Graphical ways of researching

Khemmiga Teerapong
2014 Conference

This paper investigates the ways in which graphic design practice can be seen as an emerging design methodology. This is in the context of differentiating between the use of visuals in research methodology across academic disciplines and graphic design as a process of inquiry. As graphic design as an academic field is still in its infancy, there are still questions about its methodological application. This may resonate with graphic design practitioners interested in conducting research. To answer the question of how graphic design can be employed as a research strategy, it is important to understand what it is that distinguishes it from visual research. As both research strategies employ visuals, the scope of this paper is to examine the possibilities of graphical ways of researching in these two areas. From a review of a number of research studies that used visual materials as part of the research methodology, this paper suggests the key differentiation is the interpretation of graphic design that both visual products and the design process are equally important. In this paper, I argue that the core understanding of graphic design research is not only the use of visuals but it is also the process that contributes to new knowledge and connects to the academic world.

The paper begins with definitions of graphic design, its functions and processes, followed by the positioning of graphic design in research methodology and a discussion on graphic design research and visual research. This paper concludes by suggesting that graphic designers can use their practice as a research strategy and this would offer a greater future for graphic design to be accepted as a discipline with its own design methodology.

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About the author

Khemmiga Teerapong completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communication design from Silpakorn University, Thailand and Master of Arts in graphic design from the University of the Arts, London, UK. She works as a design lecturer and a graphic design practitioner. She is now pursuing a doctoral degree in creative media at the School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Australia. Her research covers graphic design culture and exploring familiness in graphic design practices.