No Bodies Perfekt aims to promote critical media literacy thinking by educating that images we are exposed to everyday should not be viewed as, or compared to, reality.
Advertising images are carefully constructed using professional models, photographers, studio lighting, and digital retouching and often fit within a narrow ideal of what a person looks like. These images and techniques have become so normalised it is easy to forget this manipulation has taken place.
No Bodies Perfekt uses its own brand of digital enhancement, incorporating augmented reality to disrupt the one-way dialog of advertising. Using smart phones, alternative messages can be digitally projected into physical spaces. These messages are designed to raise awareness of the underlying cultural influences and processes behind these images. Being able to critically evaluate media messages is a crucial first step to developing more body-positive, empowered thinking.
The content used in No Bodies Perfekt has been adapted from body image and media literacy studies. To date, the most successful strategies in combatting negative body image has been the promotion of diverse body shapes and development of critical media literacy skills.
If you are in Australia and looking for more information or assistance around body image issues, the below organisations are a good place to start.
The Butterfly Foundation is an Australia-wide organisation supporting those dealing with eating disorders and body image issues. They offer the ED HOPE Support Helpline staffed by trained counsellors and available via phone, web-chat, or email.
The National Eating Disorder Collaboration (NEDC) hosts an excellent and wide-ranging collection of information on eating disorders, body image, and associated issues.
Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ) is a community-based not-for-profit organisation based in Brisbane, Australia. EDQ offer counselling, training, education, information, and other support services to individuals living with an eating disorder and their support network. EDQ can also provide referral to additional services if required.
Headspace assists young Australians (12–25yrs) who experience mental health problems, including body image issues, anxiety, and eating disorders. Headspace offer online, email, or over-the-phone support, along with over 100 physical Headspace centres located in all states and territories.
About this project
No Bodies Perfekt was created by David Sargent as part of a larger research project investigating the visual design of body image awareness and intervention campaigns.
The project approached this issue through a ‘designer-as-producer’ framework, which positions the designer outside of the traditional client service role. This open-ended perspective encouraged the development of new experimental ideas and modes of engagement.
The prominent use of hand-lettering is employed to communicate body shape diversity through metaphor. Lettering also acts to position the project against standardisation through the promotion of care and uniqueness.
The videos included on this website are posted to demonstrate this project in action. No Bodies Perfekt is an ongoing project, with future plans for it to adapt and grow as technology around augmented reality evolves.