Monday, 17 November 2014

OUGD401 Hypothesis Based on Concept

I think branding definitely has a huge impact on the consumer, espiecially today as the branding of a product is usually aimed at it's specific consumer, such as Pot Noodles are aimed at students and the lower/middle class. If a products design isn't slick, then generally it could be regarded as tacky.

Consuming as a whole was at an all time high in the USA in the 1920's, straight after the First World War. This was some-what due to the fact that mass production came about, which meant that things, such as cars and radios, could be produced very quickly, and also cheaply, meaning they could be sold for a lot less, and therefore it opened up a consumer society in which lower class people could actually afford things that originally only the rich could.

Styles and fashions started forming, people began to feel the need to purchase every new item to improve their identity. New products were being produced, and this method of consumerism is still used today in every company, such as Apple. This method of bringing out new, desirable products is what makes consumerism work and benefit the economy,  for example Apple have brought out about two new iPhones per year for the past four years, making consumers want to spend money on flashy phones to enhance their identity, even when they don't exactly have the money. This also is impacted as the new updates that Apple bring out for each phone often eventually slow down the phone, so the consumer will want to upgrade to a new, quicker model.

OUGD401 Harvard Referencing Relevant Books (Study Task Three)

I went to the library and found 3 books that are relevant to consumerism and my chosen topic.

(Kilbourne & Pipher 2000)Kilbourne, J. & Pipher, M., 2000. Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group.

(Remington & Bodenstedt 2003)Remington, R.R. & Bodenstedt, L., 2003. American Modernism: Graphic Design 1920 to 1960, Laurence King Publishing.

Pincas, Stephane (4 July 2008). A History of Advertising. Cologne, Germany: Tashchen GmbH Publishing.

I think I would find it more beneficial if I look deeper into the history side more than the advertising side first, as I feel like this would give me a bigger knowledge.

OUGD401 Mindmap / Brainstorm

In todays seminar, we created mind maps based on our chosen topic. I decided, as I already know which route I want to go down with my research and essay, that my mindmap would be really focused around the 1920s. Below is my mindmap. I found it really useful getting some ideas and research down on paper, and it was also useful talking to other people that are also looking into consumerism, as we brainstormed ideas and helped each other.

OUGD401 Group Critique

I decided that the topic I am most interested about looking deeper into is the question about Consumerism, as I find it really interesting and also I love looking at advertising and slick design, such as Apple and Carhartt. In the group crit, we discussed whether this would be the right choice for me and what I would look into specifically. I decided I would look into the 1920s in America after WWI, as I find the Economic Boom and the creation of mass-production. For this, I could also look into the Economic Bust.

Simon suggested I should look into the economical system that is informed by consumers, and Jessica suggested that I should look into the catalogues that were used, as it was in the 20s that everyone started buying from them.

I think this would be a really interesting topic to research and create an essay about. In terms of practical work, I was thinking that i could take a product that was sold back then that isn't today and give it a total rebrand so that it would be desirable today. After the group crit, however, I think it would also be interesting to look into the catalogues and maybe redesign an entire catalogue with the products. I will need to research into them to know if this is possible, however, as I'd need quite a lot of products. However, I could also use products from today and put them into a catalogue format, as I think this would be really interesting as generally catalogues don't really work today as the internet is a lot simpler to use. I could look at maybe creating an app.

OUGD401 Consumerism, Gender Roles, Society and Politics


We have been given some more topics that we could write our essay and create a body of work about. One of the topics is Gender representation. The question is 'To what extent does advertising construct our ideas of gender?' In the seminar, we discussed the past depictions of women. A quote from Berger 1972 is 'men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at'. I think this quote doesn't really apply these days as Feminism is talked about so much more and women respect themselves more. I think the quote is a bit stupid, as women didn't have a choice in the past as they were literally expected to find a man and then tend to all his needs. Women don't get dressed up to impress men these days, they do it because they want to.

If I was going to look into this topic, I would look into the campaign by Guerilla Girls, who make really bold, striking posters and advertisements stating facts about the lack of equality for women. Advertisements played a crucial part in the selling of certain products, such as cigarettes, for which they would use women in their posters, although aim the posters at men. I think this whole topic would be really interesting to look at, as advertisements have definitely used women to sell their products, although they have also changed the mindset of men, and basically made some feel like they deserve the woman.

Even women's magazines these days are still aimed at trying to make yourself more presentable for a man, not for yourself. I could look into the artist Barbara Kruger who created the print 'Your Body Is A Battlefield'


The question based on consumerism is 'What is the relationship between branding and The Consumer Self?' We have been given the name Karl Marx (1818-1883), who, after researching, I found out created the theory of Marxism, which forms the foundation of communsim. The summary we looked at went over certain areas of history, such as 1876 with the "stanley" range cooker, which I have already analysed a couple of weeks ago.

We also found out how commodity culture perpetuates false needs. The ways that companies manage to do this is with aesthetic innovation, planned obsolescence and novelty. Advertising basically conceals the background history of the products it is trying to sell. In other words, the context in which a product is produced is kept hidden, for example Nike uses sweat shops where they pay their workers minimum amounts, however sell the product for extausionate amounts and pocket the profit. Another way is that products are given human associations, such as products themselves can be perceived as sexy, romantic, cool and fun.

If I chose to base my essay on consumerism, I will look at Frankfurt School (set up in 1923) and also Herbert Marcuse who wrote "One Dimensional Man" in 1964. I can also look into Adbusters.

Both the consumerism and gender roles could definitely link into one another, which I might find useful when choosing a question as these are both the topics I am most interested in, however I am unsure if I would want to look into gender roles as it makes me really angry.


The question based on social and political change is 'Discuss the role that Graphic Design has played in Political and/or social change in a specific perious in history.' This question could be really interesting as I could look into propaganda posters, which I looked at when I took history and found really interesting.

I could also look into change within graphic design, such as the trends like modernism, bauhaus and postmodernism. I think it'd be really interesting to look into the 60s and 70s and into the really expressive art and advertising that were created, that were heavily influenced by drugs and the music industry.

OUGD401 Modernism and Post Modernism


One of the questions we have been given for our possible essay is based around Modernism. The question is 'To what extent have Modernist design principles influenced contemporary Graphic Design?' To help us get an idea of how we could go about answering this question, we were given a seminar with a brief introduction into Modernism and an introduction into some of the graphic design that has been a strong influence in this movement.

We were given some books that could be useful for further exploration of the topic, one being Rejection of ornament (Adolf Loos, (1908) Ornament & Crime) and also Form Follows Function (Louis Sullivan (1896) 'The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered').

According to the modern age, no font other than Grotesk fits the movement, however this is critiqued by Tschischold. Modernism is an internation typographic style. It uses a lot of grids and rules to create the perfect display and generally abandoned the use of drawn illustration in favour of photography. There are a few graphic designers that I already know a little about that used modernism, such as Wim Crouwel, who I looked at in college, who created the 'new alphabet', which I thought was really interesting as the letterforms, although highly different, were still readable.


Another question that we have been given the opportunity to write an essay about is Postmodernism. The question is 'How did Postmodernism impact on Graphic Design practice?' Postmodernism is characterised by exhaustion, pluralism, pessimism and disillusion with the idea of absolute knowledge, however some principles do overlap. Postmodernism started around the 1960s and was dominant in the 1980s and 1990s. I have also looked into an artist that was highly respected, whos work was created using the postmodernist method. His name is David Carson, who has a very bold and abstract way of working. 

After learning a little about the two, I am not so sure that I would like to base my essay and practical work around either of them, especially postmodernism as, although I really enjoy some of the posters, the way the work is created seems very cluttered and makes me feel a bit on edge. I wouldn't really like to look more into modernism, as I find the topic quite challenging, and I think I would be more successful creating a body of work and essay on something that I find incredibly interesting, instead of just a little bit of interest.