Con Kennedy Visual Communications

Design Research

Con has undertaken a number of design research activities centering around professionalism within the design sector in Ireland, skills development, the design process and design business development. Research findings include publications, articles and conference papers.

What is Creativity?

It has been long articulated that creativity what designers do. But what exactly is creativity and how can it be explained? More>>

Overview of the Visual Commnication Sector in Ireland

An overview of the current state of the Visual Communication Sector in Ireland in terms of it's make up of practices, limited companies, partnerships, registered business names and sole trader, mapped with their geographic location and other information. More>>

What are the key factors in determining how design practitioners become design entrepreneurs? (Current)

Many Visual Communication design companies are formed by designers and not business people and this suggests that design business owners lack skills around business and entrepreneurship. Design competencies are about creativity and problem solving, where the competencies required for running and managing the business of design require a different set of skills and therefore are distinct from creative skills.

During the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period (circa 1999-2009) the design sector in Ireland as a whole, grew by just 12%. However, during the same period the services sector in Ireland as a whole, grew in excess of 100%. This indicates that the design services sector in Ireland is seriously underperforming in comparison to other businesses in the services sector.

With these issues in mind I seek to identify the causes of this apparent lack of growth of design businesses and investigate the levels of entrepreneurial skills within the Visual Communications sector in Ireland. What are the levels of business acumen in the sector and how do design studios function as a businesses?

Skill deficits in the Visual Communications Sector (2011)

This research defines what is meant by the term Visual Communications design and identifies the skills and competencies required of a practicing designer. It also identifies the skill deficits in the sector and concludes that a greater partnership between industry, education and professional bodies is required to develop the skills in the sector.

This research was presented at the iJADE design education conference in October 2011 organised by The National Society for Education in Art and Design and hosted by the University of Chester.

Benefits of Continuing Professional Development in the Visual Communications Sector in Ireland (2009)

This research is concerned with identifying the benefits of Continuous Professional Development for the Visual Communications sector in Ireland, with the aim of establishing what benefits exist for both the employee and employer. Research is undertaken to identify CPD programmes that currently exist in other industries in Ireland for the purpose of establishing commonalities and how this may apply to the Visual Communications sector. This is achieved through a combination of literature review, desk research, surveys of employees and employers in the Visual Communications sector and a number of semi-formal interviews with representatives from various industry sectors with established CPD programmes.

The main points of the literature review include defining the term Visual Communications and elaborating on sectorial breakdown and comparing the Irish sector with international markets. The term Continuing Professional Development is also defined and existing CPD programmes in Ireland are identified and discussed in context of their relevance to the Visual Communications sector. Main issues regarding CPD are outlined, in terms of models of CPD, the benefits for industry and barriers that hinder participation. Government and Education policy on CPD is also investigated.

The main points regarding benefits to participation in CPD are outlined and recommendations are made for encouraging grater participation are made and the need for partnership between industry and education in developing a meaningful CPD programme is discussed.

You can download a full version of this research paper here>>

Why no one benefits from spec work. No-Spec.org (USA) (2010)

The issue of clients requesting Speculative work from designers is becoming more commonplace. The issues regarding Speculative work or "Free Pitching" have been debated for a long time and are now compounded by the economic down turn, meaning that some designers are now more willing to work for free while others have taken the opposite view. This article looks at how this issue effects both the designer and the client and what financial and legal repercussions speculative design work may have for both parties. You can read the full version of this article here>>

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