Alongside professional graphic design, amateur design has an important place in our everyday visual world: posters, flyers, adverts, signage and menu boards are often created by amateurs.


  • Lead school Bern Academy of the Arts
  • Institute Institute of Design Research
  • Research unit Design and Rhetoric
  • Funding organisation SNSF
  • Duration 01.10.2012 - 30.04.2016
  • Project management Prof. Dr. Arne Scheuermann
  • Head of project Annina Schneller
  • Partner Universität Bern
    Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
  • Keywords Visual Communication, Graphic Design, Local Affairs, Community Development


In areas such as communication in local politics or community work, amateur visual communication fulfills an important function that is not always satisfied by professional means, mostly on account of lack of time or financial resources. But amateur design ist not just an «emergency solution»: it is usually less elaborate than professional graphic design, and its rhetoric of imperfection can awaken in the public a positive image of «self-made», «committed» or «authentic», and thus achieve success.

Course of action

This project investigates the visual rhetoric of amateur graphic design and proposes a classification system for its specific forms of elaboration and its impact.