Thursday, 20 October 2016

OUGD601 - Dissertation - Rough Essay Structure

Structuring of Essay

In order to execute my dissertation successfully, I will need to follow some sort of logical structure/essay plan. The theme in which I am tackling is fairly broad, however I do have specific interests within the overarching theme/question. 

I am interested into examining the concept of order or chaos within visual communication and graphic design. Ultimately, I will exploring the extend to which deconstructionist theory has impacted/influenced contemporary visual culture in a literal or abstract sense. I have devised a rough outline of the structure in which I see the essay tacking: 

Intro (1000 Words)

Introduce the theme in an articulated manner
Outline the chapters and the aim of the investigation
Introduce key texts and writers in the field/topic

Chapter 1:
Origins - The Origins of Deconstructivism 

I will briefly explore the concept that high modernism imposed mass order through its philosophy and postmodernism’s reaction to this order in the form of visual profusion, subversion and chaos – how the emergence of postmodernism and deconstructivism was inevitable – discuss how this was potentially the last truly definable ‘movement’ with ‘graphic design’ and how we have arrived at a time of uncertainty and intangibility presently.

Discuss how deconstructivist style emerged within visual communication from Postmodernist and Post-structuralist theory/ideology – What was it a reaction to? How was it received? What were its aims and intentions? Why did it emerge? What are its earliest roots? (Dadaism)
Summaries the totalitarianism of modernism and why it was inevitable that creative people would question its authority.

Here I will explore key theorists in a bit more detail: Derrida, Lupton, Baudrillard, Jameson, Barthes, Poyner critiquing and contrasting their views

Chapter 2:
Lasting Impact/Influence - The Influence of Deconstructivism on Contemporary Visual Culture

This chapter will explore several designers/practitioners that pioneered the deconstructivist movement within visual communication, examining the contexts that they worked within and why they did what they did. Here I will explore the impact of changes in technology and global culture and how these changes sped up the rise of postmodernism and deconstructivist aesthetic.
I will look at a range of practitioners who were active in the 80s and 90s:  Jamie Reid, Kathrine McCoy from The Cranbrook Academy, David Carson, Neville Brody.

I will then move on to look at the lasting impact that these key creatives have had, examining the underpinning influence of deconstructivist ideology/theory has had, whether that be conscious of unconscious influence

The freedom of expression and fluidity that this small movement has facilitated is larger than most people like the believe.

I want to examine the relevance of deconstructivism within contemporary design culture. Is it offering anything productive or positive? Here, I will discuss at least three key pieces of contemporary graphic design that I feel are directly influenced by deconstructivism, attempting to understand the inspiration behind the work, its purpose and the reasoning behind the overall process and design treatment.

Chapter 3:
The Present - Is It Possible To Define Contemporary Graphic Design?
Here, I want to discuss the concept of post-postmodernism or meta-modernism and how it can be applied to understand current trends in visual culture. I am interested in the emergence of the New Aesthetic and how this questions postmodernism and modernism simultaneously.


Reflect on the key points raised and conclude whether or not I believe deconstructivist style has had a positive or negative impact on the way graphic design practice/culture is behaving currently. 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

OUGD601 - Methodology Considerations

A methodology is a tool that I will need to use in order to structure and ultimately carry out my dissertation. Using a methodology will allow me to achieve a systematic approach in my primary and secondary research for the project, making the entire process as efficient as possible. In short, a methodology can be defined as 'a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity.' It forms a set of procedures that will be carried out in order to acquire knowledge about my specific line of inquiry/chosen research topic.  

I did a quick internet search for advice on writing a dissertation methodology and came across some key points:

What if I want to find out about social trends, or the measurable effects of particular policies?

You will probably want to use large data-sets and undertake quantitative data analysis, and you will be adopting a realist approach to the topic studied. Quantitative dissertations are likely to be nearer to the lower end of the range of approved lengths for the dissertation (e.g. if the length is to be 5,000-8,000 words, dissertations based on quantitative analysis are likely to be closer to 5,000 words in length). They will also include tables and figures giving your important findings. Remember that all tables must be carefully titled and labelled and that sources of your data must be acknowledged.

'What if I want to record people's views on an issue, and give them a 'voice'?'

You will probably want to use in-depth qualitative data, and you may wish to adopt a realist, a phenomenologist, or a constructionist approach to the topic. Qualitative dissertations will include descriptive material, usually extracts from interviews, conversations, documents or field notes, and are therefore likely to be nearer to the upper limit of your word range (e.g. 8,000 words). The types of method suitable for a dissertation could include content analysis, a small scale ethnographic study, small scale in-depth qualitative interviewing and so on.

From this, I have concluded that qualitative primary research methods will prove most useful and effective for my dissertation project, as my topic is concerned with the contemporary, and therefore needs to be informed by contemporary views, opinions and thoughts from artists, designers and practitioners working in and responding to the now.

Through conducting a qualitative analysis, I will be likely looking to use at least some original material in the essay. This may be collected through in-depth interviews, participant observation recordings and field-notes, non-participant observation, or some combination of these.  

I will also look to visit relevant exhibitions and art spaces to further my primary research, in order to gain a better understanding of my topic and gain a rounded perspective on contemporary graphic design practice and wider visual culture. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

OUGD601 - Further Topic Thinking

I had a very brief discussion with Richard today, concerning my research topic and wording of my specific question. I basically presented him with several 'titles' that I had generated, with the intention of figuring out whether they were too broad/specific enough for COP 3.


Should Graphic Design Impose Order or Chaos within Contemporary Visual Culture?


An Investigation into the Impact of Deconstructivist Typography On Contemporary Graphic Design Practice.

An Enquiry into the Impact of Deconstructivist Theory on Contemporary Graphic Design Culture.

An Inquiry into Metamodernism and Its Relevance within Contemporary Graphic Design Culture.

Is Contemporary Graphic Design Practice Deconstructing Traditional Binaries Associated With Its Visual Culture?

Is Contemporary Graphic Design Practice Deconstructing Traditional Binaries Surrounding Its
Visual Culture?

Is Contemporary Graphic Design Culture Deconstructing Traditional Values Associated With the Practice?

Richard concluded that my overarching concept is definitely a viable research topic but is too broad as a single question/statement. He also expressed excitement about the extension of the research topic that I examined at level 05.

He said that the topic of deconstructivism will be interesting a more suitable area/topic to investigate. From this point on, it will be a case of really refining the statement to make sure it is answerable throughout the essay, a point in which I can continually reference and attempt to conclude on.

Currently, I am thinking of going with this question:

Is Contemporary Graphic Design Practice Deconstructing Binaries Traditional Associated With Its Visual Culture?

I feel it is the strongest and has the widest potential for investigation/research

OUGD601 - Exhibition Visit & Inspiration

In June, I paid a visit to my old college to see the final year degree shows. I was pretty impressed with the work on face value, but I was even more impressed by the contextual references and conceptual quality of the majority of the final major projects.

The BA Graphic Communication Design show at CSM was entitled 'Formerly Known As Graphic Design'. This overall theme of the show provided me with a lot of inspiration and useful research in relation to my own COP 3 research project.

OUGD601 - Re-assessing of Proposal

Following the feedback on my initial dissertation proposal, I decided to alter my research topic and change direction. The feedback made me realise that I didn't actually want to examine the 'slow movement' specifically, and I am glad that I realised it then rather than at a later point.

My concerns have shifted and I am confident in this change. I am now going to extend my investigation of topics/themes and research undertaken in my previous two COP modules. In my previous essays, I examined the impact postmodern theory and ideology has had on contemporary graphic design practice as well as the impact technology is having on contemporary visual culture, exploring themes of pastiche, parody, simulacra and hyper-realities, ultimately aiming to come to a conclusion about the impact that it has all had on contemporary graphic design practice/culture. 

Last year, I explored the concepts of simulacrum and hyper-reality within visual communication in a broad sense. In COP3, I could possibly to look closer at the relationship between technologies and simulacra, examining the ongoing influence that they both are having on graphic design practice and wider visual culture, ultimately seeing if this influence is leading us to state of visual utopia or dystopia? 

Alternatively, I also am very keen to investigate the emergence of deconstructivist theory and its relation/relevance to contemporary graphic design practice. I am intrigued by labelling of styles/movements within the arts, particularly in relation modernism and postmodernism and attempting to define the time we are experiencing currently in visual culture. 

OUGD601 - Initial Proposal Feedback

In July, I received an email with some very useful feedback regarding my initial research proposal. The main point raised in the feedback was that I had began to discuss the slow movement as being an 'antidote' to particular visual, creative, cultural or societal issues. 

This was indeed true and was what I was aiming for, however the tutor pointed out that I must remember that these issues have to be proven and not just assumed to be true.I need to avoid being speculative in my dissertation, which was very good advice. They went on to say:

'Try to remain impartial. You should aim to unpick the key philosophies of the slow movement and analyse them in relation to established positions on technology / internet / mass media / etc. The practitioners you mention all seem to work mostly on “vanity” projects producing decorative work – what about normal, commercial graphic design? Is there a role for slow outside these subjective, insular practices?’ 

The feedback allowed me to realise that I am actually far more interested in researching how current trends in visual communication have been influenced by theories associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism. 

I initially thought it would be interesting to explore a completely new topic in my dissertation (the slow movement) but this has already been examined in previous years by past students. The feedback helped me to realised that I wanted to undertake a research project that had perhaps not been examined in detail before and extend the lines of inquiry that have developed over the past two years of contextual studies. This makes much more sense to me now, and has got me excited to undertake the research. 

 I now know that I want to examine role in which graphic design plays within contemporary visual culture, looking to the past for answers to contemporary issues. What purpose does it supposedly serve? Do people even know what it is anymore? Is it possible to define the era we are living in? Is it possible to define graphic design practice anymore? 

Monday, 10 October 2016

OUGD601 - Initial Proposal

At the end of level 05, I was required to produce a dissertation proposal document outlining potential areas for research at level 06. In this document, I outlined that I was interested in examining the relevance of the slow movement within contemporary graphic design practice and wider visual culture. I chose this topic because it can be tied in with themes of postmodernism and current trend patterns in graphic design. The slow movement is a trend in itself which interests me greatly and I thought it would be relevant in relation to the suggested research questions provided by the course.

I formulated two potential statements/question titles for the dissertation:

To What Extent Has the ‘Slow Movement’ Impacted Contemporary Graphic Design Process?

Is There a Future for Analogue Production Methods within Contemporary Visual Culture?

I felt pretty confident about these questions when breaking up for summer and knew that there were areas that I could begin to research over the break in preparation for the start of level 06. Below is my initial proposal, explaining the concerns and areas of interest I had at the end of level 05:

OUGD601 - Dissertation Topic Presentation

In preparation for a group discussion, I produced a simple presentation summarising the intentions of my COP3 research project. Doing this task aided me in finalising my chosen topic and research interests, as I had been struggling to articulate my initial ideas into a specific line of inquiry.

I now feel confident with the research project titles that I have generated and believe it my investigation will produce some very interesting and exciting results. I feel that my chosen topic is fairly unique and has perhaps not been explored yet on my course which makes me excited to undertake the research. I must now choose one title and use this as a basis to start the written element. I am going to utilise the crit/discussion session to help me settle on a question.