Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Hallie Kim Advertising Art Direction


UX Design

How is your ​virtual identity​ in social media different from your ​physical identity ​in real life?

With the intervention of the new environment, COVID-19, I added another part on to thesis question:
Would you always have a persona in digital life? Since we are all communicating through online now, I accepted it as an opportunity for an experimental way of photoshooting.

In order to test the difference of two identities, online and offline, I took portrait photoshoots of people based on their interviews and compare them with their selfies and profile pictures on social media.

I got inspired by Freud’s iceberg diagram for the theme of the island. An island is your identity that is composed with consciousness and unconsciousness parts. With this project I want to help people find the “under-water” part by interviewing and collaborating on the photoshoot. An island also means social media platforms because people are separated physically but also connected by unseen online networks.

By asking provoking questions that infer what is the most important for them, I wanted to let people have some time to think about who they really are.

Interview questions mimic ‘Free Association Technique’ that Freud used for his clients. In this practice, I asked a person to freely share thoughts, words, and anything else that comes to their minds.
I started with the questions like:
“What are five words that come to your mind right now?”
“What would you bring to an island?”, and we had quick back and forth conversations.

Art direction, styling, etc was done by the interviewer (me) and the interviewees based on their answers. The photoshoot was done by screenshot and with the help of interviewees’ family members.