‘Emerging Practices’ Conference Tongji University


When I first visited Shanghai I returned with a severe food poisoning and got almost stuck on a flooded highway. This time it was a remarkably more comfortable experience. I travelled with a colleague to Tongji University which was the venue for the third Design Research and Education Conference titled ‘Emerging Practices’, attended by circa 100 people.

Keynote lectures from Ken Friedland, Don Norman and Patrick Whitney were transformed into a joint performance. According to Don Norman they did their utmost best in making ‘us feel uncomfortable’. It was a great pleasure seeing them interacting together. New insights? Not that much, that classic product design was going out of the window. . .we knew. Continue reading

Pictogram workshop at Tsinghua, Beijing

Me and Zhao Jian

Me and Zhao Jian

Early in 2014, Zhao Jian, head of the Department of Visual Communication Design at Tsinghua University, Beijing, invited me to give a workshop about pictogram design for two weeks. Convenient timing, since the Chinese translation of my book about Dutch visual identity was about to be published too. Continue reading

Watch during dinner : Philippe Starck judging students

Starck and one of the English students in ‘Design for Life’

Starck and one of the English students in ‘Design for Life’

I thienk you aaare a lietel lazy, Philippe Starck says to a British design student, priceless! How could I have missed the ‘Design for Life’ series, broadcasted by the BBC in 2009? Watching this I cannot not imagine that Starck designs his accent! Starck: ‘Wee aar notte artiestes, we must be proude to jeust make sjairs’. Continue reading

Design history research guide: interviews & archives > tools

Sometimes design history students miss out on using primary sources, sticking  with known literature. One reason for this is that not all lecturers have the time to discuss practical issues in using primary sources. This is a barrier to effectively carrying out such research and finishing it on time. To aid students I made a Design history research guide: interviews & archives > tools.

It is a small concise guide–a folded A3 format–that is based upon my own experience in researching design and company history, as well as researching current communication practices. Also it is heavily influenced by my interest in recording and reproducing original source material with an eye for future reuse. It is by no means a finished paper, hence the monicker ‘v1.0’. It is my intention to make more elaborate version in the future. How do you think such a guide should look like?

Students at St. Joost receive last minute help in writing their thesis

To complete their study graphic design, master students at art academy St. Joost (Breda, The Netherlands) write a thesis. During the course year 2009-2010, the guidance for this part of their study had not been optimal. St. Joost decided on a last ‘push’ and hired Bakker. Thanks to his intensive guidance most of the students were able to finish their thesis in just three weeks.

Pictopolitics – Icograda and the development of pictograms 1960-1975

On 27th October Bakker lectures for the Information Design Association (London) on Icograda and the development of pictograms. Usually the development of pictogram systems in the nineteen sixties is associated with the designers of the Olympics and World Exhibitions pictograms. The contribution of other individuals and organisations like for example the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda) has hardly been explored. Continue reading

Graphic design history-course at the University of Amsterdam

In 2006 the Association of Dutch Designers (BNO) and the University of Amsterdam (UVA) established a chair for ‘Modern Typography and Graphic Design’. This chair is taken by prof. dr. Esther Cleven, and will–unfortunately–be abolished in August 2010. Wibo Bakker was asked to develop and teach the last course associated with this chair: ‘Graphic Design and Visual Culture in the 20th Century’.

Pictogrammen (Pictograms), a new reader for the art academy St. Joost

Cover of  the ‘pictograms’ reader


The research group ‘Visual Rhetoric’ at St. Joost (Breda) publishes an extensive series of readers about visual design. Each reader is compiled by a subject matter specialist. Wibo Bakker made the reader about Pictograms. He selected and annotated (in Dutch) five articles that serve as an introduction to this field. St. Joost sells the reader for a small price. Due to copyright regulations it is only available to students of Dutch colleges.

Master course ‘Branding’ at Sint Lucas Visual Arts- a unique combination of theory and practice

Belgium mailbox outside the train station ‘Gent Dampoort’

Belgium Mailbox outside the train station ‘Gent Dampoort’

Master students of graphic design at Sint Lucas (Gent, Belgium) have to finish at least three theoretical courses to obtain a master degree. One of the courses offered in 2009 was the ‘Branding’-course taught by Wibo Bakker. It is a further development of ‘The State of Design’ a course he gave at Sint Lucas in 2008. Continue reading