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Title: The logic of corporate communication design
Author: Preston, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 3175
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2018
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The development of programmatic corporate communications in Britain is attributable to a cluster of post-war designers who used graphics to furnish groups of artefacts with a 'family likeness'. As their commissions progressed from the odd artefact to the allembracing corporate policy, they formed groups to pool their talents and increase their capacity for work. The dynamics of practice subsequently shifted in ways we are yet to fully comprehend, for those who have addressed the subject have focused on the proliferation of the 1980s at the expense of earlier 'pioneers'. Moving emphasis away from what was designed, to how it was designed, this research answers the question, how did emergent programmatic approaches to design impact dominant patterns of practice? Although the project is rooted in design history, the outlook is unorthodox in seeking to develop a reciprocity between past and present concerns, thus alluding to the futural significance of history. The research approach was practice theoretical. The research strategy addressed how post-war design consultancies responded to developments in the corporate domain. From a pilot study, three representative design groups were selected for further investigation by means of original archival research and semi-structured interview. In each case the way of practising corporate image-making was examined from the perspective of particular technical entities mobilised within that practice - these entities included files, diagrams, reports and manuals. Most designers continued to depend on advertising commissions throughout the 1950s, but by explicating the logic of their practice some were able to claim legitimacy for their work and seek jurisdiction over the field. Though many designers resisted codification, others embraced scientific rationality head on, materialising the logic of design in mundane technical entities and ruling relations over their clients, employees and collaborators. Graphic design subsequently became a tenable profession, but as it gained in credibility, practitioners from other domains (e.g. design management and entrepreneurship) sought to compete for jurisdiction. This thesis argues that post-war designers played fundamental roles in establishing graphic design consultancy as a recognisable profession and core element of the marketing mix. The technocratic patterns of practice they set in place paved the way for branding to proliferate in the 1980s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Graphic Design