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Graphic communication design practice for sustainable social advocacy in Pakistan: Co-developing contextually responsive communication design (GCD) methodologies in culturally diverse contexts

Ali, Hena (2015) Graphic communication design practice for sustainable social advocacy in Pakistan: Co-developing contextually responsive communication design (GCD) methodologies in culturally diverse contexts. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Ali, Hena

Communication design, as a significant tool for sustainable social advocacy, is still under-explored both academically and within creative practices worldwide. In a developing country like Pakistan, the role of social advocacy as an effective tool for social change is ambiguous. This practice-led research aims to redress this imbalance by exploring the development of graphic communication design approaches (GCDs) for social advocacy, in response to a low Pakistani literacy context. The investigation presents a contextually responsive GCD model for design development (Fig3a: 13), as a critical design framework, for synthesising graphic languages in Pakistan. This is presented as an alternative non-traditional communication approach, in response to contextual constraints (socio- cultural, literacy levels and/or available resources) in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The practice asserts contextually driven communication design approaches for sustainability, and it also contests the effectiveness of universal design approaches in culturally diverse contexts.

Using a case study approach, a semiotic analysis of three forms of Pakistani graphic media, namely Lollywood billboards, Pakistani truck art and political campaign posters, is undertaken. As a mapping stage, this explores the development of vernacular communication systems and visual codes to advance effective graphic languages in Pakistan, while a simultaneous review of the literature and practice supports the case studies. However, the analysis relies primarily on a pilot study, contextual interviews and collaborative design projects, with Pakistani truck and billboard artists, to identify critical graphic frameworks operative in the Pakistani visual context. This leads ultimately to the final participatory design-led synthesis stage, which co-designs social advocacy interventions in the low- income community of Dhok Chaudrian, Rawalpindi. The interventions address the major issue of open garbage dumps, and the co-design approach highlights the significance of communication design practice evolving as a sustainable social engagement tool in response to a specific issue in a specific context.

This thesis is organised in four major sections. Chapter One introduces the research aims, structure and organisation of the thesis. Chapter Two reviews the context and identifies gaps in graphic communication design theory and practice in a social context, before it grounds the research in the Pakistani context. Chapter Three maps the Pakistani visual vernacular through a case study analysis, a pilot study and three collaborative design projects in the cities of Lahore and Rawalpindi. This establishes critical communication design frameworks as a rhetorical design framework (pg. 88) and contextual GCD principles (pg.77) in Pakistan, which are then tested in the proceeding final synthesis stage. Chapter Four entails the design synthesis, which involves testing and evaluating previously developed critical frameworks through co-design sessions in the Dhok Chaudrian community, Rawalpindi. This chapter focuses specifically on community participation as a tool to inform the development of effective graphic languages for design sustainability. Co-design sessions, as an interaction prototype, are evaluated for short-term impacts in terms of engagement, with custom- designed communication tools for a low-literacy target audience.

As for resources, this research draws on contextual interviews, collaborative design projects, contextual observations and design evaluations, all of which are supported by published material. The research-led design process is systematically documented as design taxonomy, to be valued as a transferable model of communication design practice. Organisations, artists and designers, with similar research or practical ambitions, can take away the underpinning principles from this research practice and locate them within their own respective practices.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

The full text of this thesis has been restricted due to copyright constraints. If you would like access, please contact UAL Research Online.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: teaching and learning research
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Research Centres/Networks > Design Against Crime at the Innovation Centre (DAC)
Date: 22 May 2015
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2015 15:20
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2024 09:04
Item ID: 8747
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/8747

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