Dissertation Ideas

Over the Christmas holiday, I have been thinking in depth about potential ideas for my dissertation. The topic of dissertation is an incredibly scary one to me, as the choice of what to write about is critical to succeeding in this element of my degree. 10,000 words is a daunting amount to write about one topic and for such a long amount of time, and so I know it is important that the topic is something I really want to write about. I had a number of initial ideas and began exploring them all in depth.

How has advertising played an important role in the success of Jaguar Land Rover?

My first significant introduction to graphic design was when visiting the design centre at JLR during a weeks work experience in year 10. I was working in electronics and loved it, but on a tour of the design centre I knew for the first time I needed to work in a design studio. The open space full of creative people and energy, music, colour, ideas – it was when I knew what I wanted to do. I spoke to some designers creating advertisements for the new land rover and this has always been something I have come back to as a potential job. Many of the men on my dad’s side of the family worked for Jaguar Land Rover, and their admiration and loyalty to the brand has meant it has always been a part of my life. My dad manages the paint shop at Special Vehicle Operations, a job that he loves and I think I would too. For all of these reasons, experience in the company would be a strong possibility and is also a topic that interests me, and relates directly to graphic communication and its impact on the success of a company.

Colour Theory

I am interested in learning more about colour theory and exploring a number of things. Through Cath Davies’ constellation study group, we briefly explored the way that colours are attributed to particular genders, and not others, and the way that people are convinced colours affect the sexuality or personality of a child. We discussed how we are conditioned to believe different colours have different meanings and say different things about us if we are associated with them, for example, men wearing pink or young girls wearing blue. In a recent lecture in preparation for Morocco Field 5, we looked at a study in which men and women were shown the same set of colours and asked to name them. The study showed that women have a far wider range of colour names than men, and also that men were more inclined to use alternative words to ‘pink’, e.g salmon. Other ideas include the way in which colour in teaching can positively affect a child’s learning capabilities, comparing different colour theories, the psychology of colour and the use of colour in packaging design.

The Joker and Harley Quinn

For my formative essay I analysed an image of the most recent portrayal of Harley Quinn, a super villain from the DC universe. For a dissertation idea, I would go much further in depth to explore the appearance and actions of Harley Quinn and the Joker, and the abusive relationship they share. I would look further into Creed and Freud amongst others so explore theories of castration fear, phallic women, female/male monster, oedipal complex, phallic panic, objectification, sexualisation, dehumanisation and infantilisation. I could also look at how the portrayal of these characters has changed and developed over time and across platforms, comparing them as a male and a female character.

David Bowie, Glamour and Masculinity

David Bowie has always been an important part in the music of my family, as many others, and I have grown up listening to him with my dad. He is a character which no one could define because of his ever changing personality. It was clear from David Bowie’s life and career that society likes to place people into a box so that they can be categorised, but this could not be done with Bowie. He needed a box all of his own. As explored in Goddesses and Monsters, there are theories of what both glamour and a monster should be, though Bowie somehow fits in to both almost perfectly. Peoples ideas and perceptions of his always intrigued me, one woman on a talk show saying “I get the feeling he’s into black magic.” and a student from the University of Pennsylvania deciding “the male-female spectrum does not have the definitive capacity to categorise Bowie effectively.” I believe this to be completely true, but it was something that society could not except. The liminality of David Bowie as a performer is something I would be interested to explore, alongside themes of sexuality, masculinity and femininity.

American Psycho

I recently watched American Psycho and I am absolutely obsessed. It encapsulates completely everything discussed in Cath’s study group, from glamour to monsters to consumerism and materialism to violence and brutality to feminism to misogyny and much more. I would love to talk about American Psycho and everything it involves, comparing the book and the film.

I will continue to come up with ideas for my dissertation and, after speaking with Cath Davies and my dissertation tutor, will hopefully have a proper idea and question to explore.


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