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Website Previous Students Work

You guessed it, we have to analyse and critique a previous students work in the hopes of the things we need to avoid are going to be nailed into our head. Being a website, different things will be assessed. The things are:

  1. How accessible is the website?
  2. How easy is it to navigate?
  3. What information were you able to find out about the star?
  4. How did the branding of the website communicate a consistent brand image as portrayed in the music video and digipack?
  5. How far does the Website fulfill the audiences’ uses and gratifications (Blumler and Katz):
  • Information
  • Personal Identity
  • Social Interaction
  • Entertainment

For this task,  I decided to do the website below.

https://chiaraferrari161.wixsite.com/amalou


  1. How accessible is it?

Searching up “ama lou singer” does not come up with the intended website, only the real artist’s website appeared first. There was no sign of it further on the pages either, which means its not accessible at all.


2. How easy is to navigate?

The navigation bar is placed at the top right, quite conventional. Although its quite small, it scrolls down along with the page, meaning that the customer does not need to scroll up back to the top. This makes navigation swift, however, the navigation bar goes on top of the some of the content obscuring the content and in some cases the navigation bar. As example below, its impossible to see the Tour section of the navigation.

On the side lies a bar with convergent links to social media, which also moves with the scroll of the page. Unlike the navigation bar, it does obstruct the content of the website.

Another quirk is that on the front page, its has link to music video. Instead of teleporting you to another page of the website it just scrolls you down were the music video is present. If the music video is at the bottom of the page, why didn’t just replace the link with the music video? Its very unconventional.

Overall the navigation is fair and conventional, although it sometimes does obstruct the content of the website.


3. What information were you able to find out about the star?

The “Bio” section of the website gave out a paragraph of information about the star, meaning that the rest of the information about the star could only be gained by the look and feel of their work. Thankfully there’s a gallery present with pictures of the star and the dark theme of the website, the wide variety of images tell me that the star is an emotional, self engaged and expressive. A list of tour dates is present as well, a convention that needs to be ticked of the list.

However, aside from that the information is quite lacking, it requires support from other forms of media, in this context, the digipak and the music video need to be seen to have a full picture of the star.


4.  How did the branding of the website communicate a consistent brand image as portrayed in the music video and digipack?

Overall its quite consistent. The music video has gritty, dark and realistic imagery (such as waves crashing rocks, smoking in right of the camera) which contrasts against the bright and sometimes abstract imagery present (such as the time when the star stares at the screen) while idyllic, young star dawdles around the coastal landscape. Occasionally, we are presented with a shot of the star in a room staring into a giant screen with random imagery, from small random screens being whizzed past to a shot of a middle eastern city. In mine interpretation, the star is stuck in a dull and grey world while she yearns for something more idealistic.

Whatever the interpretation, the imagery of the music video is present in the website. After all the hero shot of the website is dark with the star standing in some unrecognisable abstract location. In the gallery, there’s more examples of this. There are multiple medium – close up shots of the star either in bright clothing being idyllic in some cosy, artistic location or in an alleyway with a cigarette. The overall colour palette of the website is also consistent, mostly dark, grey, with the colour red occasionally piercing through the dark.

The website also changes the colour of the convergent links into grey, which is a nice touch in keeping a current theme.

In terms of the digipak, its also very similar.

Dark, grey and red are present, with the star being idyllic in both shots. There’s a one thing missing however, the bright and abstract locations. Compare the above with these images from the website.

All the digipak has is the coast and some ominous clouds straight that look like an intro from some dark fantasy movie.

Aside from that, the digipak and the website are faithful to each other.


5.How far does the Website fulfill the audiences’ uses and gratifications (Blumler and Katz):

  • Information
  • Personal Identity
  • Social Interaction
  • Entertainment

In terms of information, as I mentioned before its lacking, with a paragraph and a few images, the audience is pushed to use the convergent links on the social media sites in order to get the information. This could be intended, in the hopes of the audience going over the social media sites and get in touch, hopefully resulting in a loyal customer. As business student can tell you, loyal customers bring in free advertising and will buy all the latest releases. The more, the better.

Its easy to see an attached Personal Identity to the website brand. There’s consistent theme of dark, something, which is pierced by the random intervals of colour and energy

Social interaction is quite possible on this website, with the convergent links to social media being present and direct contact available, that aspect is fulfilled.

In terms of entertainment, its easy to acquire some form of entertainment. A music video is present along with a gallery for all the fans to see, however not much is present. There will be probably in some disappointment in learning that the music section of the website is a page with links to other convergent media sites were the music is hosted. Its waste, going to a new part of the website only to learn its totally redundant, even the image used is present in the gallery. There’s also no merchandise shown either. Fans like that sort of stuff, having none might make some fans disappointed. There’s no interactive widgets to play around with either, leaving the website a bit dull. Barring that, the entertainment part of it is fulfilled, although only inaptly.


Although the themes are consistent and generally easy to navigate, its a dull website. Watching one music video and a small gallery can only hold a visitor’s attention for such a small amount of time. Some parts of the Uses and Gratification aren’t completely fulfilled, such as the entertainment and information, while social interaction and personal identity.

From this task, its clear to see that this piece of coursework is not going to rely solely on “eye candy” factor. There has to be some technical aspects as well, programming an interactive website is going to be tested on this coursework as well.

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Website Terminology

As expected, before we set out to design a website, we need to learn the conventions of a website or more specifically, a website that promotes the music artist(s). By knowing what are the conventions and proper terminology, we have a better chance of creating an effective website of conveying the band while offering the fans easier access to purchase merchandise and see tour dates. The more effective the website is the more revenue is going to generate, which many consider it as a sign of success. After learning a few and their purposes, we have been given the simple task of annotating a website with its conventions. No analysing, yet.

Overall, some of the terms are quite similar to the ones we used when we were producing music magazines. Instead of a main cover shot, its a “hero shot” while a masterhead it’s a “leaderboard”. Being quite similar, its not going to take a lot of effort to get these terms into your head. With similar terms and similar themes (the aim of the website and the magazine are to conform to a target audience in order to sell), making an effective website won’t be that tough, as we already had practice making a something similar in the beginning of the course.

Below is Foo Fighter’s website and its conventions listed.

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Digipak Draft 1

After changing our ideas for the nth time, we finally got a draft. Here it is below.

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Contact Sheets

Now that we have taken some photographs in our various shoots, its time to evaluate on how well we have done them.

Above is our first shoot, we aimed to create the front cover and hopefully some for the other pages and maybe for the website. Overall, the shoot was a success in its aims, we experimented with many angles, framing and actor’s positions. We got our actors to bring a white shirt, black trousers and black shoes, we brought the ties and rocks for them. By wearing the same clothes, it would show their unity as a band. If this wasn’t mentioned before, the purpose of the rocks is to construct a running subtext; that people are worshiping, paying too much attention to worthless things. We felt this was a subtle way of protesting about the society, both which are conventions of indie rock.

We also tried to replicate the bending over the bench, however the actors weren’t flexible enough, and the bench was appropriate to bend around it.

Although most of the photographs are pretty good, there have been some mistakes. As mis-en-scene is important for such as genre and with subtle subtexts, we overlooked the background, leading to some shots having a bicycle in the background, damaging the fragile balance of the mis-en-scene. We can edit them out, although that’s time wasted doing some polishing.

In the next photo shoot, we aimed to take photographs of angry protesters. This time we aimed for a low angle, a depth of field present, photograph showcasing the unspent anger which contrasts against the absurdity of it. Who protests about rocks? This shot would have continued the theme of society protesting and wasting their time about worthless things. We had some trouble getting the lighting correct, but we managed to get in the end. We also tried to attempt a unique shot were the camera was placed on the ground, with the angry protesters towering over it with their signs. This would maximize their unspent anger and power. Overall, the aim of the shoot was successful.

In the third shoot, we decided to redo the first shoot as we changed our ideas a bit, and we bumped up the absurdity even more. This time the actors were nothing except trousers and shoes and performed “body art”, creating shapes using their bodies. We managed to do the bending over we tried to replicate originally, and then later we got them to lay on top of each other. We also experimented with cups as well, we recreated the saying “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. This is shoot was personally my favorite as the photographs is quite unique, I’m pretty this hasn’t been replicated at all (in this school anyway).

 

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Photo shoot/Production Meeting and Risk Assessment

As usual, we need to do a Production Meeting Agenda or risk the chance of people forgetting to bring their stuff, thus ruining the shoot and potentially the digipak itself. Below is the PMA.

Following the feedback we have received on our mockup, we have might a few changes to our intended shots. For the back cover, we’re no longer doing the man hitting his head against a wall, as it has connotations with punk rock. Instead we are doing a medium/long shot of a group of deranged people chasing a man carrying a pile of rocks. The music tracks are going to be present on a wall as the man is chased. We feel it continues the established subtle theme of people valuing worthless things, unbridled energy and absurd imagery. For the rest of the pages we’re keeping the same, but of course we’re going to try many different angles as well. For example, we’re going to experiment with a depth of field on the bench shot. Having a variety of differently framed shots will give us a high mark.

Oh and here’s the risk assessment.

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Feedback on Mock-Up and Targets

We then set out to ask our fellow students to guess which genre our digipak looks like it came from. The majority (17) had concluded its from the indie rock genre, so we’re definitely doing something right. Some have the the second biggest majority (3) had voted pop punk, so there’s still room for improvement. The reason for this is we think is the the black and white colour palette and the typeface of the band’s title, which is quite like graffiti, which is convention of the pop punk genre. As stated before, the typeface is a placeholder as we can’t use the typeface we want. Another reason is that the imagery has a lot of connotations similar of the punk genre. There’s rioting about society, hard and brittle wall and an image of an abstract shape of  man’s head filled with basic consumer needs bashing his head against a wall. These would explain the votes on pop punk. As we got to make sure that the digipak conforms to the correct audience by representing the correct genre, I think we have to do tone down some of the rebellious imagery, as some described the digipak as “questioning social norms”, as representing by the rioting and man bashing his head.

Another thing that people have commented on is the contrasting music tracks. There’s some with obvious religious denotations (“Heaven”, “Symphony” and “Baptism in Fire”), one is political themed (such as “Austerity”)  and two of them are terms straight from a Geography GSCE book (“Abrasion” and “Hydraulic Action”). The themes are all over the place, this would certainly give confusion to the audience. We should really consolidate a consistent theme in the titles of the music tracks.

In terms of positive feedback, many of the terms they used to describe the emotions and feel of the digipak are the things we aimed for. Some called it “cheeky”, “witty” and “amusing” ,two groups actually laughed when they viewed the second page! So we are doing alright with the cheek factor, so we should keep the current content. People also described it as “energetic” “dramatic”, “different” and “rebellious”, again things we aimed for, so should retain the water and the activists.

However, people described with things we certainly not aiming for. “Grungy”, “edgy” “brainwashed” and “dystopian” are prime examples. The reason for these words is the overall colour scheme, 3/4 of pages are in black and white. As the indie rock genre is not recognised for such things, we should brighten it up in terms of colour.


Targets

  • Consolidate a consistent theme in the names of the music tracks
  • Add much more colour, its too “dystopian”
  • Cut down a bit on some of the rebellious imagery, make looks like its from the punk genre

 

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Digipak Photo Mock-up

Before we commit to taking photographs that might turn out to look terrible on the digipak, we were tasked to make mock-ups of what we have in mind by using third-party imagery, in order to check whether our ideas will look good on digipaks. In order to make sure that we’re not going off on a tangent and making a digipak completely different to our genre, we were also tasked to go around asking fellow students which genre does our mockup looks like it’s from. We have been also tasked to ask what emotions are being invoked from the digipak. Below is our mock-up.

I would say we diverted a bit, its certainly less industrial and dirty, but we made much more artsy, which is a convention of the indie rock genre while still retaining some of the ordinary aspects of the band. We found the our original ideas of waves and industry clashing together to be too difficult to take photographs, this new route is much more suited to our skill sets and the indie rock genre. We amplified the cheekiness and banter of the band by using more absurd imagery, such as the band having pet rocks and the bands protesting about the rights of rocks while they’re sprayed by water. On the second inside cover, a photograph of a man spouting water onto the rioting activists, suggesting that maybe these outrages are constructed. This sort of imagery shows them as socially and morally aware, while having some cheek. The violent waters and raging activists should give connotations of wild energy, a trademark of indie rock. On the back, an abstract outline of one the band members is bashing his head against a brick wall, with imagery of the modern’s man (actually its the C2D audience) needs, again this gives the idea that the band is artistic and aware. We have the band present as ordinary and extra-ordinary.

 

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Digipak Moodboard

With a broad idea of what to aim for, its time to brainstorm of what the digipak is going to look like. Following the strategies we have described, we tried to visualize the themes and imagery that we expect that are going to appear using two moodboards, a digital one and a physical one. There’s a few consistent imagery we have visualized, waves crashing on rocks, industrial ports, downtrodden objects and some form of cheekiness.

Waves crashing on rocks has several connotations. Unbridled energy, fury, nature crashing down on a harsh, unsympathetic hard wedged rock. The columns of hard rock could represent many things, a harsh, established authority or society. As everyone who has done GSCE Geography, the waves will eventually break down down the rock due to hydraulic action. This sort of imagery (an oppressive authority breaking down) fits well with the conventions of indie rock and the target audience’s demands.

In our physical moodboard, we threw in some images of tattered sofas, boats and broken glass bottles, general  these represent the ordinary life that the gang had, as according to our marketing strategy the band has strong roots in their city of Hull. As we got to present the band as extra ordinary and yet ordinary, this set of imagery will help to cement the ordinary of the band. We also hope the random inclusion of some of these objects will be see comedic, in order to represent the cheeky nature of the band, which will satisfy the demands of our target audience.

As its an indie rock genre, the band such not be present on the digipak because of conventions. We had the idea of presenting the band in a more abstract way, such as buttons as shown by the physical moodboard. At this time we the buttons don’t represent anything but the bands, maybe in the future we’ll use objects to represent the band while still communicating an idea.

We also thought about the title of the band and how it’ll look like, as it communicates ideas about the band. Being a indie rock band, we looked for bold yet somewhat degrading and/or wild (representing the industrial port and wild nature of the band/genre respectively). We didn’t go for a wave-like font as the available fonts didn’t look as bold as the others and we’re trying to create a band title that will be used consistently, no matter the theme of the album.

The piece of fur is supposed to represent the bands masculinity, as animal ferocity is recognised as a connotation.

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Digipak – Previous Student’s Work

As expected, we have to analyse and critique a previous student’s work, in hope that we can get some inspiration and a general idea of what to avoid. By knowing what an examiner is looking for, we can hopefully can get a general idea of what a good digipak looks like and hopefully emulate that effort.

Using this mark scheme above, I have chosen Jack Parson’s Digipak to analyse and critique.

Photography and Photoshop

In terms of taking engaging photography and the usage of Photoshop, its not great. The range of photo composition ranges from to high level 2 mark, with the some high/low angles present, but other framing techniques such as depth of field and rules of thirds are absent, leaving sub par photographs. For example, the shot of the apple is unfocused as its slightly blurred. A major fault is that there’s one form of shots here, all of objects, which get’s quite boring after the first two shots, thus there’s a lack of variety. In terms of distance variety, there’s some cropping done, two of the pages are uncropped, or at least have an actual background in the photograph. For this they achieve a low level 2 mark. For Photoshop, its not great either. The edges of  the star’s hair are sharp, it should be much smoother. They can certainly put text on images, but they can’t necessary make them look like they’re natural. On the last page, shouldn’t the text follow the vertical line of the folders, not the digipak? For this I give a high level 2 mark.


Mise-en-Scene

The mise-en-scene here is hampered by the second page. The mise-en-scene conveys an idle (the model laying down, paper being scribbled on and half chewed apple), but a bright (the range of colours) school life. However the second page doesn’t quite fit in, its quite dark and rough, and depending on how you interpret “Nice floral – Top loser”, it could range from innocent teasing or bullying, which the latter interpretation goes against the rest of the established mise-en-scene. It feels like its from an digipak of a school emo band. It does not fit in at all to the themes present here. If it was accompanied with colourful school doodlings, then yes it would feel like it should deserve to be there. On the third page, the background colour is quite drab, again goes against the themes established. I also feel that the cover of the digipak, although it introduces us to the theme of idleness, it does introduce us to the them of school, which is a major theme present here, its quite lacking in mis-en-scene I feel. In terms of marks, I’ll give a low level 3 mark for mise-en-scene selection. In terms of conventional features, there’s the tile, artist, music tracks,record label and barcode, however since there’s one model, I’m forced to give it a high level 2 mark.


Choice of Words

In the terms of the media copy, the language and register does feel like they have a specific audience in mind, some form of highly social school girls. “I’ve Got A Secret” sounds like the beginning of a discussion on gossip, while “My Best Friend Is You” sounds as if its one of those heart-to-heart scenes in teen dramas. However, I feel like “Do Wah Doo” feels less then a secret phrase for a school club and more like a baby’s first unintelligible word. Mansion song feels out of place too, its quite blunt and I can’t imagine schoolgirls saying something the two words together. Maybe “I Wish I Lived in a Mansion” would work better. Overall I would give it a low level mark of 3.


Use of DTP

I feel the typefaces are generally consistent, except of the title. It’s bold and loud, which goes against the idle theme which I perceive. The typeface of the artist is handwritten, which has connotations of school, although I feel it would have been better to make it rougher, showcasing that the star is lazy and does not care. The serif typeface of the music tracks fit well, its reminds us of the formal school environment which the star is rebeling against by being idle. However, the size does not fit well with the folders, it feels a bit cramped. I would it give it a lower level 3 mark for typeface and fonts.

The usage of IT is rough, the star is cut out rough, the shadows of the music tracks text does not work(text does not make shadows!) and they don’t show their extended ICT skills, so I would give them a high level 2 mark. In terms of Layout and Page Design, its a low level mark 3, as the few objects are sized correctly and could be red.


These the things I thought about this digiak. It feels like there was an original idea, however production was started late and this resulted in a rather empty digipak, with the second page looking as if it was added on the day of the deadline. What I learnt from this is that make sure you don’t rush and don ‘t start late, and make sure to have some variety of shots while still retaining a consistent theme as well.

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Our Mission Statement

As we’re going to make a digipak, one important thing to keep in mind that we need to keep the overall brand image and marketing strategy consistent. For us specifically, the messages communicated in our music video will need to be reflected in our digipak, and certain conventions of the chosen genre will need to be present too. As a rule, we cannot go for the shortcut of basing the design of our digipak on our music video, as the album is not devoted to the one music track.

In order to keep the brand image consistent, we were given the tasked to come up with band name, mission statement and marketing strategies, such as a call to action. The band’s name is Consurge, meaning stand up in Latin. It fits genre quite well, there’s the idea of standing up for yourself and unbridled energy (from the conventions of the word “surge”), both fit the indie rock genre. Below is the summary of the different marketing strategies and the mission statement.

 

USP (Unique Selling Point)

  • Consurge are new to the big time but they are ready to leave an imprint on the world of rock music.
  • As being a part of the indie rock genre, they are rebellious, not afraid to have their say, but they certainly have time for some banter and mischief, all represented creatively. They’re music will reflect this.
  • Growing up from their living room sofas, the band will be represented as ordinary average Joes, however this will be contrasted against their extraordinary sense of creativity and their willingness to help others.
  • Although seen their wearing leather jackets when in physical appearance, they like to express themselves in an abstract way in the media, such as in albums and promotional art. This goes along with the indie rock conventions and their already established creativity.
  • Living in Hull has resulted in a wide variety of music they’ll produce, from the teenage days wasted being idle to seeing the city you’ve grown up suffering from the recession, all of these will hit the emotional centers of the brain.

A Call to Action

The audience will be called to do action based on several factors. Consurge will be regularly use its social media to communicate with its audience, as the band itself like’s banter, and the audience can easily give it to them. As expected, fans will be purchasing music from several forms of mediums, from physical albums to downloads from Spotify.

The Audience 

The core target audience comprises mostly of men aged 40-54 in the C2DE social class, with a disposable income ranging from £500 -£999. They seek enjoyment and comedy, but they don’t shy away from hard hitting truths most of the time. Being generally left-winged, they strive for a general progress of society, an ideology shared by Consurge and the rest of indie rock genre.

The Competition

Being in the indie rock genre, it can be argued that all bands in the genre could be considered as competition, however, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys are the closest competitors, due to their similar background, music and themes such as black and white media texts. The way the band is differentiated from them is that their themes of their music stems from their memories of living in the port city of Hull, resulting in divergent from the other bands.


With this all in mind, the mission statement is going to reflect the above strategies and aim to hook the attention of the target audience.

Consurge Mission Statement:

Consurge is the new and upcoming indie rock band ready to expose themselves to the world all the way from their living room sofas in Hull. Having grown up together in Hull their rebellious rough music is deeply personal to each member of the band. World, consider this your warning.

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