Commercial Practices



Commercial Practices explore the ‘next economy’ and possible new economic scenarios in an age of omnipresent technology and data (big, open, hidden), accelerating geopolitical changes, and sharing of information resulting in emerging markets and new modes of production and consumption. What are the attitudes, skills, methods, knowledge and technologies that will allow us to create value, to generate meaning, and to relate to this new economic context?

The Commercial Practices programme focuses on the potential and the roles of artists and designers in developing the mindsets, skillsets and toolsets required in future commercial scenarios. These are experimental, imaginative, open and speculative, but also realistic scenarios. Within the Commercial Practices programme, concept development and art/design skills go hand in hand with commercial principles and new perspectives on marketing and entrepreneurship. Keywords: innovative products and services in the ‘next economy’; new markets and new target groups; working in collaboration with commercial clients.

The four projects within the Commercial Practices are New Frontiers, Branding, Data Design and Next Design Lab.

New Frontiers challenges you to experiment, to make connections and to push boundaries. You will be developing new ways of thinking and acting within innovative processes. In order to do so, you will be working collaboratively with other students and with professionals from the field. You will be conducting research and working independently. The end result does not necessarily have to be a ‘physical product’, but may also consist of identifying future opportunities. You will learn to be innovative and to visually apply this in a way that is inspiring to others.

The time when Branding was seen as merely developing a logo, brand, visual identity, or an advertising and/or marketing campaign, is far behind us. Branding is so much more than that: it is about values, needs, ways of life, identities, expression and trust. And it is not – as many policymakers seem to think – a ‘soft issue’. Rather, it is part of the very foundation of our quality of life. Partly as a result of the influence of the ‘new critical consumer’, brands are no longer primarily influenced by the masses, but rather by the individual: by you and me. A designer or artist emphasises and reinforces this belief by authentically expressing such influences in a visual form.

Data Design is linked to current developments such as open data and big data. Here you will learn to approach and handle data from conceptual, enquiring and visual perspectives. You will learn to recognise, interpret and work with various types of data, examining them thoroughly using visual research methodologies. You will also learn to use various methods and tools that allow you to design dynamic data.

With its aim to change commercial landscapes Next Design Lab investigates and questions new developments in future commercial contexts:
How do consumers and individuals change the traditional (top-down) markets? What new economic and production models does that bring?
Which new materials and technologies can be used for more sustainable production systems? What is the role of science and sustainable alternatives? How to design within the context of new technologies (AI, robotics, algorithms)? And what increasingly ethical and central role does the designer play? How do these questions change the way we design, produce, consume?