2017 Nybro & Kalmar

Sketch Molntapet made by Hans Krondahl

Nordcode together with Designarkivet in Nybro, are hosting the 16th Nordcode seminar 7-9 November 2017. We hereby invite you to participate by submitting work on the role of sketching in design.

Topic: Traces of the Design Process

The purpose of Nordcode is to stimulate scholarly discussion and act as a platform to support growing a design research community by encouraging established as well as emerging researchers in the field. Scholars, doctoral students, practitioners and others from the fields of design studies, design history and culture, media, communication and branding studies, interaction design and related fields, are welcome to take part in the seminar with working papers. The papers may present finished research, work-in-progress or initial ideas, as we believe in the value of discussion and co-development of proposed ideas.

Sketches are material remains of individual and collective design processes. Designarkivet in Nybro, which is a detached department of Kalmar konstmuseum, gathers design sketches, drawings and reference materials from different design fields. The archive contains approximately 120,000 sketches from more than 700 Swedish designers. Some material is donated in connection with retiring or the closure of a design firm; some designers donate materials continuously. It is clear that the designers themselves put value on their material and sees the importance of saving the material for posterity. A large amount of the donated material also have a high artistic quality.

The importance of having sketching skill in the design profession cannot be overlooked, but sketching is not a uniform activity. The sketches may have various shapes and purposes. They differ between individuals, between different design fields, between different production methods and products.

Despite the significance of sketching for the design profession, historically and still, the sketches themselves are in many ways taken for granted. Sketches have not received the attention they deserve, neither in design research nor in other literature about design processes and design methods. An illustrative example is when words related to sketch and sketching are missing from the registry list in methodological books.

The ways of working in design are also rapidly changing in the digital era. Is there a future for traditional sketch work or are sketches obsolete? What comes instead? What will we save for posterity tomorrow?

The topic of the 2017 Nordcode seminar: “Traces of the Design Process” takes its starting point in the role of sketching in the design process, and in the significance of the sketch for designers, today and tomorrow. Here are some proposed topics:

  • Sketches as a way to increase our understanding of creative processes. What purposes can be linked to the sketch and sketching? Who is the sketch for? What is its purpose? What is the role of the sketch when designing?
  • The sketch and its value. What is the significance of the sketch? What should be saved for posterity? How can the material be used in research?
  • The role of sketching. Sketching can be done using pen, paper, digital media, prototyping material, etc.; tools which are used for different purposes. What happens if sketching is removed from the process? How does it impact the result of the act of designing?
  • Physical traces of design processes in products. The effect of different forms of production on the relationship between process and product. What traces of the process are preserved with new ways to produce, such as the 3-D printer?
  • Digital consequences. More and more designers are using computers to do sketch work. The security in traditional physical archives are usually very high, but the issue of security becomes more complicated when design work and processes are saved in a digital format. How can we secure digital content for future research?

Several areas adjacent to the questions above can be included in the seminar topic. In addition to the special topic of the seminar, we also welcome submissions that fall under the various other traditional Nordcode themes within communicative design.

Abstracts for working papers (max 400 words + 5 keywords) should be emailed before March 31st to Nordcode@designarkivet.se

Working papers are expected to have a final length of 2500 words. Although we recommend APA references, the structure and format of paper submissions is free as we encourage discussion across disciplinary borders. In the informal spirit of Nordcode, we emphasise and encourage the following:

  • the focus on working papers rather than finished work (although such work is not excluded)
  • the opportunity to discuss and develop emerging concepts and question established ones
  • the focus on assessing contributions based on potential and providing constructive, forward looking rather than normative advice in reviews, in order to create an including and encouraging community.

In order to support the above, innovative formats are encouraged apart from the written text, which allow for creative, critical and constructive discussions to stimulate the development of emergent ideas and researchers.

In case the abstract is accepted the working paper will also be accepted, as long as the working paper is in line with the content of the abstract, properly completed and meets sufficient quality standards. The reviewers can/will comment and advice for alterations.

Accepted final papers will be published on the seminar webpage.

Participation in the seminar is free of charge.

Time line

Abstract deadline: March 31st
Accept/rejection message: April 30th
Working paper deadline: August 30th
Final acceptance/comments: September 15th
Deadline for the finished paper: October 15th

Seminar: November 7-9th 2017