Friday, 29 April 2011

Speaking from Experience: The plan of action.

After today's workshop experience, I feel as though I have a much firmer idea about what I would like to execute for the brief, and feel prepared for the explination of my ideas for the first concept crit on Friday 6th (whereupon I will present a concept, context, and method of delivery board).

My ideas thus far...

-research the types of foods that give you energy, make you feel better if you are tired or lethargic (lack of sleep)- "the designers diet: grub to make you feel good"- a handy guide for new students for how to feel at their best and keep themselves healthy.
-research food stockists in the local area- making in specific to the course- the best sandwich/smoothie/pastry shops, etc.
-research what scientifically improves attention, healthy skin, etc.
-research what my peers eat to perk themselves up.
-photograph foodstuffs.
-illustrate foodstuffs- hand drawn and vector.
-create paper craft versions of the foods- photograph for posters, leaflets, postcards- animate items for stop motion.
-distribute print-based media to local shops, around uni- SU, canteen, in plan chests, first day info pack.
-distribute online/web-based media on blog/website/facebook/twitter/USB stick/DVD-ROM.

Really excited to start with the project, creating some prototype designs for my crit on Friday, where hopefully the ideas I've designed so far will be strong enough to persue onto a final project.

Speaking from Experience: Concept Development II.

After our first concept development session, we then went on once again to break down each of the five points into a futher five points.
Although this an extreme method of working to a brief is quite new to me, I found it very interesting (if a little mind-numbing)...I feel that this way of working has given me a much firmer idea of the project I want to execute, and my confidence in the brief is far greater than before.

My further breakdowns of the problems and soultions with methods of delivery/addressing the audience are...

*pixelation about prioritising, sleeping patterns and overcoming tiredness
-USB stick in welcome pack
-put on LCA website
-set up a facebook group for graduates 2014
-send a DVD in the post
-play video on the first day of term

*infographics posters about food with the highest sugar count
-hand out in morrisons/local supermarket
-print onto plastic/canvas shopping bag
-put in LCA "welcome pack"
-stick up in GD studio
-unipol/accomodation "welcome pack"


Really, this excercise was for thinking about how we could present our designs and concepts to a the new students, effectively and clearly. More brainstorming to come soon!

Speaking from Experience: Problem Analysis and Rationales.

Having planned for five potential problems, and then five solutions for each of those problems we had a lot to choose from from our concept plans. Out of the five problems, we chose our two favourite- we felt that we could develop most successfully and widely, and then a design solution for each of them to go on to write two rationales...
THE BRIEF (...what is the problem you intend to solve?)

-how to organise your working life whilst at university-

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE? ( clear and specific)

-i will demonstrate a clear and precise timetabling and organisational method to help new student prepare their time and not to be too surprised when multiple briefs are given in a couple of months time!-

WHY DO THEY NEED TO KNOW (...the concept for your problem)

-i will demonstrate a guide to advise the new students as to what they should be prioritising with and spending their time on- preparing them for the year ahead-

WHAT WILL THEY REPSOND TO? (...will they see/watch/buy/wearing it etc...?)

-i will create a "mind map" series- an illustrative diagram cross-section of the brain- divided into sections with important info written into the sections. produced on posters, booklets, leaflets-

WHERE DO THEY GO? ( will they access/recieve/discover etc...the resolution?)
-can be distributed among the students on the first day of uni along with yearbook prospectus/stationary packs, sent via UCAS, etc-

THE BRIEF (...what problem do you intend to solve?)

-how to cope with the lack of sleep- food and drink for every emergency situation and make you feel good- food and drink to perk you up- living a healthy lifestyle-

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE? ( clear and specific)

-i will communicate simply and visually tips on how to live healthily with the demands of the course- how to best live with these stresses and lack of sleep in a sensible and suitable manner-

WHY DO THEY NEED TO KNOW? (...the concept of your problem)

-the concept is a guide to what sort of food and drink they should be consuming in their hour of need- what foods, in the long run, will become their new best friend and which you should avoid at all costs- 

WHAT WILL THEY RESPOND TO? (...will they see/watch/buy/wear it etc...?)

-i will produce a series of visual responses to the brief- a paper crafts animation, a photographed instillation, and a series of posters (which, hopefully could also be reproduced as books and other forms of print-based media...)-

WHERE DO THEY GO? ( will they access/receive/discover etc...the resolution?)

-through a variety of sources- USB stick welcome pack animation, posters handed out on the first day, leaflets in SU/around the canteen-


Generally, I felt quite happy with my ideas, but of course, they could do with a lot of tweeking and alteration- along with a new point of view as a critique. Fortunately, we then went on to swap briefs with a partner, mine being Luis, and gave each other both written and verbal feedback which really helped me to define what was working, and what could be improved upon...


*is it possible to have a healthy lifestyle when you have to live with such issues?
something i know you have had to deal with perhaps more than others and is also massively relevant to what most students experience, aka you have a great knowledge about.


* both solid briefs. this one in particular is very you, clear concise and organised.
I felt that Luis was far more enthusiastic about the 'how to organise...' brief, particularly as this would benefit his life, admittedly not being very organised and structured with his work.  Whereas I like this idea, I just feel a little more enthusiastic about the "sleep food remedies" as it is something i have personally experienced, and after talking to members of the group, has seemed to effect most people at one time or another. 
Inspired by a conversation with Chloe saying "Get over tiredness by downing a pint of coffee!" the food idea came about, almost like a lunchpack of survival for the day, with a playful and humorous twist...

"A desginer diet"...a title both fitting to our work practice and the sense that it is a very fashionable a la mode "designer" diet. I feel I could have a lot more research and ground work for this brief- sourcing information about food shops in the local proximety to uni, the tasties sandwiches, the healthiest smoothies, etc...I could make it really personal to the course, and find out what other group members say helps them through the day. 

I'm now pretty sure this is the brief I will take forward- lots of experimentation over the weekend to be done!

Speaking from Experience: Concept Development.

Working in small groups (mine being alongside Beth and Chloe) we discussed our ideas that we had generated for the brief since Tuesday's briefing with Fred. It was a really great oppurtunity to hear one another's ideas and how we were viewing and approaching the brief so far, and fun to hear about the topics and concepts raised.

Most importantly, It felt really good to have someone listening to your ideas who would respond honestly- what they felt would work, and what wouldn't work quite so well, as well as talking about our experiences as newbie first years- and remembering how we felt at that time to achieve the most from the brief.

We then went on to break down our concept problems, and how we could possibly tackle them... the 5 I chose were:

-how to cope with the lack of sleep
-organising your time and juggling briefs
-missing home, friends and family
-controlling your budgeting/spending efficently
-not knowing anyone-how to make new friends

and this was how I divided them and broke them down into finer detail...

1. how to cope with the lack of sleep

* make a pixilation animation about how to prioritise sleeping patterns and overcoming tiredness.
* make infographic poster about foods with highest sugar count- keeping you buzzing!
* make booklet about effective remedies and how to sleep well.
* screen/digital print onto bedsheet/duvet cover about effective ways to get to sleep.
* make a photographic poster series- "the decent into stress"- from a healthy portrait to a tired, exhausted image. complete with info/advice text.

2. organising your time and juggling briefs

* make an online/interactive timetable guide: an hour-by-hour management guide.
* make a "mind map" poster- cross-section poster of the brain divided sections with important priorities and points you MUST remember.
* time lapse animation about the fast pace of uni and how to keep up with it (sound bite voice over)
* make a poster series about how to de-stress (with multiple briefs) and most most effectively.
* make animation about work "piling up" (busy desk- literally filling up) with voice-over about how to reduce the workload.
3. missing home, friends and family

*make a papercraft animation about how to keep in touch- snail mail, phone, email, etc- make the items out of paper and animate.
* animation- kinetic type spoken as a phone conversation- with people from the course's view of what moving away from home felt like.
* hand written/drawn animation about how to write home and keep in regular contact- voice over as pen writes on the page.
* write a poem about how to be independent and take care of yourself- create a voice over to animated hand-drawn type.
* video about what people from the course have found most difficult about moving away from home- link in the "eBay ad" out of context language link style.

4. controlling your spending/budgeting effectively

* infographics chart design posters about how to make your savings grow at uni.
* papercraft animation about savings "don't let your money go up in smoke!"
* infographics map guide with highlights of the most affordable places to shop in leeds: divided into categories: clothes, food, music, design materials, etc.
* booklet with highlighted guide to the building societies and banks in leeds- where you can save £, info about ISAs etc.
* poster series about how to save money on your food shop- buying when deals are on, TINS!, market etc.

5. not knowing anyone- making friends

* pixilation animation about first day etiquette and body language- how to avoid coming across as a raving looney.
* write and record sound bites of limericks- people's views on one another and how to avoid alienation.
* illustrative booklet guidde to positive and negative body langauge.
* concertina booklet about easing into the course and gaining confidence with your peers.
*  pamphlet stitch book- great "one liner" quotes and ways to introduce yourself.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Cressed to Impress: Day II.

Day two= starting to sprout! (how exciting).
With the new brief 'Speaking from Experience' proposed...I am considering experimenting with video, and, in particular, pixilation...if I do, could be really interesting to do a short 24hour time lapse of the seedlings growing! Something new to try for sure!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Cressed to Impress.

Currently starting a personal cress-based venture! Inspired by cress typography that I sourced and blogged on my design context blog ( for my 'What is Graphic Design For?' project, and have been really interested in creating my own unusual, three-dimensional, or organic type, icons and imagery. 
I have started my experiment by planting the cress seeds into a heart shape template (sadly cress seeds are so tiny they get everywhere! Not as neat as I'd of originally liked) into cotton wool, within a teacup, and if this is successful, I will go on to experiment further with a more elaborate scale and design.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

End of Module Self-Evaluation: OUGD104 Visual Language.

End of Module Self-Evaluation

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

I think that one of the most important things I have learnt through this module is the importance of time management. With having scheduled, timetabled sessions for this visual language module just one day a week, it could have been reasonably easy to put the work to one side, considering it something to be done “when I have the time”, etc, though, I am pleased to say that throughout the OUGD104 module, I have kept myself strictly timetabled and consistently on top of my work.

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

I feel that throughout this module I have really thrown myself into the research aspect of the design process- and as a result, have grown to actually really enjoy it. Enjoyment derived from the fact that I can see how much consistent and intense research can really develop and strengthen my ideas.
Throughout this module I have read a lot more, particularly in geography, cartography and astronomy (all according to specific designs) and feel really enriched by the extension of knowledge.

3.    What strengths can you identify in your work and how have/will you capitalise on these?
I think that my Adobe Illustrator skills have significantly improved because of this module- for both the International Book Fair and What is a line briefs particularly requiring me to work on this software, and intensely, I now feel far more confident with the programme and look forward to now going on to explore more software programmes with a new level of confidence and assurance that persistence and hard work will undoubtedly help my skills development.
4.    What weakness can you identify in your work and how will you address these more fully?
I would still like to see more variation in the design outcomes within my work- not so much as an aesthetic style, but by means of method of production- having the courage to try something new and planning enough time incase it doesn’t quite work out as I would have planned.
Whilst it is certainly a benefit that my confidence has developed in one software programme, I know that I must expand my design outcomes and consider other options- not always the most obvious one.
5.    Identify five things you will do differently next time and what do you expect to gain from doing these?
1.    Experiment more with methods of delivery and outcomes for a wider over-view.
2.    Try to define more of a style within my work- what am I trying to say? What message do I want to visually put across to my audience?
3.    Don’t over-complicate. In a few of my earlier visual language lessons and workshops I felt that ~concepts~ got in the way of my outcomes- don’t try and be clever.
4.    Plan everything I do before I do it- this way, I will save more time, and hopefully, therefore, produce more potential design outcomes, and research more.
5.    Be more abstract and experimental with my designs- even if I don’t use the designs, be more creative with my potential outcomes to get my brain really active and possibly able to seek a new, fresher design outcome than I had previously visualised.

7.    How would you grade yourself on the following areas?
5=excellent     4=very good    3=good            2=average       1=poor

Attendance                                                      5
Punctuality                                                      5
Motivation                                                       4
Commitment                                                   5
Quantity of work produced                             4
Quality of work produced                               3
Contribution to the group                                4

The evaluation of your work is an important part of the assessment criteria and represents a percentage of the overall grade. It is essential that you give yourself enough time to complete your written evaluation fully and with appropriate depth and level of self-reflection. If you have any questions relating to the self evaluation process speak to a member of staff as soon as possible.

Papergirl Leeds: Exhibition opening night.

I was absoultely delighted a couple of weeks ago, on sending my 'know before you grow: the barber's guide' moustache poster to the papergirl leeds grouped to have been asked to take an active role within the exhibition- creating a papercrafts moustache instillation, inspired by some photographs I have taken in the past...

Along with my partner (who became a brilliant assistant, papercutter and photographer (I think I should be watching my back!)), we constructed the paper mobile by cutting symmetrical moustaches freehand- and then attaching them to cotton threads to suspend from the ceiling.
We decided to pick black, cream, white, brown, and orange as the colours- keeping a natural tone (for hair colours), but with the orange and red vibrantly popping against the duller, more neutral colours.
We were also "assigned" the location of a square tile panel from the roof- it was really interesting to see the moustaches in quite a gridded, structured format- as the times I had used them in the past, they had been stuck quite sparadically and abstractly. Here are some pictures Alex kindly took of the event whilst I was working...

(Please excuse my terrible face in ALL of these pictures...)

A really enjoyable few hours out, I was delighted to see the response to the small instillation work- a lot of people coming over, asking what we were upto and engaging long and wonderful talks about weird and wonderful 'taches- along with people really taking the time to stop and absorb my poster on the wall- many chuckling at it, telling their friends which moustache they would grow and even taking photographs of it. Happy times in Sophie's world.

This, though a reasonably small scale, has given me my first taste of gallery-viewings. Although I did exhibitions at college, this has been the first real time where genuine strangers have come up to me and complimented my work, which feels wonderful- my main ambition as a designer, however corny it may sound, is to make people happy- and to engage and respond to my work. If I could have gone away with just one person having a smile on their face, then I'd be happy.

Thanks so much to third year Vis Com student Laura Jordan for organising the event, and asking me to take part in this way. I feel very privaleged indeed.

What is a line?: Final Design and Resolution.

Coming to the final stages of my design process, having faced many unforseen and unfortunate circumstances, I feel very releaved and quite pleased with the results I have achieved in my work. This blog post showcases the final two days in my design and print stages...

Due to an unforseen problem with my InDesign software, and unable to access University facilities, I constructed a "mock-up" makette of my book designs- ensuring that each page would be properly formatted, trimmed, and presented.

In my final design, I chose to use a black paper with off-white cartridge paper overalay for the centre of the book, and with a black card and cartridge paper outside- with a slight margin lip around the outside for both an aesthetic and practical detail- largely to reduce the need to trim down the booklet once complete and sewn together (which can sometimes comprimise the detail or contents of the inside of the book).
My measurements were: 
outside lip: 4.5"x6.5"
inside black paper: 4"x5.5"
inside cartridge paper: 3.7"x5.3"

these measurements left me with enough room to create a clean cut and professional-looking design, whereupon no content was comprimised.

On the front cover, I decided to display a vectored version of some of the constellation atlas work I had recently been working on, and felt that this crisp computer-rendered design worked even more effectively than the hand-drawn style, and I like the minamalist, geometric look which I believe works well with the primary typeface used, GeoSans Light- an elegant, yet modern sans serif type. 

...A more formal back cover, adhering the the infographics and informative requirements of my personally-written brief.

...After initial attempts to design a singular book, I found that with my particular weight of stock, this would have produced a book that was far too thick to have enabled easy and readible information. Dividing the books into four ensured an even number of pages and constellations within each book.

...Again, I felt that a parchment bind was most appropriate for my books- unfussy and strong. Originally, I wanted to encorporate a metallic silver colouring into my designs via the method of production of screenprinting. Though reasons previously stated on my blog, this wasn't possible, however, my simple addition of a metallic silver thread as the binding material ensures the consistency within my other designs, and a pleasing aesthetic detail in the booklet series.

...the books laid flat with content easily read- the left hand side page with text left-aligned, and the right...aligned to the right!
I think this format distinguishes more of a seperation between the text and makes each constellation easier to understand- visually and mentally making a seperation within the texts, and a little more simple to read without getting too lost or "bogged under" with a text-heavy booklet. 

Overall, despite having to face many, aforementioned challenges, I am reasonably happy with how my booklets turned out. Although they are really nothing like how I originally invisaged or intended them to look, I feel I have comprimised well- an important tool in design, and has made me appreciate each process and the time each one takes just a little more. 
I feel proud of the time I have been able to turn my project and designs around in- printing, producing the booklets and binding them all in the space of a day. With enough determination, I feel that I have challenged this project and hopefully have explored and developed it to a high level.

Module Submission Form: 'What is a line?'.





For my last project within the Visual Language module, ‘What is a line?’, I decided to focus on the theme of constellations, and how, with marks indicating position, connection or boundaries this could translation into a Graphic Design format.
I began the project by gathering and collecting primary and secondary research- drawing inspiration from other artists, designers and imagery, along with experimenting with drawing diagrams, sketches and designs- really taking advantage of hand-rendered techniques to produce versatile and fast-paced designs.
From this, I followed my initial direction of creating a informative guide to the eighty-eight constellations, and, with some compromise along the way as to my initial visualisation of the production and methods used, have created a four-part series of books which give a brief history and basic facts about each constellation, along with a vector-drawn illustration of each of the constellations- which I hope will inform, as well as inspire future star-gazers and aspiring astronomers alike.
All work must be clearly presented and labelled with your name, module code, brief title, and any other appropriate information. Please present all work in an A2 plastic portfolio/sleeve-any work submitted in other formats should be discussed with the module tutor in advance of submission. All blog posts relevant to this module should be ‘tagged’ with the module code OUGD104.

Blogs up to date: COMPLETE
Work labelled as briefed: COMPLETE
Work submitted in appropriate format: COMPLETE 
Self-Evaluation Completed and posted to blogs as briefed: COMPLETE

I confirm that all work submitted is my own and am aware of the colleges Plagiarism Policy and that all work submitted has been appropriately labelled, formatted and tested.



Communication is a virus: Book-binding.

I finally managed to find the time to bind the 'Rules for Fools'' book guide which my group made for the 'Communication is a virus' project.

I decided to bind the book in a parchment stitch- neat, tidy and traditional- also allowing a completely flat page and DPS viewing for easy readability. 
I decided to use a burnt orange Guttermann thread- notoriously strong and resilent (commonly used in machine stitching, which I then doubled over in the stitch once more for extra strength.

As I have mentioned before, I would still really like to be able to develop this project in my own time, as I felt we left it stilted and still reasonably unanswered, however, this is going to be subject to my time scale and the balance of other projects within the module and elsewhere- both inside and outside of my degree education.