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Design and ICT: how well they go hand in hand in Split?

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


Design in ICT

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is mainly technology-driven. The core benefit of any ICT creation is the ability to accomplish specific technical tasks or functions for the end-user. Therefore, the engineering or technical requirements often dominate product or service development. The design seems to be somewhat forgotten when we talk about ICT.

Something that also might make you think design does not have anything to do with technology is the fact that the term design covers very different kinds of design activities: architecture, fashion design, interior design, graphic design, industrial design, engineering design, as well as brand and corporate design.

However, this apparent lack of uniformity in the definition of design, even among professional designers, reflects the different perspectives on the function of design and the contribution designers can make to a particular service or product.

The added value of design

Within the ICT sector, the design focuses mainly on two areas: usability and aesthetics. Ideally, it should also contribute to functionality. While functionality is the focus of software engineers and/or system analysts, it cannot be ignored as an aspect of design since it is closely linked with usability and aesthetics.

Design in ICT is the result of the designers’ activities and defines the aesthetic and usability features of an ICT product or service.

The designers’ contributions to the product or service creation relate directly to the end-user. 

The added value of design has been proven in the many instances where design has played a key role in making a product or service successful. By making any type of technology – be it a website, smartphone, app, or laptop – accessible to ordinary human needs, the designer can play a crucial and enabling role in its success.

Without this essential intermediary, technology has the potential to be frustrating and alienating for the end-users. Well-designed products and services can improve the quality of life of the user. To have well-designed products or services, the designer should be integrated into the entire development process of a product or service.

Design in Split’s high school

After giving you an overview of the connection between ICT and design, let’s see some of the key organizations in Split’s tech ecosystem that connect the two in their work. School of Design, Graphics, and Sustainable Construction emerged from one of the oldest schools in Split – The Vocational Drawing School founded way back in 1907.

Today it offers education in the various professions that relate to Art, Architecture, Graphics, and Design. While they pioneered the program for Web Programming in Split, their curriculum for Web Designers is the one that strongly connects ICT and design.

The school recognized that creating a website as a modern way of communication is unavoidable for any company in this day and age. Therefore, web designers, along with web developers and computer network administrators, are one of the most sought-after occupations.

During their study of the Web Design curriculum, the students gain theoretical and practical knowledge related to website design, as well as developed sensitivity in visually designing the web content by applying the basic design rules. After completing their four-year education, the students can either work as web designers or pursue further education at some of the related university programs.

Design at the University of Split

The Design of Visual Communication Department of The Arts Academy in Split was founded in 1997 as the first in the Republic of Croatia to offer individually nominated courses in the field of design in new media: Website Design, Multimedia Technology, Computer Animation.

During a decade of work in the field of design education, the department developed intense international relationships and actively contributed to the improvement of educational standards in the field: it organized the first international conference on design education in Central and South Europe (Split, 2002), and a roundtable on the state of art design education in Croatia (Split, 2002). The department is also a founding member of the education network of an international association of national design associations – the Icograda Education Network.

Each year, an average of four foreign guest professors hold lectures and workshops at the department. In addition to these lectures, the department has also organized five international design workshops in collaboration with prominent professional designers and European institutions in the field: Istituto Europeo di Design from Rome, KTH from Stockholm, Royal College of Art from London.

The department has both the Undergraduate and Graduate Study Program in Design of Visual Communication in its curriculum and its students actively take part in the local community through the DVK Association.

DVK Student Association – Split’s students for design

DVK Student Association gathers young creatives focused on community development, teamwork, and expanding the love and knowledge of art and visual culture. They are active members of the local art, design, and tech communities. 

Focused on promoting design, art, and visual culture, DVK successfully organized many exhibitions, design festivals, and public campaigns such as DVK Enter, Kombo, Vozim30, Lito 2020, etc. The DVK Student Association is the only student association in Croatia whose core interest is design.

What does design have to do with it?

Well, as we have seen from this article – everything. We always talked about how any ecosystem that exists does so especially thanks to connections between its various members. The connection between design and ICT is no different. Any tech ecosystem is not complete without design as one of its core activities, as no area of life is void of design.


About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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