In everyday life we are surrounded by countless graphic artifacts, a significant part of which is designed by non-professionals. However, they do not design on their own, but in co-operation (or conflict) with digital software such as word processing or presentation tools. Opportunities and limitations of the software itself are determined on the one hand by programmed algorithms, on the other by design principles, automated procedures and templates, which influence the design result decisively. With the increasing democratization of design tools the question arises as to how professional designers can and should deal with this situation.

Sarah Owens is Professor of Visual Communication at the Zurich University of the Arts. She studied at University of Augsburg, the Royal College of Art in London and the University of Reading. In 2009 she was awarded a six-month artist scholarship from Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. Her research interests include visual cultures, design sociology, design practices, everyday design and amateur aesthetics.