Monday, 28 October 2013

OUGD502 - PPP2: Session 1 Task

Who am I now and what do I feel I have achieved as a Graphic Designer for far?

1. Reflecting on your Summer what is your most memorable event and why?

Reflecting on my Summer, the most memorable event was probably when I heard back from a studio after having put such a conscious effort in to try and get as much work experience as I could. Hearing back from the studio was so exciting and I remember feeling enthusiastic and couldn't wait to get started. 

Having had some work experience prior to starting at Leeds College of Art, I feel as though this alongside my art foundation degree helped me immensely to grow in confidence as well as know how to approach professionals. I feel as though this year we will be given even more guidance in this area, and I am looking forward to improving the way in which I approach studios to try and achieve my dreams essentially as a graphic designer.

2. Have you made any contacts over the Summer that you feel could be helpful over the coming year or so and what outcomes did you feel you achieved?

I managed to make a lot of contacts over the Summer. I made it my goal to try and contact as many studios as possible nearby to me in the Liverpool/Lancashire area and hope that at least one studio would respond to me in time. 

I started off this process by first of all researching in to different studios in Liverpool, as well as more rural areas surrounding where I live. I contacted a graphic designer situated at Cedar Farm Gallery, but unfortunately he worked from home a lot and as a result he was unable to allow me to sit in his studio and get a feel for his work and work ethic. The smaller studios I contacted in Liverpool turned out to be too small to have me there, and they actually didn't sound well suited to me when I spoke to the creative director's on the phone. I therefore decided that it wasn't meant to be at this stage and felt quite deflated. However it didn't stop me from trying still and I continued to try. 

In the meantime, whilst I was searching for some work experience, I managed to get some freelance work for a hairdressers in Liverpool. This involved designing all of their promotional materials as well as re branding their business in some respects, choosing a new typeface for them to apply to their work, as well as illustrations. I was so pleased to have been asked to do this work and started to feel much more positive again about my situation.

A couple of days later I received a phone call from an agency in Liverpool asking me if I would be interested in working there for a couple of weeks. I couldn't believe it and was so excited to start. After this phone call I was then asked by my own hairdresser to design appointment cards for their salon, and I was also asked to design my friend's wedding invitations and save the date cards.

Typically, everything came at once which kept me really busy over Summer and allowed me to learn so much and gain so much knowledge. Through doing my free lance work I was able to build more connections, gain a certain understanding for the client's needs, understand how to manage my time and perhaps not spend too much time on a piece of work, and also gauge how much to charge as a free lance (undergraduate) designer.

I learnt an awful lot about web design during my work experience, and was involved in a lot of pitches which was an eye opener for me. My art work was used a lot for their materials as well as presentations to other companies, and I was in contact with the creative director as well as the design team. I also had the chance to see what it is like working with a large team in an extensive studio. 

I feel as though I achieved so much over my Summer holidays and I am really pleased with the progress I made. When I had finished my two weeks at the studio I was asked to go back during any of my holidays to work there and gain more experience, and was told that they would be interested once I graduate to see where I am up to, and if I decide digital is for me, then I can always go back. This was so encouraging to hear and I was delighted with the outcome of my two weeks placement, especially in first year.

Since coming back to University I have become an ambassador which allowed me to participate in a meeting concerning the design of the new Leeds College of Art website. Through this I have gained a contact whom I am currently emailing about placement as well as any advice he has on web design.

3. How did you meet/contact these contacts (methods or how it happened)

Hairdressers in Liverpool - I was in touch with a girl I used to work with before University, who is now a marketing manager and was looking for a graphic designer. Therefore I saw that she needed help and offered to help straight away, resulting in meeting up with her in Liverpool the following day to discuss work.

My hairdresser - By simply offering to help in the salon I was given the opportunity to design the appointment cards, and have also been asked to help to design a website for them when I feel as though I am confident enough.

Wedding invitations - Via a friend and a discussion over dinner one night we came to the conclusion that I would start working on them when I get back to uni (currently) and email back and forth with design ideas until they are happy.

Studio in Liverpool - Through one friend and an ex colleague I was able to get work placement in Liverpool. This was the most amazing thing to happen to me all Summer.

4. If you didn't make any contacts, why? too busy working? holiday?

I made plenty of contacts over Summer alongside completing my Summer Brief and any free lance work. I left it too late to get a job but was happy to be free when I was offered work placement, making my Summer extremely worthwhile.

5. What methods of creating contacts can you think of and what would you ask?

I am going to continue to email over the forthcoming year, but I am also going to write to one of my favourite graphic designers who currently lives in France, however spends a lot of time in Bali. I absolutely love his work and have spoken to him briefly on Instagram but I think it is time that I contacted him properly and make something happen. I am also really interested in looking at studios abroad, perhaps in Vancouver, as this is something I spent my time researching over Summer and ended up finding a variety that I absolutely love. This all depends on my situation when I graduate however, but there is no harm in contacting them anyway.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

OUGD504 - Design Production: Concept Presentation

Today we presented our concepts to the rest of the year group. I felt as though ours went quite well, however we could have probably spoken for longer quite easily as we didn't manage to get across all of the points we had for our hotel concept. I thought that everyone worked really well in groups as their presentations were successful and engaging. I could definitely see a huge difference from first year to now, we all seem to have grown in confidence a lot. I think we will be able to learn a lot from this task and will be able to apply our knowledge to our work in the future.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

OUGD502 - PPP2: Preparation For John's Session

10 things I want to learn this year

1. I would like to make more time for other interests such as my interest in Philosophy and Ethics, as this is something I really enjoyed when I was studying at A Level.

2. I would also like to make sure I am constantly in contact with studios. This is something I have already starting doing, so I just need to make sure I keep it up.

3. The ethics behind graphic design in more depth. I have already bough a book and read it over Summer, but I feel as though it is important to be aware of the laws behind graphic design.

4. Learning how much time to spent on a brief when working for a client alongside university work. This is something I have been trying to do over the past couple of weeks and feel as though my time management in this area could be improved.

5. I would like to get involved in more extra curricular activities, having recently been appointed the role of student ambassador I feel as though the more I do, the better, as it will help me when I graduate. Not only will it look good on my CV but it will also give me more confidence and experience.

6. I would love to become more confident using all of the Adobe software. I still feel as though there is a lot more for me to learn. This will help me strengthen my work as well.  

7. Packaging is something I am currently very passionate about. I have already started looking at the ethical side of packaging but I feel as though I would benefit a lot from a studio visit or placement. 

8. I would also love to become more aware and more skilled with using the correct software where packaging is concerned. This is something I have already talked about on my blog so I most certainly need to carry out some research in this area.

9. Embossing, binding, screen printing and all of the other processes are things I would love to become more confident with applying to my work.

10. I need to refresh my knowledge on the colour theory as I feel as though this is something that I will constantly need to refer back to. I could do with purchasing pantones as well for the future, when I graduate and go on to do more free lance work along side employment.

Review what I said last year
  • Improve and learn Adobe programs
I have definitely improved my skills with all of the Adobe programs. I could only really use Photoshop fairly confidently prior to starting university. I feel as though over the past year I have successfully applied what I have learnt to all of my work. 
  • How to use correct colours
I feel as though I could have explored further with colour, I did do at the start of the year with my postcard designs, but could have experimented further within my development, even if my final outcome was limited with use of colour.
  • Improve upon web design
I haven't yet studied web design at university, however I have had work experience over Summer which was solely web design. I feel as though this, as well as being in contact with a web design studio in Leeds, with prior experience before university, has enabled me to learn a lot within this area of graphic design, as well as the real world and industry.
  • How to become a professional graphic designer
I feel as though I have most certainly gained knowledge about how to be a graphic designer. Over the Summer I was fortunate enough to get some freelance work, working for two hairdressing salons, as well as two weeks work experience. Working with a large team and making compromises I have learnt a lot about what it will be like when I graduate. I was also fortunate enough to be asked to return in any holiday periods and at the end of my degree.
  • Accept that making mistakes is worthwhile
I think at foundation level I learnt a lot about making mistakes. We were taught to develop our work as much as possible and not be worried about the outcome, because it is all a learning curve. Last year just emphasised this for me.
  • Confidently present my work to others
Having to present my work to the rest of the year has enabled me to grow in confidence. I am happy with the progress I made throughout the year.
  • Drawing ability
I have most certainly applied my drawing skills to most of my work throughout the first year. I feel as though I have grown in confidence as well where my drawing ability is concerned. I would love to improve even further by using my bamboo tablet and inkling.
  • Understanding of typography
My understanding of typography has considerably grown. I feel much more confident applying different fonts to my work, knowing when to use sans serif and serif fonts.
  • Writing at degree level
I demonstrated my writing ability at degree level last year when we had to write our 3000 word essay. I achieved a high grade which I was extremely happy with and hope to continue at this level over the forthcoming years.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

OUGD502 - PPP2: Studio Brief 1: A Design Strategy (Enjoy Digital)

As a student ambassador, I signed myself up to a focus group which was for about three hours, to discuss the new college website. We were introduced to enjoy digital who are going to be redesigning the website. 

After the meeting, I gave Tom my contact details so that I could get in touch with him about the possibility of a placement or simply a visit. Below are the string of emails demonstrating my conversation with Tom, thankfully I was able to gather some primary research for some briefs and I was also able to give him an idea for the college website.

During my time at Rippleffect over the Summer, I was involved in a pitch one day and was asked to research in to some website designs for inspiration. I remembered one of them during the initial meeting, and I suggested that they should try and incorporate a video into the website, giving the user a tour around the college.

The website I was shown at Rippleffect was extremely relevant to this idea and so I attached a link in one of my emails. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

10 Successes

This morning we were asked as a group to think about 10 successes from first year. I quite liked this exercise as it made me realise just how much information and knowledge we have gained as a year group, and it gives me a strong incentive to start forward thinking for the year ahead and ensure that I achieve everything I hope to achieve.

As a group we came up with the following:

1. Learnt about type
2. Guest lecturers
3. Independent learning
4. More comfortable presenting work
5. Improved on group projects
6. New skills
7. Essay writing
8. More understanding of briefs
9. Blogging
10. Time management

We then came up with a second list as a year group:

1. Presentation skills
2. Feedback
3. Workshops
4. Independent
5. Research/Development
6. Understand time management
7. Working in/with groups
8. Confidence
9. Theoretical writing
10. Understand personal style

We have also been asked to choose our own 10 successful traits to explore this year:
(Consider new targets, aspirations etc)

I had put a lot of thought into this over the Summer already so compiling this list was fairly easy for me to do as I have a lot of targets in mind already...

1. Over the forthcoming year I would love to become confident with the basics of web design. Having already had some experience over the Summer break I feel as though I have a vague idea of the initial processes of web design, but I know that once I become more able in this area I will then be able to start off applying my skills to a self promoting website.

2. I need to find out which programs are used at industry standards to create packaging. As at the moment I have been designing in 2D, whereas if I could apply my designs to 3D templates I will be able to create a much more professional outcome.

3. Branding is something I have always been interested in, and it can obviously be applied to web design as well as packaging, I would however love to become a bit more confident in designing logos without them looking rushed or of a low standard.

4. Although I have some experience with screen printing since my foundation degree, I didn't really get the chance to explore it to the full. I therefore feel as though it may benefit me doing this, as I have always loved organic and rustic finishes to packaging design in particular.

5. Throughout the year I also want to ensure that I stay in contact with the company I worked for over Summer, as well as contacting more studios in preparation for Summer 2014.

6. I feel it is necessary for me to understand the ethics behind graphic design a bit more, in terms of copyright laws, registering as self-employed, the legalities behind font usage and so on. I have already done some research over the Summer so I have a basic understanding, but now that I have some consistent free lance work alongside my university work I feel as though this is something I need to be clued up on.

7. Embossing is a skill I would certainly love to master. If I could become confident with embossing then I'd be able to apply it to my work and produce the kind of work I now look at online and wish I could design myself.

8. I want to try and get involved with as many competitions outside of university as possible, as this will help me to get known in the industry.

9. I would also like some advice and some pointers with working abroad. As this is something I am strongly considering once I graduate, for at least a year.

10. I also want to become confident with creating videos, as this is something I have never had any experience with and having having had a conversation with a well established graphic designer recently, I realised that it is important to be as capable in every area within graphic design, rather than concentrating on one specialism, as this opens more options up and increases the probability of getting a successful job at the end of my degree.

Summer Brief Presentation - Feedback

At the start of the session we were put in to different groups to present our work. We went round the group and had 5 minutes to present our work as well as give feedback to our peers. I found this was a really beneficial way of providing constructive criticism as we were in a smaller more intimate group as opposed to speaking to the whole year group.

The feedback I received:

  • Narrowed down research successfully
  • Explored both positive and negative effects of packaging
  • Found specific examples relating to the subject
  • Very factual in depth case studies
  • Know what you're talking about
  • Informative and interesting
  • Too many case studies?
  • Paper/wood packaging
  • Hemp plastic
  • Metal
  • Very informed research
  • Thorough history
  • Good link to personal future
  • Good case studies of specific companies
  • Good that you are thinking of sustainability and the future of graphic design
  • Looked at the ethical side of plastic
  • Explore nets and branding
  • Pros and cons

Having presented our work to the rest of our group we were then asked to put the feedback in to categories, whether it is constructive, something I like to hear (boosts ego) and feedback that could perhaps be given in more depth.

  • Looked in to the history of plastic and the materials used, as well as the ethical side to plastic packaging.
  • Could look in to the actual design side of things, perhaps look at nets and the branding within packaging.
  • Paper/wood packaging
Things I want to hear
  • Good to see that you are thinking about sustainability and the future of graphic design.
  • Good link to personal future
Feedback that could be more in depth
  • Well researched and good facts.
  • Good case studies of specific companies
The examples I have chosen above indicate the most important feedback I received. A lot of the feedback was replicated which is why I haven't included it all in the lists above. I found that my feedback could have been a bit more informative and focused and the most relevant and outstanding piece of advice I received was to look at the nets and the branding within packaging, as I could quite easily collect plastic packaging and pull it apart to compare the complexity of the nets as well as how the branding differs depending on the product. This is something that would help me take an alternative route when it comes to me converting my research into a design in the future when we receive our brief.

We have also been asked to set 3 objectives for our Summer Brief:

1. Explore plastic packaging nets
2. Explore branding of plastic packaging
3. Research paper/wood packaging