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Post 1: Dissertation Brief and Researching Topic Ideas

Dissertation Brief

The dissertation should be the final polished expression of the original research and natural development of the materials collated, verified and summarized in the Project Rationale.


  • Outcome of research will normally be presented in written and illustrated form

  • Word count is 4000 wds, with a leeway of +10%, which comprises the main body of the essay (including all quoted material), but not the bibliography or any appendices

Essay Format

  • 12pt - either aligned to the left or justified on both sides - double spaced

  • All relevant illustrations, images, links, tables and diagrams to be accompanied by Harvard captions

  • Harvard referencing to be scrupulously applied to all quoted material and information (ideas, statistics, facts, author opinions etc) not considered as 'common knowledge'

  • Long quotations (3 lines or more) not incorporated into the main body of text must be single spaced and indented

  • All pages should be numbered

  • Any additional hard-copy material (DVD copies, published works, artefacts etc) submitted as part or in support of the essay submission must be clearly labeled – submission/collection to be arranged with tutor concerned

The essay should be ordered as follows:

  • Cover Sheet

  • Abstract (not compulsory)

  • Contents Page with chapter headings aligned to page numbers

  • Introduction

  • Individual chapters - numbered with headings

  • Glossary of terms (if relevant)

  • Bibliography

  • Appendices with any related auxiliary visuals and or research material

The cover sheet should include:

  • Title of essay

  • Forenames/surname

  • Date

  • Submitted as a partial requirement for the BA (Hons) in [Fine Art/Graphic Design/Illustration/Photography] at the University of Cumbria


Researching Topic Ideas


  • packaging

  • branding/visual identity

  • colour

  • book covers/editorial

  • graphic design in tv/film

Possible topic ideas:

  • sustainable packaging/ethics in design

  • semiotics and packaging

  • gender stereotypes and packaging/branding

  • colour theory in packaging or branding

  • semiotics and book covers

  • branding for small businesses

Possible products to focus on:

  • razors

  • feminine products such as tampons, sanitary towels

  • skincare

  • deodrant

  • why don't you see anti-wrinkle cream for men?

  • birthday cards

Primary research ideas:

  • redesigning a stereotyped product to be more gender neutral

  • create a whole brand for products that are more inclusive



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