Week 4: Lecture Notes & Reflection


I found this week’s resources and lecture quite interesting though as I live with a psychologist, I found it not very useful in terms of learning, though I really enjoyed the workshop challenge. I think back to the idea of nature versus nurture and the self, and I tend to think that the self is constructed as part of our narrative story and changes with each retelling. (Denborough, 2014). 

There is no one single answer to who we are, as everyone who experiences us will experience us differently. Further research led me to the Johari Window experiment regarding self-awareness and our relationships with others and our authentic self. It would have been a really interesting experiment to do with the cohort if we were in person and had a chance to get to know each other on the MA course, though I had a chance to do it with my partner and friends and found it illuminating. 

In the exercise, someone picks a number of adjectives from a list, choosing ones they feel describe their own personality. The person’s peers then get the same list, and each picks an equal number of adjectives that describe the person. These adjectives are then inserted into the grid outlined below.

(Johari Window, Luft & Ingham 1955)

It has been found that people’s peers can often be a lot kinder than the original subject, and people are surprised at the results because of this (Verklan, 2007). I used this idea when completing my list of values, with my partner completing a similar list writing what they thought my values were, and it was really rewarding to be reassured that she felt my values were what I felt they were, though again she prioritised a more favourable ones about me than I perhaps did about myself.

Overall the discussion and discovery of self, and self-awareness is a huge topic and one that I think leads to having a strength and identity in your work and everyday life. Alex as a designer is the same Alex as a man, I retain the same values. I believe that it is important to be aware of your own blind spots and your own shortcomings as well as your strengths, skills and things that you like about yourself. It is about knowing a balance. 

The things I like about myself as a designer are my style which is a blend of Americanised illustration, influenced by graphic novels and movie posters from the end of the 20th century like Frank Miller. I’ve included a cover that captures this style below with Swiss typography. I am heavily shaped by the era I grew up in – 1990’s pop culture was all about colour, impact, being loud and captivating and little bit subversive – whilst growing up in the U.K., American culture was taking over our radio, television, food and film (Harrison, C, 2010).

To conclude, I believe it’s important to have an understanding of self to know our limitations, our ethical code – for example, recently whilst working as a studio manager we got a brief for a hot dog company asking for some branding work, and I knew that this would probably not best be suited to any of our vegan/vegetarian designers as this would go against their ethical beliefs. We discover our beliefs and values by being challenged and having to think where we sit with things – evidence shows that the more we are challenged, the more resolute we are (Kaplan et al, 2016).

Miller, F. (2006) Ronin


Denborough, D. (2014) Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience. W. W. Norton & Company: New York

Harrison, C (2010) American Culture in the 1990s. Edinburgh University Press

Kaplan, J., Gimbel, S. & Harris, S. (2016) Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence. Scientific Report, 2 

Luft, J. and Ingham, H. (1955) ‘The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness’, Proceedings of the western training laboratory in group development. UCLA: Los Angeles

Miller, F. (2006) Ronin. DC Comics: New York

Verklan, T. M, (2007) Johari Window: A model for communicating to each other. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing. 21-2