KDU Premieres Graduation Showcase Exhibition By Pioneer Masters In Design (Innovation) Graduates

Christopher Reis Ang (Right) presenting his product to Professor Fabio Mongelli (Left) and Dr. Massimiliano Dibitonto (Centre). Gu Yuan explaining to a visitor who attended the exhibition.
Group photo of KDU graduates and the special guest from Rome University of Fine Arts.  
In commemoration of the pioneering Masters in Design, (Innovation) graduates, KDU’s School of Communications and Creative Arts (SCCA) recently opened the MA DESIGN GRADEX 2017, a graduation showcase exhibition by Masters to display their work and project to the audience. The MA GRADEX (Master Graduation Exhibition), which premiered on 5 April 2017 at KDU’s Utropolis Glenmarie campus, is set up at a permanent showcase area for students and staffs to exhibit their masterpiece and design works to the world to foster interest in developing creative ideas and innovative designs, which will put them above the rest in terms of qualification and KDU as an institution that embraces design education.

The exhibition aimed to bring together students, academicians, industry professionals and entry level talents under one roof. The exhibits are related to each of the student's individual research projects developed throughout their study duration in the programme. It ranged from initial research development, the process of conducting the research, right up to the display of their design prototype based on the actual research results. The exhibition featured the postgraduates’ designs and academic research work from various backgrounds including visual design, marketing, communication, packaging design and user experience. Displays by the students include Visual Elements for Marketing Education by Kevin Wong Kher Ping, Improvise Pestle & Mortar Flagship Store Interior Design by Christopher Reis Ang, Malaysian Coffee Packaging Design for International Market by Gu Yuan, and The Impact of News Website Layout Amongst Malaysian Market by Rishi Raj.

Special guests from the Rome University of Fine Arts, Professor Fabio Mongelli and Dr. Massimiliano Dibitonto were invited to evaluate the students’ works, and later, deliver a talk on the creative designs industry to the participants. As this is the first exhibition for students of the Masters in Design (Innovation) programme  to showcase their works, leading experts’ insights were crucial and played an important role in paving a solid foundation for the graduates to expand their limitless potential and creativity.  Professor Mongelli and Dr. Dibitonto took the time to not only evaluate the quality of work of the students, but also impart their valuable knowledge and experience, which benefitted the students’ as they could learn from the comments, feedback and suggestions of the evaluators and utilise it to improve their own prototypes.

Commenting on the exhibition, Professor Mongelli said, “The graduates have done a good and thorough analysis for their research as they also covered the part where they studied the culture of their target market, which is essential for designs in a new direction.” He also commented on the quality of the projects showcased by the participants, “Overall, projects were well made and could be actualised in the real world as they implement new technologies which are developing faster than us humans nowadays.” With the rapid technological advancement in the current market, new designers find it extremely challenging to penetrate the market unless if they manage to develop something new and refreshing for the consumers to enjoy. This kind of event opens up new opportunities for the graduates to get the critically-needed exposure before jumping into the real world. KDU has turned it into a culture for students to exhibit their research process and output for sharing purposes.

Dr. Dibitonto stated, “I like the quality of work displayed by the graduates, especially because they managed to develop the projects from scratch to prototypes, based on the problems that they feel close to their culture and surroundings.” He also added, “This is very important for the students because it’s a process that matures them to be ready for the job and face the real challenges out there.” Intrigued with the initiative taken by KDU, Rome University of Fine Arts (RUFA) plans to extend their collaboration and carry out future projects with KDU for years to come. Dr. Dibitonto commented on the strong partnership between the two institutions, “We hope to develop the cross-cultural agreement that we have because it is really nice to see that although the students follow the programme that was designed by RUFA, but they are implemented by KDU and seeing this mix of both is extremely beneficial.”

The Master of Design (innovation) at KDU is a mix mode programme emphasising on coursework that aims to elevate the standard of design professionals to outshine traditional graphic design and give it a fresher new look to suit the latest trend. Students have the opportunity to put together a professional industry-based portfolio or design artwork and understand the design and planning of new products, services, systems and organisations. By the end of the programme, students will be able to seamlessly adapt to the expectations of the new artistic industry. In collaboration with RUFA, this programme is best suited for those in the areas of Design and Innovation; Multimedia and Web; Advertising, Marketing and Communication; Photography; New Media Design; and Design as Research.