"Comic Sans might get you killed"– how values are created and used in the evaluation of graphic quality

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för teknik och naturvetenskapTekniska högskolan; Linköpings universitet/Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för teknik och naturvetenskapTekniska högskolan

Author: Lisa Bengtsson; Karin Hägglund; [2011]

Keywords: ;


This is a bachelor thesis on how a group of Graphic Design and Communications (GDK) students at Linköping University evaluates aesthetic graphic quality. The aim of the thesis is to study how the students express themselves, what values the evaluation is based upon and the origin of these values. The purpose is also to look into the significance of possible mutual values, from a sociologic perspective. This essay is based upon sociological theories concerning group socialization and good taste. Further, theory on the subject of aesthetics is presented, and how the terms of good and bad taste have been used in art and design. The data, which make up the result, is mainly from two focus groups, but also from a participant observation and the follow-up questions which were sent out to the participants of the focus groups. The result shows that the participants often primarly judge the aestethic quality on whether the typography, colours and images of the material sends out a clear message. The aesthetic impression is therefor affected by function. Though, this is not the case when the participants leave their role as a designer. With a position taken outside the education, they can justify their aestethic opinion differently. The result also shows that a clean idiom with its roots in the functionalistic aesthetic is a norm, and that this partly descend from an influental guest lecturer. The participants also have the opinion that they, as designers, is expected to appreciate a certain aesthetic but also to know what is ”ugly”. They mean that these are common opinions among designers generally and not only within GDK. The students sometimes consider these opinions on aesthetics as an obstacle when it comes to develop their own manner, but at the same time they believe it is good for the unity of the group. To be able to motivate an aesthetic position with arguments based on function is also important in the contact of clients, which indicates that the dominance of the functionalistic aesthetic has to do with the economic aspect of graphic design.

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