Women's Rights are Human Rights — my master's case study

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Women’s Rights are Human Rights Marta Zofia Myszewska

Faculty of New Media Arts Graphic Design

Marcin Władyka Chief supervisor Ewa Satalecka Auxiliary supervisor Marcin Wichrowski Technical supervisor Ewa Bobrowska Thesis supervisor Klaudiusz Ślusarczyk Language supervisor

Master degree, 29.06.2018 Marta Zofia Myszewska Number of student s11634 Title project: Women’s Rights are Human Rights exhibition in Warsaw and Cracow. Complex project identification and book design. Workshops and symposium management. Title project: Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Project case study.

Women’s Rights are Human Rights Marta Zofia Myszewska

Table of Contents Acknowledgements 9 Introduction


Technical aspects of the project


Partners and Organisers


0.1 The designing process


1.1 Methodology


1.2 Empathise


1.3 Define


1.4 Ideate


1.5 Prototype


1.6 Testing


1.7 “Non-linear” thinking


0.2 Grassroots work, examining the subject


2.1 Project analysis


2.2 Aims of the project


0.3 Voice of the Social Movement


3.1 Activism Design


0.4 Women’s Rights. Visual identification.


4.1 Women’s Rights. Organising the creative work.


0.5 The identification


5.1 The choice of colours


5.2 The choice of form


5.3 Choice of typography


5.4 Further decisions


5.5 The composition


5.6 Inspirations


0.6 My Observations


7. Women’s Rights. Management


7.1 Promotion of the event


7.2 Workshops at the pjait


7.3 Symposium at the pjait


0.8 Exhibitions Women’s Rights are Human Rights


8.1 Working with the Exhibition


0.9 Book publication


9.1 Action plan


9.2 Working in progress and the deadlines


9.3 The Design Idea


9.4 Publication of the Book and Nomination


10. Subjective knowledge & experience components


10.1 Self-dialogue / self-analysis


Bibliography 80 11. Workshops documentation, 2017


11.1 Symposium documentation, 2017


11.2 Exhibition in Warsaw, documentation, 2017


11.3 Workshops documentation, 2018


11.4 Exhibition in Cracow, documentation, 2018



Acknowledgements ...Looking a few years back when I was only starting my adventure at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, I have met fascinating people who provided me with nothing but support and good tutoring. For five years of studying at the Academy there have been lots of projects which made me think I actually can design. It was not the projects themselves which made me think that, but the shared engagement of many individuals influencing the end result. It was thanks to those people that I am where I am right now and happily able to finish another stage of my education. I would like to thank all those who were with me in good and worse times, where sometimes the projects were not designed in an entirely satisfying manner and I had to bear the consequences of that. Most of all I would like to express my gratitude to professor Ewa Satalecka, who was responsible for my deep engagement into the life of the Academy and the fact that I feel a part of it. Thanks to unyielding optimism in things turning out well in the end and should they not they will be corrected, a young and inexperienced student really had the chance to get second wind. I would like to thank my promoters, Ewa Bobrowska, Marcin WĹ‚adyka and Marcin Wichrowski who supported my ideas and the same are great friends. My professors who sometimes would turn a somewhat blind eye to my shortcomings and overdue projects. And of course, I would like to thank my friends and teachers Elizabeth Resnick and Jan Kubasiewicz, who always share with me good advise and fresh ideas. I need to add to the list of people whose input I would like to acknowledge my friends from nema faculty whom I could always count on. Finally, I must express my very profound gratitude to my parents for providing me with unfailing support and continuous encouragement throughout my years of study and through the process of researching and writing this thesis. This accomplishment would not have been possible without them. Thank you.


Introduction As young designers we often ask ourselves a lot of questions hoping to one day be able to provide answers to them. Questions such as How to design with both beauty and utility? How do I know what the client means? Am I able to deal with that project? Does anyone at all need what I am designing? or What is the meaning of what I design? Each time upon receiving a new commission I have to cope with a lot of unknowns, which by the end of the project should sort themselves out. When everything is nicely laid out, ready and printed out awaiting confrontation with the recipient and, most importantly, with the client, I am usually overwhelmed by another wave of questions and uncertainty. What’s the point of being engaged emotionally in the project, is it helping me? Will what I was trying to convey be received properly? Is it politically proper?... All this and much more provides me with a rush of adrenaline. It is precisely the willingness to answer all these questions itself. Ultimately I design for them and here again a question appears — How do I know what to design for them? — and again the whole thought process starts anew, the unending marathon for my creativity, intuition, knowledge and skills. Each new question leading to discovering new creative corners in my mind. One has to be involved intellectually in each design problem, familiarise oneself with the subject. Find one’s own way of thinking in order to finally include into the activity one’s intuition, which will complete the end result of our creative process. I strongly believe that a combination of our ideas, consciously and unconsciously gathered thoughts and knowledge may contribute to the creation of something unexpected and bring the creative process to another level of graphic design. The stage where I will be able to present my message in an intelligent, non-naive and unequivocal way. Due to this, what I design will never fall under one adequate definition, there will always be other. More or less pertinent, terms and new connections, just as *Victor Papanek describes it in his book Design for the real World: design as a problem-solving activity can never, by the definition, yield the one right answer: it will always produce an infinite number of answers, some ‘righter’ and some ‘wronger’. The ‘rightness’ of any design solution will depend on the meaning with which we invest the arrangement.

Victor Papanek, Design for the real World. Academy Chicago Pub Ltd, 2005. The book has, since its first appearance almost 40 years ago (first published 1972), become a classic. Translated into twenty-three languages, it is one of the world’s most widely read books on design. In this edition, Victor Papanek examines the attempts by designers to combat the tawdry, the unsafe, the frivolous, the useless product, once again providing a blueprint for sensible, responsible design in this world which is deficient in resources and energy.



In my paper I would like to present my creative process connected with the master project Women’s Rights are Human Rights, the subject which for two years had filled my heart and my head. I will also explain the organisation and management of the event. Women’s rights — an issue which has never been solved and since the 20th century has reverberated all over the world. It still raises contradicting emotions among cultures and continents despite the fact that we live in civilised and dynamically developing times. It might sound somewhat naive, but working on the project, which is based on social and political aspects and touches upon problems which are hard to talk about without even mentioning the solutions to them, I as a designer and project manager got engaged also on an emotional level. The work with numerous people and institutions allowed me to have a greater insight into the actual outcome of the project as well as its different aspects and solutions which I had less of an impact on. In the present book, which constitutes my Master’s thesis, I would like to share the knowledge that I have gathered in the course of 2 years of intensive work as a designer and organiser, but also social involved activist. Perhaps my dissertation will prove interesting to those considering their future career in graphic design. But for sure my writing could help designers, who are planning to systematise their work and set in order their activities. Over the course of my 2 years studying I have committed many project mistakes and have not always proved myself as a project designer, but I was entitled to these things as whoever is only in the beginning of their path. Learning from one’s mistakes and drawing consequences from them for the future is a powerful part of the experience. The Women’s Rights are Human Rights project gave me a lot of possibilities and a full picture of what can be created with full involvement and the help of people who believe in what we do. In my thesis I would like to share my observations and bring closer my creative process, analyse certain decision and describe my doubts and reflections from the two years of my work.

Technical aspects of the project The project was commissioned by curator and professor Elizabeth Resnick from the MassArt, Boston, who proposed the subject to me. As a master’s student at the faculty of New Media Art in English at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, I got the opportunity to work with Women’s Rights are Human Rights poster collection. The project was a combination of a few paths — creative, sociological and educational, which provided us with the opportunity to build a one week program open for students and professionals. My duties included a whole list of identification materials, web design and promotion campaign. I was also obliged to handle the organisation and management of the exhibition, the accompanying workshops and a symposium. At the end of the list was a publication documenting the project. I was received support of professor Marcin Władyka, phd, and the owner of the Women’s Rights collection, Elizabeth Resnick. I also had the support of the theoretical supervisor Ewa Bobrowska, phd, and practical supervisor Marcin Wichrowski, msc. The event was co-funded by the Fredrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, and the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, also the project was supported by the Goethe Institut and the Lithuanian Embassy in Poland. The exhibition was shown in the Poster Museum at Wilanów (spring 2017, Warsaw) and the Galicia Jewish Museum (spring 2018, Cracow). The project was awarded the honorary patronage of Barbara Nowacka. The Women’s Rights are Human Rights project is a project of a master’s diploma which was carried out in the years 2016-2017 in Warsaw and was continued in 2018 in Cracow. Initially the project encompassed only the identity of a posters exhibition from the collection of Elizabeth Resnick. With time the project evolved up to the organisation of the Women’s Week at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, including 8 international workshop groups, a symposium and two exhibitions, the first one of which took place in spring of 2017 in the Poster Museum at Wilanów. Whereas the second one on the occasion of the International Women’s Day at Poland, and the 100th anniversary of obtaining voting rights by women in Poland on the 9th March, 2018, in the Jewish Museum Galicia in Cracow.

Partners and Organisers


From the beginning, everything was very dynamic. Every meetings and consultation with Ewa Satalecka and Elizabeth Resnik gave us new ideas or extra elements. The opportunity of working with so many professionals motivated us to create a very advanced brief. It was not easy to build a very complex schedule and budgets at the beginning of the project. Time was crucial and scarce, and here I got a lot of help from Ewa Satalecka and Elizabeth Resnick. There were lots of ideas, consultations and brainstorming sessions — even up to several times a week, which gave ever better results. I had never been asked to prepare a brief or any special paper for a grant, so for me it was something new and very problematic. There were few very important things, which probably I could not have managed on my own. The first one of those was convince institutions to work with the Women’s Week project. The second was to prepare the initial project budget. In November we managed to produce a very detailed framework plan for the event. It was necessary to find the support of other institutions. This was possible thanks to professor Ewa Satalecka, who very professionally created a brief for the project encompassing the program of the Women’s Week and a potential cost estimate. To make it more attractive visually, I added some proposals of visual identification to the brief. We sent the papers to Fredrich Ebert Foundation and Poster Museum at Wilanów. A very encouraging program of workshops and a symposium proved to be appealing to both the Dean of the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology and Barbara Nowacka, a women’s rights activist in Poland, to such an extent that she took patronage of the event. The support of a politician and the venue provided by the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology enabled us to carry on talks with the Director of the Poster Museum in Wilanów, the oldest poster museum in Europe, Mr. Mariusz Knorowski, and Ms. Barbara Szelewa of the Fredrich Ebert Foundation. Our brief was received positively, which resulted in cooperation over the coming several months and in planning further meetings and project consultations. Having that great support from 3 different institutions, I started to build the plan, and the next important steps. What awaited us was


organising and confirming the attendance of speakers, preparing the agenda for the events for particular days during the Women’s Week and establishing strategic points for the project together with the organisers of the event and key separation of duties between myself and the institutions.

1. The designing process The process of the project coming into existence is a mixture of intuition, knowledge and experience, which shape the design idea and give the possibility of building it. The chosen method of work might change in case of long-term projects. In a natural process the way of working depends on the conditions, in which we operate, and the experiences we gain. But one obviously always has to start with research. I wanted to take advantage of all the sources which were available to me in order to gain as much as knowledge and familiarise myself with the subject of Women’s Rights. I was very interested in the human rights all the world before that, but never had the chance to look deeper into it. Looking for different types of content I read international scientific and popular scientific literature as well as many documents and articles from newspapers and magazines. Historical films and famous speeches given by Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey turned out to be very useful in that regard. I was trying to reach people dealing with equal rights and women’s emancipation in Poland, I got a lot of support from a Women’s Room foundation based in Cracow and an activist designer from Warsaw. The designing process, which lasted a year and a half, was based on three main areas of activity — project work, i.e. the visual identification of the whole event in Warsaw in collaboration with cooperating


institutions and the second edition of the event in Cracow; the organisational part, i.e. establishing and planning subsequent promotional steps, activities and networking. Lastly, which was very significant for the whole endeavour, it was enlisting the support of partners, securing a suitable budget and supervising the grants and the paperwork. That included tenders and contracts with different institutions and private persons. All this was new experience for me. Finally, getting to know the subject and figuring out what message I want to communicate to the target group is the basis in the designing process. Moreover I want to discuss the material and social construction of identity. What draws our attention are the similarities and the dissimilarities between people and the way in which roles, types and stereotypes emerge. The stereotype of femininity and the ideal body type are considered to be strong stimuli accountable for building identity in the 21st century. Afterwards, I will draw attention to the psychological aspect in designing and building visual identification. I will point out the selection of colours, the form and the typography in the identification of Women’s Rights are Human Rights 2017. Finally, I would like to discuss elements which stigmatise and strengthen the stereotypical thinking of the target audience and why my activities were supposed to compel clients to take a moment to think about their observations. I would like to take into account the role of stigmatisation and the presumed steering of the society through activities in graphic design in the media and on the street.



1.1 Methodology Design Thinking, a solution-based approach to finding what would-be users really need, is vital in ux design. Computer scientist and Nobel Prize laureate Herbert A. Simon was the first to mention design as a science or way of thinking in his 1969 book, Sciences of the Artificial. From the 1970s, Design Thinking steadily evolved in the design community before entering the mainstream in the 2000s. Taking its set of creative strategies, professionals in fields outside what we traditionally consider design — e.g., education and business — have also begun applying Design Thinking. Design thinking’s tools and methods borrow from a variety of disciplines, including ethnography, computer science, psychology and organizational learning. Design teams use Design Thinking to tackle ill-defined or unknown problems (wicked problems) because it reframes these types of problems in human-centric ways, allowing the designer to focus on what’s most important for users/customers. *

Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design in Stanford (d.school) is a leading college in terms of teaching Design Thinking.


Design Thinking is a designing methodology, which enables solving project problems in an organised way based on a stable structure of a sequence of actions. In this chapter I will present the theoretical framework, which helped me to understand the issues of creating a well-thought-out visual identity of the Women’s Rights week at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. During my working process I experienced how important it is to have a clear plan for the duty to be dealt with. Firstly, I will explain my scheduling method and what design thinking is.


In his seminal text regarding designing methods from 1969 titled The Sciences of the Artificial the Nobel prize winner Herbert Simon presented one of the first formal models of the Design Thinking process. Simon’s model consists of seven main stages, each of which contains further steps of action as well as having significant influence on shaping some of the most often applied models of process in thinking about design. There exist many variants of currently used Design Thinking process and although they might have a varying number of stages — from three to seven — all of them are based on the same rules as the Simon’s model from 1969. The process of Design Thinking in a systematic manner is usually extremely useful in solving complex problems, which are ill-defined or unknown, through understanding human needs and focusing on the human being as the recipient and main user of the product, which ultimately will be designed by us. Following the Victor Papanek manifesto, I want to be ‘human-centered’ and build strong theory to my identity, easily recognized by my audience. In my project I was based on the five-stage model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design in Stanford**. That method according to d.school is the following: Empathize, Define (the problem), Ideate, Prototype and Test. I will try to offer an insight into my process of creating the practical side of my master’s thesis, for which I have adapted this model of work. Creating many ideas during brainstorming sessions, group conversations and eliminating unnecessary elements, which draw the spectator’s attention away as well as adopting a practical approach


in prototyping and testing our product should result in a proper structure of the element. Those five stages of Design Thinking ought to convince us at every step that working according to established steps, deadlines and activities, brings us most effectively to the setout goal. They help us find the solutions to complex issues which are assumed at the beginning of the work as well as those appearing in further activities and unplanned events — not just in our surroundings and among collaborators, but also in those moments which might not affect us directly.

1.2 Empathise The first stage of the Design Thinking process is obtaining a thorough understanding of the problem behind the theme of the work, i.e. Women’s Rights are Human Rights, creating the visual identification for an exhibition opening and the events being part of the Women’s Week. This entails consultations in domains such as sociology, psychology and the history of the feminist movement in order to learn more on the area of interest through observation, engagement and empathy with the people by understanding their experience and motivations as well as immersing in the physical environment so as to have a deeper personal understanding of the issues at stake. Empathy is a key factor for the designing process concentrated on the human being such as Design Thinking as it allows the thinkers of design to put aside presuppositions related to the world to get an insight into the users and their needs. The time, which enabled me to gather data and various references to my work, was relatively short because the project expanded dynamically, which resulted in many conversations and consultations. At this stage I had the possibility to get to know, among other titles, with the books by philosopher Judith Butler Gender Trouble:


Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (social-psychology gender studies and queer theory) through the Women’s War written by Sally Amstrong, focusing mostly on interviewing with women and girls from different counties, with real stories and problems. Many titles introduced me thoroughly to key events, the struggle for women’s rights around the world in a reader-friendly manner through interviews but also with strong emotional impact. It provided me with ample knowledge and numerous reference points, e.g. to posters from the collection of Elizabeth Resnick, to name just one.


1.3 Define Define is nothing more like founding the principle. When you move from empathy work to drawing conclusions, ideas and sketches, I need to process all the things I heard and saw and read in order to understand the situation and many problems witch I can meet during my creative process. Thus also means working step by step with my interviews and notes – sharing what I already found with my friends and supervisors who can help me create my mind map. During this stage I was assembling information which I had gathered during the first period of my work. I combined together conversations and references which gave me great understanding of the subject. This step allowed me to filter my knowledge and crystallise a certain assumption which for me seemed the most telling in that period of time. Impatience and willingness to establish gender equality were the principle assumptions. Equal rights became for me the basic message, which I want to show through the project to a broader audience. There are many situations happening around the world, feminist movements and protests with women fighting for their rights. Unfortunately people do not realise that often lack of knowledge constitutes an issue in enforcing postulates which women are trying to enforce. The information that over half of the human population worldwide are women and that a vast majority of them still do not have the guarantee of basic treatment such as access to education or the right to self-determination in terms of their reproductive rights.


metoo campaign i is an international movement against sexual harassment and assault. #metoo spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. www.metoomvmt.org


Understanding my target group, and women’s emotions — I tried to synthesise and select a limited set of needs that are important to meet. I found the most important aspects through empathy and research work (insight, a very important tool in human-centred design). I then articulated a point-of-view by combining these three elements – facts, need, and intuition – as an actionable problem statement that will drive the rest of design work. While at the Define stage, I started moving to the third stage, Ideate, asking myself questions which helped me to choose the right message for my target audience: How to encourage women to fight with conviction sexism and lack of gender equality in their own environment? People feel empowered when they speak in one voice in a large group of people, that is why, my aim was to show the scale of the problem. The #metoo* campaign serves as an adequate illustration of this.


1.4 Ideate In the Ideate mode I was focusing on generating solutions to address that challenge to proper users. Working with my friends we were focusing on different aspects of the problem (women’s rights) and after that we were discussed each point-of-view. It is the moment to identifying a particular question or problem to generating a wide variety of potential answers and solutions.

Methodology process, quotations and inspirations from knowwithoutborders.org/unpackingdesign-thinking-ideate/ Author: Karen Collias founded Knowledge Without Borders, Posted on August 3, 2014

During the third stage, right after analysing my earlier research and observations I started composing elements which my idea consisted of. Concentrating on the recipient and a thorough immersion into women’s stories and elements of tradition of many countries enabled me to build in my head the visual identification project for events connected with the Women’s Week. Out-of-the-box thinking is something which each and every time bestows an extraordinary character on a project. The one which will not be repeated in subsequent projects as it will be strictly related to all the knowledge behind the project problem. Brainstorming sessions and confronting my own ideas with other people helped me to stimulate my thinking in order to broaden my perception of the problem at hand. It is important at the beginning of phase three to obtain as many ideas and hypotheses, which we can discuss by the end of the Ideation phase. At this project step an equally important element is testing

It’s not about coming up with the ‘right’ idea, it’s about generating the broadest range of possibilities. — Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford and choosing the most adequate technique, tool, which will correspond with the audience. That is why publishing a website as well as activity in the social media are an indispensable steps for a designer to reach the target group with their ideas and thus verify reactions to proposed solutions.


1.5 Prototype The Prototype mode is the iterative generation of artefacts intended to answer questions that may get me closer to the final solution or ideate possibilities to manage the solution-building process. The prototyping stage is definitely one of the key moments when designing the visualisation and collecting information on whether our idea corresponds to our assumptions and triggers the right reactions with our spectators. Unfortunately in the Women’s Week project the moment of prototyping was largely shortened. Due to an incredibly dynamic development of ideas there was a need to act very fast. The only possibility enabling me to verify the reactions was sending a preliminary visual identification to my invited guests with a question for feedback and their own feelings regarding the project. Accepted and improved elements of visual identification were incorporated as fast as it was possible.


1.6 Testing The process of testing started already in the moment of implementing the visual identification into social space. Leaflets and a webpage for the event were ready long before we were able to reach the final form of visual identification. I think that many aspects and changes in my life contributed to changes and moving away from certain decisions. One cannot claim that a graphic artist designing for a client does not follow their own involvement and emotions. In the final version of the project, which came about on the occasion of the exhibition in Cracow (i.e. a year later than the main event in Warsaw), visual identification was very much balanced and definitely less aggressive. Nevertheless, it didn’t deviate greatly from the coherence of the remaining elements.

1.7 “Non-linear” thinking Perhaps I have managed to present my direct and linear *Design Thinking process, where one stage seemingly leads to the next with a logical conclusion when verifying the visual identification. In practice, however, one has to remember that the process comes about in a more flexible and non-linear fashion. For instance, particular stages may repeat several times until one actually decides on the best solution. Also the results of the testing phase may reveal certain observations regarding the users, which in turn might lead to another brainstorming session (ideation) or elaborating new prototypes. Every idea after being checked and introduced into testing phase might turn out to be a mistaken assumption. That is why it is important to enable interaction with our message in order to obtain feedback from people who have not been reflecting on the issue as long as we, the designers, have. Thanks to that method it is possible to return to any designing stage and to continue working with new feedback from our users and clients, with a better grasp of the problem and any mistakes made visible.

Graphic Design Thinking: How to Define Problems, Get Ideas, and Create Form. Author: Lupton Ellen Publishing: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011, usa Creativity is more than an inborn talent; it is a hard-earned skill, and like any other skill, it improves with practice. Graphic Design Thinking: How to Define Problems, Get Ideas, and Create Form, explores a variety of informal techniques ranging from quick, seat-of-the-pants approaches to more formal research methods for stimulating fresh thinking.




2. Grassroots work, examining the subject


In the present chapter I would like to present the chief point of the project, which accompanied the curator of the exhibition from the very beginning, since the moment of gathering the international collections of posters. With time the project expanded and accompanying events were created thanks to which we were able to reach further groups of audiences and invite them to conversation. In subsequent paragraphs you will be given the chance to read about my goals and assumptions, which were adopted in the beginning, as well as about planning the budget. I will also briefly explain my interest in the subject and the reasons for why I took up the task of organising the rather politically and socially controversial project. Elizabeth Resnick, professor of graphic design at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts usa, curator of many international graphic exhibitions, designer and creator of publications such as Developing Citizen Designers or Design for Communication: Conceptual Graphic Design Basics. She visited Poland for the first time with her students and her colleague, professor Jan Kubasiewicz, in 2015 in order to do research together with Polish students at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. For me it was the first opportunity I had to get to know professor Elizabeth Resnick personally and it turned out that we have common interests such as politics and designing for education of young people. During her visit in Warsaw I acted as her assistant and got to know a lot about her way of working and the goals of the projects she supervises. At the end of 2016 I received a proposal from professor Resnick to organise and design the visual identification for the exhibition titled Women’s Rights are Human Rights, which she wanted to present in Poland in the coming year. I was very pleased with that proposal as for a few years I have been interested in human rights, especially in women’s rights all over the world. My current life situation and my determination only confirmed my conviction that I want to be involved in the proposed exhibition, at the same time designing my master’s thesis under the supervision of one of the most important visual communication design educators in America. In order to start work on the project it is necessary to get to know the subject as well


as a proper interpretation of what the client wants to pass on to the social environment. I had the comfort of being able to discuss all my questions at the very source without any difficulty and to learn why the collection of posters had been created as well as what inspired the curator to touch upon the subject in such a global way. In a fragment of the book Women’s Rights are Human Rights, which was published at the occasion of preparing my master’s thesis, we can find a statement of professor Elizabeth Resnick in which she describes her decisions and motivations to create the collection.

Women’s Rights are Human Rights, 2017. (17–19 p.) Poland. Author: Marta Zofia Myszewska Publishing: Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. Fragment of a statement describing the nature and the reasons for creating the collection of professor Elizabeth Resnick from the book.


Women’s Rights Are Human Rights is a very fitting title for an exhibition of Women’s rights and advocacy posters, as it is a term used in the women’s rights movement and was the title of an important speech given by Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. In her speech, Hillary Clinton suggests that:


if the term‚ ‘women’s rights’ were to be interchangeable with the term‚ ‘human rights’ the world community would be a better place because human rights effect the women who raise the world’s children, care for the elderly, run companies, work in hospitals, fight for better education and better health care. — Hillary Clinton Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage disparities. Women are often denied access to basic education and health care, and suffer from violence and discrimination, and are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. In many cultures women have very little control over their own bodies, with female sexuality being largely controlled and defined by men in patriarchal societies. Sexual violence committed


by men is often rooted in ideologies of male sexual entitlement, and these systems grant women very few legitimate options to refuse sexual advances. This entitlement can take different forms, depending on the culture. Human rights and women’s rights are violated every single day as the rape and brutality of women is used as an instrument of armed conflict. Women and children make up a large majority of the world’s refugees. And when women are excluded from the political process, they become even more vulnerable to abuse. This exhibition features posters created by both men and women to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role that all citizens should play in protecting and promoting human rights while challenging gender inequality and stereotypes, advancing sexual and reproductive rights, and protecting women and girls against brutality. These posters promote women’s empowerment and participation in society while challenging religious and cultural norms and patriarchal attitudes that subordinate, stigmatize or restrict women from achieving their fullest potential. In their collective visual voice, these posters are designed to jolt the viewer’s sense of collective responsibility to challenge prevailing attitudes toward gender inequality and discrimination, while provoking both a healthy discomfort and empathetic response in the viewers. In the collection from Boston we find 84 posters raising various political and legal aspects connected with female issues with works coming from all continents from people of different religious and cultural backgrounds. Political involvement of poster artists from the collection of Elizabeth Resnick made a huge impression on me. I think that it is virtually impossible to walk by the exhibition indifferently as everyday examples of sexism and instances of humiliating women, of which we might not be even aware, are very bluntly presented there. On the occasion of writing my paper and preparing the materials, I delved into different political and social situations around the globe. That allowed me to better understand the meaning of the presented graphics. With time it gave me a lot


of food for thought as to how big a role and influence on the society I have as a designer. I started to develop an interest into what influence designing a political poster has on the society, in which I live. Whether that resulted in any changes, how things were in the past, in the 1980s and how they are today in a world where we are surrounded by static and dynamic images which is supposed to convince us as to what is good and what is bad. Does it have any relevance for today’s advertising campaigns and whether we are still aware of the strength of the message of a visual sign in such fulfill images market.

2.1 Project analysis To start well is to analyse and define the problem in a proper manner, not starting with designing and visualising the project, but first building an immense database, which will serve us as reference points and marking identification in our projects. Beyond planning what the whole exhibition could look like I decided to write down everything on sheets of paper and consult my conclusions with people who might help me to deepen the analysis of my thought process. Collaboration with professor Ewa Satalecka turned out to be indispensable in connecting certain aspects and actually carrying out the whole project, which — as you will get to know in a moment — evolved to much bigger assumptions and requirements of our clients. 1. Poster exhibition in Warsaw. For the exhibition in Poland professor Resnick had chosen 84 posters from her collection gathered around the world. Authors were women and men, students, artists, professionals, advertising agencies and graphic studios, who created them over the course of 80 years. The curator was assembling the collection by searching the Internet and numerous poster albums which

could build a coherent narrative for her exhibition. The collection presents women’s emancipation from as many angles as possible. Posters exist most of all in electronic form, but only when printed in large format do they make a strong impression on the audience. Various forms of presenting the problem, the diversity of narratives and media which the curators used did not make the task of grouping the posters according to themes any less difficult. I was dealing with an international exhibition with a political message which since the 1930s has been a sensitive topic on lips of many politicians, activists and people around the world. A room full of images ideally inscribed into the educational framework informing young and adult audiences who might visit the exhibition about the issues at stake. In my consecutive conversations with professor Ewa Satalecka, she proposed that we should have the exhibition at the Poster Museum in Wilanów, Poland. It was decided that it was the right space which can hold the posters from the Women’s Rights are Human Rights collection and will confer a proper character and strengthen the significance of the exhibition as well as that of the museum. The museum after all is the oldest one of this kind in Europe. 2. Workshops at the pjait. Open workshops for graphic design students, professionals and politically and socially engaged people, who would like to make a stand on the issue of women’s rights in a visual manner.


Thanks to a wide interest of people who could conduct a week of classes at the Academy. A plan for 8 workshop groups was conceived on different subjects connected with the main theme, i.e. women’s rights around the world. International involvement and cooperation with teachers and professionals was possible thanks to the Erasmus+ programme, the support of the Lithuanian Embassy in Poland and the Goether Institut. On such an occasion, with one of the most prominent design professors from MassArt in Boston coming to the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, it was necessary to offer professor Elizabeth Resnick the opportunity of conducting a project workshop with the student. It was at that precise moment that another idea was born. In order to involve the Academy and expand the project further, to open it to people from outside of the school, we suggested to organise (pjait) a whole week devoted to women’s rights and conduct not one workshop, but several with different designers from all the world. 3. Symposium at the pjait. An open symposium under the title Women’s Rights are Human Rights udner the patronage of Barbara Nowacka, was to be held in the main hall of the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. A one day of the conference with guests invited from culture, politics and art circles from various parts of the world. The conference forecast comprised 180 guests including professionals, students and special guests. The idea of involving and organising and people from the outside in order to create an opportunity for conversation on various situations of equal rights. Increasing awareness and education of young people through narratives and telling different stories and the ways to help we can use in the struggle for the emancipation of women. The lectures would aim at providing the audience an insight into the roles of visual communication in a world filled with mass advertising. As well as into the connection between designing and creating art for commercial use in social and political aspects. Can activist design influence a social movement and persuade people to “the good cause” or is it primarily informative in nature?


2.2 Aims of the project The main goal of the Women’s Week was to draw attention of young designers to the meaning of a visual statement or a political commentary on what is happening in the world nowadays. Talks with the speakers were also supposed to make people think about the history and engagement in a “problem”. Studying the writings of Victor Papanek Design for the real World, I noticed how can visual communication intervene in problems on a functional level. Just as artefacts from other domains of design such as architecture and industrial or interior design. The aim of the lectures with activists, politicians, curators and artists was to encourage students and spark interest of participants in the topic of human rights and in particular in women’s rights since not everyone is aware of the scale of the problem around the world. During a meeting there will be a chance to get to know different points of view and meet new forms of visual communication. Starting with sculpture forms to moving images in the culture of humour and self-perception. Many artistic currents offered during the Women’s Week allow to reach a broader group of interested people who may try their hand at another way of communication language. The aim of the workshops was to engage students in a shared consideration and designing of a visual message and to prepare an exhibition which could be seen in the main hall of the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology and comment on it during symposium. After 4 intensive days of work on the topic Women’s Rights, in the evening we had the pleasure of being part of a show by Elizabeth Resnick, opening an exhibition of a collection of her posters. The event was scheduled as the conclusion of the Women’s Week. Students and guests had the possibility to confront their awareness about the subject. Common participation in a guided tour of the exhibition with the curator and director of the museum, Mariusz Knorowski, provided many interesting contexts, which were debated for several hours. The main goal of the exhibition was to generate interest and encourage the largest possible number of people to take interest in the issue. I think that worked out 100%.



3. Voice of the Social Movement Since I wanted to design a daring visual identification which would speak to the viewers in a brave and memorable manner, I had to resort to earlier sources, being familiar with the history of design and often using flagship examples of Polish design as inspiration. I came to the conclusion that whatever comes from the heart is what speaks to the heart. For years the graphic sign has been used for purposes of manifestation and protest. All over the world designers assign more or less consciously value to certain shapes, which are created by amateurs or professionals, and are inscribed into the culture and history of a society. The consequences of our creations may become bound with politics, religion or culture and over the subsequent years might, just like ‘sails in the wind’, change their meaning relatively to actions and situations in a given country at a given time. In this section I would like to quote the example of the Solidarity sign, which had been described well by Agata Szydłowska, and which for years brought together the anti-communist society giving hope and the feeling of unity in the late 1980s, and with time it created more and more divisions. The so-called graphic language of protest intensifies when the society is putting up resistance to the authorities, especially when the democratic model is faltering and citizens feel discriminated against. This is what happened to the Solidarity sign designed by Jerzy Janiszewski in the 1980s. Under communism was supposed to unite the citizens of the Republic of Poland and the Polish Catholic Church to act together against communism. The sign consisting of red, hand-painted letters with a white and red flag. The graphic moved millions of people, not just on the Polish soil, but also became a recognisable symbol of solidarity all over the world. *Od Solidarycy do TypoPolo. Typografia a tożsamości zbiorowe w Polsce po roku 1989. Author: Agata Szydłowska Publishing: Wydawnictwo Ossolineum, 2018, Poland.

Unfortunately time has the property of making things lose their original meaning and people and situations confer different contexts to signs. The elements in visual communication are based on the relation between the content of information, time, the way of presenting it and the way it was designed. The factors influencing all this are the target group, the context of events and technologies we can use. In a book by Agata Szydłowska titled Od Solidarycy do TypoPolo. Typografia a tożsamości zbiorowe w Polsce po roku 1989*, we can quickly notice how much the activities of graphic designers and artists become a


tool of politicising information. A simple sign, graphics or even a letter may very easily become attributed to certain norms and meanings or even the more seemingly neutral a typography seems, the more camouflaged is its cultural content, as Agata Szydłowska, a design historian, curator and writer on design, convince us.

Movie poster from the filmweb. Solidarność według kobiet. 2014, Poland. Movie director Marta Dzido and Piotr Śliwowski


Polish Solidarność sign. nszz Solidarność, Jerzy Janiszewski, 1980



3.1 Activism Design What we see and understand today, somebody else, removed hundreds of kilometers from us and in another century, might perceive differently, the changing meanings, the politics and habits make that what we see today as one thing, due to the passing of time and stereotypes, mean something completely different in over ten years. A means of expression, which the graphic sign is, is self-sufficient as it builds its meaning regardless of what its creator had in mind when they were creating, or of the planned elements, but depending on how the matter was presented, it will take on different meanings and symbols coupled with the social and political content. Research in design and influencing people through visual communication have been in effect for years. What we see has always affected our attitude towards certain objects, topics or people. With our sight, that is, with what we see, we build our concept of the world and who we are. Research literature in identity is vast and numerous concepts of identity exist. Because my creative process is focused on the issue of women’s rights it was important for me to evoke certain feelings in my audience, which appear automatically with some images, but at the same time also use a contradictory form that might stimulate the viewers to different reactions than just astonishment or dissatisfaction. We have been dealing with stigmatisation in society since the beginning of history and the search for adequate notions of identity was driving people’s views, stereotypes and the surrounding culture. It is the process of imposing attributes on behaviors of individuals, social groups or social categories resulting in adopting the imposed traits by the groups in question and them acting according to the etiquettes attributed to them. From the point of view of identity building this means that even if people are unique and diverse as individuals the identity may be perceived as socially constructed in the sense that interaction with other people or the created surroundings influences the construction of one’s “I”. In social interaction identity is defined, sustained, modified and redefined. Communicating through image may affect the viewer equally well as a verbal message. This is why we often observe the involvement


of, for instance, activist poster artists who very intelligently spoke or speak on political or social issues in Poland. In my conversation with one of the most eminent poster artist still alive from the old school of Polish poster, Mieczysław Wasilewski, I asked him whether in his opinion the strength of the poster is still visible among the colour and sound stimuli surrounding us and whether it is worth to speak on political matters. I had to wait a bit for the reply, it was preceded by an analysis of earlier times when in the 1980s the protests and the posters displayed on streets were an activity welcomed by the society when the political awareness of Poles had to be built and upheld as was the belief in survival under communism in Poland. Wasilewski said that indeed it was worth it and today still the poster as a means of communication is not dead, is spread to other media and technologies… Sometimes somebody will ask for designing a poster, a political, activist one, but of course it is a commercial form and nothing is given for free. Sometimes, earlier one could refuse as then one would have no commissions, but now? Now a man at times feels the need and a pang in the heart. And I will design a post to give it my own element, to send a comment to the society. It is not enough to speak to the point, you have to speak to people. And often a poster speaks better than all the advertising. Nevertheless, in the past you could see more often the engagement of poster artists in activist design, it was visible at exhibition openings and in galleries because they had a different set of instruments and the exhibitions were often a so-called platform of expression, said the curator of the Poster Museum in Wilanów, Mariusz Knowrowski, an expert on the history of the poster who has seen countless numbers of them. I asked Mr. Knorowski about the crisis in designing for people and for social problems (activist design) to which he replied without any hesitation: It would be hard in the era of today’s communication — also visual communication — to speak about a loss of faith in the effectiveness of such a type of persuasion. Of course, modern technologies increase the range of influence and accelerate the pace of distribution of the message. Nonetheless, the “traditional” method of disseminating static information in the form of a print on paper has its merits, for example it


favours a longer analysis of meaning, it favours the understanding of the contents of the message etc. as it is not a part of a dynamic stream of flashing images. It forces you to stop, it requires more careful perception and besides that older individuals not used to the screen can better “read into” what is presented. So, there is no crisis, there are only different communication channels and their respective media: dynamic and static — according to one’s generation’s preferences. I am so happy to have had this opportunity to speak with so many of the most famous Polish graphic designers who use visual communication in case of activist engagement. The names like Barbara Kruger, Roman Duszek, Mieczysław Wasilewski, Marjatta Itkonen and many more, gave me th power and the certainty that designing in the name of the language of protest is right. As designers we should not worry if our visual statements are correct. We should rather print them and make them viral. A designer has to be aware of their actions as everything they design influences the audience, be it the visual identification of a company, a way-finding system in hospitals or a chair on which we are sitting on. All this had to be properly thought through, researched and designed to be useful and perceived as properly beautiful. A designer has to understand and anticipate the design’s consequences for politics, health, income and biosphere, claims Victor Papanek in his book.


women’s rights are

honorary patronage

human rights




honorary patronage

students’ exhibition


4. Women’s Rights. Visual identification. Designing visual identification is a very vast notion which many people use often unfortunately with little awareness. Visual identification of a project is most of all the identity of the brand directed at a particular audience. We want to attract people’s interest. In the Women’s Rights are Human Rights project encompassing several events it was necessary to design many elements informing about events that often took place in different places and at different times. According to a schedule prepared together with other institutions, I had half a year to design the whole undertaking for at least three clients, each of whom had their own reservations and company project requirements, and to organise all the elements of April’s Women’s Week.

4.1 Women’s Rights. Organising the creative work. In order to start designing the visual identification consisting of several or even over a dozen elements, one has to understand and clearly establish “what is what” so that one is able to present in a precise manner to the viewer what it is that we are actually trying to convey to them. The Women’s Week at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology consisted of 3 days with 8 different workshop groups, where participants could register online through a web page. One day included a symposium and lectures conducted by various professionals in their respective domains. On the same day there was also a presentation of students’ works which were the result of their effort during the intensive workshops.


Time line of the project. My mind map with all elements which I had to manage during 2 years project.

At the end of the Women’s Week at the pjait we moved to the Poster Museum in Wilanów, where an opening of the exhibition Women’s Rights are Human Rights took place, conducted by the curators of the museum and the owner of the collection of posters, professor Elizabeth Resnick. The above presented description already suggests a clear distinction of the event into 4 main parts, the workshops, the symposium, the post-workshop exhibition and the opening of the Women’s Rights are Human Rights exhibition. That was the first step that I had to make specify before further decisions were made. Another important issue was distinguishing design elements for particular institutions. In the years 2016/2017 no less than three institutions were engaged in the project, which were the leading organisers of the event. Each of them had their own assumptions and guidelines regarding the project.




With such extensive work considering numerous aspects and different media in use, it is important to plan the project process and the time frame which will enable us to effectively plan our work. In the diagram I presented the timeline which accompanied me from the very beginning of the work, but I have to admit that it was subject to a lot of changes, including the time frame, sometimes independently of me, sometimes due to delays and project problems requiring more time than I allocated in the beginning. I am sure that it is a natural phenomenon with long-term projects which allow for a margin of time-planning errors. What to pay special attention to when designing visual identification? When cooperating with clients one has to keep an eye on the consequence in designing so that our graphic work is coherent with the remaining elements of the visual identification. At first this is a challenge for the graphic artist, one has to allow the clients to get to know you so that the collaborators put their trust in the project. With events where one works with multiple partners one always has to remember about including the logotypes and signatures on promotional materials. Each of the partners might have their own guidelines connected with their brand book. That is why the proposed scheme has to be properly though through constantly taking into account the guidelines of other companies. In my work I was dealing with two alternative arrangements of logotypes, two possibilities for printed materials and responsive settings for the website and one fixed for the animation.




Project analyze. Important key points on my research path during all 2 years of working. Creative process could work with management obligations. It is essential to have clear goals of the project and follow the schedule plan.

visual idea


mind mapping


second research


target group testing



medium visual diary



to do list



5. The identification Nowadays we are assailed by advertising as well as various statements regarding our issue so that we have to make sure our concept is appealing and convincing to prospective viewers. Activist design just as designing in the spirit of social changes is very important for me. It is in this regard that I am trying to engage my projects and to thoroughly think through the meaning of colours and the form I use for my statement. Inspirations and images which I pass by on a daily basis as well as preferences which we shape throughout all our lives are not without significance as well. This was also the case with the visual identification of the Women’s Rights are Human Rights project. First attempts of creating the identification during consultations with the Poster Museum and the main client, professor Elizabeth Resnick, were rejected. These were the form of the letter ‘Q’ and a character from a deck of cards. The proposed idea of a hand-drawn letter which could evoke the image of a vagina, but resembled a fighting figure of the ‘Queen’ did not elicit good associations for professor Elizabeth Resnick. I had to change my way of thinking accordingly and design something more modern and clearly connected with dissent at treating women like objects. The black ‘Q’ sign and the card in the form of the poster landed in the bin. There were many more ideas in my sketchbook, but not necessary worth showing to professor Resnick So I kept on drawing, everything what I had on my mind and everything which reminded me of women’s issues. Further attempts at finding the proper visualisation were made in a more promising direction. Both the Poster Museum as well as professor Resnick agreed to the course I had taken. The pink-red identification with a distinct typography and a portrait picture of a woman gave it a proper character and inspired certain feelings when the viewers sight was directed at the poster prototype that I suggested. Red and magenta are colours which immediately suggest associations with womanhood, subtlety and passion. The portrait of a naked woman also directs our thought to sexual areas. Why did I take such decision and how I used the stereotypes and most of all put an end to ‘identifying women with helplessness and being objectified’?


Stereotypes, which have been functioning in every culture for centuries, are often connected with language. It is very hard to change them. In the concept for my project I wanted to use them and oppose them through unusual combinations such that do not make them go together in our culture, and which additionally ‘hurt the eyes’. In this part of my work I will try to explain this contradiction and justify my choices.

5.1 The choice of colours Each colour has its meaning depending on the culture and the situation in which we participate, nonetheless, many of those have their assigned meanings which for centuries have been associated with certain aspects. The colour is a form of non-verbal communication and accompanies us every day influencing our frame of mind or the decisions we make. There is deep psychological and sociological background to it, which has been studied and proved on numerous occasions. Intense pink combined with equally glaring red may at first seem to be a wrong choice. The non-standard colour combination aims at drawing attention of passers-by. Both shades combined create an aggressive concept which provokes and arouses the desired emotions and associations. Magenta — stigmatises since birth, little girls wear pink whereas boys wear blue. In history under Nazism the colour was reserved to mark homosexual people and is also used in negative contexts of weakness, submissiveness, innocence and dependence. Pink in the palette of colour is sometimes called a basic colour and is located between red and white. In many viewers pink stimulates such emotions as passion, love and dependence. It is often associated with trumpery, childishness and lack of responsibility. Such a stigmatising colour is a risk for many companies, which want to look


professionally in their respective fields. In my visual identification the colour takes on a different meaning, becomes aggressive, is a tool through which I want to show our dissent to treating women as they are often treated in an objectifying manner. It makes reference to women’s struggle for independence. Red, saturated and warm, the hottest of all colours. From time immemorial is has been associated with life and extreme emotions. It bears hundreds of meanings ascribed to it, many of which are contradictory, and the colour itself is not universal and cannot be used inconsiderately. In Asia and Europe the pigment red is considered to be, among other things, a shade of happiness, love and sex, whereas in Africa it is a symbol of mourning. When properly used in context it may make reference to revolutionary movements, uprisings and even death. Visually red acquires meaning in context, its connotations depending on both the neighbouring colours and the form. Psychological and social studies tell us that red is the strongest paint stimulating our mind, it draws attention and gives space energy to act. Both red and magenta are warm colours with their respective meanings which are difficult to confront in the 21st century. In case of my visual identification such a combination of colours is just pulsating when looked at. The colours on the poster should discourage staring at for too long at an image of a magenta and red woman. The combination, which independently work as triggers of positive associations, cheerful attitude and pleasant perception, in this case are to suggest a certain contradiction and uncertainty regarding the accompanying emotions.

Colours identification analyses. First line presents shades used in Cracow visual identification. Second line presents shades used in Warsaw visual identification.


5.2 The choice of form The choice of form was not obvious from the beginning since graphics might have been too infantile and the photo too sexually loaded or just improper. While going through various equality campaigns I was encouraged, however, to adopt a more realistic form and go in the direction of photography. I spent a lot of time looking for the proper image in my head — what position of the model would be most suitable and not perceived a sexual, naive object. I was looking for a person whose mimics would draw all the attention and the naked figure of the female body would only emphasise that a woman can be strong and beautiful at the same time. In order for the model to be selected consequently and for her to fit the controversial choice of colours, it could not have been anyone chosen haphazardly. Long hair, full lips and a clear frame of the eyes did not at all inscribe into the characteristics of the identification I was trying to achieve. I needed someone who would look intriguing and charismatic without contrast and makeup. Half-naked, she could not emanate sexuality, nor innocence — conversely, she ought to be self-confident, knowing what she wants even without clothes, in uncomfortable moments.. As I was looking the model in my head had already been chosen. Zuzanna Rawa, a young woman with short hair, stretched face skin, big eyes and pronounced eyebrows. Tall and slim, she inscribed ideally into my aesthetic intentions of a militant, strong and beautiful woman. Carrying out and visualising the photo of the model, i.e. a young woman who would become the face of an extensive project is not easy neither on the photographer’s, nor the model’s side. One has to carefully consider all the pros and cons of what we can show so as not to insult Zuzanna. Not to show something she would not wish to be shown, and at the same time to be extract with the help of the lens what with regard to what we have in our head. I asked my close friend, Nathalie Olko, to take a professional picture. She is the author of the final result visible on all elements of visual identification and I am very thankful for her time. I was very careful that Zuzanna feels comfortable and is not ashamed of the figure


shown in the end in Warsaw and Cracow. Proper, sharp light and 4 postures where subsequently implemented for the events: workshops, symposium, a student exhibition and the Poster Museum exhibition opening.

As a result I got 4 black and white frames of a woman. Each one presenting a different message to the viewers. Using Zuzanna’s body as the medium, I cough 4 frames, into which I tried code my metaphor.

Special thanks to my friend and my photographer Nathalie Olko who helped me during photo session

In the first frame we see woman’s hands folded in a gesture of clenched, militant fist and another one gently open, protecting and supportive. The hands do not bear any further suggestions which could point to the fact that the model is a woman. They are natural, taken care of, but because of the falling light they contrast with the background and emerge from a blackness ready to take up a fight for their independence. This frame was used in the poster

Jan Duda who spend time with me, working on animation and documentation during the events. And Zuzanna Rawa, my model who allowed me to use her face and her body as my main identification tool.


informing about workshops conducted at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. Another shoot which was destined for the symposium information poster at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology was focused on the lips. It was supposed to suggest the need to speak out about the situation of women worldwide. Every woman who feels that her rights are ignored or that she is mistreated has a right to speak out about it and demand that the situation change. We should not be ashamed to talk about the emancipation of women. Unequal treatment at work, at home or in any other environment ought to be stigmatised and changed as much as possible. It can only change when the aggrieved persons start talking about it. The symposium was supposed to dispose the participants to deepen their knowledge about women’s rights and to think about their own attitude to those delicate issues in everyday life. The third frame is the silhouette of Zuzanna, a body dressed in only a delicate, non-sexual underwear with one hand raised and a protruding index finger as if in a gesture of addressing somebody. The figure of a woman, a mother, a sister or girlfriend, every person who has the right to decide about her own body. This picture was used in a poster for the student work exhibition as an attempt to visualise what the participants learned during the several days of workshops. The last frame which was used in the Poster Museum part for the exhibition’s visual identification. It is a portrait picture of the model focusing our attention on Zuzanna’s eyes. She stares at us with anger and expecting the results of actions of many years of struggle with the system which still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of equal rights. The furrowed brow of the character, distinct shades and a semilateral position of the model turning her head, all arouse interest and a slight uncertainty. The poster with the picture was the main element of visual identification and expressed everything I was looking for from the beginning of my work with Zuzanna. The impatience and anger of a young woman who has had enough of fighting for equal rights, and the rather homogenous looks of the model in the picture are supposed to make the viewers think about the character.


5.3 Choice of typography

alegreya sans sc Alegreya is a typeface originally intended for literature. Among its crowning characteristics, it conveys a dynamic and varied rhythm which facilitates the reading of long texts. Typography has also not been used blindly, the main heading font Alagreya imitating a handwritten one. A deliberate lack of perfection attracts attention and given the impression of being non-professional or badly designed. The bold and uppercase form gives the impression of heaviness and carelessness. The thought-through choice of this kind of font written in uppercase letters is supposed to direct attention to the neglected situation of women’s rights all over the world. It is treated seriously but brings meager results with lots of imperfections and omissions. Typography combined with black stripes on the poster build a rhythm and compels the viewer to read the title.

Alegreya design by the Spanish font designer Juan Pablo del Peral. Free fonts available. www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/alegreya

Sizmo Pro Sizmo Pro is used for promotional material and as the main font for typesetting long texts in catalogues, books and other materials, also online and animated ones. The designed typeface is characterised by simple and neutral form which takes on a specific personality when one adds colour to it. Delicate letters harmonise well with the strong image and intensive colour. The font in promotional materials does not divert attention away from the conveyed information but in longer texts it adds an elegant and neutral style to statements of authors. A crucial feature which is in my opinion is key when making project decisions is the legibility of the typeface, which in this case is excellent and worked very well in the museum in the form of footnotes under the posters.

Sizmo pro and Sizmo Pro Line are two typeface families designed by German font designer Verena Gerlach. Thanks to Verena’s kindness I could use her newest font in the Women’s Rights week. www.fraugerlach.de


5.4 Further decisions Further decisions regarding the project were dependant most of all on tastes and legibility of the visual identification of the project. The main poster pictures were aggressively covered by a vibrating pink and red uniform background, which emphasised the portrait character of the image bringing out the aggressive and pretentious gaze of the model. The applied effect of blurring the figure also simulates our manner of thinking and forces us to stare intensely into the garing colour of the poster to read the silhouette and interpret the poster. The used design actions, which evoke radical and unclear association in the viewer, stimulate our sight and our thought process to leave the stereotypical meanings and interpretations of colours or forms, which have been functioning in our culture for centuries. Intense colours, the shape of the model’s body unclear for the sight and the ambiguous facial expression arouses interest and perplexity. The pink background covering the black and white picture of Zuzanna reflects the actual attitude to women’s rights in many countries around the world, i.e. that of overing-up the grave issue of neglecting women’s rights with minor changes supposed to give the impression of actual change and silence the female population. Something supposed to function and be legally enforced is lacking — the struggle for emancipation and lack of gender equality worldwide. The visual identification I designed is to send the message that something is still wrong and despite the used “female” colours, the undressed model and the non-standard fonts, the form of the poster evokes associations completely opposite to stereotypical ones. The lack of consent to such treatment but at the same time silence are not our weapon, so the created visual identification has to make the audience sit and talk — just because it stirs up extreme emotions and is not in line with current norms.


5.5 The composition The whole of the visual identification of the posters promoting the four events (workshops, symposium, a student exhibition and the opening of another exhibition) in 2017 may function on its own, but it also forms a unity as a set of compositions one next to another. Thanks to the black stripes and the typography placed on them I managed to create a coherent and compatible message. The pink and red spots affecting our sight penetrate one another depending on the position of the photographed model, creating sometimes more intense and in other spots less glaring ones.

5.6 Inspirations While creating the visual identification I had several strategic moments which gave me the opportunity of taking a proper direction in making project decisions. Most of all when I design *Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger, the American collage artist famous for her layered photographs. www.barbarakruger.com



constitutes an important figure for me, an artist who during all her life spoke out on political issues and was active artistically as an activist. Her impact might be very easily read from her works, it is articulate and courageous. The composition of the photos and the aggressive, red typography confers her works an exceptional character and decisiveness in her judgement of the world. I decided to use similar technics in my dialogue with the audience. Strong typography with bright colours could works very well with the political and social subject in case of women’s rights. Also in contexts of stereotypes in the society, I think it is good visual play. Zie Otto, photographer www.instagram.com/zie.otto www.zieotto.com/home


Another artist who has had influence on the choice of the poster form, and was my big inspiration in case of the position of the model and the general character is **Zie Otto. His photographs and black and white style are very sophisticated and gentle. Using the body and the portrait as n medium he shows different emotions, but without sexual contests. The accepted project of visual identification was just the beginning of the whole project work, which in fact had only started


6. My Observations I fully subscribe to the thesis of Paul Messaris, professor emeritus of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, who in his book Visual Persuasion (1997) argues that a used image does not contain any precise arguments as there is no possibility of images being able at the same time to evoke associations, visualise an analogy and express other kinds of logical links between ideas which are integral part of a given argument. In this case the non-verbal information presented by the designer is dependent on the interpretation of the recipient. That is why a great challenge for the designer of visual communication is convincing the reader to one’s message by sending signals and meanings to the client, which support or strengthen the main idea of the designer and make the message become more attractive and easier to internalise by the reader. Visual communication may intervene into the problem of the reader on a functional level, conveying information and how to educate. By communicating and organising properly a visual manner of transferring information we strive to present the right message at the right time and place. This way might lead the readers to solve their own problems as well as point them to proper associations. Stimulating the spectator with observations might entail many desirable effects as well as undesirable ones and that is why designers have to aware of their decisions and justify them accordingly. In order to reach the largest possible audience I had to go beyond the frames of designing posters and other printed materials. In the 21st century a lot of things are dependent on proper promotion of information in social media as well as on the choice of path for conveying information, and the partners who enable reaching other circles in the city and outside of it. That is why organisation and communication with other institutions with a wider reach was an important aspect of my work.


Make impact with design — You can make it better Marta

7. Women’s Rights. Management

Many aspects of design require earlier planning of subsequent organisational and promotional steps. In this chapter I would like to present institutions which co-created the event with me, together with their requirements.

7.1 Promotion of the event The Women’s Rights are Human Rights project was thought through and created for informational and education purposes, open to people without proper knowledge on the topic as well as for those who would like to convey this knowledge in a visual manner. The open character of the event, which I owe to the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, was not enough to attract a wider audience of interested people. I asked for help from the Warsaw Tour www.warsawtour.pl, an organisation supervised by the Capital City of Warsaw, where I met some very kind people who enabled me to promote the event with the use of city communication in Warsaw and surrounding areas. For the purposes of this promotional activity I was asked to prepare short 30-second animations which would encourage inhabitants of Warsaw not just to participate in the event but come to the exhibition opening. The open nature of the project enabled us to promote it free of charge, the promotion being displayed a month prior to the event. Cooperation with quite a big company dealing with promotion of the city had a lot of advantages but also some disadvantages in terms of preparation of materials which had to be prepared in a very much simplified version in quite obsolete sizes. Many people welcomed this form of promotion kindly as well as the subject matter of the event itself, despite the fight for women’s rights being quite a controversial and often uneasy topic for conversation for both women


and men. Somehow deep down I was prepared for that and it would be a sign of dishonesty on my part if I did not admit that it had been a deliberate move on my part and an intuitive one supposed to provoke a moment of reflection in the viewers, perhaps even pushing them to discuss the issue. Cooperation with Warsaw Tour, Ms. Beata Rogulska and Mr. Mateusz Czerwiński Director Warsaw Convention Bureau, and Michał Mazur, the main specialist in town hall in the Warsaw, turned out to be incredibly nice and fruitful. I was pleasantly surprised that such a big institution would be willing to support a young designer and a student in promoting an event. I hope that this will encourage other people who decide to follow in that direction. It was a good decision and it had great impact on disseminating information. Thanks to this advertising I received a lot of phone calls and e-mail messages asking about the event and the possibility of participating in it. Due to the help of the Poster Museum in Wilanów we were able to promote the event within the scope of the capital city’s programme of culture promotion in Warsaw called poka-poka. The initiative of designing the envelope known to the inhabitants, which informs about cultural events in Warsaw could be found in many cult venues and places in Warsaw, e.g. in the Palace of Culture and Science or in culture cafes and bars, visited often by young people and designers. Inside the envelope one could find a smaller leaflet in the dl format which I designed for the purpose of promoting the workshop and symposium organised at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology.


7.2 Workshops at the pjait One of the main assumptions of the Women’s Rights Week was spreading awareness and educating the youth about the various situations of discrimination of women not just in Europe, but on different continents. This is why for the purposes of the Women’s Week I invited 8 different female designers who in their professional lives deal with activist design and have or have had experience with the subject of women’s rights and agreed to conduct classes connected with the topic. In the present chapter I will briefly present the programme and the speakers as well as their proposals for workshops which they conducted in spring of 2017 with designers from the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. The choice of the people involved was focused on different sources and variety of techniques which they use in their work. Another element I would like to discuss in my thesis is the subsequent step which turned out to be a challenge for me, which consisted in elaborating and organising working conditions for participants of the workshops. For the workshops to come to fruition classrooms were required where people conducting the workshops could freely work with the students. Thanks to the courtesy of my Academy it was possible. Eight rooms with proper equipment and a place for consultations required from me checking if the conditions were met. Unfortunately for me during the Women’s Week regular classes were taking place as planned so I had to rely on classrooms that had been offered to me. Checking the equipment prior to the workshops and obtaining a list from the instructors of what would be required for the workshops enabled me to prepare and order materials on time. Additional reams of paper, small and large sheets, colourful markers and all other necessary things crucial for conducting brainstorming sessions with the students. Materials to be installed in public space, balloons, a cylinder of helium or old newspapers were just a part of the items which appeared on the collective list of needs of the instructors. The only requirement for the students and people from outside of the school, who came to the workshops, was having their own computer with programs enabling work on the projects. Fluent communication between instructors and myself would not have been possible, had it not been for the engagement of volunteers who decided to assist me. I gathered a


group of students of the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology who declared the willingness to help organise the event. Around 15 people, who were assigned their tasks beforehand so that everything functions properly, provided their assistance. Each of the Instructors had at least one assistant who was supposed to facilitate the contact with me and help with organisational problems such as connecting computers and handling photo cameras or working in the sculpting studio. Thanks to a shared effort, good communication and involvement the workshops took place without greater complications and the results of one week’s work were very well received by the spectators and participants of the symposium.


The Women’s Week consisted of, among other events, 3 days of workshops on various subjects and with varying work techniques employed. During those several days 8 workshop groups designed various messages of visual communication through a poster, animation, a selfie, an installation and even a sculpture. Such a short time resulted in numerous ideas and very good final products, which can be seen in the gallery of student’s works under the address: www.womensrights.pja.edu.pl. I would like to briefly present the instructors and their respective workshop topics. One could sign up for the workshops online, the registration form found on www.womensrights.pja.edu.pl enabling free of charge registration to any of the workshops. For this type of free events I used the Eventzilla portal, which contains a database and automatically creates subgroups with participants in the event. It is a highly useful and intuitive tool for organisers who, using e-mail messages, wish to keep in touch with people who exhibited interest. 140 participants enrolled for the workshops, each group consisting of a maximum of 20 people so that everyone is able to work in comfort and have the possibility to freely consult the instructor. The only exception to this rule was the workshop with Ceren Caliscan, where the participants were dealing with the so-called intervention in public space, where the whole first year of bachelors’ students enrolled, i.e. around 80 people who did not register by web page and communication was exchanged through the year prefect. On this workshop excellent organisation was required. Only the first day of the class was conducted in a lecture hall and the subsequent days, participants were working at Pole Mokotowskie, Metro Centrum and in Square of Alfonso Grotowski in Warsaw. The full schedule of the workshops, descriptions of instructors as well as details can be found on the event’s webpage. www.womensrights.pja.edu.pl

7.3 Symposium at the pjait Organising the symposium included in its agenda 14 speeches by 15 professionals, along with a lecture of Barbara Nowacka, Polish activist and politician very strongly concerned by the situation of Polish women. Barbara Nowacka took honorary patronage over the event and as a speciall guest, she opend the symposium. As a closing speech about strong women curators, I asked Elizabeth Resnick.


Organising a one-day conference was possible due to the financial support of the Ebert Foundation and the courtesy of the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. Thanks to these institutions I managed I managed to draw up a proper budget which enabled me to cover costs of such things as catering or tickets for instructors. A grant from the German Ebert Foundation allowed to pay for the food costs for 140 event. In order to use the funding I had to take certain organisational actions, which I had not had any prior experience with, and which were required by organisations funding the event. The first step, which enabled me to organise catering, was organising a tender and creating a catering menu, which would be adequate for such a number of people and, of course, would fit within the budget. I sent a request for an estimate of a catering service to three companies dealing with providing food on such events, which could provide it at the Women’s Rights conference. When the tender was over, the menu chosen, I was able to start organising further areas of activity. I needed to organise transport for some of the speakers and discuss the details of a contract with lectors who came to the symposium thanks to the Erasmus+ office. The e-mail exchanges with such a big group of people from different backgrounds taught me diligence, consequence in replying to e-mail and segregating conversations. The amount of things discussed and the questions I had to find answers to compelled me to work with a system of post-it notes which greatly helped me to find my way and facilitate my work. The agenda of the conference up to the very end was consulted with many people had been familiar with organising similar events. Except for the preparations it was necessary to take care of documenting the event and ensuring proper sound in the lecture hall. It was possible thanks to the cooperation with my colleagues, who ensured the photographic documentation and the running of electronic devices in the hall. A few days after ending the conference came the time to account to the Ebert Foundation for the founding and to submit the required lists, contracts with the Academy and the results of the tender as well as the attendance lists. I was legally obliged to present all the


necessary documents by 30th June. It was one of many activities demanding patience and conscientiousness which I was dealing with for the first time. Thanks to the support of Ms. Krystyna Milewska submitting the documents would never have gone so smoothly. The whole intensive project and organisational process gave me a lot in terms of learning and experience, however, the biggest value, which for me broke away from my usual approach to work, was the ‘united we stand’ approach. Half of what I managed to organise would not have been done so well, had it not been for the people who decided to selflessly give me their generous help.


8. Exhibitions Women’s Rights are Human Rights Poster Museum in Wilanów 27/04/2017 The Women’s Rights are Human Rights exhibition enjoyed great interest, thanks to which the Museum Director decided to extend the show for another two months. Thanks to various topics, everyone could learn something and find a reference in their daily activities. I am delighted that the curators Izabela Iwanicka & Aleksandra Oleksiak, they were very involved in the project and shared their observations: A significant, current issue, not easy, actually returning almost every day in the life of a contemporary woman — regardless of age. It aroused reflection, anger, moved the corners of memory and own experiences, and was often astounded. Viewers did not leave the exhibition indifferent. Reactions varied between women and men. Even during the hanging of the exhibition, one Canadian who unexpectedly strayed, circling like a magician among the images still standing near the wall, absorbed their contents, asked for details, was moved by the images he encountered. I thought then that if he could prevent some tragedy in the future, this exhibition would be successful. Acquiring male support, appreciating the role of witnesses, adding courage to every one of us to stop the arrogance and aggression we encounter are just a few of the assumptions that accompanied this exhibition. It is difficult to measure the range and impact of these images; the most important is that the exhibition has left traces deep within us. Respecting your own needs and opinions is essential to treat others better. Regardless of gender. This is the very old truth. Jewish Museum Galicja in Cracow 13/03/2018 I am glad that I had opportunity to work with Marta Kawiorska, a curator from Cracow, and Tomasz Stud, the director of the museum. I was very surprised that even the museum, which did not have any common contexts with posters and artistic events, decided to share the message in museum’s space through visual language.

The exhibition of posters is quite an unusual collection for sympathizers of the Galicia Jewish Museum. It specialises in Jewish culture and commemorating the history of Polish Jews, which is why I was a little worried about the attendance at the vernissage and the meeting organised mainly for the women’s day, 9th March. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out that the opening evening of the exhibition was visited by a lot of guests from the world of culture and literature, passers-by and tourists. The curator of the collection, Elizabeth Resnick, was present at both vernissages and talked about the importance of the exhibition for the audience and was ready to answer questions throughout the evening. Indeed, her presence initiated stimulating conversations, which at the wine-making stump stretched until late at night. On the other hand, her experience as a teacher of visual design encouraged once again students of the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology to organise further workshops on visual communication design.

8.1 Working with the Exhibition Cooperation in the preparation of promotional materials for the museum was very dynamic, meanwhile as I was dealing with the organisation of events or promotional materials for the Academy other items from the list also needed to be designed. Preparing small elements such as dl leaflets, the Poka-Poka leaflets in general did not pose much difficulty. Unfortunately because of insufficient financial means the posters promoting the exhibition were printed using offset printing technique, at first I was con-


sidering the possibility of preparing the posters for screen printing, where the colours would be extremely articulate and felt on the paper purchased for that very purpose. Unfortunately by the end of the work we were forced to change the concept and print the posters in a printing house which won the tender organised by the Poster Museum, which made it impossible to use screen printing. This caused the prepared concept lose its colour value as well as the singularity of each of the posters. Cooperation with the printing house Afrodyta during designing of the exhibition catalogue proved to be no small surprise. For the first time I had the opportunity to cooperate with a printing house selected in the process of a tender. While I have no complaints regarding communication with the printing house, I was very much concerned by the final result when the finished 46-page catalogues arrived in the museum, unfortunately with an improperly cut cover so that one could notice the white centerfolds from behind. A small oversight in cutting, however, it did interfere with the reception and aesthetics of the project. The remaining materials which were prepared for both exhibitions were designed for ‘own’ needs of the museum and other institutions. These included official invitations, prints for walls, for badges with titles of works, decorative elements coherent with the visual identification of the museum, animations and a website. I have to admit that during my two-year cooperation with numerous institutions I learned to be systematic and work faster and be more effective thanks to planned activities and a detailed schedule with deadline descriptions and assigned duties.


9. Book publication The most important element of the visual identification which was included in the budget was the project for and printing of the publication under the title Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Part of the money from the Ebert Foundation were allocated for the printing of the book with a description of workshops and the effects of the work of the speakers and students. Just like with the organisation of catering during the symposium day, I had to organise a tender for a suitable printing house, translators and text corrections, with the previous experience I was much surer of what I should do and what to ask for in the e-mails to companies as well as the type of contracts I need to offer and prepare to be able to account for the grant at the end of the project, i.e. by 31st October.

9.1 Action plan Right after the end of the Women’s Week and after a short rest, indispensable and crucial element of any project, I started working on the calendar for the book project. It was not the best time to conduct cooperation due to the holiday period, which resulted in delays in the schedule and extending time for people who declared willingness to participate in my project. However, I had to manage the time in a proper way and fit my project into my final schedule. It was an intensive time, in which I faced many difficulties. Sometimes I solved the problems by myself, but also needed help from the outside. That was first time, when I got a free hand in decision making and schedule planning. It was very exciting as long as I knew what to do. I am sure that it was a very good lesson for me. In the 21st century where more and more people publish books one might think that it is not difficult to find the right subject for oneself and just write several dozen pages, give it a nice title and look for an publisher who might be interested. However, it proved not to be as


easy as I expected. A lot of consultations with professors Elizabeth Resnick and Ewa Satalecka helped the idea of the book to come to existence. Cooperation with such experienced women gave me a lot, both on the professional and private level. The first important step was determining what it was that I wanted to say by publishing the book, and preparing a list of people who could help me convey that through their text. It was not easy to come up with a proper question that would provoke an interesting dialogue between the author and the recipient of the text. I was very pleasantly surprised when on my list appeared a lot of people who are active in the area of supporting women who cannot speak for themselves. The choice thus was not an easy one. I decided to create a configuration of texts by sociologists, politicians, activists, a psychoanalyst and most importantly artists and curators who


took a stance on various planes. I was concerned that the texts have an authenticity and at the same time be attractive to anyone interested in the least the events occurring around the world. Of course the idea of the book had to stick to the visual identification of the event, but despite that I spent many hours searching through interesting publications on the Internet and to leafing through book after book from various collections of my friends and professors.

9.2 Working in progress and the deadlines Every designer knows the role of meeting deadlines and conscientiousness in keeping one’s word and the conditions agreed on at the schedule building stage. Unfortunately sometimes we are not able to respond to all the occurrences which we come across in group work. This was what happened in my case when project works depended on collected materials of my authors. Working and discussing with 16 authors of texts over the holiday period in different time zones one has to from the very beginning take into account postponements and be ready for some inconveniences and communication problems. Collecting the texts took me almost 3 months and luckily I was able to start working on the layout of the book and the front cover earlier with my main master’s supervisor, Marcin Władyka. In the meantime I was arranging details of cooperation with the printing house Akapit and Ms. Alicja Gorgoń, who took care of editing the texts. Fortunately I was able to collect all the interviews and essays early enough to have them checked by a translator and accepted by the authors of texts who sent me their remarks and advice. Working in such diffi-


cult conditions, my vacation turned out to be the most stressful moment in the two-year project adventure. I can truly say that the need to make decision on my own in so many aspects with big emotional impact undermined my self-confidence. All book decisions, obligatory management and dealing with foundation paper work on one hand were just too much, but on the other hand, it was the biggest lesson which I could receive in my education. Proper schedule and keeping everything under control, checking the mail box regularly and the list of obligations – these are the basic grounds of every project. In particular the moment around finalising the book project turned out for me to be the most demanding and stressful. I had regular nightmares about tragedies and catastrophes connected with printing almost every day by the end of the project. The work of a graphic designer is no small responsibility and a lot of decisions to be made rest on us. I was definitely very lucky to be able to work with trusted people with whom I could admit to mistakes, but one should always be prudent when taking decisions and pursue one’s ideal with consequence. Despite all this, the level of stress would inevitably leave an imprint on the end product, i.e. the printed version of the book. I do believe, however, that the experience taught me a lot of things and most importantly really made me realise that 5 years of studies are no match for the years of experience of people I have been working with. When we are surrounded by such people we take away the most, let us then not sit idly and not ask as many questions as one possibly can. Instead, let us use every opportunity to learn from those who with their years of practice give us their time and advice.


9.3 The Design Idea As a result the book Women’s Rights are Human Rights was created in 300 copies with a magenta plastic cover creating an effect of a pink filter covering up the real problem, i.e. the black portrait of the model. The project of the publication consists of two parts — collected statements of representatives of the activist-artistic circles and more, and the part focusing on results of workshops. The book contains 10 essays on the topic of the problem of equal rights around the world and 8 descriptions of workshops. Additionally, our stimuli react to the selected illustrations which in the first part consist of chosen posters from the collection of professor Elizabeth Resnick and, in the practical part, of the best student works from the workshops devoted to women’s rights. The narrative of the publication is very natural and free, I really wanted everyone who reads about the different experiences to be able to relate to them from their point of view without insinuating or suggesting whether feminism is something good or not. The book is supposed to convey certain experiences, but at the same time constitute documentation from the meetings with such wonderful female designers and activists who are engaged in so many ways in changing the situation around the world for the better.

9.4 Publication of the Book and Nomination The book was published during an exhibition opening at the Galicia Jewish Museum almost 4 months after the actual publication was created. I really wanted the book to be associated with the exhibition of professor Elizabeth Resnick. In 2018 the book received a nomination in a competition for the most beautiful book of the year in the humanities and popular education category.


10. Subjective knowledge & experience components After putting a lot of thought into the matter I come to last chapter, which should be the most important one. Writing the case study of my diploma project designing process has pushed me to deeper considerations than I had expected. Thanks to the hours spent analysing my sketches, conversations and e-mail exchanges with people who were helping me, I got hold of many aspects to which earlier, I did not pay attention to, sometimes because I would not admit certain issues and at other times because something was too obvious for me. Analysis and self-reflection over one’s own experiences, immersing into one’s motivations for actions is called a heuristic process. Discovering one’s own thoughts which we always have time for might shed light on new perspectives and contexts, which might not be obvious at a given time. In this chapter I would like to summarise and focus on my ‘self-discovery’. Heuristics according to dictionary definition, www.oxforddictionaries. com, is a world coming from the Greek word “heuriskein”, meaning discovery, synonymous to the word eureka. Finding and retrieving internal processes thanks to which we come closer to an answer, to the nature of our associations and experiences. Experiencing an increasing state of self-consciousness and self-knowledge. The process of analysing human actions initiates creative ‘self-processes’ leading to ‘self-discovery’ of the confines of our creativity and imagination. Finding sensitivity, inspiration and emotions which build our identity, discovering meanings concerning people, phenomena and relations. Within the scope of my cognitive processes, at first spontaneously, later on more and more consciously, I immersed myself in the heuristic process of my motivations. Travelling back two years in time allowed me to find a different perspective on everything, a more conscious and objective approach. Looking at to my experiences constitutes a way, a method of self-determination and decisiveness. After two years of quite challenging work, I learned much about making decisions which was not that obvious at all for me in the


Heuristic research, Author: Clarc Mastakas Published: Sage Publications, 1990, usa


beginning. ‘Something seems to be one thing’ and on closer examination turns out to be ‘completely different’. I experience similar impressions when analysing the designing processes step by step. Just like in the book by Clarc Mastakas Heuristic research*, seeing, perceiving reality and listening are an invitation to further analysing the first impression and noticing why something is not what it seemed to be at first. Our knowledge and interpretation might be subjective and faulty depending on the point of reference and might be connected with our life situation. As I mentioned in the chapter on stigmatisation in the the society we err between stereotypes and signs which have been inscribed for years into the standards built by society. My internal transformations, other contexts and circumstances brought me to a point where, describing my work, I look at the project through the prism of time. I still regard with a critical eye certain errors and decisions which ought not to have taken place. However, after two years of work I realise how much I have learned and how much food for thought this experience has given me. I analysed the whole period devoted to the project and I have had as many positive as negative remarks which should be checked and taken into account during the next project. The critical in-depth analysis of my project and being able to look at my work and past life from a distance, gave me the opportunity of confronting who I was two years ago with who I am Today — a woman graduating with a master’s degree.

10.1 Self-dialogue / self-analysis During the last stage of the creative process, which is writing down one’s own remarks, I had the time to think about the evolution of the project and myself as a graphic designer. I have asked myself many questions, unfortunately some of them still remain unanswered, however, I have managed to create a dialogue with myself which lead me to many conclusions, which in turn have enable me to work better in the future. It is only now that I think that the project has been completed, deep immersion into the case study of the project brining that stage to an end. Summing up a vast part of the work, which I have devoted a lot of energy, effort, time and emotions to, constitutes an interesting research result. I have noticed a link between working under time pressure and the possibly loose project deadlines. To my surprise my effectivity is better when with tight deadlines. The possibility of taking time to get to know what was wrongly planned and what was done well allows me to take an objective point of view and take a position to the comments I hear from many people involved. Cooperation with a big group of people and institutions has made me realise just how important making decisions and being sure of one’s own opinion are. After almost two years I know that my biggest mistake when working on the project was giving in to stress. Poor stress-management, lowered concentration, lack of sleep and enough relaxation as well as the resulting disturbed creative work process, all caused the grave problems and lead to errors. As a student in such moments I could always count on the support of our tutors and close ones, but without such a stimulus our resistance to stress declines at an alarming rate. Thanks to this experience I realised just how helpful our environment is, but at the same time it makes us dependent on its decisiveness. Here I see the biggest problem not just with creative processes, but also in how that is reflected in private life. I am very pleased that I have a chance to go back to the origins of this project and write down my reflections.


Personally I have come to realise my own mistakes and will continue to self-improve on various levels of my life. I hope that my analysis regarding both the project itself and me as a designer will become the reason for reflexion upon one’s own thoughts. Everyone should find the time to study their creative process or the stage of life which opens or finishes certain things. Drawing conclusions and turning them into success is the greatest value we can derive from our own experience. In my work I admit to many mistakes, but also realise the enormous number of things which proved to be very successful and were appreciated by the audience, by the participants and by friends.


Bibliography books: 1. Lupton, Ellen. Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming, (Princeton Architectural Press, New Your, 2011) 2. Szydłowska, Agata. Od solidarycy do Typopolo. Typografia a tożsamości zbiorowe w Polsce po roku 1989.(Wydawnictwo Osslineum in Wroclaw, Poland, 2018) 3. Resnick, Elizabeth. Developing Citizens Design. (Bloomsbury Academic, usa, 2016) 4. Butler, Judith. Gender trouble feminism and the subversion of identity. (Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej, 2008, Poland) 5. Papanek, Victor. Design for the real World. Second edition. (Academy Chicago Publishers, 1971, usa) 6. Amstrong, Sally. Wojna Kobiet. (2016, Poland) 7. Jacobson, Susanne. Personalised Assistive Products. Managing Stigma and Expressing the Self (Aalto University publication series, 2014, Helsinki) 8. Fuad-Luke, Alastair. Design Activism, Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World. p 5–28. (Earthscan, usa, 2009) 9. The d.school Stanford, An Introduction to Design Thinking PROCESS GUIDE, (online: https://dschool-old.stanford. edu/sandbox/groups/designresources/wiki/36873/attachments/74b3d/ModeGuideBOOTCAMP2010L.pdf) 10. Jung-Joo, Lee. Against Method. The Portability of Method in Human-Centered Design, (Aalto University School of Arts, Helsinki, 2012) articles: 1. Rocheleau, Jake. The Importance of Case Studies in a Design Portfolio (1.05.2015) 2. Schneider, Van. How to Write Project Case Studies for Your Portfolio. (26.02.2018) 3. Wade, Lisa. Not Thinking About Race: Accidentally Illustrating Evil with Skin Color, read: 12.04.2018 www.thesocietypages.org/socimages/tag/color/ (01.27,2017)


11. Workshops documentation, 2017






11.1 Symposium documentation, 2017


11.2 Exhibition in Warsaw documentation, 2017


11.3 Workshops documentation, 2018


11.4 Exhibition in Cracow documentation, 2018



Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology publication series Master’s Dissertation 29.06.2018

© Marta Zofia Myszewska

project manager, art director and designer:

Marta Zofia Myszewska illustrations and info graphics:

Marta Zofia Myszewska typeface:

Sizmo Pro — Verena Gerlach Questa Grande — Martin Majoor photography and film settings:

Nathalie Tipi Olko, Jan Duda, Tomasz Grabowski, Piotr Syndoman, Jakub Zięba Marta Zofia Myszewska proofreading and translation:

Anatol Magdziarz book print:

Enaf ul. Krakowiaków 16, 02-255 Warszawa material:

Mohawk 115 g