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This research aims to conduct a study on the symbolic field of vernacular
graphic design, which can be comprehended as the field of production of
symbolic goods related to the production of graphical material by individuals
belonging to the economically disadvantaged social groups. The work emphasizes
the way how social structures operate the creation of an imaginary dimension or
symbolic space, which happens to be the ground of social representations. The
research takes as principle the fact that the production, consumption and
legitimization of goods, whether are they material or symbolic, as well as on the
judgments of value of those goods and these practices, are a reflection of different
social realities. We, therefore, believe that the hierarchies and classifications
inscribed into objects, cultural products, institutions, languages, as well as
evaluations and verdicts imposed by designated institutions for those purposes,
express the different social conditions of existence. Thereby, the aesthetic value of
a piece of graphic design would be determined not by objective or formal qualities
of the object itself. Likewise, that value would not be determined by rules of
subjective nature as Kant defined. We believe that the aesthetic value of a
graphical piece can be found considering the social structure used in its creation,
its use, and its evaluation, in other words, the evaluation would be made from the
social usage of that object rather than the object itself. The analysis of the way of
thought production of the social groups presented here, that is, how they do
operate the construction of their symbolism, arises from the principle that the
cultivated rules focuses on the form, and in a more abstract dimension, while the
lower classes have the tendency to emphasize a more concrete configuration.
From the observation and analysis of a set of hand painted signs, popular flyers
and printed packages it was found out that the option for objectivity is reflected in
the formal constructions of vernacular graphic design, establishing one of the most
significant characteristics of its visual language. It was observed, then, the existence
of a pattern in the construction of visual representations of that group, a symbolic
reflection of similar conditions of existence of their components. It was also
analyzed the factors that standardize or create a style for that language.
Having in mind the frequent relations of circularity between the fields of
vernacular and institutionalized graphic design production, there were considered
what would be the main forms of interaction between them and the way they
occur. From the existence of different hybrid processes among those groups, we
looked over to what extension those fields can be mingled and originate new
groups and productions blending characteristics of both original groups. In
addition to that, it was made an analysis of the use of popular language outside its
original context and how their visual elements can be reinterpreted and reviewed
by official design field. We have studied how the popular often takes the
symbolic value of representing the national identity, despite of not corresponding
to the values of the hegemonic culture and it was also examined the possibilities
of legitimization of that production.