Commercial Catalogs and Shopping Spaces

Last time at CTS we looked into cataloging and the way information is organised. As an example we looked into Argos catalog.

Discussing in groups, we realized that the catalog offers a journey through its’ pages. A journey through the home, and products are complementary.
Looking into the ‘Five Hat Racks’ organisational method which I will explain below, we’ve realized that Argos uses mostly location and category, whilst alphabetical order can be found as well in the index and the list with locations of their stores.

Interesting part was looking into vintage Argos catalogs from 80’s and comparing them to what they look like today.



Other examples of their vintage catalogs can be found here:

The Five Hat Racks

The Five Hat Racks was first developed by Richard Saul Wurman in his book Information Anxiety.

‘Information may be infinite, however… The organization of information is finite as it can only be organized by LATCH: Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, or Hierarchy.’ (Wurman, 1996)







category 1

Continuum / Hierarchy 

Martin Creed

We continued the class by discussing shops’ spaces. We were supposed to create a persona and design a shopping space which would utilize their needs and be as compatible with their lifestyle as possible.

My persona is a working mom, that tries to spend as much time possible with her children, but work hard on getting a promotion and providing for her family as well. Shops’ space is designed accordingly.


Oulipian procedure N+7

OULIPO is the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, or Workshop of Potential Literature, a group of writers and mathematicians. Members include Raymond Queneau, François Le Lionnais, Claude Berge, Georges Perec, and Italo Calvino.

The N+7 procedure, invented by Jean Lescure of Oulipo, involves replacing each noun in a text with the seventh one following it in a dictionary.

Taking first three lines of the written text about the Rear the mirror article and applying the Oulipian N+7 procedure:

Original text:

Stephanie Black said ‘Whilst the smoother transitions between images might offer the fluidity of duration, digital posters sites do not (yet) encourage the choices borne of free will in the same way as these two books.’

N+7 procedure: 

Stephanie Black said ‘Whilst the smoother trays between importance might offer the fluidity of earnings, digital powers skulls do not (yet) encourage the churches borne of free wing in the same weekend as these two boroughs.’

‘Rear view mirror’

Stephanie Black said ‘Whilst the smoother transitions between images might offer the fluidity of duration, digital posters sites do not (yet) encourage the choices borne of free will in the same way as these two books.’ (Black, S., 2012, Rear view mirror, Varoom! no. 18, p.56)

Black used the Rear view mirror article in the Varoom! Magazine as a platform to explore how older forms of illustration engage a sense of time and argues that digital illustration only gestures to prompt the dialogue and conversation with its’ audience.

In the article she explained how illustration is a time-based activity and older forms of illustration can truly indicate a sense of time. Black explains how time and space are the same thing in comics, and that they show an illusion of duration through the usage of panels.

On the other hand, she had quite a negative and bias approach to digital illustration, by only mentioning poster websites as its’ only form. According to her, digital illustration combines fluidity with choice. Meaning, online we are not just viewers, but consumers. Websites are not just viewing platforms but they act bias by tracking our behaviour.

Books, in the article, are the only true form of freedom. But, if we chose from what is given to us, do we actually make the choice? Books are paid for, publishing books acquires starting profit and they are in dubio printed to make money. How do they then offer a true sense of freedom, when from the beginning they are a by-product of consumerism?

Digital communication offers us a wide range of experiencing illustration. And for young illustrators it a convenient practice to promote their work.

What I believe that Black missed as a key point is that time is not related to the medium, but to form. Having a sense of flipping pages and holding a physical copy can never replace a gesture of a finger. By holding and feeling we get sense of time, rather than exploring mediums – we experience it in multiple ways.

Black argues that space is equal to time in older forms of illustration, whilst that might be true it does not question credibility of digital illustration to transfer those dimensions to the viewer. I would disagree with her claim – what would enable the viewer to experience time is not the medium, but form.

Referencing list:

Black, S., 2012, Rear view mirror, Varoom! no. 18, p.56

Research Methodology

  • Qualitative
    Holistic focus
    Researcher involvement
    Emergent research
  • Quantitative
    Specific focus
    Researcher detachment
    Predetermined research design

Refugee Crisis

  1. What is your age?
    a) 16 – 18
    b) 19 – 25
    c) 26 – 45
    d) 46 +
  2. What is your sex?
    a) Female
    b) Male
  3. What nationality do you identify with?
  4. How long have you lived in the UK?
  5. Is the country of your birth the same as the one you’re living in now?
    a) Yes
    b) No
    c) Something else: ____________
  6. What is your occupation at the moment?
    a) Student
    b) Employed
    c) Unemployed
  7. Are you aware of the refugee crisis currently happening in Europe?
    a) Yes
    b) No – Why? _____________
  8. On a scale of 1 – 5, how important is this topic to you?
    (1 being the least, 5 being the most)1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
  9. Why do you feel this way?
  10. From which sources have you learned the most about the crisis?
    Please rank the importance of the following: 
    (Please fill in your rank order using numbers 1 through 5 with 1 being the most important)_ Television
    _ Internet
    _ Newspapers
    _ Spoken word (Family, friends)
    _ Radio

Object of its’ own environment

Task: bringing in an object to class, curating an exhibition

Working in groups, discussing object’s personal, aesthetic value. Giving it anthropomorphic traits, imagining selected object in an alternative future, going beyond conventional.

Curating an exhibition of our selected objects based on similarities, differences and the way they coexist in space.

My selected object was a pack of cigarettes, something with what I have had a strong connection for about 6 years. Cigarettes have marked my rebellious teenage years, that had been spent trying to find my own individuality and distancing myself from the group.

Other objects included a ring, necklace and a pen, all of sentimental value to the people who chose them. A finished photographic project and a man himself.

While discussing our objects’ purposes, some of the questions and conclusions that came up are:
when an object is taken away from its’ group it gets its’ own value,
they are mass produced but become personal when used,
a man is an object of its’ own environment.

Ran Zhao – Photographic project
Alfie Hayley – Ring
Sophie Bansal – Necklace
Gabriella Mussorakis – Pen
Obinna Uzoukwu – himself