Design Idea – Old Sketch/Notebook

Taking inspiration from both Genevieve Seille and Barbara Krugers’ books from the V&A as well as the page theme from my first presentation, I have decided that the design them for my pages shall be double page spreads, with one page having a small amount of text on a blank page, giving either some background information or history on the subject of the page (similarly to Barbara Kruger’s book “Picture/Readings”). The other page will have a scan or piece of design created in the style of an aged sheet of notebook paper (like the pages of Seille’s book(s).

While I am very confident of how to do the pages for the first page, with it being just a white page with some small paragraphs placed in the center, the creation of the second pages may be a bit more complicated. The current idea I have for creating the effect of an old notebook page is to take a sheets of A4 paper and dye them all golden-brown with some teabags. Then using a pencil to trace on an existing design I have made, draw on the final designs using a fine-liner pen to give the final effect of an ink drawn sketch on the paper. Afterwards I will have the pages scanned into a computer and edited on from there.

I myself have used tea staining in the past so it is not something that I am completely unsure of how to do, giving me a bit of confidence that this process will be successful. I am actually a little happy about this project as using this method of design will be a much needed change of pace as this will be one of my first change of style in a long time since the beginning of this course.


Cosmic Disclosure – Inspiration from the “Higher Beings”

With the new ideas of what I am doing with the sketchbook-like secret code and secret society sign, I have come to the realisation that the cosmic disclosure inspired design has become a little too out of place compared to the remaining pages, as it would make it the only digital piece of work, as at the time I could not think of any way to link it with hand-drawn style.

After noticing this issue I decided to re-watch the documentary in order to find any other possible ideas for designs. Sure enough I found a brand new idea which I somehow had all but forgotten was in the videos. During the majority of the videos I have watched, the interviewee describes the appearance of several races of alien beings known to the secret space programs. The species he notably talks about are: the “Draco’s”, a race of large reptilian beings with servant species under their command, the “Blue Avians”, a race peaceful telepathic bird-men, and the “Sphere Being Alliance”, whose overall appearance seems to differ greatly between its members. The Draco and and Blue Avians even had digital art made of them to give a more detailed visualisation for the audience

These strangely differing alien species have now inspired me to try out a brand new idea which is compatible with the style of the previous two pages. Rather than using the hidden design, I shall instead create a hand-drawn depiction of an alien creature, most likely of my own design rather than using the design given within the video, as I do not want feel like I am stealing the ideas of the interviewee or to create an original design that has already been done.

I have decided on using this idea as I believe that it fits very nicely along side the previous designs, as well as give the 3 pages themselves the appearance of having been made rather roughly in an old by a mysterious person, who knows about government secrets such as the hidden organisations such as the Illuminati and SSP (Secret Space Programme), and that they have seen one of the beings that they have interacted with. Overall I am very happy to have finally found a fitting style for all 3 of my ideas.

Dada – “Protest Design”

Today we have been learning about another important group related to design revolution for our upcoming essay, with that group being Dada.

Dada was a group within the WW1 era (somewhere around 1916) who rejected many forms of modern society such logic and reason aestheticism. They often created very nonsense design with incredibly anti-capitalist view through the form of collage, verbal poetry and (newspaper) cut-up writing.


Conspiracy Theory – Secret Codes

Taking inspiration from Genevieve Seille’s work during our trip to the V&A library, I have decided to begin some research on how I should go around creating the secret code for my designs.

First I of all I went back to Genevieve Seille to if she had done any other notable work with codes, or to see if there were any pages from the book which I had missed. To my surprise I found that she did create another piece related to secret code, or a piece that at least looks like it is code. The book itself is actually made of wood craft (something which I discovered was a common attribute to her other works. Using this to her advantage, she made the book completely intractable, with little compartments and moving parts, allowing a more interesting design as well as adding puzzle elements to the secret code.


The typeface of the “book” itself is very rough and untidy, with scribblings all across the entire surface, some of which looks like not much care was really put into writing it. This however actually improves the idea of the design as the rough pencil work of the letters and numbers makes sense, as the code would have no reason to be neatly written if the creator was someone trying to quickly piece together information within their aged wooden book. The use of both letters and numbers within the book also adds further misery to what the code actually means and how it is solved.

The next idea I looked at was around a very classical use of code which is known as alphabet code, a type of code where the writer either moves the letters of the alphabet forward/backwards to the ones they intend to use, or they mix up all the letters the alphabet and use their original place (replacement) as if writing as normal.

As an example for the  key bellow, “Fade” would be spelled as “Idgh”.


While this is a very well known and classic type of of secret code, I am more interested in the third and most complicated version of alphabetical code, as it far more difficult to decode the than the previous.

The third type of code I am talking about is the use of symbols to replace the letters of the alphabet, effectively creating my whole new secret alphabet that only the writer can read. This will not only allow me to create a normal code, but also unsovleable code which can just as fill for a whole page, keeping to the theme of mystery, but possibly also sending some more dedicated readers on a wild goose chase.




Above is an example of symbol designs which I could use for my final piece, with the word “the” spelled in my secret alphabet.

Overall, I believe that I will use the “new alphabet” idea for my code as it seems the most fitting compared to my other pages, as they are much more left to for the imagination, just the this design idea, which will inspire the reader to make their own little theories based on what they can see.

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Conspiracy Theories – Sketches

With the presentation leading to some fairly good success for my designs and ideas, as well as spawning some new ideas for my final pieces, I have begun creating the prototype sketches of the pages using the feedback I received from my presentation audience.

The first sketch I did is the new interpretation of the secret society page design I created, as it was well received by the class. I tried originally to rework the design in a newer light, taking aspects of the second design of the eye from the presentation, but found that the most effective and attractive design was site the first. On the right I had tried to add more design as I felt that there was a bit too much empty space for my liking, but, in the end I believe that the use of just the symbol alone is enough in order to make the end design successful.

Next I began working on trying to build a design for an alien which would be used for the secret space program page, serving as a sort of concept or sketch-work of someone trying to record the species they encountered. It took a fair amount of attempts in order to create a species that I saw as both fitting to the stories mentioned in the “Cosmic Disclosure” stories which I had now come to enjoy, as well as being a design I saw as satisfying in general.

It was not until the design below (left) that I felt like I had created something which I both enjoyed looking at and looked like it could be seen in one of the stories of the documentary. The alien itself is mostly based off of the design of the “Draco” species mentioned heavily during certain parts of the interview, where they are depicted as huge, muscular and intimidating reptilian creatures. I made a few personal changes to the design such as the secondary set of arms, lack of wings and the body structure, as well as add a few little sketches of its characteristics which I may likely use in the final design in order to add a little flavor to the context.


Finally, I have done only a few sketches of what could be the design or layout of the secret code page. The reason to why I have only done a few is because creating both the layout and the code itself will require a bit more time to develop, as it will be the equivalent of creating a mostly type piece with a language that you have to make up and design. Therefore I shall create a post about the development of that language at a later date.


Conspiracy Theories – Reflection on Ideas

After having had a think about the results and feedback received from the presentation, I have begun to develop a few new ideas for designs thanks to advice I got from it.

For a notable start, I will make the first symbol within the presentation (all-seeing-eye) the sole image on the secret society page, as now both me and my class agree on it being much more effective on its own rather than the version with the human silhouettes, as it leaves more to question, is a nice design and also gives the impression that whoever drew it was trying to tell/warn the reader of something with just the symbol alone.

Secondly, I have had another new idea for the design of the pages in general, which ironically I got from the presentation design theme along side the books from the V&A exhibit. The new plan (which I may further into at a later date), revolves around the idea of making the designs of each page look like they can straight out of an old book that belonged to a researcher, insider or the like which depicts various sketches of objects, words and symbols based on the theme of the page. The pages (like the backgrounds of the presentation) will be made to look like tea-stained paper, giving the effect that the book has been made or  existed for a long time.

While I originally found the idea of an old book easy for both the pages about secret societies and codes as their original designs would not differ by the change of paper, I struggled a bit to think of a design idea that would fit the secret space program page. That was until however I had a conversation in class, which reminded me to go back to the “Cosmic Disclosure” documentary and adapt a new idea of using an alien in the page, almost as if someone had discovered a alien race and had sketch of what they saw, possibly along side text and little sketches of the aliens characteristics (e.g. eyes, hands, etc.).

Arts & Crafts – The Industrial Revolution

Today we have received another lecture relating to the industrial revolution in order to further prepare us for the essay latter on in the year. This lecture was centred around the old and still living movement known simply as “Arts & Crafts” movement.

Arts & Crafts movement was formed in the 1880’s and 1910’s and was created by the union of many designers and craftsmen within Europe who saw the industrial revolution as the ruining/destruction of traditional skills and craftsmanship for all ranges of products. However, this did not necessarily mean they hated machine production as by the quote by William Morris, an important member of this movement: “We do not reject the machine, we welcome it. But we would desire to see it mastered”.

The movements goal was to see the improvement and enjoyment with the works of craftsmen and to be able to improve the economy by using their skills and more privileged lives to help their local areas and make not just themselves happen with their environment, but also the people around them.

William Morris was a very prominent person within our lecture and discussion namely due to his very interesting story of how he discovered the idea of arts and crafts and became the inspiration of the movement. William Morris was originally one of the few (creative) lucky men to be born into wealth and used that wealth to his simple hobbies as a poet, artist and designer. One day when Morris was preparing a brand new house to live in (now known formally as the “Red House”, Morris decided that rather than building and furnishing his one using the cheaper factor-made materials and items, he decided to work together alongside his close friend Philip Webb to design and create everything from scratch. Whether it was before or after this process I am unsure, however, Morris knew that one of the biggest problems of his time was the idea of pleasure from work, something which had been lost within the dangerous and depressing walls of factories.

Morris also happened to be a very dedicated disciple of another member of another member of the movement, that man being John Ruskin, founder and leader of the “Guild of St. George”, another movement centred the idea of old medieval guilds where groups of people within a certain trade could be offered job security and pride in their work. The creation of this guild was mostly enforced by Ruskin’s own impression of true beauty, and that by improving the quality of work, he could also improve the world around him into becoming more beautiful.

Conspiracy Theory – Class Presentation

Today we have done short (almost mock-like) PowerPoint presentations of our current ideas and progress within this project which was done in front of our tutors and fellow classmates. PowerPoint shown available bellow:



From what I can remember from after my presentation, I only received feedback from the tutors themselves, most of which was related to the presentation itself. The most notable and useful piece of feedback that I received was from when the tutors asked about the imagery I used for most slides, which I replied to how I used the shape tools of PowerPoint itself to create simple designs just for the presentation, which actually seemed to surprise and impress them somewhat.

In a related point, they also really liked how the shapes all had textures to them that gave them the appearance of felt or fabric material. I also enjoyed this point as it made the designs appear a lot more than just solid colors, something that I want to add in the future for this and later projects.

V&A – Libary Book Showcase

After having seen the “So you want a revolution” exhibition toady, we moved to a much  smaller and quieter exhibit for our own eyes. This little exhibit was located within the upstairs library, which was happy to show us a selection of designers’ books from within the UK.

The exhibit consisted of a select yet varying range of book created by several artists and designers. Some of the books were professional works created by artists using existing books and cover from either sketchbooks or notebooks, while notable amount of the collection were hand made with various other more interesting materials and methods, one of the books was even made using home-made paper.

Here is the group of books which have struck my attention out of the many that were available:

The 2 notable books I saw (by Barbara Kruger and Genevieve Seille) took my attention for both layout and design.

The first book, called Picture/Readings, took my attention for its interesting way of laying out images and text without context of each other. While the first page contains a large paragraph of text, the other contains an image with no relation to the text is talking about. This could be interpreted as an artistic touch to add a bit life to the pages.

While the out of context aspect could be an interesting touch to the designs I could eventually create, I don’t feel as if the idea would work with illustrations as much as it would work for photography, as I feel as if it be way to easy to just take a photo rather than create a random image from scratch. That said, the use of a simple page with just some (possibly just a little vague) text with an interesting picture on the other side may be a easy yet fun design in the end.

The second, which was done by Genevieve Seille (called Livre de reference) was possibly the closest piece available in the exhibit that could be related to the ideas of conspiracy theory, due to the entire book itself being a giant code that might not even have an answer. The idea of an old, beaten up book that contains a unsolvable riddle has actually given me a bit of inspiration for what to do for one of my pages, with that new idea being to as mentioned create a secret message that may or may not be possible to translate.

V&A – “So You Want a Revolution?”

Today we have gone on a college trip to London in order to a exhibit taking place at the V&A Museum called “So You Want a Revolution”, an exhibition showing the events that shook the world of many young and older people the during the rebellious age between the  60’s and the 70’s. A time were human rights, LSD musicians and cultural uprising were on the high across the globe.

Within the exhibit you would be presented with a pair of headphones attached to a device which could easily be attached to bags or clothing. While wired up to this device, you could listen to the various clips of music and video playing all across the route. These clips either gave information to the listener directly, or simply gave a very fitting and atmospheric vibe of the music of that era.

One of the most memorable and fun parts of the exhibit was when entering one, large room you would be greeted by an open field like area that was surrounded by a giant screen with rock music being played within the headphones. The entire area had been turned into a concert set with actual artificial grass carpeting and beanbag chairs to lie upon, making you feel as if you were really there (if the entire concert was almost abandoned).

There was a only few pieces within the exhibit that actually managed to link up with a few of my own ideas, namely the only few displays I was able to photograph. These displays had very interesting designs, with the use of what could be related back to all-seeing-eyes over the faces of mannequins. This could be a possible design concept for one of my pages relating to secret societies (The Illuminati).

However, other than that specific display, there was very little in terms of design material for my current project and nothing too much that I gained in terms of work material, especially since photos were prohibited by staff. Either way, I am glad that I did take the time to take part in such an experience of an exhibit.