Due to the efforts of architect professor Paul Bortnovschi, the Department was established in 1969 within the Faculty of Decorative Arts, the specialization the Aesthetics of Industrial Forms and will be developed over the years in conformity with the social needs to its current stage. Among the former renowned professors, Ion Bitzan occupies a special place, due to his work method marked by the irony specific to neo-avant-garde, but also by the acknowledgement and internalization of the cultural dimension of existence.
The Design Department ensures the reaching of a professional level adequate to a future career in industry, in agencies of design or advertising graphics. The specialization is approached methodically, the properties of materials and the processing techniques being experimented by the students through the creation of models and prototypes; over the years of study the students develop their research abilities, synthesizing and applying their knowledge holistically, being creative and original in communicating their ideas in design. They study the particular relation between the object, space, user and producer, so that they answer both to the emotional and cultural parameters, and to the economic and technological factors; this study involves multidisciplinarity, a certain balance between a humanist, artistic and technical education.
After 1990, the pedagogical endeavor set new goals and critically reevaluated its methods; sets of major issues became priorities: the analysis of the object and of the graphic sign through techniques and methods of investigation of the visual; the strategy of the object of design (involving the comparative study of visual culture and the technical-economic field, in order to identify the specificity of the socio-cultural symbols and their rhetoric); the optimization of the relation between tradition and innovation, between the artistic and the technical-economic base, together with the selection of techniques, the study of variants and their adjustment to the imperative of cultural and technical emancipation. Consequently, the educational infrastructure was rehabilitated and completed, and the introduction of new subjects was possible with the aim of rendering more flexible the pedagogical offer.
At this moment, there are 3 main directions of study: ambient design, graphic design and product design. The subjects taught within workshops in the Department are grouped in three main categories: the core subject for ensuring a basic plastic training – the study making reference to the analysis and general understanding of visual phenomena, through practical and theoretical techniques and methods; subjects which are prerequisites for the specialization; subjects which provide specialization paths within the profession (industrial and ambient product design, visual communication), as well as complementary subjects for the two specialization paths.