Visual Communication + Change

180 credits

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 creative practices, visual art, and graphic design with knowledge of sustainability to prepare you for a profession as a visual communicator with a diverse set of graphic and conceptual tools.

This degree programme gives you an introduction to today’s major global concerns, as well as visual and digital 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. In specific modules, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with local and regional community actors in Småland.

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 opportunities to develop understandings and forge networks.

The study environment in Kalmar is explorative and creative, and you will work closely with our practising designers, visual artists, lecturers and guest lecturers from various departments at the university.


The programme prepares you for a number of careers in the world where you can use your creative skills in relation to your understanding of the complexity of sustainability.

Recent graduates from the programme work in various disciplines and fields---working for traditional design companies, human rights organisations, NGOs, political parties, publications, and with initiatives run by local communities or municipalities. Some have even started their own companies and many are currently attending graduate studies at prestigious Swedish universities.


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 together with your other documentation regarding eligibility on your pages on (in English), or (in Swedish).

Please note that admission to the programme is based on an alternative selection, which includes a portfolio, letter of intent, and grades. Of these selected criteria, the portfolio will be weighed highest. You have two options to apply:

  1. With portfolio, letter of intent, and grades
  2. With letter of intent and grades

Please note that letter of intent is required in both options. For portfolio and letter of intent guidelines, see below.

You find instructions for the portfolio below. The deadline by which portfolios must be received by Linnaeus University are 30 April 2019.


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"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

The Vastness of Life
1 3

The Vastness of Life: Made by 1st year students in Kalmar, 1st semester

The subject of this course was an introduction to experimental forms of book production, what is commonly referred to as "artist books." This was a group project and we were supposed to develop a concept for an artist book that articulates our identity as a group. An exploration of either fiction or an actual identity - what kind of group we wanted to be. The artist books were presented as an exhibition in the library at Kalmar Art Museum. This is our groups statement:

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Albert Einstein

This artist book is a magnifier of the simplest forms of life: cells. When thinking about diversity, one often pictures groups or categories, thus creating a sense of separation between species. In an attempt to minimize this separation, we have created a book that depicts the one thing that all life has in common: WE are all made up of the same thing. Through the act of cutting, we form an instant connection between all the pages making each individual sheet become part of a whole – a book of life. In these patterns, one will encounter the cellular formations of a penguin, an oak tree, a cat, a lemon root, a mushroom, a crayfish, an onion, and a human. All biological kingdoms have been included, to show that no matter how different every life form may be, nor how complex their evolution has been, the vastness of life can be reduced to a single cell.


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".


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."

More information about the programme


In Kalmar, Linnaeus University is located in the city centre. Universitetskajen is entirely newly-built and located just next to the sea. Here you become part of a creative knowledge environment.

The city centre is also where most students live. Everything is available within a ten-minute bicycle ride, regardless of whether you want to take a swim in the sea, study, do some shopping, or work out. Historical buildings and cobblestone streets give charm to the city. When it is sunny, the area next to Kalmar Castle’s moat is filled with studying and sunbathing students. Student life is a natural part of Kalmar. This is where your dream of the future begins!