The Politics of Design

Ruben Pater

Graphic | Publication | International

A (not so) global manual for visual communication

The assumption that visual communication can be objective or universal is strongly associated with the modernist design principles within Western design programs. But the Black Pete (Dutch: Zwarte Piet) debate and the global outcry about the Mohammed cartoons show that the subject is much more complicated and that images in different cultures are interpreted in very different ways. Every consumer reacts from his/her own culture, and every graphic designer designs from a specific starting point, whether he/she is aware of it or not. Each font that is selected, each photo that is published, each color and each symbol carries hidden political or cultural connotations with it. At a time when images via social media directly travel the world, it is important that makers are aware of the significance of their work. This book aims to help designers, visual artists, and communication staff by putting things in perspective, identifying blind spots, and asking difficult questions.

Text and design: Ruben Pater
Publisher: BIS publishers Amsterdam

ADCN Awards 2017 – Bronze Design Award

ADCN is the club and platform for creativity in advertising and design in the Netherlands. More information:

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