AUTHORS: Arthur L. Asseo García, Mary Anne Hopgood Santaella & María de Mater O’Neill Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Typography and Visual Communication on the theme of “Against Lethe…”, June 6-8, 2013, Department of Design & Multimedia, University of Nicosia, Cyprus. ABSTRACT: This paper studies how Graf, Inc., the first graphic design studio from Puerto Rico, which operated from 1982-2002, attempted to professionalize the graphic design industry of the country. Founded by graphic designer Mary Anne Hopgood, Graf, Inc. implemented a new paradigm in the design practice of Puerto Rico that shifted away from fine art printmaking traditions. The studio’s focus on providing visual communication services to local businesses allowed designers to develop their practice as something other than fine artists or advertising agencies. The authors will discuss the considerations that were taken to adapt a model of industry imported from central contexts like the United States to a peripheral country such as Puerto Rico. Interviews to Hopgood, co-author and subject of study of this paper, will work as primary source of information. As case study of the firm’s work, the author’s will use multiple milestones of a recurring publication design project for the Puerto Rico Tourism Company of the Government of Puerto Rico. The project, which lasted throughout the firm’s twenty year operation and which shaped the country’s national branding plan, will be used to study the strategies implemented by the design firm to thrive as a design business. The catalyst role in the eventual demise of the studio, played by neoliberal policies introduced by the government agencies behind the publication, will be discussed. Graf’s attempt to professionalize the graphic design industry in Puerto Rico will be analyzed in part by assessing the current condition of the industry. The author’s will discuss the lessons learned when facing challenges still present today, like: a shrinking economy and the effect of the dissemination of technology for designers and non-design designers on the industry.
A narrow minded article on the New York Times about the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico. It doesn’t offer the real context of why Puerto Rico is now on this state. Interesting article nontheless.
Photos by my good friend: Dennis Rivera Pichardo
Cool and relevant stuff happening in Puerto Rico.
Good column about how Puerto Rico should strive for a “participatory democracy” in order to push through the economic crisis.