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Malloy 3 recognized the potential of empowerment and freedom within a designed context; it is allowing customers to co-create meaning and participate in its brand. The question becomes, how are visual communicators appealing to these needs, these motivations? Just as management must learn to become leadership, visual communicators must progress by reconsidering their relationship with users. On one hand, co-creation and participatory design are touted as key methods pertinent to the future of design; on the other, many visual communicators are opposed to them. Why? Barriers include institutional resistance, a lack of consistent terms and accessible methods, and a tradition of control. The good news is visual communicators are clearly searching for ways to move into the future; the bad news is professional discourse is less than cohesive, making progress a challenge. Not to mention, as designers such as Rob Dewey have argued, the field of visual communication has many theories but few practitioners who actually know and apply them.4 Add to the mix “new� terms of co-creation and participatory design (both have been praised and loathed within the same publication), and you begin to see a pool of confusion and skepticism. Luckily, designers are smart and the issues necessary to tackle for adaptation are not nearly as complex as many think. In order to move forward, tensions need discussion, benefits explained, and terminology provided. To equip visual communicators with tools for progress, I synthesized four basic adaptive strategies that enable visual communicators to think and work holistically. Active Design (AD) echoes principles of gestalt and semiotic theory but goes further by calling designers to not only guide but also challenge users intellectually and visually. Experience Design (ED) recognizes user witness as opportunity, including environmental graphics and multi-sensory engagement but also adding non-traditional notions of design, such as personae interactions. In Participatory 4

Looking Closer 2, No. 2: Critical Writings on Graphic Design (New York: Allworth Press, 1997), 88.

Profile for Renee Malloy

Adaptive Design for Visual Communicators:Reexamining Relationships and Making Theory Apply  

Adaptive Design for Visual Communicators:Reexamining Relationships and Making Theory Apply is my MFA thesis paper. Please enjoy.

Adaptive Design for Visual Communicators:Reexamining Relationships and Making Theory Apply  

Adaptive Design for Visual Communicators:Reexamining Relationships and Making Theory Apply is my MFA thesis paper. Please enjoy.

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