Name, first nameLaura ToblerYear of birth1995UniversityFHNWField of Interest / research fieldCommunication Design / Visual CommunicationTitle of projectFigurative Daily ObjectsAbstractFigurative daily objects
The potential of pictorial metaphors

As beings with complex inner emotions, surrounded by an equally complex and abstract outer world, humans are reliant to simplification and to humorous access to their surroundings and emotions. The metaphor can be one strategy to give us access to this process. The figurative usage of the content, which marks the metaphor, enables to represent things in an unconventional and accurate manner.

In contrary to the theory that a metaphor is a linguistical phenomenon, this thesis is dedicated to the potential of pictures evoking metaphors.
In specific I would like to show the metaphorical potential of ordinary objects.
The US American linguist George Lakoff and US American philosopher Mark Jonson define the ontological metaphor as a specific type of metaphor. By which they mean metaphors, that show the circumstance with physical existing objects. Due to interacting with these physical objects in a daily manner, we link lots of emotions and associations with these items.
Considering the above shown aspects my interest for this thesis is: Which visual strategies allow me to make use of this enormous knowledge, stored over years, to explain a content from a different context?

The practical content of my thesis included an experimental phase, in which I let my imagination run wild. Often, I was inspired by actual events, such as the daily routine in the school, which animated me to generate metaphors. As media I used film, illustrations and photography. I was inspired by the theoretical difference between metaphor and metonymy and constructed different visuals, including playing around with typographic elements. All of the developed pictures have in common that the observer is irritated in one way or the other.
Thereon I decided to focus on the medium of linear hand drawing and started to create series of individual drawings. In the process I realised, that the principle of size scaling, e.g. the extension and shortening of single components of an object, can have a great metamorphotic potential. This strategy enabled me to provoke abstract associations and emotions. I found the extreme transformation of a parameter “from long to short and big to small” to be fun, as I was often surprised myself by what the object then developed to. By changing the size of the object also made changes to the functionality of the objects and made me question the design.

In the theoretical part I looked into the basics of the metaphor theory. Most of which originate from the discipline of the cognitive linguistic. I adopted knowledge of different types of metaphors and terms (unconventional metaphor, conventional metaphor, ontological metaphor, metonymy, comparison, personification). Also I looked into two approaches from the iconic research, on the one hand the analysis of visual advertisements from Charles Forceville in 1996 and on the other hand the definition of emblems, a form of art from the renaissance, which is known for its mysteriousness.
It’s in my personality that I like to search for connections between things from different contexts. Through this project I learned to put my spontaneous experiments into a theoretical context and through that be able to categorize, analyse and talk about them.

Laura Tobler is from Switzerland. She graduated from the basel school of design (HGK) in 2014 with a bachelor of arts in Visual Communication. She did an internship as a graphic designer at the information design office (YAAY), aswell as at Helvetiq, a swiss publisher of books and games. In 2016 she started her master degree at the basel school of design (HGK). A professor discovered her special talent, to connect things from different domains with each other.
TutorsLeander Eisenmann, Susanne Käser, Hansmartin SiegristFileDownload file
Figurative Daily Objects