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Perspectives in visual storytelling Designer as and/or and/or and/or

A — Journalist B — Scientist C — Agitator D — Poet


Prologue Ever since the first edition in 2008 the bi-annual Graphic Design Festival Breda is in continuous development. A critical approach to our goals and output has led to an evolution in set up, length, partnerships and content of the festival. Like the ever-changing practice of the designer, the festival keeps reinventing itself in order to bring forth an outstanding experience for a better-defined audience. Like designers we are influenced by many changes around us. We combine a constant state of awareness with a pragmatic work ethos. This leads to a contemporary vision that inspires both participating designers and our audience. We’re proud to capture this vision in this book. Not a catalogue of the festival, but a notion of what goes on in contemporary graphic design. Described by four leading experts and demonstrated in practice by sixteen projects which are also on display during the festival. Due to the generous support from our partners and over 150 participating designers we are, yet again, able to present a mix of inspirational encounters, talent development and an international platform, which will be experienced by more than 15.000 people. A mission we’ll continue in the future. As the media landscape is changing, the role of a designer is too. We follow these developments, which have thus far led us to an intense collaboration with our friends at Breda Photo and the House for Visual Culture. Our intention is to continue joining forces in the future and ultimately produce an extensive festival celebrating visual culture. Dennis Elbers, founding director – September 2012

Graphic Design Festival Breda


A — Designer as Journalist: A0 : Making Sense by Sven Ehmann A1 : A2 : A3 : A4 :

Catalogtree — Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box Francesco Franchi — IL-magazine Peter Ørntoft — Infographics in context Trapped in Suburbia — Social Signals

B — Designer as Scientist: B0 : Research between practice and theory by Evert Ypma and Max Bruinsma B1 : Ji Lee — WTC logo preservation project B2 : Metahaven — Axis of Reputation B3 : Nicholas Felton — Feltron Annual Reports B4 : René Put & Rianne Petter — Poster 524

C — Designer as Agitator: C0 : The celebral aggressor by Robert Urquhart C1 : Gorilla — Daily Gorilla C2 : Aram Bartholl — Map C3 : André Thijssen — Various editorial comments C4 : Noortje van Eekelen — Spectacle of Tragedy

D — Designer as Poet: D0 : New pictorial authorship by Ellen Lupton D1 : Vahram Muratyan — Paris versus New York, a tally of two cities D2 : Floris Kaayk — Human Birdwings D3 : Christoph Niemann — First Person D4 : Xavier Barade — Retrospective


communication

visual literacy

Since prehistoric times man has been communicating via images. In between now and then a more abstract way of communication developed as we learned to express ourselves with text. In our current society communication again is increasingly based on images. Various platforms are within everybody’s reach and the amount of information available via the Internet is vast. These days a combination of portable hardware and online software enable everyone, professional and amateur to share thoughts, opinions and adventures at any time from anywhere in private and public.

Images say more than a thousand words, so it makes sense cover all information in visuals. But this will only work when we know how to interpret these. Although we learn how to use language at school, visual literacy is not a common capability. The enormous quantity of visual stimuli in our environment make it increasingly difficult to pinpoint the message or to see an image in it’s proper perspective. Graphic designers have the responsibility to create transparent view on our society. Contemporary tactics are necessary to clarify the complex information in a way that the public can understand, remember and interpret.

Dennis Elbers is a freelance curator and the director/founder of the Graphic Design Festival Breda. Since 2004 he dedicated his professional life to cultural entrepreneurship. As organizer and curator of public events (festivals, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, etc.) he creates platforms for a new generation of image creators. These platforms offer both artistic development for participating designers and social relevance for the audience. Elbers has frequently curated exhibitions for the Graphic Design Festival Breda, KOP and MOTI, Museum of the Image. He is also an advisor for (governmental) funding and policy organizations. In 2010 he received the Rabobank culture award for his contribution to the cultural climate in Breda.

visual storytelling

mayor changes that effect both man and visual storytelling:

Designers are again developing the way of transferring knowledge that has been used since prehistoric times: story telling. This development is internationally dubbed ‘visual storytelling’ and is not only appropriate for editorial illustrations and data visualizations, but for almost every type of graphic expression. Visual storytelling broadens the profession of graphic design. Other disciplines such as photography and animation are mixed and lead to new image forms, frequently on cross-media platforms. Designers as storyteller perfectly fit our developing visual culture. By making use of elementary changes in human behavior the designers create new ways of communicating and at the same time prove the necessity of visual storytelling.

Colophon Editor — Dennis Elbers Design — Rob van Hoesel

Social media Social media enable everybody to share his or her personal story. This changes the way we relate to others. Being friends with your boss or even the president makes the hierarchic system fade away. It also changes how we relate to media and even machines. Imagine being without your smart phone for a week. All the data we are gathering and distributing creates an ever-growing pool of data designers can edit and re-design to make sense out of our behavior.

Print — NPN Drukkers Paper — Pop’set 170 gr. / Olin 120 gr. + 250 gr. by Antalis

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visual overflow Social media creates a visual overflow, devaluating image at the same time it gains influence. Devaluating as it is hard to verify the source and context of an image, but at the same time images are powerful as they are widely accessible and presumed understandable. Triggered by the new wide scope on the world this visual overflow increases the demand for better and more reliable visual information. The saying ‘knowledge is power’ is proven time and again, on a personal and a political level. Recent movements such as Occupy and the Arabian Spring arise from this demand for information. Worldwide networks enable people to publicly monitor democracy and induce the desire for a transparent world. A transparent view will influence people’s behavior and awareness towards each other.

Special thanks to: Vera Butter, Simone Dresens, Sven Ehmann, Robert Urquhart, Max Bruinsma, Evert Ypma, Ellen Lupton, Perry de Jong, Mirrijne Pluim

GDFB is supported by:

Publisher: Graphic Design Festival Breda Reigerstraat 16 4811 XB Breda The Netherlands

Advertising In advertising the client no longer solely influences the message a commissioned designer translates into form. Designers have become art director and campaign strategist in one, using public feedback as a tool. They understand the audience doesn’t buy everything any longer, but demand responsible and credible stories first. Designers react to this with a critical attitude towards their influence on the clients’ story and the way the audience will experience this story.

GDFB is funded by:

A — Designer as Journalist

B — Designer as Scientist

C — Designer as Agitator

D — Designer as Poet

reflect on news creating compact and comprehensible context for today’s topics

dissect complex systems to create a transparent view on our environment

provoke public debate in order to shape up our personal opinion about everything

add a personal and reflective touch to reality by triggering our own imagination

ISBN 978–94–90888–02–2 © Graphic Design Festival Breda 2012 / www.gdfb.nl / info@gdfb.nl

Media partners:

Craftsmanship Like during the industrial revolution, developments in technology give rise to counter reactions. In this digital age designers step away from their desktops to get their hands dirty again. Designing a message in a handmade, personal and responsible way generates renewed attention to craftsmanship. Remarkably enough, technological developments play an important role in the development of contemporary crafts.

Technology

Introduction by Dennis Elbers

Recent technological developments allow us all to create and distribute images. Clever concepts rather than nice images will make designers stand out from this continuous stream. Technical developments also work in favor of designers, as they are no longer limited in their technical resources and output. Tools can be simply obtained via online open source development or instructables. The result can be distributed worldwide via specialized digital communities, even as a physical reproduction by means of on demand (3D) printing.

This book investigates how designers communicate information, events and opinions by visual stories that stand out in the continuous stream of images we encounter every day. As there always is more than one side to a story, there are also different perspectives that visual storytellers can take in. By exploring various perspectives we indicate the powerful influence designers have in a society dominated by images. All these developments reduce the distance between what we used to call consumer and creator. Designers lead the way in our current and future visual culture by pushing the creative boundaries and being responsible at the same time. Visual storytelling is their way of doing so, raising the audience’s visual literacy to a next level. The selected perspectives show us how to adapt ever-existing human values to a new level in our visual culture. We would say it is all about: Search, Find, Like, Share...

www.gdfb.nl

Graphic Design Festival Breda


communication

visual literacy

Since prehistoric times man has been communicating via images. In between now and then a more abstract way of communication developed as we learned to express ourselves with text. In our current society communication again is increasingly based on images. Various platforms are within everybody’s reach and the amount of information available via the Internet is vast. These days a combination of portable hardware and online software enable everyone, professional and amateur to share thoughts, opinions and adventures at any time from anywhere in private and public.

Images say more than a thousand words, so it makes sense cover all information in visuals. But this will only work when we know how to interpret these. Although we learn how to use language at school, visual literacy is not a common capability. The enormous quantity of visual stimuli in our environment make it increasingly difficult to pinpoint the message or to see an image in it’s proper perspective. Graphic designers have the responsibility to create transparent view on our society. Contemporary tactics are necessary to clarify the complex information in a way that the public can understand, remember and interpret.

Dennis Elbers is a freelance curator and the director/founder of the Graphic Design Festival Breda. Since 2004 he dedicated his professional life to cultural entrepreneurship. As organizer and curator of public events (festivals, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, etc.) he creates platforms for a new generation of image creators. These platforms offer both artistic development for participating designers and social relevance for the audience. Elbers has frequently curated exhibitions for the Graphic Design Festival Breda, KOP and MOTI, Museum of the Image. He is also an advisor for (governmental) funding and policy organizations. In 2010 he received the Rabobank culture award for his contribution to the cultural climate in Breda.

visual storytelling

mayor changes that effect both man and visual storytelling:

Designers are again developing the way of transferring knowledge that has been used since prehistoric times: story telling. This development is internationally dubbed ‘visual storytelling’ and is not only appropriate for editorial illustrations and data visualizations, but for almost every type of graphic expression. Visual storytelling broadens the profession of graphic design. Other disciplines such as photography and animation are mixed and lead to new image forms, frequently on cross-media platforms. Designers as storyteller perfectly fit our developing visual culture. By making use of elementary changes in human behavior the designers create new ways of communicating and at the same time prove the necessity of visual storytelling.

Colophon Editor — Dennis Elbers Design — Rob van Hoesel

Social media Social media enable everybody to share his or her personal story. This changes the way we relate to others. Being friends with your boss or even the president makes the hierarchic system fade away. It also changes how we relate to media and even machines. Imagine being without your smart phone for a week. All the data we are gathering and distributing creates an ever-growing pool of data designers can edit and re-design to make sense out of our behavior.

Print — NPN Drukkers Paper — Pop’set 170 gr. / Olin 120 gr. + 250 gr. by Antalis

Search

Find

Like

Share

visual overflow Social media creates a visual overflow, devaluating image at the same time it gains influence. Devaluating as it is hard to verify the source and context of an image, but at the same time images are powerful as they are widely accessible and presumed understandable. Triggered by the new wide scope on the world this visual overflow increases the demand for better and more reliable visual information. The saying ‘knowledge is power’ is proven time and again, on a personal and a political level. Recent movements such as Occupy and the Arabian Spring arise from this demand for information. Worldwide networks enable people to publicly monitor democracy and induce the desire for a transparent world. A transparent view will influence people’s behavior and awareness towards each other.

Special thanks to: Vera Butter, Simone Dresens, Sven Ehmann, Robert Urquhart, Max Bruinsma, Evert Ypma, Ellen Lupton, Perry de Jong, Mirrijne Pluim

GDFB is supported by:

Publisher: Graphic Design Festival Breda Reigerstraat 16 4811 XB Breda The Netherlands

Advertising In advertising the client no longer solely influences the message a commissioned designer translates into form. Designers have become art director and campaign strategist in one, using public feedback as a tool. They understand the audience doesn’t buy everything any longer, but demand responsible and credible stories first. Designers react to this with a critical attitude towards their influence on the clients’ story and the way the audience will experience this story.

GDFB is funded by:

A — Designer as Journalist

B — Designer as Scientist

C — Designer as Agitator

D — Designer as Poet

reflect on news creating compact and comprehensible context for today’s topics

dissect complex systems to create a transparent view on our environment

provoke public debate in order to shape up our personal opinion about everything

add a personal and reflective touch to reality by triggering our own imagination

ISBN 978–94–90888–02–2 © Graphic Design Festival Breda 2012 / www.gdfb.nl / info@gdfb.nl

Media partners:

Craftsmanship Like during the industrial revolution, developments in technology give rise to counter reactions. In this digital age designers step away from their desktops to get their hands dirty again. Designing a message in a handmade, personal and responsible way generates renewed attention to craftsmanship. Remarkably enough, technological developments play an important role in the development of contemporary crafts.

Technology

Introduction by Dennis Elbers

Recent technological developments allow us all to create and distribute images. Clever concepts rather than nice images will make designers stand out from this continuous stream. Technical developments also work in favor of designers, as they are no longer limited in their technical resources and output. Tools can be simply obtained via online open source development or instructables. The result can be distributed worldwide via specialized digital communities, even as a physical reproduction by means of on demand (3D) printing.

This book investigates how designers communicate information, events and opinions by visual stories that stand out in the continuous stream of images we encounter every day. As there always is more than one side to a story, there are also different perspectives that visual storytellers can take in. By exploring various perspectives we indicate the powerful influence designers have in a society dominated by images. All these developments reduce the distance between what we used to call consumer and creator. Designers lead the way in our current and future visual culture by pushing the creative boundaries and being responsible at the same time. Visual storytelling is their way of doing so, raising the audience’s visual literacy to a next level. The selected perspectives show us how to adapt ever-existing human values to a new level in our visual culture. We would say it is all about: Search, Find, Like, Share...

www.gdfb.nl

Graphic Design Festival Breda


A — Designer as: Journalist

Making Sense by Sven Ehmann „All the News That’s Fit to Print“ reads the small print on the top left hand corner of the New York Times. A great claim for arguably one of the best newspapers in the world. But much more than that, these few words carry the evermore important, evermore valuable and evermore appreciated promise of serious journalism. This is not about a search engine with access to all the news there is. This is not about a personal stream of blog posts, status updates and tweets. This is about the ongoing effort of a professional media outlet to tell us the important things about the important things. Nothing more, nothing less. In the day and age of information overflow more and more of us are thankful for such a service and happy to pay for that promise again. For the intense research, the critical analysis, the fastidious fact checking and the strong voice of independent reporting manifested in written or spoken words and outstanding visuals. While the art of visual storytelling is celebrated across all media these days – from mapping personal activities to promoting product attributes in commercials - the strongest and most important impact the current rise of infographics and data visualization has, is in professional, serious journalism. There it helps us to understand. There it helps us to make sense out of the vast amount of data. There it allows us to ind solutions to challenges as complex as the economic crisis, environmental changes,

a spreading epidemic or the transition from war to peace. It is not about breaking the news that much anymore. It is about providing the substance of information to a sophisticated readership. The most outstanding examples in this field are produced by a new breed of visual storytellers who work at the intersection of design, journalism and data. They are the ones who master the maps, charts and databases, the illustrations, interactives and the narrative. They find the underlying pattern, the new perspective onto a seemingly old, yet important story. They reduce to the max, to reach their audience and meet the daily deadlines. At the same time they continuously push the boundaries. They keep developing the vocabulary, the grammar, and the syntax of this new visual language forward. They offer simple and understandable visuals when needed and experimental new formats when possible. The coverage around major sports events, elections and catastrophes often mark milestones in the ongoing development of this new visual language, but whatever the subject, the new storytellers are always more concerned about the story, than about the style, about the facts, than about the fiction. Besides the New York Time we find exceptional work in numerous other major newspapers around the globe – with a strong tradition and quality in the Spanish speaking markets – in magazines, on websites and in apps. From the untouchable masters like the graphics team at National Geographic on one side, to a new, smart and playful


generation as around Francesco Franchi at the Italian newspaper supplement IL on the other. United in their attitude and commitment, they describe and explore the range of possibilities. So what better way to finish this text than with the infamous Steve Jobs quote? Dear graphics editors, data journalists, infographic artists, editorial illustrators, database programmers, ... all you visual storytellers: „Stay hungry. Stay foolish.“

A — Designer as Journalist: A1 : Catalogtree — Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box A2 : Francesco Franchi — IL-magazine A3 : Peter Ørntoft — Infographics in context A4 : Trapped in Suburbia — Social Signals


A1 : Catalogtree

Designer as Journalist


A1 : Catalogtree

Catalogtree — Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box Catalogtree is a multidisciplinary design studio founded in 2001 by Daniel Gross and Joris Maltha. Together with Nina Bender they specialize in typography, generative graphic design and the visualization of quantitative data. Their guiding design tactic is; form = behaviour. Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box is an interactive documentary developed for the iPad that takes us to the heart of our automated financial world. Based on interviews with those directly involved and data visualizations up to the millisecond, it reconstructs the fastest and deepest plunge of U.S. stock markets ever: the flash crash that occurred on U.S. Financial markets on Thursday May 6, 2010. At 14.42.44 hours and 75 milliseconds the U.S. Financial markets collapsed for no apparent reason and with unprecedented speed, to return after 20 minutes to previous levels.

With a detailed reconstruction, the documentary exposes the inner dynamics of a rapidly changing financial world that affects everyone’s life. This futuristic thriller reveals a global financial system that has evolved from a network of regulated trading floors to a network of black boxes. A network that is not transparent and which is now trading at the speed of light. A network that has become a machine-driven organism with no one at the helm. The TouchDoc is the first iPad-documentary of its kind. It shows what the merger of television and computer can bring. www.catalogtree.net Commissioned by VPRO Concept by Marije Meerman, Catalogtree Screenplay & Directed by Marije Meerman Design & Datavisualisations by Catalogtree Research by Gerko Wessel Programming by Noodlewerk, Systemantics

Interface to the documentary: A gallery of screens give access to key scenes in the movie. Below this gallery, relevant additional features and information are suggested to the user.

Designer as Journalist


A1 : Catalogtree Movie Stills: Screens of the documentary. Relevant additional information is suggested to the user during the film, including data visuals, biographies, maps and various on-line resources.

Visualizations of trade data: Interactive area graphs show the fall of Apple, Procter & Gamble and Accenture. They can be scrolled through manually or viewedยง as animation. In the documentary, the visuals are directly commented by the interviewed.

New York Data-donut: Layered map showing the optimal region for building data-centres. The outer-limit is defined by the speed of the fibre-optic network: 70 km from Manhattan, a real time backup of trade data is still possible. The hole in the centre is defined by the blast radius of a nuclear bomb, some 30 km. Other aspects limiting the building locations include: crime levels, flight paths, hazmat transports, wild life and lightening strikes.

Designer as Journalist


A2 : Francesco Franchi

Francesco Franchi — IL-magazine Francesco Franchi is an Italian editorial and information designer. He is the art director at IL – Intelligence in lifestyle, the monthly newsmagazine of Il Sole 24 ORE. This is the first magazine dedicated to cultural and social transformation in the 21st century. Franchi is pushing the envelope in the field of editorial design. To him writing is not enough. Contemporary society is undergoing a change and we are currently embracing multiple languages to increase understanding. Designers are challenged to develop new editorial formats, platforms and visual languages. Franchi creates a narrative language where the content and visuals coexist and work cohesively together to deliver a result that is digestible, informative, and enhances the overall quality of the story. www.francescofranchi.com

La fattoria dei pesci / The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (2009)

Designer as Journalist


A2 : Francesco Franchi

Fai le fusa, persiano / Iran report (2010)

Fai le fusa, persiano / Iran report, detail (2010)

Designer as Journalist


A2 : Francesco Franchi

Altro che disarmo / Military spending and armaments world status report (2010)

Designer as Journalist


A2 : Francesco Franchi

Designer as Journalist


A2 : Francesco Franchi

Aiuto chiamate Noè / The state of world threatened species and global biodiversity. (2009) Designer as Journalist


A2 : Francesco Franchi

Designer as Journalist


A3 : Peter Ørntoft

Interest no.4 (refugees and immigrants)

Peter Ørntoft — Infographics in context Peter Ørntoft is a Danish designer working from a context and research based approach. Information graphics in context has an investigative and conceptual character. The project deals with data from a list of the social related interests of the Danish people. The data is collected from a nation wide opinion poll. Ørntoft has used the context of each interest to shape and design diagrams. Interest no.4 is about refugees and immigrants. The question was whether or not the Danes think it’s ethical to wear religious symbols in public professions. Ørntoft used the looks and appearances of traditional religious symbols to design the diagrams.

Interest no.5 is about health and healthcare. The question was if the Danes fear of the H1N1 virus and think the Danish healthcare system can handle an epidemic. At the pharmaceutical faculty of the University of Copenhagen Ørntoft worked with microorganisms to design the diagrams. Interest no.6 is about law and order. The questions was if gang related crime changes the behaviour of the Danes. Ørntoft combined barrier tape and a person’s behaviour pattern in urban space to design the diagrams. www.peterorntoft.com

Designer as Journalist


A3 : Peter Ă˜rntoft

Interest no.5 (health and healthcare)

Interest no.6 (law and order) Designer as Journalist


A4 : Trapped in Suburbia

Trapped in Suburbia — Social Signals Trapped in Suburbia loves to tell stories. To create a perfect story they combine extensive research with fun, both for them selves as their audience. Graphic Design Festival Breda commissioned them to research Breda’s central city park and translate the results into a visual celebration visible to every passer-by. Vakenberg Park is a main artery of the city as everyone has to pass through it on their way to the central station or city center. During summer the park becomes a leisure staple for Breda’s residents. The project explores how the Valkenberg Park can be seen as a reflection of society. By ‘liking’ and ‘tweeting’ we use social signals to indicate our interests. During three months Trapped in Suburbia gathered information from historical sources, news and social media about the different ways the park is being used by city dwellers. The data was converted to 102 flags, each representing a story about the park. The flags are positioned throughout the park to create an elongated and lifelike infographic. Together the flags show the significance of the park for the city. www.trappedinsuburbia.com

Designer as Journalist


A4 : Trapped in Suburbia

Designer as Journalist


A4 : Trapped in Suburbia

Designer as Journalist


A4 : Trapped in Suburbia

Designer as Journalist


A4 : Trapped in Suburbia

Designer as Journalist


Sven Ehmann is a creative director based in Berlin, Germany and develops concepts, content, and experiences across all media. Since 2002, he has edited over 40 publications for the internationally renowned art and design book publisher Gestalten on subjects including tactile design, editorial design, food, interactive environments, bicycle culture, and information graphics. He has also co-edited the bestselling Data Flow book series as well as Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language. Ehmann has curated exhibitions on various topics from design talents, photography, and contemporary porcelain to sneakers and chemistry. He lectures and gives workshops on a regular basis around the globe.

Graphic Design Festival Breda


B — Designer as: Scientist

Research between practice and theory by Evert Ypma and Max Bruinsma Designers are practitioners, not scientists or theoreticians. Thus, when designers speak of 'research,' it usually indicates the gathering of (background) information needed to ground a design in its proper social, cultural and economic contexts. But can design be a tool, or even a method to rigorously investigate these contexts themselves? Over the course of about seventy years, the technological functionalist that the designer once was has acquired methodologies of inquiry and concept production that derive from an ever expanding amalgam of knowledge domains. The investigative designer today needs to be a critical agent, a creator, a catalyst, a sociologist, an economist as well as a flexible entrepreneur operating in permanently changing contexts. But can he be a researcher? Design research, according to Bruce Archer, 1 is the systematic "enquiry whose goal is knowledge of, or in, the embodiment of configuration, composition, structure, purpose, value and meaning in manmade things and systems," applying verified methodologies of investigation. This somewhat contorted definition would rule out most of what is presented today as 'design research.' As systematically as many designers may work, their methodologies hardly ever produce 'falsifiable' results in the scientific sense of independent verification. Such scrutiny needs robust theories and reasoned inquiry into the means and methods of design – and research. First steps towards developing

such theories have been set from the 1960s onward, notably at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, which invited established scientific disciplines, such as sociology, psychology and cultural and art historical sciences into the design process. Meanwhile, 'design research' is becoming a discipline in its own right, although it is all but settled. Herbert Simon, author of ‘The Sciences of the Artificial,’ 2 defines the act of designing as a process in which humans "devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones." This is where design research sets off. What criteria govern this 'course of action?' Which hypotheses are directing it's development? Many ways to answer these questions have been proposed, but design researcher Nigel Cross offers overview: he distinguishes three main categories of design research, based on people, process and products: design epistemology (the study of designerly ways of knowing); design praxeology (the study of the practices and processes of design); and design phenomenology (the study of the form and configuration of artifacts). 3 In the more accessible terms proposed by Alain Findeli, 4 one might say that Cross' categories boil down to three types of design research: research about design, research for design, and research through design. The latter is a very promising field of practical and theoretical research today, because it actively connects two worlds that in scientific research often remain separated, that of the systemic object of research and the speculative project of design – that of general knowledge production and specific solution finding.


This associative and connective approach can break open traditional research methods and disciplines, and explore different research formats. Currently this understanding of 'design research as design project' is taking a great leap in the merging of academic and professional traditions in practice-based design-PhD programs at design schools and universities. Language and verbalizing are still central to any research: the systemic communication and interpretation of field-specific knowledge. Apart of many unanswered methodological questions, also the type of outcomes from design research is under debate: can a design proposal or an image perform as medium of discovery and can it function as (additional) ‘scientific’ proof or even as substitute for the scientific text in the representation of research outcomes? Although research through design, practicebased research or project-grounded research still struggle for methodological soundness and scientific recognition, it is interesting and potentially valuable to discover the specific qualities of design research as a strategy and the researcherdesigner as personification of a new way of dissecting and re-composing the complex systems of our artificial world.

1. Archer, Bruce (1981) “A View of the Nature of Design Research”, in: R. Jacques and J. Powell (eds.) Design: Science: Method, Guildford, UK, Westbury House 2. Simon, Herbert (1981) The Sciences of the Artificial, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 3. Cross, Nigel (1999) “Design research: A Disciplined Conversation”, in: Design Issues Volume 15, Number 2, Summer 1999, 5-10 4. Findeli, Alain (1999) “Introduction”, in: Design Issues Volume 15, Number 2, Summer 1999, 2

B — Designer as Scientist: B1 : Ji Lee — WTC logo preservation project B2 : Metahaven — Axis of Reputation B3 : Nicholas Felton — Feltron Annual Reports B4 : René Put & Rianne Petter — Poster 524


B1 : Ji Lee

Designer as Scientist


B1 : Ji Lee

Ji Lee — WTC logo preservation project Ji Lee works in the field of design, advertising, technology and art. He is a creative strategist at Facebook. His past jobs include Google, Droga 5 and Saatchi & Saatchi. In his free time, Lee dedicates himself to work on his personal projects. Some of his well known projects includes the Bubble Project, Word as Image and Wordless Web. In 2011 Lee was listed as one of the 50 most influential designers in the US by the Fast Company magazine.

The World Trade Center towers are present in thousands of logos that include a depiction of New York City’s skyline. Many logos belong to small businesses, which very well may disappear in the years to come. As they fade away, so do the visual reminders of these iconic structures. After 9/11, Lee started photographing and archiving these logos to preserve the many graphic representations of the Twin Towers. The result is published online. www.pleaseenjoy.com www.wtclogo.com

Designer as Scientist


B1 : Ji Lee

Designer as Scientist


B2 : Metahaven

Metahaven — Axis of Reputation Metahaven is a research and design outfit on the cutting blade between politics and aesthetics. Founded in 2006 by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden, Metahaven operates from Amsterdam on a variety of commissioned and self-initiated projects in design and research. Axis of Reputation maps the ever-changing reputation of WikiLeaks among its friends and enemies. Reputation is measured along two lines: Support–Exploitation and Adversary–Ally, and it includes actors as wide-ranged as U.S. rightwing politicians, investigative journalists and Hollywood studios. Research was done by the designers based on (online) public sources. This version, which was produced for the Canadian journal Fillip, represents WikiLeaks’ reputation as of September, 2011. www.metahaven.net

Designer as Scientist


B2 : Metahaven

Designer as Scientist


B2 : Metahaven

Designer as Scientist


B2 : Metahaven

Designer as Scientist


B3 : Nicholas Felton

Nicholas Felton — Feltron Annual Reports Nicholas Feltron spends much of his time thinking about data, charts and our daily routines. He is the author of several Feltron Annual Reports that weave numerous measurements into a tapestry of graphs, maps and statistics that reflect the year’s activities. He is the cofounder of Daytum.com, and a member of the product design team at Facebook. Nicholas has been recognized as one of the 50 most influential designers in America by Fast Company.

from his memory, calendar, photos and last.fm data. He named it The Feltron Annual Report (The “r” in “Feltron” was added to include a subtle pseudonym component to the report). The project has been structured to record his natural behaviors, rather than influence them, which is why he refrains from tallying the results until the end of the year. www.feltron.com

In 2004, Felton designed a year-end report called Best of 04 that included a few numerical strikingly details about the year. The following year, he created his first report out of information drawn

Designer as Scientist


B3 : Nicholas Felton

Designer as Scientist


B3 : Nicholas Felton

Designer as Scientist


B3 : Nicholas Felton

Designer as Scientist


B4 : RenĂŠ Put & Rianne Petter

Skin Designer as Scientist


B4 : René Put & Rianne Petter

René Put & Rianne Petter — Poster 524 In 2006 the Dutch graphic designers René Put and Rianne Petter launched an exploration into posters as medium of contemporary visual culture. This project was part of the research group ‘Art and Public Space’ from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. The first part of the research consists of an exploration in to all the relevant factors that play a role in shaping the design of a poster and how the poster is read by users of the public space. The second and most extensive part of the research is based on a collection of posters. In three months Put and Petter collected all (legally and illegally distributed) posters in public areas in Amsterdam; a total of 523 unique posters. This extensive collection formed the basis of a research project into posters as unique portraits of our visual culture. Put and Petter deconstructed the collected posters according to their most important features. The focus is on key components of a poster such as text, image, color and composition. Certain elements were isolated, organized and combined to be used as building for creating new images. These newly constructed images are visual data. Their value lies not in the way they look, but in the way they are made. The images provide a renewed awareness, inspire reflection and invite a reconsideration of the possibilities of posters as a medium. The result of their research is published in the book Poster 524 by Publisher Valiz. In addition to showcasing the research results of the project the publication also examines the value of design research in our current visual culture and the tools that designers have at their disposal. www.putgootink.nl www.riannepetter.nl

Designer as Scientist


B4 : RenĂŠ Put & Rianne Petter

Graphic Designer as Scientist


B4 : RenĂŠ Put & Rianne Petter

Yellow

Black

Designer as Scientist


B4 : RenĂŠ Put & Rianne Petter

Composition Designer as Scientist


Evert Ypma is a a design researcher, conceptual strategist and lecturer. He consults public and private sector with complex identity strategy and positioning questions, such as global financial corporations, local, national and supra-national governmental and cultural institutions. From 2005-2010 he lead CAS Corporate Design – Multiplicity & Visual Identities, an international postgraduate study program and research initiative on collective identities, corporate design and visual representation. This was based at the Institute for Design Research of the Zurich University of the Arts. Further he is educator at the Basel School of Art and Design MA program and regular guest lecturer at international universities, expert meetings and business seminars. Max Bruinsma is an independent design critic, editor, curator, editorial designer and editorin-chief of Items, the Dutch review of design. He studied art-, architecture- and design history in Groningen and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Since 1985, his critical writings have featured regularly in major Dutch art- and design journals and in a range of international design publications (a.o. Eye, Idea, ID, Blueprint, The AIGA Journal, Étappes, Form). In 1997, he succeeded founding editor Rick Poynor as editor-in-chief of Eye, the international review of graphic design, in London. Before, Bruinsma was editor of the Dutch design magazine Items, published and edited several books on (graphic and new media) design, and taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Graphic Design Festival Breda


C — Designer as: Agitator

The celebral aggressor by Robert Urquhart Let’s leave agreement to others. After all, the agitator is the cerebral aggressor, the first in, last out, perpetrator of change, the constant adulterer to imposed system. The state of agitation is the heartbeat of creativity.

They are the ones who mock our pomposity and posturing in social and digital media. Agitation is sometimes uneasy, caught with our pants down, we are reminded that we are all capable of being the subject of satire, and we are all the better for that realisation.

Agitation is easily identifiable, an animal instinct that prevents us from inertia and arguably from extinction. The fist of anger and of solidarity, hands outreached in passion and in satire.

The design agitator hones in on the absurd, lingering on life in mid - air, life as happenstance. Their work stirs up a deeply oscillating visual massage parlour, stimulating the human condition. Of course you don’t need me to tell you this, but there are times when agitation becomes a refrain, a mantra, an underlying melody.

Design agitation is neither a service nor a discipline. Agitation is the pinprick of empathy. Design agitation is a sense of self-purpose. The opposite of sterile, infertile and barren, agitation is opulent, effervescent, brimming with ardour.

This underlying melody can, at times be seductive to commercial interests. At times you can hear a cover version of design agitation humming in the background like elevator music, the tune is familiar but the expression is vulgar. Design agitation can be bastardised.

Design agitators are the glorifiers and creators of symbols of movement and of change. They boil down the prime cuts from our daily diet of news from other, less transparent, agitators. They hold up the mirror, it is they who ask the questions.

Design is not just a service, just as it is not always provocative or divisive.

Let’s look to the great cartoon political satirists, fearless in their subject matter and as politically clear-sighted in their approach as the graphic visualisation that they produce. Where better than the futile, timeless struggle in the Middle East and, closer to home, self-centred politics, to reveal the pomposity and folly of human nature.

However, design agitators do have the ability to apply their craft in a social context, they provide visual folk music for the soul. ‘Soul’ is not a very fashionable word when it comes to design but that’s what I believe in when I talk about agitators. They have soul, a timeless energy that may as well be called many things including ‘talent’, ‘expression’ and ‘artistry’. Whatever it is, it is also agitation. Festivals such as GDFB offer the chance for design to grow in soulful self-awareness,


posters, billboards and declarations of a lust for life. Long may our journey be peppered with these brilliant outbursts. Let’s find agreement in others. After all, we want the agitator to be the cerebral pacifier, the diplomat, the leveller of change, the one and only guardian of an imposed system. The state of creativity is the heartbeat of agitation.

C — Designer as Agitator: C1 : Gorilla — Daily Gorilla C2 : Aram Bartholl — Map C3 : André Thijssen — Various editorial comments C4 : Noortje van Eekelen — Spectacle of Tragedy


C1 : Gorilla

Designer as Agitator


C1 : Gorilla

Gorilla — The Daily Gorilla Gorilla is a visual column that comments on current affairs through words and images. Unique about Gorilla is that the visual comments arise from a collaboration between graphic design studios De Designpolitie and Lesley Moore, and graphic designer Herman van Bostelen. They managed to create a no nonsense character that has it’s own view on the news. By remixing well known logos and imagery with cliches they create easy to understand, but bold statements. Statements that are always used to start a debate rather than reflect a single opinion. Gorilla stands for their social responsibilities as designers by making clever use of design tactics. Gorilla was launched on the frontage of daily newspaper De Volkskrant in 2006 and continued in the weeklies De Groene Amsterdammer and Adformatie in 2009. www.thedailygorilla.com

Designer as Agitator


C1 : Gorilla

Designer as Agitator


C1 : Gorilla

Designer as Agitator


C1 : Gorilla

Designer as Agitator


C2 : Aram Bartholl

Designer as Agitator


C2 : Aram Bartholl

Aram Bartholl — Map Aram Bartholl creates an interplay between internet, culture and reality. He questions the versatile communication channels we take for granted these days. According to the paradigm change of media research Bartholl not just asks what man is doing with the media, but what media does with man. The tension between public and private, online and offline, technology infatuation and everyday life creates the core of his producing. In public interventions and public installations Bartholl examines which and how parts of the digital world can reach back into reality. The project ‘Map’ is a public space installation questioning the red map marker of the location based search engine Google Maps. With a small graphic icon Google marks search results in the map interface. The design of the virtual map pin seems to be derived from a physical map needle.

On one hand the marker and information speech bubble next to it cast a shadow on the digital map as if they were physical objects. When the map is switched to satellite mode it seems that they become part of the city. On the other hand it is a simple 20 px graphic icon which stays always at the same size on the computer screen. The size of the life size red marker (5m tall) in physical space corresponds to the size of a marker in the web interface in maximal zoom factor of the map. By transferring the map marker to physical space Bartholl questions the relation of the digital information space to every day life public city space. www.datenform.de

Designer as Agitator


C2 : Aram Bartholl

Designer as Agitator


C2 : Aram Bartholl

Designer as Agitator


C3 : Andre Thijssen

André Thijssen — Various editorial comments André Thijssen is active as an image maker since 1975. He applies autonomous photography in an associative way for his editorial comments. Thijssen mainly works for book and magazine publishers, and cultural institutions. In an interview by Edie Peters (PhotoQ, May 13 2012) he says: “It has always been my intention to present a surprising, autonomous approach of the subject matter. If the approach does not surprise myself the image isn’t good enough to

be printed. An intriguing editorial image should work as a teaser to start reading, rather than to illustrate the content at a single glance. I actually see the latter as an offense to the readers. Unfortunately too many publishers and editors, out of fear of losing advertisers and readers are following the easy, thirteen in a dozen method of filling white space for the sake of having printed paper to sell. There’s too much of a magazine diarrhea around. Would you buy a magazine that does not take you seriously?” www.andrethijssen.com

Unacceptable Americanization Het Financiële Dagblad (2006)

The end of the alphabetical order ITEMS magazine (1999)

Thijssen brought home this inflatable flag from a trip to New York. After his return he immediately used it to visualize the Dutch resistance against the global financial system impose by the USA.

Visual comment on a series of essays by various writers looking back at the start of the century (2000) from a future perspective (2020).

Designer as Agitator


C3 : Andre Thijssen

Search engine marketing Tijdschrift voor marketing (2005) Since 2004 Thijssen visually comments on articles on a carte blanche basis. His comments do not have to illustrate the same opinion as the writer.

Designer as Agitator


C4 : Noortje van Eekelen

Noortje van Eekelen — The Spectacle Of Tragedy Noortje van Eekelen seeks to display social issues as completely and clearly as possible. Her aim is to increase the autonomous decision making her audience. In The Spectacle of Tragedy, a visual database about the European show and its leading actors, she manages to find appropriate visual expressions for her critical reporting. Van Eekelen tells a visual story about the politicians navigating the euro crisis. It shows us what is happening behind their political smiles and gives us an insight into their irresponsible behavior. To tell this story she collected and repurposed images taken from fragmented and fleeting news articles about the financial crisis. With these images she created a database presented publicly on a website. The database is a compilation of information telling the story of the unmistakable destruction of the euro as a result of obscure financial operations an human failure. www.thespectacleofthetragedy.eu www.noortjevaneekelen.nl

Designer as Agitator


C4 : Noortje van Eekelen

Merkel’s Style — The Blazer Designer as Agitator


C4 : Noortje van Eekelen

Carla Bruni Handbag Collection Designer as Agitator


C4 : Noortje van Eekelen

The Girls of Berlusconi Designer as Agitator


C4 : Noortje van Eekelen

The Rutte Laughs Designer as Agitator


Robert Urquhart is the ex senior writer of the now defunct Grafik Magazine. He now writes regularly for Etapes International, Design Flux, Mix and also for various design led, cultural trend agencies in Europe. He is also a commercial copywriter and occasionally teaches advertising and design theory. He lives in London but can often be found in California or the Netherlands. He’s attempted many things but writing seems to be everyone’s favorite, including his.

Graphic Design Festival Breda


D — Designer as: Poet

New pictorial authorship by Ellen Lupton When we behold a thing and ask “Who is the author?” we want to know who made it, who determined its present outcome, who owns its copyright, whose signature will cling to it for eternity. Yet the idea of authorship as a condition of individual agency and ownership has long been subject to critique. In 1968 Roland Barthes declared “The Death of the Author” and the birth of the reader. When Michel Foucault asked, “What is an author?” he revealed through his question that the answer is not readily known. Emerging from such inquiries was a portrait of the author as a hungry creature embedded in a tangled ecosystem of ideas and institutions. The author was a needy organism, feeding on a web of references and sustained by systems of manufacturing and distribution. Historically, graphic designers have grasped on to more singular and heroic models of authorship. Since the early 90s the phrase “designer as author” has signaled the idea of a unique and indelible mode of looking, making, shaping, and marking. Authorship became a way of mixing text and image according to a singular personal vision: the author as typographic cocktail artist. In the same period, graphic designers were pursuing authorship along a more direct path: the author as creator of commentary and content, the author who writes and curates. Today, we are seeing a broad transformation in the social roles of both authors and

designers. From online media to print-ondemand, new publishing models openly acknowledge the collective character of authorship and its open trajectories. Designers are producing posters, books, and products that live primarily as images shared and circulated online, rather than to serve a client or user. Design’s written discourse is taking cues from the personal diary and the coffee house conversation rather than from formal exposition and critique. Multitudes of small-scale magazines and short-run artists’ books speak to ever-smaller communities, engaging in publishing as a homegrown cottage industry: the author as locavore. In another development, visual artists faced with fragile economic systems are ignoring traditional distinctions between art and design, using the tools of photography, video, sculpture, and architecture to remake childhood fantasies and fabricate imaginary landscapes. Here, authorship returns to its roots in storytelling. The attitude is polished, the surface is sleek, the subject matter is legible. Summoning the powers of the art director and the set designer, this new pictorial authorship spins out artificial worlds via staged photography, producing fleeting scenes that live on as highly crafted images laden with narrative content. Authorship is artifice, fabrication, illusion. It is a tale that begins, “Once upon a time…” And then the children set out through the deep forest to seek their fortunes.


D — Designer as Poet: D1 : Vahram Muratyan — Paris versus New York, a tally of two cities D2 : Floris Kaayk — Human Birdwings D3 : Christoph Niemann — First Person D4 : Xavier Barade — Retrospective


D1 : Vahram Muratyan

Designer as Poet


D1 : Vahram Muratyan

Vahram Muratyan — Paris versus New York, a tally of two cities Vahram Muratyan is a French graphic designer. He launched his blog Paris versus New York, a tally of two cities in 2010, when living in New York City. He had no idea how quickly it would become an internet buzz. The site was viewed more than four million times. The book Paris versus New York was published by Penguin in 2012. It shows a friendly visual match between two cities told by a lover of Paris wandering through New York. www.vahrammuratyan.com parisvsnyc.blogspot.nl

Designer as Poet


D1 : Vahram Muratyan

Designer as Poet


D1 : Vahram Muratyan

Designer as Poet


D2 : Floris Kaayk

Floris Kaayk — Human Birdwings Floris Kaayk developed a fascination for the world of insect, evolution, technology and futuristic visions. The Order Electrus (2005) was his first animated film. The Origin of Creatures (2010) won 9 festival awards and was picked as the Dutch entry for the Academy Awards 2011. In 2012 Kaayk hit the news world wide with his transmedial storytelling project Human Birdwings. The project tells the story of fictional character Jarno Smeets, who builds himself wings to fly like birds do. About eight months before the project reached it’s climax on Dutch television, the first videopost by Jarno Smeets appeared online. A few days after the final episode was posted, showing Jarno Smeets as the first human being in history taking off like a bird, Kaayk (appearing as Jarno Smeets) revealed the truth behind the project on Dutch prime-time TV show ‘De wereld draait door’. Human Birdwings is about sharing a personal, yet universal dream about flying like a bird. The story was carefully crafted and build over a long period. This period used to create the fictional character Jarno as well as several other characters, backstories and the preparations leading to the final flight. In total Human Birdwings consists of fourteen short films. The story about Jarno Smeets realizing his dream was distributed through online platforms as the official Human Birdwings blog and YouTube channel, tweets, posts and overall interaction with the audience. The project was inspired by the phenomenon of do-it yourself (DIY) online communities. Over the course of nine months Human Birdwings simulated the concept how people online share their ideas to build revolutionary devices using household tools and widely available (electronic) components. The DIY phenomenon is copied and twisted to present the realization of a mythical dream by using modern technology and online knowledge sharing. The technology and theory behind the wings were carefully researched, with the help and advise of aviation specialists and mechanical engineers. www.floriskaayk.com www.humanbirdwings.net Designer as Poet

Commissioned by NTR Director — Floris Kaayk Original Idea — Floris Kaayk Production Company — Revolver Media Producer — Raymond van der Kaaij Co-director — Eelco Ferwerda Online story & Community management — Nienke Huitenga Technical design — David Menting Cast — Anneke Weerts, Eran Ben-Michael, David Goddyn, Klemens Patijn


D2 : Floris Kaayk

Designer as Poet


D2 : Floris Kaayk

Designer as Poet


D2 : Floris Kaayk

Designer as Poet


D2 : Floris Kaayk

Designer as Poet


D3 : Christoph Niemann

Christoph Niemann — First Person Christoph Niemann is an illustrator, graphic designer, and author of several books including some children’s books. After his studies in Germany he moved to New York City in 1997. His work has appeared on the covers of The New Yorker, Time, Wired, The New York Times Magazine and American Illustration, and has won awards from AIGA, the Art Directors Club and American Illustration. He is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale. In 2010 he was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall Of Fame. After 11 years in New York City, Christoph moved to Berlin. Since July 2008 he has been writing and illustrating the whimsical blog Abstract Sunday. First Person is a visual essay about life as an illustrator. www.christophniemann.com niemann.blogs.nytimes.com

Designer as Poet


D3 : Christoph Niemann

Designer as Poet


D3 : Christoph Niemann

Designer as Poet


D3 : Christoph Niemann

Designer as Poet


D4 : Xavier Barade

Xavier Barade — Retrospective Xavier Barrade is a French multidisciplinary creative working in London. To kickstart his artistic career he created a portfolio based on non-existing art pieces. As art nowadays is mostly seen on the web or in magazines Barrade decided to create images of what his art could be, using 3D modeling software, paper crafted models and photography. To make sure the pictures looked real he even created a scale model studio and fake publication. The pictures were picked up on major art blogs and magazines and have been exhibited in several shows. Sometimes to talk about the idea, mostly because people thought the artwork depicted was real. www.xavierbarrade.com

Designer as Poet


D4 : Xavier Barade

Designer as Poet


C4 : Xavier Barade

Designer as Poet


Ellen Lupton is a writer, curator and graphic designer. She is director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, where she also serves as director of the Center for Design Thinking. As curator of contemporary design at CooperHewitt, National Design Museum since 1992, she has produced numerous exhibitions and books. Lupton is a 2007 recipient of the AIGA Gold Medal, one of the highest honors given to a graphic designer or design educator in the U.S. Lupton has contributed to various publications, including Print, Eye, I.D., and Metropolis. She has published essays and illustrations in The New York Times. A frequent lecturer around the U.S. and the world, Lupton will speak about design to anyone who will listen.

Graphic Design Festival Breda


GDFB2012 - Perspectives in visual storytelling