Graphic Design Project Week 2023: Tools to dismantle the Master's House?

22 maart 2023

Graphic Design workshop week reflecting on the conscious Graphic Designer’s toolkit

It is with Lord’s* thoughts in mind, that we entered the project week symposium, discussions and workshops. Graphic Design students at KABK are exposed to many forms of skill-based learning both digital and analogue including coding, filmmaking, type design and many more. Students practice skills within assignments that bring forward questions about society, about opinions and aims to create a strong message to communicate, using tools, to selected viewers.

The Project week allowed a moment to critically look at the software, hardware, resources, materials and industries that make all of our graphic design work possible. What is the carbon footprint of our profession? and how can we find alternatives to unsustainable dependencies?

Photo: Roel Backaert

The project week started with a symposium with 3 inspiring speakers:

Ruben Pater, reminded us of the important of relooking at the conventions and histories of economy and design around us. How to recognise the traces of partiarchy and colonial influence and respond to that. Ruben also showed some interesting activitic exmaples, operating outside of conventional media and capitalistic thinking.

Martijn de Heer, provided us with useful alternatives to silicone valley platforms currently dominating our communications and workflow. Also we were made aware of the role that designers can play in shaping privacy policy, as Martijn has learnt from his work at Bits of Freedom.

Na Kim, Na Kim is a graphic designer based in Seoul and Berlin. She generously shared her personal world of visual symbols and play and methods of working which she has used to activate cultural spaces around the world.

After Symposium Monday we followed up with a variety of workshops. External guests, specialized in selected fields, are matched with our talented tutors to zoom in on specific areas of practice. Students could select their workshop of choice.

Invited guests: Rob Bothof, creative coder, and Saber Javanmard a multidisciplinary typographic artist & graphic designer. KABK tutors: Pascal de Man (Coding tutor year 2)

In this workshop we develop and design an experimental visual or performative language, through drawing. Words, ideas and concepts are translated using a combination of different methods such as analog drawing, coding, plotting (using drawing machine), the choice of materials and sound. The collective use of this unique language will result in a visual celebration of a shared narrative, culminating in, for example a collective mural or an installation.

Invited guest: Sanne Beeren, bookbinding and letterpress

KABK tutors: Phil Baber (Typography 3) Johanna Ehde and Elisabeth Rafstedt (Typography 2)

Sanne Beeren has many years of experience working in the letterpress studio at KABK and is a bookbinding expert. In combination with the design, editorial, and typographic skills of Phil Baber and Rietlanden Women’s Office, students will work on reading, editing, typesetting, and printing as an homage to the formats and typography of historical feminist manifestos, pamphlets, and posters.

I know that typesetters
grow more capillaries
in our fingertips
from all that use.

here’s a test: cut my fingers and see if I bleed more.
– Karen Brodine, Woman Sitting at the Machine, Thinking (1977)

Invited guest: Daniël Maarleveld, designer
KABK tutors
: Jakob Schlötter (IMD 1)

Daniël Maarleveld is an all-round talented designer of bold kinetic type forms with a sense of humour! This workshop together with Jakob Schlötter explores the possibilities of animated typography in three-dimensional space within the academy using projection mapping. You will get a quick introduction to a procedural approach to animating typography and then discover how to map onto the architectural landscapes of the academy. Learn to incorporate architecture into your design and bring type alive through animated projections. Transform spaces into different architectural experiences through your typographical Intervention!

Invited guest: Lupi Asensio, designer and Na Kim, graphic designer
KABK tutor
: Marina Chaccur (Letter Studio)

After her inspiring speech on Monday Na Kim was part of the start of this exciting workshop.

Usually, the job of a graphic designer is to translate from concept to form. In this workshop you will work in reverse: you will experiment freely and think with your hands. You will create freely with collages, paintings, illustrations, lettering, etc. At the end we will select spreads and curate them for visual storytelling. You will produce a 48-page monochromatic publication in A5 (copy machine, Riso machine) bound with staples or thread.

Invited guest: Jaring Dürst Britt, art historian and gallery owner
KABK tutors
: Bart de Baets (Graphic Design 1) and Pjotr de Jong (Design Practice)

Introducing you to the work and everyday reality of the art gallery owner. We visited the gallery space and heard perspectives from independent designer Bart de Baets (Graphic Design) and former design agency owner, Pjotr de Jong (Design Practice). Inspired by discussion between all stakeholders, students are asked to curate and build their own shoe box sized gallery space, complete with group or solo show, pricelist, press release and opening. Immerse in the field and business of autonomous art practice!

Invited guest: Harmen Liemburg, designer, screenprinter
KABK tutors
: Richard Niessen (Graphic Design 3)

Leave behind the comfort of your smartphones and laptops, and the echo chambers of big data, and lets explore the real world for a few hours. Starting with the direct surroundings of KABK we will harvest our own images, papercuts, drawings, paintings, collages before using the computer to prepare graphics that can be used to expose onto screenprinting screens. We aim to blend individual findings and create unexpected results by directed chance. Working in teams, you will discover the tactile possibilities that screenprinting has to offer: mixing positive and negative layers and overlapping transparent and opaque inks. It’s about collaboration, improvisation, responding to what happens while we’re working and recognising serendipitous qualities. Special preparation: participants will receive instructions on what to bring one week in advance.

Invited Guest: Hackers and Designers, James Graves
KABK tutors
: Kees van Drongelen (IST Hacklab)

Let’s explore persona(s) and characters in social media, IoT (hardware/things) and the internet. As we watch Meta (Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp) expand into the Metaverse, or Twitter selling verified checkmarks, let’s reflect on Facebook’s early tenet: “real world names only”. This means that your offline/online selves are bound together, which is oppositional to gamer, web3 (crypto), and early cyber/internet culture. The internet has traditionally been a safe space to explore different selves, gender identity, or explore subcultures, while simultaneously being a place to also experiment with anti-social jokes/memes, which in some cases has given way to conspiracy theories and real world violence. Which you(s) do you want to be, when and where? Step into metaverse(s) with your ideal character!

*Inspired by the work of Audre Lorde, "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House", (1984) where she speaks about the unrecognized racism which existed within feminist work at the time. She questions if it is possible to create change within existing, dominant paradigms.