Kate Palermo


The early 1990's marked the beginning of the digital age when a transformation in graphic design technology and practice began to occur. For many graphic designers, the tactile approach to assembling a composition was abandoned as computer software advanced. While this shift in production technique saved time, it contributed (in many cases) to an unfortunate waning of interest in skill and craft. Perhaps as a reaction to this technologically- reliant era of design, many contemporary artists have returned to traditional processes (letterpress, etching, hand-rendered illustration, hand-written type) in order to reconnect with viewers and with their own work. This `Handmade' era of design of the past decade or so has endeavored to accomplish something that other movements have as well; that is, to use their design as a tool for good. This thesis has focused upon the notion--shared by the Arts and Crafts, Modernist, and Handmade movements-- that design can (and should) be used as a democratic tool for social, cultural, and environmental reform; and that designers can enact positive change in the lives of users by creating thoughtful, quality products.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Design--Moral and ethical aspects; Design--Philosophy; Arts and crafts movement; Modernism (Aesthetics); Handicraft--21st century

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


Meader, Bruce

Advisor/Committee Member

Byrne, Peter


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: NK1505 .P35 2011


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