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A Designer’s Journey. The poster:
 A valid medium for transformative design?

There have been two dominant rhetorics in the discipline of graphic design: One is driven by external determinants, the needs of the commissioner (who has a ‘message’ to convey), the market, or general trends, where the ‘what’ of design is determined by some outside person/institution/authority who is also the ultimate decision-maker in the design process. The other is driven by internal determinants, the needs of the ‘designer as author’, a position of self-determination where the designer either regards each commission as an opportunity to express their own ‘creative genius’, or rejects the commission altogether, creating their own commission. What both of these rhetorics have in common is the fact that they largely ignore the actual addressees and other stakeholders of graphic design.
‘A Designer’s Journey’ is an investigation within this context questioning the position of the (graphic) designer in the context of the notions of the author/authorship/authority. It has the poster at its centre not just because the poster has been an aggressive medium for mass communication and its use of public space, but also because the poster could also be perceived as a preferential medium for the ‘designer as author’, claiming its surface as a self-expressive ‘designerly’ plane much like an artist’s canvas.
This thesis attempts to formulate ‘another’ type of design practice, in line with the apparent changes in contemporary design practices with an emphasis on deciding the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ of poster design together with the addressees, the sans-papier, and the onlookers as well and tries to achieve this based on Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and ‘matters of concern’ as formulated by Bruno Latour in his address to the 2008 Design History Conference in Cornwall.
Basel, 2021