Essay guidance: Intro into social change as a driver

by am109145

What is the context for visual communication practice?

1. Pragmatic – It is multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary therefore it creates platforms in which you can create your desired outcome.

2. Idealistic – The idea of ‘Making the world a better place’ is achievable. We use this context/philosophy as a means of looking at our practice.


This is work which demonstrates an interest in the world and society. Work that makes the world a better place. Work which hopes to change the world. Social engagement is what we as practitioners hope to achieve using our skills through deepening our thought processes and having a strong conceptual base of which we develop work upon.

Why social activism/ social engagement?

‘Most things are designed for the need of people but for the needs of manufacturers to sell to people‘ Papanek. V. 1983

Ultimately Papanek is saying that design is created for marketing purposed the idea of giving something a brand and portraying a certain image through marketing trips people into buying into a product/service that someone is trying to sell.

Cynthia E. Smith – Outline the idea that after 9/11 she was not able to apply her skills as designer to help within the 2 week aftermath of 9/11 in Manhattan. The learning that she took from a world changing tragic disaster was that as a practitioner she needed to embrace her skills into making the world a better place and contributing towards social change.

People of whom could inform our essay that have been engaged with social engagement: (things to look at)

Jeremy Deller- Photography – ‘The Battle of Ogreave’ (2001) – Jeremy Deller produced a set of photographs that rein acted the battle of Ogreave, the battle between the police and minors was demonstrated by people who were in the actual original battle.

Nikolay Lamm (2013) – ‘The normal barbie’ – Nikolay lamm created a proper representation of Barbie based on the stats of the average US 19 year old.

Guerrilla graffiti – Graphic design – Photographed by Jill Posener UK 1979

Adbuster – Graphic design – This company creates an intellectual level of graphic design that draws attention to what’s going on in society. There work reflects whats going on a social level and promoted it through branding eg. perceived body image.

As practitioners we should be:

– Use critical thinking and a creative problem to address the issue and communicate the idea.

– Aspire to bring apart of the social movement and social change. you won’t be able to make a huge change but as a practitioner you can affect the way the issue is addressed within society thus having a proactive role in the movement.

Things to consider looking at:

Rebel clown army – creative protestors

Everyday sexism – Social media company

Turfing the sexism – Event management

Dark days – Documentary films


Ken Garland – Graphic design first – first things first manifesto 1963 0 republished in the 2000’s

Victor Papanek – Product design – design for the real world 1971


Papanek – Design for the real world

Klein N. (2000) – No logo London: Flamingo – Focused on the negative aspect of branding and marketing, takes in sweat shops, culture jamming and corporate censorship.

Gauntellette D. (2002) – media, gender and identity: An introduction London and New York: Routledge

Lucy S. (1995) – Mapping the terrain New genre public art seattle

Founatin A. Coyer K. and Dowmunt T. (2007) – The alternative media handbook..

Shea A. (2002) – Designing for social change: Strategies for community based Graphic Design New York. This is a book about community Art.



– Look at socially engaged practice within the medium

– Include yourself with photography and social concern – you should be carrying out a project and including this into your essay.