Week 13: Culture, Context and Communication

We can design any object, virtual or physical, we can love our product or hate it, we can feel it is the easiest most practical thing to use or it takes a lot of skill. In all of that, we as designers cannot control the response and opinions of our audience. Although we can analyse our target audience to find out their needs and wants, their personal opinion of our design is not up to us. But we can influence it in our favour. We have been talking about context and culture of target audience a lot lately in class and I feel it is very important in the design research, user experience based designs. Two ways we can influence a positive perception of our design is through redundancy and Entropy.

Redundancy: 

‘Redundancy refers to any part of the message that is predictable of conventional, and includes the way texts build into their messages predictability.’

 

Redundancy in my plain language is things that are repeated, texts that are familiar to people, that they don’t have to learn. For example a chair, I know how to use a chair because chair have a particular shape that is familiar to me, although some colours or designs may be new or different I know a chair is a chair because of its familiar shape

In my design object I employed the use of redundancy through the icons on the flyer. Using redundant or familiar icons to children was to plant an idea of fun in their minds. When using redundant images it will connect a customers brain to previous texts that they are familiar with to shape their perception of the item. Therefore, I used icons (similar to the image below) that represented fun to children on the design in the hope their previous familiarity with the objects will create a positive opinion to the product.

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Entropy: 

‘Entropy can be thought of as the delivery of new or unpredictable information.’

This requires the customer to learn new things in order to use the product, for example the apple iPad, it had redundancy with the formatting and layout of icons and programs on the screen however now this small computer no longer needed a mouse, keyboard or hard drive but instead could be used any where, any time with the touch of only one or two buttons. The apple iPad had new aspects of an old design that require people to learn the new or unpredictable information.

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In my design object I don’t believe I used too much entropy, new ideas or unpredictability. The only new things I would have introduced is that the design was aimed at primary aged students exclusively in the franklin district in contrast to other children’s conferences being aimed at older student of different areas.

 

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Week 12:Design Context Assumptions

When deciding whom to design my object for I did extensive research on the demographic using many sites in particularly the New Zealand statistics website. This facts also gave me insight into the psychographics of the people group. However, these facts do not give definite explanations of the individual customers in which I am designing for, the psychographics although informed are actually imagined in my report. I designed for the everyman archetype which I said was majority of the people in Pukekohe, however, I believe that was stereotypical not actual and more based on my opinion and experiences.

 

Therefore, my experience in actually working and volunteering in the community is hugely valuable and gives me a better understanding of this audience and the user of this product. In particularly with children.

 

The first target audience I chose for my design object was the demographic of primary aged students (aged 5-11) in the Franklin area, particularly those residing in Pukekohe. More specifically appealing to those students with leadership potential or who wish to be leaders and gain confidence. The psychographics included: The Succeeder and The Explorer.

I believed my design object would have best suited children aged 5-11 in Pukekohe as the demographic is largely middle to lower income families that need encouragement to break out of the mainstream, everyman archetype. The Franklin district has a huge percentage of children with statistical evidence that 5-14 year olds are the largest age group living in that area. ‘22.4 per cent of people are aged under 15 years in Franklin Local Board Area’

The second target audience I chose for my advertising design is the parents and caregivers of these children.

Week 11: Contexts of Production and Reception

‘The context of production is the situation or circumstances in which a text is produced with significant factors influencing the writing or speaking of a text.’

The context of production for the Film the Hunger games revolves around authors Suzanne collins and director Gary Ross. The film originating from the Hunger games novel was written by Suzanne Collins in 2008 followed by the film adaption made in 2012.

Suzanne Collin shares her inspiration for the novel in the following videos. Collins explains that the idea occurred whilst television channel surfing between multiple reality, action and war documentary programs. The ideas seemed to merge together to create a fictional society so consumed with materialism as the reality tv programs in our world today reflect and the Panem society that has become desensitised to war and human suffering.

The social behaviours and opinions somewhat reflect issues in our society today of the unequal distribution of wealth over social classes and the western society that has become numb to the real effects of war on people due to their over consumption of digital information such as violent video games and reality tv shows.

At the time of the novels design process in 2008 American troops were fighting in Iraq and it was popular headlines, even in New Zealand, there was great tribulation yet we were so content with viewing the material because of our lack of empathy and personal connection with the subjects involved. This is reflected in the Capitol people in Panem whom enjoy watching children brutally fight until death for reality television entertainment.

I believe one of the largest contributing factors (the film adaptation) of the Hunger games ability to present such disturbing themes to young adults and tweens was because of the viral video and virtual protest phenomenon known as ‘KONY 2012’ released in the same year. This short documentary films aim was to gain awareness for the increasing number of “invisible children” or child soldiers in african countries.

 

‘The context of reception is the situation or circumstances in which a text is received with significant factors influencing the reading or listening of a text.’

The context of the release of the film adaptation was that the children/young adults had read the book and were obsessing over the film, they were excited that Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutchinson were going to star and I wonder if the exact opposite of Suzanne Collins intentions for the film were received by the intended audience.This is demonstrated in the fan photo below. The young clientele chose between the love triangle of Peeta and Gale which was a minor theme in the film and novel and excluding themselves from being effected by the real horrors and effects on children on a war stricken country. This just proves the designers inability to control the received perceptions of their audience.

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For the slightly older viewers, young adults, myself included I found the comparisons of the realities of the fictional Panem to our society today were shockingly similar.

I would definitely consider myself the ideal audience for the film for many reasons including being the start of the generations that are saturated with virtual living and free access to information, I agree with Suzanne collins in that I am one of many in the people group of this generation in a western country unaffected by war our selves and have become unsensitised to wars atrocities and effects on children because of our constant television consumption and materialism. Also because of the female heroine I believe I can relate to her more, I also have younger sisters as does Katniss in the Hunger games.

We can tell the audience in which is targeted by this film and novel because of the age of the characters involved especially main protagonist Katniss Everdeen being around the age of 17. No tween wants to see a film all about 60 year olds. The novels are written with more simplicity than others and the sci fi, coming of age, dystopian genres of the film intrigue the tween/teen/young adult audience because of their growing desire to understand the future.

 

 

Week 10: Conflict or Transformation

The Hunger games is definitely a story I know well and Im sure you do too its the 20th highest grossing film franchise of all time.

But why was it so popular? It started out as a medium budget film with main character Jennifer Lawrence earning $500,000 for the first film. By the time the sequel was in production, she earned twenty times that amount, earning $10 million for Catching Fire and $15 million for both Mockingjay films. ()

Despite the female heroine, Liam Hemsworth, and the popular book series I believe the audience really loved the conflict between the economic and social classes mixed with huge inner conflict of the main character of wether to conform or to revolt and transform into rebel leaders.

The Hunger games film’s main theme is the transformation of main character from innocences to rebel leader in the dystopian society ruled by dictator President Snow.

The first conflict we see in the film is the reaping scene, this scene happens very early on and shapes the rest of the film. Character Katniss acknowledges the conflict and contrast between the Capital dictatorship and impoverished district 12; when her younger sister is called out to participate in the deadly hunger games she volunteers immediately.

 

Katniss goes through many internal and external conflicts.

Internal:

  • To volunteer for Prim
  • To trust Haymitch, Peeta, Effie and Cinna
  • battle with self confidence – in opening ceremony
  • battle with fear and not giving up
  • battle with anger and grief after rues death

 

External:

  • Constant conflict with Katniss words and actions representing freedom in a extremely oppressive city.
  • Katniss and Peeta after the interview scene

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  • Full hunger games
  • The final bloody battle with Cato

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  • District 11 rebels after death of Rue

 

The whole film follows Katniss’ transformation from innocence to rebel. Her character is aged 16 in the first film and the genre shows a coming of age story of Katniss being motivated with everything to protect her sister to being convinced to lead a rebellion. Katniss starts afraid and fearful and does everything out of protective instance for her sister prim but ends up transforming into a leader. Her transformation does not come without lots of internal conflict such as insecurity, grief, anger, protection and post traumatic stress.

Through Katniss being genuine in her intentions the districts and audience find her a leader to believe in.

Week 9: Generic Structure

Todays class had no sound, therefore we could play no videos, but despite the technological challenges we pushed through and I still learnt a lot. In particular we talked about the difference between story and plot. The plot being ‘what happens’ and story being ‘why it happens and how.’

We then continued to talk about genre, how do we know the genre of a film when the basic story lines all through history and repetitive.

The film I chose to analyse again is the Hunger games.

The Hunger Games

‘Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.’ – IMBD

Genre: Coming of age, post apocalyptic/Dystopian

How do we know: We can see from the movie cover that Katniss main character seems to be a young girl, innocent looking, but standing alone, ready to release her arrow. Katniss is young but ready to become a leader. We can just see this through the movie poster.

However in the movie itself we can tell is Dystopian genre because of its destruction and poverty in the start proving is dystopian rather than Utopian, and then in the later half of the film the use of such advanced technology and architecture shows is scifi futuristic genre.

 

The following explanation of the dystopian genre is explained by http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson926/DefinitionCharacteristics.pdf

I believe all of these components are used in the Hunger Games film.

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There are very few semantic units missing from this film that implies its genre but here they are:

  • Dystopian stories usually take place in the large cities devastated by pollution.
  • Although the film is set in a futuristic post apocalyptic world its really interesting and a bit weird that the main character chooses the bow and arrow as weapon of choice. The bow and arrow a very old weapon and is nearly even used now.
  • We would also expect being a dystopian scifi film to see talking robots.

Week 6: Objects and Archetypes

Iphone 5C not Apple. You may ask why is that your title Bailey? and I will explain don’t worry.

I personally have the iPhone 5C, I think its wonderful, it works well, I can ring, text, take quality photos and videos and have many apps.

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All in all the iPhone 5C has been a successful phone, however, not in comparison to the other apple iPhones.

As of February 2016 only 5% of apple customers were using the iPhone 5c, compared to 35% of customers using the version 6 model and even relating the 5C to its brother Mr version 5s which 20% of users prefer, the 5C was a bit of a let down to the family. Why? Well heres what I think.

Apple prizes itself on being known fortis creativity, its innovation, if Apple the company was a character archetype it would play the role of the Magician, the explorer of the creator because of it life applications and innovation of iPads and selection of Smart phones, typically used by designers, or people who wish to be seen as stylish.

When the iPhone 5c was released it had an archetype contradictory to its family, it was portrayed as the everyman, it was cheaper to buy, made from cheaper materials, has a childish look to it because of the use of plastic, rounded edges and multi coloured back cases. The iPhone 5c selling point was that it was cheaper, and therefore everyone could have one, however, this is not why people buy apple products. Apples customer base is looking for high standard, sleek, modern devices so that the can stand out from the rest as being higher end, more sophisticated. iPhone 5C was designed part of the apple family but was distinctively the black sheep.

Here is the iPhone 5C and 5S compared. One looking childish and the other sleek.

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Heres the thing. I am all for buying cheap look alike branded shoes from china so I can wear them and pretend I have a lot of money. But why would a sophiasticated, designer, higher end, trendy iPhone users buy an item that everyone knows is cheap? 

Well to answer that, they didn’t. Because iPhone 5C (everyman) doesn’t fit into Apples archetype of Creator, Magician, Explorer.

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Week 5: Specific Character Types

Katniss Everdeen ‘the Girl on fire.’

Katniss Everdeen played by Jennifer Lawrence is the face of one of the most popular book/movie franchises presented to us in the last 5 year. The Hunger game trilogies went beyond childhood fantasy and creates a dictatorship dystopian society set post a nuclear war with a country that struggles with huge economic inequality. Hmm doesn’t actually sound too dystopian to me.

Katniss Everdeen as known in her film as the girl on fire is our main Protagonist in this trilogy, the novels and films travel with her through her journey from poor, reserved girl, to becoming a catalyst and mascot for civil uprising standing against equality of the economic classes of which they were so divided.

I personally love the Hunger games trilogies and love protagonist Katniss, Katniss identifies as the archetype outlaw and caregiver as her to main aims are freedom and social. This is because all Katniss wishes to do is protect her sister Prim (Before Katniss goes to the Capitol with her squad, Katniss says her final goodbye to her family. Prim says, “Next time we see each other, we’ll be free.”) and for herself and others to no longer be forced into social injustice by the government run by main antagonist President Snow.

 

“Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy.” -Katniss

Katniss functions as the hero, for her sister and mother, district, Peeta, and eventually all of Panem.
She is a very dynamic character, we see her change dramatically over her journey. Katniss begins with just protecting herself and sister but eventually learns to trust some people but also picks up a lot of post trauma emotional baggage after her time in the games.
We identify with Katniss as a war hero as she truely represented the aftermath of veterans. Previously we have seen the gladiator come back from war exalted, perfect and victorious. However, Katniss reveals to us the true effects of war on people emotionally.
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The Hunger games story follows Katniss for around 5 years, through this time we find out a lot about her, her thoughts ect, but the author and director let us in on her past so that we can better understand her reactions to particular situations. For example the audience discovers that Katniss’ father died in a mining accident when she was young, this gives us insight as to why she hunts and feels so protective over her sister prim, because she has taken upon herself her fathers role and provider and protector of her house, sister and depressed mother. For this reason I believe Katniss is a rounded character, we know a lot about her and begin to understand her complexity as a character through her Hunger Games journey.
Important Minor Characters:
– Primrose Everdeen (Katniss’ sister, innocent, the prize )
– Peeta Mellark (Katniss partner, lover, the helper)
– Haymitch (Wise old mentor)
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Week 4: Character, Story Act and Turning Points

Today in class we learnt that pretty much every story is the same. Although names, setting, costumes ect changes the main story line is the same, including main characters

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For Example:

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Katniss: Protective older sister, fighter, strong.

Here is how The Hunger Games fits the same sequence as popular books/movies such as Harry Potter and Narnia.

Katniss Everdeen starts of in her ordinary world district 12 of Pannem until the reaping ceremony (call to action) comes to take away her youngest sister Prim in which she volunteer’s herself to take Prim’s place to compete in the the Hunger games.

Katniss’ refusal of the call is represented in her disgust of the huger games and fear of competing when she gives her goodbyes to family and Gale.

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Katniss meets her mentor Haymitch on her road to a new world ‘the capital’.

She begins the tests, allies and enemies stage whilst training and then entering the hunger games. She is approached my many obstacles and heartbreak throughout her time in the games arena.

Finally Katniss win’s the games with Peeta at her side. Her reward? life. Her road back to district 12 reunited her with her mother and sister but she is forever changed by the games and in later sequel’s we see how her reaction to her time in the hunger games turns to determination for change.

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Week 3: Denotation / Connotation

Every design has story behind it. Why? because every symbol has a designer, a person with culture, emotion, a purpose for creating.

Denotation: The surface level meaning

Connotation: the deeper message, personal, the story behind it

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Denotation: Its a ring, represents relationship, its a flower ring.

Connotation: Its my mothers engagement ring, given to her my my father in the Hamilton gardens over 20 years ago. My parents are still happily married and their relationship is what I aspire to, I love them very much and without them I would not be here (literally and obviously)

 

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Denotation: A necklace with tree on it, a tree of life.

Connotation: A christmas present from my boyfriend the first time her spent christmas with my family. We had a really good day and I love him lots, he also got me a flower bouquet subscription which I am still getting monthly. I really love flowers. He knows me well.

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Denotation: The corner of a moisturiser bottle with flowers on it. My sister’s moisturiser.

Connotation: My 13 year old sister doesn’t use this moisturiser at all, I found it at the bottom of her draw to use for this particular assignment yet she still got really mad that I had taken it from her room. Im not allowed in her room without asking but she is free in mine anytime, funny huh. Not.

Week 2: Signifier / Signified

“All this means is that each sign takes a different type and refers to a different ‘thing’.”

– Scott’s Powerpoint. 

A sign is almost anything. Truely. Expanding, it is a complete ‘linguistic unit’ that contains a sound or a visual or both, and a meaning to that sound-image.

The signifier is like the catalyst, I guess you could say it comes first although our brains are very smart so most reactions seem simultaneous. The signifier: a sound or image is presented and we interpret it, the interpretation is labeled the ‘signified. Below are some personal examples.

 

Symbol, Icon or Index? Who know’s? Well Let’s see if I do.

Firstly my Key:

This picture of my key is firstly an index, why? because whenever I go to look for my key, it’s never because I simply want to look at my key, but instead because I need to use my car. This picture of my key is an index as it leads to another object, in this case my car, the key and the car has a relationship that links the signified and signifier, therefore whenever one is pictured alone it could be considered an index. This key also can be considered an icon because it looks like the thing it is trying to be. A key.
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Wow, lots of writing, that is very unnecessary for one picture. Let me be more snappy.

  • Flowers: Icon. Picture of flowers. Clearly flowers.  The image of the flowers are what they represent.
  • Ring? Well, Index because a ring is useless without a finger. Where there is a ring you would expect a finger, or possibly expect someone with commitment, and depending on the ring possibly someone with a good deal of money. This photo could also be considered an icon, because it is a flower, and a ring clearly showing what it is trying to represent. Lastly, this image is a symbol, because it has meaning to me but not to you. This ring is my mothers engagement ring given to her by my dad over 20 years ago. Cute? I really think so, you might not, because its a symbol. Its the meaning, the signified.
  • Tree necklace: Icon, because if you turn the image side ways which I haven’t been able to figure out how to do, it’s a tree. A index, a necklace implies a neck, everyone has one it’s normal.

 

Cute inspiration advice from your’s truely:

Be an Icon, a person that always clearly represents and embrace’s who the are. Courage? Overcomer? Stylish? Gamer?

Be an index that link’s people together through relationships. Let people see you and automatically cast their mind to the good that you stand for, the amazing things you achieve.

Be a living symbol of what you feel inside. Portray your true beauty, and originality by being authentic. Be aware that how you look, sound, and walk speaks a message for you. What do you want to say?