Become an inspiring designer beyond imitation

Students study the three elements of visual design: Imagery, Lettering, and Communication.In Imagery classes, they examine people's impressions of various subject matter, including patterns, illustrations, and pictures.In Lettering classes, students study text and typography, essential elements of design.In Communication classes, they learn how to present their ideas and effectively communicate with their target audience.Students have many chances to try their hand at drawing, photography, and video production, as well as opportunities to present their work in public.In this way, they work to develop their sensibilities and artistic expressiveness while exploring the possibilities of design to inspire people and change the world.

Subject Highlights

  • Students learn hands-on the beauty of color and the allure of form.

    [Core Practicum in Visual Design 1 / Year 1]
    Students learn the basics of sketching, croquis, and spatial and color expression, and at the end of the year, they try their hand at live painting.By drawing colorful lines on a large canvas with a giant roller, they experience firsthand the beauty of color and the allure of form.

  • Students create five hand-drawn posters to develop skills in composition and expression.

    [Graphic Design / Year 2]
    In the first semester, students produce five B1-sized posters (728 cm × 1030 cm) by hand using various techniques, including drawing and printmaking.In doing so, they directly experience the scale and impact of working at B1 size.In the second semester, students make posters of the same size on a computer and consider how to recreate the immediacy of hand-drawn works using digital technology.

  • Students develop an ability for mental design through encounters with nature.

    [Project Work 1 / Year 3]
    Students get to experience hunting wild animals in Miyama in the north of Kyoto, providing an opportunity for them to encounter the natural world and more deeply consider life by returning to the very basics of making clothes, procuring food, and creating shelter. In doing so, they come to appreciate the importance of both physical and mental design, allowing them to think about what makes a truly great or expressive composition.

What You Will Study

  1. 1STYEAR

    Improve your descriptive, compositional, and conceptual skills

    Students learn the basics of visual design.They can also choose elective classes to learn design software and develop their photo, video, and web design skills.

  2. 2NDYEAR

    Learn the three elements of design

    Students develop their expertise in imagery, lettering, and communication, participating in practical classes to build up a reliable skill set for designing posters, booklets, packaging, and fonts.

  3. 3RDYEAR

    Solve social issues through design

    Students learn to tackle social issues through design by working on social projects together with Digital Creation Course students.

  4. 4THYEAR

    Produce works using a breadth of expressive skills

    Students produce their graduation work using the wide range of skills and design knowledge they have gained over the last four years, including planar composition, typography, and drawing.

What You Will Learn

  • The expressive skills needed for imagery and lettering
  • The ability to give shape to concepts and ideas
  • The ability to perceive and reflect social themes in design

Student Works


The studio layouts for each year level have been designed to be spacious and easy to use. Each student has a desk, which they are free to use outside of class for creative work.


  • Photography Studio & Darkroom

    We have three studios fitted for different types of photography where students can take photos for web and graphic design projects.
    Students can also develop and print their negatives in fully-equipped darkrooms.Using different solution temperatures and developing times, students can experiment with altering the appearance and color of their photographs.

  • Craft Room

    The Craft Room is equipped for woodwork and printmaking.


Designers are sought worldwide, and in recent years, an increasing number of our graduates have been active in fields including clothing, interior design, and art, in addition to those working as designers at production and advertising companies.

  • Designers working on books, magazines, and web design at a design studio
  • Designers and art directors at advertising agencies
  • In-house designers and planners at companies
  • Commercial photographers
  • Freelance designers


  • SATO Mako Current Student

    What I learned from the design process.

    I studied oil painting until high school but became interested in graphic design thanks to my mother, who loves Scandinavian design. One thing that makes the Kyoto Seika Graphic Design Course unique is that it considers the design process to be as important as the finished project.For example, in my first year, there was an assignment for which I had to come up with one hundred ideas on a theme.The insights I gained from this process I still use in my work today.I also recommend Communication Design, which I took in the second half of my third year, because you can learn directly from professional designers, copywriters, and art directors.It was in this class that I realized how intriguing advertising could be.Outside of class, I have been in charge of art direction for SHAKE ART!, a free magazine for art students, and have helped design and plan an off-campus art festival.Interacting with people both on- and off-campus opens the door to all kinds of experiences. I wound up introducing myself to my favorite designers and made efforts to sell my artwork. It has taught me how to take initiative.After graduation, I want to cast a wide net as a designer and get involved in advertising and graphic design.
  • SHIGAYA Koichi Academic Faculty

    Focusing your energy on living in the present.

    As the creative director of an advertising agency, I have worked on numerous ad campaigns. Being creative is all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Instead of getting frustrated when you’re stuck, you should ask yourself, “Should I do it like this, or should I do it like that?” and continue to find comfort in the uncomfortable. I believe this is what leads to better work. I am committed to pouring care, effort, and enthusiasm into my research, production, and instruction to students so that I might provide something extra to get the creative juices flowing.
    In the Graphic Design Course, professionals teach a variety of subjects, including graphic and editorial design and photography. Small class sizes mean that professors can give every student the attention—and occasional tough love—that they need. I myself have used my own experience to help guide students in generating ideas and creating advertisements. I hope that at Kyoto Seika, you will put all of your energy into exploring activities and modes of expression that are only possible while you are a student. New value and innovation often come from ideas that are originally rejected. Do not be swayed by adults with more traditional opinions, work hard at all you do—even things that may not seem useful at the time—and use the precious time you have here to do all that you can in preparing for the future.
  • TOYONAGA Seiji Academic Faculty

    Learning from nature to create truly expressive designs.

    Graphic design is a lot like cooking.We draw on technique and experience, turning various ingredients into delicious meals that nourish the body and soul.The basics of cooking are not that difficult.You start by learning the required techniques with humility.Then it's up to you to decide what dish you want to make.For myself, as a designer who creates works to nourish the body and soul, it is especially important to interact with the natural world as the source of all that sustains us.In my research, I am conducting several projects that connect us with nature. In one, we create patterns based on designs conceived through observing nature close to home. In another, we use farming and hunting to consider the relationship between design and the natural world.I hope that through this firsthand experience, participants learn about design and make new discoveries.The Graphic Design Course focuses on hands-on assignments that include lettering, color composition using colored paper, print work, and large-scale live drawings. When physical sensibilities honed through analog expression are combined with their digital counterparts, the result is a unique creation that brims with originality. I invite you to develop the skills needed to put your designs into practice by refining your techniques and sensibilities here at Kyoto Seika, in an environment surrounded by beautiful nature.