Monthly Archives: December 2016

‘Teds’ – Research

For my subcultures project I have decided to choose ‘Teds’ as my subject area. I don’t know  a great deal about them, mostly from discussions in class and using the VTS technique.

“A member of a youth cult of the mid to late 1950s, characterised by a style of dress loosely inspired by fashions of the Edwardian era (1901–10). Edward abbreviates to Teddy and Ted.
Teddy boys referred to themselves as Teds.”
– Teddy Boy definition by The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English

british-teds-in-nzDating back to the late 1940s and early 50s, following the war, a generation of youngsters with disposable money started to adopt the Edwardian (Teddy) clothing style which was in fashion on Saville Row but made some adjustments; the drapes with collar, cuff and pocket trimmings, even narrower trousers, crepe soled shoes or beetle crushers and hairstyle heavily greased into a quiff. It has been widely acknowledged that Teds were the first group whose style was self created in Britain.



In this tutorial we were taught how to create a double page spread on Indesign. We created a square document with a double spread, each with 3 columns for text. We created fill text by adding place holder text. The screenshots below show my progress through this.

By adding placeholder text, we copied it multiple times in one text box then learnt how to move the overhanging text into the next columns by shift clicking with the white pointer on the red marker, then dragging the text into another column. This is all to learn about text wrapping, a technique that can make the body text interact with illustrations/photography  creating an engaging design.

We were given a illustrated city scene to work with in this tutorial. Firstly I needed to set the image in place where I wanted it to be in the spread, then using the pen tool, I outlined the buildings in a very smooth and loose way following the buildings shapes and not getting too close, I then joined the wrap by going to the bottom of the image then back to the start point. Then using window>text wrap we can create the wrap, which essentially blocks text from entering the outlined space.

I could now move my placeholder text into place, and as expected the text wrap came into action and moved all the text into the next columns, making my text stop at the path I created around the buildings. This worked really well and looks like a professionally designed spread with an engaging body of text which does interact with the illustrations beneath. I would like to use this technique if possible in my double page spread.

I also learnt about creating drop caps in my spread, a common device which is used in magazine articles, newspapers, ect. These can be found in the paragraph window under its options, and you have control of how many lines the cap drops.

Magazine Layouts (The Bad)

After looking for magazine layouts that I thought would inspire and benefit me for my project I discovered a few bad layouts that I think would be good to mention, so I know what pathways not to take when I begin to think about layouts.

One of the most important things to consider in a magazine layout is the use of the white space. The first spread I have included because when I first looked at it I didn’t know where to look first, the highlighted text that crosses the spread takes the attention away from the heading, and leaves a lot of white space empty at the top corners of the spread. The text is also seems crammed into one column, then spread across the second page, unless this layout is inspired by an object or shape without showing the reader I believe they would be very confused like I was.

The second image is how white space can create a bad layout but in the opposite way. This next spread is about a ‘typographers changing role’, however I instantly disliked the typography used for the heading, which used a series of upper and lowercase letters in one word and the use of italics makes for a messy, unprofessional looking design. This could be a joke about the article at hand but the rest of the spread also says otherwise. The body text presented in two columns per page that is broken up randomly by pull quotes, text boxes and unneeded sub headings.


Semiotics Recap

Saussure said that when an act of communication happened a sign was created, which consisted of a signified and a signifier. If these were both registered a sign would be formed.

The signifier is the thing that signals something (such as a spoken or written word).

The signified is how that is registered in the mind of the person getting the message.

Signifiers do not have to intend to have a meaning

Denotation is the simplest level of what is seen (heard, smelt and so on).

Connotation is what that means to you – the things is makes you think of.

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 22.35.53.png

It is also argued that even denotation is the lowest form of connotation as it is believed to be culturally learnt.


Saussure said there is no natural connection between the signifier and the signified. This is purely arbitrary (“random” [sic]). Different words for cat, dog and so on across different languages. Most words are culturally learnt. Only a few sound like (or look like?) the thing they describe (“boom”, “kerplunk”, “quack”).

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 22.50.09.pngThe idea that language is symbolic and has to be learned is important. It promotes the idea that language is also valued.

cat, chat, bissay, domadh, mace, gatu, phisi, sinta…

Semiotics works in context. A dog is understood as a dog because it is also not anything else.

But the word “dog” (a signifier) can have different meanings in different contexts, and this is how we understand the signified.Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 22.51.25.png

The selection of images here show the signifier “dog” can be understood in a different context: cuteness, attack, security, protection, insulting, dogfighting, dog holes ect.


The first thing I  see from this poster (right)  is that there is a cowboy lighting up a cigarette. I  can sell this because of the signifying practices inside the poster, such as the cowboy hat, jean jacket, lasso. There is also a warm/dessert colour behind the man. I can tell this is an advert for cigarettes from the small image of the pack (bottom left), the smoking health warnings (bottom right) and the ‘Marlboro’ logo down the side of the image.

Magazine Layout

Here I’m starting to look at page layouts. This is going to be an important research point for my subcultures project as the my double page spread needs to be professionally presented and laid out.

This is a double page spread that I found quite interesting; the thing I like most about it is the how the text has followed the same curvature of the woman modelling on the right. The drop cap ‘V’ that is placed mid sentence, which is an unorthodox placement,  is also in a similar angle to the models upper body pose which creates an intriguing design that myself as a reader would be engaged with. The body of text also curves in a way that mimics the models body, adding to the uniqueness of the design and flow of the spread.



This second double page spread is to just to show the design and isn’t completed with mocked up text and subheadings. (Remembering to do this in my double page spread design will help me not get tied up with what to write but help me focus on the look and feel of it before worrying about what the text actually says. I can do this on Indesign by using lorem ipsum, which will give me building blocks to use whilst I build my spread)

This design is bold, engaging and like the title says, vivid. If I opened this up in a magazine I know I would stop and read the sub heading to understand what the article is about. This is a fundamental part of the design that I need to understand, and that is how to achieve an engaging, captivating spread about my subculture. The splash of colours, interesting illustration and bold heading all add to this design.


The next couple of spreads below are ones that I have found online, not because I think the overall design is good, but the techniques used to make it more engaging. In both spreads the have used the body text in interesting and non traditional way. The first spread has an interesting and angular design the text follow, but as a whole with the imagery used doesn’t particularly make me want to find out more.

The second spread is clearly visible straight away that it is about BMX riders doing stunts, and one in particular, ‘Elliot’ who has his name behind the main photograph which has been stylised with a purple effect, which looks like it will be an interview with him. The main thing that drew me to this spread was the text which looked like it had been sliced into 3 separate parts. This creates a different and interesting effect, however it does make the text annoying to read as you have to move down a line frequently due to the narrow triangular shaped text boxes.



If I can use some of these techniques in my design I believe I will create an interesting and bold double page spread.


VTS (2)

As I have chosen to focus on Teddy Boys for my subcultures project I will do another VTS exercise with a different photo but of of the same subculture.

  1. (what is happening?) In this photo it looks like the four teddy boys are walking down the street, the picture looks like it has been set up
  2. (what makes you think that?) I can tell they are teddy boys from the clothes that they are wearing, the Edwardian suit jackets, ties and smart trousers. They also all have the slicked back quiff hairstyle. Their pose and smiles make me think that this photo has been organised.
  3. (what more can you find?) They are in a group and not often seen alone, maybe because of conflict or violence, gangs?



VTS – Visual Thinking Strategy

What is happening? – What makes you think that? – What more can you find?

Metacognition: outside of own understanding, knowing the methods you are using to learn. Rely on knowledge and feelings, looking for signifiers and what has made me have that connotation .

Teddy Boys exercise:

In class we used the visual swindon-teddy-boys-at-hammersmith-palais-london-1955thinking strategy to discuss what we thought about this picture (left)

Our first thoughts were that the boys were at a wedding, party or business meeting possibly in a diner or cafe.

We thought this because of the clothing; they are all dressed in smart suits with ties and had pocket watches visible in the photo. The cafe/diner idea came from the lady on the far right who looks like she could be wearing a uniform, as well as the large mirror behind the boys and the sign on the wall.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-11-21-48.pngHere is another example image using the VTS in class.

A ‘hippy’ at a campsite in a forest, possible protesting peacefully, about to perform a piece of music from his guitar.

I think of these things from the style of clothing he’s wearing, the loose shirt and jeans, the head band, bracelets and long hairstyle. I get the idea he is at a campsite from the trees and woodland behind and the metal cup beside his foot.

Some more that I found when looking into this photo was the symbol painted on his guitar of a marijuana leaf which could indicate that this man is in fact a ‘hippy’ as they are well known links together  between them and the drug.




For Andrew and his colleagues to get an idea of what my idea would look like if it was actually applied to the factory I decided to make a couple of mock ups to help them understand.

I will discuss to them how it can be presented in the factory, using vinyl stickers that can easily be wiped down, or even laminated onto a magnetic strip which can then easily be applied to the machinery in the factory, then it can easily be changed with other designs on a rotation.