Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Today, we had a seminar on advertising that focused on exposing the corrupt capitalist culture that is created by our society. I found the seminar thoroughly enjoyable, as this is a subject of personal interest. We discussed things such as the consumer culture in which we construct our identities from.  And the advertising techniques used to entice us into the commodity trap.

I personally believe that the consumer culture within which we live is wrong, despite being a participant myself.  This got me thinking about connections between advertising, culture and discrimination. It is not advertising that is responsible for the consumer culture in which we live, but modern society itself. Through the accumulation of products that citizens define their lives by, people create an elitist image of themselves, defined by what they own. Which in turn creates indifference and discrimination of people who either can’t afford to partake in commodity culture, or people who refuse to. It’s absurd to think that possessions and money define our position in society rather than our contribution to the community. This idea is created by big corporations and banks to alienate the poor, or individuals who refuse to partake in this consumer society, as they are of no financial benefit to them. As individuals we are trapped, prisoners to the culture in which we live. The prison guards who keep us trapped are not the big corporations and banks, but the majority of people who unknowingly partake in consumer culture.

Monday, 26 November 2012


For our new brief we are required to produce a ‘Typogateaux’, or a cake that takes typographic form. There are no restrictions to size, the letter amount, or how it can be decorated, leaving the brief open to creative flair. Firstly, I will gather examples of what could be produced, as this is a media I haven’t worked with before I am not sure what the limitations will be. Moreover, I haven’t much previous experience with baking cakes or cake decoration so I will need to conduct research into this.

Firstly, I used 'Issue' to find a cake decoration magazine called 'Cake Masters Magazine'.

While reading the magazine I came across a tutorial showing how to make cake baubles. I could adapt this idea to suit the brief, decorating the bauble with Christmas typography. The magazine was also helpful as it gave information about shops such as Tesco who recently started stocking more cake decorating items. 

At this point in the project I was unsure as to what type of cake to produce. Therefore, I created a small survey to find out what type of cake is most popular and the importance of decoration and exterior packaging. 


After looking through the results of the survey I decided that despite chocolate being the most popular cake, I will make a Victoria sponge slab cake, this is mostly down to my cake making abilities. Secondly, as 100% of the survey participants agree that icing is important, I need to think about what flavour icing I could use. Moreover, I am also considering putting chocolate chunks in the mix to make it more interesting. I will aim to present the cake to the best of my abilities and create packaging so that the cake can be transported. 

Next, I collected images relating to cake decoration and form. 

The image above made me consider cutting out individual cake letters as a possible way of creating my outcome.

This cake uses letters cut out of a sheet of icing for decoration.

Here is another example of letters made out of icing, this time they are not as cleanly made but are more experimentive with typographic form.

Icing could be used to create the typography on my cake, this would be much easier than cutting individual cake letters, as icing easier to adapt and shape. 

This design experiments with using icing to create words. To do this you would have to use a stencil, or wet the area were you wanted the word to appear.

More individually cut cake letters.

One of my initial ideas is to create an intricate typographic piece out of cake. While thinking about how I could produce this I came across the above image, which shows a typographic piece made from icing. This gave me an idea, I could possibly put cake mix into an icing bag (like the one shown above) and use it to create my piece.

This large scale letter has been cut out of a slab cake and iced to create a clean finish.

The above image shows a brownie which has been decorated using a stencil and some sort of icing sugar. The use of a stencil helps create a more accurate design, when producing my cake I should consider using this technique to help me.

Such a cool idea to put m's on the cake like that
This cake has been meticulously decorated with smarties. The result is phenomenal, I could look at producing a 'C Y M K' cake and decorate the letters with appropriately coloured smarties.  


Finally, the data I collected from my survey showed that it is important for a cake to have aesthetically appropriate packaging. Moreover, as I will be carrying my cake to university I will need a box to protect the cake from outside elements and dirt. Therefore, I collected a body of research on cake packaging, as I plan to design and make a box to house my typogateaux. 

This striking packaging was designed to contain a pumpkin pie. The graphics used to decorate the box have a retro feel due to the layout and typography used. The retro design is interesting and is what first attracted me to look at the design. As I plan to make a Victoria sponge cake, a cake which was created during Queen Victoria's reign I could consider using retro graphics on my packaging.

Cake Packaging Design #packagingdesign #illustration
The above packaging balances retro style graphics and a simple layout perfectly. Moreover, I like how the contents of the box have are listed, along with a small description of the cake. The image has inspired me to consider something visually similar when designing the graphics for my packaging.

Cake box template!

Cake Slices Packaging

This packaging has been cleverly designed to house an individual slice of cake.

Candy Cakes packaging for cupcakes.

The icons used on the side of this packaging inspired me to create a similar version for my box.
(2005) 'It's a matter of Packaging' Index Book - 745.2 - Page 50

The simple illustrative design used on this packaging is really relevant to the messy cake making process. Moreover, I like the use of decorative lines to make the packaging more aesthetically interesting, I want to use similar lines on the font of my box.

After looking at various boxes and possible ways I could package my cake it became apparent that I cant design my packaging until I have designed my cake and have the dimensions.

Finally, I found a recipe for Victoria sponge with jam, I will use the basic sponge recipe and not add the jam.


In today’s lesson we were set a new brief that will focus on collecting a body of visual research and developing design solutions.

Firstly, we were divided up into research groups, when in these groups we were given a research theme, ours was ‘Transport’. We used this as a starting point to create a list of things associated with transport.

Modes of transport – Car, Bike train etc.
Signage – Signs used within transport (International & National)
What is being transported? – People, Products.
Transport of information – Internet.
Laws and Regulations regarding transport.
Transporting narcotics/ people.
Travelling homes/communities.
Money spent on transport.
Effect transport has on environment.
Hybrid cars.
Environmentally friendly transport – Bike.
Different modes of transport used in other countries.
Underground transport.
Banned methods of transport – Concord.
Past modes of transport – Historic.

After forming our list we had to select one subject that we would then individually research in-depth.

Alex – Commercial transport.
Danielle – Money spent on travel.
Jane – Public transport.
Charlie - Different modes of transport used in other countries.
Me – Narcotics transport.

We then made a list of places we will look to source information.

Magazine articles
Online documentaries 

Before I started my primary research I decided to re-write my subject matter so it is more focused and understandable.

I will research into ‘The transportation of narcotics into Europe’.

For my primary research I will create a survey to find out what people know about the narcotic smuggling trade, and what is being done to stop it.

Firstly, I researched into how to write a survey that is straightforward and clear. I used a survey guide that I found on the website ‘eHow’, it presented good advice and a series of tips to help when writing a survey. The ones that I found most helpful are shown below. 

After reading the article I wrote the text for my survey, I tried to keep my questions simple and introduced my survey with a brief introduction about the topic and what the purpose of the survey is. When i collect the surveys and analyse the data, I hope that it will give me an insight into how informed people are about the topic.  


Despite the best efforts from European governments and police, a constant stream of drugs is smuggled past boarder control and into countries such as England. Are the police and UK boarder agencies to blame? Or are they fighting a losing battle against smugglers using more and more sophisticated methods of transportation. The purpose of this survey is to find out how much you know about the transportation of drugs into Europe, as well as offering you a chance to voice your opinion on what should be done.

 What do you think are the main drugs being smuggled into Europe?

Amphetamines (MDMA etc.)

Using your answer from the last question, where do you think is the drug originates from?


What do you think is the main form of transport used smuggle narcotics into Europe?

Boat/shipping container

How much do you think that European governments are collectively spending on stopping drugs crossing into the EU?

30 million
50 million
1 billion
1.5 billion
2 billion

What do you think should be done? 

Next, I produced the base design for the survey. I wanted to keep the content fairly formal looking, so that the focus of the audience is on answering the questions.

I printed the surveys and handed a number of them out. The fourth person noticed a big spelling mistake in the title, smuggling was spelt ‘sUMggling’…

I corrected the mistake and reprinted another ten surveys out, I am aiming to collect information from twenty people, ten surveys had already been completed with the spelling mistake. As time is an issue I will keep the surveys, as the data that can be collected from them is fine. 

After the amended versions of my survey have been completed I will organise the data in a visually appropriate way.

Once I had collected all the completed surveys, I started analysing the data. I found that a lot of people had a little knowledge about the topic, but still were misinformed with minor details. I plan to visually display the information by using graphs displayed along side an example survey. 

One thing I found when asking for feedback about my survey was that it felt like a test, this was not my aim. I simply wanted to gauge the level of knowledge people had on the topic. In future, I will write a more in-depth of introduction explaining the intentions and function of the survey. Moreover, I could have created more specific questions. Some of the questions, such as the first are misleading, as nobody can be certain what the most common drug is as drug monitoring units and boarder agents base their figures on drugs previously seized. 

Moreover, I also watched a film called 'Cocaine Cowboys' to help widen my knowledge of the topic, and the different techniques that are used to smuggle the drugs into different counties. Below are some notes I took while watching the film.

Key Points

  • Various modes of transport are used to smuggle drugs into the country. The most popular modes were privately owned planes, boats, shipping containers and cars/trucks. 
  • Violence surrounds the drug trade, murders and toucher is a common form of discipline/revenge.
  • There is a huge amount of money in the drugs trade.

Firstly, I started researching into the amount of drugs that are smuggled into Europe/UK. I found this information very hard to find, as the exact number cannot be known. Regardless, I found figures from websites such as the ‘Serious Organised Crime Agency’ and The ‘European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’ . I discovered that official websites like this offered the most in-depth information on the subject as often the figures collected are for official reports.

I then found a downloadable pdf. Of the ‘United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’ 2010  report on the world drug problem. This is a detailed document that covers in detail all aspects of the narcotic smuggling trade. It includes visual aids in the form of diagrams and maps throughout. This is an appropriate way of visually displaying information that will engage the reader. I collected a range of different diagrams relevant to the drugs trade.


Other diagrams used different shades of colour to communicate data.

Bar charts were also used throughout the report to display data

Below are a selection of diagrams showing smuggling routes into Europe.


For my final research board I am required to collect research on possible visual solutions. Due to the fact-heavy nature of my research topic I think the best way to display the information would be to use infographics. Presenting the information in this way makes it aesthetically engaging for the audience, rather than having large amounts of text to inform the audience.