Beauty and the media – Project Proposal

3,000 words – proposal plus
3,000 words – 10 task portfolio that works alongside this.


Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Context and Research Methodologies 
  • Aims & Objectives (See Task 10) 
  • Literature Review

Mental Health and Wellbeing

  1. The beauty industry is stepping in to offer mental health support to those who need it
  2. Social Media Use and Body Image Disorders
  3. Mindwise
  4. The media and body image

Graphic Design 

  1. Beyond Beauty
  2. Designing for the greater good
  3. Ogilvy on Advertising


  1. Building a Storybrand
  2. Young consumers insights
    on brand equity
  • Concepts
  • Project Development
    Mind maps
    Gantt Chart
  • References


Over the last century with improved technology and accessibility to media channels more young people are exposed to various influences on how they should look and feel, resulting in ‘compare and despair’ syndrome. The media is a constant 24/7 stream of images and messages seen by young people. In the media, we hear more about the affects this is having on young people and their mental health and wellbeing. In addition, social gatherings through life experiences in school, college, university, starting work and going out with friends all contributes to how they want to be perceived.

Who this research is for, it is for impressionable young people aged between 18-25-year-old, when – during spring and summer of 2023, what – a good-cause awareness campaign on how beauty and personal image affects mental health and wellbeing through media. Why – to help young people and to encourage a healthy view on appearance and outlook on media and where – within the UK. I will include a poll on social media and questionnaire aimed at the age range to gather information and to gain insights. As well as searches on the internet to learn more on viable solutions for the campaign.

Research questions:
  1. What are young consumers’ beauty and personal image mental health, and wellbeing affects caused through media?
  2. What measures can be taken to help young consumers?
  3. What can I learn from this research topic as a graphic designer and what can other graphic designers do to help?
  4. What can the beauty industry learn from this research and how can they help?

Context and Research Methodologies

My project proposal will use mix-methods that are listed below… 

Through my experience as a graphic designer within the industry, my practice would consist of seeing a client usually B2B, and asking questions about their project. Once briefed, I would revisit their website, look at their competitor’s website and see if I can find any further information or inspiration for idea generation. I would proceed to sketch ideas down (scamps) and start working on the design in Adobe CC Suite, once I have completed the concept proofs the pdfs are sent to the client for approval or feedback. As I am the client and supplier of this project proposal this experience will provide a clearer understanding of research project delivery. Feedback from my course tutor and classmates will provide fresh eyes on it. In industry, I send 1 or 2 visuals to clients, as a student, I could do this by using a research method called split testing to a selection of students within the university.

Effectively, I will be creatively directing this project, I will curate by gathering the information through investigation, mind mapping, problem-solving, networking and user testing, I will design the campaign, source materials, and set goals. 

I will explore my topic by design ethnology and phenomenology, this covers the everyday lives of youngsters and how media, beauty and personal image affect mental health and well-being which will enable me to build up an understanding of their routines and what is important to them. Looking at it from their perspective, I can work on implementing an empathic awareness campaign. This research method should inform me with a clear message to help youngsters whose life is blighted with mental ill-health due to media and appearance. Unwittingly, I have been using this method throughout my career, this should come naturally to me.

Deduction is another methodology I intend to use by creating two concepts for split testing and using the data to iterate the final concept for public view. I will explore the best pathway to send these designs, for example, I could do email campaigns from the responses, I can conclude with some quantitative data through deduction, to see what needs to be modified before launching the awareness campaign. Beforehand, I will work out enough students to ask questions to, before making inferences on the general 18–25–year–old population. I will remain objective throughout this process. 

My primary research will be on 18-25-year-old undergraduates at the University of Huddersfield. I will put up posters around the campus asking young adults to help with a questionnaire either in a focus group on particular dates and/or fill in a questionnaire online. In addition, I will create social media polls with a few questions. From the feedback, I will analyse it to work out how this will aid the campaign in resonating with the captive audience in return for maximum effect/results.

So, I can explain my intentions, some paraphrasing of methodologies has been used see (Colins, H. (2019), p.52, p.58).

Mental Health & Wellbeing Literature Review

  1. The demographic for my campaign will be aimed at 18-25-year-olds, and as part of the media young adults look at physical or online beauty magazines for guidance. Glamour magazine reported “The beauty industry is stepping in to offer mental health support to those who need it” (Glamour Magazine, Cole, B. 7th June 2021) It discusses social media filters and increased pressure for perfection. They say that basic beauty routines that went into decline for some through working from home through COVID-19 and post-pandemic have seen a rise in ill health. One of their solutions is combined makeovers and psychotherapy, would this be attainable for 18-25-year-olds?  Another solution was hair pros who listen and have worked with psychiatrists, so they ask questions and look for warning signs helping to save lives in a more holistic, non-judgmental environment. These are all great ideas, however in a cost-of-living crisis where people are cutting back on what they see as non-essentials, how effective is this?

  2. A journal called Social Media Use and Body Image Disorders says, “Self-assessment is a fundamental reflexive analysis tool [42]. It plays an essential part in self-positioning among others and oneself. This self-evaluation must resort to social comparisons, which have a direct link to self-esteem. Body image’s sociocultural construct takes shape using body ideals that are broadcasted through, in particular, media, family, and peers and are thereafter internalized by individuals [43]. Reaching these body norms is usually perceived as proof of self-control and success, which leads one to stand out from the crowd in a positive way.” (Jiotsa, B., & Benjamin, N. 2021) Although this is talking about self-image in a positive way, how much self-esteem individuals may have will result in whether this is a positive or ne.g.ative reflection of themselves.

  3. This article on ‘How the body image affects mental health’ discusses positive and negative body image perspectives and how it affects your life through self-esteem, and self-confidence and how it affects performance on achieving your potential in academic or occupational ambitions. How you see yourself and how you think others see you can transform your life. One of the reasons I want to do a campaign on endorsing a positive mindset on personal appearance.

  4. ‘The Media and Body Image’ talks about how it is generally young women who are vulnerable to body image, that looking thin, free of unwanted hair, clothed, and looking more like models they see online. Which is not the reality of everyday life. Within this book and the journal, I read earlier it discusses anorexia and bulimia, the book goes as far as to suggest that these conditions are like a slow suicide with part 1 titled ‘Dying to be thin’. The book is saying that it is talking about college students in the western world rather than the general public. Again, a thin body is associated with success and a socially acceptable beauty ideal. Personality traits like OCD, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression are some of the indicators connected with negative body image and the need to transform the way they look and feel about themselves. A demographic of 18-25-year-olds going through hormonal changes will trigger these traits, which is all a part of growing up.

Graphic Design Literature Review

  1. Beyond Beauty Design Symmetry and Brand Personality Journal says, “Firms often target exciting personalities when pursuing a younger demo-graphic, repositioning for increased cultural vitality, or seeking differentiation against incumbents; con-temporary exemplars of exciting brands.” (Bajaj, A., & Bond, S. D.  2018, p.4)

  2. This study is about the psychology of brands and how the use of logos and packaging design encourages consumer arousal of products, in particular, it talks about the effects of neurological stimulus on the use of symmetric and asymmetric logos, images, and use of text. According to this, to make my campaign exciting, I would use asymmetric design to pursue a younger demographic. Contrary to exciting asymmetry for a younger audience they say  “Among the limited academic research on visual design in consumer settings, a common finding has been the broad benefits of symmetry for percep-tions of beauty, perfection, etc.” (Bajaj, A., & Bond, S. D.2018, p.13) as my campaign is about beauty aimed at a young demographic, I need to think how I am going to approach this and visually attract interest to get my message across.

  3. Designing for the greater good covers several topics on non-profit campaigns which includes examples of family and community, health and wellness, human rights, environmental awareness, and arts and culture. This highlights how a great campaign can be done and provide inspiration for my campaign. Examples include local messages that resonate with the community, design improvisation or quirky content to entertain, a fundraising campaign for a cause, entrepreneurs who give back through life-changing educational opportunities, a what if… campaign, making people imagine how things could be, is an approach I could use from one of the examples. There is also a facts and stats campaign, heartstrings winning hearts and minds campaign but could this be viewed as boring to captivate a young audience? Looking through the book there are also examples of different mediums they have used, for example, artists’ hand illustrations, digital illustrations, photography, typography, and how it has been executed, all something to consider when producing a solution for the awareness campaign.

  4. Ogilvy on Advertising contains examples of his advertising in print and TV advertising. The book includes sections on ‘How to’s…’. Chapter 13 ‘Advertising for good causes’ and chapter 15 ‘18 Miracles of Research’ resonates with my topic. David lists a few ‘good causes’ projects he has worked on and says in Britain advertising for good causes is more controlled by the government as they provide the money, I am not sure if this still applies today without research. The campaigns he worked on appeared all over the world. Ogilvy advises that the cost of the advertisement can out way the funds raised by it, he says advertising can ‘sensitise’ to make it easier to raise through personal methods. Ogilvy advocates research and lists 18 tips, some of which are about measuring your reputation, consumer reactions, product comparison research, favoured split-test consumer design, positioning, and target audience. I can use some of these tips. Ogilvy discusses the pitfalls of research through questionnaires, he advises keeping the questions simple but that your interviewee could lie.

Branding Literature Review

  1. Building a Storybrand goes into human behaviour and our instinct for survival, for example, food and drink, shelter, relationships, and stability. Then he talks about our connections to memorising a good story, Donald Miller says there is a formulaic framework structure to a story and lists 7 steps, hypothetically using film examples to get his point across. Using the 7 steps he created an exercise to think about your business and write down your thoughts, then work out a simple clear message that staff and consumers understand about the overall brand. Then repeat the process for each division and again for the product. Miller’s advising you to make the consumer the hero of the story and not to make you or the business the hero. The consumer has a problem and needs a solution to make life run smoothly again, you are there to help guide, build trust with a plan and fix their problem so it goes away, and they can carry on with their natural instinct for survival. Millers describes examples of marketing noise (the enemy) that is easily forgotten and then twists that situation to clearly show consumers what they are getting so that they can see themselves using the service or products to make life better. It is about finding your voice so you can be heard in the marketplace. This book is aimed at businesses trying to grow but the basis of building a storybrand can apply to charities and good-cause work like awareness campaigns.

  2. Young consumers’ insights on brand equity is a research journal, they used various questionnaires on brand areas aimed at over 200 Maylasian scholarly students aged 18-25 these were based on what they had seen on social media and what it meant to them. Their results showed that “Young consumers trust the company that owns a particular product or brand that appears in the social media and is familiar to them. While browsing the social media using smartphones, they notice that a particular product or brand has its own personality and differs from other competing products or brands.”

    The journal also says, “Social influences such as pressure from friends and family also influence students’ use of social media via smartphones.” Society and culture play a part in encouraging the use of social media which can be addictive. This paper demonstrates the vulnerability of youngsters who want to feel and look good via brand association with their peers. It says, “Results of multiple re.g.ressions concluded that all postulated hypotheses were supported of which brand awareness has the strongest effect on brand equity among young consumers, followed by brand image.” (Sasmita, J., & Suki, M. N. 2015, P.11). This research was conducted in one university in Maylasia, so further research will need to be investigated in this area for my project. Albeit it is endorsing what has been said about social influences with the journal under my Mental Health and Wellbeing section.


After reviewing the research literature and methodologies, the awareness campaign concepts could be designed from two angles either with the support of a stakeholders from a brand backed association on my research whether that be a charity or company or from my own work based on the results. My creative and visual communications exploration should be executed without bias and emotion attached at any stage; I need to remain objective to achieve an effective informative campaign. Building a campaign story that resonates with young people, where it is easy to recall, that will help daily lives within society today.

The SWOT analysis overview will help keep my focus on the objectives required to carry out my research. A risk from liars on the questionnaires is a possibility but this can happen in any research, the insight from it could springboard other ideas and avenues to explore.

Project Development

This mind map provides me with a quick glance reference overview of my project which will aid me to keep on track with my research topic. As the project develops, I will keep adding to this. The following page includes a mindmap on the campaign digital and print collateral. I have also done a gantt chart in Excel so I can aim to meet my deadlines and reach my goals throughout this project, this is in the appendix.


  1. Collins, H. (2019). Creative research: the theory and practice of research for the creative industries (2nd ed.). London Bloomsbury Visual Arts.
Branding Strategies
  1. Davies, M. (2018) Storyategy: Unlock the power of your brand with a story based branding strategy
  2. Miller, D. (2017) Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
  3. Sasmita, J., & Suki, M. N. (2015). Young consumers’ insights on brand equity: Effects of brand association, brand loyalty, brand awareness, and brand image. Young consumers’ insights on brand equity: Effects of brand association, brand loyalty, brand awareness, and brand image, 43(3),
  1. Bajaj, A., & Bond, S. D. (2018). Beyond Beauty: Design Symmetry and Brand Personality. Journal of consumer psychology, 28(1), 77-98.
  2. Nodder, C. (2013). Evil by design: interaction design to lead us into temptation (1st ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Ogilvy, D. (2007). Ogilvy on Advertising. Welbeck Publishing.
  4. Top, P., & Cleveland, J. (2010). Designing for the greater good: the best in cause-related marketing and nonprofit design. Collins Design.


Mental Health and Wellbeing on Beauty
  1. Glamour Magazine


  2. Jiotsa, B., & Benjamin, N. (2021). Social Media Use and Body Image Disorders: Association between Frequency of Comparing One’s Own Physical Appearance to That of People Being Followed on Social Media and Body…. 18(6), 10.3390/ijerph18062880

  3. Mindwise

  4. Wykes, M., & Gunter, B. (2005). The media and body image: if looks could kill. SAGE.

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