Francisco Laranjo

Designing a critic – research methods for critical graphic design practice

London College of Communication

The present (amorphous) state of graphic design is the result of a continuous acceleration of its mixed processes, drawing from a range of disciplines’ methods. This continuous acceleration forces the design discipline to be in a permanent nomadic mode, thus stretching its boundaries – not only of media (e.g. print, screen, installation) but also in terms of domains of activity (e.g. curating, editing, writing). It is also within this context that social and natural sciences are becoming increasingly important to design.

As a consequence of the permanent nomadic mode of design, designers seldom consider the discipline’s history and the social and cultural context in which they are designing.

I intend to focus on developing methods that question and challenge conditions of a criticality. By the use of such methods, I mean to enable designers to retain – while also enhancing – a reflective approach to their practice.

The main area of this research is located at the intersection of graphic design with design criticism and critical theory. This research will be undertaken from a practitioner’s perspective with an aim to develop a process for critical graphic design. 

My research aims to contribute to graphic design practice with a set of methods – in the form of a theoretical-practical model (e.g. set of interchangeable methods in the form of visual reflective exercises) – embedding design criticism in the graphic design process.

The outcome of the research will be a written thesis accompanied by a reflective book compiling the experiments undertaken during workshops as well as my own practice. In addition, I will develop a web platform for designers, educators and students, with an important theoretical contextualisation underpinning the relevance and promoting debate on reflective graphic design practice.

Supervisors

Professor Teal Triggs (Director of Studies),

Dr. Ian Horton