Monday, 26 March 2012

OUCS205//Module Evaluation.

An end of module contextual studies self evaluation form. 
Although not specifically requested or required, I felt that writing a self evaluation would be helpful to both myself, and, hopefully my tutors, to develop an understanding of what I felt I did both right and wrong throughout my time studying and working on the module to ensure that improvements can be made next time around, and worked upon to the best of my ability. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

CTS Essay//Final essay submission.

* Final essay submission for OUGD205 module hand-in//

“How has evolving global and environmental awareness in contemporary society affected sustainable design within the food industry?”

The last ten years in global society have seen great change, growth, development, and upheaval; be it economically, socially, or psychologically, but, perhaps most evident in these is the behavioural developments within the new millennium of in terms of environmental awareness. This being a behaviour that has swept across the globe, in what some may perceive to be a necessary, fundamental manner, others perhaps more influenced by guilt from politics and the media, whether this be from a subconscious or pessimistic standpoint. This increased awareness can be found in National council promotions to Nobel Peace Prize winner (and former Presidential candidate) Al Gore’s 2006 high budget documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, which highlighted and campaigned to bring awareness of the threats of global warming upon our planet. From every day awareness and increased energy efficiency, to actively purchase sustainable or recyclable goods, the past ten years have seen a great shift in the responsibility felt by consumers.

One sector, which has particularly evolved to meet the standards of the decade’s desires for sustainability and environmental needs, is the food industry, both the branding and identity of a company, along with packaging design (which work alongside one another in terms of visual communication), and the designer’s responsibility to promote and produce sustainable products and reproduction.

‘People are increasing concerned about their impact on the environment and the conditions under which the goods that they have purchased have been produced’ (Ambrose & Harris, 2011, p. 172).

The role of packaging, and graphic designers as visual communicators, has become more important than ever.

“It is ultimately the designer who creates the interface between the consumer and the technology underlying the shell or surface of a manufactured product. Thus the designer’s ability to play the role of environmental champion is unequalled compared with others.” (Lewis & Gertsakis, 2001, p.15).

Along with the more recent concerns of product sustainability, designers have the responsibility to establish the brand and identity to appeal not only to those whom become a company’s loyal customers, but also the impulse or needs- based consumer, therefore attempting to create a balance between environmentalism and aesthetics, but can it ever truly be achieved? The role of the designer, and the company themselves, is to deliver a promise of the brand in it’s ethos, it’s personality, and increasingly so, in this past decade, it’s sustainability credentials. In a market of ever-increasing numbers of products with the promise of environmentally friendly packaging and ethically sourced goods, brands strive to meet appropriate, on- trend, or in alignment with the current consumer mind-set, and to be the one product on the shelf that stands out as unique, the “need-to-buy” product.

‘The successful development of an attractive brand personality can differentiate a product from its competitors, particularly in the highly competitive food sector where brands compete with generic, ‘me-too’ products, own brands and national brands. Brand personalities are developed to help establish a bond of trust with consumers and have the ability to transform a product into something that people develop an emotional relationship towards…’ (Ambrose & Harris, 2011, p. 112).

With this increased environmental awareness, as previously referenced, branding and identity, the aesthetics of a brand is more important than ever, and, communicating the brand or products environmental dedication and aims being a major priority. However, despite the consumers attempts to live a more sustainable, organic or natural lifestyle in terms of product and consumption choices, packaging is an inevitable addition in supermarkets and chain store food and drink retailers, be in vacuum-packed fruit, or plastic bottles- packaging is a requirement in product distribution for the security and prevention of damage to the product itself. However, as previously mentioned, this is near unavoidable- as well as physical damage, this would also damage the brand in terms of the recognition of it’s identity on a commercial scale in comparison to the other goods in which it competes, for which branding is a necessity. To be truly sustainable, realistically, companies would not produce packaging for it’s products, and to ensure that methods of production are carbon neutral, in which the energy that is produced to make the product is reproduced through recyclable materials, sustainable harvesting, and through intensive and monitored environmental commitment.

Along with the developments in aesthetic design and branding, print considerations are now perceived as a far greater priority with consumers than ever before. ‘The ethics of packaging concerns both what packaging is made from, and the statements that it makes about the products that we buy’ (Ambrose & Harris, 2011, p. 190). Many brands now competing in the “sustainable” market actively re-brand or sought materials that are environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and recyclable, one of the key “buzzwords” of the past decade. The pressured demands of innovation are prominent in contemporary packaging design, ensuring that it serves its purpose as both a protection and communication tool as well as reducing it’s impact (in production and disposal) upon the environment.

‘Consumer markets are becoming increasingly aware of the social, environmental, and personal implications of their purchasing decisions. Research carried out by ES Magazine in 2000 shows that a massive 75% of customers claim to favour products with tangible environmental advantages over competitive products’ (Chapman, J, 2005, p. 7).

In the hierarchy of waste diagram (featured in the publication ‘Packaging the Brand’, Ambrose & Harris, 2011, p.187) the possibilities for companies and their packaging design is displayed in a triangular diagram from least preferable to the most preferable options in dealing with the waste production of their products: “Disposal- Energy Recovery- Recycling- Reuse- Minimisation- Prevention.” Although the production of packaging may be unavoidable, many companies now strive to prevent over-packaging goods, or, at the most primitive level, to produce packaging which is recyclable- to reuse the energy used to create the design, and to meets the needs of it’s increasingly environmentally- aware market.

‘Pollution problems and ecological threats were first recognized during the sixties and seventies were often solved with quick “technological fixes”. Now, a decade or two later, we have realized that many of the solutions only masked and intensified the problems’ (Papanek, V, 1985, p. 253).

As discussed in Victor Papanek’s 1985 publication, ‘Design for the Real World’, referenced above, despite decades of awareness, the development of environmental and sustainable packaging has only become particularly apparent in the past decade, perhaps now due to technological advancements of product and packaging design, such as the development of new materials such as the promotion and introduction of the aseptically processed ‘Tetra Pak’ design, in which

‘Cartons protect taste and nutritional content with three basic materials that work together to produce very efficient, safe, and light-weight package…paper…polyethylene…aluminum’, (Aseptic Solutions, 2012,

, which is now possible to recycle throughout many council borough locations in the United Kingdom, as well as the development of natural dyes used in the printing process- reducing landfill waste, and, therefore, being more “environmentally friendly”, it is the entire process of re- design that increases the sustainability credentials of a company, to work with natural materials to ensure the lowest possible rates of waste pollution and disposal, ‘sustainability is not about one limited range of thought or interaction. Instead, it is a holistic attempt to mimic the best behaviours or the natural environment’ (Boylston, S, 2009, p. 36).
However, it is not only the companies that now face responsibility for the development of sustainability within their packaging design, as well as waste disposal responsibilities. With the increased pressure of environmental awareness, consumers themselves are now being targeted- with advertisements from Government campaigns, and council schemes. ‘You may be referred to as a consumer, but there is very little that you actually consume- some food, some liquids. Everything else is designed for you to throw away when you’re finished with it’ (McDonough & Braungart, 2000, p.27). Not only do companies within the food industry have the responsibility of their own environmental conscience, but now also that of the consumer- and must develop a way to promote their brand as well as to make it function simply as recyclable product, ensuring that consumers way of life is effected and disturbed as little as possible, whilst still maintaining their manifested feelings of altruistic tendencies.

One company in the food industry that has been particularly prevalent in the past decade is the ‘Innocent’ brand. Founded in 1999, with it’s first year turnover at a modest £200,000, in just eight years the annual turnover grew to £114 million (Innocent drinks : join the family. 2012. innocent drinks : join the family,

An undoubted commercial success, Innocent’s popularity has grown in a time of cultural change as well as the development of both health and sustainability awareness, tapping into consumer need and consciousness, not only developing a brand to meet the environmental and sociological changes, but creating an optimistic, refreshing outlook and approach to business. An online review from The City Magazine states (The City Magazine, 2010, innocent drinks : press.

‘Before I even stepped through the door of Fruit Towers I liked the feel of this company; not from the sweeping success story that the company has evidently been but from all of my communications from 'fellow fruiters' in setting up the interview. In today's rather overly PC professional world, it was lovely to receive; it made me smile, it reminded me I was human and also said, we can be professional but we can also be fun…’

In the case of the Innocent brand, meeting the needs of sustainable awareness within consumers was never enough, and their consequent branding and promotion has led to one of the most successful company start-ups of the past decade, along with their sustainable packaging, they create the notion of a “sustainable lifestyle”, to engage and interact with it’s customers, adapting and utilizing new technologies such as social networking sites, which has proved a fantastic tool for self- promotion with customers in a new age of sustainability. This technology has provided them with a means of interactive communication, providing low cost (and subtle) advertising and promotion for the company, as well as being able to keep costs low in terms of materials (where key information from their online sources may have otherwise of had to have been printed on their product packaging).
In Innocent’s published book ‘A book about Innocent: Our story & some things we’ve learned’ (Germain & Reed, 2009, p. 166-169) they discuss the brand’s “mission statement” in the form of a five point plan : ‘… 1. Make it healthy… 2. Use responsible ingredients…3. Develop sustainable packaging… 4. Become a resource- efficient business… 5. Share the profits…’, five distinct points which have helped the brand become as established in the food and drinks industry as it is now more than a decade on from it’s establishment.
The two key elements of Innocent’s sustainability and branding success can be found within it’s two key ambitions, first, to use both ethically sourced packaging materials (as well as their ingredients), and secondly, to actively pursue their ambitions for profit sharing, and charity support.
In regards to it’s use of sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging materials, the Innocent website states:

‘We've done lots to make our packaging better. We've been pioneering the use of food grade recycled plastic in our little bottles since 2003, in 2009 we saved over 300 tonnes of packaging by making things lighter, and all our Kids cartons and our 750ml cartons are now made from 100% Forest Stewardship Council certified material.’ (Innocent drinks: all about us, 2012,

The company are (currently) actively using recyclable materials within their packaging designs such as Cartonboard, PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), HDPE (High-density polyethylene), PP (Polypropylene), all of which support their ambitions of a sustainable future in packaging design.
Since their establishment in 1999, the Innocent brand has shown significant evidence that sustainable design is about more than just packaging and recyclable materials, but creating a brand that people “buy into”, that people support, and, in the case of Innocent, a brand in which they can “join the family”, and feel as if they can truly make a difference. Be it on a bold, profound level or a subtle, day- to- day change to an individual’s way of life. It is design in both visual communication and environmental awareness on part of both the company and the Graphic Design team that go towards making a sustainable brand. ‘Graphic design is a powerful tool because it is crucial in the communication of messages. It has a role in the persuading, educating, and delighting others…design can make you think and smile…’ (Roberts, L, 2006, p. 192), and that is perhaps Innocent’s key to success- that “design can make you think and smile”. The company maintain their ethically sourced approach to their business throughout an association and developed relationship with the Rainforest Alliance certification scheme, which helps to campaign against deforestation and to promote global environmental awareness in ecological support and sustainability, supported by data and statistics such as: ‘The Rainforest Alliance estimates that 40 hectares (100 acres) of tropical rainforest are lost every minute’ (Boylston, S, 2009, p. 31). The scheme covers a great deal of their product ranges (not all fruits used in their products are currently covered by the Rainforest Alliance certification territory), along with the ‘Innocent Foundation’ charity, founded by the company itself, where their fruit is primarily sourced, and to which the a majority of their 10% profit share is donated to help support farmers and suppliers globally with crop growth and land development.
Including the Innocent Foundation, the brand works alongside, the brand has created many other charity events, including ‘Taste Not Waste’  (where fruit is recycled into smoothies at school workshops and similar events), ‘Buy one get one bee’ (where purchasing a special edition lemon, honey and ginger smoothie helps fund the introduction of more bees into the UK), and, most famously, ‘The Big Knit’- a scheme which, once again, promotes itself to actively engage the product’s consumers with charity based events which help to promote one of the company’s core aims in which they ‘consider active participation another important facet of maintaining a good relationship with our customers’ (Germain & Reed, 2009, p. 194). To Innocent, developing relationships with its consumers is the first step to sustainability, to promote its products, and consequently to help support charities, and the methods of recycling and re-development of it’s packaging design for a more environmentally committed future.
Most importantly, perhaps, is the tone of voice in which the brand’s sustainability ambitions and awareness is spread- ‘humour has been used as a learning aid for a very long time and is used in advertising to establish a connection with people’ (Ambrose, & Harris, 2011, p. 118), as is the case with Innocent, in it’s playful, tongue-in-cheek illustrative style of design, it’s use of language, and, of course, it’s charities.
All too often messages of, and campaigns to promote environmental awareness- the affects of deforestation and ecological threats, are presented in a somewhat pessimistic or patronizing manner, a way to evoke the “shock factor” though stark images of the results of global warming in Al Gore’s (previously mentioned) documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, or a “punishment” enforced upon residents by local councils for those unwilling or unable to meet their standards in sustainable living and waste disposal measures, but these effects rarely last- becoming built into the consumer awareness, and, over time, losing the “shock factor” to become another mundane, repetitive demand or order.
The success or failure of a company is hugely dependent on it’s brand and identity, what it stands for, and the projected vision and goals it’s company maintains, through message and media, promotion, and, of course, it’s endorsement of sustainable packaging and methods of product development.
Throughout the last ten years, an increasing number of products and companies within the food industry have competed within the difficult, over crowded market with the promise of sustainable packaging and ethically sourced and produced products. However, this alone is not enough. Society has changed, it demands more, companies must work harder to tap into consumer psyche in a positive, productive, and aspiration way to create an ambition and inspiration for change, to see longevity for not only their brand, and their range of products, but for the longevity of a sustainable future into the research, development and utilization of sustainable materials in both the food and drinks industry, and, most profoundly, within packaging design.



-       Ambrose, A & Harris, P (2011), ‘Packaging the Brand’, Lausanne, AVA Publishing
-       Chapman, J (2005), ‘Emotionally Durable Design’, London/Washington, Earthscan.
-       Papanek, V (1985), ‘Design for the real world’, London, Thames & Hudson.
-       McDonough, W & Braungart, M (2000), ‘Cradle to Cradle’, New York, North Point Press.
-       Boylston, S (2009), ‘Designing Sustainable Packaging’, London, Laurence and King Publishing Ltd.
-       Germain, D & Reed, R (2009), ‘A book about Innocent: Our story & some things we’ve learned’, London, Penguin Books Ltd.
-       Lewis, H & Gertsakis, J (2001), ‘Design + Environment’, Sheffield, Greenleaf Publishing Limited


-       Aseptic Solutions (2012). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2012].
-       Innocent drinks : join the family. 2012. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2012].
-        Innocent drinks : press. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2012].
-       Innocent drinks : all about us. 2012. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2012].


-       Reis, D (2010), ‘Production design in the sustainable area’, Germany, Taschen.
-       Siegle, L (2006), ‘Recycle: The Essential Guide’, Canada, Black Dog Publishing.
-       Layard, A, Davoudi, S, & Batty, S (2001), ‘Planning for a sustainable future’, London, Spoon Press.
-       Walker, S, (2006), ‘Sustainable by Design’, UK/USA, Earthscan

CTS Essay//Additional source materials.

Wanting to add a few more additional sources, and quote references within my essay before the module submission tomorrow, with a quick edit on some of the areas of my essay discussed with tutor Richard, and that I feel needed addressing, I sourced two additional books from the library to work from, which will feature within the second (and final) draft of my essay, to be completed and posted on my blog this afternoon.

- Lewis, H & Gertsakis, J (2001), 'Design + Environment', Sheffield, Greenleaf Publishing Limited
- Walker, S, (2006), 'Sustainable by Design', UK/USA, Earthscan

Monday, 12 March 2012

CTS Blog Feedback Tutorial.

At 09:30 this morning, along with a few of my fellow Graphic Design students, I had my annual blog feedback session, in which both my lecture notes and responses to tasks were reviewed by tutor, and head of contextual studies, Richard. 

I was really happy with the feedback I recieved, which was quite commonly spread across us all with key points to take note of, which I will make ammendments to over the weekend, when I also re-write/make additions/edits to my essay.


- Quotes from Philosophers within my task responses for a more critical analysis and response.
- Include images when referring to them (such as in 'The Gaze').
- Link task responses to Graphic Design for a higher level of critique and analysis.
- Harvard Reference task responses.
- Evidence wider work from lecture notes- expand upon this and research more.
- CHANGE the layout of my Hyperreality task- layout is awkward and cut off (whoops).


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Globalisation & Sustainability//Notes to myself.

The last lecture on globalisation and sustainability really gave me food for thought, particularly in the light of my pre-dissertation essay, and, if my essay is well received, my final dissertation, being on the particular subject as it is something that particularly interests me, and I feel that is a very contemporary and of-the-moment research area that would be beneficial to extend my research and knowledge of for my own design practice.

The opinions of others, and varying perspectives are undoubtedly a positive thing, and getting the multiple perspectives from the lecture, not only from Richard, delivering the lecture himself, but the opinions of others, has really opened my eyes to subject matter that I have barely touched the surface of within my initial essay draft.

Originally, upon receiving my essay feedback, I was simply going to set out to make a few necessary changes, find a few more key sources and triangulate the structure of my quotes and paragraphs a little more carefully. Now, where possible, I want to return to my essay and deconstruct it- considering the details that I hadn't fully acknowledged before.

The real, fundamental question- just how sustainable IS sustainability? Can we ever really live in a sustainable world? Now my essay's got bigger fish to fry.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

CTS Lecture XII//Globalisation, Sustainability and the media.

Notes from a lecture.

//With Richard Miles

- Our role in perpetuating the system and the media.
- Anti- capitalism, socialism.

- The media as a propaganda device- legitimising a ruthless, unfair, capitalism system.



- The proces of transformation of local or regional phenomena into global ones. It can be described as a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and function together. This process is a combination of economic, technological, sociocultural, and political forces.


- The elimination of state- enforced restrictions on exchanges across borders and the increasingly integrated and complex global system of production and exchange that has emerged as a result.


- Distinct political, economic, cultural trends.
See 'Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy' for further quote and text reference
- The dominance of one culture over others (such as USA over LDC and Eastern countries, as well as Western ones).
- A desire (by the dominate force in particular, America) to force it's culture upon other countries.

- George Ritzer, American sociologist talks about "McDonaldisation"- globalisation through imperialism- dominated by Americanism, countries now operate in the way that American does- jobs broken down through meaningless, mindless jobs.
- The principles and values of Western capitalist business dominate the rest of the world.

- Marshall McLuhan (the "guru or media" media theorist", wrote in the 1960's- foretold the impact of the internet before it actually happened- communicative technologies and how they would change the world. Media extends our own senses- the TV or radio allows us to hear and see further and quicker. Communication extends the senses and ourselves as individuals. We can see and hear events on a global scale quickly- the idea of the "global village". The communications age- the world would "shrink"- no longer culturally defined, but effectively become an integrated community where everyone knew one another, a village on a global scale.

- Even today, with the technology this harmony and community hasn't happened. We can see images of events all over the world, yet this doesn't integrate us- we are desensitised to the pain and emotion of others.


- This new technological age individualism is rendered obsolete (proposed by McLuhan)- still not corporate independence and "mutual respect" around the world- moving further away from a unified culture more and more each day, in reality.

- Two distinct ideologies evolving in modern day, as discussed in 'Jihad vs McWorld' publication.
- Are we loosing national identity, community and history with the development of globalisation?

"...We are not moving towards a cultural rainbow that reflect's the world's existing cultures..."

- Manfred B. Steger, Globalisation: A very short introduction, page 70


Key thinkers:

- Schiller
- Chomsky

- Forcing cultural ideologies upon a culture, and making them value the things that you do.
- The most powerful tool is the mass media- the vehicle for Western cultural imperialism- what legitimises it and allows it to develop.


- Media conglomerates operate as oligopolies, such as Time Warner- a line of ownership in the media, most companies can be lead back to one of six oligopolies.

TIME WARNER own (American company) amongst others...

E! Latin America
New Line Cinema
Time Inc
Cartoon Network
Warner Bros Entertainment- DC Comics//Looney Tunes


On a HUGE scale...owning hundreds of subsections in magazines, internet and television media.

- How cultural imperialism works- even at the smallest level, the American way of thinking is perpetuated and spread around the globe.


- Divide the world into the economic benefits- ordered and structured accordingly:

1. North America
2. Western Europe, Japan & Australia
3. Developing countries, economies and regional producers such as India, China, Brazil
4. The rest of the world

- The market is rigged around the interest of capital.


- Local cultures destroyed in this process and new forms of cultural dependency shaped, mirroring old school colonialism.
- SCHILLER dominance of US driven commercial media forces US model of broadcasting onto the rest of the world.

- Example in 'Big Brother', a Western cultural programme that has been absorbed and taken over the world- over. Seen as successful, where people can earn celebrity status- regarded as desirable by other cultures (such as India's 'Bigg Boss').

- The biggest growth in India in the most recent years is skin lightening cream in India- bombarded with images from the West- and the culture "that they should be aiming for"/


'Manufacturing Consent'

- Propaganda system for Western cultures.
- Propaganda model from the news:
//OWNERSHIP- who controls them.
//FUNDING- how they earn their money (particularly through advertising).
//SOURCING- how they get their information
//FLAK- lobbyist groups working for the associations
//ANTI COMMUNIST IDEOLOGY- an agenda to show communism (the oposite to America's capitalism)- an anti-ideology with a hidden agenda

- Proof that the news is biased, has a cultural agenda, etc.
- These can be applied to the majority of media associations.


RUPERT MURDOCH//Selected media interests
Considered "The Last Tycoon"

- News of the world//'THE SUN ON SUNDAY'
- The Sun
- The Sunday Times
- The Times
- NY Post
- BSkyB
- Fox TV

- When moguls such as Murdoch have power, it becomes dangerous due to the power and status he holds, and influence over politics and social change.


- Flaws in the objectivity and influence of how stories are sourced- very controlled and regulated.


- BBC Corporation works on tax as opposed to advertising, unlike most media organisations. 
- Advertising medias need to "keep the companies happy"- advertising and sponsorship can be easily dropped if unhappy with the agenda that the media are addressing.


- Managing public information to protect the interests of corporate companies, even at the expense of our planet- the media is used to perpetuate the interests, for example, of oil companies- a form of propaganda which perpetuates capitalist or capitalist countries.



- Dominated through US capital
- Activists have seized on the idea that this is a successful apparatus and it can be used to "fight back" and promote different agendas.
- Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'- getting the globe to "agree" on cutting back on pollution.
* Retreats of glaciers
* Temperate rise
* Keeling curve

Solutions that Al Gore finds to "solve the global climate"-

- Release less C02
- Plant more vegetation
- Try to be C02 neutral
- Recycle
- Buy a hybrid vehicle
- Watch this film!

The film was supposed to be apolitical- but the solutions stem from capitalist ideas- to buy more "things".


- Needs (particularly of the worlds poor)
- Limitations of technology
- Meeting the present needs without compromising the needs of the future

- Sustainability and growth (of the economy) seems to be a contradiction at present. 

- BIOX Biofuel plant, Canada, Hamilton, Ontario
- Alternative 'clean' fuel
- Renewable
- More expensive to produce
- "Sustainable capitalism"


* Noise pollution
* River pollution
* Air pollution
* Property prices went down

This "sustainable solution" caused more environmental problems in it's process- nothing can ever be truly sustainable within capitalism. 


- Media is used by companies as a new image and "rebrand" to "greenwash: themselves.

A sustainable system is impossible under a capitalist model- capitalism in unsustainable-

* ECOLOGISM- The "deep green movement"- the only way to save the planet is to completely overthrow the system that the world is currently under, radicals.

Papanek, V, 1983, p46- "Most things are not designed for the needs of people..."

The media is a system weiled against us, but one we can also use for our own ends.