Niek Kosten, PhD in the Arts

This research inquires the role of vernacular graphic design in critically opening up societal issues. Vernacular design focuses on habits, customary practices, existing forms, skills and traditions as a framework for design that is embedded in a particular context. Vernacular imagery is recognizable, ubiquitous and generates a feeling of authenticity and thus has a significant impact on daily life. This makes graphic vernacular design an interesting approach to research issues inherent to a specific group and depict them in a way relevant to all people involved in the context. The research explores new visual strategies that reinterpret vernacular graphic imagery and deploy it as a shared language within specific social contexts and as a research tool in the imagination process. Also the graphic design and production processes are reimagined and the role of the medium and the aesthetic quality are questioned.


  • Dr. Veerle Van der Sluys (supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)
  • Dr. Liesbeth Huybrechts (co-supervisor, UHasselt)
  • Dr. Geoffrey Brusatto (co-supervisor, UHasselt)

Research Unit: Inter-Actions

Duration: 2016 - 2020