L a r a H a d d a d i n
Future Communications
Investigating Nonlinear Methods of Digital Communication
Digital media is used to communicate and maintain relationships both on a personal and professional level. The current structures for text-based digital communication are limiting. Standard communication structures used for messaging applications such as WhatsApp or iMessage are linear, consequently forcing the correspondence to occur in a linear manner. A proposal for nonlinear structures for text based messaging systems is made. I argue that messaging ​interfaces affect linguistic abilities and removing linear structures ​may promote creative thinking and allow for communication to occur on different levels.
With the technological advancements made in the past hundred years, communication over great distances has improved exponentially. Being separated by time and distance no longer means that the contact between two people ends. While face-to-face communication is socially and developmentally still crucial, mediated communication has allowed for people to stay in touch when physically unable to do so. Digital media are used to communicate and maintain relationships both on a personal and professional level. Despite all the benefits of digital communication, there are still areas left to be explored. With the coronavirus outbreak of 2019 and the consequent global lockdowns, the use of digital devices for daily communication was unavoidable. This provides an insight into how society may be shaped in a future in which social distancing will be routine. Currently the structures for text-based digital communication are based on a linear format which is limiting the possibilities of how we can communicate. Standard messaging applications such as WhatsApp or iMessage passively force correspondences to occur in a linear manner. However, humans do not necessarily think or speak linearly, often jumping from one thought to the next. This thesis explores the possibilities of how digital communication can evolve and expand. ​The aim is to explore the experimental methods of digital communication, by hypothesizing how our methods of communication could be advanced or shaped in the future. ​By exploring the ways in which we communicate and identifying what tools we rely on to express ourselves, different methods of communication can be developed. Nonlinear image-based communication may promote creative thinking and allow for communication to occur on a subconscious level. ​In the process secondary questions arise regarding, how the media that we have used in the past and use today shaped and continue to shape our communication, and ultimately what traces of the media that we used to communicate we leave.

B i o g r a p h y
Lara Haddadin is an artist from the U.S. with a background in illustration and photography. In 2018, she moved to Basel, Switzerland, to pursue a Master’s degree in Visual Communication. Previously, she graduated with a BA in Art from ​The Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine. Her field of interest is the intersection between new media and print and how to use these tools for visual communication.

E v e l i n a H a l l é n
How Will We Be Remembered?
Social Media Images as Future Remnants
In a world where images can be published and accessed through transnational communities, we face a unique opportunity to collectively curate our history. However, most of our social media images are saved to databases where they risk getting lost in the masses and be mistaken for digital debris. From that point of view, this project investigates the possibilities of graphic design to navigate, manage, and preserve images from collective databases.
In 2020 alone it is predicted that 1.4 trillion photos will be taken, adding up to a total number of 7.4 trillion photos collected and stored globally.1 A large number of these will be shared and published on social media platforms such as the image-based communication tool Instagram, whose users uploaded 46,000 images per minute in 2018.2 While technological advancements have enabled this, social media justifies it by housing the images and giving purpose to a “like” economy continuing to develop towards infinite scrolling and continuous production and flow of content. What is published is not only shared but also saved into growing databases. This collecting behavior can be seen as a to shift in value of what we save: “[What is archived] is no longer a monument for future memory, but a document for possible use.”3 We used to save things because they were considered to have a value for the future, now we save everything – just in case. For designers, this brought about a change in the working method, where “pulling elements from databases and libraries becomes the default; creating them from scratch becomes the exception.”4 However, with social media, everybody has now also become a creator of content and a broadcaster of their own reality. The increasing documentation mentioned above has escalated with the growing capacities of databases. While the increased documentation is often referred to as a means of control, there are also strengths and opportunities that arise from the increasingly shared everyday life of the individual. Where reporting of events through traditional media might be biased or under pressure from stakeholders, social media composes a direct channel to the perspectives of the people. Sharing photographs plays an increasingly important role in representing contemporary society. With the joint collections of photographs available, we face a unique chance to collectively curate our history and affect what will be our future remnants. Where it is of importance for the visual communication discipline to responsibly deal with the processing of visual information, this era of imagery in overflow and constant growth presents an increasingly important challenge for our field to suggest ways of selecting, organizing, and expressing information. Therefore, this research aims to investigate the possibilities for graphic design to address this overflow of images from three perspectives: navigation of the database and its image collections, creating increased comprehensibility, and possible preservation methods for the future. If not addressed, our image collections might become overwhelming to the point where nobody cares to process the data and information anymore. Our future remnants might get lost within a sea of digital debris; how would we then be remembered?
1 – Carrington, D. (Jan. 10, 2020). How Many Photos Will Be Taken in 2020? Mylio.
2 – Marr, B. (2018). How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read. Forbes.
3 – Foucault, M. (1995, p.191). Discipline & Punish. The Birth of the Prison.
4 – Manovich, L. (2001, p.130). The Language of New Media.

B i o g r a p h y
Evelina Hallén is a graphic designer from Sweden. She graduated from Linköping University in 2016 with a Bachelor in Graphic Design and Communication. She did an internship at a graphic design studio in New York before starting to work as a graphic designer and content manager in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she worked for two years before leaving for Switzerland to pursue her MDes.

Z u b i n L a k r a
Censored to Be Seen
Investigations into the Visual Manifestation of Censorship
My thesis project is an investigation into the visual manifestation of censorship. On what censorship would look like put down on paper, or seen on a screen.
Censorship means to hide with a purpose. To keep a certain piece of information from the viewer. In our lives, we experience various forms of censorship though various mediums. Through my time with this project, I worked on the project as an investigation into the visual manifestation of censorship. On defining what censorship would look like put down on paper, or seen on a screen. Looking at it everyday, and in everyday places. And being constantly reminded of its existence. With my project, I tried to explore the various visual forms of censorship, and how I selected my source of breaking news. In a way, I also sought to oppose the core idea of censorship through graphic design. To see how I could blur the line between censorship and highlight. If I could use what is considered conventional censorship to make a viewer actually look closer, maybe find a pattern in the information presented, or to even simply want to look further. This is also what I would consider stretching the limitations of what can actually be considered censorship. And working to alter its purpose. My thesis has always been about the investigative process surrounding the idea of censorship and how it affects content. I embarked on this process while concurrently answering the questions that I was confronted with throughout my entire investigative process.

B i o g r a p h y
Zubin Lakra is from India. He graduated from the MIT Institute of Design at Pune, India, in 2016. For his graduation project, he worked at the Fikra Design Studio at Sharjah, UAE, for a period of six months as a graphic-design intern. Upon graduation, Zubin started working with the Osteria Design studio based in New Delhi, India, as an Art Director. He also worked as a freelance graphic designer, following which he relocated to Basel, Switzerland, to pursue the Master’s program at the FHNW HGK in 2018.

J i n g y u L e e
How to Visualize Emotional Expressions of Artificial Intelligence
Designing for an Affective Human-A.I. Interaction
This thesis project studies how artificial intelligence services based on voice-recognition technology could be used for natural conversations with humans, while the research into human facial expressions of emotions and into color theory studies the character of human emotions. The experiment on forms proves that features of graphic shapes can be related to emotional expressions. For readability and usability, the practical experiment uses basic graphic elements such as lines and dots up to simple solid shapes to create a clean and simple interface. The prototype images help evaluate the thesis project as to how to improve an emotional communication between a human and an AI assistant service.
Nowadays, with the development of Artificial Intelligence technology, AI services are a major influence and change in people's everyday lives. While AI technology has become a convenient part of people's daily lives, people have shifted their focus from the physical world to the digital world, so there is an increasing demand for AI services that can produce emotional interaction. As a result, emotional AI systems and emotional calculations are the main part of any IT-industry research. In the existing AI assistant services, it mostly focus on improving the practical functions based on useful information and data, but lacks any personalized emotional services for users. The key aspect of this thesis project is to develop a simulation of a natural conversation between a human and an artificial-intelligence service. Through his research and the concomitant practical experiments, the researcher tried to find out how the visual interface could improve the interaction of a human and an AI. At the beginning, the research explores the process of communication through general human interaction. The study is based on a series of images that investigates the basic characteristics of humans' facial expressions. This research is based on Paul Ekman's theory explained in Universal Facial Expressions of Emotion. Psychological research has classified six facial expressions which correspond to distinct universal emotions: disgust, sadness, happiness, fear, anger, and surprise. In addition, the color theory by Robert Plutchik demonstrates human basic emotions in detail, while the form study conducted at the Pennsylvania State University shows that graphic-shape features are related to emotions, and these features were used to create graphic images in the practical experiment. Many digital services by globally leading IT companies show that digital products should have a clean and simple interface for the sake of readability and usability. To achieve this goal, simplified graphic images were developed in the practical experiment. The experiment used various graphic elements, from basic lines and dots to complex solid shapes. The study and experiment conclude that simplified graphic images that contain emotional information can be used as the main graphic element of the emotional interaction between users and an AI assistant service. The results of the practical experiments are intended to improve the AI's emotional expressions in the AI-enabled emotion communication system and the accuracy of recognizing emotions. The outcome of the practical experiments created a series of visual languages: graphic shape, color system, movement, and more. The graphic images in the visual experiments showed that visual emotional expressions can be applied to the AI service and cause a real-time emotional reaction. They can also be applied to AI-enabled emotional communication offered by an emotional social AI-assistant service to provide users with personalized emotions. For the final output, the mockup scenario was based on a specific situation to simulate the AI’s voice-recognition service. The prototype is compared with existing AI services, used as evidence to demonstrate how the thesis project can improve the emotional communication between a human and an AI assistant service. I am convinced that the contribution of this thesis project will take us closer to understanding emotions in graphic images. A color system, features such as graphic forms, and movements can all be used to create emotional graphic images. The process to develop an AI assistant service able to have an emotional conversation with a human, could then consider and apply the study and the experiments done to date. With the technological development of AIs, coexistence between humans and AIs has become a necessity. I hope this research will help humans and AIs coexist in the future.

B i o g r a p h y
Jingyu Lee studied industrial design for his Bachelor's degree. After graduating, he started his professional career as a UI/UX designer from 2014. He is interested in the high-tech IT industry and has already designed numerous services for a digital environment. On the other hand, he is into modern mid- 20th-century graphic design, especially the Swiss International Style, which brought him to Basel, Switzerland. Since 2018, he has been studying for a Master's degree at the Basel School of Design and the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Thinking Outside the Box Under Lockdown Conditions
This year’s thesis projects were developed under special conditions. Who would have expected at the beginning of the 2020 thesis phase that HGK FHNW, the same as all other Swiss universities, would have to switch to distance teaching, and that its usual infrastructure would not be available from mid-March till the beginning of June? Students and lecturers adopted and accepted with a great deal of flexibility the requisite restrictions. Thanks to this very flexibility evinced by everyone involved, the Bachelor and Master thesis semester of the Institute of Visual Communication could be completed in compliance with the rules. But what about the results achieved under these highly unusual conditions?
This always involves the question of how something new, unexpected, surprising, and convincing is created. In descriptions of successful design processes, it often is a break with a familiar or initial position that initiated this “thinking outside the box”. In this sense, we can also understand the restrictions of the lockdown period as an impulse with the potential of encouraging students to find unexpected solutions and channel their creativity in unusual ways. The websites nextgeneration.hgk.fhnw.ch/2020/ and mdesbasel.ch/thesis/2020/ expanded due to the pandemic, while the exhibition on the Campus of the Arts make it possible to test the thesis that unexpected conditions foster surprising results. We congratulate the students of the Institute of Visual Communications for their successful participation in this experiment and are convinced that many processes have created surprising outcomes far beyond the expected due to the current and special circumstances.
Prof. Michael Renner, Head of the Institute of Visual Communication