Piyaluk Benjadol


An instructor from School of Fine and Applied Arts, Bangkok University and now a Ph.D. candidates in Design Arts, Silpakorn University. She graduated with a B.F.A. in Product Design from Silpakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand and an M.F.A. in Computer Graphics Design from Rochester Institute of Technology in U.S.A. Since 1995, besides teaching in Communication Design Department at Bangkok University, she has experiences in positions as the chairpersons of Communication Design Department, director of Bangkok Unversity Gallery, and Vice President in Academic Affairs of Thai Graphic Designers Association (ThaiGa). She was appointed the academic title, Assistant to the Professor in Communication Design from Bangkok University in 2009. In attempting to connect graphic design practices and professions to cultural issues and social contexts, her essays focusing on graphic design criticism are published in various magazines and academic journals. In 2010, she participated in a TCDC commissioned research project, “Vernacular Thai Graphic Design”, with a collaboration from Practical Design Studio team. In addition to classroom activities, she believes that graphic design, especially the signification process and its power in meaning constructions, has great impacts in society. Thereby, she decided to cofound a collective art and design group, Nuts Society, in 1998 and has been joining its projects and activities in many countries until present. One of her design and activity-based project collaborated with Nuts Society, “Writing Gaw Khaw Kaw (ก ข ค): A Learning Reform”, introduces new concept of alphabet learning to Thai society. This project leads her to the Ph.D. dissertation that focuses on an in-depth investigation of how alphabet primers related to social ideologies and discourses about Thai femininity. For personal interest, she has been collecting vintage Thai graphic design prints, metal types, signs, and ephemera. Hereafter, she plans to further more design researches about them for educational purposes.


BITS MMXIV International Conference
Piyaluk Benjadol
November 16, 2014.
3.00 - 4.00 pm.

“The Story of Yaw Ying (ญ): How Learning Alphabet relates to Thai Femininity Discourses?”
แกะรอย ญ หญิง: การเรียนรู้ตัวอักษรสัมพันธ์กับวาทกรรมความเป็นเพศหญิงของไทยอย่างไร?

This design research explores 114-year history of one letter out of 44 Thai alphabets, Yaw Ying (ญ), in pre-school alphabet primers as the main visual resources. As a language learning tool before we can read, write, or speak, we become familiar with each letter by memorizing its shape, the sound of its pronunciation, its accompanying word, and the image illustrating the meaning of the word. Occasionally, the rhyming words are attached in order to make them easy to be learned by rote. The relations between texts and images, as verbal and non-verbal codes, in these Yaw Ying (ญ) learning tools lead us to understand how these design artifacts construct the meaning of women through their visual representations. The in-depth investigations of Yaw Ying (ญ) primer pages along with other graphic design works, such as posters, book covers, and advertisements, reveal patterns of paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations of visual languages representing social discourses about Thai women. Considering this design research as a case study, its process of visual deconstruction can be used as a model for designers, design curators, or design educators to understand how other design artifacts contextually related to cultural and social issues.