Degree Name

Master of Creative Arts - Research


School of Creative Arts


The initial aim of this research was to develop a design format for a surfing magazine entitled Soulwave. The concept of ‘soul surfing’, reflected in the proposed magazine’s title, is a process of self-discovery and connection with nature popularly understood by surfers in Australia. The subsequent investigation of the Australian surf subculture in this thesis allows for an understanding of the reader demographic addressed by surfing magazines.

The key theories and methodologies used in this study are ‘homology’, a concept that applies to both the analysis of subcultures and design, and ‘semiology’, a strategy to explore the meaning of design choices. The supporting ‘case studies’ referred to in this document analyse examples of magazines with recognised market profiles. The applied theory and methodology provides the analytical tools to uncover design decisions in the two uniquely designed magazine examples Beach Culture and Monster Children.

The following thesis critically explores expertise required in editorial and magazine design to reveal strategies and tactics that inform the stylistically adaptive designer model. The intention is to question and analyse the variation of styles within current lifestyle magazines and then to ask how contradictions in this approach test conventional style parameters often thought of as core to a publication’s identity and layout.