Terminology in design

I’m stuck with terminology when it comes to design, particularly between graphic design, visual design and communication design. As I’m doing this PhD under Communication Design I wonder what it really means. What I’m trying to say here is do we have a clear definition of what do we all mean when we claim we’re doing a study under communication design?

My whole academic and practice background is very much related to Graphic Design, but then I’m a bit bewildered between the terminology and the practice. One of the few reasons that makes me puzzled with the graphic design term is it’s roles. Please correct me one but I think the classic reason is most of graphic designers ‘like to play safe’ when they’re in the act of designing and indirectly point the finger at the client and the purpose of the design artifacts, when it comes to the impact of their own reproduction.Perhaps it is because, I was one of them not sure now but at least now I’m taking full responsibilities of my work and would argued and questioned my client when it comes to the designing process. I used to think that ‘ the client is always right’, who the hell created this term anyway?

Well, at this moment, I’m not comfortable to use the communication design term. I guess the term is too broad and vague. What we have as a reference is very much Frascara term. Is that really what is communication design, as Frascara stated, I’m not that sure anymore. Poynour’s term of visual communications makes me at ease, but still not very sure why. Perhaps because literally it means using ‘visual to communicate (transfer ideas/message)’, I mean he did stated more than just as the message translater, but I feel much more confortable with this term.

At this point, I’m juggling between the theminology between graphic design and visual communication, but I guess Yoko’s advice could be handy ‘it is just the term and what define it is your understanding of it’. I’m hoping to get some of your point of view about this, any thought?

some thoughts – neutral or not?

Yes, again it’s really been a while since I last wrote in this blog, been busy you see..been writing a lot and still hoping to produce something really good or clear enough to the readers. Had a discussion with Yoko yesterday, and week before a discussion with Laurene, Chris and Yoko about my 1st chapter submissions. At least it’s a good news, they seems happy with the work and wanted more. Of course there’s many changes and restructuring I have to do, not to mention the grammar but overall it seems fine and I’m back on the track. What a relief..

As for my research, I feel much more confident in articulating my thoughts. Apart from the struggle of clarifying my arguments and definitions of the designer’s role. I’m not sure about the title ‘graphic design’ but more comfortable in using the term ‘visual communication’. Why? Perhaps because I feel that graphic designer’s roles is very limited to the visual improvisations, visual identity constructions and as the message conveyer. Most of graphic designer, now I’m talking about graphic designer in general, work are based on the purpose of creating an artifacts, mainly following the client requirements. I know this is the classic discussions but still the activities seems to be going on, so until the activities change, we can move on to another discussion.

Client and purpose seems to be the core structure in graphic design process. Questions like ‘who is this poster for?’, ‘what do we want to inform here’, ‘what do we want to say’ to name few is the questions graphic designer’s will ask before the brain storming process even start. But what about ‘What will this design impact others’ or ‘What influence will this design make to others apart from communicating the message?’ is the questions that usually been omitted by designers. Not that the designer’s refused to questions, some did, but always been turn down by the purpose and the client requirements.

Inevitably, with or without the designer’s attentions, what ever design creation the designer’s produce, it will and does give an impact to the societies. For examples, just walk out of out premises, what do we see or takes out eyes attention when we walk on the street. We see posters everywhere informing us about what’s going on around the areas, educating us about directions on the streets or behaviors, or even provoking our common sense about people, politics, culture, economic to name few. Designer’s do play a significant roles here, with permission of the client or not. Not only telling or informing us but also shaping our way of life, the way we behave, stimulating our thoughts, and shaping or construct our identity.. And yet some designer’s says their behaviors or design actions is ‘neutral’..is it really?