Abstract

Graphic designers undertake a wide range of activities in their commercial practice. The variety presents a rather confusing image of the profession and it is difficult to get a general view ‘what graphic design actually offers’. A similar difficulty arises in graphic design education where discussions about the contents of curricula need to be based on a reliable description of professional practice. Through observations of practice, and interviews with practicing graphic designers, a set of common activities, reflections and patterns were distilled. These commonalities were verified and validated through further interviews, and were compared with the literature on reflective practice and visual argumentation. The professional practice of graphic design can be – provisionally – presented in nine different reflections. Only one reflection – ‘considering a visual configuration’ - is characteristic for graphic designers. This characteristic reflection can be further subdivided into three groups: visual elements, visual strategy and visual dialogues. The description can be used to discuss the role of graphic design in projects and in education to check if a graphic design curriculum covers all reflections sufficiently. And, the description provides a direct relation to a theoretical basis: the ideas of reflective practice and ‘visual argumentation theories’.

Keywords:

graphic design practice, reflective practice, investigating professional practice, visual argumentation.

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Graphic design: focus on nine professional reflections?

Graphic designers undertake a wide range of activities in their commercial practice. The variety presents a rather confusing image of the profession and it is difficult to get a general view ‘what graphic design actually offers’. A similar difficulty arises in graphic design education where discussions about the contents of curricula need to be based on a reliable description of professional practice. Through observations of practice, and interviews with practicing graphic designers, a set of common activities, reflections and patterns were distilled. These commonalities were verified and validated through further interviews, and were compared with the literature on reflective practice and visual argumentation. The professional practice of graphic design can be – provisionally – presented in nine different reflections. Only one reflection – ‘considering a visual configuration’ - is characteristic for graphic designers. This characteristic reflection can be further subdivided into three groups: visual elements, visual strategy and visual dialogues. The description can be used to discuss the role of graphic design in projects and in education to check if a graphic design curriculum covers all reflections sufficiently. And, the description provides a direct relation to a theoretical basis: the ideas of reflective practice and ‘visual argumentation theories’.

 

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