Sunday, 31 May 2009

Scottish Relaxation [AKA: End Of Module Self Evaluation.]

1. What practical skills have you developed through this module and how effectively do you think you have applied them?

Well, in this module I've tried to expand my use of mixed media, for example I've tried using coloured inks for the first time this year, I've also tried to use different paper stock and look into things like digital photo montage. The reason for this is that before, I felt I was falling into the trap of creating the same work for different briefs, and of course each brief has it's own requirements. I have found it quite difficult to move away from my digital work so much, but I know that it will be beneficial in the end. Also, before I would've been fine with printing off my resolutions in the mac suites on the standard A3 90gsm paper, but this time round I've tried to get my work printed appropriately.

The results I've produced using new techniques this time round have been, I feel, really good in terms of design development. For example in the 'how to...' brief, I decided that I'd use green and yellow as a colour scheme as it was applicable to my subject matter, then I used green ink as a base for my design concepts. Although I never used these designs in my final solution, I felt that the work I produced using this method was of a high standard, and I was surprised that I could produce work like that.

The experience of using mixed media has helped me build up what I'd describe as a 'library' of visual resources which I can refer back to when tackling a brief. So now I can think 'this would work better on recycled stock' and know roughly what kind of visual I'm going to end up with.

2. What approaches to/methods of problem solving have you developed and how have they informed your design development process?

In previous modules I know I would identify a problem, then immediately think of a loose solution and work on ways of altering that single solution, in this module, I have tried to think of multiple solutions to a problem, then work on them individually. I feel I've been stuck in a single mindset when it comes to problem solving for a long time, and it's proving hard to break that mindset, but when I have done, I have found it beneficial to my work. For example, in this module with the 'Pure' brief, the end result I came to was completely different to my initial ideas, and it is one of the pieces of work I'm most proud of from the year.

I find it easy to look at a brief, say 'right, this is what I need to do' and just go away and do it. And that has worked out fine for me in the past, but I realize how useful it is to really pull ideas apart and look at a problem from multiple angles. I'm hoping to move on into the second year with an open mind when it comes to potential solutions, as I feel that if I don't I will become a one-trick-pony, and in the end that is going to make my portfolio look bland and unimaginative.

3. What strengths can you identify in your work and how have/will you capitalise on these?

As usual, I'd say my main strength is probably my digital work and knowledge of the Creative Suite. That said, this time round I've tried to capitalise on my other main skill, drawing. I'd noticed in crits [both in class and in the pub...] that my colleagues thought my drawing was of a high standard, and I'd been praised for my drawing skill before, but I feel that I've pushed it aside and concentrated on my digital work.

I think perhaps the reason for this is that through my digital work I can quickly produce polished design, whereas with my drawing it looks sketchy and rough. That said, I am coming to realise that just because drawing won't produce quick polished results doesn't mean that it is redundant as a skill with my work.

I also think that this time round I've become more confident with my type and layout. When it came to producing presentation boards in this module I found I could create visually pleasing boards that contain all the information required in little time. For example, when we were asked to create posters advertising ourselves for the collaborative brief we were given 50 minutes to create them, and I came back within 20 with mine, and I was happy with how they turned out visually.

Also, I realise that this time round I have used a set of say 5-7 typefaces frequently, but I still feel I have experimented with typefaces more than before, as normally I would stick to say Futura for body and header type regardless of the brief, just because I like it as a typeface.

I've also been more experimental with my use of colour in my work this time round, an example of this would be the presentation boards I created for the collaborative brief, I would never have thought to use a mauve/pink combination before, but I spent time going through different combinations until I found one I liked.

Another thing that I've been trying to become more confident with in this module is my research techniques. I've always struggled with my research due to my frankly arrogant attitude of 'I know what this needs', and being quite stuck in my ways when it comes to design development. But, for example with the 'Speaking from experience' brief, I used different methods of research to bolster and justify my solution. I used video, photography, surveys and questionnaires to inform my final solution, and I'm quite happy with how that worked out with the brief.

...and finally, I'd like to say that this time round I think my time management has greatly improved. I've spent a lot of time working outside of college, and when I say that I mean I come in on Wednesdays and Tuesdays but also work at home a lot as well, and I've found that I've felt less under pressure than usual. It hasn't been the case that a deadline will roll around and I'm rushing to finish my work or get things printed out. I've been on top of it for the most part and I'm determined to continue this into my second year.

4. What weaknesses can you identify in your work and how will you address these more fully?

Although I have made more of an expansive effort with my research in this module, looking back I realise that the research I conducted was mainly primary research and I fell behind with the secondary research. I want to be proficient with acquiring both types, because I feel otherwise my research won't be balanced and fully informed. I want to counter this by making sure that I have both types of work in equal measure, and as I assess the research I've gathered, sit and think 'Is this primary or secondary? What am I lacking? What can I do about it?'.

Now that we're approaching the final curtain for the first year, it's become more apparent to me that my work is beginning to look very 'same-y', in that I will often use the same typefaces, I'll often use Illustrator as the base for all my work, and again through that my work is mostly digital. I'm trying to address this at current, by analysing the brief and deciding what is appropriate for the problem rather than what is convenient for me as a designer. This is proving difficult, but not impossible.

Again, I have tried to implement different design techniques this module, but I know that I can always experiment more, and again, over the summer and as I move on into the second year I think it's necessary for me to expand on that.

5. Identify five things that you will do differently next time and what do you expect to gain from doing these?

1 - Organise work as I go along. I thought I had my work organised and filed at home from the start of the module, but as it came towards the end I found myself panicking and searching for bits and pieces which I thought I had. I want to combat this by putting everything I do into a separate portfolio for each module at home, and hopefully this will prevent any last-minute rushes.

2 - Look at typefaces. I want to break free of the typefaces I'm comfortable using because I think this is one of the things that is preventing me moving forward and being diverse as a designer. I've started to look into type more thoroughly but I want to invest in some type books that I can reference as I work.

3 - Ask more questions. I need to be more inquisitive when it comes to briefs to really establish what is required of me. I tend to come away from a briefing confident that I know what to do, but then two weeks later I realise I'm stuck. So, I think I need to ask both my peers and staff for help more readily.

4 - Pace myself. I need to avoid jumping straight on a mac when I start working, I need to really plan out what I want to use the computer for before I use it to avoid just sitting there developing my work on Illustrator with nothing to show for it but the final result.

5 - Set up my own crits. I think that people are a lot more honest when a member of staff isn't present, or the crit hasn't been set up by staff. If people think there's a chance that the feedback they give will be assessed by staff they tend to be quite reserved. Pub crits are unbelievably valuable, and next year I hope to make it a regular occurance to set up my own. Though, not necessarily in the pub...

5= excellent, 4 = very good, 3 = good, 2 = average, 1 = poor
1 2 3 4 5
Attendance 4
Punctuality 5
Motivation 4
Commitment 5
Quantity of work produced 3
Quality of work produced 4
Contribution to the group 5

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

All Night Caberet

I meant to upload this a few weeks ago, but I didn't have imovie and couldn't rotate the video. [see, i recorded it with the camera on it's side, like a pillock.] So here it is in all of it's 8megapixel glory. It was research I used to illustrate how the kitchen was the center of all conflict in my flat, and that seemed to be with everyone else as well according to my research.

Viewer Discretion Is Advised.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Grenades, Aisle Nine, Next To The Frozen Veg

Right. I've gone away and created my own logo for this brief, parodying the famous SAS insignia and motto. I thought it'd be a bit of a cop-out just to trace their logo and use that, so here's my version. Oh, and it's got a hoover in it.

To The Lighthouse, My Friends

I've been working on a bit of the ol' packaging design today, created a box mock-up. Unfortunately, of the 15 photos I took with my point-and-click, only two came out that were worth actually looking at. Bloody ridiculous if you ask me. And even those two weren't of particularly great quality. Anyway, judge for yourself.

Note: The logo on the front is not indicative of the final design. This is purely a mock-up. Fool.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

My Co-Pilot Is A Kettle

It's 05:50am. I can't sleep. But on the bright side, i've been up doing graphic design instead of lying there thinking about it. Get me, eh? Anyway, i've been thinking about the kind of imagery i might go with for my final, developing it further from my initial sketches and research and whatnot. I thought maybe a photo montage stylee thing? Gave it a whirl anyway. Applied Bitmap to the image of the soldier, got some grunge brushes, etc. etc.

I don't know if, looking at this blog, it's all making sense to an observer such as yourself right now. But hopefully it will.

Sacked Chimney Sweep Pumps Boss Full Of Mayonnaise

Just traced the SAS logo and edited it to say 'Who Cares Wins'. I'm trying to develop a logo that seems military but is relevant to the issue at hand, so I might edit it to have a spatula or washing up brush or something instead of a dagger. This ain't no final, yo.

I Shall Not Rest Until Jerusalem Is Builded Here, On England's Green And Pleasant Land

After the crit on Friday, the thing that struck me most was that my work is beginning to look the same, using the same typefaces, vector images, etc. So, I'm trying to think of a way to change the look of my work for this project. I've been doing a load of sketching lately for this project, so I might scan some of them into Photoshop and paint it out on different layers, change the opacity and you get this kinda watercolour-like effect.

With God as my witness, I shant be a one-trick-pony.

I also had a brainwave after the crit, I've been focused on conflict in shared accommodation, but it's taken til now for me to realise that I can take the term 'conflict' a lot more literally, and create images of war. I've been sketching a few things out to see if they'd work with the feel I'm trying to go for, still work-in-progress, but take an eyeful of this:

I thought the 'born 2 grill' thing on the helmet would work with
something to do with conflict in the kitchen, given that my
research showed the kitchen was the place where most of the
conflict originates. Thank you, Kubrick.

Slightly more developed digital version.