Conspiracy Theory – Final Presentation

Today we have had our final Presentation for the Conspiracy Theory project in front of our tutors and classmates. Bellow is the presentation itself:


Final Works

Results of the presentation:

The presentation itself was actually not too much different than the previous attempt, as I received fairly similar responses from the audience and the feedback was quite positive as with before. The main differences compared to the previous presentation however come from how there is now an actual final piece to show and receive comments on.

The piece itself received a pretty good response from the audience with them mentioning how they liked the use the tea stained paper for the design, and how they were also glad that I managed to find a new design method for the end project, as using practical design methods has been something that have not done since the Zine project last year. Just like me they were proud that for once I have moved forward into new design and have developed new techniques.

They did have some improvements on mind for my work however, which they told me during the end of the presentation. The first comment was that they thought that a little more practice with line density and thickness could improve the detail of my designs (this was namely pointed at my code and symbol pages), which I had attempted on the alien page. The other comment that they had was to maybe try adding color to my designs to make them look more appealing, noting that other designs that use tea staining often have (such as watercolors) paints or pencil colors used within the gaps.

Overall, I am very happy with both my final pieces, and the comments that I received, which I have a feeling will come in very hand in the future.















Conspiracy Theory – Final Design

Today I have finally finished the final design for this project. Each page has been fully completed and is ready for the final presentation shortly arriving.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-14-43-47The first page, slightly out of plan, was the secret code page, which I decided to make into a form of introduction page at the last minute as I had realized that it was a little awkward to think of something to say about codes that could be at least somewhat related to the rest of the pages, as well as take up roughly the same amount of text too.

Looking at it now, I am a little unsure whether or not it may be the page I like the least, as I feel as there were too many empty spaces and that the code itself is a bit plain and boring, as while it suggests that there is a message, it doesn’t do much to emphasis curiosity to me now.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-14-43-02The secret society page is probably what I consider the middle ground of what I consider the middle ground of my pieces, being both good and somewhat a little disappointing in my eyes. On one hand I feel that the use of the symbol by its self is far more effective than with something else that could just look like clutter. It gives a very good impression to me about something mysterious and that the author of the book was trying to give an cryptic message. On the other hand however, like the previous page I feel as if the open areas seem to empty and bland, and that there could have been more to improve the line-work of the eye.


This page has definitely secured its position of my faviourt out of the pages. The design feels a lot more like something that would expect to see out of the book if it were real, with a very old fashioned sketch of a creature they discover and recorded. I absolutely love how well the line-work came out compared to the other two, with the thinner and thicker lines greatly bouncing off of each other. Not to mention, there is far less empty space thanks to the smaller sketches surrounding it. In all honestly, I cannot think of any negatives for this page other than maybe the bottom of the page seeming a little baron.

Overall I am very happy with the final piece I have created and am a bit proud of myself that I have finally moved away from just using vector illustrations for my work.

Conspiracy Theory – The Illuminati (New World Order) (Re-upload)

The Illuminati has always been considered (or to me at least) to be one of the most common knowledge conspiracy theories of all time, with them simply being known as the monsters in the shadows that pull all the strings across the world, causing disaster after disaster, incident after incident, using every living being to their advantage, all under the banner of the “All Seeing Eye”.

However, the Illuminati have never always been this elitist group that everyone nowadays believes them to be. After some research, I found that the Illuminati, while indeed was a secret society, was far less powerful or even dangerous than one would have you believe. Originally the Illuminati were secret group of wealthy/successful men who wished to create a world free of superstitious, religious control and abuse of state power, something that most would agree being quite heroic in a way. Their symbol was not even the all seeing eye (which was likely the product of modern depictions by theorists), but rather the Owl of Minerva, a great symbol of knowledge.

The group was founded in 1776 and led by Adam Weishaupt, who acquired a fair few followers over the lifetime of his order before its miserable collapse and take-down in 1785, when the government discovered and banned the secret society, and all others after the internal structure and member relations of the group began to fall apart and resulted in their discovery to the whole world.

After that the group disappeared completely, although that has yet to stop people from believing that the group, under new leadership and goals, has survived and grown over the centuries with the aim of world domination. Many more dedicated theorists also believe that members of the group are devil worshipers and possess high levels of technology and resources.

Due to it possibly being the theory which I have the most common knowledge about, I will most definitely try to use the Illuminati for my final piece, also due to the amount of possibilities in terms of what I could do with the design (e.g. all seeing eye).

Making of the Old Pages

Today I have completed the pages which shall be used for my final piece and have all 3 designs at the ready for scanning.

Like mentioned in the previous post, I created the pieces by first taking several sheets of A4 paper and using teabags, which I soaked in hot water for 10 minuets beforehand, and using them like paint brushes to color the pages a golden brown.


After giving the papers a fine coat on both sides, I left them to dry before adding another good layer to get just the right amount of color. After that layer had dried off, I began sketching on the final design onto each of the papers, giving me a faint outline for the next step.


With the outlines sketched on I began using a black fine-liner pen to draw over them, making sure to be as rough and readable as possible in order to make it appear as if the creator was either in a hurry or did not care to much about the quality wherever not need (such as the alien sketch for the secret space program page, where a bit of tidiness was needed else the picture become ruined). After that the pages were ready for scanning.


Overall I am very happy with both the result of these aged pieces of paper as well as how I have finally had a chance to move a little away from using just digital design, and being able to use some new design methods for once. I think that the page I like the most is the alien page, as it seems the most convincing to me general.

The only queries that I can point out at the moment are how the eye drawing seems a little off, as if I did the lines a little too fine compared to the others. Also, while writing this post right now, I have just noticed that the secret code in the image on the right, is incorrectly written. The hidden message itself actually reads “THE CAKE IS A LIE”. However, have accidentally mixed the symbols for the words”IS” and “LIE”. But since no one else actually knows the true meaning of the code, this is not too much of an issue for me, if anything it will throw everyone off from ever solving the puzzle.


Today after receiving a little bit of information from someone about interesting sources to look for in terms of research material, I was led to a fairly strange yet inviting site known as “Ology“, an interactive website that has information not so much about conspiracy theory, but more mythical or science fiction information about various subjects that relatively end in “ology”, such as well known mythology, shown in the form of interactive books.

The topics that the site offers ranges from aliens to dragons to vampires, each created in similar yet fitting ways.

After having a search around the site itself, I discovered that it was mostly just an advertisement for the physical copies of the books themselves. Despite that however, I found each of the subjects, as well as their presentation. The books themselves are actually rather accurate to the design styles I am currently planning on using, using aged styled paper to give the effect of old journals or sketchbooks that have been filled in with information and pieces of odd research created by the author.

I have oddly found that this website is a very good example of what I wish to obtain in terms of design (and possibly some layout choices), and may serve as a good source of information for my final piece. I like how each book claims that it was created as a copy of an old explorer or specialist who has discovered all there is to know about the subject and create an real feeling that this may be a real story. Although, there are some moments when reading the snippets of the books or watching the video were it becomes plainly obvious when the target audience is children due to the way the text and speech is done in a bit too whimsical manner.

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.

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.