Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art and Design

First Advisor

Debra J. Satterfield


As the global community becomes more compact, the need for exploration of culture and cultural differences has increased. This study analyzes the influences of culture on one fashion brand, the fashion magazine, Elle. The subject of fashion was selected due to its great need for branding and advertising, which require the skills of photography and graphic design together and individually. Combining these aspects will allow graphic designers to analyze how cultural differences influence visual effects while becoming more aware of cultural subjects.

Elle is the No.1 fashion magazine in the world (Elle Official website), and was the first international fashion magazine in China (Fang, 2006). Therefore, Elle was selected as the fashion brand to be analyzed based on its great impact. Chinese and U.S. culture were selected based on two criteria: 1) for Chinese culture, fashion was a completely new concept from Western civilization with its own independent developing process, most of the time, isolated from Chinese culture. 2) U.S. culture has been known for absorbing different cultures from around and the world, coining from Europe, and fusing them together. Both cultures boast a large area but are very different from each other. These two cultures were selected for the limitation of formation.

Ten different covers of the Elle sold in Mainland China and ten covers of the Elle sold in the United States provide a basis for comparison, discussion, and evaluation. The variables for this comparison include: 1) cover models, including the facial expressions, postures, nationality, and general settings for the photo shoot; 2) graphic elements, (ex. the layout of the covers) including compositions and typography, an obvious difference between the two from a cultural aspect; 3) titling, the wording in corresponding languages. The Chinese version of Elle uses a Chinese title, which provides a different meaning from the title used in the U.S. Elle, leading to the difference in typography. The title(s) serve as one of the most outstanding features on the cover(s), integrating the verbal aspect into the overall design. It's important to see the different treatments of typography from two different languages. This investigation of visual culture and its impact on Elle Magazine provides valuable information about cultural differences, branding and globalization. The body gesture, through the image of the photography, proposes the one major difference found between the aspects that were analyzed in both cultural magazines. It's significant for manifesting the same branding purpose within two distinguished cultures by using human models and showing the visual differences through body gestures.


Copyright Owner

Xiaohan Chen



File Format


File Size

84 pages