This studio will examine iconography, symbolism and semiotics in relationship to activism; exploring how the communicative qualities of these elements can be developed in order to convey a variety of complex themes and ideas. As the studio progresses topics relating to diverse social issues (health, environment, etc.) will be explored and expanded alongside the development of icons and symbols using simplified visual language and graphic forms. This process will be achieved through the analysis of graphic interpretation, visual arrangement, colour significance & communicative textual elements. The aim will be to develop and create a series of communicative elements and iconographic 'identities'; putting forward specific social topics via a unique and personified visual communication with the intent to educate and generate collective awareness.
The unit will provide participants with a platform to voice their own concerns, and expand their personal reflections regarding social topics into poignant messages for the community to view and hear, ultimately creating results which influence opinion.
Through various in class activities, workshops and in class viewings you will be asked to analyse and examine a diverse range of social issues within your environment. This initial research will form the basis towards 'voicing' your own concerns and allow you to reflect on your personal topics of interest. As these investigations are solidified through the course of the unit, the development of iconography and symbolism will commence in order to communicate your 'voice' through visual representation and graphic interpretation. This process will aim to create a series of clear messages that advocate change and utilise visual communication as vehicles for deploying clear open action.
Communication of knowledge
Throughout the unit you will be asked to take a stance and reflect on your own viewpoint; exploring how communication design can be utilised to visually convey complex ideas through the use of interpretative iconography and symbolism within a social awareness context. There will be a strong focus on process and the development of one's own voice through regular in class deliberation and analytical discussion, both as an individual as well as a designer.
Techniques and strategies such as de-construction, re-assembly, iterations, simplification of form, assemblage, interpretation of meaning, communication, activism, awareness and generating new meanings will be explored, as well as the use of communicative tools such as typography, image making, composition, iconography and symbolism via a series of in class exercises and workshops.
Over the course of the semester you will create three different design outcomes exploring the development of signs, symbols and iconography as interpretive and communicative tools to address social issues and produce awareness.
(1) Research document exploring social issues, initial topics of interest / precedents, one's own viewpoint
(2) Development and refinement of iconographic 'identity' communicating topic / issue through visual form
(3) Production of 'awareness kit' using various formats of communication to clearly convey your 'voice' across, create collective insight, and educate.
Brief 01: Research and exploration of social issues. Brief 02: Iconographic development and application. Brief 03: Social awareness kit production (SKO)
Ways of seeing - John Berger
Design as Art - Bruno Munari
Communities of Practice
Designing for Social Change, Designing Identity, Designing Disobedience