Persuasion: Are you at war with your body?

Having started our new module on persuasion, we were required to design a campaign before meeting our clients for our second brief in the module. We would be required to show our campaign to our clients when they would come to the university to meet us. For our first brief, we needed to write our own creative brief, come up with a process and concept, and make our ideas visible through a means of media, whether that would be audio, print, a video/animation, clothing, interactive design, or an ambient/guerilla.

I found it quite difficult to choose a theme on the topic of war since we had to pick a local issue. We had to consider many things when writing our creative brief. I thought about how I could perceive the word ‘war’ and what unrelated issue I could use where I would include the word ‘war’. I had always been interested in body positivity, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to present the issue to the audience with a more serious question in mind; Are you at war with your body? This was a very relevant question to ask someone since the word ‘you’ directed the question to the audience in a first person situation making it more personal to the reader. And the word ‘war’ had always reminded me of something quite serious and political. Below is a copy of the creative brief I wrote.

Creative Brief

Name and contact details of Organisation or Client

Be Real - - 

Founding partners: YMCA, Dove UK

Project title or mission statement: 
Mind vs Body: Are we at war with our bodies?

Prepared by:

Jennifer Taylor

1. Background / Overview:

Be Real, an existing campaign, set out to change the attitudes of body image in order to make females healthier by being confident in their own bodies. Being a national movement, it is made up of schools, business, charities, public bodies, and individuals. Values of campaign are determination, compassion, and being diverse to all those in need.

Low body confidence has always been an on-going issue causing damage to people’s lives of all ages and sexes. Spurting from a young age, it affects peoples mental as well as physical health, affecting what they can achieve in their lives.

 2. Objective. What is the goal of the campaign?

Make the audience feel they are worth more than they are. Talking to them directly as if they are the victim. The idea of Mind vs Body makes it seem like a game, however the more serious question asked is Are you at war with your body?, makes the victim feel like their self-conscious thoughts are to blame.

War: a period of fighting or conflict between countries or states.


Civil war: a war which is fought between different groups of people who live in the same country.


Instead of making the topic seem like a light-hearted thing to talk about, people will take the word ‘war’ seriously, making the topic seem serious. Serious topics are able to be acknowledged and solved more quickly because it makes the victim feel under pressure.

Simple short, catchy, and familiar phrase of Mind vs. Body makes the campaign memorable.

Primary objective is to make the audience think more carefully about what influence photographs, words, and media have on their mind and therefore on their bodies. Persuades audience to be more aware of what impact their self-conscious thoughts have on their mental and physical wellbeing. Instead of asking for donations, the campaign would be more effective if awareness was spread, perhaps by people wearing badges with small catchphrases on.

 3. Target audience: who are we talking to?

Campaign will target 12-17 year females, because the Be Real campaign targets children and young people. 12-17 y/old’s are persuaded now to have a voice and have more of an impact on how their relatives and friends may feel about certain issues. Be Real actively asks parents and schools to set a positive example for their children, and so by targeting 12-17 y/olds you will make parents more aware of what they learn in school. This target group of young females, are made more aware of more and more information on sexual health in school and are generally more sensitive at their age.

4. What's the message? 

Are you at war with your body? - As mentioned before in the fourth paragraph of 2. Objective. What is the goal of your campaign?:

‘Instead of making the topic seem like a light-hearted thing to talk about, people will take the word ‘war’ seriously, making the topic seem serious. Serious topics are able to be acknowledged and solved more quickly because it makes the victim feel under pressure.’

Mind vs. Body - Reflects the aim of Be Real, reflecting the fact that they care about both mental and physical health of their audience and who they aim to help/educate

Free mind, healthy body

5. Possible solutions?

Typographical posters featuring bold and empowering words, with colours that reflect strength as well as colours that attract 12-17 year olds, as well as not discriminating.

T-shirts with catchphrase from campaign placed on

Sticky labels or badges with a catchphrase from one of the main messages in the campaign.

6. Phases of creative development


Gather research from inspiring talks from female influencers that discuss body positivity, watch existing videos and look at previous campaigns to do with bullying and body image, and read on how the mind affects your mental and physical wellbeing. Look at research conducted by Be Real. Gather first hand research on people’s stances on body positivity.

Phase Two: CONCEPT

Write down a list of short catchphrases that reflect Be Real and the campaign they want you to design. Sketch ideas out for poster designs including these catchphrases, as well as designs for small badges to be placed onto clothing.

Phase Three: PROTOTYPE: Develop on concept in more depth and create a prototype... include any mandatory elements such as the logo and website address. Gather feedback. Your prototype should help you to test the idea in context and to better understand the audience experience.

Phase Four: REFINE AND DELIVER:  Present ideas to client 

7. Key quotes:

“There is not one standard definition of beauty or one perfect size.”

Ashley Graham

I now needed to come up with ideas and deliverables for the campaign to make it as effective on 12-17-year-olds as possible. But before starting that I needed to look at more recent alternative campaigns that have presented body positivity issues to teenagers.


Penguin Student Design Award 2018

The Penguin Student Design Award is a competition run by Penguin book publishers as a call to art and design students. It is a way of challenging their creative abilities, giving them hope of winning a grand prize of £1,000 in cash money, along with a four week paid internship at Penguin HQ in London. As always, with all design competitions, this prestigious award earns them the reputation any eventual graduate would want to become noticed more easily by employers and commissioners for their award-winning design. Three categories allow one designer/artist from each category to be picked for winning the award, along with a second and third prize to be won as well. All awarded students are invited to an award event at the end of the year, where shortlisted students are invited as well. The three book design categories, along with the books chosen to have a cover designer for, are:

  • Adult Fiction Cover Award – Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Adult Non-fiction Cover Award – A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • Children’s Cover Award – Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Due to the apparent complexity and length of the Adult Non-fiction Cover book choice, I wanted to choose between the Adult Fiction Cover and the Children’s Cover. After reading both I decided upon designing a cover for Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

By making brief notes on each chapter along with descriptive and poetic quotes from each chapter, I could effectively come up with several ideas of what possible designs I could use for the cover. Before generating these ideas I researched what previous book cover designs had been used for the book by various publishing agencies. To make things easier for myself, Penguin had placed all previous cover designs for this book on their webpage, giving details of the book and all requirements of the cover design.

The first book cover designed by Penguin has perhaps chosen a more vibrant, colour filled, and rugged yet personal approach to the design of the cover, compared to the very monotone and sharply designed covers by Random House and Corgi attempting to represent the seriousness of the issues and topic covered by Malorie Blackman in the book. Typically all covers designed for this book feature a cross and nought, and quite coincidentally are placed in the same or similar position; nought above the cross. In fact, the nought and cross in the second two cover have the exact same rendering of the symbols on the designs.

The design of the first cover features a black stencil set across a hand-rendered background made of various coloured inks. A hand-rendered text was also used. By using a brush, the designer wrote out the text with a dark coloured ink and then manipulated the colour by vectorizing the type in illustrator after scanning or taking a photo of the original piece of work that the text sat on. The variation of colours used for the nought and cross represents the main subject of the book, which is discrimination and race. The first thing that catches my eye is the nought and cross in the background which then leads me to look at the title and author painted in red in the foreground. I also like how the authors name has been capitalised to distinguish it from the title.

The next cover designs I don’t think are as effective as the first design. The design of the cover was mostly made in InDesign, using two hand renders for the nought and cross at the top and bottom of the design. The focal point of the design, the nought and cross, leads us to take notice of the author’s name which is again capitalised. And below the author is the title of the book, which then leads us to reflect on the design of the cover.

The final cover design that has been produced by Corgi, is the design I least like. The overall design of the cover has been made digitally, apart from the nought and cross which has been hand rendered. The colour of the nought has been manipulated using Adobe Illustrator, turned into a vector. A burnt orange colour has been used instead of white to add interest to the design. I personally think it was a terrible design decision made. Not only is it quite a disgusting colour but it is not clear to me yet as to what the signification is having added that colour to the mix of the design. The title has been capitalised and placed in the center left, along with the name of the author being placed at the bottom. The size of the surname compared to the surname was incomprehensible, and the typeface and ligature chosen were questionable. The size of all elements of text on the design makes it look very cramped and claustrophobic.

Many themes were explored by the author within the book, making readers aware of implications words may have on people of a certain race, making discrimination one of the main contenders on primary themes’ within the book. However, I felt the main theme that was explored with romance. Callum and Sephy always had a special bond because of growing up together. They have their fair share of arguments and hasty opinions of each other within the book, however, their strong friendship always makes out, in the end, eventually leading them to share a romance. Following the theme of discrimination and race, terrorism is another theme explored within the book. Other themes include suicide, capital punishment, politics, and mental health.

Following the research I conducted into the book and previous covers designed for the book, I made a few sketches for what initial ideas I had of my own design for the cover of the book.

My favourite design that I first decided to work with was the sketch of the roughly drawn feet. The rough drawing of these feet would be of similar nature to the vector generated illustration I would create in Adobe Illustrator to be used in the book cover design. What I really liked about this design was the simplicity, but most importantly my choice of using feet. I get a sense of adventure whenever I see an image, drawing, or photograph of feet because of where our feet can take us. There was a strong sense of adventure, suspense, and mystery within the book that I wanted to show in the book cover design. Below is the first digital design I came up with.

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 00.52.37

The colour I decided to use were very relevant to the themes of the book. As you might not be able to see, the overall scene of the book cover design is representative of a beach. The red area is the sea and the fleshy pink colour is the sand. The red represents the death that occurs within the book, and the flesh pink represents an event which happens at the very end of the book involving the birth of a girl. I also wanted to show the barrier between noughts and crosses in the book by creating a white rift between the sea and the sand. The colours of the feet represent the discrimination in the book between black people (crosses) and white people (noughts). I used Adobe Illustrator to create the background and feet on the cover, using the pen tool to create the different shapes. As you might notice I chose to use several different shapes to create the feet because I wanted to show the highlights and shadows of the feet through their structure. This was quite difficult to achieve because I had to carefully consider the placement of these shapes and what colours each of the shapes would be.

I took a printed copy of this design to a group tutorial to receive feedback on the design. I was complimented on how reflective the book cover was of the themes presented to the reader within the book. However, I could have chosen more carefully what I used for the sand area by instead making use of a photograph of the texture of sand. I explained how it would blend with the colour of the white foot in the design. I also needed to refine the placement of text on the back cover and the spine so it would remain legible to the reader. I was also told that the fleshy pink colour of the sand almost blended into the colour of the white foot too well which wasn’t wise considering the black foot contrasted well with the sand.

After receiving feedback on my cover design that day I then more carefully considered a second design idea that would perhaps be more effective. Perhaps with the second design, I wanted to consider the typography playing a stronger role. Looking for inspiration online, I found a few covers which had used stencils of silhouettes on top of photographs or other images. All of the designs seemed to use the stencil of the silhouette as a way of presenting another image within the focal point of the design. For example, The Wolf Wilder written by Katherine Rundell, shows a stencil of a fox which leads you to read the title of the book, and then the girl and fox below, allowing you to reflect on the overall design by then bringing you to the realisation that the large fox is a stencil of a wooded area. The gradient within the large fox gives the design a lovely contrast to let the viewer focus on the smaller fox and girl in front of the white trees. I particularly like how the gold text sits against the dark blue gradient to white. The use of a gradient within a stencil is something I would like to consider. Within the design for When the Doves Disappeared written by Sofi Oksanen, the stencil placed overtop has a shadow behind the outline of the dove and its wing. I think this would be very effective if I wanted to use a photograph in the background.

I first started to experiment with typography for the design of the cover. I used InDesign since it had more typefaces on the programme that would be more suitable to printed design. I looked at what ligatures I could use, whether the words were bold or italic. And then I started to experiment with colour. I was still very keen to use the colour red, and perhaps pink. I also looked at what outlining the text would look like. Some of the typographic structures I looked at would have been very effective if I wanted to design a cover that had no images, however, I was very keen on including an image since the target audience would be suitable to people over the age of 15.

I then started to incorporate images into the design of the cover. First I used an image I had taken of shells and coral that had grown on a piece of rock on Tenby beach. I wanted to make the image large, however, the black of the title of the book clashed with the grayscale copy of the image of the coral. Instead, I looked at how a turquoise coloured copy of the title would work as a shadow behind the black. It didn’t make much of a great difference. I decided to take a new stance at the design, instead using a stencil that I would have to draw in Illustrator.

I used Adobe Illustrator to draw a stencil with the pen tool. The stencil shows how close the two main characters are to each other and the fact that the book is based on a romance. By using InDesign I experimented with adding a drop shadow. Unfortunately, I could only use one drop shadow on one angle for each layer so I made a copy of the stencil and changed the angle to direct the background at the opposite angle. In the end, I used the drop shadow tool in Illustrator so I could crop the image more easily so there wouldn’t be an overhanging shadow in the final design. The image I used for the background was a landscape photograph of the beach at Weston-super-mare. I liked how far out the tide was so the rocks of the bed would be showing. It made for an interesting detail and texture which was a nice contrast to the stencil in the foreground of the design.

I decided later on when putting the text in that I wanted to change the colour of the stencil to red instead of a pale blue because it would be more reflective of the themes within the book, regarding the death, suicide, gore, and romance within the book. I decided to use the same shade of red as I used in my previous design for the cover. For the title of the book, I used a black brush marker, scanned it in and then used Illustrator to transform it into a vector and change the colour of the ink from black to white to contrast with the red in the background. I used the same copy of the title on the spine as well. For the author’s name, I chose to use the typeface Georgia and changed the kerning so the name of the author would spread nicely across the center of the front cover. Then for the blurb and review quotes, I used the typeface Marion in regular for the blurb, italic for the source of the reviewer quotes in bold. ‘NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER READERS’ was placed at the bottom under the barcode in Helvetica Neue bold. As you can see, I cut off the stencil to reach to the cut off of the spine onto the back cover. I chose to the use the photograph behind the stencil as the main background on the back cover, and then I created a shape in Illustrator to fit the text for the back cover in.

What I loved about my final design for the cover was the use of every element of design I could find, which included the use of hand-drawn type as well as the digital type, the use of photography, and creating images digitally. I found it hard to portray many of the themes within the final design. The reason I chose to commit myself to a redesign of the book cover was that I didn’t feel as if I had challenged myself enough with the concept I had for my first design. I felt it was a wise decision to make because I felt I played it too safe trying to limit myself with what potential I could have had with this opportunity to show my worth to Penguin Book Student Design Award judging panel.

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Persuasion​: Setting the stage

It was good to be back in the graphic communication studio on campus. After a manic five weeks rushing through my field project reflecting on my trip to Marrakech in Morocco, it was good to see some familiar faces. We were introduced to a new module along with a new project as part of the subject matter of our course. Our new module was titled Persuasion. Its aim is to make us think about what it means to be a socially responsible designer. We will learn about what impact design has on society (whether it be environmental, ecological, or social), and as to how we as designers can control that through persuasion. We will learn to intentionally engage society with issues through the use of persuasive language and imagery with our design skills. The ultimate purpose is for our designs to make a lasting impact on society. We will be asked to choose an issue to work on and then negotiate a brief from real clients from a charity, political interest group, or an organization. By negotiating a brief we will identify the requirements of the brief and then work on a creative solution that would be appropriate to what they will ask of us.

In our first workshop for our first brief, we were required to sign up for groups that were based on general issues around the world. This included environment, war, politics, discrimination, poverty, abuse, health, and racism. I chose to go to the group which would explore the topic of war. The purpose of this first brief was to prepare us for the nature of the live project we would choose to explore for our external clients. Within the first workshop, we were asked to conduct some research into examples of persuasive campaigns and to find examples of where the topic of war has been used through different media. This different media might be audio/music/radio, print, interactive media, clothing/wearable, video/animation, or an ambient/guerilla. We needed to find out who the client was, who the audience was, and what the message was. This brief research would allow us to think of a topic to explore for our own persuasive campaign that we would design. Our second task required us to show the tutors what campaigns defined our era and what issues were relevant to us. Our group found that the most significant era for peace campaigning was the 1970s, after World War 2 as well as the Vietnam War. What was also a significant period in this era was the end to discrimination against black people. Below is a collection of images we had presented to the class.



Morocco – a moment of reflection

Deciding something to work on for the Morocco project was difficult, regarding what topic to focus on that particularly interested me while I was out in Morocco, and deciding what materials I wanted to explore using. For the time I had in Morocco, I decided to take first-hand observations with my DSLR of photographs, videos, and a few audio clips showing moments that stood out to me. After looking at my footage, I eventually decided that I wanted to look at the possibility in which the patterns that we saw in the Bahia Palace, Saadiens Tombs, Jardin Majorelle, and Badi Palace, could, in fact, have a link to the commotion and chaos of the streets within the Medina of Marrakech.

For the majority of my time out in Morocco, I decided to only take photographs since I thought I would have plenty more time to focus on creating better quality drawings. These photos would also assist me in helping decide what topic I wanted to focus on when I arrived back in the UK. Although looking back on my depth of work now, perhaps I should have made time to work on observational drawings when I was in Morocco. However, photography is a very passionate skill of mine that I always look to develop further. Drawing, however, is something I see as a skill that I perhaps not value so much, considering how little I am required to use it in graphic design. Something that was new to me when attempting to do observational sketches, was the expressive style that I had to work in because of being forced to work quickly. In graphic design, drawings are not required to be expressive and instead are required to be made simple and easy to establish a connection with every audience necessary.

Instead of focusing on completing a range of drawings to show my illustrative skills and how I made an emotional or personal link with my surroundings, I decided instead to focus on how I could use the material and observations on my camera to put to good use by creating a short film experimental documentary and to create an editorial or photo album out of the photos I had taken. By using video and audio clips from myself and Lauren, as well as some from the rest of the group, myself and Lauren compiled a range of clips together looking at how we could express the chaos that lives within the city of Marrakech, and also my idea of how patterns in palaces and riads expressed this commotion of the streets, souks, and the Jemaa el Fna square of the Medina in Marrakech. With all the video, audio and photos we had gathered, we managed to compile together approximately a three-minute video showing what both of us had experienced while in the city and to show others what it was like to wander around the wonderfully vibrant and exotic culture Marrakech still held for its visitors and tourists. The film took two working days to compose along with the troubles in gathering footage from each group member. By using the video and audio editing skills I had acquired in the Circle Line project, I could use my knowledge to a great benefit to figure out the pace, imagery, and layering of the video. I also looked back at the video we had created for the Circle Line project as inspiration as well as the videos I took inspiration from for that project. Below is a Vimeo link to the film we had compiled together for this project.

Alongside the film, I had my own work to complete. I edited 235 photos using Photoshop, adjusting the brightness, contrast, exposure, hue, saturation, vibrancy, sharpness, and colour balance. As much as it was a fairly painstaking process to go through editing all the photos, it was indeed worth the time and effort in the end. I printed all the photographs out and decided to make an album out of 128 photos I had picked out. Using photo corners I stuck them into a sketchbook in chronological order, from day one to day seven. This made the sketchbook three times the thickness that it had once been. I quite liked how the sketchbook was almost bursting at its’ seams, almost ripping the bind out. It showed how colourful, busy, adventure-filled, and chaotic our trip to Marrakech had been. What I find disappointing is how little a very vast majority of people can appreciate photos and how much time I put into editing my photos to look their very best. However, during our presentation I was extremely pleased with how engaged people were in looking through my photo album, instead of my sketchbook, perhaps because it was something very different to what the rest of the class had created as part of their individual work for the project.

I had also completed several sketches in an A6 sketchbook to explore how I could use colour in stronger ways. I had used watercolour paints and fine liner pens to create these drawings. On the second double page spread, I had copied my name in Arabic from what I had learned from the calligraphy workshop at Cafe Clock. Within the time I had to complete these sketches, an immediate regret of wishing I had done more observational sketches while I was in Marrakech, kept going through my mind. Perhaps I would learn from this, realizing how valuable these personal connections would have been had I done them in such a contrasting bursting cultural city to Cardiff. On the fifth double page I had completed, I wanted to make sure I captured the inspiring nature of many of the people I had met. Our tour guide on the second day in Marrakech, Mr. Amine, was one of those people, as he reached to the sun describing the many wonders and philosophies of the prime locations we saw in Marrakech.

My field trip to Marrakech was a truly mesmerizing and unforgettable experience. Perhaps in short time to come, I would be encouraged by the photos and sketches I had gathered to go back there again, to stay for longer, to experience more, and to look and think further than ever before. I would want to see this city in a new light and from a different perspective. This culture which we had experienced was vastly different to even many of the challenges I had ever experienced before. By completing this project, it has made me braver to experiment with even broader a range of ideas, materials, and ways of looking at topics and cultures when I wander further abroad, or even further from what I see on my doorstep in the surrounding area I shall be. Most importantly, these new skills I hope will greatly influence what I explore in my subject. The importance of group work has taught me something valuable again. Perhaps I wish that I could have worked with more enthusiastic students that w=could possibly encourage me to explore further, however, I don’t think I would have had as reflective a journal post as this. A lesson that drives me forward is that from the greatest mistakes, the most valuable lessons are learned.

Morocco – One Week

Recently I made a weeks’ trip to Morocco for a field project. Below, is a detailed account and reflection of what happened on each day during my visit.


Leaving at 2am from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Llandaff Campus, was not something I had hoped for, considering how early in the morning it was. We arrived in Marrakech around 3pm, taking a bus to the hotel. I was immediately stunned at what looked like the chaos of the center of the Medina with the traffic. The Medina, meaning ‘town’ in Arabic, was the old walled quarter of Marrakech. The wall was made of red clay and had holes in, which were imprints from the scaffolding from when the wall was in construction. This ensured that the wall did not collapse when molded together during construction. This information was given to us by the tour guide as we were transported from the airport to Riad Bahia Salam; our accommodation for the week we were spending in Marrakech.

As we got further towards the hotel the traffic and fumes grew heavier. When we arrived at the hotel we were welcomed with traditional Berber tea, or as the Moroccan’s preferred to call it ‘Berber whiskey’. Alongside we were offered a sweet pastry-like bread. Soon after we went on a brief walk along the street and part of the souks by our lecturer, Chris.

Later in the evening, we walked to the Clock Cafe, about a mile away from the riad. For the first time, I tried a camel meat burger, which I have to say was truly delicious.


The first morning in Marrakech was glorious; although slightly chilly. We were served with a traditional Moroccan breakfast by the hotel with freshly squeezed orange juice. After breakfast, we were taken to the Mellah square, and then the Bahia palace which was a few hundred yards away. Much to our benefit, these places were just a short walk up the street from our hotel.

The Bahia palace entrance opened with a driveway framed by an array of trees and plants. Orange trees, blossoms, cacti, and succulents braved the consumption of the carbon fumes from the city. The palace grounds resembled a paradise, blocked out from the commotion of the city streets compared to the palace grounds. The palace opened with two walkways into a simple courtyard. White arches and a rotting green and white tile floor. A corridor then lead us to a gorgeous riad filled with orange and banana trees that towered over the surrounding roofs. The tour guide described how every surrounding room had no specific function, whether it be a dining room, sitting room, or bedroom. A true riad would feature elaborately decorated walls with intricate tiles and hand-carved wooden panels, as well as a source of water placed in the center. In most cases, the source of water would feature a water fountain made of marble to maintain the elaborate nature of decoration. The floors were made of marble tiles to relieve residents of the scorching hot weather they had to face, day-to-day for most of the year. Temperatures could reach 51’C in the middle of the summer in Marrakech. Because the floors were made of marble, many of the floors that were exposed had deteriorated due to weather conditions. Moving to the next court in the palace, white arches were prominent in the architecture. From there we were directed to the servants quarters which featured the largest court of the palace, and what was possibly the most used. Next to this court was a garden used by the owner of the palace, alongside his bedroom. The area where his bed would have laid would be used by him as well as his four wives. Trailing back to the entrance of the palace was a room that would have been used for parties or gatherings.

The decoration and design of patterns with tiles within the palace was incredible. I couldn’t have imagined the craftsmanship that would have gone into creating the patterns in the riads and courtyards. Ceramicists and carpenters carving and chipping away at stone and wood.

After completing a tour of the Bahia Palace within two hours, we then moved on to a tour of the main souks. We explored the souk where meat was sold, where leather was made, metal was welded, and clothing, accessories, decoration, and furniture were sold. We ended in the Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Within the square there laid the infamous snake charmers, performers, and various stall keepers. An unfortunate thing about the square was that we were asked to pay these performers if we took photos or videos. Luckily we could gather sound recordings on our phones of musicians playing Arabic tunes as possible contributions towards our group videos we were going to compile after we got back to the university.


On the second full day we were spending in Marrakech, we all took a 30 mins coach journey to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, Le Jardin Majorelle, and the Berber Museum within Le Jardin Majorelle. First, we visited the YSL Museum. Within the museum, there was a temporary exhibition of work that had been produced in Morocco, containing paintings and sketches. A permanent exhibition featured Yves Saint Laurent’s work, including his sketches, photographs, samples, and replicas, remakes or genuine artifacts of his fashion pieces. These were utterly mesmerizing to see. The amount of work that had gone into his pieces and seeing them in the flesh was incredible. Yves Saint Laurent had changed the world of fashion forever with his eccentric ideas, yet flattering designs of clothing for people to wear.

Le Jardin Majorelle was a source of inspiration for Yves Saint Laurent and was a pivotal starting point for what changed his career. You could see how his designs had changed after he visited Morocco.

Along a pathway surrounded by magnificent cacti, was a gorgeous Majorelle blue building, and inside was the Berber museum. Within the Berber museum, various pieces of traditional Berber artwork were shown, along with traditional cultural artifacts, such as tools, decoration, clothing, masks, accessories, and so much more. These were wonderfully shown in cabinets, and in one room there were mirrors with a dark ceiling and small lights, which portrayed the stars. Unfortunately, all the information in the museum was given to us either in French or Arabic, however, I managed to find some information online from the Britannica Encyclopedia, giving me an idea of the history of the Berber people and where they came from.

To this day, 14 million Berbers from several communities scattered across Morocco, live in valleys. Many other communities live in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, and Mauretania. Exploring more in-depth into the Moroccan Berbers, I looked at another website; It explains how the Berbers in Morocco have in fact dated back to prehistoric times, 4000 years ago. Calling themselves Amazigh, they have developed their own language by the use of their tongue as well as script and kept using it for 2500 years. Unfortunately, I did not see any Berber writing in the museum at the Majorelle Gardens. The Berbers, named ‘Berber’ deriving from ‘barbarian’ by the Arabs, were tasked by the Arabs to conquer Spain. Islam was introduced to the Berbers in the 9th-10th century, however, the Berbers were primarily Christian or Jewish. Most Berbers today are traders turned to farmers, living in the mountains, although some small shops, cafes or small restaurants still remain to cater to local or foreign customers.

That afternoon we walked back to the Clock Cafe for an Arabic Calligraphy workshop, which was challenging, and later that evening we stayed to watch traditional Moroccan storytelling from two local students and a man who had been telling stories for over 60 years. What I found fascinating was how long this man had dedicated his life to telling stories and keeping a part of traditional Moroccan culture alive, rather than allow his soul to be poisoned by Western culture, which was what it seemed for the most of our stay in Marrakech. It was a place that seemed a lot like our own in how we were attached to our phone screens. Luckily the majority of Marrakech and its inhabitants still embraced the traditional sense of their undeveloped country and showed how proud they were of their heritage.


On the fourth day, we were given the chance to look around the local area by ourselves in smaller groups, instead of having a day planned out for the whole class. It would also give us a chance to rest to set ourselves up for a trek up through the Ourika valley to the waterfalls the next day. We had set out the day planning to interview two or three people. First, we went to the souks. We came across a man who had once moved to London to work on Oxford Street as a waiter in Pizza Hut and then we came across an intriguing shop owner, Abdel, along with his apprentice, Achraf. Abdel explained how his shop in Marrakech is a business he keeps alongside his most valuable business and a passion of his. Camelback tours of the Sahara desert for the very brave tourists throughout the year. After being given some brief information we then received an invite to drink Berber tea with them one afternoon and to discuss his passion of the Sahara with us, which we gladly accepted.

We also visited the Henna Art Cafe that day, founded by an American artist named Lori.K.Gordon. From South Dakota, she arrived in Marrakech five years ago, originally visiting for a three-week vacation. Now at the age of 60, she is running a charity named El Fenn Maroc, which translates to ‘The Arts Morocco’, as well as the Henna Art Cafe which she started with a local living in Marrakech with his knowledge of running a cafe and being fluent in four languages, including English and French. What I loved about her business was that 10-70% of all the profit earned from the henna tattoo commissions, the henna gift shop, and the refreshments sold in the cafe goes to her charity and the programmes running as part of the charity.

What truly surprised me was the wages every worker was paid in Marrakech. Overhearing someone being paid their wages was surprising. For a couple of hours work, someone would be paid 200 Dirham, equating to around £15.


It was a chilly start to what would be the most exhausting day in Marrakech, by far. We were trecking up to the Atlas Mountains into the Ourika Valley. It was an hour-and-a-half on the coach, with what seemed like 3 hours traveling on a very long and straight road, with endless empty fields on either side. We passed through countless Berber villages, each of them featuring a number of stalls or shops filled to the brim of pottery, plants, clothing, and of course, argan oil products which were likely never going to be sold being on the main road. Not many tourists would quite see such attraction in going to the Ourika valley, possibly because of the overhyped attraction of staying within the Medina of Marrakech for its’ secret wonders and hidden kingdoms; I could understand the stigma. However, the Ourika Valley was something quite vastly different regarding the attitudes of the local people in the village we started our walk from, the air was cleaner to breathe, and not to mention, the views were incredible. Along the way to the village where the falls had started, we came across the Women’s Co-operative where they had made products out of argan oil, whether it was almond butter, honey, moisturizer, perfume, or pure argan oil itself. Every 30 minutes the women grinding down the almonds to produce argan oil, sang a call of welcome to visitors.

Before making our journey to the Ourika waterfalls, we ate cauliflower and butternut squash soup on the dry bed of the river and listened to several locals play music to us on old banjos and drums. One musician had made an instrument of his own out of an old drum, elastic bands, and nylon. It was truly delightful.

Along the walk to the Ourika Valley Waterfalls, we came across several shops which sold a variety of rugs, ornaments, clothing, and jewelry. What was special about the ornaments being sold was that they were all hand-cut and carved at the stall where they were being sold which showed us how much effort had been put into crafting all the charming statuettes.

The terrain up to the waterfalls was extremely challenging to clamber over. We had to cross old wooden and poorly constructed bridge’s, and the most difficult was climbing what was not the most sturdy looking ladder up against a cliff edge where locals kindly helped to pull us up past the vertical rocks. It was essentially a wall that was only made for rock climbing and not desperately clambering up onto. At the very top of our trek, we got to a stall where they sold us Berber tea. It was miraculous and rather surprising to wonder how they managed to get seats, tables, wood, and run a bar up near the top of a mountain, considering how tough the climb up was. The question still stood out to us, how would someone get back down that dangerous terrain? Much to our luck, there was another way down; and thankfully a significantly less steep pathway. We were all thankful to bask in the sun on our way down, overlooking the colourful buildings of the village.

DAY 6 & 7

Our last two days were our most valuable. We needed to gather as much evidence of us proving that we had absorbed and embraced what was left of the Moroccan and Berber culture within Marrakech, conducting last-minute first-hand research.

On Sunday we had first decided to visit the Saadiens Tombs, which featured wondrous patterns that showed the wealth of the many people that had been buried there. The amount of colour there was surprising to see, perhaps because I had the idea of a western culture image of a graveyard in my mind. What I would have liked to have seen at this historic site was some information boards out and perhaps a restoration of some of the patterned tiles designs that had been made there.

Next, we walked to the Badi Palace ruins. The grandeur of this site was phenomenal. It was unfortunate how poorly it had been preserved over the past few hundred years, however, it was interesting to see how the owner had tried to restore it. What would have been pools of water had been transformed into patches of orange trees, and what was previously courtrooms, had been transformed into well-designed areas where old artifacts were kept, whether it was scraps of tiles or old pieces of decoration.

On the seventh day we walked back to the shopkeeper whom we had met on the second day in Marrakech; Abdel. We had sat down in his shop and drank Berber tea with him. He had given us postcards and photos that had been sent to him from tourists he had taken on tours in the Sahara desert. He had told us about what he loved about being in the Sahara. Abdel missed his camels which he has taken on every tour, as well as camping under the stars at night, singing and playing tunes and traditional Arab and Berber music. It was fascinating to see how many connections he had made with people from all over the world. Generously he gave us a business card for a point of contact, and in return two of our group members had given him a painting which they had made of a photo I had taken of them at the first meeting. We said farewell and good wishes to Abdel and his business, and the same with Lori from the Henna Art Cafe that day.




A trip to Morocco

With an early beginning to the morning of the 23rd of January, we set off for a three-hour journey to Gatwick, London at 2:00am. It was a crisp and fresh start to a journey I could possibly never forget.

My first ideas and aims for an outcome of this field project would be to create a short film documentary, similar to the skills and creative input I had put into the Circle Line project. By using these skills I could create a film which would clearly show my experience of Marrakech, better than any sketchbook, drawing, painting, or design outcome could possibly offer to viewers. My experience in photography and video would assist me further in creating a documentary film. Although it wouldn’t be different to the skills I apprehended in term one, I wasn’t entirely sure what else I could create within such a short time frame, within the one week in Marrakech, but also in the small two week period, we would have after we return to the UK.

While I was in Marrakech we came across many extraordinary patterns within heritage sites. The Clock Cafe was a fantastic place to go to experience parts of traditional Moroccan culture that might be lost in time to come. We saw live storytelling from a man who had been telling stories in Arabic for 60 years, and heart thumping traditional Moroccan music played live, at the cafe. When trecking up into the Atlas mountains we sat by the Ourika river while we ate lunch in an undeveloped village. These experiences we had on the trip provided us with first-hand knowledge for us to document to assist us in the remainder of the project when we were to arrive back in the UK.


​The balance of beauty and monstrosity

With a swift start to level 5 regarding all three modules (subject, constellation, and field), studying Goddesses and Monsters, as part of the study group I decided to join for constellation, has introduced me to a new and deeper way of thinking about how I apply theory to my practice and what impact the work I design and create may have on people’s lifestyles. By gaining further knowledge to what I had learned from my constellation study groups last year, it has prepared me to think more carefully about what I want to concentrate on for my dissertation research proposal this year in preparation for my dissertation to write in my third and final year at CSAD.

Recently I completed a branding project titled ‘On Display’ as part of the subject module where I was required to create a brand identity for an exhibition I was to comprise. It was difficult to apply theory I had been given from Goddesses and Monsters to this project. I created the identity for an exhibition themed on Brutalist Architecture in London. Instead of creating a logo that could connotate glamour, I instead included connotations of construction and the monstrosity of brutalist architecture and ‘raw concrete’. I used these connotations in interesting ways in my project by transforming the image of brutalist architecture into something more delightful and pleasing to look at. By using the minimalist form of construction lines and by being influenced by Lego, I created a logo that was both beautiful, disguising the monstrous nature of brutalist architecture. This was shown through the design of the poster, wayfinding, signage, and most importantly the animated adaptation of the logo. This project was important in helping me understand how architecture could be perceived as beautiful or monstrous. It allowed me to transform something I wasn’t particularly fond of into something I really liked the design of by incorporating different styles into one identity that worked stunningly across all the visuals I had designed, and certainly the possibility for more. This combination of styles was supported perfectly by what I had learned last year in the constellation module as part of the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ study group, regarding bricolage by mixing styles from different era’s together.

I now needed to take on my project for Field. The project I chose for the first term of Field was titled ‘Circle Line‘. We were required to create an experimental documentary that documented all the senses and features of nature and the surrounding landscape of Cardiff, which included a trip to Pontypridd on the train and a visit to Bethesda Chapel in Ton Pentre. Circle Line represented the journey of going to these places on the train. Instead of looking at the beauty of human beings we were looking at the beauty of the landscape and the possible pollution and monstrosity that humans have bestowed upon nature. When visiting Bethesda Chapel we were struck upon the mishmash and chaos of the objects that had been thrown to waste within the chapel. As much as it was interesting it triggered a multitude of uncomfortable thoughts concerning what lay beneath the historical items, whether it was old posters, prints, photographs, cards, broken instruments, tools, and so much more. Many of these old pieces of junk had been put back to use. a craftsman who found junk in the chapel had repurposed their use to create sculptures of animals. For example, an elephant had been made out of bicycle chains, dustbin covers for the ears and various other pieces of junk. It reminded me of what I had studied last year in Smells Like Teen Spirit, with finding new meanings and uses in objects. The benefit of producing an experimental documentary would allow me to look beyond making things so obvious to the human eye, which is what I was used to as part of my practice in most cases. The ability to create new ways of seeing things would allow me to expand my mind. By allowing abstract art and design to come together through photography, video, and sound I could see how beauty and monstrosity could mix or become neither.

For my critical essay, I have explored how photography and paintings have changed our perception of beauty and perfection over the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and what we should deem as reliable and as true to human nature form. I decided to relate to photography because of how graphic design deals with such vast amounts of photography and film. As a hobby of mine, I feel it was suitable to discuss how my practice can change people’s lifestyles for better or for worse as technology is developing to manipulate images better than ever before or made possible. It is up to designers like myself to change the face of brands or even create new faces and new ways of seeing things.

Trailing back to Goddesses and Monsters, we learnt about where the idea of beauty and perfection has stemmed from. Primarily, the beauty of ‘ivory skin’ and traditional glamour has been derived from the tale of Pygmalion and his ivory woman. Along with further concepts and understanding of glamour, this has helped me write my critical essay. With the help of understanding how to analyse an image with concepts and theories from a range of academics, it has helped me prepare my thoughts for writing a critical and thoughtful dissertation proposal which I shall be starting to write next term. Being educated through the use of theory has taught me how to analyse and criticise my own work linking it to theories which have been made concerning glamour and the grotesque. These new theories will in future be applied to my work before analysing what I could have improved in my work. It will assist me in being critical of other people’s work. I hope I will also be able to give a new balance to beauty and monstrosity by combining the two to create a new deeper meaning in my work.