Visual Communication + Change

180 hp

Do you want to use visual communication to make a difference in the world? Then this is the right degree for you. The programme combines creativity and graphic design with knowledge of sustainability to prepare you for a profession as a visual communicator / graphic designer with a specialisation in information graphics.

This degree programme gives you an introduction to today’s major global concerns, as well as visual tools to help bring order to a sometimes overwhelming flow of information, and to truly affect people.

The programme is delivered through a series of projects, and you will work independently as well as engage in group work, and in collaborations with the local and regional community and enterprises. The Visual Communication + Change programme is delivered in English and we welcome students from all over the world. This means that you as a student are part of a group characterised by diversity and are well prepared for an international design career.

Visual Communication + Change is located in Kalmar, Småland – a region characterised by entrepreneurship, production and craft. Collaborative projects and educational visits give you plenty of opportunity to develop understandings and forge networks.

The study environment in Kalmar is personable, safe and creative and you will work in close contact with our practising designers/ lecturers and guest lecturers. The many different subjects offered at Linnaeus University give you the possibility to work across disciplines.

The Bachelor’s programmes in design at Linnaeus University received the grade of "high quality" in the most recent national evaluation of degree programmes within the arts.


There is an increasing demand for competence in sustainability in society. The programme prepares you for a career in graphic design, illustration, information graphics, moving images and visual identity work. You can work for traditional design companies, human rights organisations and with initiatives run by local communities or municipalities. You may also choose to start your own company.


Bachelor of Fine Arts with a specialisation in visual communication (Main field of studies: Design)

Application and portfolio

The application process consists of two steps. First you need to apply to the programme online at at (in English), or (in Swedish). Then you need to submit your portfolio to Linnaeus University by our website

You find instructions for the portfolio below.

Information about application and portfolio

Portfolio Guidelines
BFA Visual Communication + Change 2017

For your submitted portfolio to be deemed complete, it must consist of two components:
1. Assignments (A,B and C)
2. A letter of intentions

1. Assignments

Assignment A "People in motion" (1–3 pages)
Draw/ Sketch people in motion. Take help of friends, family or just observe people in the streets. Draw what you see. Remember that you are not applying for Fine Art, but for Visual Communication. Focus on what your sketches communicate.

Assignment B "Information campaign" (1–3 pages)
Use visual communication as a tool to do an idea concept for an information campaign. The goal with the campaign is to get people to socialize across generations in order to exchange knowledge, experiences and perspectives. Remember that the focus of Visual Communication + Change is change and sustainable futures, so please reflect on that in your description.
Present your idea with sketches or with photos and write a short explanation about your thoughts and design choices.

Assignment C Present your own work (5-7 pages)
Use the remaining pages to show your own creative work. Show us any form of artistic expression/ design that you are proud of and that represents how you like to work. We encourage you to choose work that demonstrate the range of your interests, also outside of your studies.

2. Letter of intentions


Please write a letter of intentions that on one A4 page describes your interest in design focusing on:
– What are you curious about?
– What do you want to change through design?
– How do you want to use your education to reach your goals?

The letter of intentions will be evaluated in terms of:

  • Your capacity to envision and plan your future as a designer
  • Your proficiency in expressing yourself in English

Submit the 10 pieces and your letter of intentions on our website, in PDF, PNG or JPG-formats. You can upload maximum 50 mb total. In the upload form, enter a brief description of the work you upload.

After submitting your application and portfolio you'll be contacted if you have been selected for interview. At the interview, we ask you to bring a hard copy of your portfolio. If you're an international or EU student who is unable to attend an interview in person, we may offer a telephone/online interview.

Application procedure

The application process consists of two steps:

Step 1

Apply to the programme online at (in English), or (in Swedish). Submissions of documentation attesting your eligibility for Bachelor´s level study must be submitted here.

The following programme codes and deadlines apply:

Please submit application to programme code LNU-F1501
by 15 January 2018.

Step 2

Submit your portfolio to Linnaeus University (LNU).

The deadlines by which portfolios must be received by LNU are:
31 January 2017.

Acceptance to the programme

If you meet the eligibility criteria, your application will be accepted and
evaluated on the basis of your portfolio. Evaluation of portfolios is conducted by a selection committee consisting of faculty members, external experts, and current BFA students. The portfolio is regarded as a whole and the portfolio is evaluated in terms of the following criteria:

• Artistic quality
• Visualization skills
• Creative approach

The university will not disclose the reasons behind the decision to accept or reject any individual application. Approved students will be notified through or

Checklist for Application

  • I have submitted my application through or
  • I have prepared my portfolio according to the guidelines provided.
  • I have included a Letter of intent with my portfolio.
  • I have uploaded my portfolio on and made sure that all my files are included, and that I have submitted written description of my uploaded files.

Do you have any Questions?

If you have any questions regarding the application or permisson related issue don´t hesitate to inquire by e-mail to Admissions Office:

If you have any questions regarding the portfolio or other questions about the programme don´t hesitate to inquire by e-mail to programme coordinatior:

Film about Visual Communication + Change


Follow us on Instagram


"I've always been interested in Swedish design, and before I started studying here at Linnaeus University I had never been to Scandinavia. What appealed to me most about the visual communication + change programme was the mix of design and sustainability. The programme has made me more aware and provided me with the tools I need to reach out with my ideas and help contribute to making the future a better one. My dream job would be to run a café and freelance as a graphic designer – a dream that's about to come true since I will soon be opening a café in Kalmar! The name of the café will be Oas [Oasis]and it will focus on organic food and sustainability and offer a lot of locally produced stuff". /Rabea, student on the programme visual communication + change. #humansoflnu

Student project

Dinner Time: Made by 1st year students in Kalmar during their module 3 Human Needs vs. Luxury - Motion Graphics, 2nd semester 2016.

"The movie Dinner Time is a critical statement towards the meat consumption/production in today's society. The movie is set in a parallel universe where the roles of the animals and the humans are switched. This is to criticise how meat has become a luxury rather than a human need.
In the movie we follow a mother and her son performing their daily routine of shopping/preparing for dinner. The main characters meet other animal characters such as a bull, a sheep and a pig. These characters perform activities that are perceived as normal when done by humans. The movie begins with the main characters entering a supermarket and buying groceries. The middle scene takes place in the kitchen where the mother cow prepares dinner while watching a cooking show. The last scenes take the audience to the place where the meat is produced and transported. This emphasises the circle of meat consumption."

Student testimonials

Josipa Pilipovic

Josipa Pilipovic studies her second year on the programme Visual Communication + Change.

She has earlier studied sociology but even though she was passionate about the subject she felt that something was missing. When she finally came across Visual Communication + Change she felt that the programme offered exactly what she was looking for.

Why did you choose Visual Communication + Change?

"I wanted to study something that combines theory and artistic representation, and I felt that this programme offered the perfect balance between the two. The theory is made up of the + Change part of the programme, dealing with everything from inequalities in society to what causes disruptions in an ecosystem. Having this basis, a designer is equipped with some of the tools needed to reach a large audience, something that is required in order to achieve true positive change that affects everyone in the world".

What is interesting about your programme?

"The fact that it is creative and engaging while at the same time encouraging us to trust our instincts. When it comes to design, everyone has their own expression and this programme helps me develop my own personal ways of mediating my message, both concretely and abstractly. The most interesting part is that you become committed to questions concerning our future and learn how we as visual communicators can contribute to a better development of the societal order and the maintenance of our ecosystems. Since the programme deals with both design and theory, students get broad knowledge in two fields that are very rewarding. Also, the fact that we students enter the programme with varying previous knowledge and experience enables us to learn a lot from each other. It contributes to great diversity!"

Has the programme lived up to your expectations?

"It was very hard to know what expectations to have on the programme, since there are not many programmes I know of that have a programme syllabus that resembles the one for this programme. I have a lot of friends who are studying either graphic design, art or a theory-based programme but no one I know studies a programme that combines these. We have practiced more artistic representation than graphic design. Having an artistic perspective helps you get a broader spectrum of what possibilities there are to put your design and knowledge into practice".

Do you think that the programme will help you make a difference? If so, in what way?

"Each student has to decide for him or herself how much they want to focus on the Change aspect of the programme in order to accomplish change. If you are passionate about making a difference, like I am, I definitely believe that one can accomplish change. There are already inquiries in society regarding how change can be accomplished, but the tools are missing. This programme definitely provides you with good conditions for developing strategic solutions that can contribute to a deeper awareness about an issue. Regardless of what the goal may be, hard work is always rewarding in the form of results and change".

Read the whole interview with Josipa

What are you planning to do once you have completed your studies?

"My plan is to apply for a master programme, to deepen my knowledge within what we are studying right now on the Visual Communication + Change programme".

Do you have a dream job?

"I've always dreamt about doing research. I think it would be extremely interesting to carry out research on what impact a design product can have on, for instance, an individual or on an entire ecosystem. I have also realised that there are design agencies that have specialised in developing design products from a Change perspective – something that appeals to me a lot".

Where do you live? How did you find your accommodation?

"I live in a student apartment about three kilometres from the city centre. I found the apartment shortly after being admitted to Kalmarhem's website.

How do you like the city of Kalmar? Do you have a favourite place?

"I've lived in many different places and Kalmar is truly a charming little city. My favourite place is definitely Black Coffee where I often hang out with my friends when we feel like taking a break from the school environment".

Where do you find inspiration and what do you do to relax?

"I do a lot of reading, and spend way more money on that than I really should, but I see it as an investment. Besides that, I very much enjoy making contact with people I find interesting to share ideas – to me that's relaxation".


Carla Philips

Carla Philips, student at Visual Communication + Change

Why did you choose your programme?

"I've always been curious about how the world is connected. The ways in which people connect to each other, and to nature. This curiosity grew last year when I went on a year-long bicycle trip across Africa with my sister and parents (from South Africa to Kenya, and then back). I began to question why the world seemed so out of balance and ask myself whether I could contribute to restoring that balance.

Actually, it was when I was on this bicycle trip that I discovered this course. I thought I'd be going back to South Africa to study fine art, but as we were passing through Zimbabwe, we met an Italian backpacker who had lectured in Sweden. He told me that it was an interesting and progressive country and also a beautiful place to live and study in. I decided to investigate it as an option, searching for degrees that focused on art, design and sustainability. It's an unusual combination and I wasn't really expecting to find anything, but the very first programme that came up was an international programme called Visual Communication + Change. At first I couldn't believe it and I figured that there must be some catch. But there was no catch – so here I am, in beautiful Kalmar having my first real experience of snow, cinnamon buns and princess cake!"

How is the education / how has it been so far?

"So far, this experience has exceeded my expectations. It has challenged me to reflect on my perspectives and opened my mind to new ways of thinking. I'm surrounded by students and teachers who inspire me and who have pushed me to stretch myself, to take risks and to continue being curious. It has also genuinely been so much fun. I love art and I love being creative and that is what we do every day. There hasn't been any pressure to create perfect things – just to explore, be colourful and think laterally."

What goals do you have with your education?

"All modules have focused on how everything is interconnected, and my hope is to explore ways of communicating this. I think that the only way to accomplish the much needed positive change in restoring balance is by reminding us all of this very complex, but also very simple, connectedness."

Interview with alumni

Lina Hultberg

Lina is partner and art director at HultbergMartens

Immediately following her graduation from Linnaeus University, Lina Hultberg started her own business together with former class mate Tove Martens. Today, she still runs HultbergMartens, enjoys being an art director and to be able to work on projects that make a difference.

What was it like to study at Linnaeus University?
“I liked studying at Linnaeus University. Our department was quite small so I had a close relationship with both my teachers and my fellow students. Through all the practical work and through all oral presentations – for which I was first terrified, but soon realised the value of – I quickly got to know everyone in my class. This also resulted in a very high level of ambition in general, and that we in the class encouraged each other. For me, this was very rewarding”.

Was it difficult to start your own business?
“Yes, I would lie if I said it wasn’t difficult to start a business and make ends meet. I’m happy that I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. Since we didn’t know how challenging it would be we just kept going. Luckily, we had so much fun at the same time, and I feel that the experience gave me a head start in my working life”.

What would a normal working day be like for you?
“From the start, we have been very clear about working hours in order to avoid having to work evenings and weekends. Most days I work 9 am–5 pm. People are often surprised that it’s possible to have such regular hours as an entrepreneur. A normal day would start with me arriving at work and checking my email, followed by some catching up with Tove. On Mondays, we also often have Monday meetings in order to keep track of our customers, of what needs to be done during the week, and whether we need more customers to make ends meet that month. Since I often work with three to five customers at a time, it is difficult to keep everything in your head, which is why my lists and my daily timetables in my calendar are life savers. A normal day is spent both at my computer, the sketch table, and in various customer meetings. There is usually also a fair share of emails and phone calls, and a lot of time goes to administrative tasks like writing offers, invoices and paying bills”.

What are your areas of responsibility as partner and art director?
“I have the overall visual responsibility for our company and make sure that all material that comes from our company looks top-notch. Tove, as creative director, has a larger responsibility for coming up with ideas. I’m also responsible for all customer relations with my own clients and for completing projects, and, if needed in a project, for arranging with subcontractors, photographers, copywriters, or a printing house. I also have a shared responsibility for making sure that both Tove and I are able to withdraw salary every month and to take five weeks off every year”.

How have you been working to get customers?
“First we wanted to be visible everywhere, all the time – at gatherings, networks, courses for startups, and so on. We felt that we were being really tiresome, but at the same time we were very shy and that’s a big problem when trying to attract customers to your business. We tried to ease this by sending emails instead, but that wasn’t very successful. Instead, we decided to take the bull by the horns and called companies that we thought and hoped might want help. It was horrible and we got a lot of ‘no, thank you’, but between all these we also got some ‘yes, please’. All of a sudden we had developed a few company profiles, made some catalogues, and, voilà, we had stuff to show at new customer meetings. The more we worked the more customers we got. I still hate talking on the phone so I try to meet with my customers instead. I believe that there is a solution to every problem and perhaps that motto helped us succeed”.

Has your education been useful in your work?
“I wouldn’t have been able to do my work without my education. I use many different aspects of my education every day – composition, typography, all marketing skills, knowledge about computer programs and rhetoric skills”.

How do you view the future?
“I’m hoping to be able to develop the three main specialisations of our company: layout, branding and wayfinding, in order to land larger contracts and larger customers. Most likely, we will continue as a duo but work more with networks, in order to be able to put together a team for larger jobs – hopefully to a larger extent than what is the case today. It is fun and challenging with collaborations and other skills than your own!”

What would you say to a person who is thinking about studying the same programme you did?
“Use your education for your own needs! Listen to your heart – what do you enjoy and what do you feel passionate about? Those very things may very well be what you end up specialising in as a designer in the end. Is it illustration, typography, branding, or strategic work? Regardless of whatever floats your boat, make sure you dedicate yourself to it. Build your education around it and take responsibility for your own development”.

More information about the programme

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply for Visual Communication + Change?

You apply to the programme online at (in English), or (in Swedish). On those pages, you also submit your documentation of eligibility for university studies and English proficiency. Besides the online application, you need to submit your portfolio to Linnaeus University (LNU) in time. Please read the instructions regarding the portfolio carefully.

What is the difference between the two application rounds?

We offer two different application rounds (January, 15th and April, 15h). No matter which round you apply for, you need to send your portfolio not later than the deadline connected to the application round. Otherwise your application will be rejected.
The first application round in January is ment (but not restricted) for non EU/EEA students requiring a visa to study in Sweden, while the second application round is ment for students who don't requiring a visa to study in Sweden.

I have questions regarding my eligibility for BA level studies?

Please contact: They are taking care of the admission process and can answer all questions regarding documentations and deadlines.

Do I have to know Swedish to study a design programme at LNU?

You don't have to know the Swedish language, but you have to show proof of your English language skills through for instance TOEFL or IELTS-tests. Your level of English needs to compare to a English B in the swedish education system.
I will not be able to send all documents (like highschool diploma, result from English test...) before the deadline, may I apply anyway ?
Yes, it will be possible to send documents at a later point. Please contact to get an exact deadline.

How much is the tuition fee?

Non EU/EEA students need to pay a fee of 130 000 SEK per term, which sums up to a total of 780 000 SEK for the whole program.
More information:

For Swedish and other EU/EEA students the education is without charge. But cost for study trips and material apply.

Are there any scholarships for international students ?

Scholarships are not handled by the department of Design. Please check for further information on the following pages:

When does the academic year start and end?

The Academic year is divided into two terms. Our programs start only in the Autumn. The academic year at LNU starts 29 August 2016. The autumn term will end 15 January 2017. The spring term will run from 16 January 2017–4 June 2017.


The city of Kalmar is situated on the southeast coast of Sweden. Kalmar is a beautiful city with 65,000 inhabitants and a long history dating back to the Middle Ages, with many cosy neighbourhoods and great charm. The lush green areas surrounding Kalmar Castle and the city park are many students' favourite.

The proximity to the ocean and the island of Öland has left its mark on the city and there are many long pedestrian paths along the coast. It is never far to anything in Kalmar and most places can be reached in just 5-10 minutes' walk – the university, the ocean, the gym, or the city centre, Kvarnholmen.

In Kalmar the university buildings and student accommodations are spread throughout the town and are well integrated with the historical surroundings – making students feel part of the town.