unit 2.4: major project proposal (3rd draft)
Can charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) adopt branding tools used by corporates in commercial advertising to increase their own funding and public visibility?
- Set a benchmark of successful corporate branding strategies.
- Single out a list of charities and NGOs that will form the project test group.
- Collect a representative series of printed media (material) — posters, ads, etc. — for each organisation in the group.
- Examine and document visual language and messaging in the material.
- Classify the findings to build a comprehensive visual data bank.
- Establish if a theoretical campaign can be built from the data bank.
- Determine whether processing information in this way can lead to universal application in graphic design and branding.
- Set criteria that identity which charities and NGOs merit inclusion, capturing, for example, largest global and national (UK) charities and NGOs and a broad cross-section of charities and NGOs globally and nationally.
- Subscribe to relevant archiving websites to capture the largest volume of material.
- Source relevant repositories of information, e.g. indexing systems, that rate or rank the qualifying charities and NGOs, establish who the leaders in their field are, etc.
- Develop and apply a method of deconstruction for the material that breaks down visual language and messaging using semiotic and visual theory.
- Build a website that can collate the findings of the deconstruction, and search, compare and categorise specific criteria for further research.
- Based on the research, see if a practical, real-world campaign can be developed and feasibly applied for at least one, if not more, of the charities and NGOs under examination.
- At every stage of the project, write a report that documents all processes, outcomes, directions and findings.
- Collect all reports and use them to form an overall thesis whose chapters and structure will be informed by the critical reflection contained in each and whose findings Are conducive to replication in both academic and professional contexts.
- NGOs and charities
- Graphic and designers branding specialists
- Visual researchers
Area of study
In the context of design theory as it relates to identity, audience and society, specifically look at the nature of commercial branding and advertising strategies and determine whether the methods and ethics of the commercial environment in which they work can be applied to charities and NGOs.
Survey and review
Based on the overall collected material produced by the charities and NGOs between 2000 and 2010, critically show how close the material produced by each charity and NGO is to its own ethos and values, and assess whether commercial branding practices can be applied to enhance its messaging in ways that are conducive to increasing its funding and public visibility.
The bulk of the overall collected material was pulled together in Unit 2.3 from two online resources, which will be utilised as the foundation for current and future analysis. These two online resources are:
No one website alone can be relied upon as a single and complete source of information on all things marketing or advertising for any one charity or NGO, not least because many charities and NGOs themselves do not keep entire indices of their own material.
In terms of print media, neither adsoftheworld.com nor coloribus.com will have exhaustive catalogues, but they do hold enough differentiated resource material to warrant a thorough investigation as set out in this major project proposal.
All literature used for this project comes from research that began in Unit 2.3 and that is current or ongoing. It is also based on the qualified recommendations of tutors, peers and professional colleagues.
- Begin literary research to gain an extensive understanding and in-depth knowledge of the two main areas of this project and write up findings, namely:
- Branding theory and strategies.
- Semiotics and visual theory.
- Write up findings in a report.
- Single out a list of charities and NGOs that will form the project test group:
- Write up rationale and findings in a report.
- Build a visual databank of collateral by undertaking the following:
- Subscribe to online resources.
- Source relevant material.
- Survey the material compiled.
- Establish a method of coding and categorisation.
- Map the material effectively.
- Generate a qualitative and quantitive assessment of material.
- Build and populate a website with source material.
- Apply coding and categorisation to the site based on findings.
- Write up rationales and findings in a report.
- Gain industry data:
- Access relevant indexing systems (Interbrand, BrandZ100, etc.)
- Interview brand strategists and marketing directors from the commercial world.
- Build an understanding of what does and doesn’t deliver a successful brand identity and strategy based on the interviews.
- Interview members of the charities and NGOs via face-to-face, emailed questionnaire or online surveys.
- Gain an understanding of their principles and ideology in relation to marketing and branding.
- Write up rationales and findings in a report.
- Project: campaign
- Review material from literary research, the data bank and industry interviews.
- Build a written campaign brief for at least one, if not more, of the charity or NGO under examination.
- Put into practice all knowledge gained to output a poster campaign that tests the research question.
- Send the output to the relevant charities or NGOs for verification, seeing whether they would approve of the execution, messaging and findings, and whether they would use the campaign themselves.
- Write up rationales and findings in a report.
- Reporting and thesis
- Compile visual experiments and research developed at every stage of the brief.
- Produce a detailed visual summary of this.
- Review various reports compiled throughout the entire process.
- Include the success or failure of campaign stage in a report.
- Use all reports to construct the framework of a thesis for this project.
- Write thesis.
The project as proposed in this paper is scheduled for completion between February and November 2011, ten months. These ten months are further broken down into eight discrete components that are detailed below.
February and June 2011: all literary research will be sourced, analysed and documented in a report.
Confirmation of charities and NGOs
February and March: single out a list of charities and NGOs that will form the project test group, and document the rationale for their inclusion.
Develop deconstruction method and develop online data bank
March and October 2011: carry out sourcing of information repositories (e.g. indexing systems) that rate or rank the qualifying organisations, establish who the leaders in their field are, etc. Develop and apply a method of deconstruction for the material breaking down visual language and messaging according to specific semiotic and visual theory. Build a website that can collate the findings of the deconstruction, and search, compare and categorise specific criteria for further research. All of this info will be documented in a report.
Industry data gathering
March and August 2011: a lot of the information gathered during this period, in particular the interview and contact with the qualifying charities and NGOs, will depend on widows of opportunity established by the organisations themselves and the availability of contacts. All attempts to communicate and/or liaise with these charities and NGOs will be documented in a report along with all other findings.
June and August 2011: during these three months, the verification of any produced campaign material will be at the discretion of the charities and/or NGOs. However, all campaign material produced, including its development, will be documented in a report.
Reporting and thesis
July to October 2011: it is expected that all documentation produced up to and including this point will contribute to an overarching thesis that will have not only academic but also industry application in graphic design, marketing and advertising.
October: all printing is scheduled for printing at the beginning of the month and due and the of the month.
October: all miscellaneous, non-essential and/or supporting material generated throughout the course of the ten months will be collated, categorised and indexed for future reference.
Primary literary resource
Adamson, A (2006) Brand Simple, Palgrave Macmillan
Olins, W (2003) On BÒand, Thames & Hudson
Olins, W (2008) Brand Book, Thames & Hudson
Pricken, M (2010) Creative Strategies: Idea Management for Marketing, Advertising, Media and Design, Thames & Hudson
Williamson, J (2002), Decoding Advertising, Marion Boyars
McQuiston, L (1995) Graphic Agitation: Social and Political Graphics Since the Sixties, Phaidon Press Ltd
Hall, S (2007), This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics, Laurence King
Crow, D (2007), Visible Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics, AVA Publishing
Rose, G (2006), Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Methods (second addition), Sage Publications Ltd
McLuhan, M, (2001), Understanding Media (second addition), Routledge
Barthes, R (2009), Mythologies, Vintage Classics
Secondary and reference literary resource
Ambrose, G and Harris P, (2007), The Fundamentals of Creative Design, AVA Publishing
Ambrose, G and Harris P, (2008), The Fundamentals of Graphic Design, AVA Publishing
Davis, M, (2009), The Fundamentals of Branding, AVA Publishing
Best, K (2009), The Fundamentals of Design Management, AVA Publishing
Noble, I and Bestley, R (2002), Up against the Wall: International Poster Design, Rotovision
Noble, I and Bestley, R (2007), Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design, Rotovision