“Trends are profits waiting to happen”

It is beneficial for businesses to predict future trends that relate to their products, and to alter and adjust their product accordingly. This results in businesses knowing what the consumer wants before the consumer does. If the product is there it often creates desire and the need to have from the consumer ultimately makes profit. Trends often start from innovators with no intention of profit or business, and will almost every time adopted by large companies to make profit.

Charity shops were popular with “environmentalists” and “people who oppose sweatshops.” (Wikipedia, n.d) This shows that this trend relies on helping the world and how that makes you feel, this cannot be mass-produced by businesses. However, now this trend is beginning its mainstream phase developers such as Topman create and dedicate sections of their stores to charity shop items, which they have found and, strategically chosen to make revenue. Before this, this trend captured Topman’s consumers and was destructive to their profit, however innovators and forecasters at Topman were able to adjust and adapt to this new trend in the market. This example shows that ultimately due to innovators this trend was profit waiting to happen. Although the idea of forecasting within business is strongly linked with profit, it can often only be seen as an innovation business concept, as it is impossible to guarantee profit. Steve Jobs said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.” (Kjaer, 2014) Showing that you can only see profit when looking back on it.

Not all businesses have a primary aim of profit. For some businesses it is about making the world a better place. Tania Singer states “Humans are capable of far more than selfishness and materialism.” She explains that we can “create a world in which we all want to live.” (Kjaer, 2014) It is important that businesses connect with people, as it enriches lives. Many companies would argue that their primary goals for forecasting futures are to enrich lives and profit is secondary to that. Showing that although forecasters are paid to forecast future trends it is not as simple as just gaining profit.

COIN research describes their clients as “consumers.” When you are seen as a consumer and not a customer I believe the primary goal is profit. There is a more humanistic aspect attached to the word customer “The very word ‘consumer’ objectifies people, suggesting that their only role is to consume and buy.” (Kjaer, 2014) Although we are consumers most days and deep down we know we are, we still like to be seen and treated like a customer. When treated like a customer we feel cared about, it is human nature to want to be cared for. The point of being cared for is the difference of the consumer being a customer. The reason that COIN research gave was that if they used the word customer it implies an exchange of money and that’s often not the case. They dismiss the word ‘Person’ as it is too disconnected. They explained that a consumer is not as simple as going into a shop and buying, they explained that we are consumers to the environment that we live in and everything that we do, being a consumer is part of a bigger picture. I asked COIN research whether the use of the word ‘consumer’ changes depending on the purposes of the company they are working for and they agreed that it does. This implies to me that different companies see buyer in different ways, some companies want to enrich the buyer’s life and some see buyers as a means of making money.

I feel that forecasting is used to a large extent as a profit-making tool, because in the majority of cases it is evident that a trend will turn into profit whether intended by the innovator or not. Buyers are seen as consumers and only feel like customers at certain times, as businesses want the consumer to like and trust there company to consume more products. When speaking to COIN research they described the output of the majority of the companies they work with “Is to develop” or “reimagine the next product” with the “purpose of making more money.” This confirms to me that Regardless of how companies portray themselves they are all out to make money.


John-Patrick Hartnett Typography and communication

When searching for the Google definition of typography I found “the style and appearance of printed matter.” This definition and many dictionary definitions describe and link typography to a printed form. Gerrit Noordzij doesn’t limit typography to a printed form, describing it as “writing with prefabricated letters.” Bil’ak, (2007) In my opinion, typography isn’t simply anchored to print like the dictionary definition suggests. I believe that it can be sculpted and created without the use of print, with the only restriction being the legibility of the letters.

Robert Bringhurst suggests that “typography is a craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form and thus with an independent existence.” Bringhurst (2004)  This made me question if typography’s sole purpose is to communicate the content or if typography can be used as an art form. Although the existence of typography began from communicating content, today typography can change how you feel and react to the content in a similar way to how art can.

Bringhurst also states “typography exists to honor content.” Bringhurst (2004)  This suggests that typography isn’t there to communicate the content its there to ‘honor’ it, to express and convey its meaning. It shows that its much more complex in the way that it alters the reader’s experience of the content. This is why I believe it is an art form, rather than a communication tool.

In ‘The Grand Design’, Bringhurst frequently compares typography to music. He says “typography is to literature as musical performance is to composition: an essential act of interpretation, full of opportunities for insight or obtuseness.” Bringhurst (1992) By saying this he is suggesting that typography can change the way we as the reader read and experience the literature. The simile Bringhurst describes could be related to what a car is to a driver. Imagining the literature being the car, and the typography being the driver. The driver is essential and can change the driving experience in a similar way to what typography can do to the content.

Bil’ak, P. (2007) What is Typography? Available at  https://www.typotheque.com/articles/what_is_typography (Accessed: 28/04/15)

Bringhurst, R. (2004) The Elements of Tyopgraphic Style. Hartley & Marks Publishers.

Bringhurst, R. (1992) The Grand Design. Hartley & Marks Publishers.


Many believe that the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere of the brain perform different tasks and have clear divided roles. McGilchrist’s understanding of this is that it’s not just as simple as an Analytical left hemisphere or Creative right hemisphere. His understanding of it is that it’s much more complex. He says

“It’s not true that language only resides in the left hemisphere, it doesn’t, it’s an important aspect in the right. It’s not true that visual imagery is in the right hemisphere, lots of is in the left.” (Ted Talk :Iain McGilchrist, 2011) Macgilchirist’s believes there is no clear divide between the hemispheres, and that the brain is much more intricate and interesting than that.

In McGilchrist’s book The Master and His Emissary McGilchrist asks the question “How much neurological and neuropsychological evidence is there that the hemispheres really are all that different?” Although McGilchrist considers that there isn’t a clear divide in the hemispheres he does say that there are “consistent differences between the hemispheres, existing at many levels” (McGilchrist, 2009) which shows he has some belief in the idea that the hemispheres are divided.  The book is strongly supported by his career as a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. The evidence in the book comes from his research into stroke victims, where one of their hemispheres doesn’t work due to a lack of blood to the brain.

In the lecture we were asked to draw our own brain:

Light and dark areas show contrast in thinking.

Scribbles and twirls indicates creativity, which join across and interact with other elements of the brain.

Straight parallel lines show logic and organisation to thinking.

Blank areas allow the mind to be free and rest.

The outline is clear but not restrictive.

Many of the ideas in my drawing and reasoning follow similar theory to McGilchrist, in the way that there isn’t a clear divide in the brain.

Ted Talk : Iain McGilchrist (2011) The Divided Brain. Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/iain_mcgilchrist_the_divided_brain

(Accessed: 29/04/15)

McGilchrist, I (2009). ‘The Master and His Emissary’

The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

,Yale University Press; 2nd edition.


Greta Hauer Bleached Dreams – Troubling Places

Disneyisation is a derogatory term used to describe a simulated non-place, with intentions to keep you as the consumer there as long as possible. Bryman (2004) says that “the process by which the principles of the Disney theme parks are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world” Bryman is refereeing to other companies like starbucks creating the atmosphere of a living room, to make you feel comfortable and keep you there as long as possible. He is also refereeing to things like building new villages in America where all the roads lead to the shopping mall. Disneyisation is a marking technique which is being used often in todays society making us lost in their meticulously designed shopping malls, with their objectives to make us a the consumer lose the feeling of time and disconnect from reality.

Disneyisation aims to use verity and difference to capture the consumer in to spending their time there, and therefore temping them to spend more money. Mcdonaldisation strides for similarity, an example of this is that the McDonald’s menu is the same everywhere in the world so that when the consumer walks in they recognize the layout and menu and can order as quickly as possible. Mcdonaldisation aims to get the consumer in and out as fast as possible, drive thru’s are a great example of Mcdonaldisation in place.

A question that I constantly asked during the lecture, was why do we fall for it? Even though we all know about the tricks, which are being played of us, we still allow it to impact on our choices. When in these non-places we don’t recognise or realise what’s happening. During the film The Truman Show, Turman is born in a film set where everyone is an actor and directors control everything that happens. The film is suggesting that with so many non places around us this is what its like to live on this world, we have non to little control of what’s happening.

Bryman, A (2004) The Disneyization of society, London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

The Truman Show (1998) Directed by Peter Weir. Florida: Paramount Pictures.

Dene October After a Fashion: Kays Catalogue, Modernism and Fashion Persuasion

Fashion promotion developed very strongly from 1920s to 1960s. Modernist design principals and psychology presented by Sigmund Freud allowed catalogues, and advertising in general to create a stronger connection with the consumer. A great example of this is Edward Bernays (Feuds nephew), Bernays deployed psychology tricks that he had leant from his uncle’s psychology into advertising. He would convince people to buy for often the wrong reason; he’d often lie to interest the viewer. Tactics like this would not be acceptable in todays advertising world. His tactics were so successful that he even managed to sell lucky red stripes cigarettes as being healthy. Walter dill scott reinforces these ideas in his book Psychology of Advertising in Theory and practice, he describes it as “Apperception.” He explains that words and images can do very powerful things, they can make us do things that we wouldn’t normally do and force us to see things differently.

As a result of this move into psychology advertising, we moved from a culture of words to a culture of images and colour. This move into a visual environment created a great deal of narcissism and created sexualisation in colours. I recently created a zine, which explored the presence of gender inequality and the expectations of both sexes, the zine mainly focused on colour and how it is genderised by society. By doing this it allowed me to see the impact which phycology has on adervising, especially on children’s merchandise.

John Berger in “Uses of Photography” discusses that ‘peasants’ shouldn’t wear suits as the suit wasn’t designed to fit a working body like theirs. It was designed to fit a rich worker who sat down all day. The lower class had different shaped bodies as they did manual labor for a living, they couldn’t afford a tailored suit so they would simply wear the same size suit as the higher class.  Berger also talks about how hegemony is created in the taste of these suits, creating a greater dormancy over the lower class.

John Berger’s photograph (right) shows the hegemony of the time as the man have brought suits but, the suits weren’t designed to accommodate for their working bodies. Therefore they don’t fir properly. The sketch I did over was to illustrate my thoughts and ideas of what hegemony was to me.

Berger, J (1980). Uses of Photography. New York: Pantheon Books

Scott dell, W (2006) The Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice: A Simple Exposition of the Principles of Psychology in Their Relation to Successful Advertising. the University of California: Small, Maynard.

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Andrew Slatter The Author

Authorship is difficult to claim as a designer, as design can often be seen as recreating another piece of work. George Orwell’s thoughts were “one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality.” (Orwell, 2005) He believed that we were all palimpsests in the way that we allow past life events to show in our work. He thought that to create true originality you first needed to clear your mind of all past events.

Roland Barthes said in The Death of the Author that “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.” (Barthes, 1968) By this Barthes suggests that the author needs to become irrelevant in the readers mind. We should arrive at our own meaning of what the text represents and not look towards the author for guidance. Barthes believes that the author is not as simple as someone who has written and published a book. The problem that Barthes saw is that the author has borrowed everything from previous existing texts, which they have read. Even words and phrases already have creators and meanings of their own, derived from earlier culture and human expression. He explains that ultimately we, as the readers, need to see ourselves as the authors.

When Robert Rauschenberg revealed White Painting in October 1953, it was “characterized as a cheap swindle.” (SFMOMA, n.d.) In actual fact, the three white canvasses were a piece of non-intention, evoking questions and enquiring about authorship. The piece eliminated sentiment and denied any relevance or external reference. The extreme lack of content was a decade ahead of its self, supported by Sarah Roberts who described White Painting as “a ground-breaking precursor to Conceptualism.” (Roberts, 2013) John Cage was the composer of 4’33”, illustrating non-intention while evoking questions like Rauschenberg did. 4’33” was influenced by the time he spent in an anechoic chamber at Harvard, practicing Zen Buddhist techniques. Before writing he would stretch his back and water his plants, the repetition of these physical acts can be compared to the endlessness of Rauschenberg’s White Painting.

The lecture has changed my perception about the art of non-intention. When I originally saw White Painting I thought it was purposeless art that had required little skill or creativity. However after learning about the intentions of the piece, I now find it far more interesting. I have arrived at my piece of non-intention (see right) after the lecture. This piece has no personal meaning to me but I hope it will make the viewer analyse the piece and explore the idea of authorship. I also hope it will allow the viewer to take the role of author and arrive at their own meaning of the piece.

Orwell, G. (2005) Why I Write. Penguin Books.

Barthes, R. (1968) The Death of the Author. Duke University Press.

Roberts, S. (2013) White Painting. Available from:  http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/25855/essay/white_painting (Accessed: 18/04/2015)

SFMOMA (n.d.) Robert Rauschenberg. Available from: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/25855 (Accessed: 18/04/2015)

LANGUAGE AS MATERIAL: Materiality and Method

In this lecture we looked at pieces of literature that honoured the visual environment of the page. Changing the look and structure of a piece of literature can demand a lot of us as the reader. However can change or simply reinforce the meaning.

Instead of boring the reader with false reality, these writers chose to keep you wide awake and aware of what’s going on in the world and the fact that you’re reading a text. Displaying the writing as art, as opposed to storytelling. The writer manipulates the text to change the way that its read allowing the writer to take a greater control of your understanding and the impact that the text will have on you. Gertrude stein chose to use densely and near to unreadable text in The Making of Americans. Ulla Dydo proposes that it was the intentions of Stein to skim the text and that she didn’t expect the reader to read from cover to cover, she said it “was deploying visual means of reading. What appeared to be densely unreadable and repetitive was, in fact, designed to be skimmed and to delight the eye”. Goldsmith (2011)

Kant and Hegel have two clear apposing ideas on the effect of the visual environment in which the material is presented. Hegel suggested that the material embodied its meaning, whereas Kant suggested that an adherence to style was superficial, Hong (2003.) I personally disagree with Kant as a designer I would suggest that the presentation of a piece should perform the meaning and present a clear understanding and representation of the material. This quote from Goldsmith (2011) supports my ideas “the page becomes a canvas … the text becomes active, begging us to perform it.” Goldsmith believed in a similar way to me that the page should be a studio or exhibition space, which should show case your work.

This lecture made me reconsider type in my work to keep the reader alert. After the lecture I created the calligram from Virginia Woolf’s book To the Lighthouse. The calligram visually presents the main themes of the book and allows the reader to visually connect with the text.

Goldsmith, K. (2011) Uncreative Writing. Columbia Univerity Press, New York.

Hong, J.H. (2003) Material, Materiality. Available at: http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/material.htm- (Accessed: 28/04/15)