Experimental JetSet

After seeing Helvetica over Xmas, I have been looking at experimental jetsets work alot. I found their opinions on the typeface very interesting and almost brave due to the slating that many of the 'pro's' delivered during their interviews on the font. They stated thatby using Helvetica for alot of their work they are not spending ages looking for a typeface

Experimental Jetsets work uses bold type, in well designed grid systems to create 'easy to use' designs which speak in a very neutral manner due to their 'over-use' of the font. An over use which I find inspiring and interesting (who knows maybe I like the font too much...). In short I think they are one of the better collectives which I know about it, a great group of creatives!!

(Extremely popular T shirt by the JetSet, which incidently has been worn by a number of high profile celebrities and has also been heavily ripped off, using the same idea for different bands or groups).


Helvetica: A Film by Gary Hustwit

I watched Helvetica earlier this week and thought I would write my thoughts and opinions on the film as well on the huge influential and probably the most discussed typeface ever.

I actually began watching the film as a last resort, thinking it would be extremely boring and monotonous to listen to various type and design professionals either moan or praise Helvetica but in actual fact is was very interesting. The film gives a run down of the history and development of the typeface, Helvetica (an apparantly cleaner akzidenz grotesk).

I personally really like the font and see nothing wrong with using it, or its overuse for that matter. Why has it been used so much? Because it works, I dont think that that makes it worth a debate. I find it quite amusing when so many people (including very well known designers) have such an issue with the typeface being used; If anything I have a feeling that such people are somewhat jealous that they didnt design it themselves.

The type has gone through various versions and revisions, as wellas going through a stage of overuse, followed by a stage of almost boycotting of the type family before returning to its rightful place within society, being used, when a neutral type is required.

When watching the documentary I found the positive comments and discussions from certain type designers much more of worth than some of the almost immature accusations which people put on the typeface. In particular I found the section in which Experimental Jetset discussed their opinions of the type extremely interesting. Their opinion is that Helvetica is a font that saves a designer looking through all their fonts as it is well rounded and suits such a huge number of jobs. An opinion that by and large I totally agree with, if it aint broke dont fix it!

Many similar fonts exist (Akzidenz Grotesk, Univers,etc) including almost direct copies due to licensing issues(Microsoft' Arial), however, after watching the documentary and listening to the different designer's opinions, as well as using the typeface myself, I have decided that Helvetica as a typeface deserves a certain amount of respect due to it being the most heavily used type as well its overall neutral, well balanced forms, in the huge amount of versions and weights avaliable.


Visual Communication In Context 2 - Results and Feedback

We recieved our feedback for the VCC2 brief today and I was... satisfied with my mark (happy would be pushing it abit). I agreed with all the feedback about the work I handed in for this first brief but that doesn't stop me being disapointed.

My final mark was (53) and all my individual grades fell within the (50-59) bracket which is... satisfactory. The worst bit about it is I know its the mark the work I handed in deserved, sure I wish it was a higher mark but I know the work didn't deserve it.

I really need to knuckle down on the next few projects to really get where I want to be. Anyways Christmas to enjoy now... aka. Do loads of work.


Well... A Week and a Half Later...

Thought maybe writing a post for ye olde blogge, would snap me out of the infection known as holiday mode. Since discussing my rough direction in terms of the D&AD briefs with Mike last week (an extremely useful couple of days in my opinion), I was feeling extremely good about really knuckling down.

The website project which was given to us over a week and a half ago now, I was looking forward to, a chance to develop an identity, to put it online in an innovative and interestig way... alas nothing has been done!

Well, thats not quite true. A brief run down of the little progress made for each is included below.

D&AD - Home Base 'Grow Your Own' Packaging/POS
- Previous to discussing the brief with Mike, I had only chosen this brief to work on, no work or ideas had actually been considered. After getting some very rough ideas and looking in Homebase, I met with Mike and he first suggested that we discuss ideas and research as a group to get some initial ideas (this was extremely useful as we were able to consider the ideas from everyones point of view, an extremely good way of thinking of or developing ideas you never would have thought of).

Next I just began further brainstorming before talking to Mike and discussing my working methods and where he felt I should start. We discussed a few ideas and he recommended I begin to consider the phyisical shape, size and workings of the packaging and to worry about point of sale and branding later.

I am yet to really get on with this one but I plan to concentrate my efforts over the holiday on working on this competition brief... Note: That means getting alot SBC 2 out of the way with this last week before the holidays start.

Brief - Screen Based Communication 2
- When I say I haven't done anything on this piece of work is abit of a tall tale as I have actually considered it a fair bit, I have got a relatively solid idea of a Flash site on paper, but would quite like to experiment with the other options avaliable to us; namely developing the use of CSS for a site (or possibly combining the two (Flash/CSS)to create a Flash Site, with easily updateable text content)...
I still need to get some solid inspiration and visiual identity but so far I think I am progressing in a good direction.

Sadly I have not done anything more than that stated and would quite like to have had developed at least one of the projects to a stage where I could devote the majority of the holidays to working on the other project. Well there's my progress thus far, Ill hopefully get some work done now!!!


Screen Based Communication 2 - Briefing

Today we received our second brief of the year; Screen based Communication 2. I am really looking forward to getting underway with this brief as I enjoy web development and am seriously considering it as one potential route my studies could take me down (especially seeing as web design is one of the easier graphic design fields to get into).

So far, not surprisingly I don't have any ideas but hey, what do I expect... My first thoughts of how to get the ball moving on this project are as follows; look at my own work and look for common ground from brief to brief, try and develop an identity or image for myself from my work which will then give the design of my website some direction. I will also look at as many existing websites as possible to get some inspiration and ideas about how I wish to promote myself and the work that I do. One thing which I am already concerned about is the lack of material I have or have that I am willing to put up to portray my working and methods, however I briefly discussed this with Neil who informed me that this is not a problem and that space can be included on the site for future work and additions which may have a place within my online portfolio of work.

So far I have just been looking at different websites to immerse myself in the field of screen based design and communication. As far as technical workings and development is concerned I am currently unsure of how I will construct my site but am keeping my options open. The sites I like the most are quick and easily accessible with no difficulty finding the content of the sites at hand. I plan to either CSS or Flash to create a slick and minimalist site, but this is just first ideas and could all change.

While looking at various websites which are showcased on http://www.minimalsites.com/
I have posted a few screenshots of websites which I found really nice to navigate and look at due to their simplicity. At this early stage of the brief this is the sort of website design and style which I feel best suits my work. Simplistic, straight to the point and no messing!





The Year So Far!

So far this year I really haven’t been working to my full potential..., not by a long shot. This is annoying to say the least. I am extremely pleased that the first brief is done and out of the way to allow me to concentrate on really getting on with the screen based communication 2 brief which requires me to develop an identity and put it forward by developing a website which can act as an on screen portfolio.
I am also looking forward to concentrating on at least one competition or live brief but hopefully more.

All in all, I really think I need to develop better time management and work ethic for these next two pieces of work because otherwise I’m selling myself short. I will begin looking at existing websites and identity’s to help me decide how I wish to style my own website and will also begin reading through the live competition briefs in order to decide which one (or more) best suits me, whether it be D&AD, ISTD or other.

So overall it just comes down to (as it always does) better organisational and time management skill’s improved confidence and more focus and concentration.


Evaluations - Visual Communication in Context 2

Well nearly a week after handing in the Visual Communication in Context 2 brief, it’s about time I evaluated my work (processes, ideas and concepts, and final hand in work).

Look Again/Think Again
This first brief took me a while to get into and that would have been fine apart from there wasn’t a while to waste. I think my development and final design was relatively good considering that I did not really get into the brief straight away as my ideas and concepts changed multiple times before I arrived at my final idea which I decided to pursue.

I felt my final design worked really well actually, but that is purely my opinion, however I felt it fit the brief well and I also feel that my final poster design did what it was intended to do which was raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. I think the image and the message work well with each other, in the critique I received some feedback which I didn’t really agree with so I didn’t change my poster a huge amount although I did make the type more legible. I also experimented with different images but decided what I had was what I would stick with due to the other parts of the brief pending.

I also think that I was lucky to get a reasonable design as I failed to use my time particularly well. I’m hoping I can put that down to the first brief back and not really being back in the swing of things.

Greetings Cards
At the beginning of this brief I was a bit puzzled as to what was expected but after discussing ideas with Neil and Claire it became clear that the brief was extremely open and was pretty much anything goes. I was pleased to have focused my idea a lot quicker in comparison to the first section of the brief. I feel that all my research and development is relevant but I also think I may have got too bogged down in one aspect of the target audience and lifestyle I was trying to appear to.

That said I think I managed to develop a good looking and working set of greetings cards for the final critique complete with envelopes. After the critique I concentrated a lot of effort into finalising my final greetings cards as I had a lot of necessary elements which I was required to add to them such as space for a note inside the cards and an address on the envelopes. After completing this and altering the colour of the materials used for my cards I was extremely pleased with my final designs. I also feel that the six greetings cards are probably the best piece of work I completed while working through this first brief.

Animal Watch Packaging
Similarly to the first part of the brief I failed to get started on this brief immediately as I was still pursuing perfection with my greetings cards (something im still to aquire). I also got bogged down on a lot of the research we should have done within our groups.

Once I got an idea and direction I really enjoyed this part of the brief as it was more of a life brief and we had logos and an existing company style to work with. I feel my research into existing packaging helped me to direct my ideas towards something a lot more appropriate to appeal to the target audience. I think I managed to create a decent piece of packaging design which with some slight refinements to fixing of the package could be an extremely cheap, sustainable peice of packaging to put into production.

I think the piece of this brief that lets me down somewhat is the design that features upon the package. The reason I say this is not because I dislike the design, I actually really like it, however I wish I had looked into more ways of capturing the portrayed lifetstyle which Animal sells with their products eg. illustration, surf graphics, pattern.

That said I still feel the designs I came up with are quite strong, I plan to develop the project abit further to bring it to a more final state so as to have a piece of work which presents idea through to final design for my portfolio.


The week ahead...

Ok after the final critique for this brief, I first plan to relax for the weekend... phew, and then throughout the week work to develop my final ideas and sketchbook work, annotate what needs annotating etc, and just build on what I have already done, following the feedback from the lecturers and my classmates since the beginning of the second year.

It’s going to be a long week but I’m looking forward to getting a huge amount of work finished and completed for the final hand in! Then on to the live/competition briefs and the screen based project!

Visual Comm. In Context 2 - Animal Packaging - Final Critique 14th

For the final critique of the Animal watch packaging assignment I was relatively pleased with what I had achieved in terms of the ideas and development of my packaging as a construct and housing for a product. However I felt allot of my work would need refinement and additional thought to bring them up to a decent standard.

I was pleased with the feedback and the majority of the work I need to do seems to be reworking allot of my research and making it more detailed and developing my ideas in terms of focusing more on the materials used and back up work. On future projects I must ensure I work the right way round completing all research and achieving a time balance between research and ideas development through to final graphics. When I have time I will post pictures of my final prototypes.


Design for Packaging

Since the interim critique I have been developing my box further and further, concentrating on materials, fixtures, and the equally important graphics which will appear on the packaging’s surface. I have begun to concentrate almost exclusively on the design as I am running out of time due to the final deadline growing ever closer.

I have decided that the designs for the watch packaging should be simple, bold and eye catching (while still giving a subtle but noticeable nod to Animal as a surfers and extreme sports enthusiast aimed company). I have presented the inner and outer sides of my packaging design as well as a closing sleeve design for each sex, male and female, which I intend to submit for the final critique this coming Friday.
Blank Net

Packaging Design - Male Ver.
Packaging Design - Male Ver.
Packaging Design - Female Ver.
Packaging Design - Female Ver.
Packaging Sleeve Design - Male and Female Ver.

The design may seem almost too simple but when printed on a recycled material which has some texture and inconsistency as well as colour other than plain white, (not necessarily bright dyed colour but grey board or the consistency of corrugated card), I think the design will be brought to life. Before the final hand-in I plan to run some test prints on some materials to ensure the packaging graphics comes across as I intend.


Idea Generation and Interim Critique

I have been working hard on my Animal watch packaging brief over the week and have developed various prototypes of the packaging I hope to have completed by the end of the brief. I built the prototypes this early on to allow me understand how my package ideas could be developed, as well as the materials used.

The prototypes are all similar in design but have different tabs or closure methods (or just more lids or flaps for information). I have also decided on dimensions for the package (after finding a print cartridge box in the bin...) which consist of 11 cm wide, 19 cm long and 1.5 cm deep. A nice size package which is easily held in ones hand, these dimensions allow for the watch to sit snug in die cut or walled out area of the package without the use of fixings or additional pieces of the packaging.

The interim critique today went quite well with my ideas being given good feedback I just need to develop and push my ideas further, considering the materials I use and the design I choose to place on the design. I am also not satisfied with the closing of my packaging. It is a shame we can’t have the box professionally/industrially made to ensure it is as we intend instead of separate prototypes and graphics or amateurly made prototypes, especially when we intend to use material which we are unable to feed through the printers we have at our disposal.


Dreamweaver Sessions

Over the last few weeks I have been taking part in the additional ABC Dreamweaver qualification which is being taught to us by Neil. Over the span of the short qualification we have been required to produce a number of simple websites using Adobe Dreamweaver to develop an understanding of the program so as to aid us in our next assignment which consists of an online portfolio using any means of web generation we see fit be it Flash or Dreamweaver.

Although I have used Dreamweaver previously it has been extremely useful to have some basic skills clarified by having the various information explained to us. Anyways... I thought it was worth mentioning...

Inspiriration, Change of Direction, Settling with an Idea!

I have been looking through various packaging specific books and websites over the last few days and have gained a large amount of inspiration from looking at existing examples of packaging. It is interesting that until looking through these documents, packaging to me meant box, and more specifically a normal cube or rectangular package... Innovative huh?... Please...

After realising that I don’t want to design yet another square box (its been done), I have scrapped my original idea of the cube with a lid and watch retainer all from the same net, but have decided to keep developing ideas along a sustainable route of design and manufacture.

One element of sustainable design which should not be overlooked is not only the type of material used but also the amount of material required to safely display, transport and house the product at hand. If this can be kept at a low then the more sustainable and protective of the environment the package will be.

I have posted an image of the kind of things I have decided to aim for, althougth this particular piece of packaging houses shower gel (which is packaged very innovatively it's self).

I plan to develop a piece of packaging not dissimilar in size and shape to a video cassette box or DVD packaging, however that is as far as I have considered this idea. The packaging will still be made from a single net and will use no glue no construct or fix the design, thus being even more sustainable due to the lack of process.

As far as design which will be present on the package I have not much considered this aspect yet but I think that the use of company logos should suffice in terms of a realistic design which could potentially be used to house the product, in this case, an Animal watch.

I will post again when the idea has moved along somewhat...


Packaging Progression!

I havent really got much further with the packagaing project so I decided it was time to build something... Anything... So I have constructed a cube net complete with lid which has fold in corners and requires no glue. A couple pictures below...

Animal Watch Packaging Brief...

Over the weekend I have considered the ideas (or lack of ideas) which my group and I came up with last Thursday. I have decided to dive straight in with considering the actually packaging with little thought as of yet to the design which will feature on the box. I have decided from our group work that I may go down the route of the development of sustainable packaging made of recycled substrate, made, constructed and produced with sustainable processes and materials. How I will go about doing this is yet to be seen, but currently I am thinking the development of packaging which doesn’t use any glue and is all made from one net with no extra pieces.

I also manage to get to the Animal shop in Poole over the weekend and was able to take a few photographs of the shop, the clothing styles and of course the existing watch packages. I thought they were nice pieces of packaging but didnt suit the brand as they looked far too clinical in my opinion.

I have done some packaging development on my previous course and I really enjoyed it, so here’s hoping I enjoy this packaging assignment as well.


Visual Communication in Conext 2: Part 3 - Group Ideas Generation

Today we were split into groups to complete Part 3 of the brief. We were split into groups and were required to research and generate ideas for the development of new packaging for Animal Clothing’s watches throughout the day (which would be presented at the end of the day), after which we would move on to Part 4 of the Visual Communication in Context 2 where we would be required to develop ideas individually from our group’s ideas to a finished, professional standard.

I think we worked relatively well as a group. We concentrated mainly on Animal as a company and their existing target audience, lifestyle, history and their current range of products. We also looked into the company’s design style and its main competitors (which we decided were companies like Quicksilver, O’Neil, and Rip Curl).

We all assigned ourselves different research points to fairly share out the work throughout the day and by the end of the day had a presentation of 7 or 8 slides. I think we worked relatively well as a group although I felt if we had been more focused we would have got a far more coherent and useful set of research for us to each individually work on for the fourth part of the assignment. I also felt that we concentrated too much on research existing ideas, styles and information instead of working more to develop some very rough ideas and concepts for our individual ideas.

That said our presentation went quite well and we were able to explain where we had got to clearly using the slides we had made throughout the day. I feel that due to completing this group work session I have a route to work down for my design (all be it a rather shaky start).


Some new card ideas?

Just an idea for a new set of punk cards I came up with. I think I will try and complete a second set of six as I thoroughly enjoyed the brief and although I am happy with set of six I have already produced I feel I could push the idea of punk greetings cards alot further!


Final Critique

I found the critique today pretty good, with some relatively good feedback from Neil, Claire and Sally (although I also found that I could have recieved much of the new feedback yesterday to allow me to complete the newly mentioned additions or changes).

I also felt that there was little point in having an interim critique a day before the final critique because it gave me and my classmates very little time to adapt or change our idea should anything have been badly wrong.

I plan to modify my cards or even create a new set by the time of the final hand in date but this remains to be seen as I do not know how much free time I will get before then. I have included a photograph of my set of six cards which I presented today at the critique.


Interim Critique

I arrived at the interim critique with my set of six printed, but not completed (somewhere for a stamp, somewhere to write a short note or a To: and From: sections, envelopes and potentially a box or container for the cards to be presented and sold in).

Firstly some of the cards I saw during the critique were superb, extremely well thought ideas and executions. The feedback I received from Neil and Claire during the critique was good, with only small amounts of work (much of the changes were predetermined) still requiring completion. Namely the additions mentioned above. I decided I would produce the envelopes for the final critique and spend whatever time left considering changes to better my cards within the time provided before the final hand in.

All in all a good day with some good feed back!!


Cracking on...!

I have just been cracking on with the cards since the critique. I had planned to get the imagery for each card by photocopying my collage, however none of the people at the AIB in charge of photocopiers were particularly welcoming about me feeding 300gsm card through their photocopiers. I began to experiment with live tracing my collage in illustrator (a task far more difficult than I would have originally imagined) using the various settings to get as many levels out of the scanned collage as possible.


Collages Completed! Phew!!

After a huge amount of trawling through the mass of single and album releases featured on the Punk Sleeves website I was able to obtain a selection of the well known or better designed covers from the more influential punk years. This was followed by a huge amount of cutting, positioning and sticking (some un-sticking and repositioning in there too).

I am extremely pleased with how my collages have worked out and am also feeling good with the progress I am making on this brief as I have learnt a huge amount about Punk music and the culture that surrounds it as well as a huge amount of inspiration in terms of the design styles and techniques used to produce the huge variety of punk releases from ‘76 - ’84. These design methods include photocopies, to hand illustrated (by designers and band members), to professionally designed, type set pieces (by the likes of (Barney Bubble (Ian Drury and the Blockheads), Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols), Ray Lowry (The Clash) and Malcolm Garrett (The Buzzcocks)).

I Have separated up the album art on my collage into three groups ‘76 - ‘78, ‘79 - ‘81, ‘82 - ’84 to break up the different styles (and bands prominent at each time).I hope these collages will work to create imagery which is indicative and appeals to my chosen target audience, Punks and other enthusiastic. I have created three collages, each of about A2 in size with an estimated 300 + record sleeves present in total, I have included a scan below of the completed collages.


Working on cards

After working on my cards since the ideas discussions last Thursday and Friday I have been concentrating on collecting together objects which are unmistakeably classic UK Punk. After considering objects and where I would be able to obtain enough material to create a strong collage, Neil introduced me to a website created by his current tutor, Russell Bestley (who has a PhD in Punk). The website is a study and interactive matrix of British punk album covers from the classic era of the emergence of the genre in this country (through the years of 1976 - 1984). The sites interactivity comes from the various filters (years, styles and locations) which can be applied to the matrix to provide similar sets of releases.


The site is a huge database of the releases throughout these classic and predominant years of the punk movement and to be honest even if you hate punk music it’s worth a look! And alternatively if you do like punk music and the surrounding movement its even better because each of the album covers feature a short sound bite of the specific release!! This site makes me wish I had been around to see this heavily influential time in music, youth culture and society stuck in a rut. I have decided that I will create my collage from the hundreds of punk releases featured on this site. Once I have created a decent collage which will allow me to obtain six card designs from I will post my designs.

Note: My previous collage of the punk flyers I put together were all traditional punk produced. What I mean from this is that the designs have been photocopied onto plain paper (colour or white). This is a cheap and concise way of reproducing a design and is extremely indicative of punk style. I have produced a mock up card from my original collage which is posted below!


Crits, Cards, Punks and Other Stuff

Well, today was a really useful day for myself (and my classmates I imagine), as we recieved plenty of feedback and other information about various goings ons.

To start with I was chosen as one of the first group to discuss our previous submissions of the A3 Look Again/Think Again posters we had finalised for the previous Thursday. This critique was led by Sally who was unaware of who had done what work or the implications and messages behind each poster. I felt my poster came across well and was easily understood. I thought running the critique this way was a good but felt it could have been improved if a member of the general public had been brought in (as opposed to another member of staff as they would already have design experience) to see if they understood each poster and to see how stronger message each poster portrayed as this w0ould give us an idea of how each of our ideas would have been percieved by members of the general public. Although this might not be the easiest sort of critique to organise it may be worth considering for future discussions as the most valuable opinion can often be of the public especially when they are the target audience. Overall I am pleased with my idea and will continue to develop the ideas presented t0 me in this and the first critique to improve my work however, the differences in opinions between the critiques make me unsure of how much needs to be changed?

Next, in small groups we were to discuss our ideas of concept, target audience and rough visual style and route which we plan to go down for our newest course brief (The greetings cards) with Neil and Clare. This was extremely valuable to everyone as it allowed the class to voice their opinions on peoples work and give each other new ideas or variations on existing ideas. I also found having Neil and Clares opinions, ideas and advice extremely useful as when I mentioned my idea we were able to have a lengthy discussion just about various routes I could go down which in turn has changed me from worrying about this project to being quite excited as to what I could end up with by the final critique date.

Overall I came out of the ideas discussion stumbling blindly down a path which I had not even realised existed. Ya see, when explaining my ideas and presenting my mood board/collage of punk flyers to the class, it was brought to my attention that I had already started a perfectly good experimentation into the art and ideas surrounding the subject by creating the collage. I think I will maybe go down this route, of collaging imagery into a huge mass of interesting and eye catching subject matter, specifically aimed towards a genre of music and its ideas. The great thing about deciding to continue down this route is that I have my idea now, and feel that although the set of six must be clearly indicative of one target audience, that does not mean it cant appeal to a larger target audience, through an interesting and innovative design... Time to continue with my consideration of visualisations. Possibly collage!!


Decision Made! PUNK!! PUNK!! PUNK!!

Just a quick post to say I have decided that my target audience will be punks, punk music enthusiasts, as well as many more! So PUNK its is for the subject of the cards! Will post when I have more to show!


Live Briefs/Wasted Weekend... Oh my god!!

Ugh, I haven't done any work since Friday and it makes me feel terrible, I feel like I can't afford to have any time off... It must just be because its the beginning of the year and I'm not really back into the swing of things, but even so...

Just read through the ISTD briefs and they literally made my head hurt, ill avanother look tommorrow...


Introductory Lecture and New Brief

Today we had a short introduction by Clare, a professional illustrator, textile and graphic designer who has been working in the field of greetings cards, wrapping papers and seemingly everything else which comes into this sector of design. I found her work interesting and motivating, especially her work based around St. Ives. The care and attention that goes into her work is stunning, as well as the handmade elements of much of her work which I found extremely inspiring as it is not really something I have ever considered doing. Her more recent work also intrigued me as when looking for cards for various occasions I have often wondered who designs this type of work. I hope to discuss my ideas with her in the coming week as I feel I would be able to gain a much better understanding of where to aim at with this project (A set of six greetings cards) by doing so.

The new brief looks like it could be a tough one to really get focused on, but none the less I will try my best. After discussing ideas with Neil, my first thoughts are that I would like to work within type for the cards as I like the idea of being able to say as much with type as I can with image. The possibility of quotes is the first direction I plan to head in for this brief, but before deciding on a technique or visualisation I must ensure I work the right way round and gain an insight into some design I really like and then focusing on a target audience to guide my work in the correct sort of direction.

Also the next post will hopefully have details of which live brief I had decided to undertake as well as my progress on this next part of the current brief!

Note: I must remember to keep up to date with PPRD as I do not want to have to recount what has happened over a time period as ideas, concepts, discussions and other elements of my learning become lost if they are not carefully documented.


Look Again/Think Again Critique

I felt the critique today went reasonably well as after discussing my work with Neil and my classmates, I feel I can improve my work making it a more concise and coherent visualisation, thus further bettering the chances of my piece of work raising awareness for the relevant subject – Dementia and more precisely, the most common form of Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. From what I gathered from the comments my imagery was along the right lines but needs a few vital elements to make it work well alongside my strap line, namely the addition of the human element being unable to tie the shoes within the visualisation of the idea.

I was somewhat disheartened by the fact that the background image of a aging and fading brick wall did not seem to imply the same message to people as it had done to me so vividly, connecting with the bleakness and forgetfulness which is associated with Alzheimer’s. However for the designer of a piece of work it is easy to see the intended meanings while for members of the general public (which the advert is aimed at) it may not be as easy to see.

However it is my work, and I feel the brick background adds something to the image even if it is just an issue of being aesthetically pleasing. However I will consider the background which I place the image elements of a design in future. I must consider my context and target audience more!!

I have also taken on board the points various people made about the legibility of the strap line as on screen this was far more readable than the print version. I almost find myself wishing that the poster was far larger than A3 because I was very pleased with the type, however if the masses think it is on the boundary of illegibility then it has to change whether I like it or not as the design is not for me, it is to raise a awareness of a social issue which has been overlooked by the public.

I simply cannot rest, or start the next part of the brief before I have made these certain changes as I want my second year to start on a good note, in which I am content and pleased with the work I produce, and thus improved my relatively poor confidence. Therefore I will redo aspects of the visualisation to ensure that the piece of design is clear and is able to reach as broader audience as possible. As soon as I have completed the altered elements of my visualisation I will post the new and improved piece.

Note: I must learn to take criticism of my work much better than I have in the past, however, I will continue to defend my work in terms of answering queries which are put to me about the reasoning behind my work and the various elements I choose to include because this is the task of a designer when discussing their work. Until next time. Ciao


Finally some passion < - - - -

After researching into the subject of Dementia and the most common form, Alzheimer’s disease, I have been extremely pleased. Not necessarily because I have done a truck load of work (I wish...) but more because I have found myself becoming extremely interested and passionate in a subject which I am researching and am therefore determined to create a strong visualisation for the critique session on Thursday. If it crashes and burns then I will continue to develop it until it is of a strong standard.

The more and more I looked into the subject matter, I found myself getting somewhat angry at myself for not really knowing what Alzheimer’s disease was, even though it is an extremely serious problem. (In fact if someone had asked me what it was, I probably would have told them that it’s that disease/disorder where you can’t sleep, so zero points for prior knowledge Chris...). So with that said, even if my visualisation is an absolute failure, at least by working on the brief I have managed to raise awareness of the issue to myself.

Currently I am considering a strong yet simple way of raising awareness of the chosen issue by presenting the message that everyday tasks, skills and memories become lost by sufferers of the disease...

Everything Has Changed...

OK so over the weekend I have considered the brief a lot in my head and have decided to develop my existing idea into a social issue. This has happened by me considering the opposite to remembering the first time you did certain things, forgetting how to do things. I began considering this and decided that I would much rather produce a poster to raise awareness of a social issue. The issue I have chosen to raise awareness of is that of Dementia and more precisely, the most common form of Dementia; Alzheimer’s disease. Interesting how an idea can develop into something totally different just by a heavy session of mental thinking isn’t it?

So the next step is to begin learning something about Alzheimer’s...


Here We Go Again / First Brief (Task One - Look Again/Think Again)

Our first official studio day was relatively nerve wracking for me as I knew we would be receiving a new brief. I was not wrong. The first brief for this year is Visual Communication In Context 2. The brief is made up of four parts with the first task - Look Again/Think Again. The final outcome is an A3 poster which makes the audience Look Again or Think Again with the group critique of our final outcomes happening within a week’s time.

If the truth be known I was wishing for a week long brief as it is a relatively short amount of time to produce a piece of work based on a concise idea or concept while working within the context of the task – Look Again/Think Again, and of course with only a week, I should be jolted into action. Sadly after brainstorming the examples given to us for ideas (An over looked social issue or a more personal object which is emotive) I am no further forward. I am also perplexed at how when asked if I understand, I nod and agree and then directly after I look again at the brief and realise I do not really understand... ARGGHH!!

My initial thoughts are that it would be easier to complete a brief based around a social issue as opposed to a personal object but that the latter could quite possibly produce a more interesting design solution, but who knows. I hope to have feasible ideas for both by this coming weekend allowing me to have a choice as to what my concept will be based around. Will continue to brainstorm ideas and discuss with classmates and lecturers to build an idea. Also I plan to take a broad look at advertising design to gain a better understanding of tactics used to produce memorable and thought provoking design. Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for...


Aims for Year 2

- Take a far more active part in critiques and learn to take note of criticism as a positive to allow me to further my design potential.

- Continue to build my confidence and not let first impressions of tasks, challenges and briefs daunt me.

- Make much better use of the opportunities and resources provided by the AIB.

- Obtain a far greater insight into professional design by looking at more books, magazines, websites and research sources as well as attending more exhibitions, lectures and undertaking more placements and live briefs.

- Begin to form a design identity for myself which I am proud of and wish to be represented by.

- Consider my options for the future and begin to form an idea of what I want to do next.


First Day Back / PPRD 2

I was quite nervous about beginning the second year as my confidence is never particularly great when starting a new education course or continuing on with a course after a lengthy break, particularly because I feel like I can’t remember and haven’t retained any of the knowledge or skills that I have previous possessed and learnt in previous studies. This is just an ongoing battle with confidence which I intend to beat by the end of this year as it holds me back from completing work to my full potential as well as discarding perfectly good ideas which I think maybe stupid or not relevant.

The first day back was a relatively generic first day in which we got to socialise with classmates whom many of us hadn’t seen since the end of the first year, as well as a brief meeting with Sally, Neil and Kit as well as a short introduction to our new print technician. It was a pleasure to begin to get back into the working environment (although no course work was completed today). As before we were required to complete enrolment before returning to the studio where we were issued our PPRD 2 unit brief. We were also informed as to the requirements of the brief as well as the significant differences to our first PPRD unit last year. We were also told we were required to set up Flickr.com and Blogger.com accounts to enable our course leaders to follow our progress.I look forward to documenting my progress throughout the year in my PPRD as in the first year I found it instrumental in maintaining a clear direction for my work as well as a useful file of previous ideas, designers and other relevant subjects which enable me to further my studies.

Somewhat annoyingly we were then told our first day back would be Thursday meaning that after having the huge summer holiday I would be having another two days off before actually getting down to doing some work. UGH!!

The Big Bad First Post / End of First Year / Summer Fun and Work

After completing the first year of the course (which I enjoyed thoroughly but found difficult at times, but then again what would be the point if it wasn’t challenging) I was extremely pleased to be able to kick back and relax. This lasted about two/three weeks before relaxing got extremely boring, especially seeing as much of my time was spent working as a wash up slave in a pub kitchen (shudders). There is something quite inspirational about looking into a sink full of murky, greasy water congested with the floating remnants of customer's meals for the whole day. Inspirational of course in the sense that it makes one think... "I’m damned if I’m going to do this sort of thing for the rest of my days!"

Fortunately I was able to do a few design jobs throughout the summer and even though they were relatively small jobs it was nice to be able to do a job where concept was second to simple readability and conext. And of course it was nice to earn some money out of design as well. I also discovered that having a friend working as a printer is a huge benefit as it will allow you to make a bigger profit on your work simply by getting the print done at cost without the additional fees, VAT etc...

The jobs which I completed for various clients were:
A website for my brother - a practising illustrator. Although an extremely simple web design with a huge amount of validation fixes which still need doing, I was pleased with this design as I was able to develop certain skills for web and was able to work alongside a client (even though he is my brother). --> http://www.andrewwalter.co.uk/

A flyer for a fund raising golf day for registered charity - The Mission To Seafarers.
This design task came about when I was approached by a good friend who informed me that his mother who worked for the charity was looking for a designer to produce a simple no frills, double sided flyer which would present the details of the fund raising event as well as having a form to register the details of people who may have been interested on the flipside of the flyer. The client was very pleased, sadly due to poor planning on their behalf the event failed to go ahead as planned. --> http://www.flickr.com/photos/30943909@N02/2912342002/in/photostream/

A flyer and ticket design for a New Years Eve event in a local pub - This task came to me while I was working at the pub over summer as new management was introduced. I noticed some awful flyers around the pub and local town advertising various themed nights and parties happening at the pub. In light of seeing these amateur designs, complete with pixelated imagery pulled straight from the web and use of some classic fonts such as... yes that’s right, everyone’s favourite, Comic Sans MS, I decided to offer my developing services as a designer. At first I thought nothing would come of my offer, but with a few weeks the landlord approached me and asked if I would be able to produce a poster design (A4 and A3) and a ticket design (A6) for a print run of 30 posters and 500 tickets. After various meetings with the landlord, it was established that a traditional English pub style flyer would not do as the clientele of the establishment is mainly young people so bearing that in mind I set to work. Simple and effective with a type flow due to the colours allowing the audience to quickly obtain the details from the piece. The layout and appearance of the flyer is reminiscent of the minimal style of many clubbing flyers (although it is a pub and not a club I felt this was a move in the right direction due to the pubs clientele majority which is young adults). --> http://www.flickr.com/photos/30943909@N02/2912342386/in/photostream/

Apart from these three jobs, my summer mainly comprised of working full time at the pub, socialising, getting out as much as possible and a week long holiday in Antwerp, Belgium with two of the days spent in Amsterdam because I had to visit again due to falling in love with it on our first year trip. On with the show!!...