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The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice by John Maeda, Mara Hermano, Rosanne Somerson

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Graphic Design, Storytelling, and the Making of Meaning

Lucinda Hitchcock

How do critical makers transform today’s vast proliferation of information into meaningful visual culture? Lucinda Hitchcock, Professor, Graphic Design, provides a glimpse into her discipline, describing graphic designers as today’s scribes and illuminators, as curators and storytellers, and as keen observers of and participants in the making of cultural meaning. Outlining how the Graphic Design department prepares its graduates to shape the future of information design and visual communication, she describes the elements of type, narrative, and visual linguistics that students form and transform in becoming uniquely inventive thinkers and makers.

 

It’s an understatement of course to say that information is everywhere. But it is, and more than ever information has become the currency (as well as the burden) of our times. Since the earliest days of the Renaissance, society’s most literate individuals — the scribes, illuminators, printers, and bookmakers — have been sorting out how to present and disseminate information in all its forms. Indeed, for as long as there has been an audience capable of reading and affording information, there have been craftspeople dedicated to organizing and presenting the visually complex content of culture.

One could argue that today’s graphic designers are cultural curators. We condense society’s stories visually — choosing, framing, and presenting what gets seen, reproduced, ...

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