A degree in Technicolor anyone?
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The University of Milan and Milan Polytechnic are, for the first time, both offering one-year masters degrees in color (story first published in the Financial Times), which commence February 2013.
At Epigeum we have frequent extended discussions on the use of color in our courses and it is a topic on which everyone has a view. We asked in-house graphic designer Tom Pritchard for his opinion on the importance of color, here is what he had to say:
“Color is an integral aspect of design for reasons beyond simply the decorative. A designer’s primary task is to communicate information in the most effective way possible, and color is a key consideration for facilitating an enjoyable and productive experience for the user.
It is important to understand the connotations associated with particular colors. Selecting an appropriate hue can make the crucial difference between whether a course feels ‘approachable’ and ‘user-friendly’ or ‘intimidating’ and ‘sterile’, which is essential both to attracting the student to the material in the first-place, as well as to keep them coming back to the course. Glaring, obnoxious colours will turn the user away and render information difficult to absorb.
One attribute of Epigeum’s courses that we treat with high regard is the effort to make them highly accessible to the visually impaired, among other disabilities, and as such, going forward all of our courses are designed to adhere to web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0) including color and contrast standards.
The challenge is finding that range of hues that is both compliant with accessibility standards and complementary to the design as a whole. When crafted skilfully however, accessible design is beautiful design.”
The Milan universities’ masters courses focus on the technology and project issues that arise through use of color and are relevant to many industries including interior design, product design, communication and fashion. This is an example of how degree courses are being tailored to better fit demand in the job market. Technology is also facilitating the push for more esoteric masters courses, as the FT highlights, "other Milan universities such as the Catholic University (are offering) co-operative banking and development program which targets students wishing to work for co-operative banks". There is a growing trend towards the use of online learning in higher education and this is fueling heated competition for students, which in turn is helping to stimulate innovation and change such as the cases described above.