Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.
Reflection on how media advertising and the manner in which it portrays concepts of what an “ideal look” for women is.
Amidst all the spray tans, plastic surgery and hair extensions, women with less clothes tend to stand out, evoking concepts of glamour, individuality and femininity- When is it going to be enough? Many are ashamed to admit that such trivial concerns- to do with physical appearance; bodies, faces, hair, and clothes- matter so much. I argue that we deserve the choice to do whatever we want with our faces and bodies without being punished by an ideology that is using economic pressure and stereotypical judgments regarding women’s appearance to undermine us psychologically.
As a designer, I have been inspired by the ability of Graphic Design to promote social change. Sharing knowledge is recognized as being critical to the ongoing development and growth of our community. Everyone enjoys listening to stories as it encourages creativity, help in handling emotion, help to make sense of puzzling situations and it also engage our community much more closer. For my final project, I have created a campaign looking at positive activism that would spark reflection and dialogue between high school girls and our community on how young women judge themselves against the idealized world of beauty.
For most of the people, gathering information begins and ends online. Though the Internet is a powerful tool in today’s generation, I found the library one of the best places to go for books, articles, magazine and reports. I used this as my initial research strategy because I wanted to become familiar with historical references and the current body of knowledge about ideal beauty. Conducting a literature review offered me valuable insight into my subject matter and prepared me for framing the problem to be solved.
Humans have been looking for ways to modify or enhance their aesthetic appeal for thousands of years. Across culture and time, the standard of beauty and the methods of beautifying oneself change. As I have researched our concept of beauty is overridden by the social norms of the society we grow up in. When images of beauty change, female bodies are expected to change too. With the globalization we are coming closer to a global view on beauty. The global view is often shaped by the corporate advert that is part of everyday life. Different aspects of the female body and varying images of each body part are modified to meet the constantly shifting ideal. The ideal is always the most difficult to achieve and most unnatural in a given time period. Sometimes these ideals are nearly impossible to accomplish, breakdown and disappointment is inevitable.
Current researchers of Stanford University, University of Massachusetts and National Institute on Media suggests that mass media pervade our everyday lives and undoubtedly one of the effects is the widespread transformation of social beauty ideals.
“Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts report that 70% of college women say they feel worse about their own looks after reading women’s magazines”
“National Institute on Media and the Family National Institute on Media and the Family whose results divulge a study done in 1996 that found that the amount of time an adolescent watches soaps, movies and music videos is associated with their degree of body dissatisfaction and desire to be thin “
To support my research, I conducted a qualitative survey to high school students from St. Dominic’s to gain knowledge on girls opinion about what they think of the “ideal beauty” and the impact of media marketing and its effects on adolescent girls from a wider age group (13-18 years old) because I want to gain as much information as possible.
The findings of my survey yielded some significant results revealing that students age 13-18 years old, surprisingly share similar interest despite the age gap. The majority of the responses indicated that the participants either strongly agreed, or agreed, that media marketing (magazines, television programs, Internet, celebrity influence) had an effect on their lives. It is really thought provoking how these ideas of “ideal” are implanted into everything around us and younger adolescence absorb it without challenge. This confirmed my knowledge that advertising really does influences the population beyond its knowledge.
The two illustrators that I admired the most are Cassandra Rhodin and Jowy Maasdame. Both work have their unique intrigue style of exaggerating the feature of their fashion characters which reminds me of how media pushes the boundaries of the ideal to the edge making real females stick thin. Rhodin and Maasadame both have the enigmatic black and white effect that made the features black and white effect that made the figures more intense silent movie vibes. The artists used of intricacy in the linear detail also create a movement through the illustration.
My interest for this project grew more when I noticed younger girls casual conversations complaining about their appearance whilst working at my part-time job. I began observing and visually recording this shop talk because it seemed the best way to understand teens, from observing their social behaviors without influencing them in any way, I was able to observe candid conversations and reactions to clothes and body image. A turning point lead me to scale down my target audience concentrating on a lower age group as surprisingly more young adolescents ages 13-16 had appeared to make more complaints about heir appearance. Due to the fact that this is a transitional stages of human development generally occurring between puberty and legal adulthood a time in which, self- concept and body image play a crucial part in their emergent sense of identity. Being able to capture initial conversations directly helped me to discover new opportunities defining decisive decisions for my potential design outputs for what my audience needs and wants.
Colour is a powerful nonverbal communication tool that is a huge factor of my design decisions. From my shop visit observation, colour and patterns is another factor that is evidently seen everywhere, it doesn’t only symbolize thoughts, but it can often contribute significantly to aesthetic, emotional and stylistic impressions of what is being visualized. For my target audience bright colours with patterns evoke an energetic force or tension embodied in and between the lines, textures and shape. It stimulates a dynamic sense of movement and increases visual excitement as it enriches surface interest.
More research leads me to looking into strategies of awareness of other campaigns supporting the beauty myth. The purpose of this research is to find comparisons to other design aesthetics around the world relating to ideal beauty in order to know how they tackle the issue to get an idea of the wider context. Reviewing design campaigns with the similar theme gave me a rough visual idea on what my project needs to have to make my target audience to easily understand the message of my project.
Typography is language made visual. This magazine is a visual voice for true beauty campaign. The typeface that the designer used caught my attention as it gives a feeling the person is talking through the typeface. Typography was a concern that I needed to explore at numerous times during my experimentation. I have to remember that the rules are no more than three typefaces can be used in one page.
Looking at other beauty campaigns, I have found that most other tackle this issue in a serious note. In Marie Claire, South Africa annual body issue, six advertising agencies design clever posters that challenge our perception on what the perfect body is. The technique to involve an audience is simply a magnet. If something is funny, warm or friendly, it would actually reach out to people, it begins a dialogue, a two way street. It relates to my project, as I am dealing with a younger generation, one of the design key decisions I have decided to be giving the content of my work a humorous theme. My project would easily capture and retain the message to my younger audience, as I believe that even such a serious matter can be enhanced by a touch of humor
Amidst constructing this project, I came across two artists that had a similar colour preference and humorous design theme. Mr. Bingo caught my attention because of his incredible “hate mail postcards”. Even if its offensive yet humorous, it drew people to it. Laughter contains admiration for the cleverness of the joke and also satisfaction with one’s own cleverness in seeing the joke. His work does more than capturing attention and makes the audience linger.
Farquharson work includes a unique mixture of collage, photography, typography and bold color combinations and patterns. Her mix media work relates to my topic because it gives me the sense of hyperreality provoking the cutting edge pastiche appeal, which leads me to a turning point to research more in depth about media hyppereality.
“We have used our wealth, our literacy, our technology and our progress to create the thicket of unreality which stands between the fact of life” (Boorstin)
“The American imagination demands the real thing and to attain it, it must fabricate the most absolute fake” (ECO)
“It is the generation by models of a real without origins or reality: a hyperreal” (Baudrillard 2).
While hyperreality is an old idea, its effects remain relevant today. One danger of hyperreality is that people may look to hyperreal images as role models, when the images don’t even represent real people. This can cause people to strive for an unattainable ideal, or lead to a lack of healthy role models. I have used collage as my key design element because I want to express the sense of hypereality by cutting and pasting existing magazine and recycle them with my own female illustration and typography. I want to convey the idea of what is real and what’s too superficial through combining and cutting out what the media is showing us about the female body parts through advertisements. I found integrating design elements of text, image and graphic wit successfully through my experimentation as it reinforces one another to communicate the message that I want to be conveyed.
A wider audience can be arrested by bold images, a staggering use of colour and elegant photography but the best way to win time for the message is to offer something that intrigues. My design embodies the social comments that I have collected directly from young girls and incorporates then in to my chosen outputs, which are tags, tote bags, and postcards bound as a book.
The reason I have chosen to incorporate the social comments to postcards because it’s simple and direct. Postcards can have a high impact and are attention grabbing – they can be easily read without having to open an envelope. It’s also easy to scan the headline and understand the gist of the message. I believe in using powerful yet inexpensive weapons in social awareness campaigns. Good things come in small packages. Using social conversation on tote bags allows communication of my message to a wider community. I have also designed swing tags, to be my campaign’s face to the world. Swing tags are a good marketing tool, especially when starting a campaign, boosting brand reputation, as it offers easy contact information and increases perceived value.
My goal was to create media that can be instrumental in social change, to use design to trigger my audience to reflect and be inspired, to become aware..