21/04/2014

Look: Inspiration, And While We Were Here

So recently I watched a film on Netflix called And While We Were Here and I have since become slightly obsessed with it.

Not only does the movie star one of my favorite actresses and style muses Kate Bosworth, but it is also set in the beautiful island of Ischia. I am a huge fan of films that are set in stunning locations, and as with this one I will watch them over and over again simply to take in the beauty of the location until I can travel there myself.

Also, with summer just around the corner this film has become my inspiration for my summer wardrobe. Although I don't tend to change my style much from season to season, I do like to add a few new pieces every so often to update my wardrobe. And Kate Bosworth in this film is simply stunning. From her natural makeup to her effortless casual style, she is my style icon for the coming summer months.

Below are a few screen shots I took whilst watching the movie. Every shot of the movie could be used on a post card. Even though this film is by no means fast paced and energetic, the blissful and slow paced theme fit's nicely with the summer aesthetic that it creates.





















14/04/2014

Learn: Case Study Development!

I can finally see the end of this case study in sight!

I'm currently in the process of writing up my methodology, results, conclusion and evaluation! I hope to have completely finished this by the end of tomorrow so I can start editing down my work and putting everything in order for my appendices.

I've now finished collecting all of my data for this study. I've done my content analysis of two magazines (FHM and Esquire), gotten back the replies from my two online surveys, and conducted my one-on-one interviews with three participants. So now I just need to sift through all of this data, try and establish a connection between the raw data and my initial case study question, and then draw my conclusion.

Even though the evaluation isn't needed until the end of the case study, I've already started to write it up as it was easier and more efficient to evaluate as I went along rather than leaving it all as a last thought and not really remembering what I could have done better/worse.

There's not a lot more I can really say in this post! I'm right in the middle of typing up my work so don't have much more I can say until I do my final case study post summarising the whole process of this case study and doing a brief online evaluation and retrospective look at the work that I have completed!


11/04/2014

Shop: ASOS/Urban Outfitters/TopShop Wishlist 11/04/2014!

Recently my blog has become completely dedicated to university related content and I thought it was about time I did another more casual style/music/lifestyle/inspiration post! So here is (a long overdue) post on things that I am lusting over at the moment in my three favourite shops: Topshop, Asos and Urban Outfitters!







As you can probably tell from this post, my style is still as minimal as ever! Packing to come home from university made me realise just how monochrome my wardrobe is. Under my bed I have two boxes dedicated to shirts that are black/grey, one box dedicated to white shirts and one box dedicated to my 'colourful' shirts (even then these shirts are primarily khaki green or a neutral shade of brown/pink/blue). 

However, I am attempting to branch out with my wardrobe and purchase things that have some colour to them. Most recently I did purchase a beautiful lime green/yellow coat from Topshop that is just amazing! In the future I think I'm going to make some posts dedicated to deconstructing my style and showing you all who my fashion icons/muses are. If you happen to follow me on Pinterest you will know that I have numerous boards already dedicated to my fashion favourites and spend around half an hour every day looking on the website at new inspiration!

I know I say this time and time again, but I plan on taking blogging a lot more seriously in my spare time and not just using it as a platform to talk about things I'm doing at university but also a place where I can write down my thoughts and feelings about various things happening in my personal life.

10/04/2014

Learn: Case Study Development!

So after having a few days break from working on my case study, I'm back to business!


Today I have started to go through copies of FHM and Esquire in order to conduct a semiotic analysis of the content of these magazines and also to run a general content analysis. The purpose of this is to try and establish the true nature of these magazines compared to the assumptions made by those that took part in my online survey, and see how the sections of the magazines are divided up and whether or not some sections are far more prominent than others.

Alongside this, I will also be conducting my one-on-one interviews with participants to provide more rich and in depth data into the way people view these magazines in a modern day setting. Also, as these participants are not going to be journalism students it will mean they are not assessing the magazines or answering a questions through a certain lens. The way they interact with a magazine will be due to different conditions to myself, meaning that the data I collect will be more representative of the real life day-to-day consumers of these magazines rather than me picking up a magazine and using my own knowledge of the industry to influence my reading and analysis of the product.

As you can see, at the moment I'm going through the main chunk of my work so everything is starting to get a little bit more hectic! However, I have divided up my time well so will be all set to start summarising, concluding and evaluating this case study before I return back to university after Easter!

02/04/2014

Learn: Case Study Development

Hello once again lovelies!

So I have nearly reached the halfway point in my case study, the 2000 word mark. So far I have completed the introduction, methodology, ethical considerations, background, theoretical context sections and I am in the middle of writing up a brief literature review. I tend to overwrite when it comes to academic papers, so I can see myself writing past the word limit. But it's better to have written to much and to edit down then it is to not write enough!

The next thing I need to do is finish collecting the data for this study. So far in terms of data collecting, I have emailed members of staff at various magazines and I am hoping to hear back soon. I have made an online survey to gather peoples general feelings towards 'lads' mags and I have also bought copies of magazines to carry out a content/semiotic analysis. All that's left to do is write questions for at least two one-on-one interviews to hopefully get a more in depth look at how people react to these magazines.

Next week I plan on gathering all the data that I have so far and analysing it for it to be put into the case study. The sections that I have left to write up include:
  • Collecting data (a brief summery of how I collected the data including; what my questions were in my interviews, showing images of magazine pages that I analysed etc)
  • Evaluating and analysing data (this will be quite a large section of the case study, as I will explain what my findings mean and how they relate to my initial assumptions from the start of the study, explaining what the implications of my findings are)
  • Conclusion/summary of results (what can I infer from my findings, are there any strong conclusions I can make from my results, how do my results compare to similar studies carried out)
  • Evaluation (summarising the case study, what did I do well and if I were to do the study again what would I do differently)
I hope all of you guys are having a nice Easter break so far! I will update you again next week!

25/03/2014

Learn: Case Study Development

So I'm in the second week of the Easter Holidays and after having a week off so I could enjoy relaxing for a while, I have decided to get a move on with this case study!

Even though I did spend a majority of last week watching The Office US on Netflix, I did spend some time preparing various pieces of work for this case study. For example I created two surveys online for people to fill out in regards to their attitudes towards lads mags (and if you are reading this and would also like to help out, here are the links!)

This survey is to be completed by people that do read 'lads' mags
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BT97N2X

And this survey is to be completed by people that do not read 'lads' mags
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BXZ2HMJ

I also spent some time writing down the basic structure that my case study is going to take. I have created case studies before when I was in college, however they were for my psychology A level so there will be some slight differences in the way I create/present my work. So far the basic structure of my case study is going to be:
  • Introduction
  • Literature reviews
  • Collecting the data
  • Evaluating and analysing data
  • Conclusion/summary of results and how they compare to original research question
  • Evaluation
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices

This week, I aim to finish my introduction and literary reviews and send off emails to various staff working at my chosen magazines. I also plan on writing down interview questions for at least two people so I can have a more in depth understanding of their views of these magazines. I want to interview at least one male who does read 'lad' mags and one female that doesn't read 'lad' mags.

Today however, I am going to focus on writing down notes from my chosen books so I can then move forward with my introduction and literary review. The books that I am using for this project are:
  • Getting Away With It (The Inside Story Of Loaded) - Tim Southwell
  • Masculinity and Men's Lifestyle Magazines - (edited by) Bethan Benwell
  • Representing Men -Ben Crewe
  • Making Sense Of Men's Magazines - Peter Jackson, Nick Stevenson, Kate Brooks

 So that's pretty much everything, I better get on with this work! I will keep you all updated on the progress of my work!

12/03/2014

Learn: Yearbook Online! Part 4

Hello!


So this week has been a much more chilled out week for everyone at yearbook! It has mainly consisted of everyone in the group chasing up people to see if they want to be in the magazine and seeing when they will be available for interviews. So far I've already confirmed a couple of people, so now it's just a case of constructing the interview questions and then writing up the answers afterwards.

Because this is the last week of sessions before my university breaks up for Easter, it has meant that I have had to ensure that everyone knows what work they need to complete for when we return. Also, if people are struggling for idea's it means that we have time whilst we are away to come up with idea's for content and features.

Even though we are still in the very early stages of the second issue, so far I am confident that everything will come together as well as, and even more smoothly than before!

My aim is to have completed 2000 words of content (this including two features, a news story and a review) by the time I come back to University so when I am back in the sessions I can dedicate my time to putting everything through InDesign onto a layout. I will also use this time after Easter to help out anyone in my group that is either still unsure on what to write up for content, not confident with InDesign or just offer general help to anyone who needs it! My other aim after Easter is to have all of the content so far written down, along with developing ideas so I can put everything into a flat plan so when it comes to putting the magazine together we already have a pretty good idea of the content flow.

Like I said, this week has been pretty chilled out so this post has been pretty short and sweet!

06/03/2014

Yearbook issue 1 finally online!



So here it is guys! Yearbook issue one is finally online and ready for all you lovely people to read! I'm aware that there are one or two minor typos on some pages but honestly after the amount of time spent editing this issue the fact that only two typos made it past me is quite good for the first issue!


So yes! Here is the magazine! Read it, share it, talk about it!
Issue two is being made right now so you will only have to wait a couple of months to see the issue two!



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04/03/2014

Look: Yearbook at the Falitzers!




Learn: Yearbook Online! Part 3

Hello once again lovelies!

So this week I have spent my time looking at the (potential) future covers for the second issue of yearbook. Even though my group is still going through the process of contacting people to use in the magazine, I decided to make a few example covers showcasing the work of people we hope will have a feature space (all of the images used have been linked back to their original source).

I absolutely loved the cover for the first issue, which was taken by my wonderful friend Rhian Israel!  
However for the second issue, whilst I wanted the cover to have the same aesthetic as the first, I didn't want it to look overly similar as it would make the magazine seem quite boring and predictable. One solution me and my group came up with was instead of having a photograph on the cover of the magazine, using an illustration. We liked the use of a face on the cover as we found it was quite engaging and people tend to react better to magazines when they can make eye contact with the people on the cover. And by using an illustration it keeps the same theme/concept as the first cover without being overly predictable.

All the examples of covers below were made on InDesign on the university computers, because of this I did not have the correct font for the title so do not worry if you think the font looks a little off!


This first example shows an illustration drawn by Sophie Glover. Because the illustration is incredibly detailed I thought that it would look better if i covered the whole page with it rather than having it being confined to a small box in the centre. Also, with the title portrait down the page it made the natural flow of the magazine go in a logical pattern. First you are drawn to the title, then the illustration and then you finally see the barcode. One small problem with this cover however was that it would need an extra something to make sure that it looked like a magazine cover and not a book cover!

This illustration is again by the same artist. This is my least favourite cover as i feel that there is just something missing. Maybe is the image again filled up the page it would work better, or even if I changed the font colour of the title?

This cover features work created by Leanne Healy. Although a few members of my group didn't like this cover it was my personal favourite. As I have mentioned before I quite like layouts that are a bit weird and slightly off centre, so for me this is a perfect example of my personal style/taste. Compared to other covers, this one is more eye catching and even if it's not your personal taste because it is a little bit weird you do spend longer looking at it and this may cause more people to notice the magazine, rather than if we have a boring cover or even a messy cover!

The only problem I have with this cover is that I think it's too similar to the cover for our first issue. The only difference between the two is the actual image!

I do quite like this cover, I think the image works well spread across the whole page and the white boarder gives it quite a dreamy edge. I also quite like how the rabbit ears poke out of the top of the boarder! In this example (although this isn't the correct font) I decided to make the font colour a similar tone to the photo, so used a grey colour instead of just using black.

Again, this cover is very similar to the ones above but in this case I did a bit of overlapping and I quite liked the look of it! This cover is probably one of my other favourites.

This cover again features the work of Sophie Glover. A few people in my group liked this cover, however I think it looked a bit too minimal and plain. Because there is no colour on the cover it doesn't make anything pop out and it all kind of blends together. If this cover were being used for a print magazine then it may work, but because it is being used for an online magazine it may seem a bit boring to see this on a screen.

Here I was experimenting with putting a boarder around the illustration, trying to give it a bit of pop! I do like the effect but think maybe a brighter colour would have been more successful!

Again, I do quite like this cover! The only problem is because the boarder is pink it may come across as a more female magazine when it is actually gender neutral. But the use of the boarder defiantly makes it stand out more and makes it look less boring. 

The final cover I came up with was again one of my favourite but a few people in the group didn't seem to like it as much as me! If i were to see this in a newsagents because it is quite quirky I would be more likely to pick it up compared to another magazine with a plain background. Even though this cover is black and white the marble texture gives it a bit more depth and makes it more visually appealing. Also, because the title and the barcode is inside the image, the background frames the illustration quite nicely.


During the course of making yearbook it's becoming more and more clear to me that I defiantly have my own style when it comes to magazine layouts. I just hate boring designs and things that are so predictable and on centre! I'm quite visually driven in my work so when I am creating layouts for the magazine I try to make them reflect my personal style as much as possible.


01/03/2014

Learn: Yearbook Online, Part 2!

Hello lovelies!

So since last week I have been looking more into the online version of Yearbook and what exactly I can achieve when creating an online magazine. 

Instead of creating a completely new website specifically for Yearbook, it has been clarified that I simply need to make a wordpress to host the online version of the magazine rather than a website to accompany it.

With this new information in mind, me and my group have been looking at various wordpress themes that would make our website look like an editorial magazine, so when we do host the magazine online it looks specifically like a magazine and not a website or blog that runs alongside it.

One of the best themes that I found during the session was this!

Here are some images of what the layout looks like...

This first image is what the home page to the website would look like. Although it is very clearly a website theme, the layout and design of it does look similar to that of a printed magazine. The clear menu is quite a useful tool as it will enable visitors to go directly to a certain section of the magazine if they wish to do so!

As I have mentioned before, one of the main advantaged of having an online magazine is that we are able to feature content that is just not possible with a printed product. The main example is that with an online version, we are able to include videos, animation and sound clips into the pages! Because we are able to do this, we can have a lot more content from students studying these kind of courses that wish to showcase their work in its completion, rather than having a few screen shots of their work inside the pages of a printed magazine.

This page on the website shows what a typical feature layout would look like. The image on the left is in high resolution, so you get the best possible image quality, and the text on the right is set out very much like it would be in an actual magazine. The page layout as a whole is incredibly useful, as if we decided to use this theme for our website a lot of the settings would already be installed, so when we add our content in it would just be a case of editing various things to achieve the look we wanted to. However, as the settings of our magazine are saved on InDesign, this website function may not be necessary! 

This page is another example of what one of our feature layouts could look like. As this is a very visual page it would be most suited to showcase the work of the art/photography students at Falmouth. Another great feature of this layout is that you can click on an image and it opens up the image to its full size and quality, and obviously when showcasing the talent of the students and the intricacy of their work this would be an incredibly useful feature! 

Another great thing about this layout is that it is also compatible to use/read on the iPad. On the website linked above you have the ability to see what the layout looks like on an iPad, and as many people chose tablets and iPads to read their magazine this tool is incredibly useful and helps us see how readers can interact with the magazine and what their experience of the online Yearbook is.

As stated with the previous image, the layout is again compatible with iPhones and smartphone, which is again a great feature as it allows another platform for people to access and read our magazine!

So, as the images above demonstrate, this layout so far is the best suited for our magazine. As even though it is technically a website it still has the look and feel of a magazine and we don't loose that editorial quality that we love from the printed edition of Yearbook.



19/02/2014

Look: Ski Jacket created by Rachel Ellis

 
Jacket created by Rachel Ellis
Photograph taken by Rhian Israel
 
 

Learn: Yearbook Online! Part 1

Hello lovelies!

So as most of you that read this blog will know over the past few months I have been creating a magazine called Yearbook as part of my degree and recently completed the first issue. However, this is not the end of Yearbook! As this semester me and my group are developing Yearbook for a online format.

By this I mean how would Yearbook not only operate as an online publication, but how would it function alongside a website. What kind of content could we not have in the printed magazine that may work on an interactive website.

For example in the printed magazine we are able to review films created by students at Falmouth but we are unable to actually show you these films or even their trailers. If we had a website to go along side the magazine, and even in the interactive online version, we would be able to provide this content as we are not restricted by the 2D pages of the printed format.

However creating a website for the magazine is not a simple case of setting up another blog and posting everything on there. As our magazine is a very visually orientated product we want to website to have a similar aesthetic. Like before when I took inspiration from various magazines for layout inspiration, I have done the same again but this time using these publications corresponding websites as an idea for how we would want the Yearbook website to look.


 



The website that me and my group all agreed on as having the most inspirational and relatable design for us is The Gentlewoman website.

As these images demonstrate, the layout for the website is very clean and minimal which was the look we wanted to achieve for the magazine, so it makes sense to give our website a similar feel.

The Gentle Woman website is very clean and simple. The welcome page for the website is an image of what is on the front cover, and when you click on this image it takes you down to the second image which is the main home page for the website. Both of these layouts are exactly what I am hoping to achieve for the Yearbook website. What's quite nice is that the main homepage for this website looks quite similar to the contents page of the Yearbook magazine, meaning that if we went for a similar layout it the website would have good continuity with the printed magazine. Also what I like about this homepage is that it is very clear where everything is and the headings clearly separate ever piece of content.

The final part of the Gentle Woman website that would be good to use as a template for the Yearbook website is the page called The Library. This is because everyone featured is clearly named with an image of them also provided, so if someone reading the magazine wanted to go to all of the content related to a specific person they are able to do so with ease and don't need to spend ages searching the website. This would be a useful feature for the Yearbook website as the whole point of Yearbook is that we are a very people orientated magazine, that want to showcase the work of individuals their either still attend Falmouth University or have recently graduated. If we had this page on our website then someone could easily search for their own work on the website, or look at what their friends have created and even future employers can use this to look at who has had work featured and what kind of work it is that they are producing.

Even though it is only the second week of Yearbook online, I want to keep on top of everything that is happening and make sure that me and my group are still continuing to create content even whilst also developing a website!

As before, I will keep you up to date with everything going on with Yearbook and I hope you all enjoy reading about the behind the scenes of the magazine! (I know I keep promising but the magazine WILL be online ASAP! I will even make a special post for you all to let you know where you can read the magazine.)

14/02/2014

Learn: Case Study Development

























Hello!

This posts is going to be the first in a series of entries that will be dedicated to a case study that I am currently writing as a part of my degree. If you've been on my blog at all recently you will have seen many posts dedicated to the magazine that I have been creating, so in a similar sense these future blog posts are going to be about the development of my work and how it is being inspired.

Even though this is only the first week of our case study lectures and we've only just started discussing what a case study is, I'm already fairly confident of what I want to pursue...

I'm currently fascinated with the culture of "lads' mags" and the changing face of these magazines. I'm also interested in exploring the relationship between mens magazines and their audiences; how are these magazines using social media as another way to interact with their readers and as a result how are readers responding to this constant communication with their media. 

Whilst I look in more detail at this topic and research the history of lads' mags it would be impossible for me to ignore one of the most notorious assumptions about these magazines, are they sexist? It would be easy for me to agree and write off all of these magazines as misogynistic, but is this really the case?

For example, from just a quick glance on the FHM website you can find a page called Model Safety that highlights the dangers of people claiming to work at FHM and Zoo and asking girls to pose for photographs. The page also explains that if you are ever approached by someone claiming to work for one of these publications that you should contact the magazine directly via email to check that they are a genuine member of staff. It also states that you should not give any personal photographs or details to someone unless you are confident that they are who they claim to be. The existence of this web page highlights that the safety of models is a high priority in these publications and that photos featured in the magazines are gained ethically via trusted members of staff. Even though this is just one small example, it highlights how these magazines are not putting the safety and treatment of women aside in order to create popular content.

Recently Joe Barnes and Chris Sayer, editor and access editor at FHM, visited my university to conduct a workshop in feature writing and also to talk about their career and how they got to their current positions at FHM. During the workshop, students got to pitch ideas for a section of the magazine called "The Big Question". One of the ideas put forward was a question relating to the increasingly sexual nature of music videos at the moment, and how they can be interpreted as slightly pornographic. However, both Barnes and Sayer pointed out that this idea could easily be written as misogynistic and would need to be carefully executed to ensure that the feature was not criticising women but rather examining the use of sexual images in popular music videos. Again this example demonstrates how the representation of women in these magazines is carefully examined and executed to ensure that they are not being show in a dehumanising way.

During my case study I want to examine the content of mens magazines (primarily FHM, Zoo and Loaded) and see if what they publish is harmful towards women, or if these magazines are being judged based upon the content of magazines in the past where the correct representation of women was not seen as a priority. I can also expand on this point and see if the representation of women in these types of magazines is dependant on the country the magazine is published in.

Although I've never read magazines such as Loaded or Zoo, it is understandable to see how these particular publications can gain such negative connotations. However, as I have just mentioned, I have never purchased these magazines before so can not make fully informed judgements just yet, but these are my assumptions after simply seeing these magazines at newsagents and glancing at the cover and seeing images sexually charged images of women under the masthead.

However, what about magazines such as FHM (which I have bought in the past, primarily due to my love of menswear design and occasional intrigue at their cover stars) that do not appear to be misogynistic publications that just seek to exploit women, but seem to be magazines that just cater to a male audience? Even though FHM does posses some qualities of a typical lads' magazine, such as having female cover stars and a general tongue-in-cheek tone, it also has content that could easily be reversed and found in any glossy women's magazine.

Within my case study I will explore how readers connect with the content of magazines like FHM and why is it that they purchase these publications. Although featuring images of women is obviously an important selling point of these magazines, are men equally as interested in the pages dedicated to fashion, grooming and food? After all these publications are 'lifestyle' magazines, so are readers interested in the whole lifestyle the brands promote?

An article from The Guardian last June entitled UK Feminista founder Kat Banyard: 'It's staggering retailers sell lads' mags' explains why many people believe that lads' magazines are damaging not only to women but to young men who use this media as a point of reference for how they behave in the world. The primary argument against these magazines is that they dehumanise women and treat them as sex objects, and if these standards for treating women are ok in popular magazines then this behaviour is also ok to reproduce in the real world. In the article, Banyard explains that she is not calling for new laws and regulations to be put in place but for retailers to actively choose to stop selling these magazines in the same way that currently they are actively choosing to sell them.

However, one of the main criticisms that Banyard is facing is that if her campaign is successful then other publications can be called into question for similar reasons. Lads' magazines are not the only publications that are criticised for being harmful. Fashion magazines for example regularly come under scrutiny for setting unrealistic expectations for women and causing a negative environment in which a woman's self esteem is lowered so it is easier to sell her an endless supply beauty products. 

This has ended up being quite a long post for something was only supposed to be an introduction to my case study! I do quite enjoy writing academic essays though, and combining this with my absolute love for magazines means that doing this case study will be weirdly enjoyable?!