L6- Stop being Fair

Campaign against ‘to be fair’

As a response to the feedback of the ‘everything about one thing’ project, it was suggested that I should choose a subject for another project that would interest me.

To get me motivated again and also promote a quick response, I have decided that I would pick a subject matter thats a cultural observation of mine and my friends. This subject matter being a simple phrase that is being overused in British culture, by my friends and young society, that phrase being ‘To be Fair’ (TBF).

TBF is a sentence starter and finisher, which can be considered as lazy language. This phrase I would like to research into further, to gain a in-depth insight into the concept of the phrase. As far as I’m aware, when the sentence starter, filler or finisher is used, it often adds no benefit to the information being said by that person. Inevitably, I want to produce a response to try and highlight and eliminate the phrase from the english language.


I have designed some questions that I will need to answer for the campaign. the research questions will inform the campaign, as del as the final design.

  • Research into origin of words
  • Research into what age groups use it
  • What countries use it
  • Where has it come from
  • Why do people use it
  • How often do people use it?
  • How aware are people of using it?

Origin of words and phrase 

My first initial thoughts were to define the phrase TBF. This would to find the origin and the concept of the phrase.

To be fair 

Having little source of information I first had to look to urban dictionary, as this would give me a general idea of the feeling towards the phrase, and the understanding of the term.

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The examples I have carefully chosen, due to the website being open to anyone being able to post their own opinion on the phrase. Some examples could not be used because of the way they had crudely been written, or that their definition did not benefit my research. However, most of the examples found do in fact agree with my feelings of the phrase. The first definition discusses the overuse by celebrity figures i.e. football stars. Too often, they will use the term to fill air time, or give them thinking space. The next definition decries the phrase as being ‘pretentious’ and followed by an obvious piece of information. This phrase I agree is used to attempt to impress others, or even used to fit in with a social crowd. The last definition described the phrase as being ‘overused in the United Kingdom’ and ‘used incorrectly’ giving the example.

‘To be fair, I have no idea how to use the phrase correctly’. 

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This post I found on a non- related forum web site for cyclists. However, the above screen shot demonstrates again someones fruition with the term TBF. He scribes the phrase as ‘plaguing’ the english language. As del as this, he goes on to say that the phrase is used in larger and larger contexts, to the point that the phrase means nothing at all. A post later on suggests that the phrase comes has developed front he abbreviations used in text speak.

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Again another example of the frustration of the phrase being overused, that it actually makes people angry.

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This statement refers back to the urban dictionary post, which gave the example of footballers overusing the term. This makes me question wether it is popular figures that are in the media, that have this influence of people language.

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This is an interesting point, for the fact that my friends who have observed this statement are in fact from the Sheffield also. I may have to considered that this phrase just might be overused in sheffield or up north. However, I do already know that the phrase us used in a lot of reality TV shows and british sports.

These statements all agree with how I feel about the phrase TBF. Even though the research is limited, there is an obvious contempory problem that people are becoming more aware of. My next step is to find how to use the statement correctly/ what the phrase actually means. To do this I initially tried to find ‘how to use the term to be fair correctly’ with multiple changes to the structure of the sentence, however there was no answer to this question. the then lead me onto the research decision to find out ‘what being fair means’.

Defining fair  

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Defining ‘fair’ has now given a clear indication of what it means ‘to be fair’

  • not being to harsh or critical
  • Treating others in an equal manner
  • agreeing to what is thought to be right or acceptable

These three clear statements indicate that the need of using TBF in a sentence, is used to justify a statement or argument, to validate the point made. Potentially people are using this phrase in the correct manner, however due to its common usage it can be seen as more of a sentence filler or social norm.

This lead me to investigate why such phrases are repeated excessively and expressed incorrectly. Through undertaking research and reading about why people copy behaviours and verbal’s expressions it became clear the over use of the phrase ‘to be fair’ can be underpinned by Social Learning theory.

Social Learning theory

The theory was proposed by Bandura (1977) and stated when an individual observes a behaviour particularly by a role model or a celebrity and it frequently repeated the observer begins to certain that information of the behaviour and reinforces it through their own actions in order to display similarities with celebrities and role models. Therefore as a result of individuals seeing and hearing either role models such as their parents or celebrities on television continuously over using the phrase ‘to be fair” has lead to this filler being overused and expressed within social conversations in an ungrammatically correct manner.

Method of research

After noticing that the theory indicates individuals will observe celebrities expressing this phrase this encouraged me to undertake research into reality TV programmes such as ‘The only way is essex’, ‘Geordie shore’, ‘Made in Chelsea’ and ‘ex on the beach’. Through observation I noted the characters who used the phrase ‘to be fair’ as well as the time and the context the filler was expressed.


voice memons


(Refer to A2 folder for recorded data)

After sifting through almost a days worth of programming, I was able to collecting the data was very time consuming however I managed to collect 10 individuals from 4 different reality TV programmes. I recorded the phrases by simply using the ‘Voice Memos’ app, to which I was then apple to send the files over to my laptop as mp3′s. Hearing the recording back in a row almost sounded humiliating and ridiculous, which is the direction of how I wanted to represent the phrase and the sentence its situates itself within. Critically, it is here I decided to use After Effect to create kinetic type to highlight the overuse even further.

Having used After Effect in the past to create Kinetic Type, I knew that the process is quite time consuming. I would have to create individual layers for each individual word, so that I was then able to join them to a null layer. As well as this, I had to open the audio file so I was then able to add stop watch key frames,  changing scales, positions and opacities.



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The typefaces I chose as a combination for the animation. Oswald would be used for the phrase TBF as well as any other major heading e.g. Stop. The letters a tall and bold, and have a modern feel. Great Vibes was chosen for any part of the animation that I felt may need a few words to stand out during conversations, however this may not of been needed. Merriweather sad chosen as the main body text, as it is clear to read and it compliments both other type face very well.

Developing animation

Here I added the recoded TBF conversations as well as add and an introductory track. The track is one of the most noted and polar tracks that feature as the ‘Made in Chelsea’ theme tune, as well being a popular tract to listen to amongst young British people. (M83- ‘Midnight City’). Using this track adds familiarity to the animation and the intended audience.

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  • Adding audio
  • Removing unwanted audio
  • Positioning audio with equal increments of time.


This is the phrase written using the Oswald typeface. This will feature throughout the whole annotation fading on and off through multiple conversation of when it is spoken. However, the type never disappears, as it is faded to an opacity of 7 at the very least, signifying how it is burnt into our brains.

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Here I designed a layout for each track listing that would feature on in the animation. This included the name of the culprit, specific reality Tv programme they feature in and the episode/ time of spoken phrase. I have used the combination of chosen typeface to make up the layout.

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To place the text I used the baseline grid and guides to create neat looking type. The conversations were made by creating separate words of each sentence then grouping sections of the conversation together, then connecting them to a editable null layer. This allowed me to change the camera position so it looked like the text was entering the screen. Amongst conversation when it said ‘To be fair’ this would light up using the burnt out letters of the screen.

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The ending I wanted to keep simple. To make the intended audience think about the animation they have just watched and listened to, I kept the animation silent with a simple short phrase.

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After hundreds of layers and towards of stopwatch keyframes I completed the Kinetic Type animation. However due to project time, I decided that I would limit the animation to 6 examples of the phrase, as key framing all the words took a long time.

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Here is the complete animation.

 My next stage was to decide how I would make the animation accessible to the young British audience. Already known to me older teenagers and younger adults nowadays view a lot of media online, rather than using lets say DVD or a driver to watch something. However, burning the content to a compact disk I thought would be better, as it gives me a chance to create a piece of packaging that would help explain point of the animation, as well as creatively promote what the animation is trying to say. Using the same typeface combination used in the video I developed an approbate packaging that would reflect the message and intent of the animation.

Package development

 Following this idea I realised I needed to investigate into the design of media disk packaging. After searching numerous designs of media disk packaging’s I came across a CD packaging which was manufactured out of cardboard and featured a sleeve, a net, a CD insert, a booklet and a CD with an image on it. Using a similar net, would enable me to apply all the information for the final design. I wanted to design a packaging that would allow 6 visible faces rather than 4, so I would have to take this into consideration when designing the packaging.

cd everything

 After rummaging through my old CD’s I came across a CD case which incorporated a 6 square net. Thus lead me to utilise this net as a template for my project.

CD net

As a result of this project turning into campaign against the sentence filler ‘to be fair’ I researched into anti campaigns. It became clear that I would not be able to utilise the filler ‘to be fair’ as the title due to the phrase being subconsciously spoken with no meaningful connotations being implied. After researching into anti-campaigns the term ‘Stop’ was repeatedly evident with numerous posters displaying this powerful word in order to catch the observers attention as a result of the word holding connotations of an order therefore it almost forces the audience to look at the project and pay attention. I believe the word ‘stop’ is necessary for this age group because the young adults stereotypically need to be told do something rather than voluntarily spending their time to look into this project. Additionally the word ‘stop’ is normally associated with the colours of red as this is a powerful, strong, eye-catching colour which will attract the audience.

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stop images

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Selecting colours for the project, I decided to pick colours that would be similar to the Union Jack. The Union Jack contain red which would be suitable for the word stop.

Within this packaging I decided to use the data collection from the observation which consisted of characters, times and context of the phrase. This lead me to create a play list on the back of the packaging which would include the reality TV stars sentences emphasising the overused phrase ‘to be fair’.

 To incorporate the colours I designed the track listings so that the colour scheme of the design would run diagonal through the text layout. This was inspired after researched into different types of CD playlist layout whereby merged together different ideas to reach the final design layout for the CD playlist

cd playlist horizontal

CD playlist different colours

Investigating into CD booklets I came across a guide of what to include within this design which included; vocalist names for each track, lyrics for all the songs and the order of the songs. As a result of this project including kinetic typography of social conversations expressed between TV reality stars the booklet will include these Icons within the booklet in relation to the method utilised within the design. The order of TV reality stars conversations will be listed as well as the conversations recorded and illustrations.




Coming across inspiration art I came across this piece, which demonstrates missing identities by removing the head by cutout. I thought using a similar feature for my design would be approbate, as it could signify that using the phrase make you become one as everyone else using the phrase. young people associate themselves as being individual so this will be a way to draw the attention of the audience.


Design development

 Net design

 Using adobe illustrator and having access to cardboard CD covers I was able to design the net of the packaging.

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Front cover

I incorporated the stop so that my front cover instantly draws attention to the cover. The phrase doesn’t actually feature on the cover, rather tells you do do the opposite of the phrase.

Side 1- Conversations

On this panel, I featured conversation between 2 icons from the programme made in chelsea amongst conversation. Using inspiration from the removed heads design shown previously, I used a similar approach with my design to highlight the loss in individuality. The shapes were cut out of hand and scanned in.

Featured in icons from reality Tv

Cut out icons

Drawn line scanned in for pavement


Cut out heads using a square. A square is used due to the term ‘Square is fair’. Experiments with phrases, colour and pattern.

Side 2- TV

To connect these images together I wanted to incorporate a TV that features the reality stars. I did this by collecting image stills from episodes, the compelling them into one image. Then with shapes cut out and overlay the pictures with colour to suggest a TV.

Side 4 – How the TV affects out brain. 

Here I wanted the illustration to demonstrate how the words affect the brain, Using connecting but lines and red overlay, I cleverly created a aesthetic diagram which indicates this process.



Slide 5- track listings

Keeping in with the theme colours, I decided to label the idol, programme, and epidode recoding times different colours to make it clearer for the reader. As well as this, it makes for an interesting design. Keeping in with ‘square is fair’ I fit the listing to the edges of the text box.

Slide 6- Media disk

The disk design I felt needed to be incorporated within the design. To do this I incorporated the red coming out of the mouth design, and fit the words TBF within it.



I wanted the net to be printed onto a similar weight of card as the CD cases I had at home. After entering Pinders, they said that they wouldn’t be able to print onto a card that would fault at that thickness and not crease the design. However, I received an email back saying they did have a solution, but it would cost £60 for one package design. It was explained to me if I printed in bulk it would turn out a lot cheaper, but the expense comes from running the printers. As well as this, they would only be able to print on a material that was 200gsm. I wanted a paper weight closer to 300-400gsm.

It was here I made the critical design decision to go ahead and screen print onto thicker card. Not being familiar with screen printing and known the facilities at University are in high demand, I decided to go to Sheffield Print Club. 


Due to my lack of knowledge of green printing I did not realise how benaficial tick marks were for lining up prints. However, with great advice I was given a number of techniques that would help line up the print as best as possible. Overall, the prints looked good, however could be much improved next time round.

Scalpel and putting net together

Here simply cut the net away for the waste material, as well as made a mock up disk design using gloss paper. This is the final package outcome.

Outer cover

My packaging I felt would not be protected enough on its own, so it needed an outer cover. Carefully measuring and testing I was able to create a cover with an in votive front cover. The design has cut out letters where the word Stop is, which stands out off the block card. The rest of the letters I etched black, so that the words Stop stand out.


Paper test

Final case cover

Inside Booklet

Inside I wanted to make a booklet that explains the the campaign as well as feature the tracks on the animation. To do this, I combined a lot of the media used to make this project and compile into an information booklet.

(Due to printing error, the colour of the booklet was different to the packaging)


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To put the booklet together I used saddle stitch printing, and hand pressed stables down the spine.

Overall, I consider the project successful. I have tested the product o a number of fellow colleagues, and now they see the error in their ways and others around them. This project has incorporated a lot of media uses including:

  • Indesign
  • Illustrator
  • Photoshop
  • After Effect
  • Screen Printing
  • Laser Cutting and etching
  • Saddle stitch printing and making.