Week 4

The Self & Identity

Who are we? What makes us, us? What type of person or personality are we? Why do we think and feel the way we do? Do we have values and principles? If so, how did we get them?

Lots of interesting questions on the fascinating subject of ‘Psychology’ – which is the theme for this week’s task.

It isn’t always easy to hold a mirror up to ourselves and ask the question, ‘Who are we?’ We are more likely to define ourselves, especially to others, by the roles we have – I am a designer, I am a mother, a wife, a sister etc.

For once, my age is on my side! I definitely feel that now I am in my mid 40s and experienced many years in the world, I have a better sense of who I am and how others might perceive me. This wasn’t always the case as I was quite shy, not very confidant and never really wanted to be the centre of attention.

I can still carry those qualities with me now, but I recognise that I don’t need to be scared of them. Instead, if I face them, they might lead to better things.

I was very nervous about starting this MA Degree purely because I thought my age might go against me. Am I too old? Have I been out of education for too long? Will all my peers know more than I do? Can a manage a course, a job and a family all at once? All questions that I pondered well over a year before finally making the decision to just go for it!

My fears wanted to stop me but my desire to learn and to push myself further, finally won. I’m sure my younger self would still be pondering!

It was great to view the lecture ‘The Self’ by Martin Hosken this week and it certainly helped when thinking about answering this week’s main question ‘how can graphic design enable you to communicate your core values at this moment on the course?’.

Hosken asks us to look at ourselves and ask the questions “What are your values? How do you know your values? What is a value to you? Do you share values with those around you? And how are you influenced by those around you? Where do you come from? In fact, who are you?”

Having children gave me and my husband the opportunity to discuss what really matters to us, to question what our individual values were and how we were going to pass them on to our children. I don’t think we ever sat down with our children to deliver these values saying ‘you must live like this’, but their young minds are very good at picking up what is right and wrong by the example we set.

Hosken talks about ‘Nature vs Nurture’ in the lecture. It’s amazing when I look at my own two children (boy 13 years and girl 11 years), how we’ve brought them up in exactly the same environment and yet their personalities are completely different! One is quieter, sensitive and cautious and the other is loud, confidant and a risk taker! I’ll let you take a guess as to which one is which!!!

The area I liked most in Hosken’s lecture was when he talks about how as individual’s our subconscious minds can be influenced and taken advantage of by companies advertising to us. “It was Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays that lay behind the construction of the modern marketing machine. Bernays understood that people didn’t make decisions, their desires did.“

I can fully understand how branding and advertising companies can play on our desires, making us feel that if only we have x y and z then our lives will be much better. But having recently watched the film ‘The Social Dilemma’ (available on Netflix) what I find difficult to comprehend is that there are computers stored around the world, that know us better than we know ourselves and are influencing our thoughts across a vast area of topics and not just when it comes to deciding on a new pair of shoes.

The Social Dilemma

I am not sure I have ever really thought about the values I have as a designer in the past but having completed this week’s task, it has made me think about the kind of designer I am and how a client might view working with me. It’s important that they have a good experience and that they leave happy with the work completed. A good reputation and word of mouth is how I gain most of my work.

With this in mind, I started listing the 20 words that I felt described me best as a designer but also thinking about how clients might view me and describe me to others.

Sketch Book

Of the 20 words listed it was hard to pick just five to best represent me. The words I ended up choosing were the ones that people had used in the past to describe me. I also felt they could have multiple meanings when interacting with people and tackling projects.

20 Words

When I listed out the words in my notebook, I used a highlighter to highlight my five chosen words and I wanted to carry on this theme in my mood boards. I wanted to keep my mood boards quite simple, not too overcrowded, using a mix of images, illustrations, lyrics and text.

Mood Boards

I wanted to use some of the images in my mood boards for my ‘single visual expression’. I thought a way I could put these images together was by creating a collage. I used some existing imagery, took a photo with my daughter doing a pinkie promise for ‘Honest’, and created a phrase in text.

I set up a display that I could photograph using the five representations and I also included a few extra items around the edges to give a bit more depth to the over all image but to show some extra clues as to who I am.

Single Visual Expression

In summary, I have struggled with time this week and have not been able to fully immerse in this week’s lectures. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog ‘Psychology’ is a fascinating subject and learning about how we act as humans is something I would love to study more about.

I have understood the tasks set and have enjoyed thinking about myself as a designer and what my values are – it was also great fun to ask the family what they thought of me!!

I loved the process of listing 20 words and designing the mood boards culminating in the final expression – I wanted a theme to follow all the way through and I hope I have achieved this.

Hosken, Martin, The Self. 2020. GDE710 for MA Graphic Design. Falmouth University.
Image – The Social Dilemma https://www.netflix.com Last accessed 18th October 2020