Hi Designers on the world wide web!
Firstly, to the mods: I am unsure if I am posting in the correct forum, but please feel free me point me in the right direction if I am in the wrong!
I am an undergraduate from Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore undertaking my BA in Design Communications and am currently working on my final year project, where I am building an online repository and currently looking to gather projects to highlight what criticality in design is.
As I am a new user, I am unable to post links, but if anyone is interested in sharing, please do let me know and I could PM a link to the site!
As of right now, I am in the midst of gathering projects and am currently reaching out to as many designers as I could. I would like to firstly disclaim that this is a student project, and all IPs and Copyrights would belong to their respective owners.
To provide context for my undergrad project (This will get wordy): Our college’s programme is research heavy and the outcome of our projects are inline with our research.
I initially looked into the different forms of Bourdieusian Capitals and how they manifest within the design industry in Singapore, as well as identifying how organizations with higher levels of capitals are able to affect how the design industry is shaped. Pragmatic policies by such organizations utilizes design for economic growth is however criticized to hinder creative innovation. Further exploration led me to learn more about Critical Design and its role in critiquing the current paradigm of design as a service provider. But of course, the western perspective of Critical Design could not be fully adapted to our local practice, so I had to learn and understand how it is practiced here in Singapore.
To establish what Critical Design is, I looked to Ramia Mazé’s and her explanation in the Iaspis Forum on Design and Critical Practice - The Reader, which I referenced as a framework to identify the critical design practice.
For easy reference, a brief outline of the framework is listed below:
- In relation to the individial practitioner and their practice … to become more self aware of reflexive about what they do and why they do it.
- In building a meta-level or disciplinary discourse - to challenge or change traditions or paradigms
- As a basis for mounting a critique not just in design, but in other issues in society.
The nature of the Singaporean upbringing and the design industry leads many designers to be pragmatic and accepting of the current paradigm, and may see critical design as purposeless in the local context.
Speaking of the processes of other designers in the more “traditional field” (i.e. Small-Medium Enterprises, Startups and Ad Agencies), I learnt that they also do practice a certain level of “reflexivitiy” and they do consider “issues outside of design”, falling into 1 and 3 of the above framework, but also face a lot of resistance due to the nature of their work environment, with practicality being one of the priorities with briefs. Therefore I want to highlight this “criticality” in design works and projects, where the processes of designers fall within the above framework, such as when a UX designer contemplates Dark Patterns in the client brief, when a Graphic Designer thinks of users with dyslexia when laying out type, etc.
While I did consider how each area does need to coincide, I was looking to position the project to highlight the value of criticality in design, especially in the rather pragmatic climate such as Singapore. When I spoke to designers working in the more “traditional” field of design, eg. Advertising and in-house production, they mentioned how Singapore’s design industry constrained the design considerations that can be identified as critical in accordance to Maze’s argument.
To attempt to at least convince these more “pragmatic” designers who sees critical design and/or criticality in design as of no use through the open sharing of other designer projects is the crux of my FYP, where a majority of times many design considerations and processes are not seen on design based websites such as Behance, where the final and client-accepted outcome is usually shown and reduced to its visual aesthetic. This is also one of the reasons as to why I initiated my current outcome, as many design students who browse these sites simply see these visual outputs without understanding what went into its development.
I’m looking to gather projects where there may be certain considerations made in relation to the brief, whether is it commissioned or independent, such as type layout and choice, colours, and other thoughts that decide the final output. The projects may not be in its final polished form, but the focus is more on the aforementioned.
For example, a friend was telling me about a Book Research workshop he attended where a particular typeface was brought up (Eco-font, I think, according to his description) which reduces ink usage. To my (undergrad-level) understanding, this falls into the “societal level issues” for briefs or designers who are looking to address the more environmental-related issues within the design industry.
It would be great to share any of such considerations that you made on my platform regarding your works! It could be entire projects, or simply a specific facet of one such as type choice or layout.
The platform requires a sign up to moderate the content posted. Just a disclaimer that as it is a student project, the rights of all text and images posted would still belong to their respective owners.
There is a link in the user tab at the top of the page that links to the submission form for you to fill in the title of the work, a short write up of the brief (whether it is self-initiated or commissioned), a field for a write up on the process, and upload buttons for images.
The form is a bit iffy right now and will be redesigned haha
There might be some bugs so I’m hoping for some critiques and feedbacks if you run into any issues!
Some issues that I am aware of is:
- The form requires multiple upload buttons for multiple images, and requires you to upload select each image individually; it’s a technical limitation of the site but I’m looking for workarounds
- Each submission is limited to 1 KV and 4 additional images; another technical limitation and hopefully sorted with the above.
I apologize for the long post. If anyone has any questions, feedback or critiques, please drop me an email at email@example.com
Thank you and I hope to hear from you all soon!
PS - I understand copyright concerns and IP issues that may arise from my project. However, I would like to reiterate that, as this is a student’s project, no works shared will not be monetized in anyway and all IP and copyrights would still belong to the original uploader. I only reserve the right to moderate contents that may be deemed offensive and or off topic!
Also, I also recognize that it is extremely sketchy for someone across the internet asking for these, so to put a face to the project, I would like to share links to my portfolio and instagram, although as a new user to the forum I am unsure if I am allowed to do so. As of right now, I do have local studios from Singapore in the midst of sharing their projects on the site, so I hope that that would add some credibility I hope that this is not breaking any rules, but the crux of my project is to highlight these though processes that all of us designers go through, and though my limited connections as a student, am writing to the wider internet in the hopes that some of you may be willing to share!