Japanese Beauty VS Western Beauty Mini-Mag/Zine/Trend Sourcebook: WIP V2

This is continuing to work towards Objective 4: To prototype a range of design work targeted at 18-24 year old women, highlighting impacts of cross-cultural beauty/fashion trends on self-perceptions and body image.

Below shows development of a range of digital collages and spreads which have been created for the East Meets West Beauty Trend Sourcebook.

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Above shows the ‘anti-aging/baby endorsed’ product page, inspired by my findings whilst researching in Japan. I wanted to relay how and why babies are often used to relay youthful skin, stemming from the obsession with everything child-like in Japan, and that child pornography was only banned in 2014. I feel this explains why such imagery is used so openly in Japanese culture and beauty products to relay ‘end-results’ being a norm opposed to a contrast of British/Western cultures. In addition, Western women are also often used to show how this relates back to the end-user, using babies as a signifier of ‘soft skin’.

Echoing the collage on the left, and the circular details stating “1”, “2” and “3” in Japanese, a circle has been used on the right hand side which will be used for copywriting to be over laid. I also found this was a different approach visually to the other Eastern pages whereby rectangles or squares have been used to hold the copy, whilst taking aesthetic inspiration from the packaging shown on the collage above, adding brand continuity and visual consistency to the spread.

Japanese numbers have been used in order to mimic that of a Japanese step-by-step guide, as most Japanese women expect to know how to use products, in what order and what they will achieve by doing so as previously discussed in my research in interviews and in regard to aesthetics and design. The above shows that with the 3 products, one can achieve such end results and have ‘baby-soft’ skin. By using a western female model, this allows also for the artwork to hint at self-perception issues of the Japanese women and target audience, whereby using such products will give lighter skin just like Western women, whilst also contrasting and complementing the Western baby used on the face mask packaging with blonde hair and blue eyes – a baby version of the adult on the right hand side.

The background texture has been inspired from the product packaging itself, emphasising a pink, youthful, feminine and playful aesthetic and tone. Polka dots and stars are often seen on packaging and promotional materials for the products of White Label by Cosme (the products shown above); examples of this can be seen below. In addition, blue has been used to complement the product packaging whilst not only stereotyping ‘girl babies’ – this is also reflected below.

I still feel that this particular spread needs work to be at a standard I am happy with and currently feel that there is too much going off on the page in regard to visual elements. I feel there needs to be more ‘balance’ between the two pages creating this particular spread, and that this will happen with development and feedback, as well as re-evaluation at a later date.

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Above shows the Kylie Cosmetics spread, showcasing a ‘get the look’ collage, using product photos from Kylie Jenner’s new ‘Valentines range’, allowing for one to achieve the associated look posted on her Instagram account. I feel that it is such social media and editorial spreads which allow for self perception issues to be highlighted, especially with the ease of purchasing and sourcing the exact products used to create this look. This allows for the end-user/consumer to buy not only into the brand but the ‘look’ itself, quite literally replicating the makeup shown with one feeling then as though they look just like her too due to having such products and information at hand. This hints at the idea of the gaze also, and how one can perceive what is seen on a photograph as ‘real’ (Rose), opposed to an edited, manipulated and filtered end-image, which has been constructed as a marketing tool for a particular brand and associated brand image (Tagg).

A mockup of the Instagram shot has been used highlighting social media in regard to self-perception issues, whilst the aesthetic and tone of the page is fitting with her Instagram feed, website and ‘colour scheme’ of the particular look, taking the lipstick shade as a key colour used throughout the spread for the arrows and text box shown on the left hand side.

Again I feel that this is a good starting point for the spread in regard to visuals, but that further work can be done to give this spread a clean and minimal aesthetic as denoted through Kylie’s website.

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A range of HQ images have been sourced and carefully cut out on Photoshop in order to build the digital collage shown above. I personally feel that this is one of the strongest collages created so far, and feel it sets a precedent for those to follow.

The above spread showcases the luxury cosmetics market in West, looking at how luxury design houses are competing with ‘true.cosmetics’ brands such as Rimmel, L’Oreal, Maybelline etc, to gain a share of the ever-growing market. High-end design houses such as YSL and Christian Louboutin for example, have adapted their brand representation into the world of cosmetics which allows for such companies to gain a share of the market place, whilst also giving the consumer a piece of affordable luxury, unlike the clothing and shoes aspect which normally only the ‘ universal elite’ (Bauman, 2004) can attain. This refers to the socialities, celebrities, bloggers and royalties od the world, whom shape trends and seasonal must-haves which others desire to have so badly in order to fit in and feel accepted, relating to Tajfel and Turners (1986) social identity theory. In addition, celebrities, or other ‘cultural icons’ are often the ‘face’ of such brands, so through clever marketing and advertising, one can purchase the same products used to create celebrity ‘looks’ to feel on a similar level, affecting self-perceptions knowingly or unknowingly.

This spread has been designed to reflect high-end, affluent luxury and adorned items, reflected by the products, artwork, aesthetic, tone and typography chosen. Each cosmetic product is cased in gold or silver, giving a ‘luxury’ and ‘expensive’ feel. This is echoed in the collage and artwork, using gold laced marble as a complementary element and using a sleek serif typeface. Red has been chosen as the key contrast colour, reflecting the product shade chosen and again this is echoed through the typeface chosen. Serif’s such as this are often seen in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, denoting a certain aspirational lifestyle and movement one can only hope to attain and maintain. This is the opposite to that of Japanese magazines and products as seen on previous posts and throughout this post also, contrasting Japan’s youthful culture with that of the West, or UK’s high-end and more ‘European’, branded, designer tastes. Swatches of the cosmetics shades were also used to add a playful, yet aesthetically in-line twist to the spread. I have refrained from using illustrations or youthful elements to really highlight how affluent and luxurious this spread and trend is in Western culture.

I feel that this is one of the best collages created so far, due to being minimal, clean and aesthetically being very affluent and luxurious. It was important for me to keep this spread looking so, as I truly wanted this to contrast with the ‘Princess Kawaii’ spread in the Eastern half of the sourcebook.

 

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The above spread has been designed to reflect Decora beauty, a subculture derived in Harajuku, as a backlash to standardisation and conformation in Japan. This rebellion is a symbol for letting someone be who they are, and want to be, being reflected through colour, clothes and youthful style, opposed to being forced to conform to the ideals, norms and conventions of their modern society.

The Japanese proverb, “the nail that sticks out must be hammered in” comes into play here, noting that subcultures such as “Decora” are derived from a desire to be individual and have their own identity in a strict society where rules, standards and regulations take precedent; the opposite to Western cultures. This is reflected through the clothing, hairstyles and makeup trends shown on the left hand page of the spread above. Illustrations depicting a youthful, colourful notion inspired by the trends shown on the featured Decora girls. Elements of glitter, gemstones, jewels, makeup swatches and sweets have also been used in pastel colours also reflecting such visual Harajuku-led trends. The right hand page of the spread also shows this in a more structured manner, allowing for a title and bodycopy to be placed at a later date. It can also be noticed that the Dacora girls shown also have very pale, white washed skin using light makeup, echoing that of the skin-lightening trend; a broader trend seen across various age groups of women in Japan in an aim to look younger.

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Above shows development of the ‘male makeup artist’ page, using mockups of instagram photos taken from some of the most well know male beauty influencers currently on social media, Manny MUA (also discussed on a Maybelline post previously) and Patrick Starr, showcasing how social media has led to gender boundaries within the beauty industry to become blurred and non-stereotyped to females. I wanted to showcase this in the Western trends section as this is still not seen in Japan, and has helped for many males to be themselves, whilst also adding male perception issues to the mix in a similar light to females, with these influencers becoming icons in their own right. This has been discussed in my dissertation in relation to the alternate perspectives gained from my anonymous research questionnaire, whereby it was apparent that social media, filters, and image editing an affect male ideals within 18-24 year olds, as well as that of females.

Typography has been experimented with on the right looking at typeface, colour and layout. A peach colour was chosen to not be stereotypical of gender, i.e. pink – girl and blue – boy. Social media has removed these barriers, and this is what I wanted to show through the collage. Tags with social media handles will be applied to the imagery on the left hand side page, allowing for readers to directly relate to and have access to their social media platforms for reference, whilst acting as a citation of the image source at hand. By using mockups like on the Kylie Cosmetics spread, this highlights the power and use of social media within the beauty industry, whilst also reiterating how such MUAs have rose to fame in recent years.

A 8 x 8 grid system has been used for each spread throughout the sourcebook, and this is shown above, allowing for accurate, aligned and structured designs to be developed.

 

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The above spread shows development of the ABH (Anastasia Beverly Hills) spread, a brand and makeup artist whom has become a brand herself through an influx of social media trends and marketing strategies utilising some of the worlds most iconic celebrities, i.e. Kim Kardashian and Heidi Klum.

The spread and artwork has been designed using a feminine yet subtle colour palette, introducing makeup swatches inspired and influenced by the 3 key trends highlighted (contouring, brows and highlight; or ‘glow’), whilst promoting the brand ABH whom is the over arching leader of such trends in regard to product innovation and promotion.

These three trends are commonly seen on Instagram by social media communities, in particular celebrities, cultural icons, makeup artists, bloggers and vloggers, and in my opinion have shaped the content of social media in regard to what is considered ‘on trend’ within the beauty industry.

ABH is famous for using celebrities to originally promote her trends, products and techniques, whilst using social media as a marketing tool to promote the brand internationally. In the past year or so, these trends have taken off and have transformed the beauty industry into a modern day epidemic of striving to fit in and conform with such ideals and methods of beauty application, whilst also nspiring other makeup brands to broaden their product lines to gain a share of a demanded and popular market, i.e. L’Oreal have now released various brow products, highlighters and contour products which previously were not on their radar. Such trends have become the norm, with YouTubers and Instagram icons promoting such trends through photos and tutorials on a daily basis, allowing for a users and followers to also buy into such trends, becoming the everyday norm which one is expected to live up to, creating a new ‘ideal’ and in turn affecting self-perceptions of oneself an of other people.

Makeup swatches of the ABH products have been used throughout the spread, creating a reader association with the products themselves, whilst also adding a strong visual emphasis to the page and collage of the trends and products at hand.

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Above shows the pagination of the first draft of the book, alternating text pages on the right/left with digital collages on the opposite throughout, adding visual balance. In addition, it can also be seen the inner East and West divider pages showcasing the direction of the trends in the book. East has been placed on the right hand side denoting Japan’s location on the map, whilst Western trends on the left, denote the UKs location on the map in comparison to Japan. In addition, an intro page will be placed at the front and back of the book, so like a British or Japanese magazine, whichever way the book is opened the intro can be found. A cover will also be placed on the front and back, to add to the same vein, opposed to having a front cover and a back cover, the cover in place will have a dual purpose. This has been influenced from editorial and magazine left research in both the UK and Japan, whilst also reflecting the two contrasting cultures as much as possible.

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