The below in particular is working towards objectives, 1, 2 and 3.
I have been unable to cover all of the research which I had intended to cover throughout this semester. I do not feel that this has been down to poor time management however, I feel it has been more to do with the amount of contextual research and theoretical perspectives that I have needed to be aware of, along with a wealth of practical exploratory work. I do not feel at this stage I have enough time to finish these elements of research competently, and to the highest standard, and therefore feel it is best to wait to work on these until post-semester 1 hand in. I will begin to work on these post-hand in and going into semester 2, alongside itinerary planning for my field-research trip to Tokyo. Again with this, I have had to contact organisations to enable to secure meetings to work around in relation to itinerary. The below will help also with my research trip and in particular when speaking with Beauty Editors at Vogue Japan.
I have also noted people I would still like to contact prior to my research trip, and again will begin to work on this immediately after hand-in to ensure enough time is allowed for in regards to international communication and contingency plans regarding this.
In relation to the above, points noted with ‘Vogue’ will also be carried out on my field-research trip on comp shops, looking at what products are for sale in the UK and in Japan, i.e. skin lightening products – are these also available in the UK from the same brands as in Japan (often Western) or simply only from Japanese brands due to changes in culture? These are the sort of investigations I plan on carrying out to work towards answering my research topic and objectives.
This module has allowed for various objectives to be worked towards and learning objectives to be met, whilst working towards my objectives in relation to my research topic.
This module has allowed for me to research into:
This has been done via the below methodologies:
Going forwards I will use the following methodologies in addition to work towards achieving my objectives, whilst exploring a range of research methods to gain both quantitive and qualitative data:
I feel this module I have had to the groundwork in regards to contacting those needed to gain the best research to work towards answering my goals, such as speaking with Vogue (objective 3) and both British and Japanese students (objective 1.A, 1.B, 3). Once these are arranged I would then in semester 2, like to set for measurable goals allowing for quantifiable data, such as, I am to speak with both Vogue UK and Vogue Japan, and aim to carry out questionnaire’s or interviews with at least 10 females from both the UK and Japan, in order to achieve this. More on this specifically can be found here.
I have found researching into key theoretical perspectives to be key to working towards my goals and objectives, and have found that my practice informs my research, and in turn, my research also informs my practice. This has been made most prominent via using a critical-design led approach to research using Instagram as a platform of communication for initial research, thoughts and findings. Feedback and engagement from such posts were received and analysed in turn directing future research and future directions of practical work also. This is evidently seen with the Instagram Post (objective 4.A) and Poster/Promo Pack projects (4.C), whilst being in mind with the Social Media Wellbeing Campaign (objective 4.B). Furthermore, practice led research has also taken form of methods such as experimenting with aesthetics, booking binding processes, print methods and stocks, for example in order to develop ideas and practical work going forwards in semester 2.
I found however, as noted in my first professional context presentation that, I had researched into many theories and had to narrow down to find the key theories which really underpin my practice, my professional context and the interdisciplinary artists of collaboration. I found this process useful, as I am aware of many different key ideologies and perspectives in relation to my research topic which may be required at a later date, and also are good to be aware of for thorough critical analysis and reflection, whilst posing good for debate and ideas generation. Going forwards, I would like to keep using the key theories noted in my professional context presentation and report, and would like to also look at these from different perspectives following feedback, i.e. male perceptions, and as recently discussed in a post regarding Brittany Rhodes, female body builders. Discussing different perspectives as of that of Brittany Rhodes has been discussed in detail on a previous blog post specifically related to this, however have found that being open-minded to different perspectives has allowed for more doors and opportunities open in regards to objectives 1, 3 and 4. This as noted, has allowed for a different perspective to be considered in regard to my research question, noting a huge fitness trend surging the UK currently, with gym wear also become more readily available in ‘fashion retailers’ deeming it now fashionable to work out and go to the gym. Therefore, these perspectives have allowed me for the reflect on both my practice and research to date.
Working towards objectives, 1, 2, 3 and 5, I have used industry links and new contacts as discussed to secure meetings and interviews for semester 2. I have found that contacting individuals, organisations and HE institutions in both the UK and Japan have been invaluable and have led to further contacts being formed, whilst also allowing for problem solving with some organisations, i.e. Vogue UK being extremely hard to make contact with. This has been solved through perseverance and also attempting different methods of contact – phone, email, linkedin. This was also the case for Vogue Japan with no direct contact information being readily available to the public. I did call the Conde Nast International office, whom gave me a direct phone number for Vogue in Tokyo, however could not get through. Through further online research, I found 2 contacts which I emailed, and have since been in contact with the PA to the CEO of Conde Nast Japan and a Beauty Editor. I have found that at first, attempting to make contacts such as this in an aim to work towards my objectives, quite daunting and time consuming, however gained confidence in doing this throughout the process, becoming much more comptentant in relaying my research question and needs to the individual being spoken to. I have also accounted for the possibility of a translator being need in Japan, therefore making additional industry contacts through existing links. I have also found existing and new freelance clients to be of use also towards working toward the objectives noted above. Going forward I would like to contact organisations and charities such as B-EAT and the APPG, in regards to objectives 2, 3 and 5.
In order to carry out the above however, the LCA ethics policy has been of most importance whilst deigning and planning my research studies, as well as writing a consent form and information sheet to be distributed to participants in due course. These have currently been sent to those who are being interviewed early in semester 2 (January) for forward planning, and have undergone ethical checks by both my tutor and the course leader. This way of working/research has not been something I have had to do before, i.e. working on consent forms and information sheets, however have found this good practice, and has also enabled my participants to fully understand the project, their role, pros, cons and details on data use, confidentiality and assessment for example. Going forwards this is something that I will do prior to starting research.
Going forwards I would like to use the noted methodologies as noted above, whilst further reflecting on Karen’s lecture series regarding research methods and ethics which I feel have really supported my own research and work throughout this semester. In addition to this, I will also be undertaking two field-research trips to both London and Tokyo in January in order to gain different perspectives, insights and both comparable and quantifiable data, in aim of working towards objectives 1 – 4 specifically. Evidence of this can be found throughout my blog in regards to planning and itineraries for London in particular, whilst beginning to cover the ground work for Japan also. I have not had time to complete all of my research surrounding my itinerary or cover as much contextual information as I had hoped and plan on continuing this over christmas and into semester 2 in order to further work towards my objectives also.
Below shows the learning objectives for this particular module, and feel through my on-going blog (research journal), presentations and report to date that I have evident objectives 7A6, 7B4, 7C2, 7D4, competently in relation to my practice, professional context and research question.
This module has allowed for exploratory work to be undertaken in relation to my research topic and current practice. I have found this module really enjoyable, and have experimented with both new and existing processes in order to achieve prototypes for further development in semester 2, meeting objective 4, as shown below. In addition this module has allowed me to make critical designs judgements based on such exploratory work in order to meet the learning objectives.
A) Critical Design led Instagram posts
B) Social media wellbeing campaign
C) Promotional posters and packs
D) Zines and publications
The above have been explored throughout this module. At the start of this module, in my project plan I had outlined an idea of working toward producing ‘life size Barbie doll boxes’, however due to having so much to do in relation to the professional context and research methods, whilst practical projects above developed further than had originally planned, this was not achieved. I feel my time management throughout all of the modules, however this one in particular has been key to grasping and found the first few weeks I had to find a way of doing so exploring gantt charts for example. Once I found a routine, I found that it was easier to manage my time in this sense, however have also had to turn down freelance work and quit a part time job to ensure that my work can be done to the highest standard, so setting priorities has been key throughout this module making critical judgements. I feel however, regardless of the amount of work that I have needed to do, I feel as though the projects carried out 4A-D have been carried with thought, reflection and analysis, along with problem solving when encountering issues in workshops with materials for example, whilst also being critical of produced practical work allowing for development.
I have had feedback from colleagues, tutors and the target audience via critical-design led experiments with my Instagram project however in semester 2 would like to introduce more formal crits to further develop ideas and discuss potential room for development, whilst understanding different perspectives through creative debate. I found this extremely valuable working towards objective 4.D. whilst working with Local-practitioner Bobbi Rae, however, feel that this input would be of benefit across all projects which will be taken forward along with any new ideas which may begin to be developed.
In addition to the above, I have also began working on my personal branding, allowing me to obtain the necessary assets to use in semester 2 (January in particular) whilst visiting Tokyo and London on research trips, whilst being invaluable to have whilst carrying out interviews, networking and attending MA exhibition events for example.
I feel it has been of benefit that all 3 modules undertaken throughout this semester combined, with key theoretical approaches such as self-perception and critical-design being applied to my practice continually. I have also found being aware of, and working with interdisciplinary, creative practitioners has added further context and support to both the aesthetics, format and tone of my work, whilst acknowledging a wider field of creatives whom are working in different mediums to promote the same message. Therefore, it has become apparent over the course of the module that these have become heavily intertwined, and further this my practical work has also been inspired by that of research itself, exploring different research methods within my practice and practical work continuously also.
Developmental work has been shown for each project throughout my on-going, showing idea and design progression, whilst allowing for research points and inspirations to be pointed out accordingly. In addition, I have found that this platform has been good for evidencing problems raised also such as processes in workshops perhaps not going to plan, or taking longer than expected as discussed within specific related metal workshops. I have found by keeping track of thoughts, progress, development and problems it allows for critical evaluation, reflection and development to take place at that point in time opposed to being back dated in order to be time efficient whilst also up to date.
For the submission, I have included design boards covering each of the four above projects and my updated personal branding, which includes indepth contextual information supporting research and professional context in relation to my practice. This also showcases photography which has been taken in support of using these images on my professional website and digital portfolio going forwards, as well as being able to showcase the exploratory work to date in a more professional manner. Each project also includes an evaluation on areas of improvement allowing for critical, future development.
These boards can be found both on my blog and within a labelled folder within my submission portfolio, and have been noted below also for reference.
A sophisticated re-fresh on previous branding whilst keeping reminiscent though aesthetic, colour palette and tone.
I feel the visual outcome is true to my identity and niche as a designer, whilst being recognisable in relation to my previous promotional materials. Going forwards, I would like to experiment further with more branded, useable products, such as a Portfolio Look Book, Notebooks and Tote Bags for example, in order to promote my brand in a contextualised manner relevant to the Fashion and Beauty Industries.
Critical Design Blogging (Instagram) Posts (Objective 4.A.)
A Critical Design-led project featuring a range of Satirical Instagram posts using speculative design proposals and ideas in order to challenge the assumptions, ideals, trends, pre-empted conceptions about brands, products and objects within the Beauty and Fashion Industries, in the hope of provoking thought, sparking conversation and debate, whilst raising awareness on how ‘brands’ and Instagram can affect directly ones self-perception.
Overall I feel that this experimental project worked successfully in it’s aim of engaging with the target audience in order to further develop a resolved visual outcome.
This has derrived the “What’s My Name Again?” project, allowing for direct feedback to shape future directions of both work and research, highlighting brands that are dominating the Industry causing negative effects on self-perceptions and comparative behaviours. I would like to keep using critical design as a practice-based-research approach to working after being successful and invaluable throughout this experiment.
To share these posts, a MA Instagram Account was created in order to collate practice based research and feedback.
Going forwards I plan on continuing to use this account to show other projects, whilst showing developmental work building my own following in relation to my research topic, in the hope of building a contact base I can reach out to for questionnaire’s in semester 2 in order to gain quantifiable data in order to work towards and achieve objectives set out in my proposal and Professional Context Report.
Social Media Wellbeing Campaign (Objective 4.B.)
A range of posters, campaign and social media mockups spreading awareness on the negative impacts of social media in relation to self-perception and body image.
The concept uses factual data and visuals focusing on social media to challenge what is real and not real in regards to photography, lifestyle and natural beauty posted by icons, bloggers and the general public alike, encouraging behavioural changes and competitiveness.
To ensure that the campaign is effective, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages will be set up ‘live’ in order to gain quantifiable data in regards to user interaction, whilst being able to test out the campaign concept accuratley. I would also like to set objectives in relation to this in regards to my research topic, and perhaps use this as a platform to engage with a community, to ask questions and prompt participants for questionnaire’s and surveys internationally.
I am happy with the concept, and have trialled all three designs on my MA Instagram account (instagram.com/muntyandanielle) for feedback. All have been positively recieved in regard to format and aesthetic, but I would like to refine my idea more using my own photography of Barbie’s in contextual scenarios allowing for more control. I would like to expand introducing ideas such as Fitness Barbie, whilst touching more on mental health issues through factual data adding different perspectives.
Promotional Poster Packs / Zine (Objectives 4.C/D.)
A promotional pack to raise awareness of the affects that the Beauty Industry, cultural icons and brands can affects ones self-perception.
Designed in a satirical manner, using parody, theory and ideologies throughout enables a visual and contextual connection with the target audience. Promotional packs featuring print and product-led items have been prototyped to convey a concept of sharing between a group of friends or community in order to not only share a message, but to also provoke thought and conversation.
The project title “What’s My Name Again?” is derrived from the the theoretical perspective of social-identity and how one can lose ones true identity and sense of self through brands and social media for example, mocking the self-titled brand “Kylie Cosmetics”.
I am happy with the concept of this project however feel that the visuals and content could be refined in order to form a more uniform and cohesive set of print and product-led items that are not duplicated. I would also like to work on methods of both national and international distribution in order to put my concept to the test and gain consumer feedback and quanitfiable data and research into its effectiveness.
Zines/Publication (Objective 4.D.)
A collaboration with Leeds-based interdisciplinary practitioner, Bobbi Rae, designing and producing a satirical zine, entitled ‘how to be a blogger’ highlighting curent issues surrounding blogger culture in regards to self-perception and body image.
I am really pleased with the outcome of this collaboration, and feel combined ideas generation in regards to the ‘10 steps’ and illustrations really added a different dimension to my original concept for a zine, entitled, “how to be a beauty blogger”. By combining our practices and ideas, we were able to cover a broader sense of “blogger” encompassing the fashion industry also, whilst adding a different dimension in regards to aesthetics.
Moving forwards I would like to mass-produce these and distribute them in order to gain feedback and test the concept in a quantifable manner, whilst sharing a message.
Below shows the learning objectives for this particular module, and feel through my on-going blog (research journal), presentations and report to date that I have evident objectives 7A1, 7B1, 7C1, 7D1 competently in relation to my practice, professional context and research question.
This module has allowed for various objectives to be worked towards and learning objectives to be met, which I have feel have strengthened my professional practice and future career prospects.
Research has allowed for various topics to be covered, analysed, critiqued and reflected upon, such as:
– Creative and Interdisciplinary Practitioners
– Organisations Supporting the Creative Industries (Local, National and International)
– Recent Advances in Technologies
– Policies supporting Practice
– Theoretical Perspectives
This research has been thoroughly discussed throughout my blog, report and presentations in relation to my practice, whilst also shaping exploratory work, working towards objective 4. I have found it most relevant to make use of industry contacts to secure research-led meetings, whilst making new contacts has become vital to working towards objectives 1, 2, 3 and 5. Such industry contacts have secured International meetings in Tokyo, Japan, National meetings in London and Local meetings in Leeds with research participants. I have found it invaluable to also contact HE institutions in regard to making contact with both British and Japanese students between the ages of 18-24 whom may be interested in answering a questionnaire post new-year regarding my research topic. I was unable to make contact with HE institutions in Japan, and found this was a good contingency plan with such a large international base of students in the UK.
Not only have I researched into organisations supporting both my practice and research question and secured both National and International meetings, I have found it invaluable to talk to them about their policies further supporting practice, such as the ASOS Model Welfare Policy in particular, whilst working towards objectives 2 and 5. Going forwards I would like to contact the likes of B-EAT and local charities in order to see how the response in eating disorders has been affected by such issues raised in my research topic and practice, whilst also discussing how policies and guidelines are created and enforced. This also in relation to objectives 2 and 5.
I am in discussion with London-based practitioners regarding a collaboration, and have also confirmed a collaboration with Scarlett Carson for semester 2, a Leeds-based commercial photographer. This has been derived from the MA course, meeting like-minded creative practitioners whilst adding a different dimension and perspective to my practice. That can also be said for Bobbi Gastall (Rae) a Leeds-based practitioner whom I have collaborated with in semester 1 through the Practice and Professional Development module, producing a zine entitled, “how to be a blogger”. As my practice is Graphic Design, this can be quite solitary especially when freelancing, so working collaboratively brought new ideas discussion and debate to the table which I really enjoyed being a part of and want to continue to do so in my practice going forward. In addition this was working towards objective 4.D.
I have also researched into future exhibition spaces for semester 2. This has not been part of my practice since leaving my BA(Hons) Graphic Design degree as I mainly work digitally and therefore promote my work and my practice digitally also. Going forward if I work on the Life-Size Barbie Doll project (working towards objective 4), is the one project I have not had time to explore this semester, this would perhaps require such spaces to exhibit to the public, and therefore felt it was important to be aware of such spaces on a local and national platform.
Throughout this semester I have researched recent technological advances in both the fashion and beauty industries, and have found Instagram to be a key advancement for such industries allowing for digital marketing campaigns, collaborations with bloggers and international and instant reach for example. Keeping this in mind and working towards objectives 1 and 4, Instagram was used not only as a platform to showcase my critical-design Instagram Post project, but as a platform to share ideas, work and gain feedback in return. Findings have shaped the direction of both exploratory practical work and research working towards objective 4.
Instagram also has allowed for me to find creative practitioners relevant to my practice, with Anna Potter for example as discussed in my report, also promotes and shares her work in similar ways, using a critical-design approach also with underlying tones of satire and similar feminine aesthetics. Research has led me to find other more obscure practitioners such as comedian Luisa Omeilan and graphic designer Toni Hollowood as noted below, both of whom also work with similar underlying tones and messages. The three practitioners noted however are locally and nationally based, along with Scarlett and Bobbi discussed above and would like to find other practitioners who work on an international scale whom resonate with my practice and research topic going forwards to broaden this context and research.
Other key recent advances in technologies have been discussed and analysed in relation to my research to date, practice and research topic through my on-going blog, presentations and report surrounding this module.
In relation to theoretical perspectives underpinning my practice, I found that I had to do a large amount of research into different ideologies in order to gain a sense of which are most important to take forwards as key theories. The main two were Self-Perception and Social Identity which I feel also fall in line with the words of Anna Potter, Luisa Omelilan and Toni Hollowood particularly forming strong contextual links also supporting my current practice. I feel that understanding the work of these practitioners in regards to context, message, satirical yet serious tone, delivery and aesthetics has been crucial, with Potters’ work being quite resonant of my professional and practical design style, using feminine colour palettes, typography and a range of both print/digital-led designs to provoke thought using a critical-design led approach. In addition, such theories as Self-Perception have become the underlying theoretical context of my practical work to date, working towards objective 4. For example, the “what’s my name again?” project has been derived from the ideal of self-perception using theories throughout to support illustrations and copywriting, whilst the wellbeing campaign for example, uses third-person perspectives to gain judgement on themselves, therefore showcasing the the audience how this is not real and can in turn affect one’s self-perception. Going forwards, I would like to continue to research both noted theories more in depth, whilst looking at the other theories discussed heavily in my presentation (male/self-surveying gaze and self/objectification) in further detail to support further research and exploratory work.
In regards to future career plans, the MA so far has allowed for much self-reflection on this to be considered, supported with research, whilst it has also allowed for me to meet new contacts, and therefore gain invaluable HE teaching experience on a BA(Hons) Fashion programme, which was a personal goal set at the start of the course. One of the reasons I wanted to do the MA was to better career opportunities within my industry whilst opening new doors to new opportunities/alternate career paths and feel that this has been taken advantage of. The second reason I wanted to do the MA, was to find a way through my practice to help others, as I feel the industry is very corporate and actually damages many people in regards to self-perceptions and body image confidence, particularly within the areas of design I work in – fashion and beauty – and want to showcase the other, ethical side, being that, we can be whom we are and do not have to be dictated to by a business strategy, social media or a magazine for instance. In addition to this, I have often thought about setting up an agency supporting specifically fashion graduates enter the world of work, and feel that teaching at HE level is working towards this long-term goal in a way enabling to help students with the right skill sets and knowledge to have an impact on the fashion industry, whilst also learning myself via curriculum plans and assessment criteria what knowledge is needed to work towards this. In addition, I have found that teaching has allowed for better time management and organisation, whilst also allowing for myself being able to understand the course structure of the MA much more competency, enabling me to understand and fulfil the learning objectives required with more rigour. Further to this, I have also looked into PCGETHE’s at both Manchester Metropolitan University and Bradford College, however have recently been advised it is preferable to undertake a teaching qualifying course with a HEA also, which would allow me to apply for job roles at institutions such as LCA for example in the future. I feel that by talking to members of staff regarding such qualifications, doing research and speaking with my current employers, I have been able to scope out and assess options going forwards which could either be done alongside teaching if still in post, or prior to taking on a full-time teaching role in HE. This is something I will consider much more in depth in semester 2, however feel it was important to clear up my options for future development, career plans and strategies.
The MA has allowed for me to meet colleague Hattie Spowage, whom I have also been discussing potential post-MA business opportunities combining our practices of pattern cutting and garment design with graphic design, in order to create a viable commercial brand. This has been looked into in some detail with Hattie looking at fabric mills and suppliers, with myself looking at studio spaces we can work potentially obtain to start, along with opportunities for business funding and support. These have been discussed in depth on previous specifically related blog posts, however has not been the forefront of focus this semester due to as noted above, the priority has been to contact industry links and secure local, national and international meetings and interviews in order to work towards objectives, 1-5. Further to this, Hattie has also introduced me to a new platform of online networking called, Fashion in Leeds. This group also run networking events at The Tetley in Leeds, which Hattie and I plan to attend in semester 2 to gain further business insight and meet contacts whom may be required if the business was to go ahead.
I feel by having options post-MA, I am giving myself more industry led experience, whilst adding to my skillets further. Ideally, I would like to continue with part-time lecturing, whilst working alongside Hattie on a fashion brand, which would allow for skills to be developed for later in life/career I was to set up a fashion-led agency as noted above. This module has allowed time without any immediate pressure for me to consider my career choices, taking into account new opportunities and new contacts.
I have also recently made contact with a friend and now female body builder, Brittany Rhodes, as discussed in a previous post whom was recently on a BBC Documentary regarding women, self-perception and positive body image, have discussed the possibility of teaming up in the new year to run local body image workshops to promote healthy body image and educate regarding the power of the media, in particular social media and Instagram. Not only does this fall in line with my research topic but allows for a different perspective, and allows for someone with an already established based and following to support a practice such as mine in a positive way, allowing for me to fulfil my objectives and potentially adding another regarding such community led workshops.
The professional context module has also allowed for positives and issues within my professional practice of freelancing to be reflected on in context of my current practice. This is something which has been discussed heavily in my first presentation and report, understanding how working with previous employers and clients has perhaps pushed the direction and focus of my MA understanding how and why for example social media and models affect self-perceptions. In my presentation I noted working for a previous employer whom asked me to design cosmetics for children and have since worked with freelance clients whom work with in my opinion, emaciated and unhealthy models, and those who particularly do not represent a positive body image relatable to the mass public and general target audience. It is such issues which have influenced my research topic, research to date, future research and objectives, in the hope of raising awareness and exposing the industry in some senses. To me, this raises many ethical issues surrounding my practice, as I feel within the fashion industry and beauty industry, as much as policies can be set in place, or I myself can write and propose one working towards objective 5 to alleviate these issues, I feel that such industries will not want to standardise due to the ‘identity’ of brands being damaged. Working within these industries as much as I love them, in practice, has become a battle at times to consider if a job is viable, but then freelance is a business which needs to be ascertained. Therefore, working with Hattie on a more personal business would alleviate many of the issues of working with a larger scale industry and will allow for positive body image to be relayed through the brand for example, whilst allowing for our own policies to be created in line with this which may hopefully inspire and guide women to feel okay with their bodies, identities, style and self-perception. I really want to encompass my practice and what I love but in a positive way, helping people, opposed to having a negative impact on the target audience.
Freelance work however has allowed for various contacts as discussed in my report to be contacted in order to arrange meetings and interviews for semester 2, working towards objectives 1, 2, 3, 5.
Furthermore, I have found that seminars, lectures and post-presentation discussion and debate have allowed for issues within the field of graphic design to be openly talked about, particularly between other designers and teachers alike. Issues have been raised around muffled creativity due to use of stock imagery in industry opposed to free creative licenses and how this can affect motivations and exceptions of students working towards industry. Issues surrounding ethics and HR in the workplace have also been discussed, along with management structures within ‘agencies’ which often feature little creative encouragement. Also discussed were high expectations set for students in regard to the industry post-university, allowing for false hopes and deflated realities when entering junior designer roles with little real-life context being instilled into students. I found these forms of discussions interesting having felt similar myself, whilst also helping Ross with feedback and research for this MA topic regarding the Graphic Design industry and its readiness for Graduates. This forums allowed for reflection on my own career to date, the current positives of freelancing, working for oneself and having creative control, whilst putting into perspective how I can alleviate such issues in my own practice, as discussed above also.
In support of my freelance practice, self-promotion is key and has been discussed in blog posts in depth, however not touched on as much in my report or presentation due to not being of key relevance throughout my practice so far on the MA. Instagram has been a continuous method of both promotion and feedback as heavily discussed, however throughout the module other forms of self-promotion in regards to freelance has not been a priority, due to limited time to work on additional projects whilst not being the focus of my research topic. I have now at the end of the semester, began working on my revised personal branding to ensure I have updated CVs and business cards for any meetings/interviews taking place in semester 2, and plan to update my professional website and online portfolio with photographed exploratory work to date to share the message being worked on, whilst gaining feedback from a different audience. I would of perhaps liked to of done this earlier on in the semester in hindsight in order to have these in place for when contacting individuals/organisations, as this may in some instances prompt a response opposed to not.
Below shows the learning objectives for this particular module, and feel through my on-going blog (research journal), presentations and report to date that I have evident objectives 7A2, 7A3, 7B2, 7C2, 7C3 and 7D2 competently in relation to my practice, professional context and research question.
This is working towards objective 4.C.
From my previous exploratory work, I had resolved the process of badge making trying out several different processes and techniques, using copper, brass and pewter. Due to my designs being so colourful, a vast range of perspex acrylics are available, and with the laser cutter being so easy, cheap and quick to use, I found that this added further benefits to this process. It also allowed for a large variety and an almost mass-production taking place, producing 10 of each in order to experiment with colour combinations and end-use (pin bagde/keyring/necklace). For submission purposes however, I will hand in one of each as single pins and both duo sets. This can be shown below.
In regards to packaging, I decided to use printed card backs, using the project name as previously used on Instagram posts, postcards and CAD designs, whilst being the anchor point of the zine also included in the promotional pack. This ensure that visuals and underpinning concepts are maintained at all time allowing for a cohesive pack to be formed and understood by the viewer.
A single pin is included with the pack to be kept and worn, whilst a duo pack is included to be shared or given as a gift, again ensuring the promotional pack and all of its contents are shareable in regards of physicality and message.
Keyrings and necklaces were originally made as with left over elements, making something for myself. However, I found that these would actually be a practical and easy way of reinforcing an icon or message, by being seen often and being a talking point to those who are aware of its satirical source and context. I decided not to include these in the packs but would be available as additional items.
I realised at this point, that I had not considered methods of distribution in order to gain measurable feedback on such message and material being shared, and only have reference to this from sharing development, visuals and the ‘message’ on my social media account. As valuable as this has been, as discussed before, I do not want this to be the only form of feedback or distribution of this pack, and going into semester 2 when refining and further developing ideas would like to consider this also in detail in order to set quantifiable goals in order to meet my objectives (1.A. and 4)
In addition to this, I would also like to include more of a variation of design work across the card backs, which would come from development of the “what’s my name again?” concept as a whole.
This is working towards objective 4.C.
As noted in a previous post in regards to the “what’s my name again?” promotional pack, tote bags were being experimented with using Dylon dye, and I explained why I was unhappy with the outcome in regards to uneven colour coverage and shrieked bags due to canvas being so absorbent. I noted I wanted to try dying bags again however using cotton based totes instead, or purchase pre-dyed bags. I have not however had time to do so this semester, and will do this when refining and developing concept and designs in semester 2. I also want to experiment more with the colours of vinyl being used, or perhaps screen print due to the lip colour being much lighter than desired however this is due to the limitations of the suppliers. I do however feel that this is why on the coloured bags the aesthetic is not quite as I would like. By screen printing this would alleviate such issues, however having so many alignment issues when screen printing posters at the beginning of the semester, I would like to speak with a technician in regards to the best approach prior to preparing designs and exposing screens etc. It may even be that the totes are best being digitally printed and hand sewn which could take form of a collaboration if I do not feel I could do this myself.
The below image shows dyed tote bags as discussed above, and will not be submitted in my portfolio for submission.
Below shows colour vinyl experiments on natural canvas tote bags which have not been dyed. I think that the material does look too natural for the design and aesthetic desired, however I feel using a black canvas bag may alleviate some of these issues.
For submission I have complied a promotional pack to include in my portfolio and noted that I do feel the light pastel colour of the packs clashes with the tote bag canvas, and therefore a black tote bag would resolve this problem, whilst also highlighting the darker detailing and depth in the design work.
Below shows the two tote bags which will be submitted for submission, one taking the form of a promotional pack, the other being stand alone. These two have been chosen being the closest to what I had envisioned in regards to design, composition and vinyl colour selection.
At the start of the semester I set myself several objectives to work towards in resolving my working research topic. I have discussed how I have been and will continue to work towards these throughout my report, however due to the word limit do not feel as though I managed to cover everything I have achieved to date or that I am currently working towards/planning for semester 2.
I have reflected on each objective which can be seen below.
Objectives and goals:
A) With body image (Females, 18-24)/With body image on a cross-cultural scale (Females, 18-24; Tokyo, Japan).
I am to speak with both Vogue UK and Vogue Japan, and aim to carry out questionnaire’s or interviews with at least 10 females from both the UK and Japan, in order to gain quantifiable data.
In relation to the above objective I feel as though I have researched heavily into self-perceptions and social media and perhaps need to spend more time researching magazines in as much depth, however as the fashion and beauty industries are becoming more digital, social media has been a more current point of research. I have began contacting course leaders of various, relevant fashion programmes at the following HE institutions in the UK after being unsuccessful in making contact with HE institutions in Tokyo – Leeds University, Leeds Beckett, CSM and Manchester Met in regards to objective 1.A. The aim of this is to obtain both British and Japanese contacts from fashion courses whom may be interested in completing a digital questionnaire in regards to my research topic in the hope of gaining an insight into cross-cultural influences. I plan on collating a series of data from at least 10 British and Japanese females between the ages of 18-24 in order to gather and analyse measurable and comparable research.
In addition, I have began speaking with both Vogue in the UK and in Japan in regards to obtaining quantifiable and comparable data in regards to obecjtive 1.B.
Going forwards, I plan on contacting bloggers both in the UK, USA and in Tokyo in regards to obtaining research working towards objective 1.A. and 1.B. I hope to also secure further meetings/interviews with bloggers and if possible hope to contact further magazines and brands, time permitting to gain further professional perspectives.
Should the need arise for a translator arise, I have made links through a contact at Tokyo Disney with a local translator who will be called upon.
I have also secured an interview with Brittany Rhodes, a competitive female body builder of 24 years, in order to gain a different perspective on my research topic.
In addition to objective 1.A. I am undertaking a research trip to both London (7th/8th Jan 2017) and Tokyo (16th-23rd Jan 2017) in order to gain comparable and measurable visual data and field-research. Methodologies will include looking at AD Campaigns of Western brands for example Chanel and Topshop, in order to see how these are promoted in the East for example, in order to see if the same models are used and what language is used. This will allow me to see if influences such as this can affect the perceptions of those in Japan being exposed to foreign visuals of cultural icons and western celebrities for example. A list of stores to be covered for research can be seen on my London itinerary, I will be working on my Tokyo itinerary in semester 2 once I have finished contacting people and finalised a weekly plan. In addition, I will being using my secondary research to inform my primary field-research, i.e. looking at recent technologies such as the Shiseido Makeup Mirror. I plan on visiting the Flagship store in order to speak with staff about such advances and their customers feedback, whilst also seeing if such technologies are available for the same brands in the UK. A full list of measurable methodologies can be found here;
I have researched into the policies of charities such as B-EAT, as discussed in depth in both my report, and in my first professional context presentation, however, industry links have secured a meeting with ASOS’ Corporate Responsibility and Design teams in order to gain a better understanding on their Model Welfare Policy, working towards both objective 2 and 5. In support of this, and to add context to my research, I have also secured interviews with two models working in industry to gain their insight on my research topic, whilst discussing whether or not such policies would be of benefit and feasible to the industry to further help with research working towards objective 2 and 3.
As noted above I have confirmed meetings with two models working in industry to gain a different perspective of research working towards objective 2 and 3. I have also began using industry links and relevant freelance clients in regard to interview working towards objective 3. As also noted above, I have began contacting HE institutions in the UK to reach both British and Japanese females between the ages of 18-24 to obtain quantifiable research working towards objective 3. This is in the aim of comparing data with those working in Industry, i.e. models and Vogue. I have also planned to speak with Toni Hollowell a practitioner whom works within the same subject area as my research question, and hope to gain insight into similar perspectives and practical works.
A) Critical Design led Instagram posts
B) Social media wellbeing campaign
C) Promotional posters and packs
D) Zines and publications
All of the above 4.A – D. have been achieved throughout this semester, and going forwards would like to develop and refine my ideas, whilst finding more ways of gaining quantifiable and measurable data in regards to working towards answering my research topic. I have found 1.A. in particular most useful to my practice throughout this semester, allowing for Dunne and Raby’s critical-design theory approach to be used throughout allowing for work to be promoted, ideas to be shared and feedback to be gathered. The feedback received however was more a general positive reception for the design and concept, opposed to being as critical as needed for future development. This is something I would like to address holding crit groups, and testing the work with focus groups (females 18-24) for example.
Objective 4.D. was achieved twice, once in combination with objective 4.C, and the other an additional project being a collaboration with Leeds-based practitioner Bobbi Rae. I found working with Bobbi to be refreshing, adding new ideas and perspectives to a pre-determined concept.
Going forwards, I have been in discussion with Brittany Rhodes, in regards to running community workshops and motivational talks regarding positive body image, and perhaps using this as an educational strategy to speak with HE institutions and local councils, encouraging a more proactive, charity/organisational approach to raising awareness opposed to being graphic design led. One of my main reasons for doing the MA is to find a way to help people through design and creative communications, and feel there is a way to do this within the community whilst being of relevance to my practice whilst working towards objective 4.
I also plan on collaborating with Leeds-based commercial photographer Scarlett Carson in the aim of producing an editorial campaign working towards objective 4. This was originally planned for semester 1, however due to time constraints has been put on hold.
Objective 5 is yet to be started, due to needing to finish collating research and completing objectives 1 -4 prior to doing so.
I feel throughout this semester I have made good progress on working towards these objectives, whilst also highlighting future directions for development and interviews allowing for current and primary research to be carried out in support of my findings so far. I have found that my objectives haven’t changed, however have become more interlinked due to practice and research being so heavily connected throughout this semester. As noted above, I would like to now go on to speaking with more people, in order to answering my research topic with more rigour. I would also like to work on more ways to gain feedback and quantifiable data from my target audience whilst in Tokyo. I would also like to begin making contact with the APPG for example, in order to find out whom I will need to talk to in regards to my policy proposal (objective 5) which I am working towards in order to gain feedback on this at a later date. I have found that throughout my research to date, I have been focused on my objectives and research question, however, have found that I have had to do a lot of background work to now be in a position to begin to research Japanese culture in more detail, now being aware of different theories and professional perspectives on the topic at hand. I feel that this will benefit me going forwards whilst undertaking primary research, whilst also working towards the above objectives.
These are the objectives that I will continue to work towards throughout this project.
This TV advert from Transform (TFHC Ltd) featured UK based fashion blogger Sarah Ashcroft (21 years old) talking about how she didn’t like her body, or feel confident prior to having a breast augmentation and stated that she, “never really looked at any part of my body past my neck because it wasn’t something I liked.” It has since been banned by the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) for promoting negative changes and thoughts in viewers in regards to their body image. The advert was first aired nationally in May 2016, and is now banned.
The video post-surgery shows Sarah saying, “I feel like a new person, from having nothing to then looking at yourself with boobs, it was the weirdest thing. Everyone was like ‘Wow, they look so natural, I’m so impressed.’ And to come away from it feeling 10 times more confident than you were, I think, is just an amazing feeling.”
The article noted that “one viewer complained that the advert exploited young women’s insecurities about their bodies by implying that breast-enhancement surgery would make them more confident and popular” resonating with my research topic and the research carried out to date regarding social media and the rise of bloggers in particular having an influence on our self-perceptions. I feel that this is a poor act of the beauty industry with the clinic, TFHC Ltd claiming that Sarah Ashcroft is a role model being a “representative of many independently-minded, responsible, thoughtful, sophisticated and successful young females who chose to undergo cosmetic surgery”.
At 21, I do not feel as though she should be relaying such messages to a broad audience whereby negative impacts may be made on others. In addition, this shows the power of the media, and how someone at 21 feels the need to have a breast augmentation to feel accepted, falling in line with Tajfel and Turner’s (1986) Social Identity theory. Feeling out-group has perhaps encouraged behavioural and ‘negative changes’ for Sarah, allowing for her to feel in-group, confident and accepted.
The ASA noted the focus of the advert might encourage younger viewers to think about their own body insecurities and make viewers believe that her popularity, fame and success as a fashion blogger was due to cosmetic surgery – “Although Ms Ashcroft’s was a personal story, we considered that the ad suggested more generally that success and popularity would be enhanced by achieving an idealised body image, which could be done by ‘correcting’ any perceived imperfections. In light of those factors, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause harm to those under 18. We told TFHC to take care to ensure their service was advertised in a socially responsible way that was not likely to cause harm to those under 18 years of age.”
I feel that this really shows how powerful the blogger culture and social media world can be, and how much influence they can have on their following and the public alike. I have touched on plastic surgery and non-permanent surgery throughout my research in relation to social media, icons, bloggers and self-perception theory, and feel that this again sings in tune. By the public viewing such forms of prescribed and dictating content on a daily or regular basis, through TV adverts, social media and magazines alike, one can begin to internalise such ideals and begin to form distorted perceptions of themselves (Bem, 1972), and feel it is positive that advertising agencies such as the ASA, similar to ClearWater, are engaging with the beauty and fashion industry also.
Newsbeat. (2016). “Breast enlargement advert is banned because it ‘could cause harm to teenagers'”. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/36722887/breast-enlargement-advert-is-banned-because-it-could-cause-harm-to-teenagers. Last Accessed: 4th December 2016.
Turner, J. C., & Tajfel, H. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. Psychology of intergroup relations, 7-24.
Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. Advances in experimental social psychology, 6, 1-62.
This is working towards objective 1 and 4.
In support of my research and prototyping work to date surrounding the ideas of Instagram and blogger culture, I wanted to support this further with literature on such rise in phenomenon, as I feel as though I have looked at this subject matter more theoretically and practically, to date opposed to in regards of literature. Blogging culture has encompassed topics discussed throughout my Instagram Post project using a critical-design theory approach to stimulating opinions and provoking thoughts based on assumptions of the industry.
I feel that the texts and information shown below evidence the rise in blogging culture within the fashion and beauty industries, hence why choosing such subject matter to be discussed.
The following extracts of literature taken from ‘Fashion and Celebrity Culture’ by Gibson, F (2012), summarises how bloggers have now almost gained celebrity status in some cases, and in return the media has “adapted to [this] and reflect the world of celebrity dominance” (p.126). In addition, it is noted that, “in an era of endlessly circulating images of young women, largely presented directly to and looked at by other young women, the traditional theoretical arguments of the ‘the gaze’ (Berger 1972; Mulvey 1975; Doane 1982) are no longer relevant; they depend upon the presented dominance of the male gaze behind a camera” suggesting that the one in charge of critique and judgement has changed to become more broad and general in a sense of men and women – “Mulvey’s original argument that men and women are looked at – while battered by barrage of critique … still stands, albeit with a few bullet holes through it, in the world of fashion [and beauty]” (Edwards, 2010, p.156). This has been seen throughout my research and practical work to date looking at the impacts of social media of those who post the photos causing ‘cheapened experiences’ and competitive behaviour between social groups in order to find their social identity and feel confident with their self-perception. This has also been heavily reflected through my practical work aimed at unravelling Bem’s (1972) self-perception theory in relation to my practice and research question. The idea of judging our self-perception based on third-party views is resonant within blogger culture, relating back to the comments surrounding the gaze noted by Gibson, F (2012) showcasing how these theories are intertwined in regards to Instagram for example, having a International affect and impact upon viewers/followers.
The below also summarises what I have noted throughout my report and research to date in the sense that, the internet and social media allows for instant access for one to be apart of a community, opposed to ‘viewing it’ only as in magazines (Gibson, F, 2012, P.135).
I found the above excerpt (p.136) interesting in the sense that Gibson references a 9-year-older blogger whose fame rose through the internet as is now seen as somewhat of a celebrity herself being invited to exclusive events. Again I feel that this is down to accessibility, magazines allow for readers to view articles and images, whilst social media allows those as young as 5 as seen in a previous post regarding a child Instagram beauty blogger Makayla Starr, to be apart of such communities and cultures. This I feel as discussed in depth previously in my research, has big impacts on one’s self-awareness and self-perceptions as highlighted through Freud and Lacan’s Mirror Stage theory (1949), whilst also in my opinion, posing as a negative impact on behaviour through social media.
With the first fashion blog launching online in 2003 (Gibson, F, 2012, p.135) over the past 14 years, the blogging world surrounding the beauty and fashion industries has taken off, with Vuelio conducting a National Blogger Survey earlier this year (2016) working with over 534 UK bloggers alone, to explore this culture, purpose and reception in detail (Vuelio, 2016, p.17). It was stated that 77% of all bloggers are female, and within this 27% of those are bloggers within the beauty and fashion industries (Vuelio, 2016, p.3-5). I feel that this statistic alone encompasses the power of such female blogger culture, with lifestyle as a theme being next ranked with 27%, followed by parenting/family at 11%, showing dominance of such stereotypical markets (Vuelio, 2016, p.5-6.).
Even though this survey only covers UK bloggers, I feel that this shows on a national basis how such a large amount of users may work on personal or professional beauty/fashion blogs, which may in turn have negative behavioural changes. In addition, even though these are ‘UK bloggers’ unlike magazines, blogs are available internationally online and therefore show in context how this could be damaging collated with further blogs from around the world.
I feel that such quantitive information can only help with working towards my research topic and objectives, whilst going forwards, I would like to have a look at similar surveys from Japan in order to gain comparable data working towards objective 1.A and 1.B., whilst also adding further context to my research prior to visiting Tokyo for field-research and interviews with Vogue magazine to understand this further on a cross-cultural scale. This will also help when speaking with Japanese females between the ages of 18-24 in the UK, whilst the information noted above will be of help when speaking to UK females between the ages of 18 – 24 retrospectively, working towards objective 3. In support of this, I would also like to contact both UK and Japan based bloggers to collate further research using the same comparative and quantifiable methodologies as discussed above.
Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. Advances in experimental social psychology, 6, 1-62.
Gibson, F (2012). Fashion and Celebrity Culture. London: Berg by Bloomsbury. P.126, 135, 136, 248.
Lacan, A.. (1949). The Mirror Stage as the Formative Function of the I as revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience. Available: http://faculty.wiu.edu/D-Banash/eng299/LacanMirrorPhase.pdf. Last Accessed: 3rd November 2016.
Vuelio. (2016). UK Bloggers Survey. P. 3, 4, 5, 10, 17.