Dora Isleifsdottir

Sense · Grace · Trust // Will work for: Food, Art, Love
Iceland, Norway (residence), Iceland (citizenship) °1970
research interests: Metadesign, Metamodernism, Design research, Design, Semiotics of type, typography, Branding, visual communication, visual language, asemic writing, design thinking, editorial design, book-making, visual identity, visual intelligence, publishing
affiliation: Member of Grafil, FÍT honorary member (Associaton of Graphic Designers in Iceland), Association Typographique Internationale (atypi)

Dóra Ísleifsdóttir is Professor of Visual Communication, Design, KMD, UiB.


She is educated in Iceland, with a short jaunt to Danmarksdesignskole, as a Nordplus student, she has a BA equivalent from the Icelandic College of Arts and Crafts (now Iceland Academy of the Arts), and a MA in Practical Editorship and Theory of Publication from the Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Iceland.

She authored and programme directed the MA in Design in Iceland Academy of the Arts, where she previously taught and worked for eighteen years from 1999 – 2017. Previously and parallel she has a career in advertising.

Her teaching, and artistic research, finds its nexus in the grayscale of meaning in Visual Language, particularly in semiotics of type, but looking at the emotional misguiding of paradigms explicit in branding and advertising, when used in politics and the commercial. Her search for meaning is grounded in the ideas and methodology of metadesign and metamodernism. She has applied these ideas and methodologies in practice, in the design of study programmes, and in art projects and artistic collaboration, such as the Ether project, the Universities House of Ideas, Alda – association for sustainability and democracy, etc.

She sees meaning in the world (now) as ”ofljóst” (Icelandic), which translates to ”too illuminated / clear” or having a multitude of meaning, usually subjective, and/or dependent on the recipient's relationships with the exterior. She therefore focuses on that which is: Hidden in Sight — Open to Sense.

She claims to be a design generalist, but her work can be read as consistently and simultaneously critical and aspirational; rational and blithely emotional; dead dry and utterly foolish; there is radical optimism to be found in the works of the Icelandic Love Corporation during her time with the group; a hope for unity and poetry runs through her personal work and her activities, including her continued design activism participation and initiatives. There is nothing speculative to her action, it is filled with sense, grace, and trust in the human spirit and a willingness to do better, if and when models of desirable actions are available. She wants to be of use in the making of such models, and nurture like-spirited creative people, projects, and actions.