Friday, 22 May 2015

OUGD603 End of Module Evaluation

What skills have you developed throughout this module and how effectively have you applied them?

This module has helped me to establish myself as an independent and confident Graphic Designer. I have attempted a broad range of new challenges this year, with results even better than I had hoped for. I had made it my mission to attempt a rang of briefs, which would encourage me to leave my comfort zone including exhibiting work in a central Leeds location, organising an event and all of the branding to go with it. Putting myself into these new situations has taught me a new range of skills and solutions to solving multiple design challenges.

The structure of this module has encouraged a full sense of independence - something, which I often tend to lack in. Towards the beginning of the year, I felt slightly intimidated at the thought of writing all of my own briefs. I had not had much practice in this, so I found it difficult to begin with. Over the duration of the module, I have developed a systematic order in approaching briefs. I became completely aware of my methodology through my research publication. For me, this was a large turning point in my time on the course. It seemed as though the past three years had finally come together. This was a pleasant surprise as I had originally been concerned about what to do for the my publication. 

Throughout this module, I have become more efficient with time. I have managed to to develop a broad style of work, which aims to showcase my range of design skills. I have learnt to work efficiently with different groups of people. Each project has given me a new insight into different areas of design.

What approaches to/methods of design production have you developed and how have they informed your design development process?

I have tried my best to attempt new methods of design such as hand-drawn aspects. I have become increasingly interested in typography and I think this is shown in my more recent projects such as Rox Vox Jewellery, Beyond and Goodtype. I think this has brought a more personal feel to my portfolio of work. I have pushed myself to work in new environments, with new collaborations and really benefitted from this.

I feel as though the independent nature of this module has really helped me to figure out the best pathway and work ethic for my work. I feel more able to contact professionals, and realised the benefit of seeking as much advice from others around me as possible.

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

My attitude towards graphic design has completely changed. Whereas I previously felt reluctant to present my ideas with confidence or pride, I now feel as though I understand the best manner and tone of voice to use, which ensures a clear communication with the target audience. Considering the target audience has proven to be a crucial aspect of informing decisions. It has completely transformed my projects. Working with others has also taught me to be patient, but to that putting in extra time and effort can really pay off.

I now feel ready to approach the world of work. Whereas before, I wasn't sure if I was as good as others, I have become more sure of my method of working. Having the self-belief in everything you do is really crucial if you want others to believe it too.

What weaknesses can you identify in your work and how will you address these in the future?

At times, I find myself working at a slower pace than I would like to. It would be great to work on this and over time make faster decisions. It was great working on some of the shorter briefs for this reason. I would have also liked to gather more primary research for certain briefs as this would have added a new perspective to the outcomes.

Brief 11: Megan Fraser Branding Design Boards and Evaluation

This was another short brief, which was completed as my final project. Megan Fraser is soon to become a Surface Pattern and Print Design Graduate from Leeds College of Art. She required a new logo and self-promotional pack to present to guests at the end of year final show, and also to send to potential employers or studios of interest.

This brief didn’t require too much time as Megan already had her artwork and a rough idea of what she wanted. In our first meeting, I suggested that Megan should send me three of her favourite designs for me to get a clearer sense of her style and tone of voice as an Artist. As we had been friends, and lived together previously, I was able to combine both Megan’s personality with her professional aesthetic. The development was left to me to experiment with. Megan provided me with four examples of her work. From these, I selected two designs, which complemented each other.

Creating the logo was probably the most important part of this project. I had seen Megan’s previous logo and asked her what it was she disliked, and also what she had liked about it. Being able to communicate with Megan at all times made the design process stress-free and easily adjustable.

This was a particularly rewarding brief due to Megan’s reaction to the final idea I presented her with. She was really pleased with the two designs, with a particular love for the portrait layout. As I hadn’t been sure if I would have time to complete this brief, it was a great achievement to produce an outcome as fitting as this. Ideally, I would have liked to produce more deliverables for the final submission, but as Megan’s deadline wasn’t until 11th Jun, and due to a low amount of money by this point, I decided to submit a mock-up version of the business cards.

In general, I was really pleased with this brief. As it is still in process, I am looking forward to seeing the final designs (printed by I enjoyed this project, as I had not approached many branding for individuals this year. Working with friends can sometimes help to speed up a process when it comes to branding or building their professional identity.

Brief 10: Sangria Kong Branding Design Boards and Evaluation

This was a branding project, which was developed over a reasonably long duration of time. The development came in stages, and was re-visited multiple times, adding new elements of type and colour. Sangria Kong is a young, independent Hip Hop producer based in Leeds. As part of his self-promotion, he required a logo, which could be created as stickers, placed on cassette tape covers, vinyl sleeves and work on online platforms such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

This was a really enjoyable brief, which allowed for a lot of creative freedom. The name Sangria Kong had multiple potential interpretations. As I was free to do what I wanted with this brief, I thought it would be fun to express Sangria’s experimental sounds with his broad interest in culture. I explored different typography from around the world to form a basis of inspiration for my own design.

The final logo took a fun, experimental and characteristic direction. It was beneficial thinking about the different contexts or ways the identity could be applied. I considered branding an entire night for Sangria Kong, with cups of sangria and stickers to give out to people at different events where Sangria Kong was playing a dj set. Unfortunately, due to time restraints I thought it was best to just focus mainly on the design concept.

This was a fun brief to attempt. I felt that the design did the client justice and effectively communicated his personality. I would have liked to push the brief a lot further. It is definitely a project, which I am planning to develop in future.

Brief 9: Beyond Design Boards and Evaluation

This was a collaborative brief with Amy Hill. This was a project, which we had arranged at the beginning of the year. We agreed it would good to work together due to our different strengths within design. Amy's work often focused on editorial and printmaking, whereas I tend to develop my ideas digitally, with occasional experimentations in type and lasercutting. We thought a travel pack would be a fun project to explore a broad range of design ideas. 

This was a great opportunity to explore a field of design I was often reluctant to try due to a lack of experience, and often not allowing myself enough time to create physical publications. I can sometimes be too clumsy during the making process and jeopardise the quality of the end result. However, working with Amy meant I could send her ideas of layouts and type to get her feedback along the way. I think we both felt glad to try something out of our comfort zone to add new design approaches in our portfolios. Amy felt the same way about designing an app as I felt about designing a travel magazine.

Due to both of us going on placements during this project, there were times where Amy and I were unable to develop our ideas together in person. Sending developments via email or Facebook worked effectively, and meant we were able to keep eachother up to date on our developments. 

I felt that I fell behind on this brief (and a couple of others) during my placement due to long days of work and tiredness. Applying so much concentration on keeping up with the placement made me feel I was not producing as much work towards the development as I would have liked too. It was a big learning curve as I realised how tiring working for clients can be, and that it can be difficult to keep up with uni work at the same time. 

Once Amy and I had organised a meeting, the design process started picking up again and we were really excited to see the final result. The aesthetic of the magazine really started to come together once we had finalised a colour scheme and vecotrised the favourite logo. Although I would have liked to have completed the magazine in a shorter space of time, I surprised myself with the final outcome. Getting Amy's feedback was really helpful as she was far more confident in designing for publications. Following on from this project, I think it is definitely important to consider working with other creatives who can offer different skills to your own. We were able to produce a broad range of work in the end. It was a project we developed over time, which really paid off in the end.

Brief 8: D.S.M Design Boards and Evaluation

This was a brief set by visiting professionals, Something More. The purpose of the task was to take a topic/subject, which is considered dull, and make it exciting. Initially, when I received the topic of recycling I was pretty disappointed. I had taken part in recycling briefs in both first and second year, and felt that all my ideas seemed predictable and uninspiring. After spotting an image of a 3D recycling structure, the idea process became a lot clearer. I wanted to develop the type structure in to an actual company, project and campaign.

In the initial meeting with D.S.M, the feedback was really positive towards my idea. I think this project would have really benefitted from more time and focus. Due to carrying out multiple projects at one time, I felt that the brief did not reach its full potential. I felt rushed to complete the concept in time for the final presentation to D.S.M and the rest of the recycling group. The name I originally chose for this was ‘Patch’. The logo consisted of a bold, capitalised font placed inside a yellow circle with a stitch-like stroke around the edge.

When re-assessing the final design choices of this brief, I decided to re-visit it, completely changing the name and visual approach. This was due to feedback where it was pointed out to me that the name ‘Patch’ did not clearly suggest a concept of large, bold, three-dimensional structures in urban environment. The logo was instead suggesting a type of sewing company.

The new identity of this project was called ‘Form’. The logo was created as an optical illusion to add emphasis to the three-dimensional focus of the structures. I would have like to have explored building my own three-dimensional logo to place into different potential environments. As there was a limited amount of time, I decided to develop the hand-drawn logo and mock this up in Photoshop.

Although I was pleased with the concept of this brief, I felt it needed t be pushed further to place it into context and convey the message more clearly. It would have also been great to design a flyer including information about the brand values and the reasons for placing these interactive recycling structures around various cities. I feel that in terms of the requirements of the brief, the concept was effective, but this lost impact in the final outcome.

Brief 7: DBA Design Boards and Evaluation

DBA (Design Business Association) set us a brief to work in groups of 4-5 to develop a concept encouraging people to invest in the North. The brief wanted people of all ages to see 'the North' as a Brother to London, highlighted the benefits of moving their businesses or lifestyles to Northern grounds. The title for the campaign had been previously decided to be 'Capital North'. For this project I worked with Isabel Tanner, Ellen Setterfield and Laura Bruce.

We decided to brainstorm our own ideas in preparation for DBA’s return. Issy and I spent the first day with DBA coming up with a logo and identity for the DBA brand. We had been encouraged to think about ‘the big idea’. We had a very productive day as we have always worked well together. Due to Ellen and Laura being absent, there was a lot of pressure for us to produce the same amount of work of work as the other groups, who were working in teams of 4-5. However, we were really proud of the work we managed to produce regardless.

In reflection, I'd say this was one of the least organised projects. Due to my placement falling right in the middle of the development time, and my mac also breaking, I felt as though I was unable to contribute as much as I would have liked to. As we were all very busy during this time, there was not enough time to arrange group meetings where we could all attend, so the ideas were not as well developed as I feel they could have been. We received a mixture of feedback after presenting to DBA. They were particularly positive about our icon, including that it was one of the best they had seen all day. They also complemented Laura’s choice of imagery for the HS3 train mockup. However, we were questioned on out choice of maroon and Helvetica. It was suggested that this was slightly outdated for a project set in the future.

I found this brief challenging due to a lack of organization at times. However it was a beneficial experience designing work for an external brief and hearing first-hand professional feedback on our design process from start to finish. It was a good confidence building experience to stand up in front of a group of professionals to present our ideas.

Brief 5: Goodtype Design Boards and Evaluation

This was a quick turn-around brief recommended to me by Isabel Tanner. As I had recently become really interested in hand drawn type, I thought this would be a great way to put my ideas into practice. I had originally set this as a one-day project, however, I decided to push the design further to see how it would look as a paper cut-out. The project took three days in total, including photographing the final designs. 

As I had been developing a lot of work digitally before this brief, I decided to keep all of the designs hand drawn and remain working off-screen except for the final stages of the design process. This meant I was able to form new ideas quickly as I felt it was something completely different to the previous briefs. I enjoyed working on something, which was entirely type-based too. 

The highlights of this project were working to short time-scale. Most of my briefs prior to this had lasted a duration of a month, so it was refreshing to attempt a challenge, which required quick ideas and less time for indecisiveness (something, which often slows me down!) The brief was relatively free, leaving it to me to decide what type would be most effective. It was also good to attempt a brief written externally as a lot of my briefs had been self-initiated at this point. 

By developing the design into a laser-cut experiment, I was able to see the design come to life. I was particularly pleased when a couple of my peers compared the final design to a Rob Ryan piece! Although I enjoyed this brief, I don't feel I learnt as much from it creatively as some of the other briefs. It was a new form of challenge due to the off-screen aspect of it, however I don't feel like the brief was specific enough. If I were to attempt a Goodtype call for submissions in future, I would restrict myself to a more concise brief to what they had asked for to ensure the design could be placed into context and fully justified. As justified design is something I feel very strongly about, I felt this brief didn't effectively reflect my design methodology.