Thesis by Sara Risvåg

Norway, 2014

Why is there an apparent lack of graphic design criticism in Norwegian media?
Encouraged by the belief that writing can be an important tool for understanding the graphic design discipline, I attempt to understand why there is almost no public debate on the subject in Norway. Active participation in criticism, not only from the inside but also from the outside of the profession, can lead to significant development in the field.

This thesis is based on research from international graphic design history, theory and criticism, which is used to create a background for understanding the situation in Norwegian media. Interviews with Norwegian graphic design historians, journalists, architect critics, graphic design organisations will be used to set the international references into the context of graphic design criticism in Norway.

The underlying goal of the thesis is to understand more about why there is so little coverage of graphic design in general, and graphic design criticism in Norwegian media. I hope to be able to raise the right questions to find some possible answers. The way in which graphic design criticism is defined often depends on the media or platform in which it is published. This research therefore takes into consideration some of the many potential models criticism can be based on. I acknowledge that there are vast amounts of theories on how graphic design criticism should be written, but in this text I will focus on the ones that I think have potential for use in the Norwegian context.