Design Hermeneutic Dialogues with Graphic Design: The Process of Interpretation

By Luz del Carmen Vilchis Esquivel.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The graphic designer, in the professional methodologic process takes important decisions based in the concept of dialogue, also the people that receives the graphic message makes an interpretation. This dialogic implications are condicionated by semiotic situations determinated by prejudgments and contextual conditions.These dialogic events are explained in the base of understanding the visual communication moments like a spiral dinamic movement (going far away from the classical hermeneutic circle) in a sort of sequence of spheres (loading in space, like the Sloterdijk Spheres Theory that means a contemporary way of looking at globalization). It is a new way of thinking and focusing graphic design theory, in the essence of a phylosophical point of view that makes conceptual relations considerating the design idea like a particle of the knowledge universe. This is, in this researching line, a way of open the design to humanistic world, as a compromise with the human being and the future of visual culture.The visual language is the visual thinking vehicle, the most important resource of graphic design because it is declarated in design expresions and makes the generation of knowledge about visuality phenomenon in which the dialogue is basic as comprehension posibility condition because it allows to be close to the essence of the communication fact and all the acts that compose the proyectual process ans design objects. These is condicionated bay the context, the moment and the interpretation as a link with visual text. Interpretation is a phylosophical action, an hermeneutic action. It is presented first like a problem beside the comprehension needings. Their element are: experience –previous knowledge-, logic –organized thinking-, true pretentious- and method – thinking form-.The comprehension is undertanded like developing, a mode of representation with the language resources of understanding and expresion very close to dialogue completing a basic condition: “to talk from the same but not from the similar”. The cuestion, in dialogue, profundizes in the totality of a nos arbitrary process, something that Heidegger named an “event” with knowing perspectives in the circle of the human-historic existence. Then the authentic sense is the extraordinary asking. Gadamer, in his hermeneutic conception, that is a Heidegger heritage, accepts facts interpretation like understanding with the guide of tradition; this is argumented in the base of language wich posibility is in the hermeneutic circle. The hermeneutic circle means the return to the tradition each time that we ask the meaning of something. I apply this principles to the graphic design process in the frame of a communication diagram that changes tha traditional ponit of view. I believe that graphic designers work in spiral thinking ( that´s why I make an integration of Sloterdijk Spheres theory), in front of several hermeneutic and semiotic moments (the dialogue moments). Also the perceptor has an interpretation moment, asking and answering to the graphic design object.
This paper talks about mi research work with two disciplines: graphic design and phylosophy in specific aspects: the proyectual process and the hermeneutic thinking.

Keywords: Graphic Design, Design Hermeneutics, Design Semiotics, Graphic Design Method, Visual Communication

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 487.531KB).

Prof. Luz del Carmen Vilchis Esquivel

Professor, National School of Visual Arts, CUMULUS, México City, Mexico

Professor in Posgraduate Program of National School of Visual Arts in National Autonomous University of Mexico. Pioneer in Mexico using digital resources in arts and design. First woman director of National School of Visual Arts at UNAM (2002-2006), has published four books about Graphic Design Theory, Graphic Design Metodology, Non-linear languages semiotics and Graphic Design Hermeneutics, 32 research papers and 18 didactic manuals. Manager from two diferent firms: a technologic center and a graphic design place. Teacher during 30 years, is oficial tutor from postgraduate program in the lines of researching projects, semiotic and hermeneutic studies; participating in academic events in Mexico, Dominicana Republic, USA, Canada, Greece, Spain, Cuba, Peru, Holland, Uruguay, Argentina, Germany and Prtugal and presentating conferences in Mexico, Panama, Cuba, Spain, USA, Lisbon and other countries; also, being advisor thesis from more than 120 researching student thesis works in different universities. Professional graphic designer, working in Mexico, USA and Canada in firms like BMG Entertainment, Environmental Law Institute or UNESCO in traditional and digital way. Visual artist, has exposed digital art, collage and visual poetry in more than 30 exhibitions in Mexico, Panama, USA, Rusia, Spain, France, Greece, Palestine and Frankfurt.


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