5x Dissertation Ideas

Ideas for third year dissertation

  • Why is using sex in advertising so popular in the 21st century?
  • How can graphic design influence a persons mood?
  • How have new technologies altered the way in which we design?
  • An investigation into how Graphic Design has developed through time?
  • How does advertising influence children’s development?


The Creative Responses module as whole was throughly enjoyable. I was given a chance to create anything that wished. Being able to choose my own topic and write my own brief allowed me to learn new skills that I am sure will be helpful in the future. At times it was difficult to get past the initial research stage as the topic of happiness that I chose is a vast and complicated one, I did however learn that no ones knows what it actually is.

This project challenged me in many ways. I decided that I wanted to push myself and use techniques that I haven’t used before, such as using wood.

I am very pleased with the outcome that I have created. I believe that it fulfils its purpose. It is small, light, fun and witty, all things that I wanted to create. Having feedback from my peers helped a great deal, as I was unsure at first, but I have had a lot of positive comments on the final design. They understand what I was wanting to achieve from this which was extremely important.


Further Possibilities

The boxes themselves before opened are secretive. This was intentional so that people are intrigued to find out what is inside.

The initial idea was to have them handed out at train stations, more specifically in London if possible, purely because the train stations in that city are busy constantly. The trip to London with my peers really opened my eyes, I noticed that noone was smiling on any photography or video that I took during that day. This is where the idea stemmed from.

So, instead of having them handed out manually there could be a red emergency boxed attached to a wall where people who are feeling anxious or stressed could come and take one for themselves, still not knowing what’s inside.

It’s free and a surprise, if that doesn’t cheer you up before you even open it I don’t know what will.





Final Outcome

Here is the final outcome for my project based around happiness





The leaflet

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Information Poster explaining the campaign

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The boxes are made from 3mm wood that have been laser cut using a Trotec machine. By using this it allowed the edges to be smooth and precise, leaving them with a professional look. The decision to stain them brown was to give them a fully finished appearance, I felt that when they were their original colour they looked half completed. The box itself its small and light enabling easy transportation for the user. It is simple and therefore will appeal to a wide variety of people, not just males/females/young/old. All of the components can be found inside, where at the bottom underneath everything is a saying, this appears on all of the boxes.


The instructions inside is aimed to amuse the reader with the intension of them taking part and making the most of the product. This leaflet has been coloured yellow, not something that I would usually use but after doing a number of test pieces I felt that white was too plain. Yellow is associated with happiness (the smiley face). This was put together using Adobe Illustrator. The design choice to print this onto newsprint was related to the fact that newspapers are extremely comment things to see whilst travelling. I felt that using this would relate to the situation much better than a heavy stock.


This poster was a last minute decision. Styled in the same way as the leaflet that can be found inside the packaging this poster continues the projects theme.

Developing the Final Product

I developed my nets using InDesign which I then laser cut into 3mm plywood. The reason for this material choice is that it is light, easily transportable but yet still durable. 



It took a two attempts until I got the measurements perfect, this left me with a huge number of spare pieces. Once the sizing was right I continued to make 4 separate box nets which I could then piece together using a strong adhesive suitable for wood.

Box Front


Box Side


I was very happy with how well they turned out, I really like the burnt edges that were created by that laser cutting machines, I feel that it adds character and a more hand made feel.

Deciding what to put in the boxes was a hard task but I decided to work on some hand rendered type. I felt that this was suitable for feel that I was going for. It feels much more friendly and personal. Something that I believe would work well in the situation it is intended to be used for.

Before I could work on the type itself I needed to decided what to write and therefore took a look at inspirational quotes, quotes relating to travel and also quotes on happiness. Doing this helped me a great deal to decided what I wanted to include in my final packaging.

- The world isn’t perfect, but it’s there for us doing the best it can, and that’s why it’s so damn beautiful

- Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen

The two points above are the pieces of text that I was intending to include. They are calm, refer to the world and are up beat. Hopefully the user would agree.

I then took to working on how I wanted them to look. Below is what I ended up with.




This last one was something that I came across later. I didn’t feel that it was suitable for the purpose as there would be no control over who received the happy box.


Now I had an idea of how I wanted it to look I used both Photoshop and Illustrator to align the lettering and create a much more professional aesthetic. This was a vital part of my development as I wanted everything to look as perfect as it could.

Here are the results that I will use for my final design.

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I am very happy with the look I was able to produce. Both are readable and relaxed, two things that were extremely important for me to achieve.





Below is packaging for children’s activity sets on planes by Tresa Yam. The idea behind this design is to relax children during flights. There are three suitcases and each contain different activities with the purpose of distracting them and keeping them occupied. The packaging itself is aimed at young people aged 9-12 years of age. The design itself is very simple and obviously aimed at children, its made from light card and in the shape of a suitcase, very fitting for its environment and a lot more engaging than a boring old box. For the people I intend to target (adults, business people, students) this would be unsuitable purely because of it’s size and aesthetics, although fitting for its target audience I don’t feel that adults would be comfortable walking around alone with something like this in their hands.


Merkur Suitcase by Tom Chldil is a packaging design for a make of Czech toy called Merkur, and therefore like the design before is aimed at young children. The designer of this felt that using the idea of a suitcase was a great way to sell the tool like toy as according to him tools are carried around in suitcases? well I’ve not seen that myself but then again I’ve never been to the Czech Republic. Like the image before this design is also light and disposable, great for young children but I am leaning toward making something that lasts, that people can save and remember what it means. Again the design of this is relatively simple, something that I want to achieve but I don’t feel that these products have helped in the designing process, if anything they have helped me decided that I want to make sure that what I create is small, aimed at adults and long lasting. However, I do appreciate the minimal colour choices along with the shape, it’s structured and straight, although I kind of think that it looks a bit more like a sandwich bag that a tool bag.


I have decided to take a look at some packaging that has been inspired by crates, like what you would see on the back of a freight train.

Here is a small, very simple example of packaging that has been inspired by a shipping crate. It’s been designed by Robin Lindner for a Nixon watch that is called ‘Moving Out’. It’s been made from recycled wood, which has then been personalised with the brand and not much else, nice and simple. The base is secured by a magnetic strip which allows easy opening and closing (something that I have previously not considered). The fact that this is made from something much more sturdy really appeals to me, I definitely think that I will  use a wood type or another hard material.



These packaging examples were designed as a new food range by Fishermans Friend, Kutter Futter. Each thing is packaged differently but not all are relevant to my project, here are the two pieces that I liked. First is a small simple box made from cardboard, it uses very little imagery or colour giving it a subtle and calm look. The shape of the box although only square is still unique, by exposing the centre of the cardboard itself it gives a relaxed look meaning that the user may not feel too precious towards it. This shape is also easy to handle, it’s familiar and trusting. I like that the packaging has an unfinished appearance as well as the fact that it isn’t bombarding you with information. However, at the moment I am leaning towards making something more permanent, something that people could use again for various thing and not just end up in the trash.


Below is the other packaging example from this project that I thought could be useful to look at. It is a brown paper bag, sounds a bit boring but I really like the shape of this as well as the crumpled effect, again this gives it a relaxed appearance, something that I think could be very fitting for my final outcome. Again there is little information on the outside, the design is understated and disposable. Something like this would be much more transportable than a box.




I have decided to look at a number of different types of packaging that can be found on trains to inspire my final outcome. I believe that this is an important part of my development as I want the design to be relatable to where it is.

Firstly, I decided to look at freight cars that are used by trains to transport goods. Often made from metal these are strong and sturdy ways to carry different things. On researching this there is surprising a huge number of types of these railroad cars, 35 in total. The ‘boxcar’ or ‘covered wagon’ is said to be the most versatile of all types of freights it’s used for a huge number of different types of goods and during both world wars has been used to transport soldiers. The design is said to be the most complex of all but it’s instantly recognisable as everyone has seen one of these. I like the shape of this design, I believe that if I could find a way to simplify the aesthetics it could work quite well as packaging.

The_British_Army_in_France_1939_O86(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_British_Army_in_France_1939_O86.jpg)

Box_car_DSSA_18052(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Box_car_DSSA_18052.jpg)

Old suitcases are undoubtably fashionable at the moment. People are using them instead of modern ones, as well as using them as decoration in their homes, couples are using them to collect cards in at their weddings, and I’ve even seen dog beds made from them. They definitely have better aesthetic value than the new, more practical ones that we use more regularly. Suitcases are related with travelling and that is why I wanted to have a look at few to see whether I could use any aspects of their design in my final packaging. I like the metal clasps that they often have I think that this really does make things have a vintage more aesthetic rather than the use of padlocks or codes. Of course These are old and therefore are tatty and worn out but I like this look, I like how many of these old case are misshapen and the leather is often creased or cracked. Perhaps I could use these ideas in the development of my design?

An-old-suitcase-007(source: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/jul/10/suitcase-sergei-dovlatov-review-ussr)

Paper coffee cups are all over train stations and trains themselves. They’re biodegradable and light weight which makes them perfect for packaging. Associated with coffee, to then go and put an MP3 in it could be quite a surprise to unsuspecting passengers. The design is simple, easily reproduced and cost effective and so if this was project was being done on a large scale could be quite a good way in which to do so.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 23.56.21(source: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/281050720390?limghlpsr=true&hlpv=2&ops=true&viphx=1&hlpht=true&lpid=108&device=c&adtype=pla&crdt=0&ff3=1&ff11=ICEP3.0.0&ff12=67&ff13=80&ff14=108&ff19=0)

Design Research

The idea is to have the mp3 packaged in some way, it needs to be light and manageable but sturdy to ensure easy handling. After picking up the mp3s today they are very small so there could be many different ways in which I could package it.


Above are some pages from my sketchbook that I have been working it to jot down ideas for my final outcome. I thought about different types of packaging and different materials that it could be made of. This then lead me onto thinking about what types of packaging you would see on a train such as suitcases, coffee cups and shopping bags. I feel that this is an important part of my development as it will help make the packaging relevant to its surroundings instead of being completely irrelevant. I want all elements of the design to have a purpose. I now intend to look at the things that I have listed (old suitcases etc.) as well as existing packaging to see whether this is something that furthers my project and gives it more meaning and substance.