London College of Communication recently hosted a group of students from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia for a word- and image-based design workshop.

The students collaborated with MA Graphic Design Lead Tutor Vanessa Price to generate material in response to the immediate vicinity of the Elephant and Castle.

We asked Vanessa to tell us more about this workshop and the research project from which it developed.

Through the cityscape of the Elephant and the texts and narratives of its everyday life, the RMIT workshop re-imagined how graphic design could enable us to become more ‘writerly readers’ of our visual culture.

The collaboration and knowledge-sharing with RMIT is ongoing as students continue to develop the project back in Melbourne.

‘Writerly Readers’ is the ongoing research project I lead at LCC. The research has arisen from an archive of the practice-based Writerly Readers workshop undertaken by postgraduate students within the School of Design.

Since 2011, the visual case study for this word and image workshop has been the immediate area around LCC: the Elephant and Castle.

The workshop asks participants to consider how we create and receive visual messages and argues for a model of design through which we can question the provenance of visual texts and the role of graphic design within the wider framework of visual communication.

As graphic design becomes increasingly synonymous with a contemporary visual discourse dominated by commercial advertising culture, a case emerges to develop a more collaborative process that could question the role of graphic design within the visual spectacle.

In considering relationships between authoring and receiving visual messages, the project argues for a model of design that invites the viewer to become more writerly readers of visual meaning.

group at wall

Photography © Vladimir Molico

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