Do It Yourself


Before the 1970’s,  the word ‘design’ generally meant the mass production of things. However, in 1970 things began to change. Punks began to bring in a ‘do-it-yourself’ aesthetic, which was clumsy and amateurish. Their t-shirts, fanzines and crude posters all started to become a hit with different bands, and their inclusion of ransom-note style typography and bad calligraphy was what the bands began to love. Their photographs were poorly reduced, and their general style was homemade, but it was a funky and fun look which defined the spirit of a self-reliant and newly styled counter-culture.

The popularity of this DIY movement was also due to another factor, the oil crisis of 1973-74 that signaled the end of post war prosperity, which led to rationing, strikes and social unrest. This forced people into having a DIY approach to things, and the economic downturn began to motivate people to become creative.

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Sniffin’ Glue (1977)

Perry, M (1977) SNIFFIN’ GLUE AND OTHER ROCK AND ROLL HABITS….. [Format Unknown] Available at:

This poster designed for Sniffin’ Glue has a black and white appearance and is quite a bad quality image. This however, adds to the design and gives it an unprofessional look as it has scrap-book like features. The black and white colour additionally adds to this, as the black ink appeals patchy which also backs up the idea that this poster was handmade, and has a unique style.

The purpose of this design was to advertise bands in a new and unique way, a way in which punks believed would captivate the bands style and originality. Showing the band through a bad quality Polaroid captures the true essence of the band, showing the band in their true light, and almost promoting the idea that they are just normal people, and therefore through these images, creates an understanding that just because they are famous, does not mean they are superior to other people. Furthermore, using DIY to promote this band shows a new idea, and may have begun to make the band more noticeable, as many posters produced before this movement appeared to have taken a more bright, colorful and neater approach.

Additionally, one of the main reasons this design was produced was showing independence. It promotes the idea that anyone is capable of doing things themselves, and for smaller bands in the mid 1970’s it was difficult to get their records played on the radio. The DIY idea, showed the bands independence and the capability they had of getting recognized. DIY also challenged the industry, and caused controversial issues due to many people believing record labels still had a major part to play in the production of any music. This controversy only brought bands closer to their fans, and with the help of DIY enabled the bands to form a stronger link with other artists.

The designer of this Sniffin’ Glue poster has gone full out DIY, with a hand written title which appears to have been drawn in black pen, and a photograph that has a grainy effect to it. The main photo used in this piece has quite a bold effect and although monotonous, allows the white areas of the image to stand out from a distance appearing quite brightly.

I feel that the main purpose of this image is in fact recognition, and has the aim of inciting a wider audience to listen to this bands music. Despite the fact that the poster does have a clear punk  appearance to it, the photograph shown may incise a wider audience through the way the poster has been composed, and the appearance of the band members in the photo. It is neither serious, nor professional as shows the members in a relaxed and fun way showing the personality of the band members put together. This may interest people who see the poster, as they may be able to relate to the DIY style of it, and as the band members do not appear intimidating, may make people more relaxed about going to see them, as gives a friendly vibe.

The concept conveys its message through this friendly nature it has, relating to the people who see the poster and persuading them to come and watch their band. The poster has a humerus, informal appearance conveying the message that the band want as many people to come to their concerts as possible, as it aims to grab the attention of all kinds of people.

This is one of the main successes this poster has, is its fun, raw nature which shows the band in a truthful light, and the colour scheme of poster represents the Punk style its been produced in. I particularly like the way the photograph takes up the main part of the poster as I feel this is the strongest piece of the poster. The reason I think this, is due to the fact that it doesn’t appear staged, nor does it look professional, and the bad quality of it adds to this friendly appearance it gives.

Overall I like this design as I feel it is unique, and has an original style to it. Another reason I like this poster is because of the monotonous tone the poster has to it, because I feel it particularly brings a Punk feel to the poster, and defines that it was Punks who began this DIY approach to things. I feel the flaws of this design are the hand written writing on the poster, as they are very un-neat, and although it shows the clear DIY idea of the poster, I feel that the text could have been thought out further, and perhaps a ruler could have been used to align the text to make it a bit neater. Apart from this, I feel that the poster is very relevant to its time, and would have made a big impact on the way poster design changed to become how it is today.

Image result for car advert

Webb, Dean

During my research of modern day car advertisements, I came across this advert. It is a Volkswagen advert, and shows a Doctor Who Dalek as the main focal point of the image. As soon as I saw this advert, one thing stuck out to me, and that was the image that is used. It is black and white, and appears to be of a bad quality. This has strong links to the Sniffin’ Glue poster, as the image is of around the same quality and looks D.I.Y. inspired due to this. However, as the text is not hand drawn, it lacks this D.I.Y. quality, as it has been replaced with computer based typography. This perhaps shows a twist on D.I.Y. adverts, and shows how since the first Sniffin’ Glue poster, this style has been adapted throughout the years.

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New Polaroid Impulse (1988)

Grafus (1988) Polaroid Impulse Camera Advertising Poster [Format Unknown] Available at:

This poster was designed to advertise the New Polaroid Impulse Camera that had just been released in 1988. Its main purpose was to influence people to buy the camera, from them seeing the poster.

The designer has used the DIY concept within this poster, which can be seen through the sketchy appearance of the poster and the idea that it appears handmade. Firstly, the writing on the poster appears un neat and looks like something you would find in a sketchbook. It has an arty feeling to it, and advertises the camera in a way that seems creative, perhaps to show the idea that the camera is a creative piece of equipment. Furthermore, another way the designer has used the DIY motive to design this piece is through the image of the actual camera its self. Again this is something which appears to be hand drawn, and has a very unrealistic, and abstract appearance. The white writing, and camera flash that can be seen on this poster almost look as if they have been drawn in tip ex, as they appear to have a rough looking texture and look as though it has been used slightly carelessly.

The concept helps to convey the creative aspect of the camera, and conveys the message that the camera can be used as an artists tool. Additionally, the word ‘Impulse’ on the poster suggests a desire to act, and has connotations of inspiration and motivation, suggesting that this camera will influence you to take photos and strive to achieve artistic wonders. Not only does this poster use the power of words to influence its audience, but also has an example of the type of photograph you may be able to achieve with this particular camera. The photograph is colorful, and the expression on the girls face appears joyful and perhaps even slightly provoking, potentially teasing the audience that she has this camera and you don’t.

This photograph is perhaps the posters greatest success. The contrast with the black and grey gradient background compared to the more bright, and colourful photo makes the Polaroid camera appear a bolder image, and suggests that with this camera, you can brighten up a dreary day.

In my opinion, I am not very keen on this poster. The reason behind this is mainly due to the overruling grey colours that are used within the piece. Although it makes the photograph the Polaroid camera has supposedly produced appear bright and cheery, I feel that there is too much grey colour to represent what is supposed to be a creative and innovative product. Another reason I am not fond of this design is because I feel the camera its self appears too sketchy. I believe that when adverting a product, the product its self should be featured in a realistic way, because I otherwise would feel reluctant to buying the product. However, this is a matter of personal opinion and therefore this method of advertising may be effective in grabbing the attention of other people. As the camera is also a piece of technology, I believe it should be shown in a more technical way. However, this advert may go by the idea that less is more, and the lack of information in gives may entice people. The part of this poster that I like would be the photograph, as its colourful and shows creativity, which I feel is a key point in advertising a creative product. If I were to re-design this advert, I would give the advert a brighter appearance and use a range of colours that connote creativity. I could show this through paint splatters, perhaps on the camera, showing that its a creative object.

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Cover: Weikert,M, Photo: Froehlich, N (2009) D.I.Y. DESIGN IT YOURSELF Princeton, Princeton Architectural Press  [Format Unknown] Available at:

This Design It Yourself book cover has the purpose of convincing people that they should buy this particular book. The cover was designed by Mark Weikert, and like the designs above, is meant to show a DIY aspect. The front cover of the book reveals information as to whats inside the book, and the title of the book (DIY) aims to represent the fact that the book is full of DIY ideas.

The designer has used the DIY concept to create a simple cover for the book, and has used the words DIY to show the idea. The writing ‘DIY’ appears hand drawn, which is a good representation of DIY. However, the book cover as a whole appears professionally designed and made, as overall appears neat and precise. For example, the typography to the right hand side of the page appears neatly aligned, unlike the Sniffin’ Glue design which I have previously looked at.

The paper card that the person appears to be holding in this photograph helps convey the message of DIY, as it appears to be something that they have made themselves. Furthermore, the photography has cleverly been taken to blur out the background behind piece of card and persons hand, to show the main focus if on the DIY part of the photograph. Th inclusion of the persons hand in this also perhaps adds to the idea of DIY, as they appear to have their nails cut quite short, which could also infer that they have being perhaps cutting and designing things, as it is harder to work with long nails.

I feel the successes of this piece are mainly the cleverly angled photography, which shows the importance of the DIY word on the piece of card. Blurring out the background makes this the focal point, as it appears the most noticeable and is clearly the most important part of the piece. The colour of the persons top in this shot may have also been thought about as the background behind him is particularly dull, and the red top brightens up the page a bit more. However, despite the fact that I like this book cover, I feel that there are still some floors in the overall design. For example, the only part of the design that has a DIY approach to it I feel is the actual DIY writing itself. The rest of the design is fairly simple, and lacks DIY references. To continue, the writing on the right hand side of the page appears to be quite small and dull, and does not excite the audience to try out DIY. I feel to improve this, the text could be made more colourful, or in a more interesting font, or maybe even hand drawn to show more DIY within the cover.

Source: Helen, S and Vienne, V (2012) 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design, London, Laurence King Publishing Ltd


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