Assignment 4

My original subject was connectors in design and after we done a brainstorming session about it and I made a mind map to discover it even further I started to focus on interactive customer research. I didn’t find articles which directly relate to my subject but I found two interesting ones. The first one by Debra Gimlin, it is based on field research in a hair salon and explores the stylists work as connectors between current beauty ideals and clients. They are the representatives of beauty industries and they are in the front line of dissemination of cultural ideals.
Gimlin spent more than 200 hours during a year period at Pamela’s Place in Long Island, New York. She chose this beauty salon because she found it unremarkable compared to an upscale salon in Manhattan, where a hairdresser would be an artist and compare to Harlem where they would be equals with their clients. In this case they are service workers so they need to construct professional identities to nullify status differences between them and their clients. The main purpose of this article is to explore their ways to create these identities and find out if it is successful or not.
They want to feel equal because their lower social status limits their influence on the customers and as they see themselves as naturally gifted people who always knew that they going to be hairdressers it is a very important thing for them. They don’t see their job as a job but as a lifestyle as they are talented and committed to beauty culture and hairstyling. They have three main ways to construct their professional identities. In their world hierarchy based on appearance so their look has to be fashionable, they wear makeup and of course their hair has to be perfect too. The next thing is being experts in style, contemporary fads and attractiveness put them above their clients in the hierarchy of beauty culture. The last and most important thing is called emotion work. They listen to their clients and remember their stories  to make them feel important and pampered. A faithful client is essential for a hairdresser because they will follow them when they move to another salon. It also makes them feel as friends of their customers so it makes them equal.
On the other side there are the clients. In this case they are white women because of the location of the salon. Their age are between 21 and 61, work in professional occupations, most of them married with at least one child, mainly coming from the middle class. For them hair displays feminity and an indicator of social class. But in their case it isn’t influenced by fashion standards but the environment they live in. It could be their husband, who doesn’t like short hair even if it’s trendy or they have small kids and it doesn’t allow them to spend too much time with their hair or a male-dominated occupation they work for so they have to look serious. They have different views about the perfect hairstyle but their opinion is very similar. It seems like they all want natural-looking hair, which indicates middle class lifestyle as a consequence of healthy living. It has to be feminine, simple, classy and about shoulder length which makes them look professional rather than fashionable or tacky. They connect longer hair with youth and overt sexuality so that would be very inappropriate for an over 40 woman. They don’t like unnatural colours or too dramatic style. If their hairstyle isn’t who they are, for example too dramatic, it means that it associates them with a group of people they don’t want to be identified with.
So the salon is the place where the negotiation starts between stylists, and as we found out, their perspectives are quite different. Due to the author’s exploration customers’ opinion is always  stronger for several reasons. The most important reason is coming from the emotional work what stylists do for their clients during the 3 or 4 hours what they spend there every month to achieve natural looking hair. Emotional work makes hairdressers feel that they are friends of their customers and equal with them but it’s based on a one way communication. Clients share personal information with their hairdressers but it seldom happens on the other way. It is part of the service what they sell rather than a friendship. It also makes stylist more concerned to satisfy their customers so they have to put their personal opinion and wishes above their own interests. They also depend on their clients’ money so their claims to professional identities remain unsuccessful.
This article was objective and because it based on field research the information must be reliable. For me the article’s argument about social statuses doesn’t matter that much but hairdressers are the best example for connectors in the beauty industry. It comes through from the article that the personal relationship between stylist and client is very important for both of them and although clients not always listen to their stylists they trust them and their opinion. Probably the best way to satisfy a customer is to listen to her point of view and solve the problem together. A customer’s taste or opinion on a product can be inspiring and  the technical skills of a stylist or a designer can make sure the final ‘product’ is professionally made. In my opinion this conversation should exist in a boutique as well but nowadays shopping happens in malls, in a very impersonal way.

My next article written by Sharon Zukin and Jennifer Smith Maguire and it is about Consumers and Consumption. It compares the early concepts of consumption with today’s sociological studies and researches the history of globalization. The point of this study is neither to praise nor to condemn consumers, but to understand how and why people learn to consume, over time, in different ways. It views consumption as an institutional field which means to consider it as a set of interconnected economic and cultural institutions centred on the production of commodities for individual demand.
Classical theorists didn’t offer empirical demonstration of their ideas about consumption but relied on generalized, anthropological observation. Marx (1972) considered the desire to consume as a social need induced by capitalism: a “commodity fetish” and he describes these acts as animal “functions”. Veblen’s (1959) work signals a moral disapproval of “status consumption” and the preeminent role in consumption played by women. The authors support their opinion with many examples from early theorists that consumption has been viewed both amoral and gendered.
From the 1970s and early 1980s developed economies shifted from manufacturing to “postindustrial” production and consumption became more visible in both the destruction of the landscape and the conscious reshaping of the self. Benjamin’s (1999) research highlights the innovation of mass consumption, the display of piles of goods from distant regions which made novelty abundant and caused the gradual eclipse of small merchants and peddlers by well-capitalized firms. New retail stores, advertisements, popular magazines and daily newspapers tended to make the consumer a powerful role model and to surrender common sense and sobriety to individual dreams of self-enhancement. Leach’s (1993) study, unlike Veblen’s critique about “status consumption” refuses to blame consumers. It analyzes the department stores’ “strategies of enticement” by using new building materials like plate glass and electric lights. He argues these stores “democratized desire” while motivating men and women to buy. As another point of view feminist historians emphasize the ambiguity of department stores by providing a reason - shopping - for women to appear unescorted in public, they could gather or sit alone without fear of being molested by men or just leave the domestic space of the home.
Increasing capacity in mass production industries pressed companies to try any means – including advertisement – to sell their goods. Although advertisements had a big part in manipulation of consumers’ wills another important thing was the evolution of specific products. Schudson (1984) considers that the increasing availability of cigarettes in contrast with other forms of tobacco emerging pressure on the use of time during the workday; and changes in women’s public roles and social status. Mintz (1985) looks at how sugar became a key consumer good – along with alcohol and tea – in modern Britain. It would not have occurred without broad cultural changes in the use of time, women’s roles, as with cigarettes, and opportunity to use sugar in new social rituals as at teatime and during a separate course at meals called dessert. Sugar also links the two ends of the “commodity chain”: consuming regions of the northern hemisphere and producing regions of the southern hemisphere.
A group of sociologists in Britain studied the development of Sony Walkman and also Sony’s ability to learn from consumers’ behaviour. According to their model the production and consumption are not two poles of commodity chain, but continually interacting processes in a “cultural circuit”, where products both reflect and transform consumers’ behaviour. Their product design reflects to young people’s social practices of self expression, individuality and sociality.
Frank (1997) studies how men’s clothing industry succeeded in socializing consumers to the idea of emotional obsolescence during the 1960s by the growing desire for creative self-expression. Advertisements exaggerated fears of conformity, praised creativity and created the subculture model of “cool”. Clothing as well as soft drinks and cars were presented as a choice of the young, the wild and the creative. Slater (1997) links the rise of consumer culture with the modern creation of a “choosing self” which means identity shifts from a fixed set of characteristics determined by birth to a reflexive, ongoing, individual project shaped by appearance and performance. But without fixed rules the individual is constantly at risk of getting it wrong and this anxiety attend each choice which creates a modern mass crisis of identity. At this point advertising and magazines are becoming a new medium which helps coping with the dilemma of producing one’s identity. They combine advice, amusement and appeals to buy.
People who work in services and cultural industries have to deal with the pressure of creating an appropriate appearance, particularly for those in frontline service work, where they represent the image of the corporation. Their occupational success requires an appropriate “package” through various “body projects” such as dieting, working out, undergoing plastic surgery and developing a fashionable, personal style.
Another very effective way to increase sales, and even for winning elections, is consumer research. Survey questions are usually about customers’ self concepts and their preferences on different topics that have no direct connection with products. It allows developing more defined typologies of consumers than standard socioeconomic categories like age, gender and social class. Another strategy aims to determine consumers’ “relationships” with the brands they buy their loyalty to specific brands based on emotional attachments and behavioural ties.
In our time media and manufacturers created holiday shopping seasons like Christmas by structural changes, including changing conceptions of, and values associated with domesticity. Christmas gift giving is a complex process of resolving the conflicts between the family and economy. The gift transforms the abstract commodity into an expression of love and a means of maintaining kin relationships, while Christmas shopping is the process of wresting significant gifts from the impersonal world of the mall. Also receiving gifts „from Santa” allow adults to fulfil their desires for luxurious goods without feeling guilty about being acquisitive. Christmas brochures and advertising educate consumers in how to celebrate the event. In general consumer culture uses a symbolic, global language to reduce interest, especially among young people, in traditional forms of culture.
Consumers around the world aspire to an ”American” model of consumer society as a basis of their needs and desires. Global brands as Coca Cola, Heineken or Pempers sold exactly the same way worldwide. Marketing strategies try to provide uniform value to customers across the globe and form collective identities to eliminate national, cultural and ethnic differences. This is the path to globalization.
In former socialist societies like China or Eastern Europe advertisements and articles in new lifestyle magazines socialized people to be consumers even before the goods were widely available. Ideological and legal changes encouraged self-expression, allowed visible signs of luxury and comfort and shifted the goods and services from collective provision by the work unit to individual provision on the open and often unregulated market. Advertising in these countries represent goods as symbols of a country’s growth and modernization. Ethnographies in China document how the social space of McDonald’s provides young people with a gathering place, as well as with tables where they can do homework assignments. Both are welcome in a society where apartments are usually small and bedrooms are often shared.
But there’s still a conflict in consumers’ soul between shopping by necessity, as our parents have thought us, and shopping for status, as encouraged by the media. This research suggests that shopping is both an enormously controlled and a potentially creative activity, which indicates why many consumers feel strongly about it.
This article gives a very complex sociological analysis of history of consumption.  It helps us to understand the different tools of manufacturers and the media to change our thinking and our social behaviour. In the last couple decades they managed to achieve their goals and get hold of an enormous power to control us. Unfortunately it’s not just about corporate profitability but about the “political project” of globalization. Consumerism had a huge effect on why America and China are the biggest economies today and also have the biggest political power. It is scary to realise how complex and powerful consumption is but if we get to know the enemy it might make it easier to fight against it. Although this review doesn’t condemn consumerism but I definitely do. I don’t think they have the right to control people’s mind and get hold of power by making a fool of us. It also has a negative effect on families, social relationships and on our planet. Unfortunately this review also made it obvious that we designers might have the power to change small things around us and maybe in our society but the biggest power is in the governments’ hand.
Finally as a comparison of the two articles I realised a similarity between hairdressers who try to create a professional identity to have more influence on their clients and manufacturers who try to do exactly the same. They created the shiny malls and adverts to give us the impression of luxury, style and comfort what made us believe that’s what we want, we can trust them and they know what good for us. The only problem is that one thing is missing, the personal contact and the conversation between two people. They tell us something what we have to accept because there’s no one to talk about it. It is similar than in the salon where hairdressers listen to their clients but in this case we have to pay to listen to their ideas and more or less, depends on our personality, we have to accept what they say.
Their services are also very comfortable for us because it is much easier to go to a shopping mall than walk around the city and find the small shops which might have exactly what we’re looking for, something personal and unique. According to this review that was the original message of consumption as well to create the “choosing self” and arouse the desire for creative self-expression. But manufacturers symbolise mass production not uniqueness. They can’t provide what they meant to. Also their prices will always be lower because of the nature of mass production: the cheap labour they use and the industrialised factories they produce their goods in. So they make use of third world people, their factories ruining our planet and they still can’t provide what they meant to. Why we still trust them?


Gimlin, D 1996, ‘Pamela's Place: Power and Negotiation in the Hair Salon’, Gender and Society, Vol. 10, No. 5 pp. 505-526

Zukin, S, Smith Maguire, J 2004, ‘Consumers and Consumption’, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 30 pp. 173-197


Lecture 19/11/10

This lecture was about visual communication. We looked at war posters from different countries with different messages. It turned out that posters from Russia and Germany were more artistic while British ones were very simple and less sophisticated but more effective which is the most important thing when we talk about posters. Because British army was voluntary these posters advertised war many different ways. They used symbols to make their messages stronger and more effective. The interesting thing about symbols is that they don’t work in any context. Visual language is the same as spoken language, it isn’t universal. Symbols mean different things in different countries. One of the British war posters used a famous, powerful man to advertise war, but the face of that man wouldn’t mean anything for people in other counties.

Nowadays posters are more international I think but obviously not all of them. The message to sell a BMW can be universal but when it comes to M&S it is totally different. I remember a TV advert which was about how many things M&S did for British women, like invented ready meals. In my country it would sound hilarious. Why would you buy your food in a plastic box, put it into a microwave and eat it on your own or serve it to your family. First of all for me food has energy which comes from the fresh ingredients, from the people who made it and I wouldn’t put my food into a microwave because it ruins everything in it ( I think the last one is just me). Of course if the aim is to fill the hole it’s a perfect solution. But then why are we sleeping in a bed and not on the floor? Because that’s very uncomfortable such as fast food for our body. Of course we can’t feel it immediately but after a decade or two. There are other easy options for today’s busy housewives like get a take away, order a pizza or go to a restaurant. It’s all about time saving, isn’t it?

I used to study mass media during high school and I remember my teacher told us something about today’s adverts. She said men made up the image of the perfect female body to avenge on women because they wanted to be equal. And if you think about it I’m really not sure women’s life get any better since the suffrage. It’s totally different though. On posters and from telly we know we have to be perfect looking. I went home (Hungary) for two weeks in the summer and we went for a canoe tour for a couple days with my friends. We spent the nights beside the river tenting and I met with two countryside girls. One of them was wearing a short and she had hairy legs. I realised that I haven’t seen such a thing in the capital for ages ago. Nobody would wear a skirt or a short with hairy legs. I actually have nightmares about me going to the beach and my legs are hairy. And I know I’m not the only one. We just not allowed to do that even if it’s 35 °C which is normal in Hungary during the summer. If you go to Budapest everybody has perfect legs like on the posters. Maybe not the old ladies but everybody else. But that’s just a very basic thing. Because women on those posters are really perfect it makes you feel very bad about yourself and you will end up having plastic surgery. Well, that’s a bit extreme but definitely exits. Females spend too much time and money on their appearance and if they can’t reach their aim they feel bad about themselves.

The other thing is that we have the right to work since we are equal. So we have no time to cook and be with our family which means we have to buy ready meals, hire a cleaner and let our family fall apart. Because I think that also would be a woman’s role to keep the family together. There are families in these modern days which never sit down for a tea at the end of the day or even every week but maybe at Christmas. So thanks for M&S we can be free. But we are losing the pleasure to serve healthy food for our family, spend quality time with our kids and enjoy the peace and love surrounded by our relatives.

Although it probably seems like I want to spend my life in the kitchen under the direction of my husband but that’s not the thing. I am very happy being equal and free I just feel sorry for females who think they are free but they are actually brainwashed. Who do you dress up for and spend ages in the bathroom doing your hair and makeup? For men! For what do you spend a part of the money you earn with hard work? For buy cloth, beauty products and a lot of chocolate to keep you happy because you have no time for real happiness. I mentioned this before but I still think that wealth is not equal with contentment. Just have a think about your life and don’t let adverts tell you what to do. 

Assignment 3

I was trying to look at resources about interactive/visual research techniques mainly used for research customers’ taste in terms of aesthetics or design.

Ben-Amos, P 1989, ‘African Visual Arts from a Social Perspective’, African Studies Review, Vol. 32, No. 2 pp. 1-53

This article seems interesting because it concentrates on the meaning of art, the relationships between art, society and culture and how they affect each other. It contains two essays both research people’s visual preferences about sculptures. They try to find out more about the society and the culture by analyzing the answers. Although it isn’t a recent article it shows two different ways of thinking and analyzing. It could be interesting.

Zukin, S, Smith Maguire, J 2004, ‘Consumers and Consumption’, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 30 pp. 173-197

This article also seems interesting but it’s more about consuming which doesn’t relate that much to my subject. It tries to understand how and why people learn to consume in the 21 century and researches the different types of shoppers. Why they become addicted to shopping and what their aims are during shopping.

Cauter, T 1952, ‘"Organization of a Statistical Department": Some Details of a Market Research Agency’, The Incorporated Statistician, Vol. 3, No. 3 pp. 37-54

This article is about the different ways of market research but it’s from the 50’s and it analyses the traditional ways of market research. I’m more interested in new ways so I keep looking.

Fine, G A 1992, ‘The Culture of Production: Aesthetic Choices and Constraints in Culinary Work’, The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 97, No. 5 pp. 1268-1294

The title of this article seemed interesting but it’s more about the role of workers in a management than about aesthetic choices of the customers.

Bogart, L 1957, ‘Opinion Research and Marketing’, The Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 1, Anniversary Issue Devoted to Twenty Years of Public Opinion Research pp. 129-140

Another article from the 50’s but this one seems interesting enough to have a closer look at it. It’ about market and opinion research by using the tools of social sciences and other ‘new’ techniques.

Gimlin, D 1996, ‘Pamela's Place: Power and Negotiation in the Hair Salon’, Gender and Society, Vol. 10, No. 5 pp. 505-526

Although this article isn’t a recent one it looks very interesting because it’s about the personal relationship between hairdressers/stylists and their customers. It also analyses female’s idea about beauty and what has an effect on that.

Poggenpohl, Helmer, S 2002, ‘Cultivating an interest in design research’, Visible Language, vol. 36, pt. 3,  pp. 246-53

This article is recent enough and analyses a topic what finally really relates to my topic. It’s about the importance of design research and the main factors which help to develop new research techniques.

 My favorite websites:

A link to the tutorial of web research.

Search for makers by name, technique, material, object, etc.

Free online books.

Everything about colour and composition.

Design History research.

An interesting magazine website either for research or just be informed, inspired.

Fresh, innovative works from design graduates. Originally an annual exhibition.

Artists’ blogs and articles.



Design collections.

Nice collections.

My favorite design site for inspiration.


Lecture 12/11/10

This week lecture’s topic was Craft & Forms of Capital held by Hamid van Katen lecturer and researcher at University of Dundee. We had a lecture with him last year about sustainable design and I found his work very interesting. This lecture was more about the differences between art and craft and the role of craft people in nowadays’ society.
His first thought summarised the biggest difference between art and craft. Art projects something for the outside world which wasn’t there before by using imagination. Craft emphasises on functionality and using a set of skills to create. But it’s really hard to set up boundaries between the two things. You can have a set of skills it doesn’t mean you can’t use your imagination to create something new. And artists usually use their skills to express their imagination. They learnt how to paint or draw. Obviously they can be artist without those skills but you can’t knit a jumper without having the skills to do that. Probably the only reason we need to figure out under which category are we belong to is business cards and our website or blog. We have to write down our profession a couple times. I don’t think this is very important if we do that on a professional level.
But what about designers? Contemporary designers usually design which is an artistic method and then make the product which is craft. So you really can’t separate these things. As we found out from this lecture the first person who industrialised a craft was Josiah Wedgwood. He was a son of a potter but after he lost his right leg he couldn’t do pottery any longer. He started to research and invented new glazes and techniques. Then he built a factory and introduced what later became known as "division of labour". He subdivided all the skills of the potter (mixing, shaping, firing and glazing) and allocated each job to a specialist worker. This system devalued craft people to workers. He employed designers to do the creative part of the job and he made craft people do the rest of it. In factories it’s still the same but today’s designers or contemporary craft people resist against mass production. It makes their product more personal and unique but also more expensive. It has to be a lot of effort to sell their products until they become well known. Mass production is much more popular nowadays because it makes consuming quicker and easier.
“Humans are tool making animals”
The other part of the lecture was about the function of craft in people life. We always aim to make things more beautiful and special around us. We also want to make ourselves prettier and unique. There are jewellery artefacts from 70 000 BC so people always been the same, we try to express our personality to other people and make a statement. But craft used to have other functions too. For example Zuni pots from southwest America were maintaining their culture through pictures. Zuni pottery tells stories about their everyday life and they also could be prayers for damp earth, plenty crops, etc.
There was another very important function of craft which was associated with trade. During the early times people made jewelleries out of shells, pottery or anything hand crafted and then they exchanged them to something else. At first time it wasn’t even necessarily an equal exchange. It was more about building up a social network. It was similar then we use Facebook nowadays. They had a face to face regular contact with each other during making their goods together and then exchange them. People were more equal. Even their houses were very similar only the decoration made the chief’s look more expensive. But if we have a look at today’s China and their huge factories we instantly recognise the difference. People there are very rich or very poor. In a factory everything is about money, very small amount for the workers and a huge amount for the owners.
Factories devalued craft but they give us cheap products. We also buy services so things had been done for us. We don’t have to cook, grow fruits and vegetables or even walk if we don’t want to. So who cares about what’s the price of it. We pay with our planet and our own health. We are totally spoilt.
Our lecturer made another good point what I was always wondering about. Poorest countries with their proper social network, face to face relationships and being accordance with nature are much happier societies. I’ve done some research and it’s not clean-cut to be honest but the richest countries are definitely not the happiest ones. I also read a  forum about this and it seems to be that poorest countries has much stronger relationships and instead of go window shopping or to the Mc Donald’s they are chatting with each other a lot, they have love and peace. Meanwhile we are working hard for money what we don’t actually need a lot of.
Relationships are very important in a society and in trade as well. Shopping centres ruin everything. I believe that we need more small shops and face to face contact between makers and buyers. If you want to make someone happy you have to make a product personally for him/her. So you have to know something about the customer to satisfy his/her demands. Just like when you give a hand-made present for your relative and it means much more. Christmas should be about presents like this. But we are too busy to make or find the small perfect gifts for our loved ones because we spend our time to work for money. So we will end up buying presents for £100 each for Christmas to show our love. This is probably the best way to make Christmas meaningless. But companies work hard to wash our brain it’s just a shame that we let it happen.


Assignment 2


Because nobody else has chosen the same chapter as I have I had to join in to an other brainstorming group. So I did Law of the few - Connectors.


It spread out so quickly so an A/2 sheet wasn't enough. I separated it into three parts to make it more understandable.


Lecture 05/11/10

Today’s lecture was delivered by Hazel White director of the Master of Design Programme and a jewellery researcher. She focuses on the meaning and function of jewellery. Most of her research concentrates on wearable technology. She made a very good point at the beginning of the lecture about the difference between analogue and digital object. She has shown a picture of a pray counter and it was obvious how to use it even we never used it before. The knot means we done a whole circle. On the next picture there was a digital pray counter. Two little plastic objects one with a couple of buttons on it. We probably couldn’t use it unless we spent some time reading the directions for use. So basically something’s lost in terms of meaning with the digital one.
She was working on several different projects how to use digital technology in the field of jewellery. To be honest I didn’t find them wearable and useful but they were very interesting and I could totally imagine any of them in a museum. Maybe it’s just me afraid being too dependent on computers but for me there’s no need to have a projection of my ring on a computer screen. But later on during the lecture she showed us one of her latest projects and I realised how important it is in design to do the journey to get somewhere. It was a nicely made old fashion wooden box with little knitted pincushions in it and with a wee screen inside. I found it a perfect design because it was the latest technology displayed in a way which was homey and it made it easy to use for anybody. Her original idea was to make a jewellery to remember a Shetland home. She is originally from Shetland Island but obviously she couldn’t work there. So she has to live far away from her home and her family. And she’s not the only one who had to leave because of lack of jobs. So she went back and started her research. Shetland is a particular community mainly lived by older people. They really enjoy knitting because it creates a social space where they can talk to each other freely. They usually use two colours to make the pattern which is almost like a computer code. She also went to care homes and realized although people have the latest technology around them they don’t know how to use it so they don’t use it.  She put all these information together and came up with a brilliant idea.
Her wooden box has an iPhone inside but you can see only the screen of it. Each pincushion has different pattern and they belong to different people. When you put a cushion into the box it starts displaying the person’s latest photographs from the internet. So even if you give it to a child or a granny they obviously can use it. So it solved the problem of the lost information between analogue and digital technology.
I found this lecture particularly interesting because it wasn’t about how to get rich quickly but about how to help other people with your knowledge. Or if you don’t have the skill to do something you came up with you can always ask for other people’s help. She mentioned a couple other projects she’s working on with her master students. I found them very inspirational. For example to design a software for mute people and they can design their unique voice. Previously they all had the same voice in the classroom. If someone designing the smell of Starbucks’s it would be obvious to design different voices for mute people but nobody else did. So I learnt a lot how to use our skills and the latest technologies to help people, improve their environment and their quality of life.


Lecture 29/10/10

At today’s lecture Jonathan showed us a T-shirt design by Nadia Plesner. She designed the drawing on the T-shirt as a part of her campaign called Simple Living (which was a TV show with Paris Hilton and her best friend travelling around America and making a fool out of themselves). She started this campaign to raise awareness about how media can manipulate our life, our thinking, our opinion. She found it very upsetting that during the genocide and other atrocities was happening in Darfur in 2007 all news was about Paris Hilton going to jail. So she designed this T-shirt with a naked black kid wearing a Louis Vuitton bag and holding a chivava as Paris does. Her idea was if carrying a designer bag and a small, ugly dog is enough to be the top sensation in the media than why we don’t give these accessories to people who really deserve attention. So she did.  But Louis Vuitton wasn’t happy about the campaign. They thought that was a violation of their copyright even Plesner wanted to donate the whole profit to Darfur.

So was it a successful design? I think it was. Jonathan said it didn’t solve anything. This is probably true. But I think start a conversation is almost as important as to solve a problem. Well, people who don’t care about real news but gossips probably wouldn’t get it anyway. But people who do care about news will buy the design, wear the T-shirt and spread the information. That was just a lucky coincident that Louis Vuitton sued her. It made the whole thing even bigger. It went into the media and became a big deal. Famous people started to wear her T-shirt like Don Cheadle and Mia Farrow so it got even more attention. People started to react by writing emails and it definitely made them think. Although she had to finish the campaign because she couldn’t pay 22,500$ per a day to satisfy Louis Vuitton she donated 30,000$ altogether to Divest for Darfur.

So it did started a conversation, it did raise awareness and it gave her new ideas how to go forward and try out different ways to solve this problem. I totally respect her and her design. I just started to think what if she wouldn’t use a Louis Vuitton bag. I don’t think any ordinary bag would have the same message. It had to be a designer one. Paris wouldn’t wear a Primark bag doesn’t matter how cute it is. It is the power of context. Although she could have use another designer bag and the whole story could be different.

Another interesting point about today’s lecture was Jonathan’s question. Do you feel yourself lucky or unlucky? I usually feel lucky but sometimes just totally the opposite. He mentioned an experiment when people had to count heads in a newspaper. There were two types of people. One group count the heads exactly and people from the other group found a little article said if you find this stop doing the experiment and claim your £200. These people said before the survey that they feel lucky in their life. The message is if you pay attention for details you can be lucky any time but if you concentrate on one thing you will miss your opportunities. I have to say it’s completely true. I’m such a daydreamer and I love to be lost in the details. Guess what? I keep finding money for example. I found £90 in the Overgate shopping centre one day. I took it to the customer service but nobody asked for it so I got it back. I always notice pennies on the street too but not always pick them up just when I feel I have to.

But most of the people not like me. Once I was waiting for my mum at Prestwick Airport and a young couple came to me. They had two train tickets to the city centre and they wanted to give it to me because they didn’t need them anymore. I didn’t need them either but they left them anyway. I thought someone would be happy with them so I put them on the flour with a wee message said free tickets or something,  right in the middle of the pathway where people was coming out. They were bright orange but nobody noticed them. People kept walking by. So I put some change on the top. Nobody noticed. I put some more change onto the tickets but it didn’t solve anything so I had to give up. It’s not easy to give people if they don’t want to receive. I still don’t know what I supposed to do. So if you want to feel lucky keep your eyes open and take your chances. 


Semester 2 Project - Trend forecasting

Aged by time look, geometrics - I started to draw a metal object I found ages ago on the street. I think it's beautiful.
First attempts




 More colour

Life Drawings

We had a life drawing week at the end of the year. 



Halloween is coming again. I found something refreshing on my friend's facebook page instead of cheap costumes. For more unbelievable designs search Ray Villafane on facebook.

Assignment 1

Mind maps

Based on The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The whole book

Chapter Five
The Power of Context (part two)

I had two reasons to choose this section. First it emphasises a link between humans and apes. I saw a documentary recently on a BBC channel about apes. They will die out soon. Humans exterminate their forests so they have nowhere to live and also kill many of them. Through poverty and civil wars African people ate lots of them. They became 'bush food' so they hunt them. Of course not the massive gorillas but the baby ones or smaller monkeys. I found it very upsetting because they are so similar to humans. Not just their appearance but their behaviour. Apart from the unnecessary aggression and their ability to live in accordance with nature. 

I also found very interesting human's social channel capacity. Lots of businesses don't pay attention to organize their company and they become bankrupt. Relationships in our environment are very important. You can't lead a business successfully if there are tensions between your colleagues. It will come apart. 

Chapter five
The Power of Context (part two)

Page 176.
Miller, G A 1956,”The Magical Number Seven”, Psychological Review, vol.63, no.2.
Gladwell using the psychologist’s quote from this essay to explain our natural channel capacity:  
“There seems to be some limitation built into us either by learning or by the design of our nervous system, a limit that keeps our channel capacities in this general range,”

Buys, C J, Larsen, K L 1979, “Human Sympathy Groups”, Psychology Reports, vol.45, pp. 547-553.
A quote from the same page by the memory researcher to explain why our telephone numbers have seven digits:
“Bell wanted a number to be as long as possibly so they could have as large a capacity as possible, but not so long that people couldn’t remember it,”

Page 177.
Washburn S L, Moore R 1973, Ape into man
The biologist explains why our sympathy group (the most important people in our life) is about 12.
“Most of human evolution took place before the advent of agriculture when man lived in small groups, on a face-to-face basis. As a result human biology has evolved as an adaptive mechanism to conditions that have largely ceased to exist. Man evolved to feel strongly about few people, short distances, and relatively short intervals of time; and these are still the dimensions of life that are important to him.”

Dunbar R I M 1992, “Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates,” Journal of human evolution, vol.20, pp. 469-493.
The British anthropologist discovered the link between the size of primates neocortex and the size of the groups they live in.

Page 187.
Wegner D 1991, “Transactive Memory in Close Relationships,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol.61, no.6, pp. 923-929.
The psychologist set up a memory test with 59 couples to prove that we create a joint memory system with our other halves or with members of our family.


Studio Project

My studio space

Semester 1 project



 Collages from my drawing sketchbook

Final pieces

Mixed Media





 Building Drawings

Maggie's Centre

Final pieces