All posts by ktjassy

Personal Branding Designs

As per usual with this subject, I’ve swapped topics from my original Utopia vs Dystopia in video games.

A lot of people have been giving presentations on branding, and why your online persona is so important, and my mind immediately jumped to ‘Then why does no one want to pay for personal branding if it’s so important.’

Let me give you a bit of background into what exactly I’m talking about. Graphic Design is this sort of non-job in the online market, despite design and aesthetic being such a prominent feature of marketing and companies in the present day. And yet, if you’re not a designer you’re probably not aware of how much of a struggle simply getting paid for the work you do is. Half the people asking for work to be done aren’t expecting to have to pay for this work, because there’s this really old and outdated stigma that “it’s just design”, which is infuriating in it’s own right.

Thanks to this desire for absolutely no one to pay for work they want done online, there’s been a rise in the commonality of the ‘design competition’ form of website. A brief summary of these websites are a marketplace, in which someone asks for a design, and multiple designers throw designs at them in the chance that they might get chosen and paid for their work, but in the process usually lose most of their rights to their work even if their design is not the ‘winner’ that the client picks and pays for.

It’s this sort of unhealthy competition that becomes detrimental to the design industry, because we start to sell ourselves short in the hope of receiving any sort of a paycheck. Websites like have people advertising their services for logo design, within 24 hours, for as little as $7. That’s a wage of less than 50c an hour.

Examples of competitive marketplace websites:

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 10.55.58 am (pictured above)


The issue is that for a entrepreneur designer just starting out, with minimal contacts, your job pool is so minute that this sort of thing may be the most pay you can actually find. Similarly, the only way I built my existing contact list is by offering some smaller services for free at first, and through other friends who have existing contacts with e-sports and journalism businesses themselves, and pass along work if they see any. A good network is essential, if you don’t know people as a freelancer, it’s likely you won’t find work.

When looking for jobs outside of the online marketplace as a designer, however, you need to be able to present yourself immediately as a professional. What’s the easiest way to do that? With a personal brand of your own, in the hopes that they will see it, like it, and think ‘They could do something that looks this good for me.’ Personal branding is what you want a client or prospective employer to see before they even get to your CV/Resume. In some ways, it’s the first impression that determines how they view your application.

So while I want to focus on these issues, and why and how they’re a problem to designers, I also want to help myself for the future, so for my final project I’m going to give myself a personal brand. Unlike a few other people however, I’m focusing on the design aspect, not so much an online persona, but an actual physical personal brand that I can use for the future, while also giving those unfamiliar with the design industry an idea of what the field is like.

The final submission will either come in the form of a research report, with visual evidence, or some sort of a digital artefact, although I’d love to hear some feedback, suggestions or questions about this subject, even anything you think I should consider while doing this!

Dystopia vs. Utopia: Depictions of Future in Video Games

It’s taken a fair bit of time to get the idea down to something as concise as this, and a fair few iterations along the way, and to be honest I’m still not even sure if I’ll stick with it, but hopefully it’ll work itself out.

For the final project I’m thinking of looking at video games (shock horror), but more specifically, how said video games depict the future, be it through general game design, architecture, etc. Is this depiction akin to Dystopia, or Utopia? And more importantly, how closely does this depiction fall in line with the reality of our current world.

This idea came from watching Jayden play Horizon: Zero Dawn. Mostly, I was intrigued by the amount of nature present in a game about robot dinosaurs and a dystopian future version of Earth. It was something new, and I thought it could be interesting to see if there was correlations between what was happening in the world at the time, and the dystopian video games that were produced at this time. Did the old dystopian imagery of a grey metropolis covered earth start to seem a little too close to the current reality?

H:ZD (2017): Gameplay Wallpaper

Now bear in mind that I haven’t, as of this moment, played this game (Although that’s definitely one of my “research” avenues for this project) so any of my very rough descriptions of the storyline could definitely be not correct in the slightest. But getting back to the point…

I’m mostly interested in how, in previous years, depictions of Utopia would usually involve a return to nature, and life in abundance. And yet, the world of Horizon appears to blur the line between Utopia and Dystopia; a world covered in nature, with spanning landscapes and skylines over mountainous ranges … marred by roaming robotic creations, and the lasting artifacts of a very scientifically advanced era gone by.

For this project, I’m going to be mainly focusing on ARPG (Action Role-Playing Games), as I feel these games are the main ones to deal and focus on the sort of idea I’m looking to investigate. Some that spring to mind apart from Horizon:ZD are Fallout 4 and Bioshock. (an FPS but relevant nonetheless). Feel free to suggest some others, if you know any that might be helpful for this project.


“Dystopia. A perfect world with an imperfection. The societies living in most dystopias are aware that their world is imperfect, however it is beyond their control to fix it.”

I think the thing that intrigues me the most about Horizon and it’s depictions of the future are that it seems as if the world went too far with their scientific reaches, and now the people left behind are fighting the remnants of this world, with very traditional tools, and crafted weaponry.

I’m not just planning on looking at the actual scenery in the games however, I’d also like to take a look at the design in absolutely everything the games have to offer, from the title screens to the menu options, and how these reflect and assist the overall atmosphere of the game itself. (just like Nier: Automata’s menu is directly linked to the game itself.)

(Related: – worth a watch, language warning )

Nier: Automata gameplay screenshot

I’m hoping this will lead to somewhere informative, and let’s be real this will be an excellent excuse to play some dystopian video games, and to get to actually utilize some of my design degree, just not in the way it was initially intended. Stay tuned.