1. How does your product use or challenge conventions and how does it represent social groups or issues?
Full text (in case anything was unclear):
So the question would be: how does this product use or challenge conventions and how does it represent social groups or issues. Well, for starters, let’s consider the conventions. The way I see it, my product challenges conventions in every sense of the word. All the sections in the magazine (double spread, table of contents, and cover page) differ significantly whereas normally, a magazine follows a certain pattern, employs a certain winning formula every time to stay true to its established identity.
There is, however, symbolism behind the differences in my magazine. The barcode, which is present in all bottom sections of my magazine, represents that difference I am trying to entail through connotation. In a retail store context, for instance, each product has its own code, which implies particular characteristics that distinguish that product from others. Similarly so, each part of my magazine has its different barcode, which means to convey that each part is different in essence, ideas, and connotations/symbols. When put together, this issue represents a unit, the differences coming together to form something of a gestalt, one that is rich, meaningful and hopefully, relatable.
It is true that I went out of my comfort zone to create this magazine; I went out of the comfort zone of anything that involves magazine conventions, perhaps even for an art magazine. While a large range of art magazines have different established images, quite a few of them preserve a minimalistic appeal. For instance, regular magazine covers (even in art magazines) have, catchy titles (ex: try these innovative techniques, 6 of the best…), while some might only include the masthead and the date. Personally, I was inspired by the simplicity I came across in my research, and consequently opted for leaving solely what I considered to be essential the masthead, the odd barcode and the specification of the month and year. I felt like a cleaner image without all the advertisements of the articles inside would allow the target readers to identify the title to the carefully selected image on the cover
While still trying to preserve certain fundamental magazine components I will name later on, I tried to shake things up a bit by trying to add different aspects of my personality into all sections of this magazine and therefore reach out to my audience. These aspects of my personality that I speak of were expressed in the form of versatility, meaning, all the parts of the magazine look somewhat different. Well, this can be generalised to the social group I’m targeting. I don’t think it’s the first time I stress the importance of versatility, not only of the magazine, but of the audience. I.Mpotential represents social groups through association to the product. Anyone who would be willing to read this magazine is a person who thrives on mental stimulation and is apt to make connections between these perceived discrepancies.
In what concerns the front cover, I broke many conventions by leaving it as minimalistic as possible, like I mentioned previously. I wanted its simplicity to be its main attraction – one people could appreciate and relate to, and consequently, buy (people buy products they can relate to). The masthead’s entire design was created to be eye-catching and innovative. By making it especially authentic, I aimed at making it appealing for target audience, ranging from 16 to 25 or older. I not only wanted a masthead oozing with individualism and confidence, but I wanted one that shone with abstract elements that could be eye-catching for people above the targeted age group as well. I.Mpotential’s futuristic charm is to be paired with the pixels’ old historic background – because pixels were present in the past when technology wasn’t as advanced. This clash between old and new aims to give people subliminal insight into what the magazine contains – articles pertaining to old and new concepts or ideas.
Moreover, “This is not a barcode” is placed below the barcode to represent that not everything is what it seems to be – it means to play with the audience’s mind and make them think. In a way, it acts as mental stimulation in the front cover as it does on the table of contents page and the double spread.
The masthead in itself represents the social group I’m targeting because young people are full of potential, and the title quite literally reads “I am potential”. This idea of empowerment can be related to the little phrase I’ll add in all the issues of I.Mpotential – supporting innovative minds everywhere. By including it, I mean to represent my target audience because I deem it to be creative. I mean to represent my readers as well as to give them the feeling that they belong, and that they’re brilliant.
The contents page illustrates a whole new set of broken conventions, through the connotation of a sonar by the use of the French word “Sommaire” instead of “Table of Contents” as well as the sound wave-like title placement. The in-depth explanation of what these last 2 elements mean is present in the in the coursework development, so I won’t go into details about that now. I also challenged conventions by deciding I’d feature a new artist in every issue, and, in doing so, represent my targeted social group. The characteristics of the artists would be that they would be young (aged 16-25 or slightly older). There would be a “submit your art” category on impotential.com. The readers could also send their work by the means of any social networking site they like since the magazine is present on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. The selection would by no means imply any sort of discrimination. I would simply pick one artwork I would like best that I would think would fit into the table of contents for that specific issue. The artists would be young and relatively unpopular, and I would try to pick people from as many countries as possible to promote multiculturalism. There would be symbolism behind all the chosen artworks in every issue.
In the first issue of I.Mpotential, I chose my friend Ana as the artist. Through her perseverant gaze would transpire the bold determination of a whole generation. In my opinion, the perfection Ana craves when looking at her artwork connotes the imperfection of an artistic process; this can be related to the tenacity one needs when tackling any task. This represents my targeted social group because I see my potential readers as people who are indefatigable. Ana’s quotation is also there to help the audience relate to her, again, to make people think.
The fact that the titles on the page are written in abstract fonts connotes the confusion specific to the teenage years. This represents my target audience directly.
I also decided to keep some magazine conventions in the contents page. These include the “pull-quote” (Ana’s quotation), the freebie callout, the magazine’s contact information, and the numbered articles. I figured I still had to limit myself to the boundaries that any editorial implies.
The double spread is, in my opinion, pretty generic. I tried to stay within the bounds of what I had before encountered and established to be the norm. The image does takes up a lot of space because, being the artwork, it needs pop out and be the main focus of my readers.
I also represent social groups by using graffiti because it’s a very modern concept that sits very well with generation Y, who is growing up to be rebellious, daring and bold. Since graffiti is a very rebellious art style, and I wanted to include it in hopes of expressing myself while reaching the target audience.
2. How does your product engage with audiences and how would it be distributed as a real media text?
3. How did your production skills develop throughout this project?
4. How did you integrate technologies – software, hardware and online – in this project?