Culture is the Limit: Pushing the Boundaries of Graphic Design Criticism and Practice


  • Marilyn Crafton Smith


This essay attempts to redirect theoretical approaches to graphic design practice away from an emphasis on the design object and production (defined in terms of aesthetics and popular definitions of communication) towards an alternative cultural studies perspective. Conceptualizations of the design environment as the locus of authority over content, and of graphic design as the sole mechanism through which interpretation occurs, provide limited explanations for graphic design’s role in the circulation and formation of meaning. Through a cultural studies perspective, graphic design is a dynamic component of a larger discursive field where meanings are negotiated through cultural forms.