Jacqueline Naismith




Massey University, New Zealand


Paper title

The essence of food; representing the core values of local New Zealand food through letterpress processes - presented with Annette O'Sullivan


Food, as it has been widely argued, is at the centre of many formative social and cultural structures, and is an important vehicle through which past traditions are reinscribed in the present. This paper presents a graphic design pedagogy that draws social history and design practice together and, at the same time, places letterpress printing at the centre of a design development process. The cultivation, harvesting and culinary practices of New Zealand food histories were the focus of investigation in this project. Letterpress was used as the vehicle through which the core values of these practices and products were extracted and represented.
This pedagogical approach, implemented at BDes (Hons) level asserts that the personal and cultural significance of contextual research enhances the learning and teaching of design practices. The subject of food enabled all students to draw on their own related experiences and memories.

We present a process-based pedagogy that advances the textual and visual semiotic value of the medium as process. This is a move away from letterpress practice that emphasises a finished product. The value of the letterpress process, we argue, is the conceptual refinement demanded by its compositional constraints. This pedagogy engages a productive interplay between compositional and textual meaning enabling the succinct expression of, socially nuanced concepts.


Thursday 29 September


11:00am - 12.30pm






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