The Role of Fashion Illustration as a Communicative Tool in Design


James Tetteh Ademtsu
Rita Esinam Tsenuekpor Tetteh
Sheila Naa Tetteorkor Clottey


This qualitative study investigates fashion illustration's role as a conceptual communication tool within Ghana's developing design education landscape through interviewing 5 fashion lecturers and 10 undergraduate students. The thematic analysis uncovers multifaceted pedagogical and socio-cultural functions of illustration in nurturing students' cultural visual literacies, critical perspectives, and creative confidence during early design stages. Perspectives highlight persistent challenges balancing mainstream global aesthetics and meaningful representations of local cultural traditions and identities across the curriculum. Findings provide empirically grounded, localized insights on leveraging this visual medium to bridge modernity and tradition at the intersection of Ghana's emerging formal fashion infrastructures and dynamic transnational design flows. Foregrounding Ghanaian voices shape the understanding of how hybridity manifests through selectively integrating foreign illustration techniques to nurture local relevance. Interpretations posit illustration's capacity to strengthen pluralistic communication and identity expression anchored in indigenous visual culture yet resonating globally. This exploratory study constitutes an early step toward decolonizing African design pedagogies by elevating Ghanaian standpoints and creative-educational priorities to enrich conceptual communication functionality. Wider survey and comparative research can further generalize and contextualize findings toward this long-term goal.