Identity Politics within Design Literacy

Essay by ZiadeUniversity, Master's February 2007

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An informed understanding of identity within design is virtually a prerequisite of design literacy. Without the knowledge of such key design issues within design, how could designers possibly hope to create an artefact of social, cultural or even personal significance? Therefore to effectively operate as a designer one must come to an understanding of key design issues such as identity. Who you are, your origins, your environment - these are all facets of identity, which direct and influence designers in the process and creation of any artefact.

Specifically for the purposes of this essay, the subject of identity will concentrate on identity politics within visual consumer culture. Throughout the course of design, many have been influenced by the gender politics present within the industry. Graphic designer Teal Triggs is of the belief that patriarchy has assigned women their status, their roles and even their value within the design industry. In her commentary on graphic design she wrote: "A critique of women in graphic design becomes a critique of graphic design itself.

Any historical narrative of graphic design must include an understanding of how women have been positioned within the institutional or patriarchal framework of design". Indeed Triggs is in concurrence that literacy in design demands an informed understanding of identity politics. Yet these design issues have not only been the subject of feminist journals and publications, identity politics have also influenced design itself. Consequent of the questioning of identity within design, design has come to produce products reflecting this issue within our visual consumer culture. Identity politics have not simply remained the subject of intellectual or philosophical discussion within the industry, but are also being evidenced in design artefact. A collective voice has now gathered among feminists and is speaking out against these injustices. Groups and organizations have begun to...