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Professor David Crow

David Crow studied Communication Design at Manchester Polytechnic. He worked as a Graphic Designer in London at the design group Assorted Images and as an Art director at Island Records before running his own freelance consultancy. As a freelance designer he worked for a range of clients in the cultural sector including Rolling Stones Records, Sony, Virgin Records, Phonogram and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He then moved to an academic career and taught graphic design at Salford University, Liverpool John Moores and is currently Head of the School of design at Manchester Metropolitan University.

He has exhibited in the USA, Korea and Israel, as well as Europe, and has published two books on Visual Culture. His first book, Visible Signs, published in 2003 by AVA, is an introduction to semiotics aimed primarily at students and his latest book, Left to Right is an overview of the cultural shift from Words to Images. His work is also featured in the recent publications ‘The Typographic Experiment’ by Teal Triggs and ‘No More Rules – Graphic Design and Postmodernism’ by Rick Poynor.


For discussion


This session will begin with a brief introduction to the idea that we are witnessing a cultural shift toward the image from the written word, a shift that is enabled by the rapid change in the technologies associated with communication. Alongside this cultural shift we have also witnessed a period of intense self-examination in communication design. The arrival of new digital tools forced a re-evaluation of communication design which appeared to place less emphasis on craft and more emphasis on underpinning ideas and theories. In the absence of a discourse of its own, design education drew on the study of language and reinterpreted existing theory for design students. Having borrowed from the study of language, it is commonplace to find references in educational documents to the need for visual literacy. The starting point for this session will be to interrogate what we mean by ‘literacy’ in an age where our means of cultural expression is moving increasingly from words to pictures.

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