The Community Press – Graphic Design and Public Communication in Speculative Low-Tech Societies

Skogen Design

What if the future holds a world-shaking catastrophic event – such as climate breakdown, a collapse of economic and political systems, a nuclear war, etc, that will disrupt the development of technology and society as we know it today (in the global north)? What if we face a future with an unstable, strictly limited, or non-existent power supply or internet? What if the development of technology eventually takes a giant backward leap? What would the new normal in daily life and practice be like? A scenario of utopia in dystopia. How would graphic design and public communication function and look like in such a scenario?

This what-if scenario was a starting point and guide through the research I have carried out in the MFA degree project ’The Community Press – Graphic Design and Public Communication in Speculative Low-Tech Societies’. With the project, I have aimed to examine the role of graphic design, public communication and written language in relation to urgent political or environmental challenges. The outcome of the project is the concept of a community press in a speculative scenario where access to electricity and modern technologies has been permanently disabled. To visualize and mediate the scenario I have designed and built an analog printing press and a typeface, all made with simple means and easily accessible materials like solid wood and scrap metal. These primitive graphic tools are used to print typographic posters with text messages addressing common life and communication in speculative low-tech societies. The format of the project was carried out as a hybrid of an exhibition, a speculative scenario with a functioning printshop, a participatory workshop and a live printing performance.

Ola Lindgren