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Institut Visuelle Kommunikation

Precarious Graphic Design

Precarious Graphic Design

Alessandra Puricelli, what’s the topic of your final thesis?
In times of economic uncertainty, we witness an increase in fictional design projects. The designer becomes both the commissioner and the executor of these self-initiated projects, which are later shared on social media or online portfolios. Fictional projects are turning into a designer’s investment to appeal to new clients, as everyone has become self-employed, and freelancing eventually is as the only option for young creatives.

The rise of gig economy platforms exploits freelancers by offering them customers, with the downside of becoming employed by the platform without guarantees. The fictional projects and the gig economy platforms are a representation of this precarious time in which free time is commodified into work or invested into the projects. The goal of this research project is to underline the main dynamics and mechanisms of the connection between precarity and graphic design to build ground for further analysis. A critical design approach is applied to theoretical research to create the Random Poster Generator. In a context where there is a necessity to create fictional projects, the Random Poster Generator becomes a tool that allows one to develop projects and continuously be active online. By working on crucial concepts such as identity, time, and money, the Random Poster Generator provides a simple structure to follow to design posters. Through this dystopic situation, where creative work is automated but production is still human, the Random Poster Generator helps to reflect on the current working conditions in the field of graphic design.

How can you and your work contribute to the future of our society in terms of the current environmental, political, and/or economic challenges we face today? How do you judge your scope of action in this respect?
This research project does not have the aim of finding a solution to the complex, precarious problem. The aim, instead, is to expose the problem, even more, to open up the dialogue with a broader audience. The scope of the thesis is to underline rather than cover-up the problematic topic of precariousness in graphic design. For sure, discussing these topics in more depth is a first step in trying to overcome them.

Where do you think your professional journey will take you after completing your studies?
I am a graphic designer, and I would like to follow this path. At the same time, I would like to integrate more research and team-based projects in my professional life.

Alessandra Puricelli on Instagram