The focus of my project was disability discrimination. The idea about disability discrimination came from seeing how my Nan and granddad have been discriminated against by the Department of Working Pensions, reducing their income. Thanks to the DWP’s new Atos assessment, many people who were perfectly eligible for income support, either has been taken off the higher rate or had their income support taken away all together. Many people have become victims to this assessment, that in some cases were not done by proper health professionals and who even didn’t bother to look at the person’s past medical notes. It seemed it was just judge by their first impression and by the way they acted and answered their questions. This was certainly a driving factor that made me want to explore the route of disability discrimination, for the fact of my grandparents suffering, but also for a personal reason, with the fact that I suffer from a mental disability, called aspergers syndrome. In general, people with any form of disability are unfortunely discriminated against, either by the government making life difficult, lack of funding and simply a lack of services and chances for people with a disabilities. I made it my mission to get people to see us in a positive light, as valuable members of society, that can give as good as it gets. I want people to understand and show more compassion towards those who are disadvantaged and that despite disabilities, that they do the best they can and do have valuable skills that would benefit other people, e.g. being a valuable part of a team in a company, organisation or community.

I have done a lot of research into artists which have produced visual outcomes to get their message across. It was interesting the way artist and designers have played with imagery as well as the use of semiotics to either create a direct message or a visual metaphor to make a person think, putting the message across in a intelligent fashion. A message can be encouraging and subtle or can be more aggressive and confrontational. It was my job to work out in my own head, how I would get my message across, whether it is confrontational or peaceful. I found artists like Matt Dorfman, an American Illustrator, inspiration, who used semiotics and colours that helped created a strong message. To me his most striking image is “Ghetto Side #2”, which had an array of bullet casing positioned to create the outline of a dead body, with the colour black in the background to symbolise death. His work was clearly symbolic, to shock people to the horror of what goes on in the ghettoes, with gang crime rife in those areas.

A turning point in my project happened after studying about Mencap, a UK organization, which campaigns around the world to change society’s attitudes towards people with learning disabilities. Their aim is for people with learning disabilities to be seen as equal, listened to and included, as other people. Their work focused on people with conditions like Down Syndrome and Autism, providing help and advice, from support in school, to finding and getting a job and even when it comes to retirement. This campaigned moved me and made me focus on mental disabilities, thinking maybe putting my own story in the message as a fellow autist.

I created a wide range of ideas, with the focus looking towards working digitally, looking at a graphic design style outcome. I wanted to explore working digitally, as I intended to develop my skills in using software like Photoshop and Illustrator. I have produced a lot of traditional outcomes in my past, especially in my A levels. I only really started to get involved in 4D outcomes in my Extended Diploma in Graphic Design Illustration and Game Arts. However, I have produced so far four animations, so I wanted to explore developing a new technique, that I have little knowledge or experience of. Yes, I have worked on Photoshop in the past, in my GCSE’s and A levels, but I am not at all at the professional standard required to utilised Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign to its full potential, to really enhance my work.

I have look at a fair few videos on using Photoshop and Illustrator, learning important techniques that has enabled me to dramatically improve and clean up my work. The most interesting skill I learnt was “Clipping Mask”, which I learnt from a Photoshop workshop. This skill was very useful, enabling me to tone areas of mark making. Furthermore, The workshop made me realise that I don’t have to do a drawing in one shot, that I can separate a drawing into elements that can be repositioned and tweaked in Photoshop. I found that this technique gave me more freedom, to edit my drawing with ease, with out the tedious frustration of having to rub my drawing out, every time I made a mistake.

I did a clipping mask experiment that focused on mental disability, in response to the Mencap campaign. It took a little while to get use to this technique, but now I found that it is the best thing ever. I enjoyed being able to freely move the individual sections of the drawing until it all looks great together. The idea of overlaying the brain on the side portrait was part of the idea emphasising mental disability, which with the addition of the disability semiotic, truly put across the meaning. The side portraits look like a normal young man and woman, which without the brain and disability sign overlay, would look normal. The point of the message is that “Not All Disabilities Are Visible”, therefore, we can’t judge either a man or woman on their appearance. I worked on one for a woman as well as a man, to show no discrimination of gender. The flares radiating out from the brain, are meant to show flares of brainwaves, emphasising the energetic activity of the brain. Here, I am trying to say that although people with mental disabilities are wired differently, it doesn’t mean that they are incapable of doing great things with their minds.

Studying Mencap further, I found the inspiring story of a Down’s, who became a very skilled DJ, called DJ Casey Dude. I saw his amazing work from a Mencap promotion video, showing him completely destroy a statement made by a leading academic in 1968, say that a Downs Syndrome person is not a person. I enjoyed the way in his short mix, how he cut elements of the statement out, turning it into a positive message, saying “Downs is a Person”. I am a big lover of music, especially, any form of soundscape, experimental or ambient music. Fortunately, I managed to find the “Audio Tool” online, which is a website that enables you to create music for free, with access to a wide range of loops from Loopmasters, as well as various useful tools and effects. It taken me a bit of time to get use to the app, watching many YouTube videos from Hlectro, demonstrating how to create chords, a drum beat and a track. I got more confident using the app, which led to me creating my own piece of music, that promotes my message about disabilities not always being visible.

I found it exciting, making the track and am proud of it as my first ever song, which supplemented my visuals, adding more meaning and understanding to the visual work I have already created. I am highly confident that I have met the brief and did my theme “Disability Discrimination” justice. My final posters, work very well, plus the addition of my human being logo, which is human beings, with the “A” in humans being replaced with the disability semiotic. I believe that my posters clearly get the message across, and will be proudly displayed in public areas, where people will see the posters and hopefully take notice of the message. I truly hope that my work will get noticed by the public and encourage them to take action, to show more compassion and most significantly, will improve the lives of people with both mental and physical disabilities.


Final Poster 1 – Disability Discrimination  – Man


Final Poster 1 – Disability Discrimination  – Woman


Sticking my posters up for public to see.


Sticking my posters up for public to see.


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