"Maybe this is a period we will look back on with bewilderment at the idea we were designing not for the immediate user in the physical place, but for the imagined perception of that user to a hypothetical digital audience."
The term also highlights an important transition in graphic design practice and education: from the designer as author to the designer as researcher. This is not only a consequence of the maturation of the discipline, seeking legitimacy to be used as an investigative tool, but also the result of an increased importance of the social sciences, humanities and their multiple research methods being applied, changed and appropriated by design education and designers. On the one hand, graphic design aims to use its own processes and production methods to contribute new knowledge to the areas it works in. On the other, the absorption of ethnography and data collection methods shows an increasing reliance on other disciplines’ methodologies. The widespread presence of “design research” in design’s lexicon is a sign of these developments, despite recurrent confusion as to what constitutes research in graphic design.