Doing brainstorms are really useful to me, as I find it really helps me generate a lot of ideas.
To find a suitable topic for me and my dissertation, I will do brainstorms to see what my interests are.
My aim is to select a topic area where I am interested in, and then try and narrow it down so it focuses on a specific area. After narrowing the topic down, I will then try and construct it into a working title or question for my dissertation.
This could be either easy or difficult for me to do.
( Please refer to the ‘Working Title Link’ to see my progression. )
Starting from the beginning.
This is my first brainstorm. This brainstorm is where I wrote down what I like and what I am interested in. My objective was to find a good topic of my interest.
This brainstorm has really helped me see visually what my interests are, as it was difficult to imagine such broad branches in my head. It felt easier to write in down on paper than typing it up first. This brainstorm is great as I could now cross out which parts I do not want to take on further, and also circle or highlight the most interesting sectors.
I think most of these topics have great potential for me to take on further, however I will be honest and say I will choose the ones which I feel I can write a lot on. I want to choose a topic which I feel I have a deep connection with; one that deeply interests me so I will have the strive and motivation that will hopefully run like adrenaline inside of me as I carry on writing my dissertation. Note to self: there is no good choosing a topic which I have no passion or interest on, nor is it good for me to choose a topic which I think ‘will impress the tutors’, it is entirely up to me.
Topic : BODY IMAGE & STEREOTYPES
I have a good knowledge on the topic of body image and the media, this is because I have engaged in media studies back in college for several years and also for my A levels, so I felt I’ve learnt a lot on this topic area.
My very first thoughts were to base my dissertation on women and men’s representations of body image, and stereotypes. The media is largely responsible for representing gender body image in a way which connotes negativity to us as an audience. For many people (especially teenagers), it can lower their self esteem. Why? We live in a visually intensive society where we are bombarded with images all around us as we move. Advertisements on billboards, magazines, newspapers, the internet, television, and even our peers are counted as ‘visuals’. Such visuals for advertisements often present the ‘idealistic’ representation of the body image. For women, usually overly airbrushed images of beautiful women with slim waists, big bust and flawless looking complexion. For men is in a similar state, but usually more to do with fitness, such as having toned bodies with six-packs, large prominent muscles.
Taadaa…Photoshop: picture perfect and flawless complexion. Deceiving.
From feedback :
I feel there is a lot to debate and talk about in this topic of the idealistic body representation, and how this affects us as a whole. However, this topic was the very first initial ideas I had. From feedback after my presentation, the tutors suggested that this topic was more related to the media than design, which I agree with. So I could try steer it more in relation with design. So I tried to take these comments on board and revisited my research questions.
(Please refer to the ‘Ideas’ & ‘Working title’ tab for more information)
So I decided to look more into the topic area of ‘The media’. The media contributes to many topics, and there are usually many examples of how work is used in text in the media such as films, artwork, design. I feel that the media associates with many debates, which is very good as it means there will be different sides of the arguments. I want to choose a topic which I feel I can find a lot of research on..afterall, why choose a topic which doesn’t have much research? Because then I won’t be able to find good information to insert into my dissertation. The media: a very juicy topic area!
So here is Brainstorm 2. In this brainstorm, it will also show general vague topics on what I am interested in. From these topics, I will choose one area, then try break it down again because it will still be too broad.
After much debate and indecisiveness, I’ve decided to base my topic around the symbol of the apple. The apple has been used as a common symbol for decades. It is often used as a metaphor in literature, with the most prominent being featured in Snowwhite.
‘The legendary apple. From childhood fairy tales such as Snow White to the discovery of gravity, the apple has influenced the world as we know it. Even centuries before an apple fell on Sir Isaac Newton’s head, the fruit has held a symbolic meaning through myth and legends. Although the symbolism of the apple has evolved throughout time, the apple has sustained its place in many cultures as a symbol for knowledge, prosperity, love, jealously and temptation.'
Of course with everything, there are both a negative and positive side. In different cultures, the apple embody different meanings. For example, in my culture (China), we often bestow apples and other fruits as gifts to relatives when paying visits to their household. For us, the apple represents beauty, purity, passion and health. The finest apples are often very expensive in the oriental shops we visit. My favourite is the ‘Fuji apple’.
The Fuji apple is a Japanese produce. ‘They contain between 9–11% sugars by weight and have a dense flesh that is sweeter and crisper than many other apple cultivars, making them popular with consumers around the world. Fuji apples also have a very long shelf life compared to other apples, even without refrigeration . With refrigeration, Fuji apples can remain fresh for up to a year‘ . Fuji apples are very sweet, and I find they taste like candy…best eaten when chilled! However these apples are usually quite big, so it allows us to split the apple into sectors and share with my family. So in a way, the fuji apple represents harmony, family and since they have a long life if kept refrigerated, it represents a sense of ‘immortality’.
You can see how these fuji apples are packaged…each individually wrapped up safely and finished off with a sticker. You can tell each of the apples are expensive already by this. For me, it connotes these apples being valuable and precious. Very beautiful pink in colour..so round and tender looking.
I will look in more depth of the apple and it’s symbolism under the ‘Research‘ tab, so please refer to the ‘Research ‘ tab for more information.
With the topic around the apple, I still felt that something was missing. I was very confused and I panicked for a while. I thought I could base my dissertation on ‘The symbology of the apple, and it’s recontextualization in design‘, however after some research on this topic, I found to quite difficult to find good sources to base my dissertation on. So what about the apple and recontextualzation? There had to be more to it. I was literally panicking and felt a little suffocated inside because I was very stressed on this topic. I’ve also had a very difficult time trying to narrow down this topic area…you can see more of my progress on choosing my working title under the ‘Working Title‘ tab.
So finally I’ve decided to base my topic on ‘Visual Communication‘. I’ve mentioned about that I felt something ‘was missing’ with the apple symbology title. I am very interested in the topic of ‘perspective’, ‘perception’ and how images visually communicate with us. My interest was amplified when Anastasios suggested us a reading list in Year 2, and in this reading list, he recommended us to read ‘The Ways Of Seeing‘ by John Berger. I assure you that this is a master piece of writing, and it really changed the way I see things visually. I was greatly inspired by it.
I’ve narrowed down my working title to:
How does our various perspectives affect our ways of seeing through visual communication? (with reference to the apple as a symbol).
There are reasons why I chose to refer visual communication with the apple as a symbol. I depict the apple with many layers, and I feel it can visually communicate and represent with what I want to say in my dissertation. ( Please refer to the ‘Working Title’ and ‘Ideas’ tab for more info on this because I do not what to overlap the tabs in this blog! )
So without further ado, here is my 4th brainstorm on ‘Visual Communication‘
From looking at my brainstorm, you can see just how complex ‘seeing’ is. I feel that there is more to visual communications therefore than simply making an image for the eyes to perceive, it has to accommodate the mind of the person being communicated to.
References, Books & online:
 Yepsen, Roger ,1994. Apples. 1st Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-03690-1.