Aesthetics and Inspiration

When considering the aesthetic for The Handbag Project, I want the project to have a crisp, neat visual style that simulates a curation-like space. Much of the documentary will feel like an online archive, so I want the contents of women’s handbags displayed within a museum aesthetic.

One inspiration for this aesthetic is Kaitlin Jones’ interactive documentary Soldier Brother. The use of negative space creates breathing room around the subjects, giving each item definition. The use of shadow to create a three-dimensional feel adds a sense of tactility. When hovered over, a glitch effect and an enhanced colouring lets each item ‘pop’ off the screen, hinting that it is clickable. I want to adopt some of these principles into my own design interface.

However, unlike Jones’ layout, I want the composition to be more structured. Unlike the  scattered look of her brother’s belongings, I want a more organised design. For this reason, I want to work along a grid-like pattern, similar to knolling.

Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organisation. Whether I choose to use knolling or not, I do want to work in grid patterns to keep the items organised and neat, with negative space acting as lines between the handbag’s objects.

Exploring what is inside people’s bags is not a novel concept, and many photographers have done so using this sort of technique. For instance, this website details a series of designers and the contents of their work bags:


Applying this design to the contents of women’s handbags adds a systematic and critical aesthetic to the deconstruction of femininity.


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