A new visual identity for the DRLab

A new visual identity for the DRLab

News | 30 July 2020

In the last months of 2019, the DRLab redesigned its coordinated image, with the aim of making its identity clear and understandable.
Referring to its mission and vision, the DRLab team has developed a design concept based on three fundamental directions:
- citizen involvement in respect of constant dialogue;
- experimentation of models of democratic participation in the direction of human-centred project autonomy;
- understanding and enhancing the complexity of the Trentino area in favor of innovation.

The logo

The new logo, built on a square base, is composed of 9 circular elements, arranged on 3 lines and 3 columns. The circular elements are random and all identical circumferences, except for those positioned along the diagonal, which goes from the lower left corner to the upper right corner, which instead have different sizes in ascending order. The last, the largest, borders on the base grid giving the logo the fundamental reference to thinking outside the box. The result is a versatile logo, graphically simple but full of meaning.

The value modules

Starting from the logo construction grid, and keeping the basic structure constant - sizes, distances, proportions - different substructures based on diagonals, tangents or symmetries have been designed. The set of symbols, to which different meanings have been attributed, has become the DRLab language in a relationship of coherent relationship with the logo.
Nine modules were selected which, individually valid, together represent both the values ​​to which the DRLab refers and their necessary interconnection, as well as the complexity and dynamism of the DRLab's activities.

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Pilot Project in Service Design for Trentino public policies

The use of design for and in policy-making actions traces its roots in the development of service design. More generally, the relationship between design and public policy design is an interesting and current subject of relatively recent study of design research. For this reason, since its establishment, the DRLab has been wondering how to understand and reduce the gap between the traditional design of policies at a territorial level and the actual needs of its actors (citizens, communities, institutions, public and private entities).

According to these premises, the DRLab has activated a pilot project in order to:
- deepen the knowledge of the context and design practices of public policies at local level;
- explore the usefulness and added value of service design in supporting Trentino public policies;
- understand how to translate design knowledge into human-centred practices.

The actions of the pilot research project were therefore guided by the need to answer a specific question: how the design culture in service design, through the application of its principles, processes and tools, can support and innovate the design of public policies locals?

Key words: design for public policies / design for public policies; service design; inclusive innovation / inclusive innovation; pilot project / pilot project; human-centred policies.

Trentino Research Habitat

The Trentino Research Habitat Forum, born from the need to innovate the Research System in Trentino and to identify future development trajectories on which public support will focus on applied research, provided the opportunity for the DRLab, in charge, as of observer, of the production of infographics, of answering the question.

The DRLab team therefore analyzed and assessed the various topics and produced visual tools according to a process informed by:
APPROACH: qualitative
CRITERION: analysis and evaluation of the treatment of the topics according to the relationship between development and relevance perceived during the listening phase.

Exploratory, divergent phase: Analysis of the context;
Exploratory, divergent phase: Listening, data collection and reasoned visualization;
Exploratory, divergent phase: Conceptual mapping and pretotypes;
Definition phase, convergent: Sense-making, clustering and identification of the guiding principles of the work;
Definition phase, convergent: Concept and elaboration of the concept;
Development phase, divergent: Identification of project hypotheses;
Implementation phase, convergent: Design choice and realization.

The main results, still in confidential form, will be presented on the occasion of the final event of the Research Forum, to be held on Saturday the 20th of July 2019, at Malga Costa - Val di Sella (Borgo Valsugna, TN).

Here the official link.

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Results presentation “Service Design for School-Work Alternation”

Event | Date: 19.10.2018

Location: Buonarroti-Pozzo Institute, Aula Magna Mario Mattedi, Via Brigata Acqui, 15 Trento

Organized by the Design Research Lab at the University of Trento in collaboration with the Buonarroti-Pozzo technical high school in Trento, the event presented the goals and concluding results from the “Service Design for the School-Work Program” project.


Michela Ventin, DRLab coordinator, University of Trento

First of its kind, the project was part of a wider methodological project by the DRLab on education and aimed at supporting school-work pathways for the Buonarroti-Pozzo technical high-school through methodologies of Service Design so that businesses, sport clubs, volunteering groups, cultural bodies, local authorities and professional associations can become effective partners with educational high-schools in the Trentino region.


16:30 – 17:00 Presentation and institutional greetings

17:00 – 18:00 Presentation and results of the project “Service Design for the school-work alternation” Michela Ventin, Coordinator of  DRLab, University of Trento

18:00 – 18:15 The voice of the protagonists

18:15 – 18:30 Conclusions and perspectives

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Design Research

Seminar | Date: 01.10 – 02.10 – 03.10.2018

Location: Department of Humanities, classroom 118 – via Tommaso Gar, 14 Trento 

In a series of three lectures, Tom Bieling will attempt to clarify the concept of Design Research and discuss its relevance and theoretical/practical application. The core argument is that design research offers an entry to conceptualizing the artificial interfaces of design through which we meet the world, which may take many forms such has material objects, virtual spaces, hybrid systems, and social processes.

Dr. des. Tom Bieling, Visiting Professor, Design Research Lab – Universität der Künste Berlin

The first lecture (1.10) will present a framework for conceptualizing Design Research as mainly subdivided into Research about Design, Research for Design, and Research trough Design. Self-evidently, the design of products, technologies, services, systems, virtual worlds and tangible objects always implicitly transmits role models and values. Design and the images it disseminates, often unreflectively, are hence unavoidably political. Thus design is an effective force in shaping not only material culture, but also societal values and human behavior. Investigating on the three above mentioned levels of design research, shall help us to gain a deeper understanding concerning the potentials as well as the pitfalls of design as a ‘critical practice’.

The second lecture (2.10.) will discuss, how digital technology affects the ontology, the aesthetics as well as the (constantly new emerging) fields practice in Design. For instance we will discuss the notion of embodied interaction, as an approach for investigating new forms of interactions between humans and the digital world. Emphasizing the interconnectedness of body and mind, and not least exploring ways of making digital content tangible.

The third lecture (3.10.) will discover how Design (Research) impacts other scientific disciplines, and – even more important – the social field in general. While historically designers have attempted to induce social change by designing objects, today (social) design understands itself as a change agent in a much more direct relation to the social. In that the focus of this lecture will be on questions regarding social transformation, urban communities, participation and engagement, as well as social, cultural, ecological and economical sustainability.


Lecture I
Monday, 1. October 2018, 5–8 pm
17.00 – 20.00 Introducing Design Research

Lecture II
Tuesday, 2. October 2018, 5–8 pm
17.00 – 20.00 Applying Design Research

Lecture III
Tuesday, 2. October 2018, 5–8 pm
17.00 – 20.00 Projecting Design Research

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Service Design for School-Work Alternation

Offer / Training / Design experiences

Period: February 2018 – October 2018
Location: Buonarroti-Pozzo Higher Institute

Format: Design Studio
Partner: Buonarroti-Pozzo Technical-Technological Institute (TN)

With the Reform of Education, the so-called “Buona scuola” and with the introduction of the compulsory nature of the School-Work Alternation -ASL- and the Reform of Apprenticeship, the transformation of the educational and training system was carried out in Italy to arrive at the definition of a model of “dual system” that aligns us with other European countries in which work is recognized as a “necessary and indispensable educational experience” to form the human capital of the future. In particular, in the Trentino system, 400 hours in technical and professional institutes and 200 hours in high schools certainly represent an innovative didactic format in the consideration that overcoming the division between theory and practices in the study paths cannot be immediate, but it is urgent and necessary.

This objective is one of the medium / long term ones and can only be achieved through new organizational efforts and new design practices. For this reason, DRLab intends to introduce the design culture of Service Design in the various units and teams of managers in charge of the good functioning of the ASL, thus allowing all the actors involved to be protagonists in its complex ecosystem. On the Service Design project for School-Work Alternation, see also the Design Workshops and the Design Seminar carried out in collaboration with Trentino IPRASE. See also the event to present the results of the project organized in collaboration with the Buonarroti-Pozzo Institute of Trento.


Designing ourselves, the world, and reality

Seminar | Date: 14.06.2018
Venue: Department of Humanities, Room 421 - via Tommaso Gar, 14 Trento

This seminar is for designers, thinkers, and creatives that want to test their assumptions about themselves, the world, and reality in order to better understand the creative process and build better systems and services. It will be argued that most human beings live in two ‘worlds’ – one that is integrated and whole and another that is fragmented and confused. By examining the ways in which we ‘think’ about the landscape in which we live and the way we interact with both it and ourselves, we will explore the question of personal identity, how our past influences our creative capacity, and how our relationships with ourselves and each other ultimately affect the world we build and live within.

Keynote speaker:

Oli Anderson, writer and Chief Design Officer at Design Decode

10.15 - 10.30 Greetings by Michela Ventin, DRLab Coordinator
10.30 - 11.15 Strategy or psychology? Design a language
11.15 - 11.30 Coffee break
11.30 - 12.00 Discussion and selection of materials

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Aesthetics and interdisciplinary research

Seminar | Date: 13.06.2018

Location: Department of Humanities, Room 229 – via Tommaso Gar, 14 Trento

The seminar, organized by the Design Research Lab at the Univetsity of Trento, investigates research potentials for aesthetics developed in an interdisciplinary manner through critical theory, visual studies, philosophy of images, perception theory and, not least, complexity theory and design theory. The seminar was organized in collaboration with the journal I Castelli di Yale (http://cyonline.unife.it/).


Prof. Leonardo Distaso, University of Naples Federico II

Prof. Andrea Gatti, University of the Studies of Ferrara

Prof. Giuseppe Patella, University of Rome Tor Vergata

Prof. Renato Troncon, University of Trento


15.30 – 15.45 Presentation and greetings

16.15 – 16.45 Andrea Gatti, Theories of perception and philosophy of images

16.45 – 17.15 Leonardo Distaso, Social aesthetics between critical theory and Visual Studies

17.15 – 17.45 Giuseppe Patella, Aesthetic and cultural turns

17.45 – 18.15 Renato Troncon, Design sciences and philosophy

18.15 – 18.30 Conclusions

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Design Sciences

Seminar | Date: 30.05.2018

Location: Department of Humanities, Room 229 – via Tommaso Gar, 14 Trento

Organized by the Design Research Lab (Trento) and including the presence of professor Tom Bieling of the Design Research Lab (Berlin), the seminar investigated interpretations and controversies around the concept of “design” within different historical and cultural contexts and, specifically, within an evolutionary perspective.


Prof. Tom Bieling, Design Research Lab – Universität der Künste Berlin

Prof. Renato Troncon, Design Research Lab – University of Trento

Dott.ssa. Camilla Robuschi, Design Research Lab – University of Trento

This framework takes into account disciplines and fields of study including philosophy, biosemiotics, cultural theory, media studies, and schools of thought such as positivism, rationalism, constructivism and the new philosophy of science, in order to fully understand and apply design research in its many forms.


09.30 – 09.45 Introduction and greetings

09.45 – 10.30 Tom Bieling, The idea of design between cultural theory and media studies

10.30 – 10.45 Break

10.45 – 11.30 Renato Troncon, Design and Evolution: The meaning of exaptation

11.30 – 12.00 Camilla Robuschi, The role of code-duality within the creative process in the perspective of biosemiotic studies

12.00 – 12.15 Conclusions


Storytelling for business

Workshop | Date: 24.05.2018
Location: BUC, Central University Library, Room 2C, Via Adalberto Libera, 3 - Trento

The DRLab presents a series of intensive monthly workshops on important skills for professional designers, under the guidance of national and international experts. The aim is to contribute to the training of designers capable of lending their own professionalism support economic development. The fourth appointment will deal with Storytelling for Business.

Prof.ssa Francesca Piredda, Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano

The workshop is aimed at managers in the marketing, communication and business sectors who want to enrich their professional pathways with narrative skills useful for imagining communication strategies based on relevant contents, both for brand awareness as well as internal commitment. Participants will work in groups of 3-4 people in which each group will bring the story of their own company and present it to the group in order to develop new business stories, adapting the narrative to different market and sectors while maintaining the original vision and mission that form the soul of the brand. The participants will thus practice the principles of storytelling through using the morphology and structures of storytelling.

09.30 - 09.45 Introduction and greetings
09.45 - 10.45 The basic of storytelling
10.45 - 11.30 Individual exercise: “The story of the business”
11.30 - 12.00 Group exercise: “The story of stories”
12.30 - 14.00 Lunch break
14.00 - 15.00 Storytelling case studies for brands and multiple channels
15.00 - 17.00 Group exercises
17.00 - 17.30 Project presentations (pitching) and plenary discussion

Francesca Piredda is a research doctor and researcher in the Design Department of the Polytechnic of Milan, teaches at the School of Design of the Polytechnic of Milan and is a member of the scientific commission of Poli.Design's Master in Digital Strategy. Member of the Imagis Lab research laboratory, he collaborates with DESIS International Network - Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability. He coordinates research and training activities in the field of communication design and multi-channel strategies for branding and social inclusion, using the tools of narrativity, audiovisual language and participatory video.


Creative and Design Thinking

Workshop | Date: 17.05.2018
Location: BUC, Central University Library, Room 2C, Via Adalberto Libera, 3 - Trento

The DRLab presents a series of intensive monthly workshops on important skills for professional designers, under the guidance of national and international experts. The aim is to contribute to the training of designers capable of lending their own professionalism to supporting economic development. The third appointment will deal with Creative and Design Thinking.


Prof.ssa Marita Canina, IDEActivity Center of the Politecnico di Milano
Dott.ssa Carmen Bruno, IDEActivity Center of the Politecnico di Milano

This intensive training workshop, organized by DRLab and led by the IDEActivity Center from the Department of Design at the Milan Polytechnic, illustrates the process of Creative Design Thinking through a case study of which the participants will be the principle guides. Aimed mainly at a public of specialists, the workshop offers an opportunity based on ‘learning-by-doing’ that runs through the methodology of the IDEActivity while experimenting in first person with its principle tools. The aim of the Creative Thinking Workshop is to activate each person’s creative potential and generative collaborative dynamics for innovating and identifying new planning solutions together.

09.30 - 09.45 Introduction and greetings
09.45 - 10.45 Theoretical presentations on Creativity, Design Thinking and Human-Centred approaches
10.45 - 11.00 Design Challenge launch
11.00 - 13.00 Explore: the first phase in the design process
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch break
14.00 - 16.00 Generate: the second phase in the design process
16.00 - 16.45 Presentation of ideas
16.45 - 17.30 Debrief and conclusions


Marita Canina Ph.D in Industrial Design and biodesigner. She is Associate Professor of the Department and School of Design of the Milan Polytechnic, where she is also in charge of the scientific coordination of IDEActivity Center. Expert in creative process, Design Thinking and bio-design, current research interests are aimed at the development of Creativity Design Thinking aimed at the innovation of products and services.

Carmen Bruno is a PhD student at the Design Department of the Milan Polytechnic. The research interest focuses on the identification and analysis of new spaces of action for the designer from a human centered point of view, experimenting with new approaches based on design thinking and co-design.