Friday, 13 March 2015

OUGD401 - Study Task 06 - How to Write Properly

This is a task to complete during interview week (9th March - 13th March).

1.     Go to the library

2. Find BA (hons) Graphic Design dissertations from 2013/14 - hint: upstairs and to the right

3. Grab at least 2 dissertations

4. Study each of the dissertations and focus particularly on their written FORM paying close attention to punctuation, grammar, tone-of-voice, referencing, vocabulary.

NOTE: not all the dissertations are "perfect" but studying a number of them will help to demonstrate how written work should be presented at undergraduate study.

5. Write a blog entry for this task - discuss 3 things that you have learned, observed, noted about the dissertations that you looked at and how this will help when addressing your own written piece.

The first dissertation I looked at was from 2013/14 entitled: ‘How has Postmodern Theory Informed Graphic Design Practices and Aesthetics?’ by Emma Johnson. Her introduction is successful in the fact that she introduces the topic well and explains it in a way that doesn’t instantly confuse or overwhelm the reader. She makes it clear that to understand postmodern design you must have a basic knowledge and acceptance of what modernist design can be defined as. I noticed that her sentence structure is quite irregular, in the sense that she uses a range of sentence types, with some of them being quite short and punchy, lacking explanations and development. She does make attempts at using the PEE sentence structure but not all of the time.  

Her referencing is good, but not standard to me. She puts the page and date reference in brackets next to the quotes accompanied by an *, I am used to referencing with numbers and putting everything in a bibliography at the end of the written piece but at least she has actually referenced her quotations. Her range of vocabulary is mature and consistent and she refrained from using basic words for her descriptions which is good. In place she could have used more sophisticated vocabulary and perhaps could have developed her point a little more, but the general standard is high. 

High levels of grammar and punctuation and the general tone of voice is appropriate for this type of academic writing. She makes good points and doesn’t go into too much detail in terms of historical context, so it doesn’t get boring and she doesn’t detract or wonder off too far from the actual topic. Her paragraph sizes are good, not too long and not too short either. When it comes to her conclusion, i think this needed to be a bit longer and more in depth. Postmodernism is such a vast topic and you can really make strong statements about it and really convey your personal opinion. I feel she lacked this in her conclusion. Having said that though, she did wrap up her essay well and in a concise way which I guess is what conclusions are all about, I would have liked to have seen more personal views though.

The second dissertation I examined was titled ‘Diffusion of Style in Global Culture’ by Abbas Mushtaq – out of the two this was the thicker one, and from first glance you would assume that this was the more advanced and accomplished piece of writing. This persons introduction is very sophisticated and really tackles the question in a detailed and thorough way. He outlines the essay, breaking down the structure of the paragraphs and tells the reader what to expect content wise from each section. I like this, you could argue that this pads out the essay and uses up unnecessary parts of the overall word count, but I think it has been done in a concise enough way and gives the reader an idea of the general tone of the writing. The general tone of voice is very sophisticated and mature and it definitely reads like a successful piece of academic investigation.

The paragraphing and sentences are mature and vocabulary use is good, but I feel more synonyms and more sophisticated lexis could have been used, it felt a bit repetitive at times. He goes into a lot of detail which is good, but at times boring. Historical knowledge is extensive and this is seen throughout the introduction. The conclusion is at least double the length of the first dissertation, and I feel sums up the issues covered a lot better. The last paragraph sums up his views in a concise way and generally ties the whole text together nicely. I think he did waffle on a bit in his conclusion so perhaps could have worked on making it less padded and more to the point. But again, this is such a large topic to tackle that I guess detail in required in this context.  

Thursday, 12 March 2015

OUGD401 - The Memphis Group - Research

The Memphis group comprised of Italian designers and architects who created a series of highly influential products in the 1980's. They disagreed with the conformist approach at the time and challenged the idea that products had to follow conventional shapes, colours, textures and patterns.
The Memphis group was founded in 1981. One of the leading members of the group Ettore Sottsass called Memphis design the 'New International Style'.
Memphis was a reaction against the slick, black humorless design of the 1970's. It was a time of minimalism with such products as typewriters, buildings, cameras, cars and furniture all seeming to lack personality and individualism.

In contrast the Memphis Group offered bright, colourful, shocking pieces. The colours they used contrasted the dark blacks and browns of European furniture. It may look dated today but at the time it looked remarkable. The word tasteful is not normally associated with products generated by the Memphis Group but they were certainly ground breaking at the time.
All this would seem to suggest that the Memphis Group was very superficial but that was far from the truth. Their main aim was to reinvigorate the Radical Design movement. The group intended to develop a new creative approach to design.

On the 11th of December 1980 Scottsass organised a meeting with other such famous designers. They decided to form a design collaborative. It would be named Memphis after the Bob Dylan song ''Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again''. Coincidentally the song had been played repeatedly throughout the evening.

Memphis was historically the ancient Egyptian capital of culture and the birthplace of 'Elvis Presley'. This was quite ironic but so were most of the pieces created by the group.
The image below is of the 'Super lamp' created by Martine Bedine. It is made of metal, which has been painted and lacquered.

OUGD401 - First Mock Up of Postmodern Survival Guide

Here is a link to one of the first mock up designs of my postmodern survival guide. I plan to edit and improve it over the coming weeks for the submission, because at this stage it is very experimental and could do with a lot of developing.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

OUGD401 - Postmodern Survival Guide - First Mock Up


OUGD401 - Practical Work - Posters in Context

OUGD401 - Practical Work - Poster Research

OUGD401 - Practical Work - Survival Posters

These posters will be printed on a very large scale, depending on my budget. Ideally I would love to print them on A1, but A2 will look good as well. They are summarised survival tips taken from the zine that I have produced. They are intended to be witty and not taken too seriously and I think I have achieved this through my design choices of type, layout and imagery.

They are supposed to be very eye catching and grab your attention. I think they convey a good understand of the topic and link nicely to my essay and for me communicate the extent to which post-modern did impact graphic design as I am essentially mimicking its style. I think these posters would be suitable for a wide target audience. If these appeared during the 1980's and 90's I think they would be received as even more witty and funny as I would have been responding to the current contemporary trend. In 2015, I think they will still be received well as post-modernism is still quite a debated topic especially within the art and design world.