The Betterness of Braamfontein

Conference: 

Discipline: 

Graphic Design & Visual Art

Keywords: 

  • experiential training, visual communication, good citizenship

In this paper, we argue that the current environmental information system of Braamfontein is problematic as it is ethically unconsidered and overwhelmingly bias towards the interests of commercial  stakeholders  -  over  those  of  the  residents,  workers,  students  and  visitors.  While  a business is justified to act in a conceited manner, we believe that information provided to the public in a public space needs to be more utilitarian, servicing the needs of the majority over those of the few.

A brief review of current literature pertaining to the thematic concerns of the paper is discussed. These themes include: Experiential Graphic Design (XGD) - as a field of practice; the role of meaning and sense making; the commoditisation of public space; and lastly Umair Haque’s economic theory of 'Betterness'.

This theoretical review is followed by an analytical framing of Braamfontein as a problem ecology, primarily relating to XGD. The analysis applies the Firma Model, a meta-framework for design research, strategy and critique to holistically frame the problem, and thus identify concerns with the current information environment. Findings are discussed in relation to key concerns raised in the literature. The paper concludes by outlining key concerns evident in the current state of Braamfontein information environment and describes potential approaches for any future design interventions.

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