Thursday 31 March 2011

What Is A Line?: Re-design of constellations.

All of the eighty-eight constellations drawn out again in the revised style. I much prefer this subtle, graphic style and was pleased to see that it translates well onto all of the constellation images.

I also quite like the griding structure that I drew them into- unformed and mathematical, it suits the ordered and scientific theme well. Now that I have the constellation style sorted, I will go on to explore and experiment different styles and forms to apply the constellation to, with various methods of delivery.


A wee bit of promotion for my other great love and money-maker, portraiture photography. 
Looking for a bit more experience and work to keep my busy over the summer period.

Preperation and Research for 'Speaking from Experience' Brief.

List five things a first year needs to know...

1. If at all possible, spend the summer and first two weeks induction of the course hibernate. Once you enroll, you will never sleep properly again.

2. A student loan may seem shiny and exciting- but that can of baked beans at the back of your cupboard won't if you blow your bank account in the first week.
3. The studio will be your second, if not first home. It might be worth packing an overnight bag...
4. You'll spend more time in the digital print room than you will do at home- make friends with technician James at an early stage, and you'll go far.

5. Uni opens at 8 o'clock. Graphic design o' clock, however, is always o' clock.

List five problems a first year will encounter...

1. Confusion over timetabled schedules- make sure you look at the online VLE system at least twice a day...or you will be slaughtered (literally if you do it more than once...)

2. You and your work will be critised regularly. This is completely normal and constructive- aimed to HELP you. Try not to take it too personally.

3. Software and equipment will get you far- although it may seem a little pricey, it's a worthwhile investment- having software accesible at home will allow for far more development and design time.

4. Finances, sure, it may be tight but BUDGET. Although you could get a job on this course, you will be a lot more focused without one.

5. Flatmates won't always be the people that you wished for. Try to be grown up, reasonable, and talk through your problems sensibly.

List five rules a first year needs to learn...

1. Blogging is NOT an's a way of life.

2. Bribery is everything- Fred likes Haribo (Starmix is his favourite).
3. Don't eat in the studios or drink by the shiny, prestine macs. Treat the studios with respect, and you'll be treated with respect.

4. Holiday? What holiday? Christmas day is the only day off in the year...and even that's pushing it.

5. Respect the rules and regulations of the course and the building. If not, you won't be recognised as a cool, edgy designer- just a bit of a tool.


I will now, as aforementioned, go on to develop this information in preperation for the 'Speaking from Experience' FMP brief for the year- accumilating experience to relate to first year students about the LCA BAGD experience!

Interim Self-Evaluation.

List five practical skills that you have developed whilst at University. When have they proved useful?

1. Screenprinting. With very little practice of this printing method through my college education, I now feel far happier thanks to the workshops I have participated in- increasing my confidence and understanding in this skills area.

2. Adobe Illustrator- Before coming to university, I had never used the Adobe Illustrator software- very dependant upon hand-rendered techniques. Learning the software has been enormously helpful (probably the best thing I've done this year), and has been utilised in every single project.

3. Adobe InDesign- A really interesting software programme, InDesign has really opened my eyes to a whole new printing publication and it's design. I'm really enthusiastic to experiment more with the programme in weeks to come for my DPS InDesign workshop brief.

4. Grid and layout- I feel really pleased to have learnt so much (and so quickly!) about the griding methods applied in newspaper and magazine layouts. These few visual language workshops have proved invaluable, and I now apply to grids to all of my design work.

5. The anatomy of type- Shockingly, and ashamedly, before University, I didn't even know the difference between a serif and a sans serif typeface (!)- now I'm generating and developing my own typefaces and feel really enthusiastic about experimenting in this area of graphic design.

List five transferable skills that you have developed. What have you used them for?

1. Patience and comprimise. I found this a very useful skill and trait to have and maintain throughout my design practice- both with other members in group work, and due to limitations within my own abilities and technical skill.

2. Drive and ambition- Undoubtedly helpful, helping to get my work out on time, and to a suitable standard. I'm really thankful, particularly at this point in my life for the support and ambition I was bought up, and nutured with. It has really helped me to strive to achieve my potential to it's full.

3. Energy and God-like-lack-of-sleep-capabilities- Although this has undoubtedly make me ill, icky and rather gruesome to look at- my powering through the tired barrier has helped me to squeeze even more hours and work out of each day.

4. Willingness to experiment- this has helped me to produce a varied body of work and themes, keeping my options open to design outcomes and resolutions.

5. Vocal and confidence when speaking- Helped me greatly when presenting and discussing my work- althoough I feel I will always be a little nervous, speaking fluently and confidently helps to sell my work to others.

List five things that you have achieved. How have they helped you progress?

1. I feel that my time management and utlising of my time is now far more effective than it once was- now a compulsive list-maker, I always know what I'm doing, and when it has to be done by.

2. I have learnt a great deal about print and printing methods- both digital and traditional- understanding a great deal more about printing and colour quality.

3. Book binding methods and techniques- although I touched upon this whilst at college, my methods and presentation techniques have developed and grown. This is a field I am particularly interested in working in, so I have really appreciated the workshop experiences and oppurtunities.

4. Cooked my first "real" curry! A big food fan, I am rather proud of my rather tasty Aloo Gobi, and hope to continue through my university education and still enjoy cooking and preparing food as much as I do now!

5. Controlling my own accounts and finances- although I have always been reasonably independent in terms of finances, I now manage to pay rent every week by budgeting and keeping tight control over what I spend.

List five problems that you have had to face. How have you over come them?

1. Flatmates- not always the dream team I had planned. Sometimes, you just don't want to be kept up until four in the morning whilst your "messy" flatmates wail to shockingly awful dubstep. please. I've found notes on the slightly aggresive side normally do the trick.

2. ULTIMATE STRESS- tear-inducing kind. Although I have always been hard-working and driven, I have a felt a great deal of pressure at times to produce appropriate quantities and quality of work- thankfully, this is something I'm becoming more used to over time, and isn't such a shock to the system.

3. Working within mixed groups- Although my experience of working on this course has, largely, been quite enjoyable, I have occasionally found myself working with people with little drive or work ethic- this usually being ammended by working even harder than I would usually do.

4. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Fact. Understanding that I can't be Wonder Woman and pacing myself through the week helps- with a clear plan and to-do lists, with what work to do, and when to do it by.

5. Missing friends and family- something that you do get used to- keep in close contact, but only talk once or twice a week so you don't have a constant reminder- destract yourself with work and new, exciting events for this busy time in your life.

List five facts that you have learned. When have they been useful?

1. Purple doesn't exist as a colour- but violet does. This fact has proved very useful in my design communication and has improved my professional lingo when talking to other designers.

2. Pantone is the universal colour scheme used by designers and printers. Although I was familiar with the name Pantone before Uni, I wasn't quite aware of the extent of it's prowess! This will certainly help with my profesionality and communication in future design work with clients.

3. It's better to be an hour early than ten minutes late! It's always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Hard work brings good rewards- laziness brings a-booting.

4. It's really not worth nine hours constructing a cake for typogateaux- I really enjoyed preparing, baking, and decorating, but I did not enjoy it when my cake and plate went missing at lunchtime- boo! :(

5. Variety is the (moderate) spice of life- If you don't try new things, explore new places, new methods of techniques, you will have NO LIFE. You need to see the world in order to be an expert on it.

List five things that you will never do again. Why?

1. Falling "in love" with a concept/final resolution- particularly through the beginning stages of the course, I felt I would focus too grealt on one resolution and not experiiment with methods enough. I now always try to remind myself of this, and ammend it as soon as possible.

2. I will never again get a part time job that I hate! Despite helping myself out financially, knowing that I was missing out on twelve hours potential graphic design time a week slowly killed me(!)- leaving the job was one of the most uplifiting days I've ever had!

3. Move in with people I don't know- Unfortunately, this year, I've largely been grouped with people with very different working mentalities- though, fortunately I'm moving in with lovely, like-minded people next year!
4. Sleep in! Admittedly, this was a one-time thing (and by accident!), but the guilt was overwhelming enough! Next year, I strive for 100% attendance.

5. Speak before I think- on more than one occasion, I feel that I have frustrated tutor(s) with my defensive attitude in feedback sessions or crits- I have alread begun to remedy this, and take feedback graciously- when both positive and negative.

Which of these words describes the way you work as part of a group?


Which of these qualities do you most appreciate about yourself?


Which of these attitudes best describes the way you worked at the start of the brief group?

laid back

Which of these attitudes best describe the way you work now?

laid back

A really interesting session with tutor Fred this afternoon- a great oppurtunity to really sit and ponder, and to reflect upon myself and my personal progress of the last year. Really, it's amazing how much I've learnt, and still feel like I learnt something new every day. Great preperation and brainstorming material in prep for my PPD presentation at the end of the year.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

What Is A Line?: Presentation and Feedback.

In our visual language session yesterday afternoon, we each presented a short 2-minute speech about our intentions for the 'What Is A Line?' brief- the statement we were basing our brief upon, the theme of our brief, the primary and secondary research we had done so far and what are intentions our for the continuation of the project, and for our final piece.

As a notorious jabber, I am fortunate to feel generally quite relaxed and happy with public speaking, so was able to (I believe) communicate my work (so far and my intentions) clearly and concisely to the group- showing a few of my notebooks with designs and sketches, along with my design context blog- which has been updated with inspiration and sources relative to my constellations theme.
I believe that tutor Amber was happy with my progress and hopefully it was clear to the group how much I am enjoying the project, and am excited by the future outcomes.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

What Is A Line?: Representation of Constellations.

This morning, I spent a few hours experimenting with different representations of my quick, illustrative constellation designs.
I tried different symbols to represent the stars; crosses, circles, asteriks, triangles...

...I also tried designing different connections to the feature stars within the constellations- creating the "line" of the brief descriptor- the line that is created mentally as a visual "dot-to-dot" of astronomy.
Drawing these designs, I felt quite inspired by the numerous possibilities and design developments- though kept the drawings numbers fairly limited so as not to loose track for my design intentions. Through my design context ( I researched embrioded constellations by a designer named minature rhino- I really liked the way she used running stitch to represent the "invisible line" between them- implying the line that is mentally, and not visually represented in the constellations. I decided to maintain this visual effect with the crosses (representing the stars) in the designs below...the first three constellations, andromeda, apus and atila...

...However, when I drew them connected by the dotted lines, I felt it looked a little child-like, and worried that if I persued my design ideas to create a constellation map (featuring all 88 constellations) it may get rather busy and cluttered... and returned back to a more subtle and simplistic approach I had used in my original design drawings...

...I much prefer this style- looking far more design-forward, crisp and clean- wouldn't look too fussy with several on a page, and an interesting balance between the thicknesses of line- maintains interest without being OTT.

...A quick experiment with the same constellations, but no lines connecting them. I really like the aesthetic outcome- but it completely defies my brief. As I'm supposed to be informing people about constellations- I wouldn't expect them to be familiar with the formations beforehand (or not to a precise level). Interesting patterns could be made, but not entirely appropriate this time.

I wanted to see how this design style would appear in a series, where it would suit all of the constellations, or whether it was a rare coicidence for the few I selected. 
I quickly sketched up the 12 zodiac constellations (capriconus, aquarius, pisces, aries, taurus, cancer, leo, gemini, virgo, libra, scorpius and sagittarius) to gauge a visual outcome and was pleased with the results...

Monday 28 March 2011

InDesign Workshop Brief: Thumbnails.

Designing and sketching thumbnails of the DPS InDesign layout for Beth's "interview" page. I scaled the page down to get acurate proportions to worth with- and fitting nine thumbnails on each page, I sketched a total of forty-five today, which has given me a wide breadth of design ideas and possibilities for development, along with my design context research on magazine layouts ( I sourced and blogged yesterday.

I generated a wide variety of layouts and styles- some very formal and structured, with others in far more randomised and de-constructivist styles. Although I hope to play around with many different layouts and forms when I put the type and image into InDesign, I generally preferred the more simplistic, or "classic" layouts (seen in the later designs on this post)- as they looked more crisp and clean, which would reflect beth's illustrative style well, and compliment her precision and accuracy in her designs.

Presentation Brief.

The Brief

Produce and deliver a 5-7 minute presentation that communicates a reflective summary of your experiences on the course to date. You should aim to identify who you are as a learner and as designer as well as how the things you have experienced over the past nine months have affected your current aims and ambitions.

You should also attempt to communicate your ambitions for next year.


Your own personal development as an individual and as a designer is affected by all aspects of your life. This is an oppurtunity to reflect on the experiences from the past nine months that have informed the decisions that you have made/are making about your future development.

The ability to reflect upon your personal development can help you to gain confidence in your abilities as well as identify areas of strength, focus, ambition and improvement.


1 x 5-7 minute powerpoint or pdf. presentation

Evidence of critical engagement with personally relevant contemporary design practice in the form of a blog.

What have you learned and what do you want to learn? What mistakes have you made and how have you learned from them? How will this affect your future development? What are your strengths and how have you/will you develop them further?  What are you weaknesses and how do you intend to address these? What have you enjoyed and why? What have you disliked and why? How does this affect your ambitions? What did you want to get from the year? Have you achieved this? What have you discovered that you wern't expectng?

Mandatory Requirements

Your presentation should last between 5 and 7 minutes (you will be penalised for a presentation that is shorter of longer than this).

Although the content, tone and conclusions of this reflective process should reflect your own experiences, personality and ambitions, you should aim to focus on the learning journey and how this has informed the decisions that you are making about your future. To this end you should use examples of your own work, creative skills and interests in the contemporary field of design as part of your presentation.

You should be prepared to answer questions on your presentation posed by your colleagues.

Studio Deadline
Presentation to be delivered on-

9th/10th June 2011

See noticeboard for further times.


-A summative presentation of what you have learnt over the first year- where you've gone wrong...and right! Learning (and a hint of personal) journey, reflecting on your practice and who you've become.

What Is Graphic Design? Part III Brief.

Use your Design Context blog to record your critical investigation of the following three questions:

1. What is Graphic Design for?- What function does it perform or what problem is it trying to solve?

2. Who is Graphic Design for?- Who is the potential audience or audiences? Who is meant to 'get it' and who isn't?

3. Where is Graphic Design found? Where is it meant to be seen? In what situation or at what scale? How is the audience supposed to recieve it and are they meant to interact with it?

The Process

Select a set of examples of contemporary graphic design that you feel reflects your emerging practical, conceptual, and theoretical interests in Graphic Design. Your selections should reflect a breadth of production and distribution methods appropriate to current creative practices. You should aim to identify at least:

10 x emaples that use type driven work.
10 x examples of image driven work.
10 x examples of work that uses type and image.

Critically analyse and evaluate the success of the appropriateness of the work in relation to the problem it is trying to solve, the function that it is trying to perform and/or the context in which it is intended to be recieved.

The Deadline

You should aim to use this task to help develop your ongoing critical investigation of contemporary graphic design practices. The examples that you select should help inform the decisions that you make about your own work and reflect a growing awareness of the kind of designer you want to be and the work that you aim to produce. The Design Context blog will be assessed as part of your studio modules and you will need to update it regularly and ensure that all posts are tagged/labelled appropriately.

This task will be assessed as part of the OUGD103 Design Practice module (see module information at e-studio for submission deadlines and further details).


You may find the following suggestions useful when starting responding to this task:

Visit the 'USEFUL WEBSITES' section of e-studio in order to identify potential starting points for your investigations.

Select examples from a range of sources including books, magazines, research visits and examples that you may own. Do not just rely on what you can find online.

Keep your investigation broad in terms of media and methods of delivery. Try not to focus on one specific area at this stage.

When selecting examples, consider how they relate to your own creative preferences, ambitions and intentions. It will be just as useful to identify examples that you don't like or that you think don't work. 

Collect more than you need. This is one area that you cannot do enough. The more design you see, collect and analyse the better and more informed you will become.

Above all ENJOY IT! if you find this task boring or a chore you are looking in the wrong place. YOU should be finding work that you find interesting, exciting and worthy of comment.

Look at each other's blogs. Comment and discuss what you see. It is the only way to learn who you are and what you want to be. More importantly, it is the only way you will get "good" at it.


-To complete over Easter in preperation for the 'speaking from experience' brief- though continue for as long as my practice does!
-Spend around half an hour to an hour on this brief every day from now on until we return from Easter (at least) for a substiantial blog amount.
-Focus on the design that you want to develop to, and what you respond to.
-Focus on each of the three statements and analyse carefully in your choices.
-Evaluate your own work and how they relate to these statements also.
-#3: Where is the design found? Interactive? Geographical? Is the work driven by aesthetics or semiotics?
-Image: Where the image is responsible for the communication. NOT JUST A PICTURE!
-Look deeper than just aesthetic taste- review and expand your analysis in regards to the three statements.

Friday 25 March 2011

Communication is a virus: Feedback from Group #2.

In the presentation session today, we delivered our three concept, content and method of delivery boards along with our powerpoint presentation. In the afternoon session, each group was designated a specific group to recieve feedback from- our's being group 2 (which consisted of Beth Yates, Charlie Crosby, Joe Warburton and Luke O'Brien- aka the God's of graphic design...), this is the feedback we recieved...
-Enjoy the idea- though not really communicating well as a lie, more of a "con", and focusing too much on the commodity of the book. Didn't really feel that the prank was a lie.
-Didn't understand the transaction from poster pranks to fools- they liked the poster idea, and felt that we should have ran with this. They liked the simplistic, "anti-design", designed to camoflauge into every day, mundande design and sigange.
-Thought the idea of the blog is effective- more ranges of media. Pranks itself could have been the media too.
-Pranks might have worked better as the "trying something new" brief.
-Ask more people to perform the pranks.
-Didn't understand the audience we were trying to target.
-Try outside of the class/college environment.
-Need to think more about the motives of our design.

Although it may seem a little negative, I was actually really pleased with the responses we got, and fully agreed with every point raised. I felt the points were very constructive- some of which we had discussed, or faced problems with in the past.
As I have gone into more detail with from some of my blog posts, our group faced a great deal of problems and indecisions along the way- many of which we verbally highlighted in our presentation- that we felt the poster pranks idea was hard to resolve/create an outcome from, and that we felt the brief itself had proved very challenging.

If time allowed, I would really like to take some of their tips and perhaps go on to develop more designs- on a more expanded scale- perhaps going out into the public and applying some of these posters more liberally to gauge a response- however, as a group I am not sure that everyone would be enthusiastic to expand this further. I will engage a discussion and try to gain mementom once more, though if not, I will try my best to possibly develop this further.

Although we really did enjoy the poster prank stage of development, we found it came to a lot of dead-ends and problems throughout the course of the experimentations- so it's been really great to get another perspective and encouragement to persue this and be assured that it was infact a good idea, and that it has much more potential for development.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Powerpoint Presentation.

The sixteen slides of our powerpoint presentation.
Put together by the group (sans Michael you can see!) this afternoon, with a few tweaks and additions of images from me (such as the blog/april fools' day page) as they were completed this evening.
I'm really looking forward to presenting our work tomorrow morning/afternoon with the group and hope that the feedback we receieve is both constructive, and as positive as it has been so far!

Whilst I can of course see points which need alteration, I am generally very happy with the progress we have made, in particular in terms of research (I really think this is my most substaintial research-fuelled project so far! see for examples!) and hope that this has been reflected- hopefully we will discover how successful we have been tomorrow.

Communication is a Virus: Rules for Fools'- Tried and tested.

Testing our April Fools' practical jokes in our Rules for Fools' booklet- to ensure that they worked positively... 

The group went to the Leeds Union pathway to execute our first prank, here, Yafet took a sneaky photo of myself, Sadie and Liam trying to look as casual as possible- natural behaviour is everything when lieing/being sneaky...
(NB: Please ignore me/my face)

...The pound coin stuck down with extra strength solvent glue.
After we stuck the pound coin down, we sat on a bench on the other side of the pathway. In the short time we were there (around twenty minutes) we saw two people try to discreetly take the coin- great result.

The water, water everywhere and every drop to drink prank- originally inspired and executed by fellow graphics coursemate Marty Edwards ( after he successfully played this prank upon a flatmate- frankly hilarious. Apparently, the flatmate was very sourpuss for the entire evening, but presumably forgave them...

Again, a prank executed by another member of the group- this time, team member Sadie Thompson ( She played the polystyrene falls (substituted here with scrunched paper!) on her flatmate, India. Apparently rather grumpy in the morning, but this worked a treat! 

...And the faux gateau prank. I bought a cardboard box and cake decorations, making what looked like a convincing slab cake (admittedly, a rather messy one). I left it to refridgerate for a day, and then asked a flatmate to cut it evenly for me ("so i can take a good photo of it for my design work!"...ahem...) and after feedback "hmmm...looks yummy, is it chocolate?" etc, the trick was played. Really very funny.

I was really pleased that we had the oppurtunity to execute some of these practical jokes in such a short time frame (only deciding on the final outcome less than a week ago). Although we couldn't personally perform them all, all others have been researched and sourced as successful- examples of which can be found on my design context blog (