Online Marketing + Branding

Let’s take a look at the marketing and branding strategies found on Sephora’s website.

Their website layout is overall very sleek, but also feminine. Details such as the little butterflies that accent section titles and the splash of pink against the black and white color scheme are a nice touch.

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Whitewashing in the Fashion Media

Whitewashing: In this context, to purposely lighten someone’s skin tone in order to conform to beauty standards that find white skin color to be the prettiest among skin tones. Clearly, this is a product of underlying racism that celebrates Caucasian beauty and those features that closely emulate it and under-appreciates “ethnic” beauty.

Many magazines claim that if models or celebrities look lighter on their covers, it’s simply because of lighting. That excuse cannot be continuously used. If it really is the case of lighting issues, then what kind of professional photographers are these companies hiring that they can’t properly captures someone’s actual skin tone? Many argue it is already unethical to be photoshopping models till they are unrealistically thin. Therefore, isn’t it also unethical to be photoshopping skin color thereby creating even more false representations of women and beauty?

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Net Neutrality

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Net Neutrality: “a network design paradigm that argues for broadband network providers to be completely detached from what information is sent over their networks; that no bit of information should be prioritized over another”  from: UC Berkley: Network Neutrality 

Basically, that means no content on the internet is given preferential treatment over the other and under this policy, all websites have equal chances of getting found by web users. However, what about bandwith limitations and potential cost to internet consumers? Read on to find out more about this policy, both the pros and the cons.

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Book Talk

I’d like to share a short interview I did with my friend Judy. We discuss her favorite genres and reading spots all in under a minute. This  was my first time working with sound and it was challenging, but fun. I used the Voice Memo on my Iphone 5s to record all sound and Audacity to edit. It was actually quite difficult to even open my soundbites on Audacity as I first had to convert them into mp3s on Itunes. Looking up “How-To” articles helped me out a lot as I’d often get stuck. Figuring out how loud each soundbite should be when I layered them over each other wasn’t too hard as all I had to do was mess with the volume with each one until I was satisfied that nothing was overpowering the interview yet still allow the sound effects to be heard. I recorded the rain to highlight how Judy likes to read indoors while it’s raining outside and I also recorded myself ruffling pages to introduce my book talk. For intro music, I used “88” by Inspectr and for background music I used “pino” by Phundamental which I both found on Free Music Archive, a website that provides copyright free music and music under the Creative Commons. To end the interview, I used my own soundbite of me playing guitar. Overall, I think I did a pretty good job for my first ever audio project, but there definitely could be improvement on my sound effects. ‘Book Talks’ sounds like a fun idea, so this may be continued. Stay tuned!

One Day I’ll Conquer Photoshop

Photoshop was extremely difficult, especially since at first I was working with a corrupted Photoshop, but even when I switched to a working program it took me a long time to figure out the steps. Picmonkey is much easier, but of course has less options than Photoshop does. However, I definitely do prefer Photoshop over Paint which is ridiculously limited. Also, my full body shot came out wrong as I came to realize my feet were not showing and that would be hard to place into a photo, so I had a friend retake it later in the day. On a more positive note, I have gotten the hang of getting rid of the background using the magic eraser tool and the regular eraser tool. I’ve also discovered that the polygonal lasso tool is useful for placing images in the right spot on a background. The most difficult part was trying to get rid of an object in the background. The spot healing tool told me to use option to select a source point. I looked that up on Google and apparently I’m supposed to use the option on the keyboard. I still don’t think I did that right. The filters are fairly easy to use. A really helpful tip for using Photoshop is to make sure the right layer is selected and to save your work. While this was an extremely frustrating experience, I see that there is so much potential with Photoshop to create amazing images that I hope to learn how to use it more efficiently in the future, although that might take me awhile. Check out my original and edited photos!

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Special Topics in Calamity Physics: A Novel Review

Marisha Pessl wrote Special Topics in Calamity Physics when she was just in her twenties. She may not be a well known author, but her writing is up to par with more popular writers likes Stephen King—-just with a completely different writing style and genre. I discovered this gem of a book in my junior year of high school when it was assigned by my AP English teacher. We picked apart the plot, analyzed all the layers of the complex characters, and ended with a trial using the characters in attempt to create our own ending to the open ending. To learn more about Pessl, check out her website

This remains one of my favorite books today because I fell in love with Blue van Meer, the witty, sarcastic heroine. There are quite a few books with female, teenage protagonists, but Blue stands out from the other girls with her hyper-intellectual voice thanks to her overbearing, snooty father who works as a traveling professor. She is the perfect type of protagonist for this sort of story as the plot contains several layers of mysteries that are interconnected to the people around Blue. Readers sympathize with Blue as they slowly uncover, or at least partly uncover, the big secret her father and quite a few others are hiding.

Books Marisha Pessl Has Written

  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics
  • Night Film

Authors Similar to Marisha Pessl

  1. Jeffrey Eugenides
  2. Kelly Braffet
  3. Samantha Hunt

Components to a Great Novel: Have They Been Met? Yes!

likeable protagonist X
engaging plot X
dynamic characters X