Conspiracy Theories – Good Design Evaluation

  • In what ways have you considered the sustainability of your project process and outcomes?

I used black and white throughout my design, making it a two colour process and less ink.

  • In what ways have you considered the ethical implications of your project process and outcomes?

I would say if this project was put into the public eye, it would generate fear in the local area. Using photoshop to alter images and presenting it to the public as genuine evidence wouldn’t be very ethical.

  • In sustainability and ethical terms in what ways was your work in this project an improvement or a backward step for you as a socially conscious designer?

I would say this project is perhaps a backwards step, as I didn’t really consider how my project could be made more sustainable other than the inks used. I also wouldn’t agree with the message I would be sending as a graphic designer, giving false evidence.

  • What targets can you make at this point for your work in the future as a socially conscious designer?

I would consider using other materials to print my design on. I did consider using recycled paper, however after speaking to tutors, I found out that the process is actually very environmentally unfriendly, wasting loads of water and energy.


Final Designs & Evaluation

After completing the project and presenting my work to classmates and tutors, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on my work.

I think I effectively explored different styles of both photography and style, and enhanced my knowledge of both as a result. I considered my role as the photographer and adapted the brief to work to my strengths as a photographer and a graphic designer. I produced two double page spreads using 3 images.

Although my tutors disagreed, I think I could have nudged the point size down a fraction to make it slightly less clunky on the page. I also noticed a typo on the page, which I will change for my portfolio, but disappointed I lacked that essential attention to detail required. I want to try and stay on top of my body text and make sure everything is at its optimal best.

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Good Design Evaluation – Conspiracy Theories

To stay conscious about my role as a designer, and what implications I may have on the world as a result of my work, I want to evaluate my project and set targets to decrease my impact on future ones.

  • In what ways have you considered the sustainability of your project process and outcomes?

The brief that was set asked us to create a small souvenir book to be sold in the shop of an exhibition about conspiracy theories. The raw materials used in the making of the book would be paper & ink. Although there is a lot of deforestation happening in areas that shouldn’t be harvested, the majority of the wood used is planted and harvested as a crop. There are in fact x50 as many trees as 100 years ago. I didn’t use recycled paper as this is arguably “less green” as there is considerably more energy & water used to collect and treat the paper. I think it would have been quite easy to print and reproduce with little impact on the environment, as black and white printing is cheap and cost effective.

  • In what ways have you considered the ethical implications of your project process and outcomes?

I designed a “fake story” to generate fear amongst the public. Ethically, I don’t think it’s right to make a story for the purpose of scaremongering.


  • In sustainable and ethical terms in what way was your work in this project an improvement or a backward step for you as a socially conscious designer?

I think I could maybe have done more research into how I could use less paper, perhaps making the book as one folded sheet. However I don’t think this piece would a massive impact in the future.


  • What targets can you make at this point for your work in the future as a socially conscious designer?

In future projects, I want to have a clear vision of what the end result will be. This will help me choose materials earlier in the process and adapt for a more sustainable end product. I also think I need to conduct more research into sustainable materials to be used in print design, to reduce my overall impact on the world.

Black & White Photography Research – Henri Cartier-Bresson

As part of my research, I wanted to look at some well known black and white photographers to see how they use the contrast and texture to create mood and atmosphere in their photography.

“For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to give a “meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.”

The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson is a massive part of the makeup of contemporary photography. He help shaped the modern form of photojournalism. He had an extraordinary talent for judging “the decisive moment” served to blur the boundary between an artist and a journalist, whilst working predominantly in black and white and producing countless iconic images.

I love how this shot is framed. the audience can see the urban landscape, with focus to the bottom right on a spiral stairwell leading to the ground. The photographer is positioned at the top of the stair well, capturing a cyclist in the top right speeding through the streets. Again the cyclist is positioned perfectly in a small space in the frame between the buildings and the railings of the stairwell. There is a small amount of motion blur, which would strongly suggest the photographer has used a slightly longer exposure time instead of “freezing time”. The contrast of black and white has a very “moody” feel to it, and provides strong contrast between the subject and the rest of the scene.


This portrait shot also provides an exciting contrast between black and white. There are two figures that stand out in the shot, however they have been “blacked out” to just be sillhouttes. The water offers the contrast between the black buildings and figures, with light from the sky reflecting from above. I love how the reflection is used to create mood, with exciting visuals. The person running across the ladder is captured and the perfect moment, just as the persons shoe is about to touch the water. The audience can see the path the person has tavelled from the ripple of the ladder in the water, though the rest of the frame is frozen still. There is a small amount of blur on the man that is running, which again tells the audience he is running and they may ask themselves, why? Henri Cartier-Bresson has merged art with journalism, setting the scene yet creating mood and visually stimulating images.


There is one sole figure in this image with his head resting against the desk. This tells the audience that he is either tired, or depressed. I think the fact he is sitting by himself, with his hat positioned next to him tells the reader he is unhappy. This works well with the atmospheric contrast between black and white. If colour was present, I think it would detract from the feeling of the frame. Black, white and grey have “dull” connotations, which could be a sign of what the mans life is like.




From this research I think I have learnt how black and white photography can influence the feeling and mood of the photograph. Some of the techniques I want to use from this research are as follows:

  • Motion Blur
  • Water Reflection
  • Silhouettes
  • Framing

Framing My Shots

Before taking the camera out, I just want to look further how framing my shots can have different effects to the audience.

Framing is a technique used by photographers to draw attention to a subject by blocking other parts of an image.

The Benefits 

  • Giving the image context
  • Giving images a sense of depth with layers
  • Leading the eye towards your main focal point
  • Exciting the audience

Frames come in all shapes and sizes, and can include shooting through branches, tunnels & windows or even people. The question the photographer must ask them self is ‘will this add to or take away from the image’. If it adds, then consider leaving the frame. However if it subtracts from the image, then frame your shot differently.

Also consider whether the frame should be in focus or not. In some cases, a nice blurred frame will add depth and mood to the shots. So consider the aperture value to manipulate the depth of field.

Black and White Photography Research

I wanted to look at black & white photography in more depth to distinguish key components that I can take and use in my own work.

The image below shows a close up of a Lion. The framing draws the audiences eye to the cats eyes, and the gaze engages the reader. The image is sharp and in focus, with ever hair giving texture and clarity. I love the contrast between black and white, which adds interest to the design.



This image has an “infrared” effect, as if it was shot at night. This is something to consider with my design, as I plan to use an infrared effect to imply the image was shot at night.


I like how direct the position of the cat is. The focus again is on the eyes, drawing the reader into the cats gaze and engaging them further. The black background gives good contrast to the black and white cat. The image has been taken with a low f-stop value, as you can see the shallow depth of field as the cats body leads off into the distance.


Magazine Grid Layouts – Research

To strengthen my knowledge of layouts, I wanted to refresh my memory and delve deeper into grid layouts, and how a hierarchy importance of an article can me maximised using grids.

Golden Section

A relationship between two numbers that has been used in Western art and architecture for more than 2000 years.

The formula for the golden section is a : b = b : (a+b).


This means that the smaller of two elements (such as the shorter side of a rectangle) relates to the larger element in the same way that the larger element relates to the two parts combined. In other words, side a is to side b as side b is to the sum of both sides. Expressed numerically, the ratio for the golden section is 1 : 1.618.

It is supposed to be the most natural spot to place an image, as the readers eye sits most naturally on this point.

Single Column Grids

Screenshot 2017-01-10 11.15.32.pngThis is the most simplest for of grid design. I consists of a single column of text contained by margins. This is quite unappealing and is rarely used in design

Multi Column Grids

This provides flexibility whilst also keeping a strong backbone to the design. It helps to divide the hierarchy of articles by balancing text and imagery. It creates zones in which content can sit comfortably in, and overall more aesthetically pleasing.