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visual identity & motion

The Theater of State — The Rise of King Henry VIII and Public Displays of Power

King Henry VIII, though most known for having six wives and breaking with the Catholic Church, ignited a design revolution that we still see 500 years later. He was the first ruler to successfully use visual branding and messaging to maintain authority. I created a modern interpretation of this brand as a commentary on how we interact with our political leaders today, and how they package and sell themselves to us. 

“Authority in all Ages Has Needed — and Still Needs — to Be Performed, Written, and Displayed: To Be Publicized”

Produce, Overwhelm, Repeat… Power as a living wall of propaganda through Augmented Reality. Henry was the first ruler to recognize the power in the commodification of his image. He was the first ruler to utilize the printing press, distributing his ideas and agenda directly to the people, and relying heavily on their fascination with this new technology. To recreate this strategy, I turned to new frontiers of digital design: motion and augmented reality. My campaign utilizes AR to create a living wall of propaganda, sure to make anyone stop and look (which was always Henry’s goal). A custom 8 logo, drawn to look sharp and angular, sinister and powerful, helped the system strike the right balance between modern and archaic. I chose to forgo the traditional “VIII” after discovering through my research that he was referred to as “Henry the Eight”. 

 
 
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Henry was the first ruler to recognize the power of the commodification of his image. He utilized the printing press to distribute his ideas and agenda directly to the people, relying heavily on the fascination with new technology. Interpreting his tactics to the modern age, animation and augmented reality have a similar effect on immediately getting the attention of the public, and potentially distracting us from the true message.
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POWER DEPENDS AS MUCH ON PERCEPTION AS REALITY... A REIGN IN WHICH PUBLIC DISPLAY IS INTEGRAL TO AUTHORITY.
— KEVIN SHARPE
 
 
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Leveraging the Visual Language of a Well-known Tyrant Who Is the Little-known Pioneer of the Original Political Brand.

Henry liked to compare himself to Alexander the Great, and even referred to himself as Hercules on several occasions. He enjoyed these calculated comparisons because it aligned himself with iconicity. With this association in the mind of his subjects, he became more untouchable. I decided to use statues to allude back to this strategy. Each figure is a result of my own digital manipulation and photography.

 

 
 
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Leonora Carrington