Thursday, June 2, 2011

End of module evaluation

To begin this evaluation, I will look at the strengths of my work, before identifying the problems that I faced and the areas upon which I could improve.

Firstly, I'd say I moved significantly in the right direction in terms of learning about typography and how to use it professionally. The briefs that aided this the most were probably the Fashion Year Book and my context publication. The Fashion Yearbook taught me so much about prepping a document professionally and ensuring all the tiny details (including the placement of typography) are consistent for the best finish.

The context book acted like a type 101 and perhaps replaced the type module that I regret I missed. It gave me a perspective on how the industry view typography (some see it as an art form, some prefer to see it as a science... the industry is moving increasingly towards a community-centric response to the issues of plagiarism etc.) as well as taught me about the fundamental uses and purposes of specific typefaces. For example, I had no idea that Avant Garde was designed entirely as a display font for a magazine, but it does explain why it looks clunky and uncomfortable as body copy as well as why it is overly rounded.

I think also, I selected a series of good briefs to work with, and arrived at conclusions that really helped me identify where I want to be in industry. I really do want to work with the culture sector and the briefs selected were all geared towards that. I had some really good experiences: the music zine brief and branding Les Morts were creative and fun and I communicated with a good client in the Les Morts brief (long time collaborator, Daisy) and got to talk to some interesting people in the DIY music scene as part of the zine brief. I've had bad experiences: The fashion yearbook is a massively compromised piece that is made up entirely of dictatorial decisions on the behalf of Sue and Paul. The team's creativity was stifled, creative decisions were forced upon us etc. But ultimately, I still want to look at this field because it is likely I'm going to experience the good and the bad in the professional world and if I get a bad brief with a bad client, then so what? I'm likely to find a good brief with a trusting client at some point in the future too.

Now, what did I do wrong/what could I improve upon?

Well, firstly, my time management and ability to deal with problems that came up quickly and efficiently wasn't as strong as I'd like it to be, which is a shame because I'd made a lot of progress with that over the course of the last module. Essentially, once I was burgled, it threw my ability to plan properly off a bit. I think it startled and panicked me and I never really recovered from that dreaded feeling of 'Oh God, I have so much work to recover before I can even begin to move forward). I also think that I had problems setting realistic goals, because the final deadline was so far away from where we started out, it was difficult to set a deadline for when something should be finished and stick to it. Now this would be a serious problem for a Graphic Designer in industry, however, I think it's because there were no quick and sudden deadlines that it kind of stymied my progress. In industry, with a series of shorter deadlines, I think I'd cope more easily and be able to plan my time more efficiently.

The smaller details: I like to think I've progressed a lot, and got some really good work for my portfolio too, but I still need to focus on the fine details of what I do. Sometimes the typography can be a little unrefined, or little alignment details are off and I need to perfect this if I'm going to work in industry. On another note, my crafting skills are appalling. I can never finish anything to a fully professional standard by myself. I just have clumsy hands. I'm looking forward to being able to send briefs off to a printer and they will finish the job to a professional standard for me.

I could also have worked a lot faster, but once again, I think that the extremeley long period of time for an ultimate deadline meant that I procrastinated and it meant that I found it difficult to stick to deadlines that I'd set for myself that weren't, you know. 'real deadlines'. When it came to 'real deadlines' like the fashion yearbook, I managed pretty well, unfortunately the client was really slow at giving us the necessary information to complete that brief which made it a mad rush that was kind of out of our hands.

In conclusion, I do feel like a better designer and one that is definitely a lot more ready for the real world because of this module, however, I would say that I'm still not the finished article by any stretch of the imagination. Steps to take: I think getting some work placements over the summer would be really beneficial to me becoming a better designer. I would have liked to have got placements before but I've never had the confidence in my abilities until now. I'm also going to spend some time just having fun with typography through more self initiated briefs, maybe not even ones for my portfolio, but ones that just let me work with the fine detailing of typographic work in a very short space of time.

Fashion Yearbook evaluation

The fashion yearbook was another difficult brief, one that was lead far too much by the whims of the client who seemed unable to let the team, as designers, design. He constantly changed his mind, meaning that the changes to the design direction kept on happening. He limited the design to having one layout which made us feel a bit like the book was going to be dull. He often provided us with images and content way after the deadlines we had agreed with one another, meaning that the book nearly didn't get to print on time.

On the upside, I learned so much about prepping a large publication for print. About the relationship between client and designer (i.e. how I should manage a client in the future) and about the relationship between designer and printer (they're generally affable people who have your interests at heart).

I'm also satisfied with the final result, despite it being nothing like what I'd imagined and the difficulty of getting there. In terms of the way the three of us, myself Kate and Ross, worked... I think that although I started out being the project manager and was doing very well at it, Ross took up a lot of the slack for that in the later months as other briefs began to take over my life. I think myself and Ross were the ones that needed up doing most of the work, not because Kate didn't want to, but because there didn't seem to be enough room for her to be able to work as well, this is unfortunate but perhaps it's something that needs reconsidering for next year, because although it is a substantial undertaking, I think it could be easily and more successfully managed by 2 people instead of 3-4.

Magnetic tape/music zine evaluation

Magnetic Tape was a labour of love and a final piece that I actually really enjoy. The real problem witht his brief was the fact that it's the first one I started and I spent far too long on it, although I'm glad of some of the revisions I made to it. Everything seemed to go wrong; screen-printing failed several times, the ink was inconsistent on the digital prints that I made (although I ended up using and photo-shopping these ones). I wanted to be able to produce a bunch of copies to actually distribute, but unfortunately this became difficult when the screens didn't seem to register properly, effectively upping the cost.

I think that the range of products, 4 issues and a blog is probably a reasonable amount, but on reflection I could have perhaps thought of a few more directions to take it in.

Kubrick Brief evaluation

The Kubrick brief was a bit of a difficult one. I think that I produced some good work for it, although I don't personally find it visually where I would have normally ended up, the type treatments are pretty sound and the conceptual exploration through line weighting is a interesting idea, I haven't done anything that conceptual for a while.

I can't say hat I think it's the best thing I've ever produced, and it walks a fine-line between minimal and too bare at times. I think the most successful of the minimal elements is the tickets, they ended up working in a really satisfying way.

I also like the range of printed media that I managed to apply the ideas to. I wish I had the patience to mock them up into an environment, but unfortunately I'm at the point now where if I continue, I will make myself ill, I know when to call it.

Les Morts evaluation

Above are the boards for this brief. I really enjoyed this brief and it allowed me to explore a variety of different printed medias and how to explore them typographically. it was also a subject that really interested me.

In terms of how I did, I think that this was quite a successful brief, and the 'cult-like' tone of it was captured quite well through little touches in the phrasing of things. I produced a large range of deliverables, whether physically or mocked up, I think you get a real sense of the direction this brand is going in.

My only real regret about this brief is that I couldn't print the brand guidelines, they would have been a very nice looking publication, but nevermind. I think there was always room to try more things out, but I'm pleased at where I ended up anyway.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Web banners

OK so running on very llittle time, I thought it best to quickly consider the digital application of what I've done with the Kubrick brief. Using primarily the ticket designs as inspiration I created these very quickly to go into the 728x90 px banner that is on the screen shot below. They work and are visible, I just wish I didn't have to rush this element quite so much, but then at the moment it's just head down work like a horse and hope for the best, time management is increasingly a worrying issue.

applied to the website:

ticket manufacturing

OK so the ticket designs were printed on white card like everyhting else, although this is too thick a weight for tickets, which should normally be on astock that weighs 120gsm at the absolute maximum, I wanted a consistency of colour across everything that I printed for this brief. After cropping them, I perferated the edge of them to make it authentic:

I'm actually very happy with the results, they're the most interesting thing that I've designed this brief. Their simplicity is quite beautiful and immediate in a way.

Minor cover disaster

We had a minor disaster with the cover but it's alright now. Clive came in with the covers and they were smudgin requently, it was a concern and we tried some other paper stocks but they looked shabby. In the end Clive realised that he just needed ot leave them to dry for much longer than standard stocks and they would be fine, so a disaster averted. Phew!

magnetic tape blog

Kevin from topshelf suggested a blog a while ago. I got round to designing it at long last. It's all black and white like the issues and uses helvetica (arial if viewer doesn't have helvetica) as body copy like the issues do, so they tie together quite nicely.

I had to change the header fomr an older design that I had to this one keeping with the style of the zine: