Monthly Archives: October 2015

CTS: SESSION III (22/10/2015)

A weird morning session this was. The last thing I would expect in a Contextual and theoretical Studies session is analysing the visual structure of an Argos catalogue. I know, its sounds bad on paper, but there’s more to it that meets the eye.


Argos has a history of doing things differently in terms of marketing. If we look at the structure of Argos today, the shop has a unique layout and a certain flowchart-formatted way of purchasing items. Compared to many other shops where you can hand pick what you want, the “Argos” way of shopping seems alienated. The reasoning for this is that we prefer a self-serving store format due to the interactivity with the items we want to buy. We can look at object, feel them, smell them, taste samples (depending on where you go) and generally interact to form a better understanding of what we want.

Argos_digital_concept_store_ipads untitled

If that’s the case Tamoy, then why is Argos still around?

Also, how long has self-services been around for?

Well. I’m glad you asked fellow reader!


We all know the Argos catalogue right? The Big book with thin pages filled up with stuff you want to buy but don’t have the spare coin for. This grimoire of shopaholic knowledge is why Argos is still standing. Upon first glance, it’s just a simple book with items on display, but with this CTS session, I was able to understand how influential “visual design” and well placed information within that design can be.

There is so many examples that I can talk about but to keep it short, I’ll only mention a few.

COLOUR– the way how colour is implemented in the catalogue is used as an optical guide to finding items quickly as well as highlighting sales and deals to convince items to be purchased. Is something 20% off? It will be if its surrounded powerful colours like red or purple.Argos-Home-Ideas-Colourmatch-Spread

FONT-most, if not all products in the catalogue have a small description referencing the uses for the item and what it is in general (clearly better then searching up the characterises of the object you want to buy on the web). In addition, the prices for more expensive items have a smaller font then the items that are on sale or the items that have a limited stock. Just to make you think that Argos is not a bad place to shop after all.

CODE– Each item displayed in the catalogue has a code highlighted in bold, usually at the end of the item description. This code is an essential part of the “flowchart way of shopping” that I mentioned earlier. In all Argos shops, you select the item you want via the code. This “code” is an indication to staff on what the item is and where it is in the store. With this technique, the item you purchase is exclusively yours and no one has inspected or analysed it beforehand, making the purchase just a bit more personal. Also, the codes are ideal for online shopping.

Like I said before, there are many examples in which I could go on about. However, I don’t plan on turning this blog post into a book about the “nature of Argos marketing”.

With the second question that you immersive readers have suggested, self-servicing has been around since 1916, with the first ever self-serving supermarket. Piggy Wiggly. Piggly-Wiggly-2-copy-cropped-556x417

Originating in the southern side of U.S.A., Piggly Wiggly’s 1st opening was in Tennessee. Since the opening, many stores started to change their format of marketing from a Argos-like structure, to the more efficient, self-servicing  way of marketing we have now.


Moving more into marketing, I learned about something called the “5 hat racks”. A theory developed by Richard Saul. He theorised that information can be placed into 5 different categories of organisation. 5 Types, 5 Formats, 5 directions.






screen-shot-2015-10-23-at-18-46-33 (2)EXAMPALS OF HOW PERSONA CAN BE CATAGORIZE IN A 5-HAT RACK FORMAT

Any type of information can be separated though this analysis. If the hats are Information, the hat racks organise the hats. More information about the 5 hat racks can be found on the website below:

In the afternoon session, I read through a VAROOM article titled “REAR VIEW MIRROR” by Stephanie Black. The basis of her text was examining how new designers were trying to use an old means of media to create more fresh and engaging works (like this blog post you’re reading now). I don’t want to spoil too much of it yet since I am going to do a summary of this.12662930

In any case, of you want to have a look beforehand, there is a text section about the article on the website below:

If there’s anything that you haven’t taken away from this blog so far, take this:

“Don’t buy it, Argos it”

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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


CTS: SESSION II (15/10/2015)

In the morning session we were tasked with bringing an object. however, it didn’t matter what its characteristics were which i found quite strange to start things at first. the item could of been as simple as a pen or as complex as my saxophone (which has been sitting at home these past weeks). Considering this session is in the month of October, I settled on bringing in something “spooky”.


I don’t really care too much for Halloween, so I’m thinking to myself “if we’re gonna analyse objects, I wanna take a look at something I don’t understand as much”. That’s where the skull-mask comes in. Of course, at first glance, its a visual representation of death personified. As I started to discuss the object with the group i was in however, my perception of “visual death” was widened.

firstly, the material that the skull was created from felt really light, contrasting the heavy subject of death itself. From this, the group started depicting weather death really a powerful thing. Some festivals in Mexico don’t look at it as seriously as seen in their celebrations around the subject.

The Mexican “Day Of The Dead” is used to pass messages from Mexican family’s to their beloved passed ones and wish them a pleasant spiritual journey. Sounds much more peaceful then judgment day if you ask me.

the other objects in the group consisted of graphic novel (which also contained the same “death” theme as the mask) , a scarf, a camera and a fountain pen which were then arranged as though it was a piece about to go on exhibition in the next hour (as seen above).

Related image

looking at it from a more visual perspective i like how it was arranged as form of hierarchy in terms of power and dynamics. the mask being at the back to overshadow and overlook the rest of the piece as a hole with the pen and the camera at the front alongside the foundation of the book and the scarf to give structure to the work as a hole.

If i was to give a name for this piece, I would call it “Equilibrium” due to the reason of balancing power as i just mentioned (and because equilibrium is such a cool word that people don’t say enough).


to finish off the morning session, we also read a text titled “Collecting as medium and message” by Susan Pearce which was focused on how objects could be arranged in ways to engage an audience as well as how there were arranged in museums during the early 1980’s up until the late 1990’s. what really captured my eye in her writing was her concluding section where she mentioned how all people have their own personal museum with is a collection of items they process which is always changing.

as people, we all have desires. these desires, once obtained, define our identity. with our identity always changing however, our desires change and so does our personal museum. and that what i like. a museum that’s ALWAYS changing.

during the afternoon session (Yes. there’s still more with you’ve read this far), I designed a small questionnaire based on music genres. Please feel free to fill it out and send me your results via email:


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Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


Starting off (Project I: ISHE)

5 places to go, 2 Objects to analyse.






To start off my 1st Project, I decided to take a deeper look into shoes and strings.

Footwear is something I’m not particularly interested in compared to other people. To be honest, I’ll just slip on whatever’s comfortable and whatever I can put on within seconds. I could never bring myself to except the difference between the same types of shoe but with a different brand. However, What does interests me about footwear is the most underrated section of design on the product.

The Sole.


This part of the design is barley noticeable. People don’t base their preferred footwear off the bottom of a shoe and frankly, why would they?

The patterns of the sole are based directly from the type of shoe which can vary. Some can have more rigged and sharp shapes like Adidas shoes or more organic shapes. After finding this out, I want to look more into by taking these shoe samples to 3D and seeing what I can come up with.

With my second object, after taking a trip to the childhood museum, I stated to notice that most, if not all of the items on display were suspended or at least guided by string attachments. Of course the primary symbolic purpose of string is a tool of control.20151021_18154420151021_181605 20151021_181550

I started to question soon after, what else and this symbolize? Since strings are a form of control, what does that mean for other string like substances within our bodies? DNA have a string-like structure. Are we biologically controlled by this?


Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


CTS: SESSION I (8/10/2015)

Types of research:

My knowledge of the subject prior to the session was fundamental, considering the variables that I didn’t notice which distort the line between primary and secondary research.

Both research types in its purest form are a collection of information in a certain format. One being from personal findings while the other is from various sources. However, as the session progressed, I started to see that the two types can intermingle at times, to the point where one source can be both forms of research collection.

Take the source “50 Years of illustration” for example. An interview was conducted with Professor Lawrence Zeegen to address the impact of manipulating the book into an exhibition. You could say that if I was the interviewer, I’m collecting primary information at its finest from the creative mind behind the exhibition. On the other hand, Zeegen is the person who has been working from the visual representation of this book. His ideas and perception is always changing depending on how this book can be represented in an open space. Zeegen’s opinion would be different to someone who experiences the exhibition for the 1st time due to the fact that he has seen the progressive stages of the exhibition up until its completion.

It’s quite complicated to explain but in a basic sense, the interviewer is collecting primary research from a designer with a secondary evaluation on the subject at hand.

Style & Form

With the morning session, what caught my immediate attention was the lack of ethnic influences on in “50 years of illustration”. Why only Polish influences? why is it that examples of polish illustrations are significant enough to get a section while other influences are left out?

After reading the page, the reason for this was explained.

“The polish illustrated poster was pure poetry, seemingly unaffected by agendas of state or commerce.”

Polish illustrations during the late 1930’s couldn’t of been more expressive during a timeA general Outlook of great constriction (that being the soviet invasion of Poland). This is a weak statement considering that illustration is always a practice of expression, but the page also indicates:

While graphic artists and designers in the United States were free to virtually say anything in print, even the most renowned had to be slaves to their clients if they really wanted to earn livings”

The event at the time empowered polish designers with their work to have stronger meaning. In addition, they had no limitations as to how powerful the portrayed message can be. The political issues during the late 1930’s effectively gave designers in that region extra fuel to work with in terms of portraying ideas.

Still, why are there not similar examples of other ethnic influences? “The great wave of Kanagawa” influenced manga in Japanese culture. Yet, why is not mentioned? Stickman were the earliest representation of the human figure which were created by cavemen and tribals. Yet, why is it not mentioned?

I hope to find out in the upcoming CTS Session.

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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in Uncategorized