Elisava School of Design
Retail Design Diploma

The Postgraduate Diplomas at Elisava are open to students and professionals wishing to spend one semester in Barcelona to broaden and refine their design skills at the graduate level. Retail Design Diploma students study alongside the Retail Design Master’s Degree students, completing one of the two terms, and receive a Postgraduate Diploma upon completion of the program. The Retail Design Master’s Degree is split into two distinct Postgraduate Diplomas: “Design and Space, Shopping” in the Fall; and “Design and Concept, Branding” in the Spring. All students follow a predetermined set of coursework.

Postgraduate Diploma Options
Fall: Design and Space, Shopping
Spring: Design and Concept, Branding

Application Requirements
Complete online application
Portfolio (4 pages max; PDF; 2MB size max)
Letter of motivation (1 page; PDF)
Curriculum Vitae (2 pages; PDF)
Official Bachelor’s Degree transcript
Passport scan (photo page; PDF)
EU privacy consent form

Application Deadline
Fall Diploma: May 1
Spring Diploma: November 1
Apps accepted after deadline as space permits

Program Dates
Fall Diploma: Early October – Mid March
Spring Diploma: Early March – Mid July

Eligibility Requirements

Age: 18+

Academic: Completed Bachelor’s degree

*contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements

Undergraduate GPA:* 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)

English Language:* Non-native English language speakers must submit IELTS: 5+, or proof of attending school in English for 3+ years.

Coming soon

Program Description
The program in Retail Design, serving both the Master’s Degree and Postgraduate Diploma student populations, is designed for professionals who wish to acquire the essential knowledge to work on and design retail spaces. The program provides instruction on the many disciplines within retail. From small-scale to large-scale design, from boutiques to large multinational brands, students become comfortable with the specifics and differences in each setting. Postgraduate Diploma students enroll in one of the two terms that make up the Retail Design Master’s Degree.

All subjects are dealt with both in theory and practice. Importance is given to the analysis and study of trends and innovation in the market and society to get a close-up view of the elements in designing a retail space (space, communication, flow, exhibition, virtual aspects, sensory perceptions, etc.). Art and analysis are the basis of any project, as are the concept and projection of space. Students come away with the highest standards and the ability to work with the most demanding companies in the market.

Due After Acceptance
After acceptance, students must submit an Apostille-Certified Bachelor’s Degree of University Diploma. The Hague Apostille (Apostille Convention) is a method of validating a public document for use outside of its origin country. In the United States the Competent Authorities designated to issue Apostilles are the Secretaries of States. Students wishing to enroll in graduate level coursework at Elisava must receive an Apostille on their degree from the state of the degree’s issuance.

The Retail Design Master’s Degree is composed of two separate diplomas taught in block style. Postgraduate Diploma students enroll in either the Fall or Spring section of the program, and follow the Master’s degree curriculum, designed around collaborative problem-solving, hands-on experience and workforce preparedness.

Fall Diploma: Retail Design. Design and Space: Shopping

Module 1. Group case study. Strategic branding

Introduction and presentation of the course. A journey through the world of branding in large spaces.

  • Case studies.
  • Practical group work: development of a branded product, background and steps for developing a product.
  • Group discussion: relevant aspects discovered by the student while doing the hands-on project.

Module 2. Market strategies and plan / expansion models

  • Market strategies and plans
  • Market “scales”
  • Trends and models
  • Practical discussion session: future markets

Module 3. Concept design and showcase implementation / project with partner company

  • Project presentation and development
  • Project development and scheduled field trip (Essapunt visit)
  • Presentation of project ideas
  • Project implementation in the real showcase

Module 4. E-commerce / communication tools / visual communication

  • Graphics and Impressions
  • Communication tools
  • Web and e-Commerce

Module 5. Eco-lighting

  • Lighting
  • Ecology in lighting
  • Trends and models
  • Tools for using eco-lighting
  • Company visit (Miralles Group).

Module 6. Final project

  • Design and concept: how to stand out using marketing strategies
  • Layouts (circuits)
  • Window-dressing
  • Visual Merchandising
  • Lighting in shopping centers
  • Graphic art and visual communication
  • Construction materials and techniques

Spring Diploma: Retail Design. Design and Concept: Branding

Module 1. Introduction to marketing theory/ retail branding

  • Marketing theory
  • Display of case studies

Module 2. The challenge of branding / new technologies

  • Introduction to the challenge of branding. A journey through the world of retail (introduction)
  • New technologies: the transformation of consumption
  • The “tuning” phenomenon: customization (the self factor). Discussion: association of elements and environments with consumer behavior
  • Group case study. Introduction to branding and its varieties
  • Types and strategies
  • Brand analysis

Module 3. Research project

  • Project presentation and development
  • Work in research groups
  • New trends and eco-design
  • Project presentation and group discussion

Module 4. Graphic art / brand identity and imagery

  • Design as strategy
  • Analysis of the search process for retail iconography
  • Values and trends
  • Case studies

Module 5. Field trips

  • Materials (Materfad visit)
  • Lighting (iGuzzini visit)
  • Company (Desigual visit, offices and shops)

Module 6. Visual – window-dressing

  • Visual merchandising / product display / Fixtures & Flow
  • The principles of visual merchandising
  • Marketing applied to social shopping behavior. Tour Shopping
  • Product analysis and strategy
  • Case study and exercise: business analysis and product display research
  • Models: effective display techniques
  • Window-dressing
  • The technique of window-dressing
  • Materials, lighting and technologies

Module 7. Trends

  • Market trends
  • New customers and customer segmentation

Module 8. Commercial design and image. Brand / project

  • Project presentation and development
  • Project development and exhibition
  • Presentation and discussion of proposals
  • Lighting/materials

Module 9. Final project: hands-on exercise with partner company

  • The project has to cover all modules developed throughout the course
  • Project presentation
  • Development of brief in groups
  • Presentation of findings to the partner company
  • Conclusion
SAI Program Fees* USD
Application Fee $120
Program Fee:
Includes tuition, postgraduate diploma and SAI Select Services (see What’s Included).
Contact SAI
Optional / Additional Fees:  
International Mailing Supplement
When applicable, students are charged an international mailing supplement to ensure visa paperwork arrives in a timely manner.

*prices are subject to change

Budget Low Est. High Est.
Airfare to/from Barcelona
$900 $1,100
Cost depends on travel to Consulate.
$160 $360
Books, Supplies & Course Fees $300 / course $500 / course
Includes groceries and eating out.
$400 / month $800 / month
SAI can provide recommendations.
$1,000 / month $1,300 / month
Personal Expenses $350 / month $450 / month
Transportation within Barcelona
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
$100 / month $150 / month
Weekend Travel
Cost varies greatly by student.
$300 / month $1,000 / month

This is an SAI Select Services Program; it includes the important on-site services!

  • Postgraduate diploma awarded by Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering
  • Program tuition
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • SAI orientation to the host city and school
  • SAI staff on-site providing assistance as needed and 24-hour emergency support

Pre-departure and Re-entry services

  • US-based admissions counselor assigned to you, providing friendly assistance
  • Helpful pre-departure tools and resources
  • Assistance with student visa application
  • Paid registration fees for national re-entry conferences
  • SAI alumni network

Housing is not included in SAI Select Services Programs. However, your SAI Admissions Counselor will be happy to provide you with information and recommendations for housing agencies, dormitories, and rentals in Barcelona. Students who do not have prior housing arrangements should begin speaking with their Admissions Counselor as soon as possible. All students are required to submit to SAI information regarding their housing arrangements prior to program start.

Passports should be valid for 6 months after planned departure from Spain.

Student Visas
In accordance with Spanish law students studying in Spain for 6 months or more are required to obtain a long stay student visa. Those with Spanish/EU citizenship are exempted. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for details on student visa requirements.