Tacit : A research journey into the methods, processes and knowledge of graphic designers

Abstract: By exploring the potential effects of digitisation on graphic design methods, this thesis aims to highlight some of the tacit knowledge possessed by graphic designers and to show that this knowledge can both be externalised and made communicable. Beginning with an interview study where professional designers’ views were gathered and analysed, the work continued through a participatory study where designers’ knowledge was highlighted in a documented design project. Finally, alternative ways of externalising knowledge were employed in an exhibition, displaying the creative outcomes of this thesis. The work shows that the hitherto largely hidden knowledge of graphic designers can be uncovered and made more communicable, strengthening designers’ professional identity and making the field more accessible to students. Furthermore, using versatile approaches in a design project can encourage conceptual development and even professional enjoyment, as well as increasing historical awareness.   The thesis uses an experimental approach to research method design and thus contributes to the development of graphic design research methodology. As such, in addition to expanding our understanding of graphic design knowledge, this work will enable a deeper exploration of methods, identity, and the definition of the profession’s taxonomy.

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