Seminar: The benefits of co-design for graphic design: Experiences from Australia


Invitation to talk and seminar with Simone Taffe from Swinburne University of Technology, Wednesday April 19th, from 11.00 – 12.00 at CODE, KADK building 90, room 90.3.15. This presentation reflects on several co-design projects trialed in graphic design. Welcome.


Although the benefits of including end-users in design is well documented, little research exists on how participation in design influences end-users in a graphic design context. Co-design promotes designing with rather than for end-users. When designing with end-users, designers suppose that the identity and role of designers and end-users remains discrete and stable, however findings from my research challenges this assumption. This presentation presents graphic design case studies where participants co-designed sustainable cleaning and asthma information. I argue that end-user participation in graphic design is complex, revealing paradoxes for designers engaging with end-users. In these studies the client perceived end-users reacted negatively to co-designing outcomes targeted for themselves; they joined with the designers forming a hybrid designer/end-user, together proposing outcomes for alternative imagined end-users.

Simone Taffe bio

Simone Taffe is an associate professor in communication design and lectures in inclusive and participatory design and identity design at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne Australia. For over fifteen years, Simone worked as a graphic designer and design manager. This included seven years as design manager for the City of Melbourne and work on branding projects for Flett Henderson Arnold (now Futurebrand), including Simone Taffe photothe Sydney Olympics, BHP Biliton, the ANZ bank and the Victorian Government. Simone has a PhD (2012) from Swinburne University of Technology, addressing participatory design and the graphic design process. Publications include Taffe, 2015, The hybrid designer/end-user: Revealing Paradoxes in Codesign.” Design Studies and Taffe, and Barnes 2010, ‘Outcomes We Didn’t Expect: Participants’ shifting investment in graphic design’, Proceedings of the PDC’10. Simone has several teaching awards including a national citation for outstanding contribution to student learning, OLT 2014 and the Swinburne Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award (Higher Education), 2013 These awards were for ‘Inspiring design students to apply their learning by engaging with industry through an innovative immersion of real-world contexts in the classroom.’

About Eva Brandt

Eva Brandt is Professor in Social Design at Design School Kolding since May 2019. Eva is scientific leader of the Lab for Social Design. The main part of her research is about how designers can stage open design processes (design labs based on participatory design/codesign) with many participants who both can inquire into existing practices and explore possible futures in common. She also contributes to theorizing about experimental design research driven by programs and experiments. She has been contributing to several books such as Design Spaces (IT Press, 2005), Rehearsing the Future (The Danish Design School Press, 2010), XLAB (The Danish Design School Press, 2011), Facilitating Change – Using Interactive Methods in Organizations, Communities and Networks (Polyteknisk Forlag, 2011), and Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (Routledge, 2013). Practice Based Design Reseach (2017). Ledelse og samskabelse i den offentlige sektor (2018). Eva has been chairing the Nordic Design Research Conference in 2013, and are chairing the Nordes 2021 too.
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