The shared institute is a research centre for design, pedagogy and publishing. It hosts a variety of studios and projects, such as the design criticism journal Modes of Criticism and the pedagogical platform Illustration School. The institute organises an annual series of design research seminars investigating radical pedagogy in graphic design and the state of the discipline in relation to current social, economic and political phenomena. It invites a diverse group of designers, researchers and scholars, working together with the participants towards the publication of the experiments and findings.

The collaborative ethos of the institute also manifests itself in commissions and consultancy, making use of its network of designers, illustrators, writers and researchers, working on a variety of projects—from design criticism essays to visual identities across media, editorial design, curating and exhibition design, as well as design education. The institute is based in a 1937 typical house in the centre of the city of Porto, aiming to decentralise design discourse and practice, and serving literally as a shared space for design research.

Karen Lacroix is a Canadian illustrator, designer and publisher. She taught visual narratives at Richmond University (UK) and works for an eclectic range of clients such as Bright Ivy, English Touring Opera, Saffron Hall, Bishopsgate Institute, among others. After concluding an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art, she founded Uncanny Editions, an illustration publisher and studio exploring different modes of publication practice, collaborating with institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers’ Gallery and X Marks the Bökship. Her work is represented in collections such as MoMA (US), University College London, London College of Communication (UK), Serralves Foundation and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (PT), among others. She is the founder of the Illustration School, a nomadic pedagogical platform that investigates the expanded field of illustration.

Francisco Laranjo is a graphic designer and researcher. His writings have been published on Design Observer, Eye, Creative Review, Grafik, Público, among others. He has been a visiting and guest lecturer at the Sandberg Institute (NL), CalArts (US), Royal College of Art, London College of Communication, Kingston University (UK), Zürich University of the Arts, University of the Arts Bern (Switzerland) and speaker at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Austria), University of South Australia (AUS), University of the Arts Split (Croatia), University of Porto, University of Lisbon, University of Coimbra, ESAD (Portugal), among others. Francisco has a PhD in graphic design methods and criticism from the University of the Arts London and an MA in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art. He is an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins and the editor of the design criticism journal Modes of Criticism.


The shared institute is located in the centre of the city of Porto, Portugal. Both the metro stations of Marquês and Campo 24 de Agosto are a 12 minute distance from the institute. The train station of Campanhã is a 20-minute walk. Porto Airport is a 30 minute ride from the closest metro station.