Semester 1 Assessments


In preparation for our semester 1 assessments we were given a list of work to present and how it should be presented. The work to be presented is as follows:

To present our work all of our layout pads should have cover sheets, held together with bulldog clips or another appropriate binding technique, and on each cover sheet should be a label. These labels should also be attached to any cover sheets for mounted outcomes, archive spines and on the reverse of final outcomes.

Finally to accompany our work we had to complete a self-evaluation sheet for the semester, write a cover letter explaining the work presented and any tutorial and critique note sheets.

For my semester 1 assessment portfolio I attached black cover sheets to all of my layout pads, which I held together with black bulldog clips, and to any work mounted on boards. By having all my cover sheets the same colour it allows my portfolio to easily be identifiable as a single body of work. Any final outcomes that weren’t mounted were printed onto good quality paper and had a label attached to the reverse. When collating all of my work at the end I realised that having my cover sheets as black was a very suitable choice as many of my final outcomes are black and white, therefore adding to the theme throughout my work.

The labels I created were based on the label I produced for my presentation board several months before, although it is not the most ground breaking design it does contain all of the appropriate information and is consistent throughout. Furthermore as I designed my labels several months in advance I did not want to redo the labelling on my work and risk damaging the prints or boards.

Semester 1 Reflection

I believe my work at the start of the academic year was not as strong as it could have been as I was settling into new ways of working and gaining new skills. Towards the end of the semester however my work developed hugely as I had a better idea of what was expected from me and could apply the skills I had been learning. Reflecting on past projects now I can now see how they need to be improved by applying the skills I have learned. Due to time, I cannot revisit and improve every project to the level I would like, therefore for my year 1 semester 1 assessments I improved those which needed it most. The new skills and knowledge I have gained through semester 1 however has put me in a strong position for the start of semester two.

Not only have I gained new skills and knowledge from semester 1 but I have begun to enjoy my work more and am eager to take on more personal projects. My goals for semester two are to create a series of online accounts on various websites to promote my work, to develop and explore my transmogrify project more, to explore experimental photography more which was inspired by let there be light, and to possibly develop my own font inspired by my handwriting. I would also be interested learning and experimenting with vector illustrations, an aspect of graphic design I have been eager to explore for a while but lacked the initial technical knowledge in Adobe Illustrator.

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.