Festive Installations

Whilst researching contemporary sculpture as part of my transmogrify I came across a series of festive graphic installations, illuminated sculptures and eclectic tree decorations currently being displayed in 2016. Although not necessarily relevant to my project they are interesting examples of new takes on festive design / decorations.

Shirazeh Houshiary

In collaboration with The Crown Estate, James Glancy Design displayed installations above some of the most popular streets across London, illuminating the shops and public below.

André Fu

In the Upper House hotel’s ground floor lobby in Hong Kong this 3.3m modernist-style Christmas tree was unveiled. The tree consists of 80 layers of pinewood planks, all hand stained by André Fu, the hotel’s designer and local architect.

Your Studio

In a main square in central Melbourne a real 9m Christmas Tree encased in crystal has been constructed by the graphics studio Your Studio. The installation is part of the QIC Eastland shopping centre festive experience where inside you can also find an iridescent ‘snowstorm’ and a ‘Christmas glade’ featuring over-sized mushrooms.

Alex Chinneck

In Granary Square, King’s Cross a two-storey high Christmas tree appears to be encased in a large block of ice, seemingly melting into a pool of water (actually clear wax). However it is all in fact created from resin, illuminated by the glow of the surrounding fountains.

Six Cowboys


Marlboro Cowboy


As a small group of three we were tasked to analyse an assigned image, our groups is pictured above, using two of the four critical approaches taught to us in our lectures which are as follows; material culture analysis, historical analysis, feminist theory and queer theory. We had to analyse the image by thinking about how that figure represents masculinity.


Lady With a Mouthpiece Cigarette

What our group discovered about Marlboro brand is that initially it was advertised towards women as Marlboro were selling filtered cigarettes. However their advertising strategy changed after a major report was published in the early 1950s linking smoking to lung cancer. To combat the decline in cigarette sales many brands began promoting their cigarettes as safer than others, and quickly filtered cigarettes were perceived as the safest. However men were still reluctant to buy Marlboro filtered cigarettes as they were still seen as feminine.

Created by the advertising executive Leo Burnett, the Marlboro man advertisements were used from 1954 to 1999 in the US. These adverts included archetypal masculine characters, primarily cowboys, with a Marlboro cigarette. Cowboys at the time were popular and a symbol of masculinity, and within a year the brands market shares went from less to 1% to 4th best selling brand. Later on they stepped away from using actors and began to use real working cowboys seen preforming their working tasks, by 1972 Marlboro was the leading brand in the cigarette industry.


John Wayne

The reason the Marlboro Man was so successful was due to him representing masculinity and the values related to it. He was tough, self sufficient, hardworking and rugged, and stood for reason, independence and liberty, which were all values associated with cowboys at the time. By depicting this character smoking Marlboro cigarettes these traits are imbued into the product and sales rose as men purchased these cigarettes due to their desire to also be seen possessing these traits.

Due to our research we discovered that the material culture analysis and feminist theory perfectly suited each other as the branding of the product was changed from feminine to masculine through the use of cowboys which were idolised in popular culture during that time period. As a result of this we presented our material culture analysis and feminist theory analysis not as two separate categories but as one fluid analysis.

The feedback we received was very positive, our seminar tutor was impressed with how our research dictated what approaches we chose and how we decided to present our findings as one fluid piece and not as two separate approaches. She did however suggest we analyse the images themselves more, for example what visual signifiers are present in the images that help to back up our findings.

Black Mirror

Black Mirror is a fictional television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker and released in 2011. Each episode has a different storyline and cast however they all follow a similar concept, they explore the dark unexpected consequences that could be caused by the introduction of new technologies to modern society. In one episode for example they looked how future technology may allow use to retain all of our memories digitally which we could then revisit and analyse, and how this could lead to relationships being destroyed between people as individuals became obsessed with analysing past events which would otherwise be forgotten. Another example would be an episode where social hierarchy is completely dictated by how popular you are online, although this is relevant today the episode takes this idea and develops it to cover all aspects of society and everyday life.

The series raises many questions about human behaviour and the ethics and responsibilities we hold when it comes to technology. These issues raised caused me to also think about the ethics in design and more closely thinking about the consequences of design on society. In cultural and critical studies we cover many issues presented within design that have an effect on society such as feminism, sexism and racism, and although the consequences of these issues are much less extreme than the ones presented in Black Mirror, they still have a notable effect.

In conclusion I really enjoyed the concept of this series, although some episodes don’t have a particularly strong storyline the over idea behind the series causes you to think more carefully about your actions and future.

High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture

High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture by Mike Jay, 1959

“‘High Society’ explores the spectrum of drug use across the globe and throughout history, from its roots in animal intoxication to its future in designer neurochemicals” 

As part of my research for my cultural and critical studies essay I looked to this book for information. My essay was based on psychedelic posters and psychedelic drugs such as acid, therefore this book was very useful in helping me to gain a better insight into the effects, history and cultural use of acid. However once I had finished my research I decided to continue reading the entire book as I found the information provided highly interesting. I have always had an interest in the mind altering affects of drugs and how plants and chemicals can change our perception of the world and experience, also how they have helped to shape history and culture, therefore this book was well suited to me.

The book explores the use of drugs throughout history and various cultures. It covers a range of drugs such as LSD, cocaine, laughing gas, marijuana, coffee, and tobacco and shows how throughout history the use of recreational drugs has come to fruition, with initially drugs only be used as medicine and any effects caused that were not seen as curing the patient or were unwanted (e.g. hallucinations) were ignored. Once scientists began exploring these drugs for their additional properties, their use recreationally in society began to expand. However there are exceptions to this, such as the tribes throughout the world who had been using natural plants recreationally or for spiritual purposes for years e.g. Shamans using ayahuasca to engage with spirits.

This book is highly informative and approaches the topic from a variety of perspectives, from detailed descriptions of the drugs and their effects, to their history and creation, how they impacted society and culture, and how drugs will continue to impact society in the future. It has helped me to understand how society has changed over the years due to drugs which I had previously not considered, they have influences governments, trading, laws and many other factors of society which have lead to civilisations being as they are today. My perspective of the world has been changed due to this book as it has opened my eyes to how industries, which I initially would not have thought to have had an effect, changes history and society and in the future I will continue to think of topics on a larger scale and what impact they may have.

Typographic Emphasis


Scale, Weight and Disposition





Brief: Using a tabloid and broadsheet newspaper we had to select examples of 4 different forms of typographic emphasis; size, weight and disposition. We also had to select 16 examples of varying tones of text and display them demonstrating the various tones of text.

This brief was very simple however it allowed me to examine and appreciate ways in which typographic emphasis is made, although I had known about these methods before this task allowed me to be more aware of how this is done by training my eye to look for examples of scale, weight, colour and disposition. I found doing this project alongside the heirachy project and typographic archive very useful as the information I was learning from each was helping to inform the others.

Above are my two A3 sheets, the top image is of my sheet showing 4 examples of size, weight and disposition. We were asked to pay attention to presentation which I found a challenge due to the varying scales of the elements however after many different possibly layouts I decided up the composition below, At the top of the sheet are examples of scale, then weight and finally at the bottom is disposition. This branch like composition enabled the sections to still be separate without creating a rigid layout. The bottom image is my sheet showing 16 examples of tonal colour. I arranged the squares going from lightest (top left) to darkest (bottom right). I found this sheet slightly more challenging in terms of layout in order to make sure the composition was central and evenly spaced.

Presentation Presentation Presentation


Brief: The objective of this brief was to develop practical manual studio skills in order to carry out project presentations. We had to produce an A2 presentation board for 4 pieces of mock stationary and a 3 colour pallet, this board also had to have a tracing paper overlay and a paper cover sheet with a label attached to the front.

This brief  appeared to be very simple at first however proved to be technically challenging. Ensuring that all elements were cut straight with a sharp scalpel, stuck firmly down with spray mount and spaced evenly  took up more time than I expected to ensure I would not need to redo the board. I found cutting and attaching the tracing paper overlay and cover sheet to the reverse of the board the hardest part, this was due to the width of the board skewing the elements so that they did not appear to fit the board on the front. However after scoring the fold into the two sheets this helped to fix the issue.

Furthermore I had to design and format a label to be attached to the front of my board. In inDesign I produced the label that can been seen below for this project, I will also continue to use this format in the future for labeling my work. Although simple I made sure to contain all of the information I believed would be essential for others viewing my work. I also applied some of the knowledge I gained from my typographic archive, heirachy and typographic emphasis projects, this was through mixing fonts, scale, weight, alignment and graphic rules.



In conclusion I believe my board was successful, the composition of the elements is ordered and leads your eye, and the assembling of the board appears professional although I did struggle with attaching the tracing paper and cover sheet. However in the future I will now know the correct techniques for efficiently and effectively producing a slick and professional presentation board.



Cover Sheet


Tracing Paper Overlay


Presentation Board

Blue & Bench

Whilst waiting in the student advice centre I became intrigued by one of the benches and decided to capture the above photograph. One of my current projects is transmogrify, a project exploring three dimensional typography, therefore at the moment I am more aware of interesting three dimensional forms and shapes in my environment. What caught my attention about this bench is the curves of the wood and the shadows it produces, creating flowing lines across the image. I also believe the blue block of colour from the door in the background complements the colour of the orange/brown wood, as well as tying in with the geometric shapes within the image.