The considered questions reflect my chosen career goal of becoming a graphics animator. These questions will form a body that will become challenging of work raise questions within myself about graphics animation.
What is the importance of graphics animation to the ever-changing technology?
This question in my field of design is very straightforward to answer, as advances in technology are possessing everyday static objects and turning them into interactive pieces that will use moon imagery to do so. You only have to look at New York’s ‘Times Square’, where all advertising applies the practice of motion graphics. I think soon all cities will use motion advertising, and there simply won’t be a place for print in the future. In this current time children as young as five can potentially use an iPad with particular apps designated for their mental age, and this exposure to high res motion graphics simply leaves them with no requirement or wanting` for print design. I think in graphic design study currently we are somewhat forcing the practice of print so that the art doesn’t simply ‘die out’ due to selfish needs of older generations, but I do believe that this selfishness will soon fade due to the overwhelming need for motion design. As well as this, motion graphics is a much more malleable approach to design rather than using print, due to its process of being able to be chopped and changed easily and cost efficiency.
How can graphics animation manipulate society?
Graphic animation has a scary amount of power to change opinions or get people to consume or buy into something. You only have to turn on your TV to find your next Insurance company using a a cute fluffy animated animal, to entice you into buying their ‘cheap’ car insurance. I think the current consumerist and materialist society will only grow stronger, and soon we will have world where opinions don’t matter and society will listen to what they are told. As a graphics animator, I don’t want to create deigns that embrace the audience with open arms, to then make a mockery of them believing they actually have an opinion. My designs will interact with the user, giving them a chance to interoperate what they see and make there own discussions. Creating provoking work, creates opinions and an opinionated world is much healthier than being thoughtless drones.
Does graphics animation influence our daily lives?
I have just mentioned how graphic animation in advertising can influence our choices, however there is a just as big party who are influenced who are children through morning TV. Children TV I think is so important for children to learn life lessons, and be able to figure how the world works. I remember a programme called ‘Pingu’ which I watched a lot in my early up bringing, and one episode stuck in my mind to this very day. Before joining school I was afraid of participating in sport, knowing I had no clue what I was doing. This episode featured these fears I had myself, illustrating it through Pingu on how to deal with these problems. I don’t think children TV animation gets enough credit, and do believe it must be the most rewarding as a designer knowing you are shaping children’s lives.
1. Re-Examine & Re Express
The given task brief gives us a starting point to begin thinking of ideas for our disertation. Statements from four esltablsihed design authers/ theorist/ designers are given as examples, of how we may relate oureslevs to thier theories and set of principls when it comes to design. The stated professions are named as follows:
- Rick Poynor- British writer on design
- Micheal Rock- American Graphic Designer
- Meradith Davis- Graphic Design Theaorist
- Colin Davies- Academic and Writer
Each statement questions the role of the communication designer from different perspectives. I will read each statemtent and determine which statement I belive reflects my own personal stance on design, so I can manifest my beliefs within my design projects.
The ideologies Rick Poynor believe , I found most relates to me as a designer more so than the other theorists and designers . Moving through my second year of study in graphic design, I soon understood and practiced design to actively seek hidden stories and subjects that have real substance in todays world and need communicating to todays ‘design aware culture’.
The ‘Interdisciplinary Practice’ project I felt was my strongest project as it asked me to choose a project theme within PEST, and present it in a way that provokes an audience. I found the experience of the project induced excitement in myself throughout, as it gave me the chance to reveal to an audience new perspectives. I revealed that human attraction was something more factual and technical, rather than the stereotypical view which beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The project received numerous conflicting responses from my audience, which in it self proved the project was successful. In my 3rd year and in my later design career, I would like to reflect this design practice so that during future projects my mind is kept stimulated by learning new things and teaching others.
Designers who design simply for the purpose of consumption and profit show no real engagement in todays world. They simply tell the world what they should and should not be, with no chance for the world to engage with design and make discussions or choices.
The module aim is to build on my learning experiences from level 5 and initiate relevant practice of theoretical and practical skills. Completing Level 5 study has changed my thinking in the way of processing information, in the aim of creating designs that induce new perspectives from an audience. My initial instincts as a designer was to persuade, promote or simply sell something to an audience. This type of design does work and has worked successfully in industry for decades. However, this type of design does not interact with an audience, it simply tells audiences what to do or think through clever or manipulative techniques. If the world was full of this type of design, the world would simply have no say in their lives, which is dangerous to us as human beings. I think there is a real need for more designers to ask questions about their current or future world, so that new values, beliefs and attitudes can start to surface, and be reflected through design which will gain new opinions on where people stand. A world without opinions simply makes a machine, which contains simple components (human beings). If these components are instructed what to do through what they are told (manipulative design), they will in fact follow command.
Through Level 5 I found my strongest work was through the module Interdisciplinary Practice. It was here that I found myself most engaged with a project, as it allowed me to explore a theme fully, unpick it and knit it back together in a way that is new, therefore challenging peoples mind sets. I find that this type of working is the most rewarding for me as a designer, and that type of practice I am defiantly going to carry though with me into my future projects.
The Brief states what learning outcomes I will gain, and this will be show through my work. If I can demonstrate all the qualities from the four following statement, the brief states I will have ‘engaged successfully with the module.’ The statements are as follows:
- Apply a professional approach to problem solving managing your own learning, time and resources. To successfully problem solve, I need to make sure I record my data in a way that is both clear and has some sense of order. Gathering data I know can be quite difficult if inexperienced, which the ‘Tools and Systems’ module made apparent. Gathering qualitative and quantitative data from primary and secondary sources need to be kept separate initially (not hat obvious relations cant be made apparent in the early stages), so then the data can be intertwined to make somewhat of a narrative. Time I have never really had an issue with when producing work, as I naturally have the ability to cope with what time I have left to allocate to certain areas of a project. Personally, I don’t find making a diary helps as I think a project takes so many turns, you cant pin point an accurate date of when areas will be complete. Just having a basic knowledge of what needs doing and an average time scale will be enough to see me through to complete the project successfully.
- Conduct design research in specific areas using a broad spectrum of sources and accurately deploy established methods of analysis and enquiry. I think in my last projects even though somewhat successful in the outcome, I need to use more of a variety of resources to make a fully rounded project outcome. I find I limit myself to the internet as a source as its so convenient for access. Using a range of media like books, newspapers and more primary research, I think will produce a much more resolved outcome. As for methods of analysis and enquiry, I think I manage this part of the project quite well. I have the ability to range my types of analysis from using technical programmes like excel to gain factual patterns, or maybe take a more loose approach and use a programme like 3D Max to depict interesting visuals.
- Synthesis theory and practice within the framework of design in order to thoughtfully, sensitively and creatively solve a design brief. Combing all components of the project to to solve the problem or issue raised is the toughest part of the subject. This is where all the my research and analysis need to be shown through a piece or several pieces, depending on whats necessary to best represent my findings. My design development and final outcome should use the form of contextual design, making design decisions for relevant reasoning and not simply for my own desires. If I stick to this ideology, my final outcome should be a successful.
- Present your practical work and supporting research to a professional standard using a range of media and techniques appropriate to your project and informed by your research findings. To make sure my supporting work is considered a professional standard, I will make sure I explain precisely but thoroughly my design decisions and outcomes. This will make sure that my work is contextualised, and will induce some sort of meaning at the end of the project. All my work will be categorised and titled in an appropriate order.
The brief says I have to gather a complete knowledge about one of the following theme which are activism, globalism or community. I feel that my strongest area would be community to due my current knowledge and previous successful projects. However, this does not mean I will rule out the other two areas at this stage, as I will be receiving near timetabled lectures on each individual theme to gain a better understanding. The brief initially wants me to think ‘BIG’ through an established research subject to consider my chosen theme in greater detail. As to what a research subject consists of I don’t have an idea of what to choose in the terms of scale, so I will need to wait for the upcoming lecture on picking a subject. The brief states I need to select a stance by which to view my selected theme from which include Political, Social or Economical Technological. Again, i think this will become much clearer once a research subject is established. The brief goes on to say the more specific the subject, the more yo can zoom in and go into detail. This is where I started to get my head around the brief title ‘Everything About One Thing’. I would imagine that the subject would have to be quite small in substance, so that It can be fully unpicked to make the research complete. Once I have finished all my findings, it is required of me to transform them into text and image. In terms of outcome, I do not have an intended form as my design practice is very broad, and it determined by the most appraise application to the research findings. Lastly the brief states that I must consider how I treat my material, to visualise and and explain you way of looking at the subject. I must consider the relationship between text and image, layout, grid use, colour, hierarchy of information and typographic treatment.
Final submissions must include:
- Strategy/ Visualisation
- Research and design development
- Specifications/ Grid(s)
- Final outcomes/ Revisualisations
This week I was faced with a series of seminars that would help me understand the potential themes that that my project would fit into. I will briefly discuss each theme and elaborate on my decided theme once the subject is established.
In this seminar I found that the presentation was rather inspiring in the examples given. Big corporations have mass influence on other individual cultures, which have both positive or a negative effect on the world. I began to question myself through the seminar wether globalisation was a good thing or a bad thing.
- Are able to access other cultures food, sports, medical practices etc.
- Makes other countries more accessible to others
- Competition drives down prices for consumers
- Third world countries are able to gain new technologies without undergoing the struggles of the initial process of development
- Brings cultures together
- Large companies drive out smaller businesses
- Loss of tradition and culture
- Americanisation leads to increase in fast food consumption
- Increases the gap between the rich and the poor due to large brands taking the counties money for their goods
- Has given rights to terrorism to due high conflict in profit and rivalry against companies
The theme of globalisation is quite interesting with conflicting views on wether its positive or negative and has had enough impact on me to carry it out as a theme for my project. Personally, I found information provided in the seminar difficult to comprehend, as terminology and certain political stances I was not aware of at that present time which were new to me. However, if my project requires this teem, I can look into it from a focused perspective. This might not require me to have or gain knowledge of current political issues, rather just research into relevant angles of globalisation.
Personally I didn’t find activism to be an inspiring project theme due to the presentation. Also, I find activist movements in recent times are meaningless as it seems they promote needless crime and disorder.
An example of activism is the 2011 London Riots. This event induced anger from ethnic minorities communities which expanded public outrage across the country. However opportunists participated in the rioting solely for the purpose to steal goods, vandalise and to obtain personal pleasures.
However as a result of my lack of knowledge and the current exposure to the activist movement, I may feel inclined to oppose this form of protest. I have not discounted the fact that activist movements in the past have been successful and changed previous policies i.e. Women’s Rights, Black Freedom, Love and War. If my chosen subject reveals a hidden story that might be reflected best through an activist theme design, then I will look further into successful activists movement and campaigns to gain insight into accomplished techniques. As well as this, research into activist campaigns that have utilised the use of graphical communication.
Community was a subject that I was quite familiar with due to previous subjects I have completed. However, this was not to say that I did not gain any new perspective one the word community. First of all, the seminar raised the interesting point of how we may associate happy imagery with people holding hands and give a sense of togetherness. This was best proved through a simple search of the word ‘community through google images.
To get us thinking outside the definition of community, we were asked to get into small groups and complete a quick task. The task was to produce a zine, combing either combining two communities together or create a commmunity that we would like to exist. As a group we decided to create the ‘pen sniffers society’. In the style of wine tasting, we created a zine that would discuss carried type of pens, all having their own distinctive aromas.
This workshop and lecture was run by Jo Lee about Community; getting us to think about the communities that we belong in and the communities we might wish existed. Working in groups we then produced a zine combing two communities we wanted to exist, as a group we came up with the comical Harry Potter Pudding Club. I found the workshop very useful and made me think in an alternative way about community and what we consider to be a community. For example, communities that I belong to include my Ice Hockey Team, Adobe Rep Team, Committee Member for Ice Hockey and even a community of Apple users. Community would be easily applicable to a project based on one thing alone, as that one thing is likely to have a community attached to it, whether it be positive or negative.
As the seminar progressed, I learnt that community simply is a number of beings, who share common interests, or posses the same attitudes towards a topic, which can overlap with many other communities. An extreme example would be of a community that share the same interests of racial hate like the Ku Klux Klan, yet a one of more people from that community may share a similar interest in let say wine tasting and so forth.
Illustration of the kKK wine tasting club
At this stage, it was now time to consider what my ‘thing’ (regards to the title brief ‘Everything about One Thing’) could potentialy be. Prior to the seminar in which the title brief was discussed, I was a little uncertain of how I may go about picking a subject. However, the seminar in-fact inspired my thinking and already gave me potential ideas of what my subject could be.
The seminar stated that the ‘thing’ could be either an object, concept or an idea. The main point that I gathered about picking a subject was to pick so something that is small and precise. The purpose of this was to allow the object to be fully explored, as picking a subject that is broad could cause confusion and unsuccessful exploration. Another point that was made that was vital in picking a subject was consideration of myself. This told me that it was not the case of simply picking any random object, it is was to find an item, concept, word etc that would potentially open up narrative which could channel my ideas. This led me onto mind mapping myself as a person and a designer, to find a suitable subject which will create for a provokative project outcome.
After considering myself as a person and a designer I selected 3 diverse subjects, which I thought I could consider taking on to further research for the design project. I chose Cyclists (Hate), Cats (Loves) and Human Attraction (Interests). Due to my fondness of learning how society desire and appeal to others, I decided to take this subject matter further and map other smaller objects and ideas within the theme of human attraction, to find a more precise ideas or objects that I could be explored fully.
Producing this map of concepts about human attraction has brought back memories of completing the interdisciplinary project in my second year of study. I found that the subject matter (Physical Human Attraction) kept me engaged, and would like to carry out a similar theme in this current project. What stood out to me on the map was the word Valentines, which I thought instantly could be a good subject to find hidden perspectives. Valentines Day I broadly understand as a day for people to devote loving gestures to others, through the use of cards and gifts. This subject I predicted would have a lot of unknown history, meaning or cultural views that I could unpick and make for an interesting project. My next stage was to write down any knowledge I had around the subject of Valentines Day, as well do some initial research into the subject to create a concept map for ideas.
Now I have determined my research subject, I now need to gather some research into Valentines Day, so that this will enable me to create a concept map to find new knowledge of the subject. I have been exposed to the process of creating concept maps in my level 5 study, however I don’t feel I have grasped the correct practice in creating a successful map. Personally, I feel the need to research into how to create a successful concept map. The the concept map is a requirement of the project brief, but also the tool to find hidden perspectives.
- Concept maps are tools for organising and representing Knowledge
- Concepts are enclosed by boxes
- These boxes are connected by line
- Linking words are placed on the lines expressing the relationship between the two boxes
- Meaningful statements are made from two or more concept boxes linked together by linking words to create new ideologies
- Hierarchical fashion forms a map with more inlcusive and general concepts at the top, apposed to less general, more specific concepts formed at the bottom. The bottom of the map will enable us to find hidden perspectives or new ideologies about the topic.
- Relationships of concepts in different areas of the map form cross links. Cross-links help us see how a concept in one domain of knowledge represented on the map is related to a concept in another domain shown on the map. This generates new knowledge and will enable the knowledge producer to take creative leaps.
- Focus question is needed so we have a reference in what we want to seek about the subject. i.e what is valentines day? This creates context and a precise domain of knowledge.
- List the main concepts of what is valentines day? celebration, love etc. 15- 25 concepts are suffice
- Produce a ranked order list to establish the most inclusive and general concepts from the more specific, less general concepts. (This is an approximation)
- The list acts as a parking lot, which concepts are removed only if required by the map
- Produce a preliminary map so that a good hierarchal organisation starts to form
- Revise the Map to add or alter concepts to produce a fulfilled map. Revision can be endless
- Once the map is finalised cross links should be sought. This is to underline relationships in the sub domains of the map.
- Linking words are important in understanding the relationships between concepts. Poor choice of linking words will lead to confusion and inability to complete the map successfully. Considering needs to be made of linking words.
- Choose and identify the most prominent and most useful cross-links. Concepts will all link together one way or another, but distinguishing relevant or promising connections is the key.
Now I have a better understanding of the process of generating a successful concept map, I will try and undertake this practice to devise a map that answers the question ‘What is Valentines Day?
First of all, I made a list of key concepts around the subject of Valentines day. My research told me that 15-25 key concepts would be a suffice starting point. Here is the the list of key concept words I optioned:
My next task was to order the concepts in terms of being more general and inclusive, compared to being less general and more specific. This is just an approximation so that I can establish where these words may lie on the map. Here is the list of key concept words reordered:
Here I already began to see how the concept map will work. The less general more specific terms looked as though they could potentially create some new ideologies even though no linking words are yet established. An example this would be the concept words ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘advertising’. This raised the question of ‘does valentines day primarily base their advertising to straight people?’ This not only raises the issue of discrimination, but also questions Valentines days prime initiative in modern times. My next step was to devise a ‘main’ branch of key concept words that express what we generally perceive Valentines Day to be. This would then allow me to branch off these key concepts, to allow for new perspectives to be discovered through the use of semantics. Here is the main general branch of key concepts I have devised after several revisions:
Creating this main branch has already given me research areas, so that I’m able to branch other concepts off the main branch. Here are some research areas I will have to explore before I can complete the concept map.
- History of Valentines Day
- Who celebrates Valentines Day
My next step is to do some basic secondary research into Valentines Day, so that I’m then able to develop a finished concept map.
At this stage I had a basic stem for my concept map made from my initial thoughts of Valentines Day , stating the main ideas behind what the general understanding of what the project is. However, I now had to find some more substantial research so that I could create a map that reveals deep insight into the widely celebrated holiday.
History of Valentines Day
Pre Christian Era
- Ancient Rome 13, 14 and 15th February celebrated as Lupercalia (a pagan fertility festival)
- Basis for celebration of Love
- Begins with an Animal Sacrifice
- Men strip naked, whip the backsides of women with dog or goat skin whips to improve fertility
Circa AD 197
- Christian known as Valentine of Terni is martyred in the reign of Emperor Aurelian.
- Little is known of his life, except that he was made Bishop of Interamna (now Terni) in AD 197
- He was apparently imprisoned, tortured and beheaded on the Via Flaminia in Rome for his Christianity by the order of a Roman prefect with the oxymoronic name of Placid Furius.
- According to legend, he died on 14 February, but that is likely a later embellishment.
Circa AD 289
- Another Christian, Valentine of Rome, is martyred, this time under Emperor Claudius
- A priest or bishop in the city, he was apparently arrested for giving aid to prisoners.
- While in jail, he is said to have converted his jailer by healing his blind daughter’s sight. According to another, later version, he is said to have fallen in love with the daughter, sending her a note saying “From your Valentine”, but this is apocryphal.
- In yet another, equally unlikely version, Claudius was claimed to have banned young men from marrying, so that they would make better soldiers, and Valentine was arrested for secretly carrying out weddings.
- Like his earlier namesake, Valentine of Rome is supposed to have died on 14 February, but – again – this is implausible.
Circa AD 496
- The then Pope, Gelasius, declared 14 February to be St Valentine’s Day, a Christian feast day.
- This is likely to have been an if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them approach to the still-popular pagan festival of Lupercalia.
- Geoffrey Chaucer writes his Parlement of Foules (or “Parliament of Fowls”), which is widely taken to be the first linking of St Valentine’s Day to romantic love.
- Celebrating the engagement of Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia, he wrote: “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day/ When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”
- However, it is thought that this may have referred to 2 May, the saint’s day in the liturgical calendar of Valentine of Genoa – this would be a more likely time for birds to be mating in England.
- On St Valentine’s Day a court is opened in Paris, the High Court of Love, dealing with affairs of the heart: marriage contracts, divorces, infidelity, and beaten spouses.
- A few years later, Charles, the Duke of Orleans (a Frenchman, inevitably) writes the first recorded Valentine’s note to his beloved, while imprisoned in the Tower of London following capture at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
- St Valentine’s Day has entered the popular consciousness to the extent that one William Shakespeare mentions it in Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet: “To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,/All in the morning betime,/And I a maid at your window,/To be your Valentine.”
Mid 18th Century
- The passing of love-notes becomes popular in England, a precursor to the St Valentine’s Day card as we know it today. Early ones are made of lace and paper.
- In 1797, the The Young Man’s Valentine Writer is published, suggesting appropriate rhymes and messages, and as postal services became more affordable, the anonymous St Valentine’s Day card became possible.
- By the early 19th century, they become so popular that factories start to mass-produce them.
- Following the English tradition, Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, starts producing cards – using the newly available and much cheaper paper lace – in the United States.
- If you felt cynical, you might call this date the beginning of the end for St Valentine’s Day as a genuinely romantic event.
- the start of its reinvention of a savagely imposed regime of sugar-coated sweetness designed to chisel spare cash out of lovers and would-be lovers worldwide: Hallmark Cards produce their first Valentine.
- Now the date is the flagship “Hallmark Holiday” – together with Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and so on, a series of celebrations notable more for the need to spend money than any heartfelt sentiment.
- The St Valentine’s Day Massacre.
- A savage and bloody event in itself – five Chicago gangsters lined up and murdered with machine guns, apparently at the behest of Al Capone
- The commercialisation continues: noting the sales effect of the holiday on chocolate, flowers and cards, the diamond industry gets involved, promoting St Valentine’s Day as a time for giving jewellery. The “tradition” takes off.
- Valentine’s Day generates an estimated $14.7 billion (£9.2 billion) in retail sales in the United States.
- An estimated 1 billion St Valentine’s Day cards will be sent worldwide this year, making it the second most card-heavy celebration after Christmas.
Science of Love
- Love is an attraction which can be sexual, romantic or deep attachment
- brain triggers dopamine, which results in wanting, craving, focused attention and motivation, to win lives greatest prize, an appropriate partner.
- As you grow up, you build an unconscious map of traits which fit your ideal partner.
- Important as a social chronicle
- Personal communication between people
- Treasures which are kept
- Can be hand made or bought
- ‘finger prints of love’
- Baby with wings generally know in todays society
- 1000 BCE (3000yrs ago) cupid name was original erus (where the word erotic came from)
- In greek times he was a sex simple, reportedly able to make gods weak at the knees
- He had two arrows, one for love, one for hate.
- Romans started calling him Cupid
- Later in the renaissance, artist started depicting cupid as an infant angle which was called putti.
- First appeared on cards in the 1700s
- He became an icon for how unpredictable love can be
- Seen in a blindfold because love is blind
How other counties celebrate valentines day?
- In the USA, people celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses, chocolates and romantic gestures.
- Japan. On February 14th, women buy Hom-mei, a chocolate strictly for boyfriends and husbands. Women have to wait the whole month to receive their gift, which is usually white chocolate.
- United Kingdom. Along with exchanging cards, chocolates and flowers, Brits write sonnets and verses to each other. Children also join in the fun by spending the day singing songs.
- Canada. On Valentine’s Day, balls and parties are organised and thrown all over the country.
- South Africa. Week long celebrations and parties take place in South Africa. Young girls celebrate the day by celebrating a tradition called “Lupercalia.” This tradition requires girls to pin the name of their lover on their sleeve.
- India. Celebrating Valentine’s Day is a recent tradition here. Festivals are week-long and the day is hyped by television, newspapers and more.
- Italy. Couples exchange flowers and chocolate along with more extravagant gifts such as perfume and diamonds.
- Scotland. Imagine celebrating a romantic day with a complete stranger. A popular tradition in Scottish culture is “The Search of the Valentine Date.” The first man or woman a person sees on the street becomes his or her Valentine.
- China. Chinese Valentine’s Day is on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month on the Chinese calendar. Couples visit a temple called “Temple of Matchmaker” and pray for happiness and future marriage. Single people also visit to pray for luck in finding love.
THIS IS BECOMING TO BIG TO RESEARCH
Critical Awareness- New subject- Valentines Day Cards
In the process of collecting research for my connect map, I found after a long extended period of time I wasn’t even ‘scraping the surface’ of knowing everything about valentines day. Reflecting back over the original brief, I realised that my subject matter was too broad. Sticking to the briefs suggestions of keeping the subject matter small, I had to find a subject within Valentines Day that would be a much narrower topic to research. My initial thoughts were to select an item that is a must use on Valentines day , that discloses loving gestures from one individual to the next. The subject I decided to research was the Valentines Day Card.
Whilst collecting research for ‘Valentines Day’, I came across a video by a Woman named Nancy Rosen who is president of the National Valentines collectors association. She informs us how she has over 10,000s Valentines cards, which she calls ‘social chronicles’. She also states that the Valentines Day card is the ‘most personal form of communication’ She also goes on to explain how certain cards in her collection have ‘significance’, due to the fact of where they have been placed in history. A great example she gives was the Civil War ‘Soldiers Tent’ It features a tent which is wrapped in the American starts and stripes, which then opens up to an illustration of a soldier writing to his beloved, who is also featured but only by light line in the background. This card created a ‘link between home and the front’ which is quite heart warming and meaningful.
Watching this video has cemented my decision to change my subject from ‘everything about Valentines Day’ to everything about the ‘Valentines Day Card’. This will not only make the subject much more focused in regards to research, but also discuss vital key concepts of which Valentines Day posses. Hopefully, this will unveil some new semantics, which will then inform a creative response to turn views on the current Valentines Day practice into somewhat negative.
Here is the original branch of key concepts I had for Valentines Day. This is a good reference for when trying to complete my ‘Valentines Card’ concept map, as it contains the context behind the Valentines day card.
I will follow the same process of which I attempted to complete the initial ‘Valentines Day’ concept map. I will first write down 15 (or more) general key concepts about Valentines Day Cards, reorder them in terms of most general compared to the more specific, then generate a main stem of key concepts describing ‘what is a Valentines Day Card?’ This will inform me where to research next, to gain a full knowledge of the Valentines Day Card.
Now I have distinguished the order of concepts in terms of generalisation, I selected the top concepts to form a general phrase to basically describe what a Valentines Day Card is.
Above is the most general concept to describe what Valentines is. This linked stem will be the heart of the concept map, which other concept links will start to form so more specific links can be made apparent. I was given the task of producing a large drawn concept map, however I struggled to comprehend the large task at hand. I made the design decision to break down the main areas of the potential map into manageable sections, so that I could then link these concepts together later to produce a full concept map. Here are my drawn concepts map sections.
Here is my finished concept map. The map illustrates the broader features of the Valentines Card on the fringes of the map. These broader features also illustrate a shift in how the Card has changed from its main concept into something that could be described more as a profitable, lazy, offensive, stale or identical. The profit is made by companies, taking advantage of 21st century expectations of wanting items instantly. To cater these expectations, factories churn out mass produced cards which will present themselves as being options for individuals to purchase for their loved ones as being most appropriate. Moreover, this modern practice has also sparked cultural disputes, as religious groups see this as an innovation of western lifestyle.
This concept map had already given me an indicator as to how I would represent the card in my final outcome, as being something that is a lot more frivolous than being something meaningful. This had given me a theme of tone as to which the information I gather, will be formulated to create an overall bad interoperation of the card.
My next step was to figure out what research methodologies I need to use to collect the information I need for the research project. The subject areas I need to explore further are:
- How many Valentines Cards a sold a year?
- How much waste does Valentines Cards produce?
- What cultures or communities take offence to the Valentines Card?
- What company sell the most cards?
- How many variations of cards do people have the option of purchasing?
- How convient is it to purchase a Valentines Card?
- How much is a Valentines Card averagely?
- Historically how has the Valentines Card changed over time?
- What cards are considered as social chronicles?
- When was the use of symbols introduced? i.e heart, angle cupid?
- Are the current card messages still meaningful?
- How is the Valentines Card manufactured?
- Do manufactures consider that their cards are sentimental?
Critically, I will have to choose a range of research methods to gather all of this information which will both require primary and secondary research. Already, I have distuingueshed that I need to undertake numerous readings, observation techniques and Interview.
First of all, I will have to narrow down my field of enquiry to inform how I will go about research to collect applicable data. I have been given prompt questions that will help me distinguish this:
What have you researched so far- As a designer/ researcher you are already part of a research/ knowledge community in design. have you consulted existing literature which may inform your researchinquiry? What are you hoping to achieve by engaging in the proposed field of inquiry?
I have lightly delved into the history of Valentines Day, which in fact gave me insight into what I want to achieve out of the project. In the Mid 18th Century the passing of love-notes became popular in England. This was a precursor to the St Valentine’s Day card as we know today. Early ones are made of lace and paper. In 1797, the The Young Man’s Valentine Writer is published, suggesting appropriate rhymes and messages, and as postal services became more affordable, the anonymous St Valentine’s Day card became possible. By the early 20th century, Hallmark produce the first mass-produce them Valentine Card.
At this stage, I am hoping to achieve the prospect of designing an activist book that would get readers to question their current values of the Valentines Card. Todays practice of choosing the ‘most appropriate’ Valentines Card simply isn’t good enough. Western influenced societies should have more of an input into how they use the Valentines card to declare their love to someone, rather than purchasing manufactured items from a local store.
What?- Subject Matter/ Theme- Establish project overview/ design problem). Summarise the concept/ theme in a short statement no longer than 200 words.
In current Western culture Society, there is a lack of discipline when it comes to the Valentines Day Card. Previously, before the turn of the Mid 1800s, the valentines utilised hand craft decoration featuring sonnets or poems to win the hearts of a beloved one. Controversially , due to Hallmark creating their first mass produced card in 1913, society purchase cards out of convenience, suitability or genre. This practice discards any real thought of declaring true affection to another human being. There is little regard of using hand craft skills or transcribing thoughtful messages to form something truly unique for their loved one. Instead, society flood out last minute to their local card shops, supermarkets (worse petrol stations), to hastily choose the ‘appropriate card’. As this continues, retailers make profit out of individuals desperation to comply with the social norms of purchasing the ‘prettiest’, ‘soppiest’ or ‘funniest’ card the store can offer. The Valentines Card has become a commodity, which has lost all meaning and purpose.
Why?- Question/ Statement- (Establish/ design rationale) Write a short question which you feel encapsulates the Project rationale (no more than 100 words). Which of the below is your rationale most closely situated to?
Retailers and Western Culture Society in turn of the 20th century, have wrongly used the Valentines Card as a commodity item rather than a tool to express affection. Society have fallen into the trap of complying with the mass producers of greeting cards and the social norm, of purchasing the most ‘appropriate card’ from a prescribed selection. This practice discards any real notion of making and devoting a unique and meaningful gesture to a beloved one. This practice has informed the project to design a campaign tool that could enlighten society of how the Valentines Card should be utilised. The tool will educate society of previous practice before the mass-produced Valentines card of 1913, also highlighting everything that is wrong with todays current perspectives.
Suggested Research Techniques- (Does the brief in its current state require further research to better address the above themes?) What research methods do you feel would be useful to further strengthen your project rationale?
- Research further into the history of Valentines cards in terms of meaningful qualities.
- Research into previous practice of making the valentines card (art and design techniques).
- Research how people rely on retailers and design companies for obtaining a Valentines. card.
- Research into how much profit retailers make from Valentines Day cards.
- Analyse current Valentines Day cards. What makes them so successful?
- Research into online Card design websites
- Research where people mostly buy their Valentines Cards
- What tools have been designed already to educate society about Valentines cards? Were they successful?
- Research into Activism
- Research into successful campaign tool. What makes them successful?
- Research into why people buy Valentines Cards?
How?- Skills required (What skills will you acquire? Does the project require further collaboration?
- Collect qualitative and quantitative data
- Organisation skills
- Primary and Secondary data collection
- Interpreting data skills
- Photoshop/ illustrator skills
- Laser cutting skills