Archive for April, 2010


After struggling with research to find artists who had prduced work on the subject of “Phobias”, I came up with the idea of producing illustrations which appempted to show the effect a phobia has on the sufferer. Phobias can involve fears which other people may see as irrational, yet the impact on the sufferer is so intense.

One artist I looked at was Dennis Ryan who produced art based on phobias http://www.kickthefaucet.com/fine_art/paintings_phobia_art.html

I find these abstract illustrations fairly interesting, but feel an illustration to depict a phobia in a book or magazine aimed at the general public, as is my intention, needs to be a bit more obvious and clear, to communicate the visual message.

For this project I chose black ink and black acrylic as the medium, to give the illustrations more impact. The illustrations show the sufferer positioned in front of a mirror. The mirror shows the actual reflection of the object of the fear ( eg. butterfly), and the monstrous black creature shows the representation of the fear to the sufferer. The sufferer is shown with child-like objects as often experiencing a phobia makes the sufferer feel almost childlike.

I have chosen to illustrate a fear of shadows  SCHIOPHOBIA and a fear of insects ENTOMOPHOBIA.  For the fear of shadows I had inspiration from classic “scary shadow” images such as Nosferatu;

and images such as

I would imagine these illustrations to be used in a book or magazine article relating to the impact of phobias on their sufferers.


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My initial thought after researching design philosophy with reference to the themes of sustainability, boundaries and borders and ethical issues, was to design “something” for LUSH COSMETICS, a company which is very clear on it’s philosophical position in relation to these issues.  But what to design? …. clearly it would have to be an illustration based design, as this is my area of interest, and my original idea was to develop a form of illustrated multi-use packaging, which would act as both wrapping and advertisement for LUSH products. However, a recent LUSH  advertising campaign was based on reducing packaging, with the aim of selling products without packaging as far as possible …eg. shampoo bars, massage bars etc. This advertising campaign involved staff wearing nothing but aprons with the words “ask me why I’m naked?”



So clearly with LUSH being so anti-packaging, designing a form of packaging would not be acceptable. Full details of LUSH’s anti-packaging campaign can be found here:


The LUSH philosophy towards recycling is apparent on the packaging they use:

So my next idea was to come up with some form of re-usable advertising poster. Currently LUSH advertise their products very simply on blackboards in each store …. basically just product descriptions, with no imagery. They also produce a newspaper style brochure called the LUSH TIMES. This is produced on recycled paper. The stores, I feel would benefit from some distinctive and innovative advertisement scheme emphasising the glamour and wonderful benefits of using the products.

MY IDEA ……..

My idea would be to produce a poster for the store, but in the form of a projection. This would project a large image onto a white wall, and a large number of different images could be projected in sequence. This would remove the need for any paper or ink products, and although electricity would be required to power the projector, this would not be on the same scale as that needed to produce a large number of posters via traditional means ( printing presses, ink production, recycling processes etc ). Therefore this form of advertising would be in keeping with the company philosophy on sustainability. The posters could be easily updated when new products are introduced, and sent to all the different stores via internet, removing the need for transport.


After researching for this project I first produced many rough sketches and ideas and concepts, and sketched many styles and positions for my pin-up girl when developing my ideas.

Inspired by LUSH’s current RETRO theme, my idea would be to project a series of RETRO style ” Pin-up Girls”  in provocative poses, each associated with one of LUSH’s products. The posters would emphasise feminity, glamour and indulgence, but also conveying the message of  natural ethically produced products, animal friendly and no packaging, as per LUSH’s philosophical values. The images would be scantily dressed in keeping with the “Get Naked” message. The main message would be to emphasise the natural origins of the product.

I chose the product  “Honey Waffle Soap” as honey is a product associated with nature, and to link in with this I dressed the pin-up girl with bee accessories ( wings and antennae ) I also draped her with a black and yellow ( bee-coloured) fabric to emphasise the bee / honey theme. I gave the illustration a background of flowers as this was in keeping with the natural / bee theme also.

Honey Waffle Soap:

My inspiration for the Pin Up style posters also came from the website  http://www.thepinupfiles.com

and artists such as BILLY DE VORSS who was often inspired by New York theatres and nightclubs during the 1920s and 1930s

I particularly like this retro style as it evokes the glamour, feminity and style of the era, and is provocative without being pornographic.

I created my digital illustratation using my Wacom graphics tablet and Adobe Photoshop. 

I feel that the design idea communicates my own philosophical stance on the issues of sustainability and on ethical issues such as using products not tested on animals. I feel it also communicates the philosophical stance of the organisation and probably the customers who would be inspired to use the products.

While I was initially very confused in relation to this assignment …. mainly due to not really understanding the requirements, I now feel that I have interpreted the assessment appropriately and am happy with the result.

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Sustainability, Boundaries and Borders and Ethical Issues are clearly very important concepts in the field of design, and concepts which designers should be increasingly aware of. Many designers have their own philosophies which outline their stance on these issues. During my research for this project I came across many designers and companies who follow ecological and ethical principles in their line of work, and I will highlight some of these below:

1. Institute Without Boundaries


The Institute without Boundaries seeks to create

  • New design models that are collaborative and consider the ecology, social equity, cultural values and economic properties of the world;
  • A vision that affirms the possibility of developing healthy and creatively interactive relationships between the natural environment and human settlements, and;
  • An affirmative design agenda that encourages us to fashion beautiful, holistic environments for all constituents
  • The Institute Without Boundaries project aims to produce a ” World House” that can be built locally, affordably and easily.

    “What if we could design buildings that produce their own oxygen, distill water, accrue solar energy, change with the seasons and produce no waste?

    What if we used biomimicry to foster development of sustainable homes and communities? What if the strategies of conservation, stewardship, regeneration, health and ethics were applied to building both the home and the city

    What if we could design living environments to be usable by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation?

    What if buildings could interact, think, grow and change as we do over time?

    We can think of a few possibilities …….. ”

    ( Source: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004173.html )

    2. The Ethical Graphic Design Company

    “The question is whether concern about the consequences of one’s work can become part of the ethos of [graphic designers’] field. We all say no to many things that violate our ethical standards, why should our professional work be an exception” Milton Glaser

      Wherever possible we promise to:

      Only provide graphic design for companies, organisations or individuals who work to benefit humans, animals or the environment.Never do business with an unethical or immoral organisation.Run our business as kindly to the environment as possible

       ( http://www.ethicalgraphicdesign.co.uk/ethics.htm )

    One of the items this company have designed is this T-shirt supporting VIVA.

    This is in keeping with their design philosophy, to work with companies who benefit animals, as the design on the T-Shirt states

    “If it’s got a face, don’t eat it”




    We Believe ……

    A Lush Life

    We believe in making effective products out of fresh fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics, without animal ingredients, and in writing the quantitative ingredient list in English as well as Latin on the outside.

    We also believe in buying only from companies that test for safety without the involvement of animals
    and in testing our products on humans.

    We believe in making our own fresh products by hand, printing our own labels and making our own fragrances.

    LUSH COMESTICS has a strong ethical philosopy in relation to animal testing and no products are designed which are in any way tested on animals or use raw materials from companies where animal testing takes place.

    * Stopping all animal testing is something Lush cares passionately about. Not a penny of our money – your money too – goes to any company which carries out, funds or commissions any animal testing.

    * Lush does not buy any of the raw materials that make our products from any company that tests anything on animals. There are alternative tests which can be used.

    * We buy raw materials from any company that can sign a declaration saying they test none of their raw materials on animals now and have no plans to do so in the future. Eg if we want to buy glycerine which is not tested on animals but the company tests other materials on animals we will not buy from them. If the raw materials company tests glycerine for a food product, even though we want to use it in a cosmetics product, we still will not buy it from them.

    * This policy means that we can be certain that the profits our raw material suppliers make from us do not go back into animal testing. It means that we do not do business with companies whose ethical stance is at odds with ours and who are doing things that we find unacceptable or that compromise our beliefs. Companies who test at the moment but decide to stop testing and see the light can sell to us immediately.

    LUSH COSMETICS have a firm and extensive Environmental and Ethical Policy which can be viewed here:


    This covers their policy on packaging, waste and recycling, raw materials, energy, transport, communication, water and environmental issues. So clearly LUSH COSMETICS have a clear philosophy in relation to ethical issues and sustainability. After considerable research into design philosophy and the themes of sustainability, ethical issues and boundaries and borders, I have been most inspired by the principles of LUSH COSMETICS and will now conduct further research into designing a product,  poster or packagng for LUSH COSMETICS in a way which is consistent with  their design philosophy.  

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    The “Exquisite Corpse” Project

    This project involved producing an illustration based on randomly generated words as in the following link:


    The phrase I ended up with was

    ” The graceful fairy performed with the cute flower”

    Initally I researched the terminology and looked at many ways of interpreting the words “fairy”, “flower” ” performed” etc and produced many rough sketches, ideas and concepts. I looked at definitions and symbolic meanings of different flowers. I looked at how other artists have represented fairies and illustrations of flowers during the research process.




    My initial concept illustration was to show a banshee ( undead fairy ) performing the ritual of the last rites, a ritual which involved the use of  a flower, and I intended to try and produce this piece in watercolour, and although I attempted this and was fairly happy wih the result, after much deliberation I decided to go back to my preferred medium of digital illustration  by producing a poster advertising a band ” The Cute Flower”. The band would all be fantasy fairy folk ( elves) , and therefore the illustration would show the graceful fairy (the lead singer) performing with “The Cute Flower”

    This is a digital illustration of one of my sketches for one of the band members:

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    My Prop Design

     I was asked by North Wales School of Dancing to create a prop for one of their pupils to use in dance competitions. The music used for the dance was “Talk to the Animals” from “Dr Doolittle”, I was given the instruction to incorporate a monkey and a crocodile in the  design, but otherwise was left to my own devices. This is the finished prop:

    I initially spray painted the board a dark green for the background and then painted the jungle themed illustration using acrylic paint, outlining the characters and leaves in black marker pen to make it stand out as this would need to be seen from a distance. I was really pleased with the result, and the girl I was making it for was thrilled with it.

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    As part of this brief I am required to look at the themes of  sustainability, boundaries and borders and ethical issues and how these themes relate to the role of the designer.


    “SUSTAINABILITY” can be defined as the capacity to endure. 

    The intention of sustainable design is to “eliminate negative environmental impact completely through  skillful, sensitive design.”

    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_design )

    Sustainable design requires the use of no non-renewable resources, has minimal impact on the environment and relates people to the natural environment.

    Some of the principles of sustainable design are as follows:

    Low-impact materials: non-toxic, sustainably-produced or recycled materials which require little energy to process

    Energy efficiency: use manufacturing processes and produce products which require less energy

    Quality and durability: longer-lasting and better-functioning products will have to be replaced less frequently, reducing the impacts of producing replacements

    Renewability: materials should come from nearby (local or bioregional), sustainably-managed renewable sources that can ultimately be recycled.

    It is important that the design profession therefore  takes into account issues of sustainablility. Alongside the issues of sustainability there are ethical issues  which will impact on the profession.

    ETHICAL ISSUES can be defined as:

    pertaining to or dealing with morals or issues of morality; pertaining to right or wrong in conduct.


    Ethical issues relate to issues involving personal and professional values, respect, humanity, social and environmental responsibility, fairness etc.

    BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES refer to issues involving discrimination, racism, cultural inequality,and  fairness, and is clearly linked to ethical issues. Boundaries can be cultural, social, geographical, political and professional. It can also refer to the personal boundaries which may exist within a designer’s work ethic …. ie some designers would not design for certain companies such as the cigarette industry, meat industry, fur industry or anything involving testing on animals.

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    I have spent a bit of time checking out techniques using this book:

    The Manual of Illustration Techniques by Catharine Slade. 

    Inspired by one of the ideas in this book, I attempted to create a landscape using pastels, applying the pastel in small marks and using layers of different colour pastels to create varying tones.  This is the result:

    I am fairly happy with the result,

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