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Graphic designers' activities during the conceptual design phase of client-initiated projects

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This paper outlines a study investigating the strategies and activities undertaken by mid-weight graphic designers during the conceptual design phase of client-initiated projects. Descriptions of design activities in the literature are most often derived from disciplines such as architecture, and product engineering. More abstract approaches, which describe graphic design as undefinable or a linear step process do not address professional design as a situated practice. While these studies are informative, they are also limited, as they are not based on the specific nature of practice in graphic design. The aim of the study presented in this paper was to understand graphic design practice through the investigation of the activities and strategies undertaken by working mid-weight graphic designers. Specifically, it considers the tool-mediated activities of designers as a situated practice during the conceptual stage of designing for client-initiated projects. Employing ethnographic methods, three cases were investigated, in order to generate a thick description of these design processes.
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Keywords: activity theory; design activities; design process; graphic design practice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swinburne University of Technology (Australia).

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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