Research in the field of Visual Communication is divided into basic research, application-oriented research and cultural-historical research. It is closely linked to teaching in the master's program. The focus is on topics such as Visual Research, Visualization, Narration, Hybrid Media, Typography, Visual Cultures and Design History.
For inquiries about research or PhD studies, please contact Prof. Dr. Sarah Owens, Head of Visual Communication and MA Visual Communication.
Designgeschichte der SBB / Design History of the Swiss Federal Railway
SBB owns rolling stock as well as infrastructure with stations, technical buildings and rail network. This comprehensive ownership has enabled internationally significant achievements in industrial design, architecture and visual communication. In doing so, they offer a service in the form of mobility - their corporate design is committed to this immaterial core.
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF
People: Prof. Dr. Sarah Owens, Andres Janser, Amanda Unger, Hanna Diedrichs gen. Thormann
Crafting Playbook: A Playful Way to More Balance and Meaning at Work
The digital Crafting Playbook promotes active engagement with the world of work. With short activities—the Crafting Plays—one reflects on strengths and resources at work and implements changes in everyday life. The plays are developed by practitioners together with experts from the fields of art, education and psychology.
Funding: Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH)
People: Dr. Gregor Jenny (UZH), Prof. Dr. Georg Bauer (UZH), Prof. Dr. Michael Zirkler (ZHAW), Dr. Björn Franke, (ZHdK), Dr. Heike Beuschlein, (PHZH), Larissa Hauser Fitze, (PHZH)
Partner: Arcplace, Forum BGM Zürich, SUVA, Swiss Leaders
Ecologies of Matter
Ecologies of Matter explores new perspectives on the modern position of humans in the so-called natural world. The project investigates the contribution of tradition and cultural heritage in the construction of future sustainable environments. And propose craftsmanship and the making process as the key for overcoming the limitations and differences between species, offering new realities in the understanding of the material world.
Funding: ZHdK Internal Project Funding
People: Carolina Márquez Bernard
funded by Stiftung Mercator Schweiz, principal investigator: Klervie Mouho
Counterparts: Exploring Design Beyond the Human
funded by the Swiss Design Network, principal investigators: Sarah Owens and Björn Franke
funded by the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) and Stiftung Mercator Schweiz
Landscape Looking: Towards a Deeper Understanding of One’s Environment
funded by ZHdK Internal Project Funding, principle investigator: Lauren Clark
Entangled: Critical Thinking, Design and Education
funded by AVINA Fonds, principal investigator: Chhandak Pradhan
Digital Design Technology on Political Wall Graffiti in India
funded by ZHdK Internal Project Funding, principal investigator: Chhandak Pradhan
Cache: An Explorative Study on Open Access as a Socio-technical System
funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF, led by Nils Güttler (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), project partner: Sarah Owens / MA Visual Communication
Designing Knowledge: Editorial Design and its Practices
funded by ZHdK Internal Project Funding, principal investigator: Reinhard Schmidt
Æther: On the Future of Academic Publishing
in cooperation with ETH Zurich
The Teaching of Josef Müller-Brockmann
funded by ZHdK Internal Project Funding, principle investigator Lena Koop
Contrast Comparison of Farsi and Latin Type Characters
funded by AVINA Fonds, principal investigator: Ali Soltanolamaei
Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited (SGDTR)
funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF, Sinergia programme (main applicant: Arne Scheuermann, co-applicants: Michael Renner, Sarah Owens and Peter Schneemann)
Dynamic Branding for Cultural Institutions
in cooperation with Museum Rietberg Zurich (project lead: Sarah Owens)
Counter City: Visual storytelling for the Growing City
funded by ZHdK Internal Project Funding, principle investigarors: Jonas Vögeli and Matthias Wyssmann, in cooperation with EPFL / ALICE
funded by AVINA Fonds, principal investigator: Raphael Matthias Ammann
Status N: Zurich Refugee Magazine
funded by AVINA Fonds, principal investigator: Julia Felber
Visual Communication Research Lab
funded by ZHdK Internal Project Funding, principal investigators: Sarah Owens and Romy Strasser
Art School Differences
funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI (applicant: Carmen Mörsch, project managers: Philippe Saner, Sophie Vögele, Pauline Vessely, co-researcher: Sarah Owens)
Wolfgang Weingart: Typography in Context
funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF, DORE programme (applicant: Sigrid Schade, project manager: Barbara Junod, research associate: Sarah Owens)
Making / Crafting / Designing
funded by Akademie Schloss Solitude, arts science and business programme (applicants and project managers: Sarah Owens, Björn Franke)
Current PhD Projects
Tanya Abraham, PhD in Practice in Curating, ZHdK / University of Reading.
Kerri-Anne Chisholm, PhD in Practice in Curating, ZHdK / University of Reading.
Hanna Diedrichs gen. Thormann, UNIL and SBB Project.
Jan Gensch, PhD in Practice in Curating, ZHdK / University of Reading.
Ronald Kolb, PhD in Practice in Curating, ZHdK / University of Reading.
Anja Lückenkemper, PhD in Practice in Curating, ZHdK / University of Reading.
Lorenzo Morganti, PhD in Practice in Curating, ZHdK / University of Reading.
Amanda Unger, Universität Berne and SBB Project.
Completed PhD Projects
Constance Delamadeleine, «The Transnational construction of the label «Swiss Graphic design and typography» between Paris and Switzerland (1930s–1970s)», UNIL and SGDTR Project.
Antonio Cataldo, «Curating Labour: Troubles with gender and dispossession in the exhibition space. A circular movement on historical traces», PhD in Practice in Curating, ZHdK / University of Reading.