

Academic Year 2019-2020

  • Fall Semester: September 6th to December 19th
  • Spring Semester: January 10th to April 30th


Programme entirely taught in English.

These are the courses that the programme Study Abroad offers:

The Global and Historic Context of Art and Design

The objective of this course is to relate the different branches of human knowledge: architecture, sociology, history, anthropology and art with the aim of developing a cognitive map of the world we live in.

The establishment of theoretic bases and social knowledge that allow the permeation of design in a global and historic context, The purpose is to give the student analytical and discursive tools to develop their own project from a of critical and innovative point of view.

This course will analyse the basic theories of art, architecture and design culture since the industrial revolution up to the present day. The first phase will study the emergence of industrial design as a specific discipline in Western European culture. This will be followed by an investigation of modern design language in daily life, the value of brands and consumer habits in a new world of mass communication, new technologies and sustainability.

Using the extensive resources of Barcelona with visits to the cities museums such as MNAC, MACBA, Joan Miró Foundation and the Picasso Museum, emblematic buildings by Gaudi, Mies Van Der Rohe, Richard Meier and Jean Nouvel as well as design stores like Vitra, BD and Vinçon and restaurants and leisure spaces around the city.

Advanced Principles in Design: Integrating communication, humanities and scientific techniques

This course is centered on the assimilation of procedures that allow understanding of a design language that examines the relationship between necessity and function of objects and the interaction between objects and their environment. The student is also introduced to the semantics of form, colour and materials.

Fundamentals of Design has a global focus, with a theoretic and practical profile, synthesising and integrating the different areas of communcation, humanities and scientific techniques. The multidisciplinary personality implies a parallel understanding of graphic design and practical interior design, sharing content that is clearly defined yet flexible in their final applications.

Digital Representation Principles

The capacity of communicating trough images and expressing the relevant aspects of a project, from the idea to the final proposal, is a fundamental aspect of design. This course is aimed at providing students with representation Concepts and techniques that are broadly applied in design fields.

Based on exercises, talks and workshop sessions, the course embraces the ability of students to define and show their ideas by learning about the options and features that Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign and Adobe Illustrator offer as a powerful suite specifically conceived for design professionals.

Mandatory for participants to the Study Abroad programme without experience in digital representation and visual narrative, the course is also recommended for those design students who want to deepen their knowledge of digital tools and learn more about the Adobe Suite.

The course approaches also the basic concepts of video editing and production, as well as fundamentals of presentation techniques, in order to provide students with a complete range of options that they will put into practice in many visual communications required by the Study Abroad programme as well as by their future design projects.

Retail Design / Visual Merchandising

Retail is naturally the showplace for new ideas, new concepts and new products. As such, the store environment serves as the selling stage for the latest merchandise offerings of the day, and a tool of communication used to create a dialogue with the targeted customer. Through effective visual merchandising, the retailer communicates both the attributes of the brand, and the attributes of the products offered.

The primary objective of this program is to present students the importance of visual merchandising as an integral component of a successful retail strategy. Classes will include an in-depth analysis of the retail store environment. The principles, philosophies and technologies of visual merchandising will be studied through exploration of the market place and hands-on classroom experimentation.

Design for Packaging

Modern-day packaging needs call for professionals with the power to communicate—both formally and graphically—the attributes of a product.

With the aim of training professionals whose design is nurtured in a sense of social and environmental responsibility, the program shows the right tools for conceptualising and developing comprehensive packaging projects.

The goal is to understand the factors affecting production and selection of a package for a specific product, its possibilities and materials.

Graphic Design and Visual Communication

This course focuses on graphic communication with special attention to texts and the written word and their integration and relationship with images, colours and textures. Projects ranging from artistic and experimental calligraphy, typography, poster composition, editorials and digital interaction.

The course centres on the vision of graphic design as an essential element of communication crossing social, cultural and functional boundaries. This concept of design, not only as a formal exercise, will incorporate functional challenges and technological links, taken in this graphical context.

The complete manual and technological resources of ELISAVA are available to students from printing materials and movable type to computers and tablets.

Furniture and Product Design

This course focuses on the areas of product and furniture design. Covering the whole process from conceptualisation, formalisation, development and pre-production of a designed object from the human, domestic or work environment.

The course will study the social, ergonomic and esthetic environment of the user, the ways of producing the final work and the impact of this on the environment as a whole. Students will approach the semantics of objects, their functional and communicative capacity along with the integration of materials and technology.

Visits to factories, showrooms and design boutiques as well as using the school’s workshops form an important part of the development of the designed products.

Food, Design and Health

This course is focused on the interaction of design, as a creative process, with food and health, as fundamental part of human being.

The relation between design food and health is not only based on the tangible aspects (space, forms, product, packaging...), but in a wide range of approaches, from culture to territory, from well-being to aesthetics.

We must understand the whole relation of man with environment to create innovative ways, systems or products to enhance this interaction. Designing in a creative way, connecting mind and hand, the senses and the culture, in a constant communication with other designers, will allow us to find out new ways of understanding our world and improving it.

Interior Spaces

The Interior Spaces course introduces design students to the complexities of the development of the interior spaces, as well as putting them in touch with the local architecture and design culture. The course structure is designed to provide a general framework for the development of a range of projects, from small scale briefs to a larger scale proposal for a residential interior. The program provides the student with knowledge and skills in all areas of space planning, theory and concept, model-making and freehand drawing as well as communication.

Priority is given to learning strategies that foster critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making capabilities. As a result, students will increase their creative skills and get a substantial vision in all areas related to interior space design. With an active participation of the students, several practical exercises integrated within the course promote a conceptual and experimental approach to design through a hands-on learning method. It usually begins with a presentation to provide the theoretical foundation that aims to deepen the comprehension of a specific subject. During class, students will develop a quick draft resolution, PowerPoint presentations, and/ or a physical model.

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