.: 29 March 2015 :.

Visual Reflection on Jan van Toorn

Last week we were fortunate to welcome famous Dutch Graphic Designer Jan van Toorn accompanied by Els Kuijpers, curator and art historian, in Umeå. Together they organized a one week workshop called “staging the message”.

The assignment was to create a visual essay in print on the subject of Transportation.


After taking a critical point of view in relation to the topic of Transportation, we started a visual exploration.

During the workshop there was a focus on applying the ‘reflexive’ or ‘dialogic method’ in order to solicit the active interpretation of the viewer.

In the beginning of the week it was quite a challenge to get acquainted with Jan’s verbal and visual vocabulary.

It was very interesting to see how Jan could change the overall argument of the visual piece by trying out different compositions.


Jan and Els thought me to see richness in compositions on levels I had never explored before. This richness was especially related to semantics. With a bit of background knowledge about the image its richness increased, which could be used to construct a stronger argument.


In general I developed a better sensitivity to the use of images, especially when combining them.

Visual Reflection

In order to further reflect on my activities I created several illustrations which represent my learning. These illustration display my skills before the workshop (left) in comparison to my skills after the workshop (right).


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