Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Art of Splitting Up

A Donated Wedding Dress (above)
This is a particularly interesting exhibition, based on items being donated from the general public of varying countries that are momentos of past relationships, whether they be short term flings or divorces. The exhibition originated in Croatia, but wherever the exhibition goes, the public are able to bring their own memories to display, including a short description about what it means to them.

A Donated Pair of Handcuffs (above)
The artists behind the idea Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic infact were going through a split, and wanted to do something creative with the feelings they had. I think its a really nice idea, for its very simple idea that allows the public not only to be interactive, but also personal with the exhibition. Its almost like a support group for the wounded, each has a story that they want to share, and almost get comfort seeing as though they are not the only ones to ever get hurt. Donators often felt a very cathartic effect. One woman brought an axe that she used on her lovers furniture, when she found out she'd cheated on her.

"The more her room filled up with chopped up furniture, the more I started to feel better. Two weeks after she was kicked out she came to take the furniture. It was neatly arranged into small heaps and fragments of wood."

Tuesday, 9 October 2007



London's Tate Modern Gallery's central exhibit is what we see in the image above, a massice crack in a concrete floor. "Shibboleth" created by Colombian sculptor Doris Salcedo, runs the full 167-metre (548-feet) length of the massive Turbine Hall within the Tate. It begins as a tiny crack then gradually widens and deepens as it crosses the room. The entire piece took one year to make and 5 weeks for installtion. Sibboleth is Hebrew used in the Old Testement means "a custom or practice that distinguishes someone as an outsider." This piece aimed to highlight the racism faced by White Europeans and the rest of humanity.

When asked how deep the crack went, she replied: "It's bottomless. It's as deep as humanity."

The physicalities of the piece aim to created borders and fractions to represent the issue at hand. I think it is an interesting idea to put the idea of segregation and division on such a literal and large scale - making you take notice.

"It represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred. It is the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe.... For example, the space which illegal immigrants occupy is a negative space. And so this piece is a negative space."

"Shibboleth" is Salcedo's first public commission in Britain and the eighth in the Unilever Series of works occupying the Turbine Hall at the former power station. The last was Carsten Hoeller's hugely popular giant slides.

Tate Modern staff will be stationed near the crack to warn visitors about the dangers of tripping and falling into the void. The installation will be removed next April by filling in the crack. Tate director Nicholas Serota said the "scar" would remain "as a memory of the work and also be a memorial to the issues Doris touches on."

Thursday, 4 October 2007


Wednesday, 26 September 2007

See The Light

Olivia Cheung, a student from Brighton University who studied a BA in Product design wanted to incorporate packaging into the selling of light bulbs avoiding excess waste of the earth’s resources. She managed to create these beautifully stylish and ecological lampshades (seen below).

“I began to explore the concept of 'reuse', as some objects take on other, more interesting and diverse roles. I then endeavored to make reusing packaging more appealing - due to the sheer amount that is thrown away.”
Olivia Chueng

She focused on creating packaging that had an added function, and complimented the product at hand as well as meeting standard packaging demands like protecting and keeping the product secure. With her designs, the packaging transforms on to a beautiful lampshade, not only re-suing the packaging, but also it means she no longer need to by addition products like a lampshade.

To see more images pf her work visit:

The Celebrity Race

Face Look Familiar?

While researching for my dissertation, I came across this Ad campaign from 2001 by the Commission for Racial Equality. The campaign was trying to tackle issues such as racism and prejudices within society. Using the special effects team who also worked on the film “Gladiator”, well know celebrities were transformed into someone of a different race, whilst asking viewers questions such as, would Ken Livingstone really have been elected Mayor if he was Asian – really homing in on the issue at hand. This campaign also reminded me of a more recent advertising campaign to promote awareness over the issue of domestic violence, where images of well known women in British media were seen to be bruised and hurt, making the audience really take note that it can happen to anyone. Using celebrities to promote or make social causes more aware to the public is really successful concept, allowing the viewer to symapthise with someone who they “know” from the public eye, however advertisers could run the risk of playing it safe by using the same concept, whereby it will be bound to lose its appeal if repeated too many times.

Sunday, 23 September 2007


A Short Film By Jonas Geirnaert

This animation reminded me of “Tango” by Zbigniew Rybczynski (shown below). Jonas Geirnaert wrote, animated, directed and edited this film, and for it won a ‘Prix de Jury’ at the Cannes Film Festival 2004. “Flatlife” is a cartoon, based on four characters in four separate rooms in a house. It is a sweet film, with a series of small story lines, like broken washing machines, noisy neighbours and a game of chess. Unfortunately this film lacks the ingenuity of “Tango”, for each of the characters were directly interacting with each other in “Flatlife”, whereas “Tango” has been so beautifully choreographed, so that although the characters were in the same room, they were completely oblivious to each other. Also, with Tango the characters were three dimensional, whereas I think the cartoons used in “Flatlife” give the impression of a more amateur production. However said that, the film is still lovely to watch, for the challenge of the viewer is to keep an eye on what each of the characters are doing, for they are constantly changing and moving with the storyline unlike “Tango” where each of the characters are repeating the same sequence.

To Watch "FlatLife" visit:


A Short Film By Zbigniew Rybczynski
Original Format: 35mm Colour

I originally looked at the short film “Tango” by Rybczynski when researching our Family Portrait Brief. The film was made in 1980 and is comprised of a static shot of a single room. Over a period of 8min 10secs, 36 different characters from different time periods all enter the room, performing separate actions. What is astounding about this film is that each character, or pair are completely in their own worlds, yet never acknowledge the existence of the other 35 inhabitants for that moment in time.

“I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece. The miracle is that the negative got through the process with only minor damage, and I made less than one hundred mathematical mistakes out of several hundred thousand possibilities”
Zbig Rybczynski –Looking to the Future - Imagining the Truth,” in FranÐois Penz, Maureen Thomas, Cinema& Architecture. Mþliús, Mallet-Stevens, Multimedia, BFI, London, 1997

Although the quality of the film is of the highest standard, the grainy nature only adds to the more sensitive and organic feel of the film.To watch the film go to:

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

"A Girl Like Me"

A Short Film By Kiri Davis

"For my high-school literature class I was constructing an anthology with a wide range of different stories that I believed reflected the black girl’s experience. For the different chapters, I conducted interviews with a variety of black girls in my high school, and a number of issues surfaced concerning the standards of beauty imposed on today’s black girls and how this affects their self-image."

This is a really interesting and thought provoking short film. It shows teenage African American girls talking about how they feel they are represented in today’s society. In the interviews, issues such as stereotyping in the media as well as cultural ideals, such as what is seen as beautiful are discussed. What is particularly prevalent, is that although when look at media today, it would seem that those of African origin are quite well represented (at least when compared to other ethnic minorities such as South Asians (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan etc) and Oriental Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc), it would seem that this is still not enough in terms of creating a positive image for youth today.

Within her report, Davis also conducted the “doll test”, initially done by Dr. Kenneth Clark, where children were given a series of questions based on their perceptions of a black doll and a white doll. Questions such as “Which is the bad doll” and “Which doll would you most like to play with” were posed to the children, producing some astoundingly bad results about the perception that black children had of themselves and those of the same colour.

Here is one example of the answers given by a young black girl;

Davis: "Can you show me the doll that looks bad"
Girl: [Picks up black doll]
Davis: "And why does that look bad?"
Girl: "Because he's black"
Davis: "And why do you think this [white doll] is the nice doll" (answer established from earlier question)
Girl: "Because she's white"
Davis: "Can you give me the doll that looks like you?"
Girl: [She hesitates, and passes the black doll]

By recreating this experiment, Davis managed to show that actually very little has changed since the original test done in 1947, whilst highlighting the effect society and the media have on the self perception and opinion of what’s ‘right and wrong’ for black children today.

This film was very interesting to see, due to the up and coming dissertation project. With my dissertation focusing on the lack of Asian models used within advertising and marketing today, it would be interesting to see whether this has had an adverse affect on Asian children in the UK like the children Kiri Davis interviewed in the US. To watch 'A Girl Like Me' follow this link -

Monday, 17 September 2007

Clever Bean

Looking at a small icon of this image, I wondered why, what looked like a giant rusty burger was on a poster. On closer inspection, I was amused to see the simple line "Mc Cafe", and the fact that I was not looking at a burger, but a coffee bean in the shape of one. It is a particulary clever advert, as it certainly gets your attention and due to it simplicity, once you piece the advert together you can't help but be impressed. However, the best this advert can do is make you aware that Mc Donalds now serves coffee, for it says nothings about the quality or product itself - but maybe it doesn't need to due to the nature of the establishment.

One Comment I read was, "Either looks like the ugliest coffee bean in the world, or the creppiest burger of all."

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

"Girls of Riyadah"

"Girls of Riyadh"
By Rajaa Alsanea

An anonymous writer began e-mailing those who joined her mailing list to listen to the true stories of 4 friends growing up in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. This book is the consolidation of all these e-mails that caused a national outcry in Saudi with its revelations, even causing the book to be banned.

We learn about the lives of 4 girls living in Riyadh, the real story. Women in Saudi Arabia are often seen as oppressed under the strict Islamic Law imposed, however through these memoirs we are opened up to a world, a secret world that, is not seen other that by those living in it. We see the world of boys, University, marriage, divorce – all common features of any young woman around the world, yet have such a different impact on these girls, not only based on their religion but the cultural boundaries and systems imposed on them. The book was written in third person, a format that does not particularly appeal to me, due to the way in which it inhibits getting into a persons head and the way in which you sympathise with a characters. However, this book is a way in which we can understand a culture, which is often seen as very closed to the outside world, and observe a the ways in which they deal with universal feelings such as love, and situations like divorce.

"Just say yes more."

"Yes Man"
By Danny Wallace

“Danny Wallace had been saying No. Far too much. No to his friends, colleagues, no to the pub and no to himself. And life was a little dull. Dumped by his girlfriend and on a road to nowhere, it was only when a mystery man on a late-night bus uttered three magic words that his whole worlds started to change… ‘Say yes more’”

I was recommended this book, and couldn’t help but be intrigued by the story of a man who said literally just said ‘yes’, to every single invitation, offer or demand posed in front of him. It certainly is one of my favourite books, sounding like a complete cliché when I admit is was without a doubt ‘laugh out loud funny’ and I just couldn’t put the book down. Danny takes us through the four, very long months and tells us about the crazy trails and tribulations he faced when you just say ‘yes’.

“In the months that followed, he won £25,000. He met Buddhist Monks, alien obsessives and the world’s only hypnotic dog. He became a Minister, and inventor, a minor television personality and an accidental peace activist. He ended up in Singapore, in Amsterdam and in a small mining town in South Wales. He lost £25,000.”

Hilariously written, you can almost hear him telling you the story – right from the horse’s mouth, allowing the happy, sad and most cringeful moments seem even more real. Even though Danny’s journey was ridiculously funny and really quite amazing, there was a bigger message he intended to spread, and that was the power of saying ‘yes’. Danny went from a single, lonely and negative person to a spontaneous, positive (most of the time…) and ultimately a happier person, and thus is living proof that his theory works. Overall the moral of the story is, in the most simplest terms, that everyone should just take a chance, say yes to something they usually would say no to and just see where it takes you. Whether it be winning £25,000 on a scratch card or saying yes to reading a new book that without a doubt brightened up a few slow days in your summer holidays and giving you a more that worthy topic to write about on your online blog … anything can happen when you just say, yes.

Dancing with the Devil

I just thought I'd mention this piece of Album Artwork I have always loved. I actually got this piece of art on a postcard from our student Union, only later to find out it was an album cover. The musical artist is Ray Lamontagne, as folk singer in America. I love the clever illustrative use of the popular phrase "dancing with the devil", in other words doings something you really shouldn't be doing, thus strengthening the idea of Trouble, the name of the album.

Monday, 10 September 2007

A Universal Masterpiece

"Life is Colourful"
By Gracie Rafferty

For over a year now an online project has been set up that hopes to culminate the works of 1 million artists of varying talent, from around the world. This “one million dollar masterpiece” aims to raise £3.5 million for charity by asking each artist to donate £3.5 to contribute their work. Once one million pictures have been submitted, organisers hope to print them on a giant canvas and drape it against one of London’s infamous landmarks. Each artist is given a small square in which they use the windows program ‘Paintbrush’ to create their very own piece of art. The subjects totally depend on the artists themselves, whether they prefer to use their one tiny space for the world to see to proclaim world peace, draw their very own self-portrait or do something a little more abstract. The standard of work is absolutely phenomenal; obviously the majority of work is very simple and amateurish, however there are certainly some very skilled artists out there who can create beautiful pieces of work through the paint program, which is truly amazing. This was a brilliant idea, as it not only generates money for charity, but it ultimately allows people, artists of different abilities from across the world come together in one place which can’t be a bad thing.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Personal Museum

Museum - “a place or building in which works of artistic, historical or scientific value are cared for and exhibited”.

When thinking what epitomises a museum, I concluded that it was a place in which things are exhibited for others to see varying in topics, whether the focus is a certain period of time, event, or person. When looking at my own world, I begun to realise that a lot, if not all of us have our very own ‘museum’ of our lives, through the use of social networking websites such as ‘Facebook’. When considering the elements, we have our own ‘place’ whereby our lives have been dictated. The day we were born, the school we went to our interests and social circles has all the exhibited for the public to see. Our online exhibitions are somewhat different to your average museum, not only in its medium, but also because we’re in control of what it seen, and also with its constant development and evolution due to its more autobiographical nature. A “museum” such as this allows a member to represent him or herself, (although in a somewhat bias nature) for others to see, and leaving an exhibition of evidence of their history and life was like at any given time for all to see…. until the website/museum shuts down that is.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Noah Kalina; Everyday

Noah Kalina, a Photographer in New York posted his video ‘everyday’ on youtube on 27th August 2006, where he shot to internet stardom. The video consists of a sequence of thousands of photographs of him, that he had taken every single day of his life since January 11th 2000. Keeping the same facial expression throughout, you can’t help but be amused by this video – over 5 minutes long. This is quite a comic piece with a changes in location, clothes and especially haircuts – giving the viewer a small understanding as to where changes in his life have occurred by the small details we are given in a single frame. Beyond anything else, this photographic montage clearly demonstrates above all the fact that we all age – for Kalina started this project aged 19 and as time goes on it is more than evident that his youth is slipping.
This is really worth a watch at least once on, or you can see all the images on his website

Vaseline Intensive Care; TV Adverts

As mentioned before, the focus of my dissertation for the coming year will be on the
number, or lack of Asians used in advertising in the UK. I just wanted to mention the new Vaseline adverts, which however subtle in terms of all the models participation, they have been able to create a balanced advert using hundreds of people of different ethnicities which I think is fantastic. I would love to see more adverts like this in mainstream advertising and really does standout to someone is not used to seeing it.

Army Jobs

There are currently several adverts promoting the Territorial Army. The advert consists of a video that’s been filmed by workers on duty talking about their jobs, when ‘something’ shocking happens in the environment, for example bullets are fired, or a screaming woman comes in carrying her hurt child. Immediately the video stops and you are directed to go to the website to see what happens. This is a very clever promotional advert, for people even just slightly interested in joining the TA or even just curious to see the end of the video are likely to log on and naturally find out more about how to join. The advert promotes intrigue and curiosity and has the ability to make people to take the next step and log onto their website which is the ultimate goal.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

"Rules Are Meant To Be Broken"

Last week I was lucky enough to have a portfolio viewing with the Creative Directors of Branding and Packaging Design Company, ‘Blue Marlin’. While providing me with priceless advice and information on the industry and my own work, what I found particularly interesting was their suggestion for changes within my own work. Both guys I spoke to were very much of the opinion that rules are meant to be broken, and that pieces of work shouldn’t necessarily be stuck to a grid or strict layout where everything should line up. I thought this was quite ironic, as in terms of my personal thinking, when designing a piece of word, grids and guides are one of the first things to be broken out n Illustrator and Photoshop. By speaking to them, they made it clear that maybe breaking out the grid (and I don’t mean in extremes) it would allow your work to stand out that much more and not seem so rigid and caged. Whether “breaking the rules” is something to take forward into our final year, it is nonetheless food for thought.

The images below are of one piece of work that I had done for the faculty brief and my development of this particular image based on the advice I was given at Blue Marlin. Apart from the colour change, they said to make more of a feature of the foetus, by increasing the size, and then join and re-size the faculty and university logo to make them a much smaller, key feature. This immediately meant that my initial thinking of separating the two logos to “balance” out the page and by having them larger so the viewer would know more immediately which University was being advertised, was what seemed to them what was holding the poster back.

The Best A Man Can Get

By John O’Farrell

“Michael Adams shares a flat with three other men in their late twenties. Days are spent lying in bed, playing computer games and occasionally doing a bit of work. And then, when he feels like it, he crosses the river and goes back to his unsuspecting wife and children.”

Recommended as one of the funniest books he’d ever read, I couldn’t wait to read “A Best A Man Can Get”. We all know about Bridget Jones and women’s novels bitching about men and how rubbish they all are, so this would be and enlightening read to here “the male side” of the story. As mentioned in the above quote Michael Adams is living what could be considered every man’s fantasy. His double life lets him be a bachelor during the week and a husband and father of two on the weekends. I was half expecting the book to have woman bashing to be a main feature, but I was pleasantly surprised with the narrative is honest and insightful and didn’t fall into such a trap. Was it of the funniest books I’ve ever read, unfortunately not even close, but maybe that’s because I’m a girl. However, as a quick summer read it kept me entertained for a few days, and at the very least put a smile on my face.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Ford Advert; Scaffolding

On the way to London, draped over scaffolding was this huge advert for Ford. The photo above is what I took on my phone, but the basis of the advert, was that they had recreated the outside of a building with hundreds of windows with people climbing out of them to look at a billboard advertising the new Ford car. If you could look at the bigger picture, the image is particularly striking and without a doubt caught my attention, however in terms of promoting the car, it isn’t particularly successful. The building was to my right hand side, located on the side of a motorway – so due to the location, it is likely only passengers are going to be able to view it, rather than the driver thus limiting the accessibility to their target audience. Also with the speed in which people are going, it is easy to completely miss the product in which they are advertising – with my own experience, I could appreciate the concept yet had know clue which car was actually on the poster till I looked back at my photo. This poster is really amusing, but has been let down by its location as the product doesn’t make a lasting impression, if it is even considered at all by the viewer.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

AquaFresh; Remake of 1989 Advert

I recently noticed that the toothpaste "Aquafresh" has begun to promote themselves on TV once again, by resubmitting an almost identical advert to their original one launched back in 1989. It is a fantastically clever move on the marketer’s behalf, for without a doubt, it stands out among all other adverts on TV today. Its 'fuzzy', old appearance just adds to its appeal, reminding you of an advert you once witnessed back in 'the old days', promoting a simple, happy and idealistic family unit we all crave. By tapping into peoples past, you almost immediately can't help but think of memories of 'life back then' and it is this association that would encourage people to pick up the product, to have a little bit of their past back.

Mc Donald's Re-Design

"A comfortable armchair. Cool hanging lights. Funky graphics and photos on the walls. Wi-Fi access. Premium coffee. Isn't Starbucks great? Except...this is McDonald's. McDonald's (MCD )? That's right. After 30 years without a major design overhaul, the 51-year-old fast-food giant is adopting a hip new look. The world's largest hamburger chain is redesigning its 30,000 eateries around the globe in a 21st century makeover of unprecedented scale."


I went to London for the day yesterday and couldn't help but notice throughout the capital, Mc Donalds has been going through a bit of a face lift. In several of the branches I passed, it would seem the Mc Donalds brand is beginning to evolve. The universal colour palette that people across the globe would associate with Mc Donalds is red, and the infamous yellow arches, but things have begun to change. After coming back from London and looking on the official Mc Donalds website, it would seem the bright red background that graced their brand for decades has been replaced by a more chic, sophisticated and ‘sensible’ black. Mac Donalds are clearly trying to rebrand themselves, away from the childish, playful and more ‘in your face’ tone that set the company with the use of red, by choosing a colour which is a lot more fashionable and mature. The use of black is more likely to appeal to a wider, older and more sophisticated audience to match its new menus that include salads and wraps – dusting off the once fatty, unhealthy image.

By changing just one colour, it can’t be disputed that Mc Donalds looks all the more better for it. From just looking at the outside of the branches, the shop looked immediately more modern, cleaner and inviting – a job well done. The image of Mc Donalds has certainly begun to change, and is clearly going to be a gradual process throughout the global stores. With all these changes happening Mc Donalds could risk the possibilities of alienating its current and most loyal customers, so need to be careful that by introducing this ‘new and improved’ image, they still manage to maintain aspects of the Brand that make them such a household name in which people know and love.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Maroon 5 Logo

Back with a new album, Maroon 5 are also showing off their new, very clever logo. Using the roman numeral for 5, the "V" has been incorporated as part of the central section of the capital M - creating a simple, united logo that clearly represents the bands name, instead of having to have to completly seperate elements to represent the two words.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Maroon 5; Wake up Call

This is the video for the new Maroon 5 single “Wake Up Call”. Typography has been used throughout the video to highlight certain lyrics and words of relevance like “betray me” or “shoot dead”, which helps strengthen the videos concept. This gives the feeling that you are watching a film, rather than a music video, as the text runs through it like credits. The words have also been individually illustrated, each having its own effect, and emphasising its meaning (examples shown above). Although including the typography was quite an interesting concept, it can’t help ‘lighten’ the tone of the song, which in itself is quite dark, thus maybe not complimenting it as it should, this is especially apparent with the use of the illustrated text, as it seems more humorous and out of place than serious.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

British Airways; Suitcase

"If only packing your suitcase was as simple as checking in from home."

This was an advert I saw for British Airways, promoting the ability to check in from home. It is a particularly subtle poster, simple yet humorous. Packing bags is most probably a complete nightmare for most holiday goers, so obviously checking in at home would be one less hassle off their list. I think the main reason why this poster is so successful, is due to it visually looking very attractive – as the items have been beautifully organised on the page and with the items of clothing brightening up the poster, giving it that light-hearted edge.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Temple Quay Typography

Much like Leeds, Bristol is currently going through huge reconstruction and rejuvenation – a rebrand if you like. This is the new logo for “Temple Quay”, and it sums up Bristol completely. An old, historic city with a contemporary and chic twist beautifully summed up through the use of a traditional style serif font and a clean, simple sans serif font. The colours compliment the aquatic surroundings, and looks particularly eye-catching against the old, historic buildings that create its background. My only issue with this logo, is the kerning between the two words, as there seems to be quite a distance between them, which just doesn’t sit easy visually.

Breaking The Chains

Bristol is infamous for its major role in the slave trade and is currently holding an exhibition marking the bicentury of the abolition of the slave trade. The dominant, bold typography truely highlights the importance of such infamous historic turning point. The kerning between the letters is particularly small, which I feel is of particular relavence, as slaves were jam packed into the ships with little room to move, let alone breathe and this is merely in typographic form. The break within the illustrated chains (the 'i' from the words breaking and chains) is a subtle representation of the exhibition title, without having to be too obvious or in your face.

Good Hope FM: Booom

"With help you can stop in time."

Tik is the South African word for methamphetamine. The meth crystals make a ticking sound when heated, thus the reason for its nickname. This is a poster campaign to help encourage people to stop using the drug and to get some help. I think this is a brilliant poster, with the copy complimenting the idea of time and using the well known "sound" of a bomb going off ("tick tick BOOM"). However, although they most probably trying to appeal to really addicted users, thus showing a 'time-delay' before the boom with the use of several "tiks", but I can't help thinking that if they just used the more simple line "tik tik BOOM", the campaign could be just as successful and a more direct approach.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I actually hate the harry potter books - I 've always found it difficult to get past the first chapter! However, I am always partial to watching the films - and yesterday I saw The Order of the Phoenix. I was warned by everyone that a lot of the film was left out, but I did in fact "get it"(!), although with the previous film, I had no idea what was going on. For someone going to see the films without reading the books, I was quite happily entertained for 2 hours, however even I could tell many things seemed to be left unspoken for - for example I thought only Harry and Luna could see the dinosaur creatures (sorry i don't know their name!) yet when they needed to fly to London the others were happily clambering on their backs for the ride, and also Jo seemed to disappear after half way through the film! However, even because of these minor discrepencies, a non-Harry Potter fan could still appreciate the visual effects and general storyline of the film, which is certainly an improvement from previous films in this series.

Sunday, 5 August 2007


Guess Who...

I personally don’t appreciate thousands of forwards in my e-mail inbox, full of viral messages from friends, and I rarely open them, let alone click the link. However, I recently I have come across a “virtual disease” that I just couldn’t help but spread. I read about the website to help promote the new Simpson’s Movie that is sponsored by Burger King. The site allows you to upload a photo of yourself and it basically “simpsonizes you” into a full blown Simpson’s character, enabling to choose your hair, facial features body and clothes.

What was particularly humorous about the whole process, is that blatancy of Burger King, as while you are being “simpsonised” this message appears:

“I hereby acknowledge that the crummy yellow 2-D likeness of my photo which I am about to receive is merely a genius marketing ploy of : Burger King and The Simpson’s Movie.”

“Genius marketing ploy”, I think so, I mean worked on me. My simpsonized image has replaced my Facebook Profile picture, thus opening up this marketing scheme to a whole new audience, as already people are questioning where I got the picture from and asking for the link. This is viral marketing at the top of its game. However, although sucked into the ploy, I’m afraid to say I’m immune to go any further with parting with my money by going to a Burger King or paying to go see the Simpson’s Movie, thus maybe showing the limit of such marketing tactics. Although they got my to click the link, it is unable to make me go the next step and for me to go see the movie or visit my local Burger King, which is surely the challenge they should be trying to tackle.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Evolution of Beauty

I thought this was quite an interesting viral video called "Evolution of Beauty" produced by Dove in aid of their self esteem fund. It has been around for quite a long time, as works as a wonderfully made short film to show to young, impressionable teenagers that everything they see in magazines and in the media is not always quite what it seems...

Friday, 3 August 2007

Advertising Deconstructed

This is an article I saw recently, I suggest you read it and go on to click the link to view the slide show as it makes particularly fascinating viewing especially to young designers like ourselves!

"Title: There are 12 kinds of Ad's in the world; RESIST THEM ALL
By Seth Stevenson

In 1978, Donald Gunn was a creative director for the advertising agency Leo Burnett. Though his position implied expertise, Gunn felt he was often just throwing darts—relying on inspiration and luck (instead of proven formulas) to make great ads. So, he decided to inject some analytical rigor into the process: He took a yearlong sabbatical, studied the best TV ads he could find, and looked for elemental patterns. After much research, Gunn determined that nearly all good ads fall into one of 12 categories—or "master formats," in his words. At last year's Clio Awards, I saw Gunn give a lecture about these formats (using ads mostly from the '70s and '80s as examples), and I was fascinated by his theory. I soon found myself categorizing every ad I saw on TV. It was a revelation: The curtain had been pulled back on all those sly sales tactics at the heart of persuasive advertising. This slide show presents some recent ads exemplifying each of Gunn's 12 basic categories. With a little practice, you, too, will be ticking off the master formats during commercial breaks."

After viewing this slideshow, I mainly thought about how the “12 types of adverts” would be helpful to us, as it demonstrated the realm of possibilities of how to go about advertising a particular product or service. I know we should try and stay away from a standard formulae, but somewhere along the line, adverts we do create are likely to fit into, or be a hybrid of some of these sets. It is very easy to categorise adverts I now see on TV within Gunn’s observation, and here are a few examples I have found;

“Ongoing Character”;



Seth Stevenson, the gentleman who wrote the article is an ad critic and actually encourages the general public to clock onto advertisers tactics, and in a sense become immune to the advertisements they see on TV, as he so articulately put it “It's like learning how a magic trick works: Once the secret's revealed, the trick loses all its power”. If Stevenson’s encouragement did take off on a massive scale, the outcome could potentially have disastrous consequences for companies, but more interestingly it would see if advertisers, such as ourselves could rise to the challenge.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


By Imran Ahmad

“A Muslim Boy meet the West”

“Part White Teeth, part Adrian Mole, Unimagined is the hilarious and captivating memoir of a Muslim boy born in Pakistan, who moves to London aged one and grows up torn between his Islamic identity and his desire to embrace the West.”

This book is a year by year narration of the authors life, up until age 25. It was a beautifully written book, painfully honest and funny. One of the crucial reasons as to why I like this book so much is my ability to empathise with the author, for I too am an Asian, Muslim and growing up in the West. As a first generation Asian Muslim growing up in England during the 1970/80’s he discusses topics such as racism, cultural expectations and boundaries, and religious discovery. One of the key features of this book was his struggle with his Identity. Throughout his life, Ahmad sought to be the “quintessential English gentleman”, however could never fully assimilate into British culture. The author who is now 45 has left me wishing I could have Unimagined; Part2, filling me in on the next 20 years of his life. It is his unquestionable honesty that makes this book such a pleasure to read and I would love to have know his thoughts and feelings on topics such a arranged marriages, fatherhood and his job, which were beginning to be touched upon before the end of the book. I can only hope Imran Ahmad realises the art of blogging, if only for my own personal curiosity.

When returning to University in September we begin to research and write our dissertations. My chosen topic is to question the lack of Asian people used within the advertising and marketing. This book merely emphasises that even 30 years on, minority cultures are still, perhaps, are being ignored, or neglected somewhat in mainstream advertising, questioning further whether we are still not seen as fully integrated into British culture and society.

Monday, 16 July 2007

D&AD Packaging Design 2007; Warburtons

Being nominated for a D&AD award was one of the craziest experiences I have ever been through. One of the most exciting things about the whole saga was actually checking out the competition. It was really interesting to see the different concepts people adopted to deal with the same brief.

I, along with another nominee was awarded a Commendation, there was no second prize, and the first prize was awarded to a well-deserved Sophie Towler from The University College Falmouth. When I first saw the other nominees, Sophie’s work stood out, playing on the popular notion that ‘sex sells’. Below are a few photos I took on my phone of her work.

Playing on the idea that Warburtons were selling a “delicious Italian” the copy fully supported this cheeky concept, with each of the breads having its own saucy line on the back, like “I want you to rub oil on me”, or “I want you to nibble me all over”. This was a fantastically well thought out piece of work, with each element fully supporting and complimenting the strong concept. Where I think my work and Andy’s (the other nominee) may have lacked was the direct appeal to the target market which was women in their 30’s. Both our designs were sophisticated and perhaps more ‘visually interesting’ with the use of photography, but both had a more all round appeal whereas Sophie’s encompassed the specific market so well. According to the D&AD website, first prize winners is awarded “the one outstanding entry; Bang on brief, brilliantly crafted or executed and with that 'I wish I'd done that!' appeal” and Sophie’s work certainly oozed in humour, simplicity and that all important ability to put a smile on someone’s face – basically, a designers dream.

Just on a small note, after looking at other nominees, and especially in my own category, I know I have said it before but the quality of execution was amazing. The other two students had produced real mock ups, something you can go straight into Tesco’s and pick up off a shelf, whereas for my mock ups, I had simply wrapped sheets over pre-made bread packaging, through pure naivety perhaps, thinking this would stand up next to the quality of the other entrants. Sophie had even pushed the brief further, something I noticed with a lot of other entrants, and produced more work in an extension of their brief, in her case she all produced a small ad campaign that could be used in line with her ‘delicious Italian’ concept, which just goes to show that doing extra could potentially be the difference between second prize and first, or an award or no award at all. I guess these are all lessons that you learn with experience, as I now know that I need to pick my game up as I have seen the other competition out there, and its tough.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

D&AD New Blood

26-27th June, Old Billingsgate, London

Bombarded by what I’m sure is well over the national average of visual communication messages in one place, this was certainly the place to be to see the up and coming talent within the design scene in the UK. Overwhelming doesn’t cover it.

To be able to see what other people, students can accomplish was an absolutely phenomenal experience. You cannot help but be inspired when viewing other peoples work – you would be lying is you didn’t have thoughts as to how you may have done their work differently, use a similar concept in your own work or at best see why certain ideas and executions may not have worked. With the work predominantly produced by 3rd year and postgraduate students, it really helped focus my attention as to the of the standard of work and quality of execution I should be aiming for in the future, which as a second year student, I am still trying to master.

It would be an impossible task to highlight a particular piece of work that inspired me, as for me the inspiration was not necessarily so tangible. One of the most notable things of all was the actual quality of the work. The work was unbelievably professional and well done, you could easily imagine seeing it on billboards around London, or in Adshell’s across the country, it was amazing. Above all, it has fuelled my personal determination somewhat; all the work was by students, just like me. It is not to say that I wasn’t bothered, or passionate before going to the exhibition, it has merely given me an indication as to realm of possibilities of what a student, what I can do – and there’s no going back.

Monday, 9 July 2007

A Designers Dilema?

My brother found this postcard around Leeds University and gave it to me to add to the postcard museum, that is my room. I personally really like typography and was particularly intrigued by the wording in the left hand corner (shown above). The reason I do not want to write the word that is seems to have caused somewhat confusion amongst the masses. Take a moment to see if you can read it, and then scroll down to see if you are right.

Personally to me, it was as clear as day. The beautifully designed word read, “Be” (confirmed by the website name.) However, to others it wasn’t so obvious, as they read the word “Do”. I thought this was particularly interesting, and I began to ask random friends and family what they thought the word read, with distinct results. To put it bluntly the designers could read the word perfectly, everyone else couldn’t.

Undoubtedly this is a beautifully designed word, with the postcards pattern being incorporated into the text, a design in which anyone could, and did appreciate, however somewhere in the design process it would seem the aesthetics maybe have been more important than the readability of the actual word. I have begun to notice that this is maybe a huge flaw in graphics today. As designers we are trying to create work, which is “subtly genius”, simple yet send a clever message, but in the end the message is getting lost being the single graphical elements that make it up. This has only become clearer to me, when my own work has come under some scrutiny.

The images below are sections of my revised posters for our first year project based on promoting a 2 hour lunch break for city workers.

Several people have seen these posters, and again I have received a mixed reaction. As always the designers can understand and appreciate the movie concept although they are not alone as others, although it may take a little longer also “get it”. When showing my mum, doctors in the making and future economists, they just couldn’t grasp why I had turned a W side ways, but to my sister it was glaringly “obvious”, when clearly it wasn’t as obvious as I thought. These two examples have certainly made me more aware of a huge problem facing a designer. Now more and more we are trying to be clever in our designs, but it seems we are beginning to design work, perhaps not realising it, but for our fellow designers, rather than the people we are aiming for, a balance we need to regain before non-designers are completely left out the loop.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

You either Love it or Hate it.

Last year I found this image was on a Guardian Advert for their online dating website and I have to say it is one of my favourite pieces of advertising. I think it is a wonderfully clever image, by taking a product as topical as marmite, with the catchphrase “you either love it or hate it”, and reworking this tagline in terms of relationships and dating within the iconic framework of it packaging is simply genius.

Marmite; you’ve got to love it.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Justin Timberlake; Lovestoned/I think she knows (Interlude)

Director: Robert Hales

When I found out Justin Timberlake filmed his new video just outside Bolton, I couldn’t wait to see the results! But it seem Bolton has some of the finest green screens around. However disappointed I am that Yorkshires not going to be put on the global map, just yet, I have to say this video is absolutely brilliant, and you can’t help but watch it over and over again. The director was Robert Hales, who also produced videos for Gnarles Berkley and Jet.

This particular song has two very distinct parts to it, the beginning Justins signature RnB beat with an ‘electronic’ feel to it, into a more chilled out vibe. With this being the case, there are also two distinct sections to the video. With the first half, the concept focuses on the idea of there are a multitude of sounds that’s are being transmitted through sound waves, which create images of Justin. The video is fast paced, futuristic and will certainly keep your attention, all aspects that Justin Timberlake would pride his music on. Transforming from the black, sound wave movements, to what looks like a large white padded space with Justin standing in the middle it would seem the video takes a turn for the worst. The bizarre environment, in which Justin stands, does not seem to flow with the rest of the video, losing his cool factor almost immediately. The second half of the video is really disappointing, and minus the appeal as the first half unfortunately means you lose interest rapidly.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Ambient Media

This photo was taken 9 years ago when I was in Australia. As you can see in the photo the recognisable Toyota logo has been created in the sky, using chemical trails. This form of ambient media would have been seen by thousands of people in and around the city of Sydney, reaching their target market and beyond. Although certainly attention grabbing and interesting, combined with the fact that I remembered this photo without even a name with the logo gives credit on Toyotas behalf. For the fact a 13 year old girl on holiday can remember such a media stunt, proves that they have such strong brand recognition and they can ‘play’ with more interesting ways of promoting themselves, however I don’t think this is the most successful way in which they could have done so. With Toyota wanting to be valued for selling quality cars and promoting the company’s longevity with the use of the line “Today Tomorrow Toyota”, the choice of ambient media is particularly flawed. By using the chemical trails, the fact that it is only a temporary display, lucky to last 20 minutes, let alone till the next day, doesn’t quite demonstrate these values and thus does not seem like a suitable match of brand and media.