Archive for December, 2009

Broken Britain – Football Hooliganism & The Deviant Amplification Spiral

December 6, 2009

I have chosen Broken Britain as the topic for for my design ideas as I believe it is a relevant subject today in terms of social and political agenda. I also recognise that it would be better suited to establish some concepts from this subject rather than my Exiled theme. The aspect I wanted to focus mainly upon within my Exiled theme was the coming together of two significant cultures (Europe and the USA) which prompted the marriage between mass product production and packaging design as well as modern advertisng through the utilsation of European Modernism. However, if I had chosen to pursue this theme, then I believe all would be doing is simply looking at artists and practioners from that era of time and recreating their personal art and design styles to develop my typeface creations.

So getting back to Broken Britain. My brainstorm for this theme brought up some ideas regarding football hooliganism, which I have personally noticed has increased in media attention. For example, there where the riots in Manchester involving Rangers fans who tore apart the city after a large tv screen broke down.

Following that, West Ham United and Millwall fans clashed at an FA cup tie at Upton Park prompting fear generated by the media that football hooliganism was begining to revive itself from days believed to have passed.

Both of these isolated incidents have occured in the last 6 to 12 months each gaining huge coverage by the media. This got me into thinking about why football hooligansim appears to be on the rise again after so many decades of reletive decline with european countries tending to have more of a focus for football hooliganism. One main factor for this could possibly be the recession, in general football hooligans are perceived to be working class men and with the country toiling in recession, many laid off workers could be looking for an outlet for their frustration or are searching for a sense of meaning to their life by joing up to football hooligan outfits or ‘firms’. This in itself throws up some ideas regarding how I can create some styles which represent these aspects of football hooliganism. In general I want my typeface designs to sustain legeibility but still remain conceptual, one idea could be to produce a legible simple typeface, but look at how I can use kerning to recreate this sense of ‘belonging’ that football hooligans ascetain from being part of a firm.

Looking at football hooligan firms themselves could throw up some design ideas, many have their own names and colours synonymous to their respective football clubs, although not specifically a legible typeface I could investigate these firms further and create a serious of dingbats or pictograms to represent certain firms.

It’s not just club fans which are perceived as the only problem within football hooliganism, fans from national teams are deemed to clash on an almost yearly basis at large football tournaments such as the european or world cups, having looked at some of the headlines and images from these clashes there is one aspect that has stood out for me… plastic chairs!

“plastic chairs start flying and running battles with rival supporters and the police take place.”,,334024,00.html

“In Charleroi, drunk teenagers threw plastic chairs and were cooled off using water cannon,”

This is a quick experiment I carried out to represent football hooliganism through broken peieces of plastic chair which make up the letter forms. I like the idea of using the shapes from the chair to make up the letter forms, but I feel this idea is a little bit too experimental and doesn’t bear enough of a concept.

Going back to media involvement however, I have found one website particularly useful in regards to defining how the media has fueled public and political reaction to isolated incidents of trouble.

“Central to the understanding of the media’s role in our understanding of Hooliganism is what Stuart Hall calls the ‘amplification spiral’ of sensationalist media reporting feeding a desire for more stories that can lead to a widespread and unnecessary ‘moral panic’ suggesting the problem was actually worse than in reality it was.”

I believe this term the deviant amplification spiral can be applied to almost every aspect on my broken britain brainstorm and embodies many ideas and key words that could be interprated into visual language, here are some words that I came up with as possible design catalysts, some of which produced some experimental ideas.

  • Exaggerated
  • Inflated
  • Over reaction
  • Disproportinate
  • Emphasized
  • Hype
  • Desireable
  • Copy cat
  • Mimic

The main aspects that stood out for me from these words where exaggeration and inflated, which led me to produce a prelimenary typeface which utilese over sized serifs to hint at this idea of disproportion.