Design for Paralympians: Exploring Roles of Graphic and Industrial Design in Promoting Awareness of Athletes with Disabilities

By Carlos Montana-Hoyos and Lisa Scharoun.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 7, 2014 Free Download

A disability can be defined as physical, mental and/or sensory. Sport can assist in enabling the person with disabilities or impairments to access the community and society. A literature review suggests that most academic studies consider the evolution of Paralympic sports and games, mainly from the points of view of history, health, medicine, or sports and recreation. In relation to design, the roles of engineering and technology, mainly prostheses, materials and equipment design have also been widely studied. However, the roles of design disciplines in promoting awareness and development of Paralympic sports are rarely discussed, and thus worth of further investigation. Collaborating with the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), the authors developed a practice-led research project in two parts (mainly a graphic design and an industrial design one) which explored some of the roles of visual culture in design for athletes with disabilities. This paper discusses this design research project developed with APC for the 2012 Paralympic Games. The first part encompassed historic and visual research to produce 13 posters about the Australian Paralympic history. The second part involved Masters in Industrial Design (MID) students to develop design solutions for the APC's Paralympian of the Year (POTY) 2012 award ceremony. Conclusions discuss implications of designing for athletes with disabilities, as well as merging research-based teaching and practice-led research in design through exploring the social contribution of design within the community.

Keywords: Paralympic Games, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Design for Disability, Promotion

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.35-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 7, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.677MB)).

Assoc. Prof. Carlos Montana-Hoyos

Associate Professor of Industrial Design, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Dr. Carlos Alberto Montana-Hoyos is currently an Associate Professor in the Industrial Design course in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra. His main research is in Biomimicry and Design for Sustainability, and he recently published a book on these topics. Carlos was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He graduated cum laude from an MAID and a PhD from Kobe Design University (Japan Scholarship). As a designer, Carlos has developed multidisciplinary projects related to concept, product, graphics, exhibition and urban design. Several of his projects have received diverse international design awards. As an academic, Carlos was an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Product Design Engineering course of EAFIT University in his country (2001-03). He was also a Fellow and Assistant Professor (2006-10) in the ID Program of the National University of Singapore.

Dr. Lisa Scharoun

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Dr. Lisa Scharoun holds a PhD in Visual Communications from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. She is currently an Assistant Professor and course convener of Graphic Design at the University of Canberra, Australia. Her research focus is on global graphic design strategy, emotions and value sets in visual communications and global concepts of utopia in contemporary design and architecture. She has exhibited her design, photography and fine-artwork in the United States, UK, Australia and China. In 2009, Lisa was awarded 1st place in the fine-art collage category of the prestigious Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) competition for the collaborative work “Visions of Utopia,” a reflection on the symbolism present in both contemporary advertising and Maoist Chinese propaganda posters and has been subsequently selected as finalist in the 2010 AGDA Poster Annual as well as the 2011 Poster for Tomorrow competition. Lisa has published research on the symbolism of shopping malls in the Australasian Journal of Popular Culture and The Conversation. She has provided insight in the American shopping mall and its links to the Australian retail environment through various interviews in the Australian press. Lisa has recently published a book on the urban environment entitled: America At the Mall: The Role of a Cultural Utopia (McFarland 2012).