Creativity and a Social Graphic Design Project in the Rego Neighbourhood in Lisbon
Social awareness in contemporary graphic design should involve new approaches in university education curricula. This paper analyses the process and results of a graphic design project called “Festival da Ponte” (“Bridge Festival”), an annual event to disseminate the social intervention programme “O Nosso Km2” (“Our Km2”). The “O Nosso Km2” project was designed to encourage active citizenship, improving the residents’ well-being, and to promote local companies and organisations and find solutions for identified problems. It started as a Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation initiative. It is a programme that deals with the intercultural and intergenerational conflicts and social problems in the area surrounding the Foundation’s headquarters. The festival organizers presented the project to our communication design master’s students and explained its origins and objectives, as well the collaboration that was expected from them. The students were also encouraged by the teacher to work on the project intensely, and they became very interested in getting to know the social context through dialogue and relationships with the people involved. Several initiatives were then developed, organizing creative activities with the residents. This project was a pedagogical contribution for the students, and potentially key for some specific fields. Firstly, it further developed essential ethical and social awareness in graphic design. But it also further developed critical faculties, attention to the specific contexts, and improved communication abilities based on the limits inherent to graphic designers’ work: budgets, the client’s expectations, the audience’s characteristics and deadlines.
KeywordsSocial design Communication design Festival da Ponte
The author is grateful for the support given by CIAUD – Research Centre in Architecture, Urbanism and Design, FA-ULisbon, Portugal and FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology (Portugal). She would also like to thank the students on the Master’s in Communication Design, FA-ULisbon, class of 2014-15.
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