Ulla Björklund Changing the Old and Designing the New
Contradictions in Visual Communication Design


Ulla Björklund's study looks at visual communication design processes as part of larger change efforts and uses activity theory (Engeström 1987) for locating change and depicting the context of the design process. In order to solve complex design problems we need to draw from different knowledge areas and ensure co-operation between different actors (Seitamaa-Hakkarainen et al. 2017).

This research seeks to understand what kind of historical contradictions are present in the work of visual communication designers. This question anchors deeper study into the contradictions behind the dilemmatic visual update of The Magazine and the visual communication design of Demos Helsinki.

The results of this study bring to light a historical contradiction in visual communication design – how can craft skills be successfully combined with collaborative processes and concept development? The presence of craft-type of work, where unique products, informal networks, and an individual way of working is common, is strongly present in both case studies. Not only in the way that the designer works but also in the surrounding context. Meanwhile, collaborative processes and teamwork are also at the forefront, fostering process enhancement and mass customization.

Read the doctoral thesis here

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