Recently published article about graphic designers resistance the term ‘graphic design’
Abstract from Terminology and Design Capital; Examining the Pedagogic Status of Graphic Design through Its Practitioners’ Perceptions of Their Job Titles
Graphic design has long been hampered by its indeterminate educational disciplinary status, resulting in it being subsumed within wider visual arts studies. Arguing that this permeates into professional practice, this article explores the ambivalence of professional graphic designers towards the term ‘graphic design’ itself. Drawing on interviews with practitioners and discussions in online graphic design forums, the article argues this ambivalence derives from perceptions that the term reduces the design capital held by graphic designers. In turn, this negatively influences the graphic designers’ perceptions of professional relationships with creative stakeholders. Placing the study outcomes alongside existing academic literature, this article confirms anecdotal industry narratives about graphic designers’ perceptions of their capital. Moreover, it identifies a series of nuances to these narratives, challenging stereotypical educational and industry assumptions. In doing so, it argues that practitioner ambivalence towards the term ‘graphic design’ is symptomatic of an academic gap, resulting from inadequate pedagogic engagement with the specific discipline and practice of graphic design. This poses challenges for practitioners, as well as for the organisations they work within, at the same time presenting opportunities for researchers to make further headway into the specific discipline and methods of graphic design.