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CRITICAL JOURNAL


FRENCH CONNECTION BRAND RESEARCH French Connection is a global fast fashion brand, which operates in 143 locations around the UK, Europe and North America. The brand is globally known and widely recognised as being a premium high-street brand, which has premium to medium quality clothes and medium to higher prices. The target audience for French Connection is 25 – 34 years of age, which is relatively a younger audience. The brand image which French Connection is obtain, in the brands own words is “Stylish, sexy and has attitude” and due to this core customers expect a certain level of sophistication and elegance throughout the clothes. French Connection also add that the brand has “Strong brand values and valuable assets”. In terms of advertising the brand quote “Iconic imagery, unique partnerships and sponsorships” the brand has engaged with celebrity endorsements in the past for example Anthony Joshua for their capsule collection in 2014. As French Connection also trade over E-commerce partnerships with ASOS and John Lewis they believe that social media promotion is very important, which the gender-neutral launch will emphasise. The brand began a period of weaker trading beginning in 2013, which has been slowly strengthened through use of incentives.


The gender-neutral collection will be a new unique selling point for the brand and with that will be new campaign. The new campaign will obtain a feel that has attitude as well as being stylish, however will be simplistic and new for the brand. The importance of social media will still be highlighted throughout the campaign, due to the relationships French Connection has with E-commerce and the relation between social media and the target audience. Social media is becoming popular with a mass majority of the public and is easily accessible from the brand and target customers, as well as this social media advertising through Instagram and Facebook pages is free. With artistic and stylish imagery used throughout social media platforms this will attract the attention of the target audience. Looking towards trend analysis for Spring Summer 2018 the campaign and collection will use some of the Pantone predicted trend colours for season, featuring muted violet and lime shades, which are versatile for both genders. Keeping with the neutral tone the other colours will be pastel and muted shades which are easily accepted by both genders. The style of the collection will be sportsluxe wear which has been featured throughout many catwalk collections for Spring Summer 2018, including Gucci and Fenty X Puma. Sports pieces are also very adaptable for both genders for example, hoodies, sweatshirts and jogging bottoms. As French Connection is a sophisticated and elegant brand the collection will be styled in a way which keeps to the brand identity but may also attract new customers.


SECONDARY RESEARCH Throughout the secondary research is from social media based artists, which link to the campaign dependency on the online and social media aspect of visual communication. When using detailed and interesting imagery on platforms such as Instagram audiences are likely to be attracted to finding out more about the collection and the campaign. The first online is Tegan Price, who develops line drawn work of people and garments. The pieces which Tegan Price develops are created through the adobe application Illustrator, this technique is very successful for the outcome of the simplistic line drawings. Each piece follows a similar neutral colour tones which relates to the neutral colour scheme of the collection. Although the line drawings are simplistic they are detailed enough to make the people and objects realistic. The use of simplistic drawings will be accepted by both gender audiences also not distract the audience from the collection itself while also looking inviting.


The second secondary artist is another Instagram artist called Revolving Style he uses collage techniques, with different materials and patterns to create bold backdrops for pictures. The artist creates these pieces by hand, the use of different materials and patterns gives an eye-catching effect and is unlike most campaign work used in high street retail stores. The patterns used contrast with each other but never distract from the model themselves and this is the effect which will attract the audience’s attention through detail but still display the collection. The pieces which take inspiration from Revolving Style will again be used for social media for the look book or even the shop window.


PRIMARY RESEARCH When developing primary research, inspiration was taken from natural surroundings and imagery. Photos were taken of natural surroundings and backgrounds as well as handmade patterns with watercolour paint in pastel colours matching the collection colours. As well as this patterns and papers were sourced from various magazines and newspapers along with graph paper and origami papers. All the different papers are consistent with the collage theme and gives layers and detail to the campaign.


MARKETING CONCEPT The marketing concept for the campaign is “FCUK MIXD UP” this is the concept of the clothing being mixed genders, the campaign is a new concept for the brand and the launch reflects this. “MIXD UP” reflects the idea of the gender roles of clothing items being mixed up and this is also reflected by the collage themes of mixed up patterns and materials. As the products within the collection are plain items the launch is more detailed to catch a younger audience’s attention, which is something new for the brand as current campaigning is a minimal style. The secondary artists used reflect a young and fun style which relates to the younger target market. The launch for online will is social media based, as this is something the brand need to expand on, the content for the online launch is linked with the vibrant style and will include hand drawn imagery of the products in the weeks running up to the release. As well as this the social media images will include collage style look book images along with release dates for the clothing, this will attract a younger audience as they are the main users of social media sites. The online website will have a section specifically for the MIXD UP collection and similar imagery from the social media pages will be used to emphasise the image of the collection. The in-store launch will reflect the same collage and hand drawn characteristics as a shop window display, however will incorporate collage pieces in 3- dimensional shapes for example the coral used in one of the images. The clothes will be hung onto gridded cage material to represent the graph paper used within images. Also, the tag of the garments will be made out of brown paper material with another layer of textured paper with the MIXD up logo cut out.


CRITICAL REFLECTION When reflecting on my work there is certain processes which I found more successful than others, firstly I wanted to make the collage pieces on CAD applications rather than handmade images. I began using photoshop to create these collage pieces by using the lasso tool to cut out certain pieces from layered images, however I found that the work produced was still very 2- dimensional which was not the effect I wanted. I then began to collect images and patterned papers from magazines and used those papers layered on top of each other and I believe this effect was proper appropriate for the collection launch. However, I found it difficult to keep to the original colour palette when using patterns from magazines as I was limited to those colours which the publications have used and therefore I started taking primary images and printing out images which related to the colour palette. I found that making my own patterns was proper appropriate to my concept and tied together the magazine images with the concept. I began making my own patterns by hand using watercolours, however I wanted to make more details designs and I found that this was easier using Illustrator. I used the watercolour brush on Illustrator to make a background and then drew patterns which were inspired by nature and flowers on top of the water colour, I also made sure that the colours used in illustrator pieces were reflecting the colour scheme of the collection.


Another process which I found difficult was the hand drawn images which I made for the social media launch, I originally tried to draw the images on illustrator however I found that I could not get a hand drawn quality by doing this. I proceeded to draw the images by hand before scanning them and then tracing them into photoshop where I coloured the images and made them appropriate for screens. I found this process to be a lot more successful and linked well with the overall concept theme. Overall, I believe that the concept theme is different to other produced by high-street stores at this current time and reflects the target audience for the new collection launch well.


DESIGN DEVELOPMENT


Handmade watercolour prints, used within collage pieces and backdrops of store front windows. These prints can also be used on the website as a background for the collection page.


Prints made on Illustrator, to be used within collage pieces for the online lookbook.


Collection launch logos made for online release leading up to the launch, made on Photshop. I believe that the second image was more successful than the first especially in keeping with the colour palette.


Samples of different papers which I collected for the collage pieces.

origami papers

text papers collected from magazines

brown bag paper

graph paper


Patterns made on Illustrator, using the watercolour brush technique to create the background colours, then drew the imagery ontop in colour which kept with the colour palette. These designs are developed from the original handmade watercolour patterns and I believe are more effective. For the pattern drawn over the top of the watercolour background I took inspiration from natrual materials like stone and wood.

pattern inspired by wood


pattern inspired by stones


different papers collected from magazines, used within collage pieces


Collage pieces, created by hand layering each paper ontop of eachother. The first image shows the original backdrop for the image of the model in the collection to be overlayed.


Original and chosen colour palette for the collection

PANTONE 522 C PANTONE 621 C PANTONE 607 PANTONE 7681 C PANTONE 522 C

PANTONE 503 C

PANTONE 7681 C PANTONE 621 C

PANTONE 503 C

PANTONE 607


PANTONE 1555 C PANTONE 325 C

PANTONE 1555 C

PANTONE 609 C PANTONE 673 C PANTONE 5315 C

PANTONE 673 C

PANTONE 5315 C

PANTONE 609 C

PANTONE 325 C

Colour palette selected through different papers chosen for the collage pieces.


Collage piece made on Photoshop rather than handmade, I found the photoshop technique effective in keeping layers to the colour palette. However, when compared to the collage image on the next page, I believe that the Photoshop technique does not give the same handmade technique and is less successful over. I began to print images and make my own patterns in order to keep to the colour palette.


First hand drawn images for the social media imagery.


First hand drawn pattern for the collection, to be used on the garments.


Lookbook collages pieces using the same handmade layered technqiue.


A less successful layered collage piece, instead of layering each paper ontop of one another, working from the inside outwards, I reversed the process and worked from the outside inwards.


Imagery made on photoshop for graphics overlayed onto garments on the collection, for example t-shirts.


Most successful collage imagery, which the store layout will be inspired by, using cages to represent the graph paper and 3- dimensional coral or flower props in displays to represent the layers of collage.


Hand drawn images which I used to scan into Photoshop as a template for the social media imagery.


After hand drawing the images I scanned them into Photoshop and then drew over the outlines and filled in each section with colours. I wanted the images to still maintain a sketched and handmade quality so filled the colour slightly over the outlines. These images will be used on the instagram in the run up to the launch of the collection. I found it very effective to not include any featuers which would determine the gender of the models, to maintain the gender neutrality.


Finalised drawn images for the social media launch


Handmade mock-up of clothing label for the collection, which is the FCUK logo cut out of watercoloured paper and layed ontop of a graph paper background. This is successful in keeping with the hand cut effects from the collage work.


PANTONE 621 C PANTONE 607

PANTONE 522 C PANTONE 7681 C PANTONE 503 C

COLLAGE PIECES


PANTONE 621 C PANTONE 607

PANTONE 522 C PANTONE 7681 C PANTONE 503 C

DRAWN IMAGES


PANTONE 621 C PANTONE 607

PANTONE 522 C PANTONE 7681 C PANTONE 503 C

FCUK ONLINE LAUNCH


PANTONE 621 C PANTONE 607

PANTONE 522 C PANTONE 7681 C PANTONE 503 C

FCUK IN-STORE LAUNCH


PANTONE 621 C PANTONE 607

PANTONE 522 C PANTONE 7681 C PANTONE 503 C

FCUK PRODUCT PRINTS

Lois Wandless Visual Communication 2  
Lois Wandless Visual Communication 2  
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