Happy Songs

To kick start the design I wanted to see what songs make other people happy. Of course the design is aimed at getting people to relax and enjoy where they are but what’s the harm in finding out what my friends would pick as the one song that makes them instantly happy. To go about this I wrote a Facebook status asking people to comment with the artist and title of the song that makes them feel this way. After just 20 minutes I have had an amazing response, but I’m hoping that a few more people will join in too.

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So an hour on the response has been mad, I guess people love showing off what they know about music. However, I don’t particularly like or even know some of the songs but it’s been a great opportunity to hear new stuff although a few people got a little silly towards the end.

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I’ve reserved three pretty cheap MP3 players to pick up tomorrow morning from Argos so I will have an idea how big the packaging will need to be and I’ll be able to start compiling together a play list, whether I use all of the songs from this research is another thing but it’ll be fun.

Final Idea

Sat here listening to a bit of my favourite music and had a complete brainwave. I have been thinking of ideas for weeks and well I have not been getting anywhere and in the 5 minutes I decided to sit and do nothing I had this idea which is still based on people appreciating their surroundings but relates back to my earlier thoughts around transport.

The idea is to have a number of MP3 players that are all full of relaxing music and noises. These will be packaged in a simple box and sealed, this also contains a set of instructions. The idea is to hand them out at Sheffield train station to people who are about to travel, but they aren’t allowed to open them until they have sat down.

The instructions -

Play loudly | Drown out all other noises | Sit back | Grab a coffee | Stare out of the window | Keep that phone in your pocket and your mac in your bag | See the world | Slow down and BE HAPPY.

What can you see? | Look at the trees, the animals and even the graffiti | Appreciate that 100 year old building with the smashed windows and barbed wire fence, it was beautiful once |

Of course this might not work, you know people probably wont read the instructions or play the MP3 but the intention is there, I could perhaps include a link to a questionnaire so they can let me know how if it helped them enjoy their day? You never know, some people like to help!

Anyway, I am very happy with this idea so I’m going to get designing.

I want something simple and environmentally friendly (cards/papers). I want it to be well made and intriguing. Little info on the box always makes people want to investigate!



Generating ideas has been difficult, all have ended up targeting a different aspect of cosmetic surgery from the advertising to the doctors themselves but all have the idea of being a campaign in common.

For a successful campaign I intend to create a number of different things such as leaflets, posters and websites, I could perhaps tie in social media and maybe use the online petition against advertising as a focus (try to get people to sign it). I need a focal point, some sort of striking image that will be the ‘face’ of the campaign but most importantly I really need to concentrate on the exhibition space. Do I use it to show all the aspects of the campaign or do I just have a visually striking design there?


In order to further my research and guarantee that I produce a thorough outcome I decided to take another look at the brief and analyse keys points to help direct my development. Being familiar to a brief is a massively important part of any project to ensure that all needs are met and to the greatest standard.

The final design outcome will be shown in an exhibition space that is 1.5m in width x 3m tall (wall), and 1.5m x 1m (floor). The design can be digital/screen based, printed or a physical construction, as of yet I have not considered making anything physical but maybe this is something that I could look into?

“This exhibition and your work will provoke its audience to consider hidden perspectives and questions. It should be challenging, provocative and enlightening to them.” This is something that I took great care of trying to achieve, there is no doubt that my topic ‘Cosmetic Surgery’ is a provocative one now it just depends on my outcome and that’s where I’m stuck.

I decided to take a closer at the exhibition space to get a feel of what I have to play with.


After this I gave my self ten minutes to develop an initial idea to get me started.


I did this to kick start the design process. I ended up developing an idea that I had very early on in the project. This idea is to use photographs of people both male and female and remove their faces (identities). This initial idea stemmed from the thought that if the majority of the pubic began having aesthetic cosmetic surgery noone would look like themselves and it would end up being some creepy Stepford Wives situation. I then took this and attempted to come up with some ways in which I could use it in the exhibition space. One ideas was to make a kind of game out of it by placing the faces on a shelf below where the viewer had to then guess who it belonged to. This is one way in which I could make the space interactive but as of yet a lot more idea generation needs to be done. None the less, this really helped me.

I then decided to see what this might look like and took a hideous ‘#nomakeupselfie’ and manipulated it using photoshop. This was very quickly done and would need a lot more work.

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A few more ideas I have looked at since this…




Final Brief

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Promote happiness in a public space. Create an intervention that encourages the value of positive thinking. The communication should attempt to disrupt negative cognitive processes and suggest an alternative way of thinking. Consider how design could improve a persons metal state and general health.

There are many different ways in which happiness can be interpreted. You are required to gain an understanding of the psychology behind the topic.  Put yourself into a number of situations, do you feel any different? Was there anything that could have improved your experience? Collect this information in an organised manner, break it down and analyse it, this will keep focus and build a flowing project and effective outcome.

Use the findings from the research process to structure an outcome that is both effective and relevant to your target audience. Keep in mind who the design is aimed at and what it’s purpose is. Recognise how different uses of language, type and imagery can change the meaning of the message and use this to develop an outcome that is both powerful and engaging for the viewer.


Today Beth and I spent time looking at how an exhibition space can be used in different ways. We firstly went to Millennium gallery, followed by site and then A.P.G where we made friends with the resident dog.

Millenium Gallery


Site Gallery

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Here I saw two installations by Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung who ‘uses everyday materials in elegant and inventive ways to create meditative, dream-like environments’ (source: http://www.sitegallery.org/archives/6296).


When entering the exhibition space I couldn’t see a thing, it was pitch black and it wasn’t until I turned around did I see the image on the wall. It took a while to work out exactly what it was as I did not research it before going. After walking into a wall or two my eyes adjusted and I got my bearings, it was then that I could take in the magical projection that was in front of me.

This piece was almost hypnotic, the simple idea created a truly beautiful projection. It uses a light which captures the movements of the dust in the atmosphere which is then seen on the wall. The colours and the movement that this created made a tranquil and calming environment.

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Crystal City 003

This piece was in a separate, equally dark room. The installation consisted of a number of clear plastic boxes piled on the floor with a floor level lamp that travelled across the baseline highlighting different parts at different times. Again I didn’t know what this was about before entering. I took in what I saw but it took a few minutes to see what the actual exhibition was about. When looking at the wall I realised that the shadows being created by the travelling light imitated a city scape full of skyscrapers. Like Dust this piece created a relaxing atmosphere, it made the environment that I was in extremely peaceful and mesmerising.

Below is a panorama shot that I took with my phone, admittedly it’s not of great quality and doesn’t do it justice.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition, it was different, simple and beautiful. Both ‘Dust’ and ‘City Scape 003′ opened my eyes into how space can be maximised in the most minimalistic ways and also how light can be used in a subtle way to create such fantastic outcomes.


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Finally I visited A.P.G which was completely different to both galleries that we had been to earlier. The others were very spacious and almost too pristine but A.P.G was cluttered and somewhat confusing. The quirky little gallery features prints from various different designers and artists who want to sell their work which could be seen dotted all across the walls, floors and even on benches. There were a number of separate rooms and even buildings that you entered which almost made you feel like you were exploring a maze. The atmosphere that all this created was a relaxing one but in a different way that the others, it was because it was quiet, dirty and mismatched. I really enjoyed searching through these spaces as I saw some really interesting images, not to mention getting to have a cuddle with the resident dog.

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Coming here made me realise that an exhibition doesn’t need to be perfect and ‘organised mess’ can still show your work in a successful, engaging and interesting manner.

Menashe Kadishman – Shalechet (Fallen Leaves)



Under the Knife

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Louis Theroux: Under the Knife (2007) is a BBC documentary investigating the cosmetic surgery ‘hype’ in Beverly Hills.

“They claim by changing our outer appearance we can also change our inner most feelings” – Louis Theroux

This episode followed three different surgeons who all specialised in different things as well as a variety of patients who were having/had surgery for a number of different reasons.

A running theme throughout the documentary was that surgeons seem to preach that by having various procedures it fixes self-esteem, insecurities and inner feelings. The patients appear to believe this also, but then they return time and time again to ‘fix’ something else, now when watching the documentary there was no mention by the practitioner of any dangers or bodge jobs that can occur, all just said that they are the best at what they do and get it perfect every time.

The program followed one woman who was in her late 20′s. She had just been through a break up after 8 years and had hired a stylist who just completely slated her. This poor girl hung on every word this woman said and went through with a number of treatments including breast enhancement, face life and lipo. There is no doubt at that time in her life she would have had low self-esteem but when Louis re-visited her after the surgery he asked her a number of questions about how she felt and it was evident that she was happy with the surgery but she also seemed upset, as if she was just saying what she was saying.

The patients in this all seemed to be making rash decisions, leaving no time to think about it but the surgeons

Optimal Experience

The direction in which I am going links back to one of the very first things I looked at to begin the project, this being, optimal experience. As I documented before this is basically making the most of the situation by enjoying the most simple things even in the worst circumstances.

‘Flow, The Psychology of Happiness’ is a book that I have referenced previously. I have found this book extremely useful to date, and I believe that it relates greatly to the direction that I am heading. It talks about the struggles of Earth and the fact that humans take it for granted and forget that anything can happen at any one second, it hints at the fact that people think that they are in control of the world but in fact this is not the case.

Optimal experience can improve happiness, of course this is one persons theory but I agree and therefore by using this as a guideline along with David Shrigley’s work I feel that I can create a strong and meaningful project.


Dolls are some of the freakiest things ever, but they’re often considered to be youthful, maybe that because they’re children’s toys. The weird thing is that Barbie dolls, one of the most popular toys for young girls is one of the most sexualised images of today. There are so many girls who model themselves on an unrealistic version of the ‘perfect woman’. People trust things that they grew up with and the fact that they are childs toys made me think of some ways that I could use this in my final outcome.

As previously discussed (briefly) in a past post I bought some Barbie dolls from eBay. They arrived in rapid time but sat in a draw where I hid them because they freak me out. Anyway, yesterday I decided that I was going to manipulate the dolls/change their look somehow in a way that could perhaps represent the dangers of plastic surgery.

Below is an image that I took of one of the dolls. As you can see I melted one of it’s breasts. The thoughts behind this was that ‘boob jobs’ are one of the most popular kinds of aesthetic surgery, I know very few women who haven’t considered it (from my generation anyhow) and so I thought that damaging this part of the doll could perhaps represent a rupture of the implant after surgery or a severe infection. I did this in my back yard which was particularly awkward when my neighbour came out and watched me taking photographs of them in all sorts of positions, admittedly I felt like a huge creep.

However, I like the results from this, I think that this could be a possible direction in which I could take when developing my final outcome for the campaign. Once put into context with a number of other materials this could be a disturbing and rememberable design.

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Looking at this is making me think about perhaps playing on the Transform advertisements that I recently looked at. I could maybe use the dolls/people/illustrations/collage as a case study, either using the ‘story’ idea but using a horror story as the basis, this way I am directly attacking a brand/company that is known nationally. The other option is to use the first adverts idea, having people hold their stories on cards, this means that I could use a variety of figures. By directly attacking existing commercials it will provoke feelings and reactions from viewers, hopefully they would understand what I am trying to achieve and the reasons behind the designs. Like the Ad Busters campaigns against Mac Donalds and Absolut I will use a brand as my target instead of randomly creating something, this will give my campaign direction and overall purpose.

The effect that this has on young people and children is just a small part of the problem but it is the part that I am most interested in but I need to think about how I could convey my message in a clear but clever way. However, targeting the horror side of cosmetic surgery is also still an option, like what I tried to do in the Barbie image above.

The outcome essentially is to educate people about the facts but the overall target is to have this type of advertising regulated or even banned altogether.

What’s next?

I’m going to look back at some articles that have been released by The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons that talk about advertising and how they feel about it. Previously it appears that they have the same views as myself along with many huge companies, however they are being ignored by government. By looking at these articles again it will enforce my topic, my direction and my outcome, it will hopefully inspire me with new ideas and possibilities.

Not only do I intend to carry out some more research but I want to have a good knowledge of how exhibition space can be utilised to it’s full potential. I will visit galleries and use the internet to do so. Hopefully by doing this I will have a greater understanding into what I could try out.

Once I have done this I intend to have some idea in what it is I am wanting to create. By the end of this week I aim to have a final outcome idea and begin designing my space confidently.


Next Steps

One thing that I have learnt from past projects is that I need to manage my time better, so I need to plan what I need to do next and where I need to go.

  • Look at exhibition spaces
  • Explore the subject more
  • Find more academic articles to fortify my angle
  • Being working on different outcomes
  • Try new techniques
  • Think about how to use the space in a fun and unique way