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In an age of globalization and connectivity, the idea of "mainstream culture" has become quaint. Websites, magazines, books, and television have all honed in on ever-diversifying subcultures, hoping to carve out niche audiences that grow sawier and more narrowly sliced by the day. Consequently, the discipline of graphic design has undergone a sea change. Where visual communication was once informed by a designer's creative intuition, the proliferation of specialized audiences now calls for more research-based design processes. Designers who ignore research run the risk of becoming mere tools for communication rather than bold voices.