BCM241 Pitch

BCM241 Pitch

In my previous blog posts I have narrowed my field site, planned my approach and discussed my background research and ethics. This comes together to form my topic, which is Australian indie music, specifically where and how people discover music within the genre.

Digital Artefact:

My digital artefact will feature content posted to TikTok, with supporting content on Spotify. I will be making TikToks that feature Australian indie bands and artists and my music recommendations. I’ve found lots of new indie music on Tiktok recently but it is predominantly American and British. This means there is already a demand for music content on the app, and an opportunity to introduce more Australian artists. I will then accompany my TikToks with Spotify playlists including the featured artists and additional music.

I chose these two platforms as I believe they are two of the most accessible platforms right now to discover new music, and have both been ways I’ve recently found lots of new music. I also think creating content through these platforms will help me immerse myself even deeper into the community and inspire me to find unconventional ways of discovering new music to feature in my content.

Questions:

There are a few particular questions I’m looking to answer through my auto-ethnographic study. These include:

  • Where and how do listeners of Australian indie music discover new music within the genre?
  • What are the most unique ways people have discovered some of their favourite bands and artists?
  • What kind of stories come with discovering different artists? Are there similarities between fans of the same artists?
  • Does the way you discover an artist impact on the engagement you have with them? (eg. are you more likely to become a big fan of a band by listening to them on Spotify or in a live setting first?)

Research and Ethics

Research and Ethics

Vera Blue at the Metro Theatre, September 2017. pic by me.

Background Research

As stated in my previous blog post, I’ve struggled to find academic sources on “discovering new music”, however I’m sure something may come up with further searching.

I found multiple articles, such as this one from Vulture. It lists “the best ways” to discover new music according to popular artists such as A$AP Ferg. This does help create a basis for my research, however, with my focus on Australian indie music, there is a lack of articles that actually focus on the genre.

I have realised by the lack of academic sources that currently exist on this topic, a lot of the research that I base my digital artefact and research report on will be quantitative and qualitative research that I actually find myself.

I believe my starting point for research will be simply posing the question “how/where did you first discover *insert band/artist here*?” in the various Facebook groups I’m in for my favourite artists. I will then consider following this up with further related questions.

Reflecting on my own experiences and the ways in which I have discovered various Australian indie bands and artists has also been a starting point for my research. Below is a list of all the ways I’ve found music that I could remember from the top of my head:

Ethical Issues

The expected ethical practices will be put in place throughout my research, digital artefact and research report.

As my research will revolve around music, I will need to ensure I do not commit any copyright breaches. I will also need to be cautious of any biases I hold about anything to do with my niche, and make sure this is not projected in my research or report.

I will also make sure to conduct any interviews or qualitative research with the highest care for the other person/people involved and ensure any privacy or ethical concerns they have are addressed appropriately.

My research will definitely be more qualitative research-based. As Donna Mertens stated, “the ethical principles that guide qualitative researchers are complex because their work involves interactions with community members in ways that are more involved than they are with quantitative researchers” (Mertens, 2014). As this is the case, I will need to be extra careful to ensure all my research is ethical.

Something I also need to take into consideration in my ethical research is a point that Rachel Winter and Anna Lavis bring up on online ethnography: “the necessity of paying attention to listening is drawn to the fore by considering the dynamics of social media” (Winter, Lavis, 2020). The majority of my research, if not all of it, will be conducted online and through social media. Therefore, I need to ensure that I consider the dynamics of communication through online platforms, and that I am listening and communicating to the same standard I would if the interactions were face-to-face.

References

Mertens, D. 2014. Ethical Use of Qualitative Data and Findings, The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis (Edited by Use Flick), Sage: Los Angeles, 510 – 523

Winter, R & Lavis, A 2020,’ Looking, But Not Listening? Theorizing the Practice and Ethics of Online Ethnography,’ Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, Vol. 15

Planning My Approach

Planning My Approach

The Australian indie music scene is something that I have been involved in since I started high school and found that there was more music out there than what was in the top charts on iTunes. Getting wifi in my house after years of a plug-in internet dongle and my first mobile phone also helped my new music discoveries. Reflecting on the ways in which I’ve found music, specifically of the Australian indie persuasion, over the past few years has inspired me to discover how others have found the same music.

Stella Donnelly at Sydney Laneway Festival, Feb 2020. pic by me.

Problematisation

As I stated in my last blogpost, I have problematised my media niche by focusing on the ways (WHERE?/HOW?) in which listeners of Australian indie discover new music within the genre.

Through my own personal experiences, I have found that the locality of the genre has allowed me to discover new music in many ways, both physically and digitally. This means that for each band and artist within the genre, there are many ways in which they could be discovered by an individual.

Some of these discoveries may also involve special stories or memories that are linked to a specific song or band. This is something that has really interested me and is something I want to uncover through my research.

A personal example is one of my first physical experiences of Australian indie music. I was offered a free ticket to the all ages day of the ‘Yours & Owls Festival‘ in 2015. I rocked up as a barely 15-year-old girl for my first festival and was introduced to bands such as ‘Gang of Youths‘, ‘The Rubens‘, ‘Skegss‘, ‘The Delta Riggs‘ and ‘The Smith Street Band‘. All of these bands have since become big players in the Australian indie music scene, and I still listen to some of them to this day.

Research Plan

The methodologies of observation and auto ethnography will be key to my research on my niche.

Observation is a procedure for generating understanding about the way of life of others (Dawson, 2002). This is done through the researcher immersing themselves into the community they are studying (Dawson, 2002). As a major consumer of all things Australian indie, I am already heavily involved in the community in a number of ways, so this will come somewhat naturally to me.

This fits in with auto ethnography. According to Leon Anderson, “analytic auto-ethnography requires being fully immersed as a participant self-observer in the field of research” (Anderson, 2006). As Chris also further highlighted in the Week 3 lecture, “it is not enough simply to look in, you have to participate and do, to experiment, tangle with, look at the experience from different perspectives and speak to others that are similarly engaged.”

By engaging more in the Facebook fan discussion groups I’m a member of, speaking with other Aus indie fans and reflecting on my own practises of discovering music, I’ll be doing just that.

To keep track of all my research, I’ll be combining any notes, screenshots and quotes into a desktop folder on my computer. I’ll also keep any handwritten notes together in a notebook dedicated to my work in this subject.

Research Schedule

References

Anderson, L. 2006. Analytic Autoethnography, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 373-393.

Dawson Catherine (2002)  How to Carry Out Participant Observation, in Practical Research Methods A User-Friendly Guide to Mastering Research Techniques and Projects, HowTo Books: Oxford.

Narrowing My Field Site

Narrowing My Field Site

From the ideas I pitched in my previous blogpost, I have decided that the niche I will be ethnographically researching is the Australian indie music scene. I decided on this particular topic due to how passionate and immersed I already am in Australian indie music, which should hopefully assist in my research.

Lime Cordiale playing at the UOW Unibar. 3/11/18. pic by me.

To narrow this niche further, I will be specifically looking at how listeners of indie music discover the bands and musicians they listen to and what platforms they use to listen to the music they discover.

I created a mind map to visualise the ways I, and other listeners of indie music, interact with the genre.

This mind map formed my field site which can be defined as ‘the spatial characteristics of a field-based research project, the stage on which the social processes under study take place’ (Burrell, 2009). This field site is an important basis for my ethnographic research as it is highlights what my research will and will not cover.

After identifying my field site, I became more aware to the fact that the Australian indie music scene, as well as indie music across the world, relies heavily on almost an equal amount of digital and physical landscapes.

I also realised this to be true for myself and to the specific topic I had narrowed down. Some of my favourite artists and songs have been discovered through aspects of the physical landscapes like concerts and festivals, as well as random aspects of the digital landscape such as Triple J’s ‘Like a Version‘ and Amoeba Music’s ‘What’s in my Bag?‘.

Australian psychedelic rock band ‘King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’ on Amoeba Music’s ‘What’s in my Bag?’

By ethnographically exploring this particular niche I hope to develop my research skills through a topic I am very interested in and passionate about. Then, by using this research I hope to be able to expand my creative skills but turning the information I find into a successful digital artefact.

Ethnographically exploring this niche will aid me in current times and in the future. I will uncover new methods of finding music through the experiences of others, which is something I’m always keen to do. For the future, learning this information may be useful to a future career I’m interested in. Any career involving live music and/or music promotion is something I have always considered pursuing, so researching how people engage with different platforms and landscapes within the niche of Australian indie music would be helpful for this.

The information I discover may also be of interest to people such as upcoming Australian bands and promoters as it will show the variety of ways and places people discover and listen to music.

I struggled to find relevant scholarly research to this topic, except for one paper that may be of interest. It revolves around the Australian indie music scene and its link to festivals, the sub-culture and also the sense of community of the scene (Cummings, 2005). This is something I immediately related to the many Facebook discussion groups I am involved in for some of my favourite bands such as ‘Spacey Jane Thrillposting‘ and ‘Ball Park Music (everything is) Shitposting‘. My connection with these groups is something I can definitely utilise to gain important qualitative and quantitative research.

In terms of problematising my media niche, I will aim to uncover the many unique ways in which Australian indie music fans discover new music within the genre. By doing this, I hope to find relevant information that is not only of interest to fans, but artists too, to aid in the discovery of new music.

References

Burrell, J. 2009. ‘The field site as a network: a strategy for locating ethnographic research’, Field Methods, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 181 – 199

Cummings, J. (2005). Australian indie music festivals as scenes. Tasa 2005 Conference, University Of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, 5 – 8 December 2005: Refereed Papers. Accessed online: https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws:6573

A Round of Applause – A Narrative Reflection

A Round of Applause – A Narrative Reflection

I’m sure anyone who has worked in hospitality could name countless incidences of rude customers, complaints, strange requests and funny characters. As someone who has worked cafe jobs in my busy, touristy hometown for almost 4 years now, I too have my fair share of stories.

This abundance of stories made it hard for me to pin point just one instance to reflect on, but upon listening to the similar experiences of others in my BCM313 tutorials, two similar events really stood out to me.

After making money through babysitting for most of high-school, I was offered a trial shift at a cafe at the start of Year 11 and decided to give it a go. I was extremely nervous in my first few shifts but slowly got the hang of it and before I knew it, I had perfected my “customer service voice” and mastered plastering on that fake smile to get through the busy weekends.

I was only a couple weeks into the job when one Sunday we ended up very short staffed. There were just 3 of us running the floor and preparing food and drinks. I began to feel very overwhelmed early in the shift but tried to remain focused and calm. There was a long wait time on orders and customers were getting impatient.

One group in particular had taken up multiple tables in the cafe and had waited around 20 minutes when I arrived at their table with the first lot of coffees. I was greeted with a loud round of applause and dramatic comments which attracted the attention of the whole cafe. As an insecure 16-year-old girl, this really hurt me, but as a stubborn 16-year-old girl, I was determined to keep my fake smile on and power through the rest of the day. When I got home later I was very upset at how I had been treated and I had wished I was able to stand up for myself.

A few years later, in June 2020 to be precise, I dealt with a similar situation on one of my first shifts back from the COVID-19 lockdown. A large group of people had ordered takeaway coffees and were notified it would be a 15-20 minute wait due to how busy the cafe was. When their order was ready I announced it through the takeaway window. I was met with loud clapping and rude comments that once again brought unwanted attention from tables and other people waiting for their orders. This time, even as a more secure 19-year-old girl, I was affected by this, but I kept my fake smile on and then later, was able to laugh about it with my co-workers.

Looking back on the similarities between these two situations I was really frustrated. I wished I was able to stand up for myself, as I would have if it wasn’t in an environment where I was expected and paid to remain calm and professional.

The work of the late Australian social worker, Michael White, on the ‘absent but implicit’ highlights why myself, and others in related circumstances feel this frustration. The absent but implicit can be explained “as the idea that we make meaning of any experience by contrasting it with some other experience or set of experiences” (Freedman, 2012). The feeling of frustration is made possible through the beliefs, values and purposes we possess as individuals (White, 2003). It is completely against my own values to act in the way the customers I had served treated me. The lack of action I was able to take against their behaviour was also out of character for me typically which exacerbated my frustration.

Retelling these stories of disruption are important, and become a form of narrative therapy. Dominant stories in our lives not only affect the present but will also have implications for future actions (Morgan, 2000). It is therapeutic to reflect on these stories as we create our own meanings for them and in turn, learn lessons for the future. As Alice Morgan states in ‘What is Narrative Therapy?‘, “we are always negotiating and interpreting our experiences”. This is evident for myself as I have constantly reflected on the original and more recent incidences I experienced.

Learning about emotional labour in BCM313 in recent weeks has really opened my eyes to just how much hospitality workers have to “mask” when working and how draining this can be for an individual. Emotional labour is a term that was first introduced by American sociologist, Arlie Russell Hochschild in 1983 in ‘The Managed Heart’. Hochschild defined emotional labour as having to “induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others” (Hochschild, 1983).

This “outward countenance” includes features like a fake smile, customer service voice and proper posture. I’m sure in both of my situations the customers would’ve been shocked or uncomfortable if I were to actually react to their actions as it is expected of hospitality workers to maintain a composed appearance at all times. This is something I have always personally struggled with as I usually come home from a long shift more emotionally and mentally drained than physically due to “masking” through my shift.

Hochschild based a lot of her research of emotional labour on the work of flight attendants. Something I found really interesting was how some of the flight attendants studied were able to lessen the impacts of emotional labour by shifting their focus or changing their perspective on the situation they were facing (Williams, Singh, 2018).

On this topic, one of the flight attendants explained, “I try to remember that he’s drinking too much, he’s probably scared of flying, or I think to myself that he is like a little child….and when I see him that way, I don’t get mad that he is yelling at me” (Hochschild, 1983 (pg. 55)). I actually put this method to use on my most recent shift at work when dealing with an elderly woman who was speaking very rudely to me and it definitely helped me overcome the situation.

References

Hochschild, A. 1983. ‘The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling’. pg. 7. pg. 55. Accessed online: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=whi61UWpoJ4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=the+managed+heart&ots=A8AfdL30fr&sig=Wlq-P9Dp6OPMex0b3yvUMPiiUYU#v=onepage&q&f=false

Wilkinson, S. 2018. ‘Why was everyone talking about emotional labour in 2018?’. BBC. online article. Accessed online: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/5ea9f140-f722-4214-bb57-8b84f9418a7e

Freedman, J. 2012. ‘Explorations of the absent but implicit’. pg. 2. The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. no. 4. Accessed online: https://dulwichcentre.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Explorations-of-the-absent-but-implicit-by-Jill-Freedman.pdf

White, M. 2003. ‘Narrative practice and community assignments’.
International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. no. 2 pg 17-55

Williams, C, Singh, S. 2018. ‘How to Minimise the Cost of Emotional Labour’. Hospitalitynet. opinion article. Accessed online: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4088282.html

Morgan, A. 2000. ‘What is Narrative Therapy?’. Dulwich Centre. Accessed online: https://dulwichcentre.com.au/what-is-narrative-therapy/

What is my media niche?

What is my media niche?

For BCM241 (Media Ethnographies), we have been asked to identify a media niche we are involved or interested in to ethnographically research for our major assignment. I have many niches I’m interested in and struggled to narrow it down to a single idea. I have two niches to discuss in this blogpost, which may actually help me make my decision.

Niche #1 : “Underground” and “Indie” Australian (and other) Musicians and Bands

This is a niche I’ve been involved in since around 2012/13 when I began high school and started expanding my music taste, and listening to Triple J. Since then I’ve always loved finding new bands, going to as many concerts and festivals (and North Gong Sundays) as I can afford, buying lots of merch and making Spotify playlists and recommendations to my friends. Now, due to COVID-19, I’ve also been viewing plenty of live streams and music videos from my favourite artists.

My last festival before lockdown: Spacey Jane at Laneway Festival Sydney, Feb 2020.

Due to Triple J’s large following and the constantly evolving use of social media across the past decade, many indie Australian bands such as Ocean Alley and Windang locals, Hockey Dad have actually become quite well-known nationally and internationally. However, there are still many Australian artists and bands I believe are majorly underrated within our own country, and this is something I hope will change within the next few years.

I would love to explore the ways in which other music lovers, like myself, find and interact with new music, and what their preferred “methods” are. I would also like to explore the utilisation of TikTok to promote smaller bands and musicians. This is something I have noticed more on my TikTok “For You Page” with many bands combining popular trends with their music to reach a larger audience.

Something I also find interesting as a listener of indie music is the “subculture/lifestyle” that comes with it. I think many young Australians would have a preconceived idea of what a stereotypical Triple J listener would look like and how they would act, and this is also something that could be explored.

Niche #2 One Direction

One Direction at the AMA’s 2014. Photo by Kevin Mazur. Source: https://www.vulture.com/2019/12/one-direction-friendship-fued-explainer.html

I’m not going to lie, One Direction was the first thought I had when I posed the question, “what is my media niche?”, to myself. I have been a fan of One Direction since I first heard ‘What Makes You Beautiful‘ in 2011. Something I’ve found really interesting about One Direction, and particularly their fans, is that 99% of them never really grow out of their One Direction phase. The popularity of One Direction within this degree was also confirmed to me when I made this tweet the other day, which convinced me that 1D could be a possible niche I could explore.

https://twitter.com/abbeydoyle12/status/1291593594877304833

Just to expose myself further, I’m watching ‘One Direction: Where We Are – Live from San Siro Stadium’ as I write this blogpost. (Yes, that is a link to watch the film in its entirety on YouTube.)

Personally, I’ve recently noticed a new wave of One Direction fans, which may correlate with a number of factors like boredom during lockdown, the 10 year anniversary of the band (which was a couple of weeks ago) and the increasing popularity of different 1D trends and songs on TikTok. For a more personal example of this “new wave”, my younger sister and her friends (who were only 7 when One Direction went on an “18-month hiatus”) all identify as big One Direction fans, know all their songs and now follow the boys’ solo careers.

I’d love to explore the fan culture of One Direction. What are the different ways One Direction fans express themselves across multiple media platforms? How do fans continue to make new content about the band five years after their split? How has this helped One Direction and their solo careers remain relevant in the media? What are the different fan conspiracies and theories that surround 1D? What makes people remain such big fans of the band, despite there being no signs of a reunion anytime soon? (that hurt me to write lol)

Reflection

Reflection

Overall, Task 2 was probably my favourite uni assignment I’ve done across the 3 sessions I’ve completed of my degree. I learnt so many useful skills across Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign which I’ll be able to use in the future. I also realised how hard I was making my life doing different things in certain ways.

All the online lectures and tutorials were super helpful, so I really didn’t come into many issues while making each aspect of the task.

I was really excited when I saw the ransom note aspect of the task. Collaging is an art form I’ve always really liked, and I had a stack of old magazines sitting in my room waiting for an assignment like this. I definitely enjoyed looking for different letterforms and putting them together in different “drafts” across my dining room table.

some of my early “drafts”
the image i ended up using

I really liked putting the ransom note through different experiments with the duotones, and playing with the levels and saturations. I ended up using the colour swatches I gathered from these edits throughout my whole booklet.

duotones
colour change / saturation

The next thing I worked on was the monograms. I did struggle with this slightly, as I was unsure on how I could combine my initials AD or AMD in a way without distorting the letters too much. I also wanted it to reflect my own personal style.

creating my monogram

My boards ended up pretty blank as I worked on the same set of letters mostly. I knew I wanted to use this font as I loved the retro vibes of it, and I already used it in a lot of other things I’ve created. After looking through other people’s designs, I see I could’ve made my monogram a little bit more technical and complicated, but I personally liked the simplicity of it and I think it reflected my own style.

The setting for sense aspect of the task was a little time consuming for me. I kept changing my mind on how I wanted to showcase the different aspects of the page set up. I ended up pretty happy with the final selections I made for my booklet. I definitely tried to take on the different tips I’d seen across the work on Moodle, but tried to make it as original as possible. I also tried to vary the different aspects I incorporated into each page, whilst trying to maintain an consistent aesthetic and colour palette.

Looking back at what I created throughout this task, I was pretty happy with how it all turned out. The amount of new skills I’ve learnt in the process has also been great. I can’t wait to expand on everything in the future VCD subjects in other aspects of my degree, and possible future jobs.

Whilst I wasn’t very consistent with my blog posting through the session, I was glad it was a required part of this task. It definitely helped with my background knowledge on visual communications, and made me appreciate things I’d already been interested in even more. Reflecting on my progress has also been really rewarding and showed me what I had accomplished in the session.

Andy Warhol and April Greiman

Andy Warhol and April Greiman

How has the work of these designers been a response to what was happening on a cultural, social or political level at the time? 

Andy Warhol

August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987

If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.

Andy Warhol, 1966.

Andy Warhol is one of the most iconic artists of all time. He used a variety of art forms, but is most known for his work in the Pop-Art movement throughout the 1960s. One of his most famous artworks is his painting of the Campbell’s Soup Cans, which he painted in 1962.

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans. 1962. source: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79809

A lot of his work surrounded the themes of celebrity and materialism. This is seen through some of his other well-known work, like the pop-art portrait of Marilyn Monroe. He was friends with many celebrities and socialites, and was a regular at the popular dance club Studio 54. Throughout the 1970s many of these people commissioned work from him.

Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe. 1967. source: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/61240

Warhol’s sexuality was also a theme in some of his work. Homosexuality was a crime in the United States in the 1950’s, and Warhol had work turned away from shows due to the fact men were embracing in it (The Warhol Museum, 2020). He also released films throughout the 1960’s which featured naked men, such as his film Sleep (1963), which was nearly 6 hours of footage of his then-boyfriend, John Giorno, sleeping naked. When the AIDS/HIV crisis impacted on the art scene and gay community of New York City in the 1980’s, it was reflected into his work.

April Greiman

born: March 22, 1948

“Design must seduce, shape, and perhaps more importantly, evoke an emotional response.”

April Greiman

April Greiman’s work is so important. She is widely known as one of the first designers to embrace digital design, and discover the potential of computers and their tools in visual communications. Around the 1970’s, other artists were afraid new technology would compromise the existing International Style, but Greiman saw new factors of digital art such as pixelation and “errors” as integral to the artform (Famous Graphic Designers, 2019). The development of Macintosh computers in the early 1980’s created even more possibilities for Greiman.

“The digital landscape fascinates me in the same way as the desert.”

April Greiman

She developed a style, known as New Wave, that broke away from the characteristics of Swiss Modernism and created a new post-modernism theory.

REFLECTION

Psychedelic art is something I’ve always loved and was something I definitely wanted to incorporate into Task 1. I’ll mainly be referencing this movement through the colours and font I use in my poster. I looked for psychedelic art I liked, then using the colour dropper tool I make a colour swatch.

Uncut poster proofs for the Peacock Ball, promoting Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Miller Blues Band in March 1967. Designed by Victor Moscoso. source: https://www.anothermanmag.com/life-culture/10582/psychedelic-poster-art-from-the-60s-70s-and-80s

This is what I got my colour inspiration from. I also had a font on my computer that I personally thought had a 1960s/1970s aesthetic and decided to use this for my featured text.

“just keep truckin'” font

Overall, I wasn’t happy with how my poster turned out, but I definitely enjoyed learning new processes in new software which will be useful for future assignments and work outside of university.

Monograms

Monograms

Monograms were traditionally used to represent an individual, kingdom, municipality or company. Today, they are definitely more commonly associated with brands and commercial use.

One Old

source: https://www.postalmuseum.org/blog/royal-cypher-appearances/

Royal monograms are iconic. This one in particular represents the current Queen, Queen Elizabeth II. Every royal monogram features the monarch’s inital, their number if they are not the first of their name and an R, which stands for either Rex or Regina, which is King or Queen in Latin. A crown is also visible in the monogram.

The tradition of a royal monogram, or cypher, spans back to Queen Victoria who was the Queen from 1837 to 1901. Royal cyphers predominately appear on mailboxes, medals and stamps, but can also be printed on various other items. Across the United Kingdom, you can approximate the age of an item by which royal cypher is visible on it.

source: https://www.postalmuseum.org/blog/royal-cypher-appearances/

One New

The Louis Vuitton monogram is probably identifiable to a majority of the population, regardless of whether you can afford their items or not.

The classic interlocking LV symbol was actually created by Louis Vuitton’s son, George, in 1896 (Vogue, 2018). This design was a way to identify the luggage business, and it has stuck around until today.

The iconic monogram can be seen across most of the Louis Vuitton product range, and has since become a symbol of wealth, high fashion and prestige, similar to other designer brand monograms such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Psychedelics and Swiss Modernism

Psychedelics and Swiss Modernism

PSYCHEDELICS

Psychedelic style emerged predominately through the 1960s and was seen in music and art. It was heavily influenced by the hippy movement, pacifism and Far East cultures (Kłos, 2016). Psychedelic art is mostly characterised by bright colours, strong contrasts, multiple elements and “melty” images and typography. Psychedelic style is also known to reflect the visions and feelings of being under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and mushrooms.

Work by Wes Wilson. source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/arts/design/wes-wilson-dead.html

This is a poster designed by Wes Wilson. From the mid-1960s, Wilson made posters for rock shows at various venues across San Francisco. Wilson was well-known for his “free flowing block lettering” in his posters, and the “illegibility” of them (NY Times, 2020).

This poster was specifically designed for Bill Graham for a show at the Fillmore Auditorium in 1967. The show featured Jefferson Airplane, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooke and Stu Gardener Trio.

All of the stereotypical elements of psychedelic art are definitely present in this piece. Bright, contrasting colours, the melting, flowing graphics. The illegible type. I had to hold my computer very close to my face to understand exactly what it says. It’s definitely targeted at a specific audience, which I assume were people involved in the hippy movement, and fans of psychedelic music and art.

“The point of psychedelia was that nobody could read it — unless you were part of the ‘tribe’. It was a type of marketing that was trying to (literally) scare away the ‘straights’ (or at least make the secret world illegible to them).”

– Art Chantry

SWISS MODERNISM

Swiss Modernism, or the International Typographic Style, originated in Switzerland. It was developed over the 1950s through two Swiss art schools, the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, led by Josef Müller-Brockmann, and the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule in Basel, led by Armin Hofmann (Bigman, 2016).

Some of the most prominent characteristics of Swiss Modernism are grid structured layouts, sans-serif typefaces, asymmetry and photography (Weis, 2017). The font, Helvetica, was designed throughout the Swiss Modernism movement to reflect the principles of sleekness and readability, almost the opposite of the Psychedelic movement. Helvetica is actually Latin for “Swiss”.

Work by Josef Müller-Brockmann. source: https://medium.com/@mason_weis/what-is-swiss-design-2c97088c3f20

This poster was designed by Josef Müller-Brockmann. It highlights the simplicity of Swiss Modernism. It also shows the use of grids, which are heavily utilised throughout his work. Whilst not plain or boring, another element of Swiss Modernism is functionality and that “all traces of the designer’s subjectivity should be suppressed in order to let the “content” of a work shine through” (Bigman, 2016).

“The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice.”

– Josef Müller-Brockmann

REFLECTION

Collecting photos of my letter forms for the Ways of Seeing task was actually really interesting, and definitely nothing like your typical university assignment. Familiarising myself with Photoshop was pretty daunting, but I slowly got the hang of it. I wanted my photos to have a consistent aesthetic, and chose to edit them all with a red tone and turned up the saturation, among other alterations. I had experimented with more heavy editing of the photos, but I preferred to keep it to my usual style and preference.

letter C
letter A
letter W