Laboratory practices applied to the development of an independent editorial project


Technological advances and overwhelming presence of digital tools in our day-to-day lives, necessarily have an impact on the practice of design, where we can increasingly find preference for the instantaneous and ephemeral communication channels, in detriment of manual or conventional reproduction techniques. Concerning teaching practices, and particularly in the areas of design, there is an increasing hunger for training based on digital tools, where the student is faced with the need to present an answer to a certain problem, using almost exclusively known graphic software’s. This article aims to demonstrate, through a practical example, how students can be encouraged to look for graphic solutions through laboratory practices, using analogue tools, where the results presented were often shaped by this practice and not just a standard solution proposed by a software.

The example presented in this paper is based on the extracurricular editorial project, i.E. Magazine, that students of the Degree in Design and Graphic Arts Technology (DGAT) of the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (PIT) have developed in recent years, with the objective of contributing to learning outside the classroom, encouraging the use of equipment and materials provided by the printing labs of this institution. This magazine is owned by DGAT students and has served as a platform for exploring the PIT printing laboratories, but also as a way for students to express themselves, without the commitment to respond to an exercise, program or problem placed in the classroom. The students that embrace this project are responsible for the choice of all the written content, for the external request for articles, for the collection or production of images and illustrations, for the design and layout, for the choice of materials and means of production, for the printing and finishing and for the distribution.

In the first part of this paper, we pretend to address mainly issues related to independent publication – the term is used here, not as a closed and definitive characterization, but only in order to distinguish an area of editing, apart from the traditional means of creation, production, dissemination and distribution – in order to understand its context and recognize how this kind of light-hearted edition, without resources and, almost always, without a commercial objective can influence the choice of tools, materials and resources, as a mean to produce a graphic object.

In a second part we will try to explore how the experimentation and exploration of traditional production techniques in a workshop context can lead the student to unexpected results, often imposed by technical, laboratory or time-based limitations related to the use of almost artisanal production techniques.

For a third part of this paper, we will present the approaches taken in the production of the sixth edition of the i.E. Magazine that usually starts with a set of limitations presented by the editor and that the students plan to solve as they explore the different solutions that laboratory practices allow. For each of the issues of this magazine it is essential to use the laboratory spaces offered by PIT, making the student conscious of a much wider reality that those they can found on the computer, on digital tools, or even within a traditional classroom.

With this article we hope to accomplish that having access to other, more experimental learning methods, allows amplifying the student's creative vision and makes it possible to improve the learning processes. The collaborative methodologies used in the context of a workshop are relevant in the practices of graphic and editorial design, placing the designer also as an author, collaborator and producer, capable of dictating high-value content and practical solutions. The review of creative processes and tools used, transforms the designer as an author, into a more informed and conscious professional, allowing the approach to traditional technologies and contributing to their recognition and applicability in a professional context.

Miguel Sanches


‘1 Question 10 Answers’

An exercise to examine methods of non-fiction story-making and processes of interpretation


'1 Question 10 answers' is a didactic exercise, designed to investigate the notion of interpretation in communication design, and to reflect upon issues that arise in the creation of non-fiction narratives. In particular, this research analyses the relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee, as well as the poetic devices of collection, tabulation and repetition in storytelling.

The exercises discussed in this project were applied in various educational contexts: initially from 2017-2019 on the Typography module of the BA in Design at the Universidade da Madeira (Madeira, Portugal), and subsequently in February 2021 during an intensive workshop with MA Communication students in the School of Design at the Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy).

The exercise consisted of posing a question to ten people and collecting their narrative responses, before exploring how these might be interpreted as texts and translated into artefacts. The results produced by the students at the Universidade da Madeira were small books, while the students at Politecnico di Milano invented communication systems within several different types of media.

This article discusses ‘the rules of the game’ applied during the exercises, describes the learning process, and analyses various works made by the students reflecting on delicate balance that exists between a work of interpretation and the processes of dialogue and active listening. 

The exercises discussed in this project were applied in various educational contexts: initially from 2017-2019 on the Typography module of the BA in Design at the Universidade da Madeira (Madeira, Portugal), and subsequently in February 2021 during an intensive workshop with MA Communication students in the School of Design at the Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy).

The exercise consisted of posing a question to ten people and collecting their narrative responses, before exploring how these  might be interpreted as texts and translated into artefacts. The results produced by the students at the Universidade da Madeira were small books, while the students at Politecnico di Milano invented communication systems within several different types of media.

This article will discuss ‘the rules of the game’ that were applied during the exercise: it will describe the learning process, analyse various works made by the students and reflect upon the potentialities of the method in future contexts.

Elisa Bertolotti, Anca Serbanescu


Pandemic Impact on Design and Communication for Theater Cultural Contents


Design allows us to respond to a constantly changing world. The pandemic had a profound impact on arts and cultural sectors, affecting global well-being and economy of institutions and countries. The cultural sector was forced to close doors and with that resolution several new priorities in artistic production have emerged.

While some areas of the creative industries were already using technologies to promote their art, theater was until then dependent on the classic models: the physical audience. With the pandemic, theaters were forced to become more flexible and to implement a set of new solutions to promote and keep their productions alive in the minds of their audiences.

In record time, design and designers followed this crisis in culture and played an active role in adapting the ways and means of disseminating theater. The designer played a fundamental role in this action, not only in the establishment of a cohesive digital communication program, but also to differentiate theaters and productions.

The theater failed to accomplish its purpose of physical connection between actors and public, becoming part of visual paths in social network feeds. But it is not only from the stage that theater stories are made, as there is a wide range of content associated with the productions that are worth to be shared.

The present study reflects on the impact of the pandemic on cultural design and disclosure of theater shows, suggestion to look at the production of digital contents in an open perspective of access to culture, represented in a digital platform (prototype) dedicated to conversation, thinking and sharing of theater stories and the people who make it.

Mónica Lameiro


Fostering a Creativity Culture

How culture can foster creativity in design students across a semester


Design has evolved into a comprehensive discipline, its core areas (communication, product, spaces, web, service) are a fraction of its wide-ranging outcome which has expanded into specialized fields of knowledge. The creative process greatly depends on previously acquired cognitive knowledge (socio-cultural and moral values). This usually originates within a cultural context, that provides visual, audio, and kinaesthetic manifestations, requiring interpretations and understanding of both the designer and the end-user.

Design education had to adapt and evolve accordingly, applying methodologies and encompassing a transdisciplinary approach involving research, art, materials, technology, processes, and human interactions in the development of design solutions, emphasizing understanding over output.

Global culture and cultural expressions have created a need in design schools to foster understanding, encouraging students to ask questions and develop awareness of wide-ranging design manifestations, thus addressing a variety of subjects without prejudice of individual beliefs. This learning and sharing of experiences can produce meaningful results, considering that civilization is influenced by cultural interactions, regarding users and products/services. These are assessed as good/bad and beautiful/ugly, depending on specific cultural background and distinct interpretations.

Cultural unawareness impairs individuals to develop creative thinking and accordingly innovative solutions. The issue presents itself, how to encourage creativity among design students, many unaware of their cultural background, thus overcoming the fear of failure, developing curiosity, applying research methodologies, and engaging in discussions that foster a mindfulness about design.

Leonardo Springer


A perspective on 21st design challenges facing the urgency of solutions for global sustainability

The emerging of an education and design profession alignment about core principles


Before the accelerated transformation of reality, we question the human role in the technological context, placing the need of thinking about the importance of intrinsically human competences. In the scope of design, a field of practice and academic discipline, the challenge for the profession and the future education is huge. Above all, these challenges have to do with large scale and with processes requiring the ability to deal with more complex conceptual frameworks, with a set of context dimensions involving economic, ecological, social, cultural, and political issues of societies in permanent change. The design community recognizes the value of designer's multidisciplinary skills and the ability to lead processes involving large socio-technical systems. However, today the designer faces the challenge of multidisciplinary working teams where skills go far beyond their traditional abilities. The thinking and practice of design reveals a set of core values ​​and virtues of the designers that allows a strategic positioning of these professionals in the complex problem-solving context. Nevertheless, designers will have an increasingly demanding role in creating products, services and experiences which mean a profession under pressure to evolve towards a more complex activity requiring new general and specialized skills. The objective of our reflection is about designer’s competencies transition demand, an imperative requiring technological and management skills and leadership capacity on sustainable solutions complex processes. Despite this recognition, designers must be prepared about collaboration and cooperation skills, a necessity more and more in tension with a reality where the whole potential of design to deal with complexity remains unaware.

Design community reflects about designer’s strategic value for facing global challenges and points out the complexity approach as a requirement of design education in the future. Considered a condition for design expansion this concern is also revealed in design education research contributions. This contextual disposition makes possible to regard an alignment about a direction to pursue. 

This paper presents a reflection about this problematic field which intends to be a contribution to understand how design discipline can evolve meeting the designer’s community recognition of the necessity of a set of updated critical dimensions for design activity. This reflection looks at the design community before a strong demand for an evolution, pushing to a design education deep transformation. This kind of evolution for design may occur first in the professional practice and will be primarily caused, in our perspective, by the desirable and the unavoidable impact on design processes of a design community's new mindset about core principles.

Manuela Maia


Art Branding/Art Infusion: Communication of the image and brand identity.

The artist's work as a brand image.


This research work is a literature review study whose theme integrates the concept of brand management in the artistic sphere in order to identify the brand image, with an important contribution to global success. Branding, or brand management, being a strategic and complex challenge, is increasingly used by brands as a tool, to achieve their

goals, at a time when competition is evident, whose objective is to produce and prepare a brand to win over customers various types of markets. Theoretically, the question of branding is addressed, with analysis on the repercussions that strategic practices have on the success and evolution of brands. The aim of this work is to analyse the issues related to art branding / art infusion and its associated components in which the image of the work is the artist's brand, whose factors influence the consumer of works of art. Based on this hypothesis, it is essential that professionals in the area consider that there is a relationship between the use of art in advertising communication and the power of influence in the perception of the consuming public. This process is limited to inviting artists already recognized in the community to create artistic pieces of the brand, with emphasis on the advertising object, considering exclusivity, between name recognition, value, branding and notoriety.

Ilda Monteiro


BODY ART: Performance and symbolism as a means of artistic expression

Performance and symbolism as a means of artistic expression


This research work refers to a literature review study, considering the Body art in Performance described as a symbology of  the body, where the artist is the artistic expression, and at the same time the object of  the work he represents. The emerging phenomenon of  performance, as an artistic expression, emerged from a set of  individual and collective actions, in whi-ch the symbology and expressiveness of  the body are embodied in an art form, through which they occupy a symbolic structure and a function at the service of  the artistic power. The body is considered a symbolic interlocutor of  relevance and prominence in cultural and artistic representations, whose protagonism focuses on various artistic expressivities at a contemporary level, since the beginnings of  the most ancestral ritual. Performance asserts itself  as an artistic practice in confrontation with the performing arts, the plastic arts in general, whose experimental impetus is accentuated from modernism and historical avant-gardes. Notably, when we talk about performance art, happening or live art, we relate the ritual to these artistic procedures, because, as we have seen, they are “aesthetic rituals”, being aware that, evidently, we are not talking about a ritual properly speaking. various personal experiences, but of  an artistic value.

Ilda Monteiro