Research in management science working for pedagogical innovation: Example of Professor Franck Celhay’s graphic design course!


Returning from a 6-month research stay at the Hong Kong Polytechnic School of Design, this year, Professor Franck Celhay is developing a new course entitled "Graphic Design and Brand Communication". This 30-hour course is for M2 students specialising in marketing. A research-lecturer at Montpellier Business School, Franck Celhay specialises in visual communication issues in marketing. His research focuses on semiotics (science of signs) and graphic design.

"The idea of this course appeared following my Hong Kong research trip, where I attended a conference led by Surya Vanka, User Experience Director at Microsoft, who has notably been responsible for the new graphic design of the Windows interface. The designer explained the importance of graphic design in business, particularly since the onset of multimedia devices like smartphones and tablets. He put forward the idea that companies, having long sought "I" profiles, i.e. people very specialised in a field, are now increasingly looking for "T" profiles, i.e. people with an area of expertise (e.g. marketing), but also with transversal skills (in design and new technologies, for example). These skills allow them to better integrate into teams of people with varied backgrounds (engineers, artists, managers)".

The Graphic Design and Brand Communication course aims to precisely meet this need of businesses. Students who specialise in marketing will occupy positions such as product/brand manager. As part of this role, they will be in contact with designers to whom they will entrust briefings for creating logos, adverts, websites or applications. Providing them with knowledge in graphic design will help them better interact with designers and thus obtain graphic designs that are more in tune with the brand's communication needs.
"More specifically, the purpose of my course is to let my students develop a culture of the image and mastery of a specific technical vocabulary, for example, for typography or colours. The aim is also to pass on knowledge to them about art history about the major graphic styles that marked the 20th century. This knowledge should enable them to sharpen their focus. It therefore involves moving beyond purely subjective and binary analysis such as "I like/I don’t like" and being able to develop an informed and reasoned analysis. This is to aid the improvement of the proposed creation through a process of round trips with the designer".

Professor Franck Celhay’s course is completely in line with his academic research in semiotics and with his consultancy assignments in the wine sector. He shares his work on the subject with his students, discusses the points of theoretical debates that are making the news in their discipline with them and presents case studies of companies with whom he has been able to work. The theory allows them to have a set of general knowledge and to take a step back for practical examples to apply this knowledge to tangible communication problems.

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