Empowering Knowledge of Cultural Design Authenticity and Inclusion Through Basic Design Pedagogy




Paz, Analee G.

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Visual Communication Design (VCD) is a reciprocal interchange between audience, information, designer, client, and creativity. Traditionally, VCD education focuses primarily on technical mastery over various media, therefore minimal time is spent on in-depth learning of contextual and cultural understandings of design. In support of the evolving role of VCD today and the unprecedented connection of a multicultural design community, it is important to recognize the intersection between intrinsic cultural design elements and formal fundamental design studies. This thesis proposes to highlight cultural identity awareness by empowering knowledge of design authenticity and originality through basic design pedagogy. To do so, this proposal describes the conceptual development of printed interactive tools that support interdisciplinary learning methodologies of the formal elements of art and principles of design via unique international indigenous design. The final piece will serve as a template for a collection of books that will each cite particular visual values of individual cultures. This thesis serves as a foundational specimen for investigating content of recognized details from Wixáritari or Huichol (Mexico), Sami (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia), and Ainu (Japan) indigenous artisan designs. The initial concept for the tools was developed from observations of current VCD education, cultural identity and design inclusion, as well as established teaching theories that guide current pedagogical methods. The objective of the work is to encourage supplementary understanding of cultural identity within formal VCD education. Understanding the proper use of any craft involves an all-around understanding of context of the user and audience by the communicator. The analysis and reflections considered through this thesis lead to the issue not solely of VCD, but of how to learn and teach VCD. Students and instructors need learning tools that engage them in multicultural conversations within design. By providing tools that organize important relevant theories and recognizing this content, the VCD discipline can have conscientious sources of information to begin with and build upon. Furthermore, creating more well-rounded and knowledgeable interdisciplinary interests and empathy. This study acknowledges that design education and research should be progressively geared towards addressing multicultural audiences with critical solutions that consider both the audience’s and their own cultural orientation.



Graphic design, Design, Art, Education, Visual communication, Pedagogy, Multicultural, Identity, Inclusion, Authenticity, Interdisciplinary education, Indigenous, Craft, Folk art, Cultural orientation


Paz, A. G. (2017). <i>Empowering knowledge of cultural design authenticity and inclusion through basic design pedagogy</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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