Inside Out: Graphic Design's Place in Beauty, Distortion and Ugly Truths

Master's Thesis


When the fields of advertising and design are too closely linked, as they have grown to become, design skills are not only squandered, they can be put to use in a destructive way?creating visual messages that are streamlined and stereotyped. One can contribute to existing critiques of the advertising-design relationship by examining marketing practices for beauty products. The cosmetics industry is notorious for portraying unrealistic paradigms of feminine beauty through elevated promises in copy lingo and heavily manipulated imagery. The ugly reality to this advertising fantasy is that many beauty products contain concerning levels of skin irritants and toxins. By contrasting the unattainable images of femininity presented in make-up ads with the ugly reality that cosmetics contain toxins, this thesis and the accompanying Fierce Cosmetics Campaign question the out-of-control nature of consumer culture in the United States and graphic design’s role in contributing to, as well as subverting, the advertising industry.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04192012-115403

Author Marie Yvonne Bourgeois
Advisor Robert Sedlack
Contributor Robert Sedlack, Committee Chair
Contributor Maria Tomasula, Committee Member
Contributor Jean Dibble, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History, and Design
Degree Name MFA
Defense Date
  • 2012-04-03

Submission Date 2012-04-19
  • United States of America

  • Design for Social Change

  • Design as Art

  • Guerrilla Campaign

  • Cultural Jamming

  • Social Design

  • Empathetic Design

  • Advertising and Graphic Design

  • Adbusters

  • photo manipulation

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility and Access Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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