Chapter One

Chapter One

Research Statement

 

Introduction

Through this study, I explore the possibilities and results of unconventional uses of printing systems, and the compatibility of a design to these experimental methods. This is a response to the influence of printing methods on design practice throughout communication design history, exploring how this is occurring in our current era, how designers are attempting to carry on this trend of innovation, and how this may lead us into the future of print in communication design.

To do so, this research takes on an action based and reflective practice approach. Through attempting various experimental and unconventional methods of using commonly available printing equipment, I document and reflect upon each result, finding relevant and effective commercial applications of these methods.

This area of research and topic was chosen as it is within my area of interest in future design practice. I believe that production choices for print design should not be entirely constrained by the current perceived limitations of printing technology and methods, but as designers, it is part of what we do to explore new methods, and innovate in how we communicate using print.

This research is an extension of a design documentary project during my undergraduate final year titled Long Live Print — through which I explored the history of printing, developments of print technology and how designers of respective eras took advantage of them, using them to their fullest potential in their own practice.


Rationale

The aim of this research and project is to bring a comprehensive view of current and experimental possibilities of printing methods, giving practitioners an insight into the way we think of printing in the area of print design.

While there is nonetheless a plethora of very beautifully produced print designs, there seems to be a lack of the documenting or research of newer and more experimental ways of using printing methods, as in most cases, designers would opt for safer, tried and tested, more practical methods — as we need to be absolutely sure that things would work for a certain project, especially commercial projects with deadlines. There is no room for error and multiple reprints due to financial and time restraints.

With this research, being unrestricted by clients, briefs or the need for practicality as compared to commissioned work, experiments with various combinations of print methods and paper options will be possible, with the aim of finding new ways that work which may be one day implemented on projects of a larger scale, having made sure that these methods are achievable.

The significance of this research would be to bring a new perspective of printing processes to those in the design industry. This would hopefully promote innovative thinking when it comes to using printing methods and systems, and prompt designers to think or rethink about how we consider choices of printing methods in our practice.


Research Questions

This study is based on the notion that even while there are practical and technical limitations of printing equipment, inks, and materials, this process is open to manipulation and experimentation. During the course of this research, I discovered other practitioners who have carried out a similar approach to printing in their practice, whether on larger commercial printers or just as an inquiry but not so much reapplied into a commercial context.

Instead of passing off the conventional usage of printers and the resulting products as 'lacking innovation', this new perspective in considering how we approach using printers provides potential benefit to practicing print designers. These results may inspire other experiments, be applied to commercial purposes, thus, may also extend the range of outcomes that emerge during the design process. It is taken into consideration not only the impact on how designers communicate but how audiences receive and interact with the message through its printed form. This new awareness led to the development of three core research questions:

  1. Can mechanical limitations of current printing methods be surpassed?
  2. Can experimental printing methods be reproduced accurately to communicate effectively?
  3. How can designers and printers innovate in the usage of printing systems?

These questions serve the purpose of guiding me throughout the course of this research and acting as reference points to the core objective of this research.

 

Feature 1

The following is placeholder text known as “lorem ipsum,” which is scrambled Latin used by designers to mimic real copy. Nulla eu pretium massa. Nullam sit amet nisi condimentum erat iaculis auctor. Sed a ligula quis sapien lacinia egestas. Donec eget risus diam.

Feature 2

The following is placeholder text known as “lorem ipsum,” which is scrambled Latin used by designers to mimic real copy. Aenean eu justo sed elit dignissim aliquam. Sed a ligula quis sapien lacinia egestas. Maecenas non leo laoreet, condimentum lorem nec, vulputate massa. Mauris id fermentum nulla.

Feature 3

The following is placeholder text known as “lorem ipsum,” which is scrambled Latin used by designers to mimic real copy. In sit amet felis malesuada, feugiat purus eget, varius mi. Quisque congue porttitor ullamcorper. In sit amet felis malesuada, feugiat purus eget, varius mi. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae. Mauris id fermentum nulla.