Updated “What’s My Name Again” Range Board

This is working towards objective 4.C.

Following the development of the cosmetic products as shown on my previous posts, I have updated and revised the range board which sits with this new development (product design) of the project.

The board now shows a range of products, the right hand side being the Tote Bag Packs and on the left, the cosmetic products. A product information label has also been placed on the bottom left so it is clear for viewers which product is which. I feel this range board is much more visually effective than the previous, showcasing how the ‘range’ has developed over time from initial Instagram Posts and Poster designs.

I will mockup and prototype which products I can in advance for submission and to allow myself to experiment further with ideas and processes (stipulations and potential have been discussed on a previous post), however also plan on submitting a final range board encompassing the whole project and what my initial idea has developed into.

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STAR Magazine: Scans and Analysis (Issue 659, 24/10/16)

This is working towards objective 1.

I came across this weekly magazine in my local CO-OP whilst waiting in a queue. I do not normally purchase such magazines, however felt obliged to purchase this in regards to research purposes. I saw the cover and was instantly taken back by the relevance in association to my research question, and more relevant, my current exploratory practical works and concepts focusing on the fashion and beauty industries and how they can unknowingly at times, affect our self-perception.

I have used Kylie Jenner as a focus throughout one of my initial projects being a natural progression from the success of initial one-off Instagram posts focusing on the power of her icon status and subsequent beauty brands, in turn influencing our self-perception through a following of almost 80m on Instagram, in addition to her app and TV shows for example.

Furthermore, the idea of competition within this article was intriguing, “Kylie tried to steal Kim’s crown” especially between two sisters, with Kylie in the photograph shown on the cover below, donning a Kim Kardashian ‘pose’ and donning a similar physique. At the same time, she is consciously pulling up her top to reveal her body, taking the photograph herself, showing how technology and media can drive a media storm making front page ‘news’. Being conscious of this Kylie is objectifying herself (self-objectification) knowing what sort of reaction she will receive from her following and the media alike. But does this self-objectification and narcissist trait perhaps, resonate with the ‘icon’ themselves that they are causing potential damage to those who view such imagery and articles, altering their perceptions and beliefs in turn? It is obvious that magazines such as Star, have no objection with objectifying, and showcasing women theirselves in order to gain sales.

Furthermore, as also touched on in my previous research and practice is the current fad of ‘lip fillers’ within the beauty and fashion industries, with celebrities, bloggers and icons alike seen with such augmentations. In addition to this, on the cover are also procedures such as ‘nose jobs’ and bottom implants. What I did notice however was that even though the headline “surgery shockers” at first appears quite negative, with the subtitles supporting this negativity in a sense of shock of ‘bad changes’ and bad perceptions. None of these procedures and the ‘finished looks’ have been seen as ‘beautiful’, ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ by the writers, and have instead been relayed with such terms as “destroyed her lips” and “wonky” suggesting to the reader, for once, that perhaps this is not such a good idea and infact can cause judgements and negative perceptions. Will this overtime impact on ones self-esteem through the gaze of others, leading to the self-surveying gaze to shine through and alter ones body again – but was this why the surgery was done in the first place? And are they changing due to feeling like they don’t fit in? This is resonant of Tafjel and Turner’s (1979) Identity theory where one may change their appearance to ‘fit in’ being “out-group”, and by making such changes to become “in-group” they feel as though they will be ‘accepted’. I believe that this is the same for celebrities and icons, feeling the need to compete and constantly comply with trends and the actions of those around them in-order to maintain a positive identity, and sense of positive self-perceptions. However, this as also noted in Taflej and Turner’s (1979) model that this cycle can cause depression, mental health issues, anxiety and eating disorders for example.

I feel looking at this cover alone, I have already noted Fredrickson and Robers (2008) Objectification and Self-Objectification theories, Tafjel and Turners’ (1979) Identity Theory, Shields (2013) Self-Surveying Gaze and Bem’s (1972) Self-Perception theory, and feel as though these can be relayed throughout the articles also noted below, but more importantly show how many issues, topics and debates can arise from only a very small segment of research and examples. I feel also that this cover alone evidences many of the points I have made, or am trying to raise through my current practice and research, and feel it is research and current examples such as this which evidence and satisfy my research question.

I am interested to compare such covers and articles to that of more ‘highbrow’ magazines to see comparatively how such topics of discussion are relayed in regards to both, copywriting and visuals.

I have made bullet points below in regards to the other scanned in articles, in relation to my research question, research to date and current practice.

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Above – left page:

  •  ‘Thigh-gap social media fad’ as noted in previous research in relation to Luisa Omielan and Anne Robert’s “Body Image Secrets” documentary, being explicitly showcased by Kylie Jenner due to her body positioning and pose.
  • Competitive tone used in headline suggesting competition with one and other, even siblings, to be perceived as the ‘best’, ‘perfect’, ideal’ both in terms of figure, beauty and social media status.

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Above:

  • Highlights previous research and focus in practical work (Instagram posts/well being campaign proposal) on photo-manipulation using photoshop, filters and apps.
  • This article notes the “fails” of doing-so which highlights to me how this could then alter one’s perception and self-perception through being exposed to having a different physique as put out for so long in the media, whilst using such editing methods can also be frowned upon by those who look unto icons, but then do it themselves, hinting also at double standards. This is also noted above in the article, “What a hypocrite! Telling young girls not to get plastic surgery yet she photoshops a photo to make herself look thinner”.
  • “All this photoshopping just shows how inadequate they feel about themselves” is a quote from a ‘commenter’ quoted by Star, highlighting the points made above.
  • Photoshopping and any form of photo-manipulation – does this highlight our insecurity of our identities and by making such changes one attempts to alter this in order to ‘fit in’ and be accepted?
  • Highlights the heavily researched and discussed topic of ‘natural’ within the beauty industry currently, especially in relation to Tarte cosmetics for example (see previous posts). The same taboo topic is also noted in the article, “fans have blasted her a hypocrite for altering her snaps, after she recently promoted natural beauty with an anti-survey campaign” after having a range of procedures done such as, breast augmentations, lip fillers and botox, and previously admitting she had gone overboard.

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Above:

  • I found this page in particular interesting showcasing celebrities in their ‘natural’ state which I found quite compelling in a positive way. I feel even though these types of magazines are usually know for their celebrity filled covers and brash headlines, however feel very surprised by how none of these articles really in a direct way encourage lip fillers for example. Above shows another example, relaying to the viewer that celebrities are real people, and do not look flawless all the time. However, as shown below, ways to then change ourselves are advertised on a following page showcasing new and on-trend beauty products.
  • Some of the quotes used and comments made resonate with the idea of self-perception, identity and belonging as under ‘Ashley Greene’, it is noted “it’s nice to know [she] looks just like us”, almost seeking acceptance and validity for how we look without makeup. Furthermore, celebrities such as Charlotte Crosby have been recorded stating “EmbraceTheForeHead tag a friend who has a MASSIVE forehead” allowing her social media following to know that she is okay with her insecurities and wants you to be okay with yours, and your friends, and hers also. I feel that this is something which could be done by ‘icons’ perhaps in ‘even higher places’ with much much influence, however this would then damage their reputation and the identity they have built through shaping perceptions.

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Above:

  • As previously noted above, even though the articles analysed do not directly encourage one to go and get plastic surgery for example, and in fact does shed a more negative light on it than a positive change, a few pages later, a beauty page appears with ways in which are encouraged in order to change your appearance to reach an ‘ideal’ or a certain look, as shown by featuring Cheryl Cole as a visual reference.
  • I also found it interesting that sponsored products (L’Oreal) are noted in regards to Cole, and therefore maintains her reputation and identity built with the brand, whilst also her image, and power to sell products in order to get the exact look she has been photographed wearing, is only in the best interest of the brand. Therefore, often our perceptions and self-perceptions are designed and curated by the brand and icon powers at large at a particular moment in time.

Source:
STAR Magazine, Issue 659, 24th October 2016

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CAD Development

This is working towards objective 4.C.

I wanted to include a short post regarding the process used for CAD development. I find this to be a good way of testing ideas quickly and effectively as I feel this process gives a highly visual, and at time very realistic outcome.

Initially, I would place the key component on an Adobe Illustrator art board, and scale this accordingly on the page in order to build a framework to build the rest of the elements around – i.e. ‘doors’ on the front of the packaging concealing the products. This ensures that the whole CAD design will be to scale in relation to the key product – the liquid lipsticks. At this stage they are all pink, however using the Poster/Postcard featuring ‘the whole collection’ of new shades, I would alter the product colours accordingly ensuring they are all different, and ensuring that the main theories and ideas which I am wanting to portray through this idea/design are used as relevant shades. Colours used can be seen in the Swatches box below.

From this, using the ‘doors’ to create the front of the box/packaging, a ‘drippy lip’ has also been included which would be die cut and this would be the element which secures the packaging when closed – this could be done through a die-cut arc, or through the use of velcro for example. This would depend on the weight of the final product in real life, however this has not been reflected on the CAD design. I have simply ensured that I am aware of how this would be mocked up/made in Industry, so if I am able to produce a version of my own through further development and sourcing of the correct containers (discussed on a previous post) for example, it would be a viable product to pitch and produce. If I could source the corresponding colour product in an unbranded container, I would be able to use clear vinyl to mockup these products, however this needs researching further and is time permitting.

Following this I then changed the colours of the packaging according to the developed identity and theme used throughout the other product range. The pink was introduced along with gradients to add depth and dimension to the add. These can be seen in the Swatches panel also shown below.

Finally the corresponding artwork was added, allowing the end-user/consumer to know which shade is which (in this case theory or idea surrounding the concept of the project), along with the title, “What’s my name again?” and relevant product copy.

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“WHAT’S MY NAME AGAIN” Cosmetics Gifting Idea Development

This is working towards objective 4.C.

After working on the Badge CAD development, I began to think about other commercial and consumerist based products which I could add to the line of products already being developed and experimented with to date, surrounding this project which has developed quite quickly and dramatically in respect to my original proposal of Instagram Posts and Posters.

As the target audience are those who are actively interested in the beauty industry in particular, buy products and follow trends, I began to think about several cosmetic, gifting products which could be proposed for further development. Each product has been designed to either be used by oneself, or to continue on the motive which the badges and postcards boast – sharing the message with friends. These would be ideal for gifts for friends at Christmas or at Birthdays for example – they share a message, stimulate and provoke thought through the consistent branding and use of theories/ideas for ‘lipstick shades’  whilst also serving a purpose relevant to the industry, topic and consumer.

I chose to develop these based on my past experience as working for a Cosmetic Designer in Industry, and wanted to revisit, exercise and develop my technical CAD skills which are shown below. In addition, by using CAD design it allows for the products to be shown almost realistically in a highly-visual and 3D manner. I particularly like using CAD design to develop cosmetic products and ideas as mocking up these physically can be time consuming and very costly, and also requires the sourcing of unbranded cosmetic products which sourcing at low quantities can be very difficult based on past experiences as MOQs usually start at around 5000 units from suppliers. I wouldn’t want to use a pre-branded container as this would hinder the design and therefore feel in this instance using CADs and product range boards are more appropriate.

A drinks tumbler which are very on-trend and can be bought in shops such as New Look, Primark and Topshop has been designed colour co-ordinating and matching the branding and the colour palette of the cosmetics included in that particular set. Several versions of this have been developed and shown below.

A variety of makeup bags have also been designed, using both the branding drippy lip illustration and catch line, as well as hinting at the shade of lipstick used on the packaging. A slogan has also been used on the other versions of the bags, keeping in line with the drinks tumblers and organically developed project name, “What’s my name again?” mocking the popularity and self-branding of Kylie Jenner in a satirical, humorous way which is relevant and connectable with the end-user. This ‘line’ originally came from the idea that everyone in the world knows her name, therefore losing her identity as a human being and individual and therefore becoming a marketing tool, branded entity and icon whom is known for her looks.

The final product developed is a Lipstick Vault, holding 16 liquid lipsticks all named after relevant theories/ideas as noted above and as also showcased on the posters and postcards, which show each colour as a different shade. The idea behind this is that one receives or uses it becomes aware of the associative sarcastic and satirical names hinting at a very serious problem behind the products they are using at that very moment in time. The packaging has also been reflective and in-line with the other products developed to date.

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Professional Context Presentation 1 – Revised for Interim Submission/Presentation

Below shows the interim presentation which was submitted for the first Professional Context presentation. I chose to present the Professional Context presentation first, which will be followed by a more theoretical presentation.

The ‘script’ for the presentation is also shown below, and has been broken down into slides.

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Presentation Notes

Slide 1: Introduction and About Me/My Practice
I’m Danielle Muntyan, a Graphic Designer, Digital Illustrator and Consultant working with Beauty and Fashion brands to create both digital and print-based visual solutions to unique brand problems.
In 2006, I began my journey leading me to where I am today, on the MA Creative Practice course delivering this presentation.
Whilst studying for my English Language GCSE, I undertook a project whereby I researched a topic and would in return, create a magazine article journalling my findings. The topic chosen was ‘Size 0’ and the idea of ‘Thinspiration’ which at the time were heavily talked about in the press and showcased in the media. This, along with the pressure of wanting to ‘be the best’ in my studies, spiralled into a world of Anorexia which I was captivated under until the end of 2010. I weighed 5 stone, and was severely ill to a point I didn’t think I’d ever actually recover. However, upon reflection, and as a grown woman, it is apparent that the media and the journalistic-side of the Fashion industry I was interested in studying at the time, triggered, shaped and moulded my expectations of myself, and without realising would shape my studies and practice for the next 10 years or so of my life.
Whilst in recovery from my Eating Disorder in 2010, I enrolled on the BA(Hons) Fashion Marketing and Branding degree at Nottingham Trent University and studied for 2 years before realising I was too creative to be on, what was in my mind, a business-led course. Still interested in Fashion and the Promotional world surrounding it, I enrolled on the BA(Hons) Graphic Design degree at Leeds College of Art in 2012, and tailored the next 3 years of my studies to the Fashion and Beauty Industries, utilising previously acquired knowledge. It was also important for me at this stage to also reflect upon my personal traumas, and how these could be turned into positives through my work. Over the course of the 3 years, I studied various contextual and theoretical topics such as ‘How Body Image has changed over time due to portrayals in Fashion Magazines’ and also carried out a research-led piece of work, working with the community to showcase how ‘real’ people perceive themselves in a world so dominated by ideals, and furthermore the idea of attaining ‘perfection’.
As soon as I left the BA(Hons) Graphic Design degree, I began working with Haddow Group as a Cosmetics Designer. Initially thinking this was a dream job to get straight after uni, I took it and 9 months later was designing products for Boux Avenue and Ann Summers. As exciting as that was, on the contrary I found myself designing cosmetic products for target audiences as young as 10 years old. Working with ‘special non-toxic formulations’ and bright pink and gold packaging made me question the the ethics and responsibilities of the company I was working for, but also as a designer this made me feel uncomfortable and based on my past experiences knew how this could impact upon someones perceptions of themselves at a very young age. Since I have been working with clients on an International basis, including LA, Sydney, Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, for example.
This leads me to present day, and my research question asking ‘how Social Media and Magazines within the Beauty and Fashion Industries affect our sense of body image and self-perception?’. I feel at this moment in time, there is more ways than ever before to change how we look, and I’d like to also understand this on a cross-cultural scale in order to produce relevant pieces of design work with my clients going forward, whilst sharing my research and findings through visual outcomes over the next year.
Slide 2: Cross-Cultural Influences on Magazine Content/Advertising
 
Whilst working with clients about either through my freelance work, or contractually, I have found the contrasts in culture and its reflection on the industry quite predominant. For example, whilst working on a project in line with an Egyptian menswear brand for NYFW last year, a black model was used, which offended the client being perceived as a symbol of ‘the devil’. The lack of diversity, cultural, ethical, religious and societal issues have become much more important to me regarding my practice, to ensure that I am engaging with the correct target audience, in the correct way. However, this opened up my eyes to other cross-cultural issues surrounding the Industry.
For example, Vogue Japan. I have always been an ambassador of Vogue, owning around 400 copies of UK and International Editions. I am always striked by the creative direction used in Vogue Italia, and the richness of colour and culture that is reflected through Vogue India, and the brashness of Vogue Russia, however Vogue Japan struck me as an anomaly in representing its true culture, as Anna Winter detonates each International edition should do. Vogue Japan still resonates with the West almost entirely with 7 Japanese cover models being used since 1999 – the remainder have been mainly American or British. 3 of these Japanese models were used in the first year of the magazine being published, and the first edition featured a collaboration of Kate Moss and Miki – still keeping the Western influence in tact from day one.
I find Vogue Japan very interesting in contrast to the UK edition due to the culture change – we have grown up in a society whereby we want to fake tan in order to fit in and change our appearance, whilst the Japanese are still very heavily influenced by the West, and have specially formulated beauty products which actually lighten skin, opposed to darken it. This is shown via Lancome and the AD with Emma Watson as the sponsor – the typical ‘English rose’ with porcelain skin. This is also shown on the double page spread on the top centre image – Clarins and Clinque are also shown to have their own skin-lightening products. Furthermore, this ‘Beauty and Health Special Edition’ also promotes the ‘ideal’ western figure, showing women in Japan how to achieve ‘long legs’. This is shown through the selection of models used throughout the magazine, as well as highlighting the fact in a dedicated article, allowing people to question if they fit in or look ‘right’. How do these visual and brand-led influences affect Japanese culture and their sense of self-perception as a unique society? Are magazines standardising the way women look across the world more?
In January 2016 I am going to be spending a week in Tokyo, Japan, which I have already booked and I am currently researching further into at the moment, in an aim to understand this gain research first hand. I plan on trying to speak to an Editor at Vogue Japan, whilst carrying out a range of interviews, focus groups and field-research.
 
Slide 3: Influencer Culture and Social Media
 
As a designer, magazines have always interested me due to not only the process of page layout, but through the idea that as an editor, art designer, designer or writer for instance, you are sharing your work with an engaged and interested audience. Furthermore you are in control of this. With magazines such as Vogue, it is clear that the editors are responsible for dictating which models are used and what they are dressed in – pushing trends and brands which they themselves love upon us, the public. By buying into this we are falling within a consumerist trap, whereby we are told what to buy, wear and look like consciously or unconsciously affecting our self-perception, and therefore our perceptions of others too.
Social Media however in recent years, has allowed us to take back this control from the editors and choose what we want to share, curate and promote. Platforms such as Instagram I feel started off as a positive in a commercial world, whereby as individuals we could share and document our experiences and photographs. Overtime this platform has also become in many cases a negative impact upon someones self-esteem, confidence or self-perception, for example. Due to its popularity, brands have taken to this along with celebrities and icons, as a method of promoting products, brands and even people. However, as with magazines there is a cover model, there are also those who have created careers around their carefully created Instagram feeds, and have therefore become ‘bloggers’, ‘vloggers’ or ‘influencers’ adding a new type of cultural trend to an already self-aware and self-obsessed industry.
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, and bloggers or vloggers such as Samantha Ravndahl and Aimee Song have re-defined their careers within a world of social media, and have branded the ways in which they are seen accordingly to avoid any mis-conception as to who they are, and what they look like. The pressure of social media within this world, means hundreds of photographs are taken a day until the perfect ‘selfie’ is taken – Kim Kardashian states the key is “your best angle and good lighting” and released a book titled “selfish” containing over 600 images of herself, taken by herself. Hinting at a digital world of Narcissism, there is also a book and YouTube video by Aimee Song showing one “how to take the perfect photo for Instagram” and how to build your Instagram brand, hinting that if you look right and portray yourself right, you have a chance of obtaining the same lifestyle as she does – expensive, luxurious and other worldly.
Beauty Vlogger and Makeup Artist, Samantha Ravndahl whom I recently interviewed stated that she feels, the industry has “cheapened experiences” overtime for her, taking away the craft and skill of makeup artistry and relaying the trade back now as a means of testing whom looks the best at 8am at the gym on a Monday morning. When asked what “cheapened experiences” means, Samantha noted that everything has become about how she looks and is constantly aware of how she looks, acts, talks etc, as she has a certain image to maintain now she has built a following on 2.4m followers, but when she does want a day off, she gets ‘judged’ for not looking ‘perfect’ as this is the perception she has actively built for herself. She also noted how when she is on holiday she isn’t taking in her surroundings, she is simply looking for scenery to support her photographs of herself to promote and exude a luxury, lavish lifestyle that comes with the ‘job’.
So if this facade can affect someone in such a high position in the world of Social Media, and the competition of whom has the most followers, or works with more brands can push one to get lip fillers, botox and a breast enlargement at 22, I wonder what impact this has on those in their teenage years who are still finding themselves and whom are very susceptible to the pressures, ideals and ‘perfections’ pursued by the media.
 
Slide 4: Advances in Technology
This leads me on to the Advances in Technology surrounding my practice, and the field of Fashion and Beauty which I work within. I would consider the recent developments in Instagram as relevant new technologies, allowing short videos to be shared with followers in a ‘SnapChat’ style way – further encouraging user-interaction and engagement. User-interaction, experience-design and personalisation have become key technological advances within the Beauty and Fashion Industries, especially in the way of App design and Photo-Manipulation tools.
However, on a cross-cultural and International scale also, these technologies and platforms, in particular Instagram and YouTube have become vital for brand growth, marketing and promotional strategies, as well as allowing for collaboration across Industries and Inter-disciplinary practitioners. Furthermore for my own practice, working with Industries, which are going more digital, it is important and a positive for me to use these new technologies to not only promote myself and my work with, but as forms of research and experimentation as my practice develops further. In addition, these platforms have allowed me to work with clients and collaborate with a variety of practitioners on an International scale, whilst reaching relevant and large audiences instantly, and with ease opening up my ideas and practice to a larger audience, which I feel with my research topic is very important to keep in mind.
The photographs shown on this slide showcase a portion of new technologies within the Beauty and Fashion Industries. All apart from bottom right are Apps which have been designed to change our appearance through facial recognition technologies and augmented realities. BeautyPlus is a Japanese app, which as shown, does this through a range of filters, or options, to edit our facial features – anything from tooth whitening, to eye widening and skin lightening. There is also a UK version called MakeUp Plus for those who may be interested in giving this a go! Rimmel and L’Oreal have created Apps allowing the user to ‘try on’ products which then can be bought afterwards – this was a solution to shopping at home, and to also solve the problems of trying cosmetics in store. In China, L’Oreal released a relevant version, and was more popular than anywhere else in the world, as allowed women to try on makeup at home, without shame. China still are quite uneducated in regards to cosmetics, and can be seen as a bad thing to do, therefore this app allowed those who are interested to do so in a safe, and realistic, yet virtual environment. However, Rimmels app, allowed one to take a photo of a ‘celebrity’ for example, in order to re-create their look through new recognition technologies.
Either way, the apps encourage you to either look like someone else, whom doesn’t actually look like themselves anyway due to photo editing post-production, or encourages you to change the way you look in order to fit in with the expectations and norms of your culture and pre-determined ‘ideals’ of beauty.
Kylie Jenner has also released her own app, titled Kylie, allowing you to watch videos of her makeup tutorials, buy the clothes she is wearing today, tune in for live chats and browse through an endless stream of fashion and beauty related photos and videos. This app doesn’t allow you to upload your own content but allows you to engage with the community and boasts user-interaction and a personalised stream. Advances in technology in this respect further promote the idea of constantly being able to view the idea of ‘perfection’ 24/7, and allow for further ways to change how we look and are perceived intern altering how we see ourselves and our own beauty.
Lastly, H&M were found in 2011 to be using CGI created models with real-models’ heads photoshopped on in their catalogues and on their website, creating a debate around the idea of standardisation. Skin tones were changed to create diversity, however the body shape was stick like, and each model wore the same pose. I feel this alone showcases the negatives in what technology within the Beauty and Fashion Industries can achieve, and how this can affect ones self-perception and eventually the perceptions of others too.
Slide 5: B-EAT and Summary
B-EAT note that Eating Disorders are not solely caused by visuals shown in the media, but that this added with current pressures, expectations and stresses in life can lead-to or prolong Eating Disorders. As noted whilst talking through my first slide, I believe this is what happened to myself, and also what happens to others who position themselves as a follower or an active participant of the industry. From the information I have shared with you it is apparent that the beauty and fashion industries can affect our self-perception in numerous ways from whether we use apps or from the impact on oneself being constantly under pressure through being ‘an icon’ and being the ‘desired ideal’. However, this is what I plan on exploring, researching and sharing through my practice over the next year.
In support and in response to the negative impacts of the beauty and fashion Industries, several organisations and policies have been put in place to help the media tactfully tackle these problems. These are organisations such as B-EAT, EDAW and the UK All Parliamentary Group on Body Image can help brands, and fellow organisations with advice if requested, however this does not seem to happen often enough. Some brands do not have any policies set in place allowing them to use CGI Models i.e. H&M without question, however ASOS for example, an International E-Commerce site appealing to many countries, have The ASOS Model Welfare Policy in place allowing for only healthy models to be used, for those models to be looked after whilst in ASOS’ care and allowing for diversity across a range of men and women, from petite to plus size – not simply standardising with one size, shape and ethnicity. I feel that this is a really proactive and positive approach to tackling the sensitive issue and to also avoid both National and International scrutiny from those who are aware of such issues surrounding their practice like myself, and also from those in the public who want to see ’real’ people modelling clothes. I do think however that more brands should enforce such policies, and I also believe that if magazines put into place guidelines or rules on models used for ad campaigns for example, this would alleviate many body image issues and self-perception issues which are triggered by the the media.
It is said that 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, 89% of which are female and only 43% will recover fully. Is it time that companies, brands, icons, influencers and celebrities for example encouraged positive body image and beauty, opposed to building brands, businesses and self-worth through the neglect of others mental health, feelings, emotions and physical well-being?
I would like to leave you with a couple of questions.
  1. How do you perceive your body image?
  2. Do you feel the rise in social media and new technologies affects your self-perception?
  3. How do magazines and social media affect the male perception of women?
  4. Do you feel magazines and social media affect your own self-perception?
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Promotional Tote Bag Range CAD

The Instagram and Poster project I had set myself to work on, develop and experiment with over the past few weeks has developed to a point where I feel I need to collate various of the different items noted throughout experimenting, i.e. postcards, tote bags etc, in order to develop the promo bags as also discussed previously. These will contain promotional and useable materials to go alongside the campaign which has been developed from the initial projects.

My initial idea for the Tote Bag packs is that each would include:

  • Badge
  • Postcard Set
  • Postcard and Print Set
  • Tote Bag
  • Poster

I have chosen to show this through CAD design, showcasing visually the proposed contents for further development and exploration with processes to produce/mockup these items.

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Tote Bag and Heat Transfer Vinyl Experiments

This is working towards objective 4.C.

As noted in several other posts, I wanted to create vinyl heat transfer tote bags to coincide with my goodie bags, or promotional packs should they rather be called. These bags will hold the contents and hint at the topic.

I have started experimenting with these using die-cut heat transfer vinyl, and natural canvas tote bags.

The process for this can be found below. This is smooth running processes ensuring one has all the correct tools in place. I find this an easy process having done this before during my BA degree, transferring vinyl onto t-shirts.

  1. The areas to cut out are drawn or traced from an .ai file.

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2. These are then mirrored for cutting, as will be transferred on to the tote bags the opposite way around. This is to ensure that any text or non-symettrical artwork is readable and accurate to the original design.

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3. The vinyl is the cut out on the die-cutting machine, Silhouette Cameo (as discussed on a previous post used to perforate and cut out postcards), the excess vinyl is peeled away leaving the transferable artwork on the sticky-back plastic sheet.

4. Heat is applied at 110 degrees celsius for approximately 2 minutes. The plastic backing is peeled away leaving the vinyl firmly secured on the tote bag.

This process was repeated with different coloured vinyls, in different colour combinations, whilst only using text on a portion also, allowing each at this stage to be different.

The colour vinyls used were; glitter pink, matte red, matte black and metallic gold.

I found that even though quite technical to line up accurately, this was much easier to do well than screen printing and found the effect much more tactile. I also really liked the depth created through the contrast of gloss/matte or matte/metallic substrates.

However, I found that I didn’t particularly feel the natural canvas tote bags were the right colour once assembled, and feel a light pink matching that of the prints and postcards would be more suited, and would also feel more of a uniformed set of promotional products.

I plan on dying the tote bags over the next few days, and will then re-do this process. I am also interested in purchasing flesh colour vinyl, or mink colour vinyl for the lips as another experiment and alternative, and perhaps a matte raspberry pink for the drips, however flesh colour heat-transfer vinyl is seeming to be quite difficult at this moment in time and is something I am going to look further into over the next few days. I also felt that the red/gold combination was slightly christmassy and again feel this is due to the bag colour/lip colour, and feel once I have obtained different materials I will be able to resolve these ‘problems’ through further experimentation and development.

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NEW IDEA DEVELOPMENT: Badges & Badge Boxes

This is working towards objective 4.C.

Following the making of the postcard/postcard and print sets, I was thinking about further ideas which could be executed around the same idea of sharing. I came across the idea of badges, which really excited me thinking about the materials I could experiment with and the ways in which they could be packaged.

I drew some initial sketches which outline the idea shown below, whereby the badge would be contained in a box, to add value, protect the item and to also qualify as a gift in order to share with friends and spread the message regarding beauty and its influences upon self-perception and body image. I really find the idea of sharing this message through social groups relevant and key, both via social media or in-person. I also thought these badges would be a good addition to the ‘goody bags’. These could be contained in poly-bags with a mountain-fold closure as seen on the postcard/postcard and print packs.

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Below shows further development of this idea, and how this could be taken forward into single badge boxes, duo sets and gift bags CADs and packaging nets have been drawn to demonstrate this.

They have not been drawn to scale, however have been drawn to test the nets, the stock and finish needed and the amount of weight which can be held in the box, allowing for myself to work out and experiment with the best form of inner in order to both kept the box in tact, but also securely hold the badges in place.

By continuing to develop this idea, I am hoping to experiment with colour, process, technique and a variety of materials. I feel this will be a really good, impromptu project to get stuck into surrounding my other projects in order to learn and develop hands-on processes as well as digital and binding skills for example. As this project was not planned originally, I am having to build this in around my weekly plans and schedules, so may be hard at times however, I am very keen to take this forward and fulfil it to the best of my ability. Furthermore, I feel this will be a good hands-on challenge opposed to working digitally as I do with most of my personal and professional practice being a graphic designer.

I am aware of all of the processes used and have at some point experimented with them all over the past 10 years whilst being in education, however would like to delve back into this to improve my skill set and enhance my knowledge. This will also give me a better understanding if I am ever to use these processes or techniques in industry, for example, or during collaboration with interdisciplinary practitioners.

Annotations have been noted on each page below to clarify and cover any process details or further information. I plan on evaluating and analysing these processes as I carry them out in order to work towards a final prototype which potentially may be taken forward for further development and project realisation in semester 2.

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International Research Trip to Japan: Booked for 16th – 23rd January 2017

This is working towards objective 1, 2, 3 and 5.

I have recently confirmed and booked an International Research Trip as part of my MA Creative Practice studies, in order to understand on a cross-cultural level how the Beauty and Fashion Industries affect our sense of body image and self-perception. I feel in contrast to the UK, where many women fake tan to achieved ‘a desired look’ for instance, in Japan, women are known to use ‘skin-lightening’ products to acquire a more Western skin tone. Furthermore, as noted in my Professional Context Presentation 1 research it is clear that Vogue Japan takes its design influences from its Japanese heritage and culture, but content wise projects a Western ideal, and ways to achieve this, be it though diet, exercise, clothing, skincare or makeup. In addition, as also noted within the same blog posts and context, many Japanese women use apps such as BeautyPlus to alter their appearance digitally prior to posting on social media, whether this be changing their skin tone, or widening their eyes for that, ‘ideal’ look. Examples of the above can be found below:

[Discussion continued below]

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Above shows scans taken from a recent June 2016 edition of Japan Vogue, which focuses on beauty products with specifically-created formulations to lighten skin and help naturally ‘widen eyes’, and leg exercises in order to elongate them to achieve the ideal ‘long leg’ as boasted by Western people in relation to the average sized Japanese woman for example, whilst also coincidently being the ‘ideal’ showcased through their cover models, photoshoots and content alike.

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‘Cultural Icons’ as talked about by Mary F. Rodgers in “Barbie Culture” states that these are commodities which are shaped to consumer needs, trends and changing ideals. Is this why Japan Vogue features little Eastern models for their covers and editorial photoshoots? This is shown above with cover model, and ‘Cultural Icon’ Kendall Jenner. The content also is usually very Western promoting Western ideals and beauty trends as noted above. I would like to see whilst in Japan whether National magazines use more Eastern models in relation to International Magazines which have ‘spin-off’ editions. I also want to look at this as noted below in more detail, in regards to Fashion houses and brands, and whether Western models are used mainly to generate sales and brand engagement to being ‘cultural icons’ who still remain known to all but change as needed to, and whether in relation to this identities and native cultures are affected, whilst also affecting the self-perception of the population? As noted in previous research Editors are usually responsible for selecting what is included in a magazine content wise, and therefore am interested in looking into the associative Instagram account, website and social media pages, to see if this use of Western models, ideals and trends follows suit with a platform which reaches a larger, and International target audience. Would this affect content selection, whereby Japan Vogue magazines themselves are extremely hard to come by in the UK and therefore, most likely other Western countries also?

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Above shows an Advertising campaign for Uniqlo, a Japanese brand using Western models to promote their garments. I am interested to see whilst in Japan the ratio of Japanese to Western models used across Beauty and Fashion brands, especially for those whom are based in the US or UK for example. I am particularly interested in looking at Japanese brands such as Uniqlo whilst over in Japan also to see what their in-store promotional materials are like in comparison to those in their London store (trip booked for 7th & 8th Jan 2017 prior to visiting Japan), i.e. models, makeup used, etc. I also would like to find out why Western models are sometimes used with Japanese brands, and again with Japanese magazines? Is it due to the demand for Western culture? Is it escapism of the religiousness and pre-set cultures of Japan? These are questions I am wanting to explore and research further.

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I found the above interesting as discussed in my presentation, as Emma Watson is being portrayed as the ‘English Rose’ promoting the idea of porcelain skin of the West, to those in the East. In response to this campaign, I came across this quote whilst researching which raised Feminist issues which I had not previously considered. 

The author of the piece ‘Perfect Whiteness: The Code Switching of European Cosmetic Companies’ wrote: “Emma Watson, forever paraded in the media as a white feminist icon, is the face of Lancôme’s “Blanc Expert” (Expert White) which contains disruptive ingredients intended to whiten the skin. Non-white women already have complexes about dark skin rooted in colonialism, racism and/or classism. They are exacerbated by these multimillion $ £ € campaigns designed to make us feel like our skin is a problem that we can pay for them to solve.” This made me think about issues in Japan which I should research into further prior to embarking on my visit. These are issues such as Identity, Classism, Economy and Religion for example, which may expose further the need for the East to feel as though they should conform with the West, whilst also thinking about this from a Feminist point of view, whilst sparking further thoughts on a Japanese campaign using a Western model as the face of the product and how this effects self-perception across the Japanese nation itself.

[Discussion continues]

I have always found this fascinating, and have always collected International editions over the past 15 years or so, building up a multi-cultural archive of my own and can’t wait to explore Japan and see culturally how it differs to ours at time where social media and magazines are generating new cultural icons on a regular basis, projecting new ideals also on to us in regards as how to look, and how to achieve this.

Furthermore, working with clients on an international basis over the past few years has highlighted the importance of understanding cross-cultural contexts in order to create relevant pieces of design work which communicate with the right audience, in the right way.

Whilst in Japan I hope to conduct various forms of field research, and to look into topics such as:

  • Are Western or Japanese models being used to advertise Japanese brands such as Uniqlo?
  • Are Western or Japanese celebritiess/icons being used for brand endorsements?
  • Skin-lightening fads
  • Product Innovations, Technologies and Trends
  • Who is on the cover of their fashion, beauty, hair magazines for example?
  • Photo booths which apply the BeautyPlus style filters to printed photos
  • How is Western body image and beauty reflected in Japanese magazines, i.e. Vogue Japan, Nylon Japan.

I plan on speaking to various forms of people and plan on using some of the following research methods:

  • Questionnaires/Surveys
  • Asking Questions
  • Focus Groups
  • Interviewing Bloggers/Vloggers
  • Talking to Magazines/Designers/Media/Industry Experts/Professionals

Over the next few weeks I plan on speaking to my contact in Japan, Charlotte Stacey, a Character Artist whom works for Disney Tokyo, in order to start speaking with translators, should the need arise, and to also start researching bloggers, for example to contact, whilst also putting out initial emails to magazines and organisations such as Vogue Japan and Uniqlo. Regarding this I will update my blog accordingly, and plan a schedule for my time there, to ensure that I use the opportunity to its full potential.

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Prototypes: Postcard and Poster Packs

This is working towards objective 4.C.

Above shows images from prototyping process of making postcard and print packs. This idea came from the perforated postcard books, when I was reflecting upon the process and outcome, and was thinking of other ways of binding. I then decided to create packs based upon the same idea that they can be shared with or without messages with friends and family, in order to spread the message on the idea of the beauty industry and its effects upon self-perception.

The process of creating these low-cost and low-tech prototypes can be seen below.

1: Choosing a stock – the stock on the left is true white 90gsm matte finish, and on the right is 120gsm silk finish pearl paper. The photograph actually makes the paper look much more yellow than it is, it is an off white with a semi-gloss finish. As I was using a laser printer to test this idea, I decided to print postcards initially on to each in order to make an informed decision on which to use. I noted that either would need a card backing – if and when produced for a final outcome, these would be digitally printed double sided onto card, to avoid this mocking up process for each set, whilst achieving a much more professional finish also. However, during this early stage I am happy to go through this process to test ideas and stock also so going forward I come into no issues and finalising the sets will be easier. I chose to use the 120gsm silk finish stock for the front of the postcards as I felt it made the colours deeper in comparison to the matte, as the paper stock hasn’t absorbed most of the ink drying to leave a darker colour. I also felt that for postcards and in-line with the poster development would be more in-line with the gloss stock chosen.

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2: These prints were then mounted onto 18ogsm card, and cut out accordingly to create the visual side of the postcards. The back of the cards were then mounted with a corresponding pale pink back with writing spaces for content and address.

A selection of 5 designs were chosen for the postcards and 2 designs for the prints, simply to ease the process of selection during the prototyping and mocking up process as I wanted to focus more on the quality of print and execution.

3: The A5 prints also went under the same process, however have not got a ‘postcard’ back and remain white.

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4: The postcards and prints were then placed into the relevant polybags – A5 or A6.

5: I wanted to create some form of tag for the packs to not only share what the contents is, but also suggest how to use them in regards to spreading the message. I decided to create mountain-fold cards which contain the title and slogan on the front, with extra details on the back. These would then be secured to the polybags, using double sided tape. I chose to use tape over a stapler to not damage the cards and to also give a cleaner and more professional finish.

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6: The packs were then sealed in order to place to folded cards over and secure.

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Overall, I am happy with the two prototypes created as I feel they are clever yet fun ways of spreading and sharing a message, and feel that even though the process was quite long-winded producing one-off prototypes, these could be very commercial if printed professionally, perhaps with a larger variety of content and packs.

I would like to produce sets which have different colours tags creating a variety of sets inspired by the chosen postcards for content, and feel these would be good in a larger pack of items, i.e. goodie bags – tote bag with prints, badges, stickers, etc. This would also add a second use to the items I have been designing and prototyping with recently.

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