As I start to write these four blogs, I have realized more about the topic that was chosen by me. It is actually hard for me in the beginning to do the research on the and also being critically about it. Normally, I considered blog as a place to express personal emotions not commenting on things. However, writing these blogs have helped me learned something and makes me think about and realise the subjects deepen.
In the first blog, as the sustainable issue is becoming more important in design process, I have searched the difference between Polyester and PLA. Through doing the research on these two materials, I have realized more on what it good and what is bad for the environment and human society as well. In my opinion, as a designer, he or she should understand each material well and know what problems it may cause before starting to use them into their design. What designers should do is not only focusing on the product or design but also care about the process while producing it.
As the designer, we have to think about what gender of customers our product is targeting. Through writing the second blog, I realised that we have to have clear idea on the products and also the need to research on our target audience. Products are designed to sell, to suit customers’ desires. We need to think about the concept, the shape and every angle that make customers want to own the products. Is the product we designed fit in two different gender or we only focusing in one particular type. Writing this blog also makes me think more than just about gender issue, it is the issue about which kind of people who we want them to have our products, and this is why we designed them.
To keep writing on the last two blogs, I realise that as a designer, we have to have the flexibility on combining different aspects of different thinking, no matter is the culture or the habits. To listen to what consumers’ needs and wants is very important and this is the key to make a design success.
If I am going to continue on writing the blog, I would like to search for every different aspect in detail as much as possible and analyse them, not only on the gender or the culture. It is believed that understand markets more will help me develop well in my design career. Moreover, I would want to look at some big brands more and how they promoting themselves and their marketing strategies. How they touched consumers’ feeling and succeed in the global markets. Do these companies considered about sustainable issue and how does it works. I believed it will help me develop the integrated skills in design.


Analyse the design and promotion of a product range marketed to a sub-cultural or niche market identity

Sub-culture is based on the age, geography, ethnicity and social class. The most represented historically of social emergence for sub-cultures as the Teddy boys, Punk Rockers and Hippies. This essay is going to discuss how brands promote their product by using the effect of sub-culture. Taking Dr.Martens as an example, their relationship with sub-culture; the image they want to transfer to the public; how they change the ideology of punk and rock will be shown in the following essay.

The background of the Dr. Martens is that “Dr. Martens boots were first introduced into this country 50 years ago, a half-century that has seen Britain transformed, as musical movements have emerged and declined, and fashions come and gone. Yet DMs have been the footwear of choice for everyone from punks to policemen, skinheads to socialists (Sarfraz.M , 2010).” Punk’s imagery is that acting different with others such as they listen to different kinds of music like The Sex Pistols, the Ramones and the clash, punks have choice to wear distressed and battered clothing to let people thinks they are scary and strong, so that military character style of Dr. Martens has become their first choice of footwear. Because of Dr.Martens boots have numerous colours can be chosen, it suits the punk’s ideal of subverting the common colour of apparel and hair. One of the sub-cultures that Dr. Martens has represented is the meaning of freedom.


By the time passed, Dr.Martens has now become one of the most popular and fashionable shoes that people choice. Take a singer Miley Ray Cyrus as an example, there is a scene that she is almost naked but only wearing a pair of Dr.Martens in her Music Video called wrecking Ball. The reason why Miley chose to show this indelible impression to the public with Dr.Martens is because this ‘Boots’ not only suit the meaning of the lyrics of Wrecking Ball but also represent her spirit which is persuading freedom but still being tough. (Wrecking Ball is a song telling that a woman wants to get into her lover’s heart like a wrecking ball. It shows a strong emotion of love.) From this example, it is clear to see that Dr.Martens has already built up its brand personality and ideology. Olins (2003) mentioned that the image of brands are not only belong to them but become consumers image as most people take product’s characteristics to define themselves. Therefore, celebrities and people who want to be unique and give others a strong impression would choose to wear Dr.Martens.



Olins,W (2008). Wally Olins: The Brand Handbook. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.. P14

None. (2013). The History Of Dr Martens In Youth Culture. Available:  [Last accessed 08/12/14.]

Manzoor,S. (2014). Dr Martens at 50: these boots were made for… everyone. Available:  [Last accessed 08/12/14.]

Thompson, S. (2012). Punk productions: Unfinished business. SUNY Press.

Sinfield, A. (2006). Shakespeare, authority, sexuality: unfinished business in cultural materialism. Routledge.

Dr.Martens . (2014). THE FULL STORY . Available: Last accessed 08/12/14.

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Google image(2012) camden town punk[Online image]Available from: [Accessed 08/12/14]

Design is global. How does this affect the development and marketing of a product or brand?

There are a lot of successful bands all over the world in different field. According to Olins (2003, pp. 17), “Disney, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike use powerful, all-inclusive emotions to target a worldwide audience”. Taking McDonald’s as an example, this essay will discuss how does the company became one of the world best recognized fast food brand. Moreover, it will discuss what changes have McDonald’s make to let those countries which do not considered burgers as first choice start to accept them.

McDonald’s is one of the biggest fast food companies in the world, it can be called as the global leading brand that everyone recognized and respected. There are more than 30,000 restaurants over 100 countries on six continents. McDonald has the name itself “Mc” prefix, using the yellow and red colours, with the arches of the M shape to gives strong first impression to let people easily remember their brand image. They are not only selling the food to their customer but a concept of happiness and they like to make connection with their customer. To suit the eating habit and local culture for the people in different countries, McDonald’s is willing to change their menu, ingredients and also the flavor of sauce used in their hamburgers. There are several good examples, in East Asia, rice has always been the staple food and first choice of every meal. In Taiwan, McDonald’s creates a new product that combined the characteristic of hamburger and rice, using the best rice from the local market to replace burger buns and change burger to soy sauce stir-fried beef. This innovative food product is successfully selling to Taiwanese consumers. The reason why this rice hamburger can be popular in Taiwan is that most of the older generation does not eat fast food, so when they walk in with their grandson, they do not know what to choose for the meal but now they have different option in McDonald’s.



McDonald’s have been so successful because they have a changeable menu. Not only selling their original product, such as big Mac, cheeseburger, but also includes different types of product all over the world. McDonald’s have respected that different countries have their own unique culture and different eating habits; they are welling to change the recipe for every countries that have McDonald’s. Based on the McDonald’s official website, it says that” We try to adapt our menu to reflect different tastes and local traditions for every country in which we have restaurants. We’re keen to respect cultural differences and so every country has its own policy of developing menu items.” However, there are some products that are always selling in their store such as Big Mac. The purpose of maintaining offering this kind of typical American food in every country is to keep their brand personality and in some way, may have chance to influence others eating culture.




Olins,W.(2003) Wally Olins on Brand. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Olins,W. The Brand Handbook. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.. P17.

McDonald’s. (2013). Why is the McDonald’s menu different in different countries?. Available: [Accessed 07/12/14]

Watson, J. L. (1997). Golden arches east: McDonald’s in East Asia. Stanford University Press.

Figer 1 Business weekly (2012) McDonald’s. Available from: [Accessed 7/12/14]

What is the impact of gender on design practice?

As the living style of both gender have no clear differences in the modern society, many products have been designed for not only for female but also for male in the market. However, there are still some specific product that is particularly designed for man to use, for example the shaver; and other specific product that is only design for the female is the sanitary napkin.

Before the product launches into the market, the design of the product will have to be changed many times to make it more suitable to the consumers. Although some people would say that it is a stereotype to use colour to identify different genders, it is still the truth that female is much easier to be appealed by lighter colour whereas male is more willing to buy the product with dark colour. According to Khouw (2012), “St. George (1938) maintained that blue for men stands out far more than for women. An even earlier study by Jastrow (1897) found men preferred blue to red and women red to blue”.  Through the result, to sell the product fit man and women, brands would consider to use different colour and design on the packaging in same product. For instance, one of the product that Braun Company has is shaver, the designer have designed it into two different kinds of appearances and colours in this product. Shaver for female has been designed into rounded shape and the edges curve is also more rounded and the colour has been chosen pink and white. In contrast, the shaver for male user have been designed into more blocky shape, the edge is more like sharp edges, and the colour that designer chose for this shaver are black and silver.


“During the last two centuries, the definitions of gender were bounded by increasingly blurred lines (Zoi, 2013).” As I mentioned in the first paragraph, owing to the changes of growing background, there is not such a big different fascination between men and women. Many fashion brands start to sell the clothing that is designed for both genders and it successfully hit into the market of younger generation. For instance, there is a brand called BOY LONDON, their famous T-shirts and sweat is really popular for not only boys but girls. The cutting of the clothes are suitable for everyone and people can choose different size to show their own style.

In conclusion, depends on the product the brands want to sell, the business plan will adjust a little bit to decide if they want to target their audience that is only focus on one gender or they want their products being neutral and attract both of the groups.




Natalia Khouw(2012). The Meaning of Color for Gender. Available:

[ Last Accessed: 23rd Nov 2014 ].

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[ Last Accessed: 23rd Nov 2014 ].

Braun(2014). female-grooming- silk-epil-epilators. Available:

[ Last Accessed: 23rd Nov 2014 ].

BOY LONDON(2014). all-products. Available:

[ Last Accessed: 23rd Nov 2014 ].



Ethical considerations for designers- sustainability

As the sustainability issue is getting more and more important in our society, designers cannot use any material they want without caring about the environmental impact they would lead to. Therefore, people start to consider changing the material which is harmful to the earth to the alternative and recycled material, for example, changing Polyester to Polylactic acid (PLA).

Polyester fabrics and fibers become popular in fashion market as it is extremely strong and durable, and also it is really easy and convenient to take care. People can clean their polyester clothing by using washing machine and also dry them easily. However, “Polyester is a term often defined as ‘long-chain polymers chemically composed of at least 85% by weight of an ester and a dihydric alcohol and a terephthalic acid.’ (Geno, 2013) ”. To produce polyester, the manufacturing process is complicated. The main material to produce polyester is fossil fuels. A T-shirt which are made from 100% polyester will release the substances causing air pollution by only 1/4 weight on it. The substances which release from polyester are nitrogen, sulfur oxide, hydrocarbon, various particles, carbon monoxide and also heavy metal etc. All of these pollutants harm human respiratory function and increase the possibility to get lung and heart diseases; it also restrains immune system and other health problems. To make polyester needs to use a lot of water and resources. According to Kate (2014), the difference between PLA and polyester is that PLA can be thermoplastic, it is derived from annually renewable crops and is compostable.


PLA stands for Polylactic Acid. According to IMSI design, “PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic that has been derived from renewable resources such as corn starch and sugar canes. This makes PLA environmentally friendly and very safe to work with( IMSI,2014).” The advantage of the PLA is that it will not cause that much on environmental impact comparing to polyester, the sustainable benefits of PLA include energy saving, less emissions and more renewable resources. People should consider starting to use more PLA material to produce the product rather than using polyester, because polyester will influence human’s health and air pollution and it is not easy to recycle. Instead, if we start to use more PLA material to produce products we can make the environment better. Since there are actually the alternative options for designers, now they can design the products not only benefit the human society but also reduce the damage on the environment.





Fletcher, K. (2014). Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys.2nd. New York: Routledge.

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