Dr. Karel van der Waarde studied graphic design in the Netherlands (The Design Academy, Eindhoven (BA)) and in the United Kingdom (De Montfort University, Leicester (MA) and the University of Reading (PhD)).
He is principal of Graphic Design – Research, a consultancy specializing in the testing of information design about pharmaceutical products. The main activities are the readability tests for package leaflets, usability tests for packaging, contextual enquiries, and prototype development. The company develops leaflets, instructions, forms, protocols, and the information architecture for websites. www.graphicdesign-research.com
Avans University of Applied Sciences (Breda, The Netherlands) appointed him as scholar in Visual Rhetoric between 2006 and 2014. It was a research post to investigate the development and use of visual communication with a longer term aim to support the relations between practice, research and education. From September 2014, he teaches (part time) at the Basel School of Design (FHNW, Switzerland). Since March 2017, he is professor Visual Communication at Swinburne University in Melbourne (Australia).
Van der Waarde is a life-Fellow of the Communications Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia), a board member of International Institute for Information Design (IIID, Vienna, Austria) and editorial board member of Information Design Journal, Journal of Visual Communication, She Ji, and Visible Language.
What is graphic design?
Graphic design is – like most professions – changing continuously. In order to monitor this change, it is necessary to observe and describe ‘graphic design practice’. About 150 interviews with graphic designers showed that they always combine ‘visual argumentation’ and ‘reflective practice’.
Visual argumentation: Graphic designers seem to execute three activities: they consider visual elements (type, illustrations, schematic elements), they consider a visual strategy (how to relate the message of a client to a specific group of people), and they consider a longer term visual dialogue between clients and people, because graphic design is always part of a longer conversations.
Reflective practice: Apart from considering the visual structure of a message, eight other activities are necessary to facilitate the development of a visual argument: presenting, testing, implementing, organisation, evaluating a position, and considering a situation, a problem, and a perspective.
Not all projects contain all activities, and not all activities are equally important, but this is what graphic designers say they do.
Who decides what is good design?
There are at least six groups who can decide if a visual argument is suitable. Designers, clients, standards and legislation, professional peers, people/users, and society can all provide legitimate opinions about the quality of a design. These groups use different kinds of value systems, use different criteria, and all weigh arguments in different ways. It is always difficult to satisfy the expectations and needs of all six groups and a balance need to be found.
How to find this balance?
One way to look at graphic design as the ‘development of visual arguments’. Every design makes a claim that it is improving a situation, and thereby implicitly stating that the current situation is not satisfactory. Every claim need to be supported by evidence, reasons, and research findings. One of the major challenges for graphic design at the moment is to find this evidence, and to present it in such a way that all relevant value systems are dealt with.
Jan Eckert is a Design Educator and Researcher at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts where he currently works as Head of the Master Program in Design. He has a PhD in Design Sciences from IUAV University of Venice and an international Master’s Degree in Interior Architectural Design from the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart, the Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Lugano. Before, he studied Interior Architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart and at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Eckert first worked as Interior Architect in the field of Retail and Exhibition Design. As a Senior Researcher at Lucerne’s Competence Center for Typology & Planning in Architecture, he then started developing human centered methods and projects in the field of Workplace Design. He was a co–lecturer in Interior Architecture at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, a visiting lecturer in Design at IUAV University of Venice, Berne University of the Arts as well as an invited lecturer at Universidad del Este, La Plata, Universidad Blas Pascal, Argentina and Izmir University of Economics, Turkey. In his doctoral thesis, he describes a concept he calls Handlungsspielraum. This concept embraces physical and digital artifacts that provide a specifically designed gap or space that allows users room to interpret how artifacts may be used.
The current expansion of design is no coincidence, no fashionable trend nor any idea of a small avant-garde. It is in fact the logical consequence of a massive social change“ – Florian Pfeffer, author of the book To do: the new role of design in a changing world points out what all too long has been ignored by design education. Most design curricula still stick to a very disciplinary image of the designer who provides his or her professional competence within a well-defined range of applications.
While redesigning our M.A. curriculum in design, we set out to question the disciplinary image of the designer in order to find an alternative, which matches the changing way professionals work together. Point of departure was the hypothesis, that 21st century designers mainly act as collaborators or Embedded Creatives within fields and industries, who primarily don’t belong to the design domain. We therefore argue for a design curriculum that supports the transition from working in disciplinary depth towards working across disciplines. We do so by providing a new M.A. curriculum in design, which focuses connecting competences and conversational learning formats. The most important pre–post curriculum change includes the shift from a disciplinary towards a problem–based design studio, co–teaching with multi–disciplinary faculty, context–based learning with partners from the industry and conversation–oriented teaching formats.
Co-Director of the Centre for Circular Design at University of the Arts London
Co-Director of the Centre for Circular Design at University of the Arts London.
She is a designer and academic working to bridge science, industry and design through multidisciplinary & practice-led research. Projects currently include Mistra Future Fashion (2015-2019), the EU Horizon 2020 project, Trash-2-Cash (2015-2018) where her work explores tools for lifecycle thinking and approaches for interdisciplinary circular design.
She has a longstanding working relationship, as board member with Worn Again, a revolutionary new recycling-tech company based in the UK. She first began her research with Textiles Environment Design (TED), and the Textile Futures research Centre (TFRC) in 2005 with the first UK practice-based doctorate focused on ‘designing textiles for the circular economy’. Her Laser Finishing process, developed in 2008, enables fully closed-loop recycling of polyester fibres at end of life, and has been exhibited internationally. She is currently a member of the ‘EPSRC Forum in Manufacturing Research’, an expert reviewer for ‘Fashion for Good’ and was named by the Guardian as one of their top ten circular economy experts in 2015.
Circular design first became relevant to textile materials through McDonnough & Braungart’s The Hannover Principles (1992) followed by the more widely cited Cradle to Cradle in 2002, where the sixth principle ‘eliminate the concept of waste’ pointed towards a far more holistic notion of materials recovery as compared to the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra. They called for the optimisation of the ‘full life cycle of products and processes to emulate the state of natural systems, in which there is no waste’, and suggested that current methods perpetuated a cradle-to-grave strategy, which was ultimately linear in nature.
Circular systems thinking is built upon the oldest system of all – our ecological system. The model we aspire to is based on a synergistic network of cycles and open-loops which feed each other at multiple scales and speeds. These are complex and sophisticated transformations of materials and living matter. Within this network we will undoubtedly see both old and new technologies and processes contribute to the whole, with hi- and low-technology working together. The same system could include slow garments, upcycled from pre-loved ones or fibres chemically recycled back to virgin quality in a closed loop system where nothing is lost.
The Circular (Textile) Designer of the future, needs to fully understand both technical and biological cycles, yet research in the field has shown us that they will also need to understand how these cycles can interconnect; and at what speed these cycles work. Inter-disciplinary practice-based textile design research can generate new insights for this emerging design field and the potential for circular design is that it ‘connects’ through holistic relationships, participation and collaboration. It can, and should, work at both micro and macro levels (from materials to products to systems) to avoid the, often unintended, consequences which can come from looking only at parts of the lifecycle and value chain, rather than the whole.
This presentation presents practice based projects, from design researchers at CCD and beyond, which challenge and provide a basis for different approaches to circularity. Through these projects we begin to see emerging methods, roles and characteristics for the future ‘Circular Designer’ which can build towards truly systemic change.
Rui Cidra is an anthropologist, ethnomusicologist and researcher at the Instituto de Etnomusicologia, Centro de Estudos de Música e Dança (INET— MD), of the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. His research addresses the power relations and forms of political participation framing the production of Lusophone African music, particularly from Cape Verde. In his PhD. dissertation, Music, Power and Diaspora: an Ethnography and History between Santiago, Cape Verde, and Portugal (2011) he focused on the Cape Verdean music and dance genre funaná and the production of the santiaguense Cape Verdean subjectivity across the lines of creoleness, masculinity and national belonging between the colonial and postcolonial moments. In his postdoctoral research, taking place at the music department of the University of California, Berkeley, and at the INET-MD, Lisbon, he has been writing articles proposing a critical genealogy of the relation between music, nation and diaspora among Cape Verdeans based on the political thought of Amílcar Cabral, and on the transformations brought by the neoliberal order. He was adjunct editor of the Encyclopedia of Music in Portugal in the Twentieth Century (2010), a work in which he has also collaborated as writer of entries and articles on musicians and music genres of the diasporas of Lusophone Africa and pop rock produced in Portugal. He has taught postgraduate courses in Migration, Ethnicity and Transnationalism (2004-2011) and Ethnomusicology at the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.