Exploring Research Based Practice For Graphic Designers


Design requires an awareness of, and interaction with various facets of culture where design is being applied. This workshop is a four-week intensive focusing on what research is and how it can be used as a tool in the production of intentional and original projects.

Research, in this case can be defined as a three point excavation process:
1. Accessing mediums external to the design process e.g. literature, film, visual artifacts, theory, etc. 2. Developing a personalized understanding of these mediums as they are relevant to the individuals practice, both as abstract concepts and through the production of concrete aesthetics strategies (Typeface selection, color palettes, image treatments/sourcing) 3. Re-appropriating these strategies within a project while understanding personal biases, the danger of appropriation as a tool of oppression, and the ethics of a shared cultural vernacular that design operates in parallel with: the two occupy a shared space though do not necessarily have full access to one another.

More often than not, research within the design process is not actively engaged with or exposed to critique. In doing so, students will have the opportunity to focus on the disassembling, reconstructing, reevaluating, and prototyping of custom research models within an intensive design studio setting.

This workshop will put a focus on shared knowledge production, collaborative research, archiving, the ethics of responsible appropriation, and how we deal with the concept of originality.

Course Structure

Active/Ethical Reading will prompt students by providing a starting point to study a topic of their choosing. An introductory set of readings and guest lecture by an artist or designer who puts an emphasis on reading or 'study' will start each 4 week session. From there, students will have two weeks to generate a set a supplementary research material, whether that be other readings, visual content, music, movies etc. focusing on how this material can be documented and redistributed in the context of their own practice. An 'encyclopedia' of practice specific resources will be created and then used to execute a final project which will be shared in a gallery/exhibition context.

Learning Outcomes


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Potential Readings

Potential Guest Speakers


Proposal authors: Rahul Shinde and Lukas Eigler-Harding
Set in Fivo Sans