Convergences - Journal of Research and Arts Education is an open access journal dedicated to scientific research, having DOI and E-ISSN, which publishes articles in the areas of design, music and visual arts, evaluated in a double-blind peer review system.

The Convergences Journal publishes free of charge, in open access, the original results evaluated by peers, which explain experiences and results from research and practice in the areas of design, music and the visual arts. Through Original papers, Case Reports or Review Papers, by by professionals researchers and scholarly contributors, it promotes knowledge related to the activities of design, music and other visual arts in all its domains of application, as well as its history, its teaching and learning.

The authors and readers of this journal are mainly professionals, students, researchers and scholars from all fields of design, music and visual arts at an international level.

Convergences is published in May and November of each year and accepts papers written in Portuguese, English or Spanish. In 2021, Convergences Journal limited to publishing a maximum of 12 articles per issue, totaling 24 articles per year.

In addition to exporting metadata to various databases, since 2020, all Convergences Journal articles are deposited in the SciELO Portugal collection, PKP PN and in the Scientific Repository of the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco, also in Open Access.

Call for papers is permanently open.

E-ISSN (Online) 1646-9054
ISSN (Print) 2184-0180
Edições IPCB

Vol. 15 No. 30 (2022)

Published: 2022-11-30

Sustainability in Design Projects

A proposal to apply sustainability to education and professional practice


Higher education institutions have a responsibility to contribute to a more sustainable development. However, this contribution hasn’t always been consequential, especially when the focus is more on the construction of mere tools for sustainability, than on the process of internal transformation. That is, on the development of a true training for sustainability, consequently for a curriculum more oriented towards sustainability and with valid contributions for sustainable development, namely in the regions where they are based. On the other hand, ecodesign analysis tools, namely checklists, have been used successfully in companies, but also in education, and have made an important contribution to sustainability, fundamentally in the environmental and economic dimensions. Consolidated experiences in these areas have shown that employing these tools implies a contextualization of their use, in the case of their application in a teaching context, among students, or in a business environment, among professionals. It depends on the social, economic, and business context of the region or country, but, in the specific case of an application in education, it also depends on the type of subjects and the teaching and learning methods.

In addition, the usefulness of the checklists is observed in various contexts of everyday life, but also in the professional environment and in teaching, as it is a tool that can help teachers and students to guide projects towards the final objectives, also valuing the process of getting there.

The present study emerged from an investigation carried out within the scope of sustainability in communication design projects, involving several curricular units of a communication design course. Its final objective is to formulate a proposal for the application of sustainability to education and professional practice in this field of design. The main intention is to encourage design practices that consider aspects of environmental, social and economic sustainability, consolidating the training of students for a more sustainable development.

At the methodological level, the study was grouped into four phases of action. In the first phase, the state of the art was analysed, the most appropriate method was chosen – an Ecodesign Checklist – and developed to evaluate communication design projects and to introduce improvements in products sustainability and design projects.

Three curricular units from the third year of the Communication Design bachelor’s degree were selected, which allowed to carry out the communication design project (Communication Design IV subject), create ecodesign strategies (Sustainable Design subject) and plan their graphic production (Graphic Production I subject). Within this context a packaging and labelling design problem was defined as the project to be carried out evolving the subjects, having in mind the importance that this area of design has in the region where the school is located. To this end, an Ecodesign Checklist for Packaging and Labelling was developed, which allowed the design aspects for sustainability to be articulated between the three curricular units.

In a second methodological phase, the Packaging and Labelling Ecodesign Checklist, was implemented and a first assessment study was carried out, regarding the potential contributions to the main aspects of sustainable development and to the training and curriculum of students involved. In addition to put in practice the Packaging and Labelling Ecodesign Checklist, surveys were also carried out with the involved students, in order to assess the impact of using the method on their curricular training and on their design practices.

It is expected that in a third phase, this study can be applied to other subjects of the Communication Design degree and in a fourth phase to be extended to professional practice.

This article presents the first analyses and reflections obtained in the first two methodological phases of this investigation, evaluating the importance of conducting the inquiry into a more holistic perspective, which includes a curriculum and training for sustainability, transposing the limits of the design project or of the designed products. It is also presented here the study contributions evaluation, specifically the Ecodesign Checklist for Packaging and Labelling, for the “Sustainable Development Goals - 2030” in Portugal and in the region where the higher education institution is located, highlighting the aspects considered as fundamental, and within the reach of design and communication designers.

The first presented results are exploratory, as the intention is to develop the study by comparing results on a continuous basis. The evaluation of the Packaging and Labelling Ecodesign Checklist was carried out considering the academic universe in which it was implemented and intends to establish improvement parameters for its use. These parameters include the ease of use of the Checklist; the achievement of ecodesign objectives and of social and economic sustainability; and the contribution to students' training in the scope of sustainability. Some of the criteria initially defined for this study, specifically criteria related to collaborative practices applied to the field of design, were conditioned by the constraints of social confinement. However, it is expected to apply and test these criteria in the next round of the Ecodesign Checklist implementation.

Josélia Pedro, Pedro Matos, Vanda Correia


The role of illustration in pediatric hospitalization.

A collaborative project between ESAD and Pedro Hispano’s Hospital of Matosinhos


Health services, in particular pediatric units in a hospital, are increasingly committed to human well-being, on the one hand by researching more effective treatments, on the other hand by promoting emotional well-being for their patients, caregivers and professionals. The investment in making hospital environments and services more humane is evident in several studies and projects disseminated around the world. Even so, and despite these efforts, most people continue to have a negative feeling when they think of a hospital. For an institution whose main objective is to preserve and restore health, a negative impression or a feeling of discomfort can be seen as a factor of stress that does not contribute to the patients’ quick recovery. Although fear or stress reduction values are difficult to quantify, empirical evidence shows that there are intangible factors crucial for the patients’ recovery and well-being 1.

This is an issue of increasing importance, therefore this paper will analyze how illustration can play a decisive role in the child’s perception and overall experience in hospital. It will also evaluate how illustrators and storytellers' commitment in creating a positive, playful and comfortable environment for patients and caregivers has been recognised by the whole community. The process of adapting an illustrated children’s picture book to a specific hospital area, its effectiveness and how it can reach other audiences, will be widely analyzed.

José Saraiva, Marta Varzim, Helena Cordeiro


Has Genderless Become a Fashion Design Label?


The word ‘genderless’ carries a cultural and social burden that hasn’t bestowed upon the general audience nor some of the most spoken about brands in the world. There have been top tier designers that have dipped their toes and tried to show a world without binary gender boundaries, but the message is still not accurate. If fashion design seeks its roots in the lifestyle of the beholder, than what lifestyle are some brands representing by showcasing their genderless ideas as neutral, basic and shapeless designs? Fashion is the art through which people can express themselves, but there always seems to be a limitation. The younger generations are questioning those limitations and establishing that we can wear what we want, as long as it’s representative of the gender we feel most, or not at all. There has been a surge of the word ‘genderless’ and several well-established brands are using it to promote, of what can only be pointed out as their marketing agendas. It’s important to understand that most of these brands haven’t done their homework and they haven’t talked to the people who actually go through the experience of a non-binary reality. The problematic isn’t necessarily the use of the word ‘genderless’, it’s the appropriation of the experience of people who aren’t even a part of the conversation. The present paper wants to explore how genderless seems to have become a label and a marketing move for brands and designers to try and engage with yet another audience. But also an exploration of how that is failing, especially when it comes to communicating and relating to the everyday experiences of people who live beyond the binary. Through contextual inquiries and personal interviews, we intent to dive into this experience of the world, with the positives and negatives, trying to sort if genderless is just a trend, or something else entirely. 

Eduarda Loureiro


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