Design Iterations Seminar #2

For our 2nd seminar the group has been asked to come up with a basic sketch of our ideas. From the work we have previously done we have come up with an idea of some hands holding a beach or location in Dorset with the tag line “It’s in your hands”, or something similar to that. We started to write down a list of the tag lines which we thought would be appropriate for that imagery and we came up with a number of slogans for the campaign poster. This is a list of the ideas for a slogan that I wrote down.

  • It’s still in your/our hands – lets keeps it that way.
  • Go back to your roots.
  • Be Independent, Be Dorset

The justification behind the hands idea is that it has a deeper underlying meaning, which we feel could be quite powerful if presented in the right way. Claudia originally came up with the idea and the rest of the group agreed that it was a possible approach we could take. After looking at reasons why Dorset hypothetically might want to become an independent county (you can see some of the reasons in the processing mind map which I created) we decided that the main routes to take would be the preservation of agricultural traditions and of natural landscapes. Dorset is quite known for its seaside, cliffs, wooded locations, rural landscapes and ‘areas of outstanding beauty’ which are designated areas across the UK that the Government has deemed worthy of preservation.

keepdorset              beckydorset
This is the sketch that Tom drew              This is the sketch that Becky drew.

Photo on 03-11-2014 at 00.19

Here is a very draft idea of the idea I had for the poster.

When we presented the idea to the rest of the group we got some good feedback. Some of the group liked the wordplay and the intended meaning that we hoped to put across to the audience. There was some discussion over what would be a better tag line to have as we had chosen different taglines for each sketch. Some preferred the “Don’t Drop Dorset” tag line where as others preffered “Keep Dorset in our Hands”. Although personally I’m a sucker for alliteration I felt that the “Don’t Drop Dorset” didn’t make it clear what the campaigns intentions were. I felt that the “slip through fingers” or “it’s in our hands” worked  better as a metaphor for saying “The Dorset we know and love is disappearing but it’s not too late to go change it”. A good point was also pointed out that “don’t drop” and “slip through” have slightly more negative connotations than “it’s in our hands” which suggests that “it’s up to us to do something and we can do it if we work together”.

What I found interesting is that we all came up with different interpretations for one suggestion of ‘hands holding Dorset’. The particular thing that was different in all our interpretations was the positioning of the hands. Tom pictured the hands from a first person perspective, looking down. I pictured the hands as if someone was standing opposite to me holding them towards me and Becky pictured the hands similar to Tom but to me it looked more as if the hands were raised up in the air (although this could just be my interpretation).

This made me think of the different ways in which semiotics can affect the audience. Although they are essentially the same symbols in different positioning, they have different meanings. For example, a raised fist is symbolic of power, rising up, courage, rage or hostility. Where as a flat palm from a first person perspective is more symbolic of being human, which may be something to do with ‘looking down at your hands’. Held out, stretched hands are symbolic of begging, or the poor. Thumbs up is a sign of good. Middle finger up is a sign of rudeness. A flat palm in a high five gesture suggests agreement. Shaking hands is symbolic of friendship, peace, respect etc. This shows the power of gesture and body language and also how we associate certain concepts with our own self and others.

It also shows that there can be many different meanings portrayed by a different formation of the same thing. I think that one of the reasons why there are so many variations of meaning for the hands could be because the hands are very personal and are a very human characteristic (opposable thumbs). Here are some examples I have looked at where hands have been used in other variations.


The band Rage Against the Machine use a raised fist which reflects their anti-establishment lyrics and their powerful anarchistic style of music.


The raised fist is also a famous communist symbol and represents the power of unity (a common theme of socialism).


The pointing finger in this famous World War I poster is said to have been created because wherever one stood in a room it always seemed that the hand was pointing at them. This is known as ‘differential rotation effect’. It was so successful in it’s goal that the image of the pointing hand has been used many times over.


The hand was used by America in World War II because it had been proven so effective. The word ‘you’ is the important word. The poster tries to create guilt in individuals by singling them out and encouraging them to do more for the war effort.


The Facebook ‘like’ button uses a thumbs up symbol which suggests that if the user enjoys or agrees with the content they’re giving it a thumbs up in agreement.

John Lennon was famous for promoting peace, the ‘peace’ sign was adopted by hippie culture in the late 60s. During and after the Second World War the two fingers meant ‘V for Victory’, the same signs can change meaning over time (the swastika for example) or have different meanings for different cultures.


Where as the same gesture with the hand turned around the other way has a totally different meaning altogether. As this picture suggests however, sometimes the facial expressions are just as important as the hand gestures.


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