Design, Fiction and Speculation with Tim: 15/04/19

During today’s lecture with Tim, we learnt about critical design. Critical design is to design to find problems, which contrasts with affirmative design which is to solve problems. It was also highlighted that you can also design with no set intentions too, either just for fun, to experiment or to challenge yourself.

Some of the main points I took from the lecture were that even if you design for fun and to experiment, it does pay off , even if your ideas are bizarre or shocking to people at first. An example of this is of Thomas Thwaites work ‘Goatman’, where he spent a year creating prosthetic limbs to turn himself into a goat. Although he was laughed at for this, he helped scientists to improve prosthetic limbs for humans, so his work helped unintentionally. He has also thought outside the box and pushed his personal boundaries and didn’t listen to societies prescribed morals. For me this is inspiring because he is memorable and people will always remember his work.

Thomas Thwaite Goatman.jpg

Another main point is that fiction can become reality, i.e the work of Kenji Kawakami, he designed the famous selfie stick for a film camera, then many years later it was turned into a product which most of us know today. Kawakami spent his years developing products which seemed ‘pointless’, during the time he did this they may have been, but as technology evolved his ideas seemed rather ingenious.

Kenji Kawakami selfie stick.jpg

The intention of a design can often be interpreted by the consumer in the opposite way that the designer intended for. This may be to challenge the design and create a statement, like the work of Noam Toran’s ‘Desire Management’.


Tate Modern Exhibition Review – Artist Rooms: Jenny Holzer

American artist Jenny Holzer had her thought provoking work displayed at the Tate Modern, London.

The Tate Modern is externally a geometric and brutal shape in the skyline, however once you step inside you are welcomed by smooth curvatures of the staircases and smooth concrete surfaces. This contrast really transforms your experience as you didn’t expect this drastic change and are intrigued by what else the museum has to offer around every corner. I was interested to see how the art displayed would be enhanced by the surrounding space and how the artist would use this.


Holzer’s exhibition ‘Artist Room‘ predominantly communicated through written language, the texts existed on posters, electronic signs, engravings and many other forms. Each rooms shape and size played a crucial role in the effect of each piece of art. For example, room two was wide and tall, this allowed the electronic art to stretch across the entirety of the room without being obscured by anything else. This allowed the focus to become entirely on the illuminating piece and your eyes could follow from the left of the room to the right following the message displayed. Although this piece was appealing to look at, I found the text difficult to read as it was moving at a fast pace and the text wasn’t positioned upright.


The room which interested me the most was room one, this is because it provoked my emotions and thoughts.

Room one was plastered from the top of the walls right down to the bottom with posters which had truisms listed on them. The ceiling was high and the walls were thin, this created an overwhelming sense of suffocation from the information which we were taking in. 


These truisms were made up of common sayings, clichés, and maxims, she composed nearly 300 slogans expressing many points of view. Holzer has compiled her research of hundreds of copied captioned diagrams from library books and turned information into art. This is subjective as it could be perceived as documentation in a large scale rather than art. What is interesting about this room is that it can be interpreted by anyone, even someone with no interest in art whatsoever. 

The statements were provoking because they were very blunt and almost insensitive to anyone who could become easily offended. The best part of the room was listening to the conversations people were having about the walls, I could hear laughing as well as scoffing in disagreement. Some of the statement on the walls I agreed with, some I didn’t, and some of them left me thinking all day, for example ‘The land belongs to no one’. This statement really played on my mind especially where the world is currently positioned with climate change and pollution. I felt as though the words on the walls were from people giving advice on life, however I know the information was sourced randomly, but maybe my age and personal path wanted to search for meaning in somethings.




Things with Yi – 11/03/19

I am a chair, also an object you may consider as just a ‘thing’.

‘Thing’, a simple noun which yet intensively makes me feel unappreciated in many ways, overused and neglected.

You may not realize, but I am a crucial element of your everyday life and I am a social actor.

That office meeting you had at 8am this morning whilst your brain was half awake, I was the one you were sat on. Remember me?

When you went on that date and that swanky guy pulled me out from under the table for you to sit on….. that was me too.

I think you get my point.

I feel I am a direct extension of the human body or of the senses, not a naturally occurring technology but through the man made design. I was specifically created to become as ergonomic as possible, so every sized bum could fit on me.

Could society live without me? It’s no life or death matter but I mean, it sure as heck would be very uncomfortable.

I, the chair can prescribe moralities, ethics and duties to society. For example, when you are sat in the doctors surgery and me and my chair friends are being occupied, by yourself and others, when a less able person walks in, you offer one of us up. Now, if chairs didn’t exist then you would all become equals and no morals would apply therefore you would have no duty.

Now this sits hand in hand with democratic design, my good friend the bar stool who is often stuck in posh sushi bars is a democratically designed object, this meaning that it discriminates against those less able to get on the chair or stay comfortably sat on the chair. A child or an elderly person may find it difficult to sit on this bar stool or even get on it. This excludes them from a place, maybe unintentionally but it still has.

CTS Chair illustration.jpg

Illustration of democratically designed bar stool by me.

The interesting topic for us chairs in the design culture is how everybody’s personal experience with us is completely different, the silly school boy who swung back off a chair and cracked his head, or the comfy, fat old man who snoozes in his armchair every night in front of the TV. You all have experiences with us, good or bad. But my point is, everybody has a chair story, but us chairs seems to be taken for granted and bypassed as a crucial structure for society.

The City From Above with Dr. Nela Milic – 04/03/19

Today during our lecture with Dr. Nela Milic we learned about how technology has evolved to allow humans to experience the world from above, specifically the capturing of this with the use of aerial cameras and photography. It ranged from the Victorian era when it was deemed shocking to even have a drawing of an aerial panoramic view, now coming to the 21st Century where we can view these new perspectives from the comfort of our own homes.

city from above image

The advanced technology has allowed societies to be built and developed from a new perspective, especially used as a tool for the post-war period, it has been used to rebuild cities all across Europe, this left a profound impact on the shape of the cities. Warsaw in Germany is still catching up today with the modern identity of a city.

We have built our cities to have a monumental impact with their appearance, with enormous skyscrapers towering over us. Although this may look appealing to the eye, the materials which they are made from can be extremely dangerous, for example, if a building caught fire, a glass building would explode and shatter glass for huge distances causing great danger to humans. Following this, they become targets for negative reasons, an example of this is the 9/11 disaster with the Twin Towers. They were targetted for terrorism as they were an attraction for New York so they were in the public eye, therefore this tragedy affected the city drastically.

Another target of these buildings is for thrill seekers known as ‘Roof Toppers’, they create a career out of climbing to the tops of the highest buildings or structures and they record their experiences and share them on social media.

This is a famous roof topper named Night Scape rooftopping Canary Wharf, London:

One of the reasons they take part in these activities is to rebel against the idea of Capitalism. However, to create unintentional irony, they are usually sponsored by Brands such as GoPro and Redbull, which I feel feeds into Capitalism. The ‘Roof Toppers’ gain perspective of the vertical view that the buildings create and commonly capture this with the ‘GoPro’ which is a compact, light, portable and very high-quality camera created for extreme/action sports. It is weatherproof and comes with accessories such as head attachments which the camera anchors too, giving us the point of view of the roof topper.

Institutional Critique with Susannah – 25/02/19

This lecture was alot to get my head around, with alot of new words and theories I really had to get my thinking hat on. This was enjoyable for me as I learnt alot and pushed myself to understand theoretical thinking.

One of the first things we looked at was the scale which defines the institutions, the scale goes from left (convivial), to right (manipulative) as shown below.

Institutions, what are they? ‘an organization founded for a religious, educational, professional, or social purpose’. 

Constitutional Critique image

The definition for a convivial institution is that they are not necessary but they are deemed to function within day to day life, we don’t have to use them but we can if we want, usually because it makes our lives easier, for example public transport or footpaths. An example of a brand which is a convivial institution is Apple the technology company, we don’t need the technology but we want the phones as apart of our everyday life.

A manipulative institution is one where we use them by forced commitment or selective service, for example hospitals or obliging to law enforcement, by using these services you are technically under someone else’s control. An example of a brand which is a manipulative institution is the NHS.

Who, what, where, why and how of institutions:

Who are institutions for? They are for all of society, this can include specific communities of people, for example children are a community who attend schools.

Where are institutions located? They are located everywhere around us, this can include the physical form and the digital world too.

Why do institutions exist? They exist to give structure to society, another main reason is for financial gains, for example a local corner store will provide an area with the food they need as well as give financial benefits to a family run business.

How are institutions configured? They can be configured for a purpose such as providing rules to society, i.e the law enforcement.

What is the necessity of institutions? Institutions give society structure and purpose, they also give some kind of meaning to life, creating memories and a community to live in.

What is the value of institutions? I feel the value comes from the necessity of institutions, it seems to me that they are the same thing.

What are the politics of institutions? The politics of institutions is a long debate, one of which we had during the lecture, for example the Royal Family can be seen as an institution within themselves, some people are pro monarchy and some are anti. This is because they can be seen as serving no purpose but mainly hold as a tourist attraction. Another political institution is the government, they are commonly deemed ‘corrupt’, personally I do not have the knowledge or fact base to comment on this.


Lines Lecture with Andrew – 18/02/19

Lines – can they exist without a surface for them to be created on?

Can humans independently live in a chaotic free world without lines and the structure that they give society?

These are just a couple of questions I asked myself during this lecture with Andrew Slatter my lecturer, as these two topics really sparked my interest.

Francis Alys, during 2004 walked through the municipality of Jerusalem trailing green paint behind him and called it the ‘Green Line‘, during this political statement he used 58 litres of paint to create a line 24km long. Without the surface of the road, then Alys wouldn’t have been able to create this large statement and in turn, would not have received the public attention which he gained. This partially answers my question which was ‘can a line exist without a surface for them to be created on?’. My response from this scenario would be no, lines cannot exist without a surface for them. You cannot create a line on the basis of nothing, for example, you cannot create a line in mid-air.

Supporting this, below is an art piece by Britta Huttenlocher, Untitled, 2007, pencil on canvas, stuck on wood, 32 3/4 x 30 3/8 in Walter Benjamin, 1996. Painting, or Signs and Marks.

Lines Lecture Image

Walter comments ‘‘The graphic line is defined by its contrast with area. The graphic line marks out the area and so defines it by attaching itself to the background. Conversely, the graphic line can exist only against this background, so that a drawing that completely covered its background would cease to be a drawing.’

I agree with his comments, the line attaches to the background through science and therefore can exist in a physical form and not just an idea.

During this lecture we took part in an activity where we drew the first thing we thought of when we heard the word ‘line’, below is my drawing. I found this interesting because when I looked around at what my classmates had drawn, some drew one continuous line, some drew them vertically down the page and some diagonal. We all had different interpretations of lines and they were all different straightness’s too.


Moving onto my other question ‘Can humans independently live in a chaotic free world without lines and the structure that they give society?’ , I don’t know if we could, I feel humans have evolved to become scheduled and habitual. For example, the everyday reliance on the tube system which is a combination of lines, the system is not true to size but it gives us a rough view of the transport we are using, therefore creating peace in the mind knowing that we are safe within a system. I feel it is very mind over matter. This also applies to the image below which is of a shipping forecast map. The lines do not exist in a physical form within real life, however apply systematically on paper to guide us as if they do exist.

Lines Lecture image 2.jpg

Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity (1933, p. 58).

In conclusion, I gained an understanding of lines in visual culture and put this into practice through some line drawing activities, I tested if I had ‘Gwalt’ (Albrecht Durer’s theory).


Brand Tribes & Stereotyping

During today’s lesson we looked into what a brand tribe is and what it can mean to be apart of one. This lead us into debate on stereotypes and we completed an activity where we had to create our own stereotype of a character from being given one brand item as the starting point.

What does a brand tribe mean to me?

I feel a brand tribe consists of a group of people who purchase a product based on the brand, this can either be because the product is of value to them or either because they want to consciously be apart of this group to gain a certain appearance or acknowledgement from other people, for example people may wear an item of clothing because their friends do and they do not want to be isolated.

We looked at how Brand Tribes can help someone in a general sense (from Tim’s powerpoint):

Brand tribes help us to…
1. Belong to something:
– The social benefits of connecting.
– Share stories, experience,
hobbies, beliefs or values.
– A community of your choice.

2. Become someone:
– Self constructive benefits.
– Help me to express who I am.
– Am I student, a designer or an

3. Do something:
– Functional benefits.
– Help me do things.
– Employment, business, hobbies.

Because Brand Tribes exist, I feel that stereotyping comes hand in hand with this. For example, a common stereotype is that the brand Burberry is ‘chavvy’. This is because people buy false replicas of the brand and devalue the high fashion exclusivity.

The Stereotyping task:

The item I was given was Christian Louboutin’s famous red bottom high heel shoe. I had to create a stereotypical persona for the person who would purchase this shoe. Below is my autobiography of the consumer and my drawing of her.


brand tribe activity 1

brand tribe activity 2

This activity was difficult for me because I really do feel stereotyping is offensive as you are assuming the personality of someone just because of the items of clothing they wear or the products they buy. Although it was hard, it really did open my mind to show me how companies think when they are targeting their audiences. Aside from this, I did enjoy this task because it was creative and also I enjoyed the debating which took place in class.






Saatchi Gallery Visit : ‘Black Mirror – ART AS SOCIAL SATIRE’

Black Mirror is an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery which featured the work of 26 contemporary artists. The artists have created work about the world we live in and have exposed the anxieties our modern obsessions create. As the exhibition guide says ‘The exhibition will explore art’s role in social satire, and how political uncertainty has produced a “golden age of satire”, where the voice of the artist has never been stronger’.

The artists which I found the most interesting were Dominic McGill, and Douglas Kolk. Interestingly, both of these artists create their work through different mediums.

Douglas Kolk has a very unique style of expression, he uses the technique of collage and mixed medias such as spray paints, newspaper, paint and many more. The colours are vibrant and immediately receive your attention. His style juxtaposes many subjects which do not generally relate, for example, one of my favourite pieces by Kolk was ‘We’re all monsters Frankie’, the subject was a glamorous female model sunbathing next to Frankenstein. To me, this piece really struck me, I feel the glamour industry is so focused on appearances it can be monstrous. The nickname of Frankenstein to Frankie really did add humour to the work, as if they were friends. When I look at Kolk’s work, I see the large scale pieces as representing his thoughts, it is like his thoughts have spilled onto the page. Kolk said “The way I work is really quite basic. I like to make pictures, and then think, oh, that’s kind of cool. It comes to me naturally, like something I have to do. Why think about everything so much?”. I really agree with this, art is art and can simply be appreciated without over analysing it. In the modern world I feel we over process everything and try to find meaning, without people letting anything just simply be.



Dominic McGill’s work was very large scale and very intensely detailed. To read and absorb the whole work I feel it would’ve taken me hours. The piece was created using graphite only and is made up of illustrations and writing. The intense detail was so intriguing, when you start to read one piece, it leads to the next topic and then you see an underlining image which leads to another topic. In my opinion, I feel the topics were very controversial and unfortunately, I do not have a political knowledge base therefore I cannot agree or disagree with any of his statements. I would have to research in depth to have any opinion of his subjects. Although I cannot relate to this work, I strongly admired the detail and time which was put into this piece. The time ‘Muqaddimah’ took to create was 1 year. This timescale interests me because throughout the year this was created, many events would of taken place which would of influenced this work, therefore it is almost a story or diary.



No Google

Today, our course librarian Monica ran a class on how NOT to use Google when searching for information.

We were introduced to the Deep Web which holds databases which can only be accessed via password (which only the University holds).

By logging into our Moodle and using the A-Z Data List, this allowed us to access these databases.

Our group used a database called Credo to search for information, which was mainly articles, a the other groups searched on the following databases:

Mintel which holds quantitive data, Material District & Material Connexion which are both databases for different material types, Kanopy & Arts Films Digital are both for films/documentaries.

I will be able to use these and many other types of databases when conducting my future research.

Using what I have learnt today, I will attempt to research my material from last weeks session ‘creative storytelling using graphic branded ephemera’ by using the the deep web databases.

Below are images of my material from last week:

After conducting my research, unfortunately the deep web could not help me at this time. I feel this is due to the material being specific to one Museum and it was a workshop outcome and not a published Graphic source.

However, in the future I will continue to use the deep web as a source for information.

Creative Storytelling using Branded Graphic Ephemera

During our session we chose one piece of Graphic Design material which caught our eye and we described what attracted us to it. We also analysed our material so we could fully understand who the audience for the material would be, we conducted primary and secondary research to further our understanding. The outcome of this activity is to produce an Autobiography from the perspective of the Graphic material.

This is the material I chose:

My primary & secondary research:

The Autobiography:

— I am the outcome of a workshop held at the Design Museum.

The Zine workshop I was created in focused on Love + Hate using the principles of Punk Art and the traditional technique of home-made and do-it-yourself.

If I was ever published, I feel that the members of the Punk community would love me because they could relate to the design and the punk movement.

Other people who would be interested would be graphic designers, however not just graphics, other designers and artists too.

My best features are on my front and back cover, if I do say so myself.

Personally, I’d say my covers are interactive as the eyes illustration are open on the front and when you close me, my eyes are closed.

I am very happy to say I was created in the Design Museum because I love what they stand for, they say “Design is a way to understand the world”. —

In conclusion to this activity, I feel creating an autobiography for my Graphic material really helped me understand how to connect with an audience and using the correct language for the type of audience. The story of a brand plays an important role in how the audience perceive any brand. I have learnt that behind every brand their is a story, big or small. I can use what I have learnt in my practical work.