Marketing Communication & Design

This specialization belongs to the master's programme Communication Studies.


Companies are always competing for the favour of consumers. In a highly competitive world, effective marketing communication can make a difference. Branding, positioning, and advertising are among the tools of the trade. Marketing communication professionals are increasingly aware of the communicative power of design. Think of product or packaging design, multisensory advertising, corporate or brand logos, and even the design of buildings and service environments. In collaboration with the MSc programme Industrial Design Engineering, this specialization combines attention to the fundamentals of marketing communication and consumer behaviour with attention to the possibilities of design.


Every marketing communication effort starts with understanding consumers and their needs. Comprehensive knowledge of consumer psychology is essential for marketing communication professionals. In a society that can be characterized by globalization, fragmentation and individualization, it becomes clear that ‘one size fits all’ solutions do not apply. Depending on lifestyle, media use and culture, consumers react differently to marketing communication efforts. At the same time, companies strive for long-lasting relationships with customers. Against this background, the challenge is how to reach consumers in a turbulent environment and how to turn them into loyal brand ambassadors.

Examples of questions we address are:

  • How is consumer decision-making influenced by unconscious processes?
  • What are the effects of humor in advertising strategies?
  • Do hedonic and utilitarian products require different positioning strategies?
  • What is the role of values in brand preference and choice?
  • How can marketing professionals create and maintain a brand personality?


Given the overload of traditional advertising messages, communication professionals look for new ways of promoting their products and reaching consumers. Design has the potential to play a very important role, since consumers do not perceive design as a selling attempt and because they often appreciate good design. Research invariably shows that design can have stronger effects on consumers than traditional marketing communication efforts. This specialization focuses therefore on the ways in which (multisensory) design may be used in marketing communication.

Examples of questions we address are:

  • How do design elements (e.g., shape, colour, typeface) influence brand impressions?
  • How does environmental design (e.g., interior design, lighting, scent, music) influence consumer perceptions of retailers and service providers?
  • How do multisensory elements in packaging design affect the smell or taste of products?
  • How can companies use music and scent to create the right atmosphere for consumers?

Programme structure


First semester

Second semester

Note: The range of specialization courses and the block in which the courses are offered may vary from one academic year to the next. No rights may be derived from the information.

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