Communication & Graphic Design Research blog

Academic discussions about graphic and communication design

An ocassional blog and chat about communication and graphic design research issues. Academic issues and discussion topics that have come out of research, but in a more informal manner; as well as some thoughts, as well as to reviews of articles, papers and suchlike…

Recent articles

Re-thinking Design Thinking – time to take some responsibility?

Design Thinking has been around for a while, but remains under-critiqued. This recently published article challenges the hegemony of Design Thinking education, offering options for its future dissemination.

The unbearable irrelevance of three design concepts

Industry stakeholders and clients often expect three design concepts as part of designers’ responses to a creative brief. Why is this and does it have to be this way?

I learned to design by copying Time Out magazine’s layout, now it’s gone!

Time Out magazine has printed its last London edition. As a graphic designer who cut his teeth learning to design using its layout as a template, it’s the end of an era. What does this signify for graphic design?

Design research, design practice, design thinking and professional practice (with added graphic design)

A short summary of key discussions around design research, design practice, design thinking and professional practice

Graphic design and interactivity: still a paradigm shift for graphic designers?

Twenty years ago, just after the turn of the 21st century, graphic designers were still coming to terms with interactivity as a form of communication design. This article looks back and ponders what has changed and considers the future of graphic design research, practice and interactivity.

Co-design & building a discourse around the graphic design brief

“What’s the brief?” is an everyday question within the graphic design process. Moreover, the concept and importance of a design brief is overtly understood well beyond design practice itself – especially among stakeholders who work with designers, as well as clients who commission their services.

Graphic design versus communication design

What’s the difference between graphic design and communication design? The two terms are the main ones used for both the academic discipline and the industry profession. However, many people appear to be unclear about what the terms mean and what practices they refer to.

Don’t call me a graphic designer!

What’s in a name? This new research suggests that some graphic designers are questioning whether the term ‘graphic design’ is reducing their design capital within the creative process.

We need to talk about the design brief… again!

Research about the graphic design brief remains elusive within academia. Especially as when a brief is lacking, is incomplete or unclear, it can make an already ambiguous graphic design process and discipline even more fractured.

Graphic design as a re-creational tool, process & research method

Graphic design is re-creational – re-presentation, as opposed to representation. Graphic designers often also have to face creative limitations and disappointments. Like theatre, graphic design is uniquely communicative and innately performative practice. This performativity provides an opportunity for professional graphic designers to assert their unique, practice specific, skills and talents.

Lab-grown meat: science triumphing over nature, or a metaphor for design?

Recent advancements in ‘lab-grown meat present interesting communication challenges. Especially wider ones, such as designing for new, potentially ‘confronting’, concepts and products.

Graphic designers – awkward prima donnas, or the nicest people you will ever work with?

Graphic designers often have a public and industry image of being argumentative prima donnas. But what is the truth and where is the research?

Performance, ethnography and design as research methods

Performance, ethnography and design are interconnected research methods. This article explores some of the pedagological issues involved.

Graphic design and artificial intelligence

There is one narrative about graphic design’s historical development that contextualises it in relation to the technological advancement of creative tools. This is often at odds with designers’ own focus on, for example,  consumer aesthetics (Kuutti 2009). Nevertheless, it is inarguable that graphic designers have increasingly been forced to face the advance of disruptive technologies …

Some articles engaging with current graphic design issues

With the continuing dearth of academic articles that treat graphic/communication design as a specific research discipline, I’m always on the lookout for (and writing about) content that does address this. Indeed, a recent article that I read drew its conclusions about ‘designers’ from such a wide range of disciplines, that it may as well have …

Researching the graphic design brief

“What’s the brief?” is a fairly everyday question in graphic design studios. But there appears to be little research on design briefs and the briefing process, even when looking at wider design research discourse (Jones & Askland, 2012; Paton & Dorst, 2011).  This is intriguing, considering how integral the brief is within so many design …

Yes, but what kind of design are we talking about?

Every industry from software engineering, to business, to professional services, consultancy and professional development, seemingly uses the word design in some form these days. And that’s aside from its more traditional artisanal and professional disciplinary use – fashion, graphic, product etc. – as well as within educational discourse. Indeed, within industry, asking ‘what do you …

Graphic design as a specific research discipline

Graphic design has tended to be seen as the poor cousin of the various design disciplines, often being seen as a secondary supplement to wider design practices (Poynor, 2011; Triggs, 2011), or even being treated as simply an aesthetic practice (Jacobs, 2017; Walker, 2017) This seems to be especially the case within academia, where it …

Defamiliarisation and design as research methods

Defamiliarization and design as academic research methods (and methodologies)