The Politics of Design: A (Not so) Global Manual for Visual Communication
By Ruben Pater
Many designs that appear in todayâ€™s society will circulate and encounter audiences of many different cultures and languages. With communication comes responsibility; are designers aware of the meaning and impact of their work? An image or symbol that is acceptable in one culture can be offensive or even harmful in the next. A typeface or colour in a design might appear to be neutral, but its meaning is always culturally dependent. If designers learn to be aware of global cultural contexts, we can avoid stereotyping and help improve mutual understanding between people.
Politics of Design is a collection of visual examples from around the world. Using ideas from anthropology and sociology, it creates surprising and educational insight in contemporary visual communication.
The examples relate to the daily practice of both online and offline visual communication: typography, images, colour, symbols, and information.
Politics of Design shows the importance of visual literacy when communicating beyond borders and cultures. It explores the cultural meaning behind the symbols, maps, photography, typography, and colours that are used every day. It is a practical guide for design and communication professionals and students to create more effective and responsible visual communication.
Ruben Pater is a designer and researcher from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He finished the master programme of the Sandberg institute in 2012, and as â€˜Untold Storiesâ€™ he works on self-initiated and collaborative projects between journalism and graphic design. Past projects are Double Standards (2012), the Drone Survival Guide (2013), and Behind the Blue Screen (2014). His work has received several international awards and is featured in exhibitions around the world.