Framing Futures for Visual Communication Design Research

By Ian Gwilt and Jennifer Williams.

Published by The Design Collection

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

This paper posits opportunities to explore a critical space for visual communication design research. Through current education strategies being explored and tested we re-apply the typologies of the discipline through the lens of a critical practice in two distinct areas: first, as independent design investigation, process and research outcomes in its own right; and secondly, as meta-practice, enabling knowledge transfer and the facilitation of outcomes in trans-disciplinary research fields. We challenge assumptions of next-iteration practice as merely that of ‘collaboration’ and ‘service’. The paper documents two case studies that have recently been implemented through teaching, learning and research strategies of the UTS Visual Communication Design degree in a university context.

Keywords: Visual Communication Design, Critical Design in Visual Communication, Research Practices, Visual Communication Design in Trans-disciplinary Projects, Case Studies, Social Responsibility

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.81-98. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.716MB).

Dr. Ian Gwilt

Director Visual Communication Design, The School of Design, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, Sheffield Hallam University, Sydney, Sheffield, UK

Ian Gwilt is a Professor of Design and Visual Communication at Sheffield Hallam University. He holds a PhD from the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, examining the theory and practice of mixed-reality art. He also has an MA in Interactive Multimedia, conferred by the University of Balears (UIB) in Spain, and the Royal College of Art (RCA) London and a BA Hons in Communication Design from Manchester Metropolitan University. In addition to a number of years working in the field of visual communication design and visual communication design education he has shown interactive installations and digital work at a number of international new media events, galleries and exhibitions. His current practice/research is concerned with augmented reality and locative media, the graphical user interface as creative/cultural artefact, and exploring new forms and contexts for information design and post consumption visual communication forms.

Jennifer Williams

Lecturer, Visual Communication, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Jennifer lectures in Visual Communication Design at the University of Technology Sydney, teaching principally in the fields of information design, typography and illustration. She is also an Early Career Researcher (ECR) and co-leader of the Visual Communication strand in the UTS Challenge Grant project discussed in this paper, ‘Sustainable Sanitation Futures’. Jennifer is currently completing a PhD—Pro Bono Publico—a thesis through which the potential of ‘critical design’ in visual communication practice and research is explored and challenged through the disciplinary frame of ‘public design’. As a practitioner she has worked for Television New Zealand, and also for the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) where as a member of the initial core design team she designed a number of exhibitions, pan-museum signage and wayfinding systems. Additionally, Jennifer holds a music degree in performance/teaching (Voice) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

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