Digital Me: Even More Progress

I have now completed my research and development files, ready to show at the next tutorial and receive feedback. I am now beginning to work on my PDF portfolio and deciding which work should go into it. I want to get some of the work printed and take photos of it in order to have my own photographs and take my own ‘mock ups’. I have also edited my CV to (hopefully) look more professional and to tie in with the house style I have running through my online portfolio.

Still do to:

  • Branding
  • PDF Portfolio
  • Update Online Portfolio
  • Keep up with dissertation reading !

Digital Me: Penguin Update

Below is my new penguin book cover. It almost doesn’t feel like my own work as it is quite different from what I would usually choose to do. Looking back at my other attempts, this one stands out as different in terms of colour and style. I am not sure as to how effective this book cover is, though it is much better and more clear than any of my other attempts at this concept. All of my other designs used predominantly red, and so I tried using blue (and a little bit of red). Though red represents danger, blood and anger, blue works well with my idea in presenting innocence, fear and darkness.

I drew the rabbits using a graphics tablet and pen. For the spine, I typed the necessary information and then, on a new layer, scribbled in the same style in the same few blue shades used around the lettering, filling the spine. Afterwards, I deleted the type, leaving the pattern with the recognisable font, just slightly original and jagged. The idea originated from a quote in the book referring to one of the murderers: “he goes shooting with David sometimes. After rabbits, mostly.” This quote stuck with me because he goes on to shoot a family of four. The rabbits represent the innocence of the family, unable to fight back against a premeditated attack.


Digital Me: More Progress

I have now begun using my layout plans to start creating my research and development PDFs for the deadline. I always quite enjoy putting these together as I often draw so many sketches and plans, and have so many discarded ideas close to finish that it is clear (I hope) to see my process and train of thought.

Since my last post I have sent off and received a reply from the work experience placement I was applying to. My portfolio has been shortlisted and I have to attend an interview day in July. I have no idea what this will involve and I am quite terrified, but it is exciting and flattering to be shortlisted, especially as it was the creative director who saw my portfolio!!

My online portfolio is still far from finished. I hope that it will be must cleaner and more professional as I continue to develop it so I can get it to a point where I am completely happy with it, and can then just add more projects as I design things of a high enough standard. I need to tackle my PDF portfolio, though before I begin this I want to have all of the projects that will be going on to it completely finished and to a standard I am happy with. I have edited all of the projects that will be on my portfolio in the time between the actual original submission and now – it is amazing how little time I could spend on first year projects to complete change them to look so much better, when I really thought I was creating the best work I could last year. I think this is a measure of my progress and it does make me proud of what I have achieved so far at University. Of second year projects, I have completely redone my Penguin book cover (twice) and made slight tweaks to my persuasion project. I still need to make changes to my branding. I have lots of ideas going around in my head, and though I know changes need to be made, I have not been hit by the lightening bolt of how to make it better. I am going to continue with the other tasks in hand and come back to branding at a later date.

Field 5: Reflection

Term One

Beginning ‘Virtual Reality’, I was incredibly excited. The module brief described the connection with a student from a university in Egypt. We would set each other a brief and carry it out to deadline, communicating virtually to updated each other on progress with the project and receive feedback. On a personal level, I understood that the main area where I was lacking with my design work was confidence. I felt that this project would be a great opportunity to gain confidence, as I would have to present my own work to a complete stranger, someone who would potentially hate and criticise my work. This is a step I know I will face at some point in the future and so I thought this would be a great chance to gain confidence in speaking, presenting myself and my work and being proud of what I have achieved, as well as taking advice and criticism and changing my work accordingly. I was also excited by the prospect of becoming the client, and giving feedback to someone half way across the world on the work they were doing for me.

The module was not at all what had been described, and so was utterly disappointing. I felt disheartened; I had chosen a module in which I knew no other people nor any of the tutors, and I was ready to step outside of the graphics studio and learn something new. It had appeared to be an individual project (apart from the Egyptian student) which was something I specifically chose. I could have easily chosen the module lead by the graphic communication tutor, and now wish I had, but I didn’t because I felt that defeated the point of field. Field to me meant working outside your discipline and outside your comfort zone to learn new skills you never would have before. However, this was not at all the case. In terms of working individually, this was incorrect. We spent one whole session being given our groups – two people were missing from mine on the first day and continued to not attend. I ended up forming a group with fellow graphic communication student Connor Redding and Egyptian exchange student Mahira Abd El Ghany, who studies architecture. It was essentially an architecture project, and so Mahira was a godsend. We were expected to be able to use software we had never used, without any inductions or workshops and so there was a lot of teaching ourselves and heaving that work onto Mahira. We learned that we were essentially carrying out a site analysis of a chosen site in Cardiff to send to Egypt. The Egyptian students would then design a piece of art, design, an instillation etc for this site, having never been there. We were told the Egyptian students would be doing the same, and we would design something for their site in Egypt. I could see where ‘Virtual Collaboration’ has come from here, and despite the rocky start I was excited to proceed. We carried out our site analysis over 6 weeks allotted weeks. In all honesty, it took us 2 weeks. Meanwhile, John, our lead tutor, was in Egypt.

Animation tutor Owen took over in John’s absence and was brilliant. We had to fill him in on the brief (and that last 6 weeks of chaos and disorganisation) and he helped us all as if he had been there the whole time. With 3 weeks left until the presentation and formative deadline and no sign of John or contact from Egypt, we visited the architecture department to ask for advice. They advised we send John an email asking for the site analysis from the Egyptian students, and tell him we were going to move ahead of his schedule and carry on, as we were concerned about the remaining time until deadline. Mahira, the Egyptian student and gift from god on our team chose a site in her home place, Cairo for our installation. She described it to us and showed us photos, giving us an amazing insight into the place. John responded to our email saying that it was fine for us to carry on and do our own thing.

We chose two sites from Mahira’s descriptions: one being a bridge over a busy highway in Cairo, the other being a pedestrian only pathway through the stalls and souqs of a touristy region. For the highway, we designed an installation which was textured and coloured blues and greens, so that as you drove past, it looked like a wave rolling up the shore. When speaking to Mahira, she spoke about how this is an incredibly busy road far from a beach. We wanted to bring an element of the beach to this area.

For the walking speed sight we designed an installation in which tourists and locals alike can participate in without leaving a permanent mark. Mahira spoke about how graffiti is treated in Egypt, and how it is far less criminalised than in the UK. She spoke about Egyptian culture and a yearning to leave your mark wherever you go. She also spoke about an obsession with places celebrities have been, for example when Princess Diana visited, there is a mark of remembrance to this day. We wanted to utilise one stone wall along the path and create some sort of situation in which people could print their hand print onto the wall and sign their name. We decided the best option for this was to use chalk. We wanted to use a medium which would wash away in the rain to reveal a blank canvas to be used again by more tourists/locals, so there was always room for more.

With little time left of the term, John posted videos and a map of two sites he visited on his holiday for us to design installations for. Other teams used these however we kept our original sites. We worked as a team to put our presentation together and presented it to John and Owen. We received positive feedback and overall, I felt proud of what we had achieved especially considering the circumstances of the whole project. I don’t feel that I learnt new skills, however I do feel that I applied the ones that I already had to a new kind of project. Our team worked brilliantly together and we handled every hurdle well. We played to everyone’s skills, utilising everyone’s strengths within the project. I am thankful for this experience because I got to meet Mahira, who is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. She taught me a lot about culture, and I think her bravery to come to Wales from Egypt and work on a group project is admirable. Before she left, she gave me a watercolour painting of her home town and a pair of earrings she hand made. I hope I will always keep in contact with her.

Term Two

Second term field was amazing. Through first year, I was torn about choosing to study abroad for a term or a year. For many reasons, I chose to stay in Cardiff, though sometimes I doubted this decision. When the opportunity to travel arose in June of first year, when selecting field modules for the following year, I jumped at it. I decided to go to Morocco – somewhere I had never been before and would perhaps not prioritise as somewhere to go, but had always wanted to. I didn’t know anyone else going, but I signed up for it and told myself I would make friends on the trip.

As it got closer to January, I was terrified. Hearing and reading things about Marrakech made me nervous – just going somewhere with such a stark contrast in culture to my own was nerve-wracking and I was scared to unintentionally offend. However, this was an immersive experience, a study trip to learn about both the culture of Morocco and also my own. Living in the UK and rarely never venturing further than close European countries, it is difficult to identify your own culture. You cannot tell how it differs to other cultures, as you have never experienced any others. The project was essentially to learn about another culture; absorb the qualities of Moroccan life and allow the experience to bleed into our work. It was a trip meant to inspire us, inject vibrance and depth into our work and for me, it definitely did.

The brief was very flexible. We were essentially allowed to create whatever we wanted as long as it was (obviously) relevant to and inspired by somehow, the week in Morocco.

Marrakech was amazing. It was an experience I will never forget. Everything about the whole week was an incredible experience: I met amazing people both on the trip and in Morocco, our hotel was beautiful and we were treated perfectly, the food was delicious, the weather warm and everywhere was stunning.

Upon our return to Cardiff I was completely overwhelmed by the experience – I couldn’t believe I had been! I felt inspired and was excited to get on with the project. Previous to to trip, we had weekly workshops with Steve using the heat press, silk painting and digital printing designs. I instantly loved the heat press and was keen to get back using it armed with the patterns I had seen and collected in Marrakech. My favourite part of the week in Morocco was our visit to the Yves San Laurent Majorelle Gardens. It was one of the places I researched before we want on the trip and I knew it was somewhere I definitely wanted to visit. Everything about the gardens was stunning and it was probably the most beautiful day of the week, which definitely helped. I had heard about the ‘light’ in Morocco and how the light and shade made the colours burst more than they would anywhere else. It was as if Morocco had it’s own type of light that complimented the blue of the house so it just shone, exerting vibrance and colour. I couldn’t believe there existed a paint so blue. I knew I wanted to use this blue in my work. I also fell in love with the idea of ‘The Pink City’. Everywhere we went the buildings were pink. We learnt this was because of the clay used in construction in Morocco. Pink was another colour I wanted to use in my work.

At the Majorelle Gardens there was a small gallery called the ‘LOVE’ gallery, a room showcasing posters made by YSL as a New Year gift to his employees. He made one each year, up until his death in 2008. I decided my project would be to make the remaining posters to bring the collection up to present day. YSL’s posters were inspired by things he loved and enjoyed. I decided I would explore two ideas – a series of posters inspired by an event which represents love from each of the remaining years, and a series of posters inspired by my time in Marrakech. I worked on the heat press printing some of my designs onto fabric and scanning them onto Photoshop. I liked the texture the fabric gave on screen and so kept this within my work.

I loved second term’s field. I enjoyed meeting and working with new people, learning new skills and applying them to my work and, of course, Marrakech. I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit Morocco and have culturally immersive experiences that I don’t think I otherwise would have had. I loved the freedom that I had with this project, both in Morocco and at home, though I never felt abandoned or alone. I was consistently supported by staff and given the help I needed when I needed it, and left alone to explore my own ideas when appropriate too. I enjoyed working in an interdisciplinary way. From graphics, there was only myself and one other student, and so I was forced to make friends and socialise in other circles. I learnt a lot from the people on this course – I learnt about digital stitch, fabrics, welding, soldiering, repeat pattern amongst other things. I would like to think I shared some of my knowledge in return.

To Conclude

Overall, my experience of field this year has been positive. I am glad that Morocco came in second term, as I look over the whole year with fondness and it is far enough from first term that I can see positives in Virtual Collaboration. I met and worked with amazing people on both projects and learned a lot about both Egyptian and Moroccan culture. This has definitely inspired me in my work to use more colour and pattern and to be experimental. Through both modules I learnt more about my own culture; something which was was hard to identify before having never experienced a culture different to my own. I learnt new skills that I wouldn’t have if I had chosen other projects, such as the heat press, and I hope to bring these skills back into my subject work. Through ‘Virtual Collaboration’ I strengthened my teamwork skills my directly and distributing work roles between our three-person team. In both projects there was a lot of self directed work. I improved my organisation, self motivation and time management through these projects, as I had a deadline to work towards and had to direct my time myself in order to get the work done. Though there were things I would improve about elements of this years field module, I enjoyed and learnt a lot from the experience looking back.




Digital Me: Progress

The start of this project has felt like a bit of a mad rush. There is one particular work placement for the summer that I have been waiting to apply for, because I did not yet have a design CV or portfolio. Therefore, this project has been a massive help in giving me the time I have felt like I previously could not find to develop my online presence and portfolio so that I could make myself known to people in the industry and be proud of what I was putting out. Within the space of a few days, I threw together a CV and began my online portfolio and sent it out. The bad news was, despite reading through it ONE MILLION TIMES, I still found 3 typos when I revisited it a week later. Annoying. The good news was, my dad knows the creative director, who said my work looked ‘quite good’ and would get one of his team to contact me about an informal interview. I realise that is kind of cheating, but I am excited about it all the same!

I (obviously) went back over my CV and have actually now changed the majority of it. The one I sent to that creative director was a long way better than my previous CV before that, made about 5 years ago on Microsoft Word so I’m not too gutted about the errors to be honest. It could have been worse.

I’m really happy with how my online portfolio is going and I’m enjoying how it looks. I found a theme straight away which was exactly what I was looking for, though now I am intrigued to try others. I have made it on wordpress, which I believe to be a brilliant and easy to use platform, though I think I will try out some others now that I don’t have the rush to just make something and get it out to someone.

My house style kind of just happened. I have chosen to use red as my colour with everything else being white or black. When I planned out all the work I wanted in my portfolio, I noticed they all used red. Somehow I have subliminally and unintentionally always used some sort of red. I also have used a lot of hand written type, so maybe that is something I will do less of in future in order to show more versatility. The fonts I have used in my CV are avenir for the titles in capital letters and minion pro for the body text. I wanted a bold, strong sans serif for my titles in capital letters so this works well. I knew I wanted a serif for the body text and so this standard typeface works well too. I feel a serif typeface is more professional looking, and the fact both are quite standard typefaces mean they are less offensive, less open to criticism and more legible and easily readable than other, maybe prettier, but wilder choices.

I have drawn layouts for all of the PDF’s which need doing. This, while being an incredibly useful and essential job, was I can’t like procrastination from a job which actually really needs doing. That job is my branding project. There are changes I know I need to make and think will make it look much better, but I am just struggling at the moment to bring myself to do it. Soon I will run out of other jobs and will just have to do it, so it will get done!


Digital Me: CV

After extremely helpful tutorials and lectures with Neil and Matt, it is clear there are do’s and don’t’s of portfolios and CVs. Some I have learnt are:

  • Don’t speak too informally, neither use too much complicated language which is forced
  • Don’t measure your skills using a graph/rating, just state your skills
  • Though some experience is more obviously relevant than others, all work experience teaches transferable skills and so briefly mention it all
  • Mention things which set you apart, e.g knowing multiple languages or having a black belt in martial arts
  • Landscape works better on screen, portrait in physical form
  • Keep it short and concise!!
  • No longer than 1 page for a CV
  • Think about the order of projects on your portfolio – start and finish strong
  • Make navigation simple
  • Showcase the work
  • Never have your website under construction
  • Only have a blog if you’re going to keep it updated
  • Have information about yourself, maybe a photo
  • Be clear about your particular passions
  • Don’t lie!!

Digital Me: An Introduction

This term, we are working on making ourselves desirable to employers by working on a number of platforms to show case our work. We will be producing a CV, introductory email, PDF portfolio and an online portfolio, as well as the usual final outcome and R&D PDFs for each project this year so far. While this is seems a large amount of work, this is an excited and extremely appropriate project, forcing me to get done things which I have been meaning to do for so long but have not had the time to do well. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to change and edit past projects to make them better, as looking back on them now it is easy to see where they could be improved.

Having a house style is important to recognising continuity across our work. It is difficult to establish and apply a house style without first having the content to input into the portfolio, and so I will first be working on ‘perfecting’ my work and writing my CV.

It is amazing and hilarious to look back on the last CV I wrote, last time I went for a job around four years ago. I had no skills or knowledge in design, it was written on a word document and included just about every thing we have learnt in the past few sessions is predictable, boring and does nothing to help me stand out in a pile of CVs. I really want to get a move on with this project and get close to finishing well before the deadline, as the resources I will be producing will be essential in securing more work placements in the summer.

Today I had a tutorial with Neil. With only a few pages of initial layout sketches, we talked through my ideas down to some of the smallest details to discuss their relevance in conveying ourselves to the employer, or whoever may be viewing my CV. We discussed do’s and don’t’s, the use of colour and house styles, as well as how to make the work speak for itself. The most important thing Neil pointed out was that we are trying to get across who we are as people, not as graphic designers. When I asked about including skills that may not be directly related to graphic design, he pointed out that everything is related somehow if we have learnt from it, because it has contributed to who we are as people. Companies hire people, so it is important to come across as one.