Design Practice as Palimpsest

Hillier, Robert (2016) Design Practice as Palimpsest. The International Journal of Visual Design, 10 (3). pp. 1-18. ISSN 2325-159X; 2325-1581


Drawing on my personal design practice developed and created over the timeframe of a decade, this paper investigates the creative process, visual methodologies, intrinsic unpredictability, and ambiguity associated with ideas of visual change, altered states, and particularly processes of progressive effacement documented during that period. In doing so, the paper views the potential of developing design practice through the notion of palimpsest, both literally and metaphorically. Palimpsestic design can include either the application of new and alternative renderings over existing documents (the literal) or evidence aspects of change produced over a period of time (the metaphorical). Consequently, existing ideas and situations form a foundation and act as the physical ground for new ideas through design iterations that have been reused, altered, and represented in order to suggest alternative meanings and readings. This idea of design as palimpsest is evidenced through practice-based work that includes my artist book "Any Other Business," "Drawing in the Margins and Beyond," the List Landscapes series of photographic and typographic prints, the Driftworks photographic print series, and a selection of preparatory photographs that inform these design outcomes.

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