Dissertation Tutorial

Today, I had a dissertation tutorial with my supervisor Sarah. I feel that with my dissertation at the moment I keep on putting it off because I really just do not enjoy writing. However I know this is something that I need to change urgently. I feel much better after my tutorial however, it really helped me to re focus my mind on the dissertation and reminded me of my passion for the subject. From my feedback for our dissertation proposal at the end of level 5, one thing that was pointed out was that I need to develop a more scholarly tone, so Sarah advised me to attend the study skills workshop tomorrow.
I was also advised on more sources that I could research in order to help me develop and expand my dissertation. Firstly to look at the BB3 documentary on the red light district and to also look at celebrities such as Kate Winslet, Sophie Dahl and Marylin Monroe and see how they are represented in the media and their personal opinions on it. One thing that I discussed with Sarah is how I felt that my dissertation is starting to steer away from my original dissertation question. My original question was “How are women represented in fashion advertising in magazines such as Vogue”. However during the research process I am finding more topics that I find really interesting but may not be entirely relevant to my original question, Sarah assured me that this was natural and that our question is bound to change throughout the development period which was extremely reassuring. So I think now I am starting to steer away from focusing so much on vogue but instead focusing on advertising and publications in graphic design in general.
For our next tutorial Sarah asked more to bring a set plan for my whole dissertation and advised  me on how I can separate my difficult categories of information into separate chapters. Also, she advised me to contact Martha Lee so she can help me focus my research and advise me on where I can move next.
Overall, this tutorial was extremely useful and I now feel like I know where to go next. I just need to work harder on focusing on my dissertation and stop procrastinating.

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Design for Real, client briefing.

On Thursday, Victoria Hiscocks head of active ageing at Derwen Independent living came in to brief us on our Design for Real project.

Our Client, Derwen Independent living is a dedicated older persons housing association, and they have over 800 properties across Newport, Monmouthshire and Caerphilly. They implement a active paging ethos across all of their sites, which is a way of ensuring people that older people continue to have the opportunities to provide health, participation and security to make sure they have a good quality of life as they age.  The majority of the clients at Derwen Independent living are in the age range of 55 to 98, and are generally living on low incomes. They could be in a couple or single and also may potentially still be working.
Victoria pointed out that older people want: Too be seen as a resource, to do  meaningful actives where skills can be shared, to be able to get out and see friends, have a companion and satisfying relationships, to have good health , security and finally not to be patronised.
Our brief will be focused on a particular community called the Gaer. The Gaer is a housing estate based in west Newport. They are currently in the process of extending this community with new appartments and also a new community hub.  The briefing system is spilt into 4 different themes:

  1. Inter-generational spaces
  2. Communicating with business partners
  3. Addressing gender imbalance
  4. Identifying with the hub

Under each theme, there are multiple different mini briefs. It was up to us to decide which brief we wanted to choose to work on for the rest of this project. After reading each of the themes I decided to choose brief 10 “How could creating an inclusive way finding system look and how could it engage and encourage participation amongst residents and visitors?”. I chose this brief because it stuck out to me as being the one with the most obvious outcomes, however also one that I could potentially experiment with the most. I found that a lot of the other briefs felt very unspecific and flimsy, so I chose the one that I felt had the most substance to it.

As part of this project each group is assigned a industry mentor to give us advice and guide us through the project. Our mentor is Chess Gordon-Band from Brand Sixty Eight. I am extremely excited to be working on this project with Chessie and I think it will be a great experience to get help and guidance off of someone in the industry.

Design for Real

Monday marked the beginning of our third and final year at Cardiff Metropolitan university, it’s safe to say we all went into this first lecture with a mixture of emotions. To kick off our final year, we begin we with Design for Real. The aim of this project is to provide us, as students, further insight into the actual working world of Graphic design by giving us an opportunity to work on a Live brief with a real life client.  This particular brief is focused on how we, as designers, can encourage more interaction between the residents of Gaer Independent living and the local community.

On Wednesday we had a lecture from Neil on empathetic creativity. One of the most prominent take away’s that I took from this lecture is the theory of the North wind and the Sun:

” The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveller came along wrapped in a warm coat. They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveller take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other. Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveller fold his cloak around him; and at last the North Wind gave up the last attempt. Then the sun shined out warmly and immediately the traveller took off his cloak. And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the sun was the stronger of the two.”

The north wind is representing prevailing design theory because they are trying to force an idea and assumes that the person will be thinking the same way that he does. The north wind is using command, cohesion and control. However the sun has the more effective method and represents future facing design theory because it is guiding the person to work towards an idea without forcing it upon the person by using care, compassion and consideration.

After Neil’s lecture, we then had a lecture on designing for older people by Amanda Protheroe. This lecture was particularly interesting because as a designer it’s very easy to forget that not everybody see’s the world the way we do. For example most people experience age related sight lost from the age of 50, this is can affect that persons glare sensitivity, the way they adapt to change in light levels, colour perception and also depth perception.  Also, those with degenerative diseases such as dementia may interpret shadows or dark areas as holes in the floor, and may interpret shiny floors as being wet. Bold patterns may be perceived as moving objects. All these fact’s will be extremely useful when it comes to designing throughout this project, sight conditions are really easy to forget about as designers but in this project I really want to focus on ensuring my outcomes are suitable for everyone, not just those who have good vision.

Immediate Media work placement

This week I have had the pleasure of spending the week based at Immediate Media office in Bristol, in the branded content department doing a week long work placement.

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Immediate Media is a multi-platform consumer media business, it currently employees 1350 employees over 5 different locations. The company was formed in November 2011 when Magicalia merged with BBC magazines and Origin Publishing. They have a multi-platform model, that includes print, digital content creation, data management and transactional models. Their print portfolio consists of many of the UK’s best-loved brands and they sell over 74million magazines per year, including the UK’s most profitable magazine brand: the Radio Times.

As you can imagine, I was extremely excited and also apprehensive at the beginning of this week before starting the placement. Immediate is such a successful business that I felt as if I maybe wouldn’t be good enough and would feel really out of my depth working in there, I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to do what they asked of me. However, I quickly realised I was wrong. I was very grateful for the fact everyone in the department was extremely friendly and welcoming and I quickly felt at ease in the office. I began by doing a short photo research task, after that, I was given the task to do a double page spread for the Greater Anglia train magazine. When I was tasked with this I was extremely happy because I knew that editorial layouts are one of the things that I enjoy the most and also feel like I do the best.

On Tuesday most of the Immediate staff were out of the office at a company event, so the office was extremely quiet, however, some of the staff in the branded content department were in the process of launching the newly designed RSPB website. In light of this, my task for the day was to check through all of the newly launched web pages to check for any errors in photos or links etc. Although this job was quite a tedious job, the staff were so thankful for me doing it at the end of the day that it made it worthwhile. Naturally, the process of launching a new website is massive, so they found it extremely useful to have a fresh set of eyes checking over the pages.

When everybody came back on Wednesday, Will (the design director in branded content) tasked me with more work for the Greater Anglia train magazine. I think they had been impressed by my work on it on Monday so they decided to give me 2 double page spreads, and then another 2 double page spreads on Thursday.

Bristol is a city that I have been to a few times but never actually been given a chance to explore. So this week was also the perfect opportunity to get to know Bristol because I know that there is a big design industry here. I loved the fact the city had so many individual shops and restuarants/cafes and I found that it was filled with so much culture and art. I thought the atmosphere across the city was very exciting and trendy, I have definetly found myself falling in love with Bristol over the past week.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Immediate. I found that I came out with such a confidence boost knowing that I was able to complete these tasks to the standard that they would and also knowing that they would be sending my work off to the client to get approved and then eventually printed is extremely exciting. I have been told that they will send me a copy of the magazine when it goes to print for me to include in my portfolio which is brilliant! Will actually said to me that the pace that I was working at is what they expect of a normal designer working there on a permanent basis which naturally was a massive compliment! When it came to leaving on Friday, they actually said that they should be thanking me for coming in because I was very helpful to them  The week has made me so much less apprehensive about graduating university, and I am very sad to be leaving Immediate. I have hopefully made some extremely useful industry contacts which I will definitely be keeping in contact with in the future.

Constellation Reflection

Today marks the day for our hand in of our Dissertation proposal. To mark the end of constellation this years, we have been asked to write a reflection on our process and feelings about this year’s constellation.

At the start of the year, the prospect of even thinking about my dissertation was something that scared the hell out of me, let alone even setting in stone my idea and writing a 4000-word plan on it. So when it came to writing my dissertation proposal its easy to say that it was a pretty daunting task that I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to undertake.

When we began term 2 and started to have meetings with our dissertation tutor, my biggest issue was that I just wasn’t sure where to start. However, once I had my first meeting with Jayne she helped me create a bigger sense of direction and I left feeling as if I could actually achieve this. I began researching and reading gradually over the second term, but I almost put off thoughts of having to actually write a dissertation proposal to nearer the end of the term.

I’d always had the idea of basing my dissertation around magazines. Editorial design is my favourite part of graphic design so it felt natural to base my dissertation around a topic that I particularly enjoyed and was passionate about. However I just never really knew how I could write 10000 words on just editorial design. The study groups in term 1 of 2nd year really helped me develop this though, I did the goddesses and monsters study groups and one of the theorists that we studied was Sigmund Freud. I did Psychology at AS level, and we also studied Freud then and because of his controversial and slightly almost uncomfortable theories, he is someone that I had definitely developed an interest in. So this when the idea of combing the two concepts came about, I wanted to look at how Freud’s theory of Castration fears applied in advertising. I was advised to focus on one magazine, so I decided to choose Vogue because it is a magazine I read consistently and of course it is one of the most famous magazines in the world. Jayne helped me developed the idea of sexual objectification, she showed me numerous amounts of theorists who have studied objectification theory. So whilst reading I developed the statement: Sexual objectification of women in fashion advertising in magazines such as Vogue.

When it came to the proposal I had no clue how to write a literature review, I had attended Martyn’s keynote lecture, re-watched Martyn’s keynote lecture and had a meeting with Jayne about it, yet I still couldn’t quite seem to get my head around it. The literature review was definitely the hardest part of the proposal by far. Maybe if we had more workshops where we actually had to write literature review examples with help from tutors maybe I would have understood it more. Because of this when it came to writing my literature review I never felt entirely comfortable writing it, and it felt like a very long stressful experience where I had constant anxiety that I wasn’t doing it right. However, upon asking around how others were writing it I was reassured that it wasn’t just me feeling this way and that we all seem to be writing it in a similar way.
To help me write the literature review I decided to collect all the quotes that I wanted to include first in a separate document and divided the quotes up and grouped them with other quotes that were on similar topics. This provided me with a bit of a structure for my literature review and helped me find it slightly easier. One thing I struggled with whilst writing my literature review was resisting the temptation to argue my point and put my opinion into it as if I were writing an essay.

I think when it comes to essay writing, it has always been something that I struggle with. Especially since when I came to university I had very little knowledge of how to even reference, so that is something that I am still developing the ability to do now, so it still makes me slightly anxious when it comes to referencing because I always have the paranoia that I haven’t done it correctly.  I think over all with the lack of confidence in my abilities to write and lit review and to reference the whole process of actually writing this dissertation proposal has been quite a stressful one and a process I haven’t really enjoyed. However, now I have done it I believe that it has set me up really well in terms of giving me more direction for my essay and I know where I want to go next.

Despite the stress of the dissertation proposal, I am still extremely interested in my topic and I really enjoyed researching and reading about the different theories behind my idea. So I am looking forward to developing this idea further and eventually writing my actual dissertation on it.

The prospect of writing my actual dissertation now doesn’t seem quite so daunting and scary now I have completed this proposal, even if it is only the proposal. It has made me realise how much is out there to write about and I kind of understand now when people say that you won’t struggle to find topics to write about, you’ll struggle because you’ll have too much. So now the proposal is finished I can conclude it has been a reassuring experience even if the journey to completing it was full of stress and confusion. I am proud that I have come this far within my university experience to the stage where I am beginning my dissertation, I am slightly scared that it has come around so fast and I dread to think how fast the next year will go. But nethertheless I am excited to see what will come and how my dissertation will develop.