Personal Development Plan – Term 2/3

Within term 1 of Level 5 constellation, I was in the study group ‘Posthumanism Art & Design: Matters, Ecology, Ethics’. In this topic, we discussed a variety of different subjects in relation to human/non-human, objects and the ethics of design which enabled me to think further into my practice as a graphic designer in terms of the effects of what my practice can do and to think about it in relation to the wider world. I decided to write my formative essay on the question ‘Is the 21st century graphic designer a cyborg and what effect is this having on the gap between the human and non-human?’ because I wanted to explore whether graphic designers are consumed by technology – therefore making them a cyborg – and whether this is affecting the non-human world. I enjoyed researching into the topic and making up my own opinion regarding the gap between graphic designers and the non-human world which led me into my dissertation topic. I started to question my responsibility to the environment as a graphic designer and how I can relate the ideas I was exploring to my practice. I felt that as a graphic designer, my responsibility is to create work for the human world and I thought it interesting to find that by doing this, what is the impact on the environment and is there a solution to change this. I decided to continue this through to my dissertation because I felt if I discussed this topic in depth then it would develop me in practice as a graphic designer in becoming more environmentally friendly. Sustainability is really important, especially within this current climate, so already in my subject, I am trying to be mindful of the materials I am using and to create pieces of work that have a real purpose in the world so are worth the materials they are using. I have learned to not create just ‘stuff’ that is not needed and would just be thrown away once it’s been used. I have begun to work in a way in which I think about the end use of the product before designing it so that I can limit my negative effect on the environment. I feel that this constellation topic has been really insightful and I have been able to create strong links between this and my practice which has development myself as a designer.

My feedback from my formative essay submission, stated that my referencing system was incorrect, in particular my text citations. So within this proposal, I worked to ensure that I had improved upon my referencing. Another piece of feedback was to ensure my work had paragraphs so I worked on the structuring of my essay within this submission. Taking this feedback forward into writing my dissertation proposal, I ensured that I allowed myself enough time in preparing the research and writing the piece of work. Originally, I had planned to write a 10,000-word dissertation however, as I developed my idea I decided to write a 6,000-word dissertation and to present it alongside an artefact. I felt that this would more appropriate because within my dissertation I am talking about how designers have an effect on the environment so creating an artefact to alleviate the effect being negative seemed more fitting to the topic. Though I have enjoyed researching for this topic and look forward to creating the dissertation/artefact, I am apprehensive as to whether or not the artefact will work as planned. I am relying on natural resources to create my piece of work and it’s quite an experimental technique with room for it to go wrong so I am prepared for the challenge of creating the artefact. Despite this, I am sure that it is possible to create the finished artefact and I have planned for it to be a sufficient piece of work to present alongside my dissertation. Over the summer, I begin and hope to complete my artefact.

I continue to find it difficult to read and critique pieces of texts so it’s something I have learned to allow myself enough time to do. Within the first term, I found it beneficial to notice links between constellation and my subject because I have found before I struggled to notice the connection which made me less motivated to read different texts. Having found a dissertation topic in which I can be passionate about and have found that it can have a positive impact on my practice, has enabled me to want to read more academics texts and has allowed me to realise the importance of widening my reading. I feel that writing long pieces of text will always be a challenge for me and as I move forward into writing my dissertation, I will continue with the pace of how I have written my proposal so that I allow myself enough time to produce a piece of work I can be proud off. Being able to write about different pieces of texts has helped me in being able to critique pieces of artists/designers work within research for projects. In the past – in particular in first – I rushed to write my essays which led me to be given a grade I wasn’t happy with, so I’ve learned from that to have better time management so that what I submit is the best of the work I can produce. Alongside this, I should work to read more variety of text as I have done for the proposal, to provide a varied conversation. I plan to continually develop my writing skills and the reading of my text, in particular for the writing of my dissertation but also with my subject when writing blog posts for my work.


Design Development

Typeface design

I decided that I wanted to create my own typeface so that I can add a humanist factor onto the campaign. The idea of this is so that it makes the campaign seem friendly therefore making the topic of conversation more approachable. The typeface is geometric with the idea being that I can experiment with colours.

Logotype & Colour

I developed the title ‘CHAT IT OUT’ as the logotype for the project as I felt that it was a strong, literal message of what the campaign is doing. I eventually added the word ‘lads’ so that it was more personal and direct to the audience. I tried a series of different colours and decided to go with orange, blue and black. Blue and black are the colours of the Heads Together logo and since I’m going to be using the logo within the work, I thought it would be appropriate to use. Orange is a loud and bright colour which looks well with blue and black and I felt would work well with attracting the audience.

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I developed coaster designs with the idea being that these attract people’s attention and hopefully begin the conversation of mental health. On the coasters, there is information of the organisation, encouragement to speak out and also where to go to get help, including a 24/7 helpline for emergencies which I felt was really important to include.

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Beer brand

With a development from the idea behind the coaster, I decided to create a brand of beer. This brand of beer is a extension of the idea about putting the encouragement
of talking about mental health in a normal setting such as a pub. On the packaging of this beer is initial encouragement of not sitting in silence and where to seek help. With people that have mental health problems, it is encouraged that they drink little amounts or even avoid alcohol however this is not advice that is always taken well. Creating a brand of beer that will have a low alcohol intake with an emphasis on talking about mental health will aim to ensure that it does good to the person drinking it and
not induce their worries. Further to this, if a person is drinking alcohol in order to avoid seeking help, then by them having this beer it tackles the issue head on and provides the person with direct advice and information of what they need to do.

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In order to reinforce the idea of having a conversation about mental health over the drinking of this beer, these cards with information will be sat at the bar. They will be there for people to take as they please as well as the customer being handed one when they purchase the beer.

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Though the primary target is males and within pubs, an advertisement on a billboard will widen the conversation and make more audiences aware of the brand which would ideally encourage more people to talk about mental health.



Mental Health Research & Initial Ideas

Idea: relieving the fear surrounding the conversation on mental health.

My initial idea was to create something that makes mental health discussion approachable. One way of doing to was to use comedy as a factor to draw people in. So I thought about using a thought that someone has to do with anxiety and quoting that on a poster. For example, it could be something about over-thinking a situation. The idea being by enlarging that thought onto a poster and making a joke out of it, it would hopefully make a start a conversation between people on their mental health. I continued to explore this idea further through choosing a charity on which to base my campaign upon. Different charities that are already education people on different types of mental illnesses are: Mental Health Stories; Mind Charity and Heads Together. The charity Heads Together is an organisation which describes themselves on there Instagram page as “changing the conversation on mental health because when we get our #headstogether we can achieve great things.” The fact their entire charity is based on encouraging conversations, I think that this is a perfect charity to base my campaign upon which is related well together.

One of my initial ideas was to create a video for the campaign showing a visual representation of someone struggling with too many thoughts. So it could be a video of a group of people around a table, with the focus on one person looking distressed, with the others around them making lots of noise, e.g. banging the table, tapping of the foot, singing,… The person the video is focussed on, then stands up and shouts the room to shut up. The last visual will then be ‘if only it was this easy to shut of your thoughts’. So the idea is that the initial view on the video will be humorous and then they’ll be a shock factor at the end with the narrative.


Establishing target audience

I spent time researching a potential audience to target my campaign. The charity Heads Together tackles mental health within all age ranges so whichever audience I chose to target it will be fitting with the brand. I decided to go with the target audience of males under 45 because suicide is the bigger killer of this age range; though it is a large audience, I feel that it’s an important topic that needs to be addressed.


Initial design ideas

Once I’d established my target audience, I began creating initial ideas for the campaign. I decided to create a brand to be put within pubs so that it specifically targets the audience in a place they stereotypically socialise. I started sketching out designs of a typeface using the words ‘chat it out’, trying to create a friendly and approachable design. After a tutorial where I discussed my idea of a film, I was given the idea to move away from that and create products such as coasters to be put into the pub. The idea of this is to create interactive work to start a conversation within the pub on mental health. I explore this throughout illustrations and then after feedback from peers that they liked the name ‘CHAT IT OUT’, I decided to call my campaign this and work around this idea. Ideas for the coasters was to have lyrics from a pub anthem on them so that it catches the attention of people having a drink, leading them to pick up and read about it and then hopefully trigger a conversation on mental health.


New project: Persuasion

Initial research

The bomb attack on Charlie in France:
Response to the terror attack in Paris, France. I remember very vividly when this attack first took place as it became the first of many attacks on Europe. The response on social media to stand with Paris, France was huge and there was a response from Charlie through posters to show that they weren’t going to let the terrorists win.

KONY 2012:
Campaign to get the Uganda world-criminal leader arrested and taken out of power by the end of 2012. I remember this being a huge campaign on social media, there were marches that took place around the UK/world and there was a film that was created that went viral within 24 hours.

Times up / me too:
Response to the outbreak of the news of the powerful sex abuser Harvey Weinstein. Social media campaign of people speaking out about their experiences of abuse. This was about not only taking a stand against powerful men within the film industry but also for woman worldwide to talk about their experiences. Women’s rights – and more recently sexual abuse against woman – has always been a huge discussion and for me growing up I feel that it is a topic that is being fought and discussed continuingly.

Malala Yousafzai: shooting and fight for woman’s education
Young girl shot in the head just for going to school. I was at school myself at the time of this happening and I wasn’t much younger than her so this event was always so prominent in my mind as education is something we take for granted in this country. She was spoken about a lot throughout school and she continued to fight for the right for every child to have an education.

Manchester bomb attack:
Attack on the Manchester stadium whilst Ariana Grande was performing. This was an incredibly shocking attack since the bomber purposely chose this performance for the kinds of people that would be attending. The entire city of Manchester and country united and took a stand against terrorism to show that they weren’t letting the bomber win.


Chosen topic: Discrimination

Definition: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex

Once chosen this topic I began to explore different ideas to do with discrimination. Upon research, I came across a lot of ideas relating to feminism and racism and there has been many campaigns created for this. Since there has been a lot of campaigns created for ideas surrounding feminism and racism, I decided that I wanted to go into a different direction. A topic I am passionate about is the education of mental health to relieve the stigma surrounding it, so what I thought would be interesting would be to explore discriminatory ideas surrounding the topic of mental health.

Topic: Mental Health

My initial opinion of this topic in relation to discrimination, is that though a mental illness will not discriminate in terms of who it hits, getting help for that mental illness does. For example, in Hereford where I am from, there is at least a 6 week waiting list to be able to get counselling through the NHS and you are also judged on how severe your case of mental illness is in terms of how quickly you get help. This mind set of mental health is discriminatory to the people who can’t afford to pay for counselling right away when they initially seek help, so by leaving them on a waiting list, it is only prolonging the possibility of their mental illness becoming severely detrimental to their life and well-being.

In an initial tutorial, I discussed this idea of discrimination to mental health and I found that others agreed with what I was saying. What was interesting was hearing people’s opinions on mental health so a couple of them discussed that there is a fear surrounding the topic but particular to people who aren’t suffering. So there is more of a worry of saying the wrong thing or upsetting people with a mental illness, which I found interesting because actually it’s this mind set that can sometimes discriminate people that are suffering. This can be because they feel like they can’t speak out or continue with their lives normally in worry they’re being judged. I decided that since there was a good discussion surrounding this within the group, I will continue with this topic about the fear surrounding mental health discussion because it’s clearly an important topic and I definitely think there’s a market it for it.


Cath Davies Campaign Strategies

Wednesday 28th February

In Cath’s lecture she discussed the different strategies/approaches for persuasive design. So in terms of a persuasion techniques in design it would be to create a piece of work in a informative approach to make the viewer think or in a emotive approach so make the viewer feel; of course both of these go together. They’re both techniques that are used to inform an stance of an opinion on a debate or argument.

We were shown a series of images that have been created in favour of banning animal testing. These images were examples of different uses of persuasion techniques. The first image shown was a picture of a very cute dog with the text ‘BAN ANIMAL TESTING’ underneath. Without the text, the image would have a completely different meaning because on the surface it’s an image of a cute puppy which you would imagine being in a warm house but then the text underneath gives it a more sinister feel. This is an example of how text can completely change the meaning of an image and questions the relationship between image and text. The next image was from an advert created by LUSH who used emotive and playful language to create an informal approach for banning animal testing. This kind of language is suitable to the rest of their brand identity which is something to be mindful of in regards to my persuasive work if it was for a client. The third image from Society for Protection of Animals, the image does all the talking. It’s an image of a woman in a typical pose for a perfume advert (airbrushed face) however the perfume bottle is a dog. It looks like a very conventional perfume advert as it uses language typical of the beauty industry but by replaces the bottle with a dog it’s reminded you of what the beauty industry don’t want you to see. This could be an interesting persuasion technique to use; so going into the world they’re used to and changing the reference so de-stabling the original public awareness of the industry.

All of these examples show variation of emotive and informative language and how they can work separately or together. I feel that from the examples we were shown above, the ones that work are the more cleverer designs where they have redefined the industry within their design (rather than the more literal examples).

Anti-Fur Campaign techniques: consider techniques used and what are the advantage/disadvantages

(Columns analysis)

Image 1:

Small image of fox in cage / bold heading saying: “real fur, real torment” / descriptive text using emotive language / “be fashionable, warm and kind”

Text relates to the images; brings out emotions as the fox is trapped in the cage; reinforces the idea that animals are abused. Text next to the image isn’t explicit but enough to be informative; its more descriptive language and plays on emotions – I feel the text is stronger than the image. There’s a repetition of the word “REAL” to create an impact and the word “HER” does the same as it implies they are no different to humans.

The phrase “be fashionable, warm” is often what is used as to why you should where fur so it is a play on this by using the word “be nice” to switch the meaning to why you shouldn’t wear fur by add the human element to it. It has a wide target audience as it doesn’t make you look away but does entice you to read. However, by having a wide target audience, the language and use of imagery is a subtle reasoning as to why you shouldn’t wear fur so it could be said that it’s shocking enough to provoke action.

Image 2:

Says the phrase: “rich bitch, poor bitch” / image of a woman in fur against a dog with blood / small descriptive text underneath image

It’s an illustration so it makes it less graphic than using real images however the imagery is emotive as well as the text underneath. It’s comical in the use of imagery and language of the “rich bitch, poor bitch” but when you look into it more and read the text it has a shocking underpinning meaning. The use of language underneath the text isn’t complicated and manages straight forward and factual at the same time as being emotive. There is a repetition through the framing of the visuals and the language and there’s added shock value by doing this.

They’ve played on the before and after aspect of the images but done it in a way that would provoke thought. There’s proximity within the images: so you feel something based on an identification.

Image 3:

Italic text / soft autumn colours / naked woman with autumn leaves / woman holding tiara

This advert is playing on existing beauty adverts that we are used to by making it a very pure image with feminine text. You’re drawn in by the naked body and then you read the text afterwards which completely changes the context of the imagery. I feel that without text you’d think that it was something else. There is a use of a celebrity which by using a familiar face with the campaign, it persuades the user more. By having a pure body is playing on nature by replicating the pose of an animal and is what animals feel like without their fur; there is a slight vulnerability of the pose that replicated how the animal may be before being slaughtered.

I feel that this design is for a specific market as it is a very feminine advert and can be seen as advertising at predominately girls. Without the use of typography and since a normal viewer would not analyse the image as much as done so above, I feel that the message would not be conveyed in a strong and persuasive manner.

Image 4:

Woman dress in black / holding skinned fox

The woman is stood really tall and is holding the fox as if to say ‘this is what you’re doing, what are you going to do about it’. She dressed all in black and has a strong stare that looks right at you so it’s a very confrontational advert in terms of her expression and pose.  Because she is wearing black, the rest of her body is lost within the page so it makes her skin more prominent as well as the fox; they’re emphasising what they want you to see. The woman is also a celebrity so that reinforces the idea of persuasion. The text is minimal but strong and compliments the imagery.

There’s a strong contrast between the imagery and the background. They’ve used strong visual language to convey a confrontational message in a persuasive manner on this topic. I feel that this is a strong example about how an image can stand for itself and convey a persuasive argument without needed any text or just little amount of text.

Image 5:

Woman in gold / wearing fur coat / holding knife with blood on it and blood around her mouth/chair

It’s very much a contrast of scenery with a very glamorous woman dressed in gold, holding a knife covered in blood which is a combination of imagery you wouldn’t normal associate with each other. The composition of the imagery with the description of the animal cruelty and price of coat has been position in a way you would see in a fashion magazine so it is playing on familiar imagery. The imagery shows the woman killing to create the coat so it’s a grotesque image showing greed and showing a very literal representative of having blood on your hands for wearing a fur coat.

The imagery is very literal in the sense of showing ‘blood on your hands’ for wearing a fur coat. I think it’s a powerful piece of imagery and playing on the fashion magazine style it adds more strength to the piece. I do however think that as a piece, there is a lot going on with the added logo’s as it adds too much colour to the piece and it would be far more powerful if the imagery and small piece of text was set as a minimalist piece of work being the centre of the work.

I found this lecture really interesting in looking at different persuasion techniques. When it comes to creating my own work I need to be mindful of the different interpretations of images and ensure that the use of the image is appropriate to it stance in message. In terms of for a client, this would be to make sure I am created an appropriate piece of work for the media they have asked; so to be mindful of where the work will be and whether it’s right for that. Other points from the work we have looked at that I can include within my own design is how I can play on already exist media and ideas on an industry and use it to provide an alternative meaning.

Placement finished – reflection & evaluation

Overall, I really enjoyed the 4 week placement in Cowbridge Comprehensive and I felt like it’s been beneficial as it has confirmed my decision of wanted to become a secondary school teacher. I found it really helpful in terms of my decision to become a teacher or not because whilst I was there, there was some PGCE students at the school so they gave me some honest advice about the course and whether or not to become a teacher straight away or not. In terms of experiencing teaching itself, I found it a brilliant opportunity to gain classroom experience. It was initially hard to see the classroom from a teacher’s perspective however I started to notice more within the lesson and how it was being taught. The highlight of the few weeks being there was when we were able to get into the classroom and work with students on there work; particularly within the art department when we go to advised and help with the students GCSE art work.

In regards to the planning and delivering of lessons, it was great to have the opportunity to teach to a class of students and I became more confident within the classroom which previously was quite a daunting experience. With the product design lesson, we didn’t have a huge amount of support in regards to planning and creating the lesson so we learned a lot about the topic and because we had a lot of time to plan it, we had spent a lot of time on the material – it was real shame when we weren’t able to teach the lesson. When in came to planning the textiles lesson, we were given more support from the teacher and from previously planning the product design lesson, we were in a much better position to plan the lesson. It would have been really useful if we had more guidance on how to structure the lessons however it was a good opportunity to learn how to teach the lessons.

As much as I enjoyed my experience at the school I also found it incredibly frustrating at times. I felt that the design and technology department did not make the most of us being there and for most of the time I felt more in the way of the teachers. For the first week, we had the pupil trail organised and then we were able to create a lesson plan for the product design lesson; from then on, it seemed to be the same routine every day with nothing planned so we had to be proactive ourselves and push to be in lessons. As a whole in the DT department, I felt that we weren’t able to make use of our skillset and we didn’t even observe any product design lessons (which is more to my skillset) only textiles. I would have enjoyed it more if we were able to observe more product design lessons and get more involved in helping with students work. When we spoke to the art & design department, the head of art was so enthusiastic about us being there and said that she would have really made the most of us being there, letting us be apart of the lessons; it would have been great if we could have had this kind of opportunity in the design and technology department.

Originally, I was unsure about whether I wanted to become an art & design or design & technology teacher. I am leading more towards becoming a DT teacher however, the art & design department within the school was so full of enthusiasm from the students and the teachers which is something that the DT department lacks. However, I think that could be more down to the teachers rather than the topic.