Staff Research Profiles

  • Visual Information System

    Authors: dr hab. Justyna Kucharczyk, dr Agnieszka Nawrocka

    Visual Information System for the building of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice

    The seat of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra is a modern building, the form of which refers to the identity of the Silesian region. The interior is both monumental and transparent. From the very beginning, the visual information system was designed so that it meets the user’s needs without dominating the space. It has therefore been integrated into the building. The facade of the building is dominated by red brick, and the interior - by white stone and black concrete of the concert hall. Red colour in the building has been reserved for information. The signs are applied directly on the walls. The visual information system includes outdoor signage and inside: music lovers' zones, internal signage for employees and musicians and parking lots signage. The parameters of information are the resultant of the scale of the building and specific limitations. During a concert 2000 people are present in the building.

    The design of the Visual Information System for the building of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, designed by Justyna Kucharczyk and Agnieszka Nawrocka, has been appreciated in the national and international arena. It received a prestigious European award – bronze medal in the international competition ED-Awards 2014 (Europe's largest competition dedicated to visual communication) – and won the first place in the 10th edition of Śląska Rzecz 2014 competition in the category of Applied Graphics. The justification of the project selection reads:

    “The design shows how the model cooperation between the architect and the designer of the visual information system should look like. The system is not an addition to the building, but an organic part of it – it was designed parallel to the work of a team of architects. It is visible but discreet enough not to compete with the space. Its authors had to predict the behaviour of 1800 music lovers and plan their traffic in the facility. Not only information for visitors was thought of, but also marking the area for musicians and other employees, as well as parking lots and the area outside the building.

    To read more about this project follow this link.

  • The Insects Projects – Problems of Diacritic Design for Central European Languages

    Authors: dr Agnieszka Małecka-Kwiatkowska, dr Zofia Oslislo-Piekarska

    Book The Insects Project - Problems of Diacritic Design for Central European Languages is the culmination of the international research programme aimed at recognising the specificity of Central European typography and disseminating knowledge about designing that takes into account the local needs of Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak language users. The publication contains four articles written by experts invited to cooperation: Filip Blažek (CZ), Robert Kravjanszki (HU), Palo Bálik (SK) as well as Agnieszka Małecka and Zofia Oslislo (PL), the Polish tandem leading the project. Each article is divided into a historical part and a part referring to the rules of correct designing of language-specific special signs, and the described design problems are accompanied by examples of good (alternative) solutions. The study is addressed to students and professionals designing typefaces, but also to those who want to learn how to choose from among the fonts existing on the market, so that the visual quality and legibility of the composed texts is correct.

    Additional information about project managers and collaborators as well as electronic version of the book (to be downloaded under an open license) are available on website:

    Presentation of the project:

    • interview for Design 360° Magazine, 270° Exchange, CN
    • lecture – Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, 2018, PL
    • lecture –Wrocław Typo Forum 2017, PL
    • lecture –Typo Berlin 2017, DE
    • lecture– ATypI 2016, International Typographic Conference, Warszawa 2016, PL

    Awards for the project:

    • Honourable mention in The Most Beautiful Books of the Year 2016 competition awarded by the jury of Polish Book Publishers Association
    • Award of the Association of Applied Graphic Designers for project and publication in the Śląska Rzecz competition, organized by Cieszyn Castle, 2017
  • Why people get lost in buildings

    Why people get lost in buildings – discovering user needs and behaviour in wayfinding research for the buildings of the Marshal’s Office of the Śląskie Region

    Indoor wayfinding is a complex experience affected by various elements ranging from physically visible signage, landmarks and architecture to cognitive and emotional human factors. The aim of the presentation is to show the results of research on wayfinding behaviour in complex buildings. The goal was to answer one of the fundamental questions in wayfinding system design, i.e. why do people get lost in buildings? Why can some people easily navigate to the target while the others get frustrated, ask for help or just get lost? What factors decide whether the wayfinding is a positive or traumatic experience?

    The research was conducted in two architecturally different buildings of the Marshal Office in Silesia, Poland. One building was designed on the rectangular regular plan, while the other plan was a maze-like square with avant-corps. Research participants were both visitors and the employees of the Office to capture the differences in perception and behaviour related to experience.

    Specific goals of the research were: the audit of current wayfinding system in the building, analysis of architectural factors (i.e. landmarks, barriers) and functional organization of offices, evaluation of perception of buildings including cognitive aspects like visibility range and mental models as well as emotional reaction towards space as well as assessment of user behaviour during experiments.

    Research methods included stocktaking and audit of current signage, observations, shadowing, interviews and experiments (wayfinding tasks, mental models generation) as well as the evaluation of emotional perception of buildings based on semantic study.

    Various types of data collected during the research allow for a better understanding of the influence of wayfinding system elements (landmarks, barriers, signs) and architecture of the building on behaviour. They also allow for the multiangle analysis of human perception, cognition and emotions during the performance of the wayfinding tasks. Triangulation of data collected during experiments, interviews, shadowing and psychological tests help us identify four personas, different types of users having various traits, needs and behaviours. Based on it, specific guidelines for designing wayfinding systems taking into account individual differences were presented. Moreover, general conclusions and recommendations for the wayfinding system based on our research could be helpful for designers allowing them to understand various factors influencing user behaviour.

    The research was conducted by Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, on order of the Marshal Office of the Silesia Region.

  • Research in design - publication

    Publication Research in Design, PhD thesis by Marta Więckowska, was created in order to present various aspects and possibilities of conducting research in design and its role and place in the design process. The thesis consists of six chapters which introduce the designer to research issues. The first chapter outlines the role of the designer, quotes facts from the history of research in design, follows its development and the activities of the Department of Visual Research and Interaction. The second chapter contains a description of scientific research and its role. The third chapter is devoted to highlighting the place and role of research in the design process. The next chapters cover the topic from the more practical side: elements and methods of research construction (chapter 4), presentation of selected methods (chapter 5), up to the example of the research tool design process (chapter 6).

  • Classic and computer-aided designer's workshop in product design

    Comparative study of the classic and computer-aided designer's workshop within the scope of product design, colouring and graphic elements on the basis of the process of re-development and preparation for the implementation of ceramic forms of the “Katowice” pattern of Porcelana Śląska

    The research project consists of two parts:

    1. Examination of the classic and computer-aided designer's workshop within the scope of product design, colouring and graphic elements on the basis of the process of re-development and preparation for the implementation of ceramic forms of the “Katowice” pattern of Porcelana Śląska.

    During the research, a selected group of students reconstructed a ceramic set that no longer existed – from the stage of preliminary forms to the preparation for implementation – and proposed a contemporary graphic form and colour scheme of the above-described objects (students' own pattern designs). The work was carried out in two ways: with the use of a classic ceramic craftsmanship technique (in the modelling studio) and with the use of Solidworks and Rino computer programs, used to design spatial objects. Studies of available literature and other material sources, reconnaissance in porcelain factories, study of the resources of local museums and institutions, analysis of the found, currently existing characteristic elements of pattern-designing were carried out.

    As a result, a didactic study was created which allowed for optimization of the curriculum within the scope of 3D form modelling for pattern-design students. The professional competence of young designers in the field of designing has been extended. Students participating in the project established commercial design cooperation with BGH Network (a company decorating Bogucice porcelain) within the scope of implementation of the patterns designed by them.

    2. “100 Silesian Colours and Patterns” grant. Project of decorative patterns and sets of colours inspired by applied art of Upper Silesia.

    The project’s objectives:

    - digital documentation of the selected cultural heritage of the region in terms of ornamentation and colouring;
    - designing patterns and colour sets inspired by the region's applied art, obtaining graphic materials (decor patterns, characteristic colour sets) of high visual quality, which can be used by means of modern (digital) media, using the heritage of decorative art in a creative, modern and innovative approach;
    - reminding the public of the original design elements that create the history, culture and identity of Silesia, as well as promoting and building the image of the region through contemporary applied art.

    The results of research projects were disseminated during various festivals and international conferences:
    - Night of Museums 2015 at the Silesian Porcelain Factory;
    - Industriada 2015, 2017, 2018 festival (next editions of project cooperation);
    - “Młodzi na start” (Young ready to start) competition as part of the Gdynia Design Days 2014 festival (distinction of two student works in the competition: a cup by Joanna Pastusińska and Aleksandra Harazin);
    - “Ślonski Szwung 2018” week, organized by the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom;
    - X Conferenza del Colore, 11–12.09.2014, Genoa, Italy;
    - Colour - Culture - Science, 23-24.11.2016, Kraków, Faculty of Industrial Forms, Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków;
    - Munsell 2018 Inter-Society Colour Council (ISCC) and the International Colour Association (AIC), Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), 10–16.06.2018, Boston, USA (with publication in: Munsell 2018 special issue of “Color Research and Application”, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Wiley Publishing);
    - AIC Interim Meeting, 24-28.09.2018, Lisbon, Portugal.

    Project description in English:
    “Popularization of Visual Culture Heritage of the Region. Project of decorative patterns and sets of colours inspired by applied art of Upper Silesia”
    Project of decorative patterns and sets of colours inspired by applied art of Upper Silesia is a project created within the frameworks of a scholarship awarded by the Foundation of promotion of work of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland. The main objectives of this project were: digital documentation of chosen national heritage with regard to ornamentation and colouring, project of patterns and sets of colours, obtainment of graphic materials of high visual quality that could be applied with contemporary media. Most important results of the project: database of graphic elements, book of patterns and colours including set of patterns inspired by catalogued decorative elements as well as the set of colours inspired by a typical combination of colours used in applied art of Upper Silesia.
    Created elements (described in NCS, Pantone, CMYK, RGB) can be used as elements in many identification projects and be the element of visual culture of the region.

  • Resuscitation ambulance: deployment of medical instruments and supplies

    Resuscitation ambulance. Impact of the deployment of medical instruments and supplies in the ambulance on the speed of rescue operations and comfort of work of paramedics

    The project consisted in assessing the comfort of work of a paramedic in the Renault Master ambulance in the context of work related to injection and infusion, and consequently in improving the conditions of a paramedic’s work performed in a resuscitation ambulance by shortening the time and improving the course of activities related to injection and infusion, improving the comfort of the paramedic’s work, improving the patient’s comfort and safety, as well as reducing the likelihood of medical errors and infections.

    Project implementation stages:

    In order to make the best possible design decisions related to the ambulance's interior solutions:
    (a) technical, 3D and photographic documentations were developed and the anthropometric analysis
    of the resuscitation ambulance interior (Renault Master and Mercedes Sprinter) was carried out;
    (b) a questionnaire to determine the places of storage (deployment) of particular medical supplies used in infusions was developed and carried out (in three emergency medical stations: Radzionków, Bytom, Katowice);
    c) a video recording of the process of preparing the infusion in an ambulance under simulated conditions was made and analysed;
    (d) the visual field of a paramedic in a resuscitation ambulance was recorded and analysed during the preparation of infusion under simulated conditions with the use of video camera glasses.
    On this basis, the course of work of paramedics, ergonomics and field of vision were analysed, as well as the comfort of hand manipulation during preparation and execution of infusion in a resuscitation ambulance.

    Critical points and ways of improving the organization of the deployment of the ambulance equipment were identified. Development of a foldable stretcher-mounted boom on which an infusion nozzle would be hung, which would perform its function both during transport inside and outside the ambulance was recommended.

    The conclusions of the report were communicated to the ambulance manufacturer – Auto-Form Company.
    The possibility of making the report available to medical emergency stations in order to signal the existing imperfections, to emphasize the need for a systemic solution for storing medical supplies in ambulances, and to mark cabinets in a systematic way in ambulances is being considered.

  • Optimization of editorial parameters of publications in electronic media

    Optimization of editorial parameters of publications in today's electronic media. Analysis of the possibility of applying the rules of typesetting of printed publications in electronic readers.

    The research project is an attempt to respond to the important and current problems of professional work practice of a contemporary designer, which are connected with the progressing changes in communication methods. Contemporary information carriers leave more and more area of the project in the sphere of dynamic user intervention, thus limiting the designer's influence on the final appearance of the publication. The problem is therefore the possibility of using one's own professional competences in the face of new technological opportunities.

    The aim of the project is to determine the optimal editorial parameters and the form of saving files intended for dynamic reading from the screen of a reader of modern electronic devices, as well as to determine the basic differences between the setting of the publication intended for printing and the one intended for screen reading in a dynamic form (shaped by the user). The aim of the project is to examine the properties of the most representative contemporary digital readers, to attempt to transfer traditional editorial solutions to digital media and to determine the basic differences between the methods of setting of printed and screen-readable publications in a dynamic form. The project is to allow for collection and definition of new canons, principles and methods of developing editorial materials in the context of screen reading.

    The previous results of the research were used during classes with students in the Editorial Graphic Design Studio and the Typography Studio. The results of the research were used to prepare a series of lectures and practical exercises for students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice prepared by mgr Martyna Bargiel, and also made public in the form of a course on the creation of digital publications presented in Zamek Cieszyn in cooperation with dr hab. Tomasz Bierkowski (Cieszyn, 2015).

    The results of the research were also the basis for lectures delivered during the conference Tekstologia i typografia w przestrzeni cyfrowej (Texology and typography in digital space) (Toruń, 19-20 November 2015) organized by the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. The topics of speeches were the following: Reading from a screen perspective - about typography in the context of the interface (Natalia Pietruszewska), Typology and process for the preparation of on-screen publications (Martyna Bargiel).

  • Multimedia & Music

    Multimedia Activities Studio, run by prof. Marian Oslislo, undertakes many innovative actions that set the directions for the development of modern multimedia and are appreciated internationally.

    The Studio's activities are part of the Katowice as a UNESCO City of Music program. A multimedia spectacle with live music – CallTrane was organized (8 May 2016, Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice), attended by about 200 people. The music of John Coltrane and his wife Alice Coltrane was accompanied by dynamic images and calligraphy created and displayed in real time (Marian Oslislo - graphics, Maciej Obara International, Dariusz Chojnacki - recitation, Ksawery Kaliski, Krzysztof Zygalski, Piotr Ceglarek - multimedia).

    Project partners: Krystyna Bochenek Instytucja Kultury Katowice – Miasto Ogrodów, Zabrze Jazz Association, Shadok Audio-Visual.
    Multimedia projects of the best students and teachers of the Studio, e.g. the multimedia installation “ŹRÓDŁO” (Ksawery Kaliski) were presented at the festival in the prestigious Beijing 1+1 Art Centre in China. A series of lectures were delivered and workshops were conducted, the scope and subject matter of which proved so fascinating and cosmopolitan that dr Kaliski was invited to lecture at Beijing University of Technology, one of the largest and most prestigious universities of technology in China.

    In November 2016, 10 students and graduates of the Studio qualified for the exhibition MOTYF 2016 International Moving Type Festival, presented at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany, the main theme of which was: “Akademos. A Place for Poets and Philosophers”.

    Katowice's multimedia activities are supported by a well-equipped film studio, which enables image recording and mapping. The studio is equipped with professional control room, cameras, studio and reporter lighting, tripods, Cambo set, plasma, recorder and the largest greenbox in southern Poland.

  • NEBULA – Volumetric filmmaking for the needs of creation of stereoscopic images

    NEBULA is an experiment which attempts to find a common point between two trends in the history of film – Lumière’s concept of a film as a recording of reality and Méliès’ philosophy using the film medium as a tool for creation of fantasy worlds. NEBULA draws on both of these approaches and becomes a combination, in which the recorded figurative picture intertwines with abstract compositions. Using the technique of volumetric filmmaking, is, on the one hand, the recording of an event – a meeting of musicians playing the piece by Maciej Obara, on the other hand, through the use of the soundtrack of the recorded piece, it becomes an attempt to obtain a visual experience of music. The picture created as a result of the recording represents the Lumière’s line, focusing on faithful representation of reality. The musical layer, on the other hand, becomes a tool for creating abstract visual compositions (Méliès’ line). These values were combined in an audio-visual form resembling a video clip.


    ● Festival Animator 2018 – Wojciech Juszczak Special Award For Outstanding Artistic Merits
    ● O!PLA 2018 – nomination
    ● Vimeo Staff Picks – distinction
    ● Anima Mundi (Brazil) – nomination
    ● ANIMATION BLOCK PARTY (USA, NY) – nomination
    ● Ottawa International Animation Festival (Canada) – nomination


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