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Need help with dissertation idea? Slated by tutor :(

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Mattie7777, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Mattie7777

    Mattie7777 Member

    Hey guys hope you are all well!

    Well im heading back to uni in 3 weeks for my last year of Graphic Design and have been thinking about my dissertation aswell as doing some research. I have been really interested in typography and want to do something with this so here is my dissertation idea:

    Is handcrafted typography dead?

    Throughout the last couple of hundred years typography has changed in many ways coming from stone carvings to caligraphy through to letter press and now to the modern age of computers.

    What I want to find out is whether the digital age has taken over our type design and if creating typography with a pencil and paper will dissapear?

    If not why would designers carry on using these old ways of designing when it is much simplier and easier to use a computer?

    My tutor has told me things like caligraphy and letterpress is not typography, is this true?

    He said he cannot help me as I have worded it very badly and says what im trying to achieve is all wrong.

    To sum it up I want to do the rise of technology in typography and im sure that is possible?

    Sorry for the essay but hope someone can help as I am so stressed now!

    Thanks, Matt:icon_cursing:
  2. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Listen to your tutor. He's the one who'll mark it so if he's on the back foot already he's likely to be harsh with the marking.

    Why not note down points of interest that got you into graphic design in the first place, then go to see your tutor, explain youre having dificulty getting your head round a strong dissertation question and ask if he can help. If you take your notes with you it shows youve been thinking and aren't just being lazy.
  3. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    So true bigdave. Your tutor will have marked thousands of dissertations and knows what is required. He/she is your impartial guide. Your dissertation proposal (once agreed) will be a blueprint to guarantee a pass (as long as you do what is agreed).

    If you are fighting your tutor, you're stacking the odds against you - this is part of the dissertation learning process - you need to be more open minded, take on advice (from expert sources eg your tutor), be impartial in your research, etc. If you don't, you'll have a dissertation, a paper with fail printed and in time an understanding of what you should have done.

    I've marked a number of dissertations - what I describe is not uncommon and occurs most years.

    Hope this helps. Trust me, I'm on your side (as is your tutor who does not want you to fail).

    Try to adapt the subject to a more appropriate criteria.

    Personally I've written two dissertations (the second, after adaption was published).

    Best wishes

  4. linziloop

    linziloop Member

    When I was doing my dissertation I tried to find something that nobody else in the class was doing - so many of them were doing the same kinda thing (feminism in graphic design being the main one i can remember). I had trouble coming up with something so i spoke to one of the tutors i felt i had the best relationship with and she told me to try and link it to something else i enjoyed in life, because if i did it about something i wasn't so interested in i may lose enthusiasm for it.

    At the time I was dj-ing and had got really into my music, and the digital download scene had just started really taking off, so i came up with the idea of doing my dissertation about whether the digital download era was ruining album art ( i can't remember the actual title!). I basically looked into how vinyl progressed CD, what people thought of that, how design changed, what worked, what didn't etc etc, and then looked into what may happen / was happening with CD to digital.

    I really enjoyed doing the research and finding some really cool designs but one major problem i did have was finding sources of information for the CD to digital part - as this subject was relatively new i could only find one book! The rest of my research was digging through the internet (not ideal) and doing some surveys and stuff. In hindsight it may have been an idea for me to find out exactly how much information was available to me before embarking on it, but i passed, and i enjoyed it, so lesson learned. Looking into the subject since there are now many more books on the subject. D'oh!

    Apologies for the essay lol!
  5. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member


    I didn't do that, instead going for a dry subject to do with design theory that I thought would be the kind of thing a dissertation should be about. Consequently I didn't really get into it and wrote something that was just ok.

    Pick something you're passionate about and then link it back to the subject. At least you'll enjoy the research then.

    For example, looking back, being in Birmingham at the time Baltis were just taking off, I could have done research into indian restaurant design, from the interiors to the menus, looking at influences from indian temples, etc etc, which could also have led on to a final project to rebrand a restaurant. Hopefully getting paid in curry!

    That's just one idea but it would have been way better than what I actually did.
  6. Mattie7777

    Mattie7777 Member

    Cheers for the help guys, I have read through my tutors emails and I am now swaying to the idea of doing the 'rise of letterpress'.

    I think I will write about how letterpress has started to be used a lot more in modern day design even though we have computers and printers. I will also go into how it is becoming an essential part of graphic design at university.

    I am really into typography at the moment and want to learn a lot more about letterpress so im guessing this may be a good subject to jump into plus my tutor put the idea into my head.

    What you guys think?

    I have a list of books I will be taking out of the library but you guys know of anymore that could help me on my way?

    Cheers again
  7. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    I'm not sure about that - it's a bit esoteric - you love type so you're planning on writing about type for type's sake rather than the application of type for some other purpose.

    If you do go down that route, Alan Kitching's your man. There's a trend at the moment for letterpress but it never really went away.

    Let me google that for you
  8. Mattie7777

    Mattie7777 Member

    Ok thanks for the reply, I think my best bet is having a meeting with my tutor. That way I can sort it out properly!
  9. nathobson

    nathobson New Member

    There's good advice above! I'm also going into my third year, but I wrote a preliminary dissertation to test the water for my theme/title last year, which thankfully achieved a first. What did I do different? I went for something exceptionally unique and something that had scope to talk about in terms of social implication/influences, political factors, cultural differences etc. Once you've figured out all of the surrounding topics you can discuss that relate to your theme, then it really does write itself!

    I didn't actually got for something that was "my favorite thing" or even something I had given that much thought to before. What I did do was go for something I knew I could write about, and something that could actually mean something, something that could have implications. I can think of many good ideas off the top of my head for titles, but do they mean something? Not really.

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