Student Conversation - Stephanie McDermott
"I think the approach in first year sets a way of thinking in design that helps you to be more than just a technical designer. It’s about conceptual thinking. It also gives you the chance to try out different things."
On her design approach
I always knew I wanted to do Visual Communication even in first year. I think the approach in first year sets a way of thinking in design that helps you to be more than just a technical designer. It’s about conceptual thinking. It also gives you the chance to try out different things. I definitely have carried that through to today.
On her dreams
I say I’ve always wanted to do graphic design, but when I was really young I wanted to be an ice-skater. I think it was the outfits.
On her final project
For my degree and thesis I am looking at social media and the construction of the self online. It has been a long research project, but I found it really beneficial. The level of investigation has been so important. Coming away from this, I believe I’ll be able to handle things at a better level conceptually.
On social media
On social media with every post you make, you’re giving away a new piece of information about yourself. I don’t think people really think about that enough. Someone once came up to me and said, you look so different on the internet than you do in real life. I thought that was so bizarre. As part of my research, I’ve designed nine versions of myself. It’s me, you can see that it’s me but I’m able to distort my image and my personality online. I’m able to edit myself and that’s effectively what everybody is doing. I’m mostly doing the project through Instagram as it’s image based. I thought that was the best route to go.
On her approach
One of my profiles is a blonde, tanned, way too much make-up, really plastic looking girl and the kind of people that follow me are really sexually aggressive men. Because of this my feed on Instagram is totally different to any of my other accounts, it’s just filled with porn, sex, really sexual content and so that makes me question, is this then forming me, because I’m being exposed to this information? Does social media inform your own personality? When I’m on another account loads of vegan food might come up and it’ll make me hungry for that kind of food. So that kind of informs my life in another way.
On the instareem
A lot of the reading I’ve been doing highlights the fact that we’ve woken up to a privacy epidemic five years too late. There’s all this stuff about us online that we can do nothing about now and we’re still putting it up. One of the people I reference in my thesis is the head of the CIA. He’s said for years and years they’ve been trying to gather as much information about the population as they can and now we’re giving it to them for free. So, I want people to come away from my project with a more cautious approach to social media.
After I finish I’d like to do some internships in different companies with different approaches and figure out what kind of designer I really want to be. Ideally, I’d like to be somewhere like London or New York in my late twenties. The design industry in Ireland is quite small. I’d like to see more, I’d like to see how other places do it.