The Formation of Gender-sensitive Designers

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  • Title: The Formation of Gender-sensitive Designers: Introducing Critical Practices to Challenge Gender Normativity in Visual Communication
  • Author(s): Marta Isabella Reina
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Designed Objects
  • Keywords: Visual Criticism, Social Constructivism, Critical Practice, Gendered Product Language
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2325-1379 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1395 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1379/CGP/v13i01/1-18
  • Citation: Reina, Marta Isabella. 2019. "The Formation of Gender-sensitive Designers: Introducing Critical Practices to Challenge Gender Normativity in Visual Communication." The International Journal of Designed Objects 13 (1): 1-18. doi:10.18848/2325-1379/CGP/v13i01/1-18.
  • Extent: 18 pages

Abstract

The article demonstrates and discusses the use of gender norms in visual communication to underline the responsibility of designers in the process of social construction of gender identities (female/male) in society and, more importantly, their power to rethink, transform, and challenge normativity. The research uses qualitative methods, semiotics, and critical discourse analysis to examine the visual and aesthetic codes used to distinguish feminine products from masculine (targeted for her, for him, or all) in different market areas. The study illustrates the implications of the gender codes identified (such as the chromatic and treatment aspects, figurative and textual elements) and how they operate in the design process, comparing them with the visual codes chosen by design students on a questionnaire on gender languages in design. Hoping to foster the gender sensitivity of designers, the research suggests changes to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in design, starting with self-reflection.