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Week 4 - Perspectives 

The Self & Identity | Values & Equities; Giving Form to your Story














When viewing Adam Curtis’s film The Century of the Self, it is clear that there are many examples of how psychoanalysts, in partnership with government and large corporations, have manipulated people.  The driving motivation, a fear that our unconscious psyche might steer the masses towards unreasonable and wanton decisions and actions.  The opinion that people could not be trusted to make the correct choices or take the correct actions.  The 'correct' choice, of course, being dictated by government and business.  The propaganda campaigns instigated by Edward Bernays, chief public relations advisor to American business and state, were both shockingly masterful and hideously controlling. 

Freud’s theory of the 3 elements that make up ‘the self’, could be likened to how we portray ourselves in society today.   The rise of social media has enabled us to control and manipulate our own self image.  We document and report on our lives, but not always in a truly honest way.  Our ego takes over, the desire to be better than others inciting us to post ‘air brushed’ versions of our real life.  If our social persona is 'the ego' that Freud refers to, then our professional persona could be classed as the conscious self; accurate, matter of fact with a sense of responsible reporting (after all, it wouldn’t do to lie to an employer now would it?!) and finally the unconscious is our actual selves, the truth lying deep inside us, perhaps a side we rarely show or don’t even consciously know?

As Curtis moves through the decades in his film the psychoanalysts increasing involvement with politics and marketing sees the expansion of ‘the self’ in the public.  No longer seeing themselves as part of a ‘mass’, people began to demand individualism, to desire autonomy and uniqueness.  Suddenly businesses and politicians needed to understand individuals to connect with his/her wants and desires.  This must have seemed like an impossible task until psychoanalysts realised that they could measure these traits through market research, which formed patterns of and coined the term 'lifestyle'.  

In his book “The Trajectory of the Self” Giddons describes lifestyle as something, “influenced by group pressures (...) role models (...) socioeconomic circumstances” (Giddens 1991, p82).  This may explain why there are so many different ‘lifestyles’ to consider when designing products and services today.  A person may aspire to a certain lifestyle but not be affluent enough to live it.  If a designer or business can give them a sense of living their lifestyle choice on half the budget then they are going to choose that product or service.  With that selection comes a sense of satisfying the ego, a contented consumer and potentially a repeat customer!

Giddens considers that lifestyle is often thought of in terms of “superficial consumerism” (Giddens 1991, p79), however there is more to identity than just how someone chooses to live their life and with what ‘style’.  Identity is also bound up in the notion of ‘self growth’.  Educational institutions have been using the studies of Carol Dweck when teaching students about personal growth in order to enhance academic achievement.  Dweck’s ideas on Mindsets(Fig 1) - Fixed & Growth (Wikipedia: Mindsets)  align with Giddens when he says, “Personal growth depends on conquering emotional blocks and tensions that prevent us from understanding ourselves” (Giddens, 1991 p78).  Both Giddens and Dweck highlight that personal growth involves taking risks, treading new ground and stepping outside of what naturally feels comfortable.  People that are able and willing to do this are perhaps more likely to reach self actualisation (as illustrated by Maslow, Fig 1), or at the very least expand and educate the conscious, which in turn will influence the unconscious and give them, as Giddens puts it “a coherent sense of identity” (Giddens 1991 p99)






































How this helps the designer, I think, depends on how much they are willing to take that leap themselves towards personal coherence and whether society can see past the superficial social media and explore a more enlightened existence.  Perhaps we are already seeing this happening with generation Z trying to make sense of their world, favouring ethical, environmental and moral standpoints, distrusting corporations, politics and business.  Many of the generation Z show a confidence and self esteem not often seen in people so young, a strong drive towards the self actualisation we see in Maslow's theory.  How designers respond to this generation, and the one hot on their heels, will shape our future responses to briefs and projects. 




Task 1:  Distil from your understanding of your practice and your character, your values as a designer (aspirational, honest, negative). Make an initial list of 20 words you can then edit down to five words.

‘The Self’ lecture by Martin Hosken posed a variety of questions to provoke thinking about our values as designers and people.  I thought a good start to this week would be to answer these questions, so here goes...

How do you know your values?  I know what my values are by the way I act and react to observations and experiences in my life.

What is a value to you?  To me a value is a belief that you hold firmly and resolutely, a belief that shapes your character & actions.

Do you share values with those around you?  Yes you can do, especially when you are at a impressionable age, for example sharing values with your parents when growing up.  You could also share values with your partner and this may have been part of what attracted you to them.  Furthermore you can also hold different values to those around you, which can spark interesting debate and occasionally be the downfall of a relationship with those people.

Are you influenced by those around you?  Yes, I am.  I see others around me as educators, they have knowledge and experience that I do not and therefore can educate me and influence my thinking.  However, I do not believe that another person can change my core values.

Where do you come from?  A very hard question to answer but my approach is to identify key elements in my life that have shaped who I am today...

1.  Childhood - Stable, secure, fun, loving home, hard working class parents, foreign holidays, younger sibling, family dog, suburban living, wanting for nothing.

2.  Adolescence - Mistakes driven by emotions, challenging parental expectations, widened social groups, experimenting, peer adulation, wobbly independence, own home, finding own identity.

3.  Mature degree student - realisation of mistakes, changing life direction, sacrificing security, feeling creatively fulfilled, anticipation of future ventures, homesick.

4.  Meeting future husband - Feeling supported, loved & complete, planning a future together, sacrificed career.

5.  Having children - Overwhelming, all consuming, lost identity, lonely, depression,  beautiful connections, unwavering commitment, purpose & bond.

6.  Becoming a teacher - learning, developing, making a difference, connections, trust, relationships, stress, face pace, high demands, bullying, unprofessional, cut throat, unbalanced life, family sacrifices, emotional wreck

7.  Leaving teaching and beginning the MA - Anger, loss, fear, apprehension, impassioned, self confidence, constructing a new path, harmonious life, time for reflection and future planning

Well that was useful and emotional to do!  So to the final question, who are you?

I am a 44 year old English female designer, mother & wife who:

  • is inherently creative but not particularly artistic CREATIVITY

  • enjoys experimenting with materials and hand craft processes EXPERIMENTAL

  • is excited by the possibilities that design presents and endless directions it can take you CAPACITY

  • revels in delving into a topic, acquiring and assimilating information, analysing and interpreting it KNOWLEDGE

  • thrives on gaining & imparting education EDUCATION

  • believes that everyone should be treated with equal respect and fairness RESPECTFUL

  • understands that comparing oneself to another is futile as each person is unique INDIVIDUAL

  • can be self absorbed and forget that the little thoughts matter to others EGOCENTRIC

  • is optimistic and has positive outlook on the future IDEALISTIC

  • can be an impulsive consumer and always looks for a better way to organise her home & work IMPETUOUS

  • is able to juggle different roles in her life but has high expectations of herself that are not always met to her satisfaction HOPEFUL

  • works hard, with care and is dedicated to her job INDUSTRIOUS

  • is increasingly concerned with excessive waste and what part she can play in reducing it ENVIRONMENTAL

  • believes it is important to listen to people without judgement ATTENTIVE

  • is proud to be British PATRIOTIC

I feel that by answering the questions posed by Martin Hosken, I have found my core values within and have emboldened what I believe to be the strongest ones above. 

Hosken also discussed Sigmung Freud and his ideas around the unconscious desires influencing our psyche.  The interplay between the unconscious, the conscious and the ego and whether one influences the other in a positive or negative way seem to be the basis of psychoanalyst theories and practice. 





Task 2  Create a visual mood board for each word & a single expression of oneself.

A tricky task this one.  I had my values, how to represent them in visuals was hard.  I did a word association type of response, if I said ‘Education’ what pictures sprung to my mind.  This helped and these were the mood board results...





























































When Hosken discussed the ideas around Archetypes and our connections to them, I was interested in how these persona’s supported the development of the self in psychology practice.  Archetypes were “introduced by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who suggested that these archetypes were archaic forms of innate human knowledge passed down from our ancestors” (Cherry, 2020).  In researching Carl Jung I discovered that he was a disciple of Freud, up to the point that they disagreed over how much sexuality played a part in the development of the self.  Jung believed that the 4 main archetypes, he called, The Anima/Animus, The Shadow, The Persona & The Self, were inherently human in a primeval, hereditary & natural way.  Jung stated that these ‘types’ symbolised values & motivations that drive our personalities.  In seeking out the inner persona Jung used drawing techniques in his analysis of his patients (Fig. 3).  “The self is an archetype that represents the unified unconsciousness and consciousness of an individual. Jung often represented the self as a circle, square, or mandala.”(Cherry 2020)  I am attracted to the idea of a Mandala representing ‘The Self’. I did a little research in to Manadalas.
Mandalas “(...) originally meant to represent wholeness and a model for the organizational structure of life itself, a cosmic diagram that shows the relation to (...) the world that extends beyond and within various minds & bodies.” (Wiki: Mandalas)
























I set about producing a Mandala that could represent my core values, the initial idea...
















I thought about using a colour filter over areas of the mandala to reflect actual, social & professional (or conscious, ego & unconscious).  Each layer of the concentric circles representing a different value.  

These were the working mandala ideas...
































These ideas I discarded because I felt they were overly complicated, drastic simplification was needed (Adrian Talbot’s words echoing in my ears here from week 1, “tell a story effectively with type, image & space - tell it with the minimum amount of elements”)

Looking at them collectively reminded me a little of political campaign rosettes and then I began to think about objects we wear to show our values, opinions or allegiances.  I like the idea of ‘Wearing my Values on my Sleeve’, a little like a Scout would wear their badges of achievement on their uniform.













Thinking about the nature of the Scout Badge I feel this is going to help me simplify my communication of ‘MySelf’.  I note that images are reduced to their most basic elements in a motif style, strong thick satin stitch is used to create outlines that define edges, most of the badges have the same background colour but there is some variation to the edging of each badge.  

I did not have facilities to machine embroider, the actual badges would have been created this way, so I used hand stitching techniques, buttons and beads to create the overall effect of a badge.  I also scaled up the size to enable the details to be clear.  I wanted to show these elements as one image on the sleeve of a shirt, in the same way that a scout would wear them.  I think the overall effect works well and is definitely more minimal than the Mandala direction I was taking.













































Some of the elements on this single expression of myself, were derived from typographic experiments that I have been working on.  I am very inexperienced working with text in my work and have therefore been examining the work of textile artists who utilise type.  I am particularly inspired by the work of Estonian designer & artist, Evelin Kasikov who began her career in Graphic Design and Printmaking, moving on to working with stitched type during her MA at Central St Martins.  Fig. 5 is an example of her work.





















Of this work Evelin says, “ This is my first fully CMYK-embroidered alphabet. My intention was to create stitched letterforms considering typographic characteristics: legibility, coherence, weight and contrast.” (Kasikov. c2011)

Evelin’s work blends intricate and precisely composed cross stitches using the colours of CMYK print.  She merges hand stitched work with printed versions of hand stitched work and has some fantastic book cover & binding work on her website.  Her techniques really resonate with me as I try to find my own balance of graphic and textile design style.  I take note of the fact that she is very accurate in her positioning, size, shape and colour of stitch, respecting the discipline of type through the medium of thread.  This is something I need to be more acutely aware of when experimenting if I want my text to be read in communication - although this could be played with more when I have learnt the basics!
























This week has been a pivotal point in my journey so far.  Aside from the fact that I have learnt many interesting and some quite shocking facts about how psychoanalyst theories were used to exploit and control the masses (and probably still are), I have also delved in to my own psyche to find what really matters to me as a designer, and to some extent, a human.  

I’ve been wrestling with methods of communication from the outset of my MA, not because I don’t know how to communicate, but I had not appreciated the nuances, history, cultural significance behind every image, picture, written word, even single mark.  I had been accustomed to expressing my design through thread, yarn and fabric where matters of texture, weight, handle & stability were paramount.  I now find myself concerned with choices of elements for more psychological reasons and this has really surprised me!  I think this is why I am being drawn towards looking at text. 

In woven textile design there is much regime, order & mathematics, I can see that typography presents a similar systematic approach, although I appreciate that there are those manipulating and distorting this in their work, I, however, must start at the beginning, with the rules and regulations.  The drive to educate myself is the thought behind playing with New Pica Roman No. 2, a type born from Scotch Foundries in the early 1800’s and on which many of the Serif Fonts were established.  In fact W A Dwiggins, the man who, now famously, coined the term ‘Graphic Design’ based his Caledonia 1938 type on these very styles. 

Distilling My Values

I think I am naturally quite a analytical minded person and quite often think about how I am viewed by others or how my words affect others.  This is perhaps because I spent 10 years at the front of the classroom, adapting my communication to meet the needs of a collective group or an individual.  This self reflection allowed me to synergise my responses to the questions, posed by Martin Hosken in the lecture The Self, with the values they represented.

In realising the mood boards I used Rockwell Bold type, another Serif font developed by Monotype in 1934 and aligns well with my research in to these lettering styles.  I have learnt that Rockwell fits in a subcategory of Serif called ‘slab’.  I used this typeface across all 5 mood boards, because I wanted uniformity throughout to indicate my values all belonging to me.  I also like the font because it would fill with colour , allow for a clear outlines and show texture fills very well.  Images were chosen intuitively during a google image search of key associated words.  I played with a different layout idea for each one and enjoyed deciding which images should have hierarchy other others.

Single visual expression that conveys you.

Having initially explored the idea of a Mandala that represented my values, I realised that I had taken it too literally and created responses that were over complicated and confusing the eye.  Later on I realised that you did not necessarily have to convey the values in your final visual expression - had I known this I would have produced a much more expressive and intuitive Mandala that was more in keeping with the way that Jung had asked his clients to do.  Thank you to Harriet for the idea of layering the mandalas together - this is something I will come back to. 

I had already invested in adapting a piece that was more minimal in approach and chose to use scout badges as a starting point.  I utilised key visuals from my mood boards to create 5 ‘values’ badges, photographing them on the sleeve of a shirt which became my single visual expression of myself. 

List of Figures:

Fig 1. Carole Dweck Mindsets.


Fig 2. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Fig 3. Mandala Painted by a patient of Carl Jung

Fig 4.  Images of Scout badges available from the 1964 World Book Encyclopaedia. Adult Enrichment Project.

Fig 5. Evelin Kasikov Hand cross-stitching type


Hosken, M. (c2020)  The Self  [Falmouth University Lecture Resource] Available at: [Accessed 14/02/2021]

Giddens, A.  (1991)  The Trajectory of the Self.  Cambridge: Polity Press

Wikipedia. Mindsets.  Available at: [Accessed 18/02/2021]

Wikipedia. Mandalas.  Available at: [Accessed 17/02/2021]

Cherry, K. (2020) (Medically reviewed by Gans, Steven MD) The 4 Major Jungian Archetypes. [Very Well Mind Online: Dot Dash Publishing] Available at:,passed%20down%20from%20our%20ancestors. [Accessed 17/02/2021]

Evelin Kasikov. Designer & Artist. [Accessed 18/02/2021]

Discovery Notes
Analysis of Research 
Workshop Challenge 1
Workshop Challenge 2
Fig. 1 Carole Dweck - Mindsets
Fig 2.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Fig 3. Mandala Painted by a patient of Carl Jung
Fig 4.  Images of Scout badges available from the 1964 World Book Encyclopaedia. Adult Enrichment Project
“I wear my values on my sleeve” - Melissa Kilbey
Fig 5.  Evelin Kasikov CMYK Hand cross-stitched type 
New Pica Roman No. 2 Type Stitch Experiments - Melissa Kilbey
Journal Reflection

Week 4, all about being introspective.  Identifying who you are, as a designer and a person, alongside investigation of psychoanalytical human behaviour, with consumerism as a focus.   My research notes are shown below. 

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