Monday, 28 November 2011

Web Feature//Blog//Reetsweet.

Yay! Got another feature today- this time on the Reetsweet blog in preparation for this weekend's craft fair event (they look far more prepared than I am!)- lovely little feature- so glad I ended getting involved with the event. Such a lovely bunch.

French Lessson V//VI.

Notes, excercises and homework from today's French lesson- really happy that I got the opportunity to go along to this session as I wasn't too bogged down with Graphics work- and actually felt like 
a well-deserved break away!
Amazingly, (perhaps combined with a cocktail of tiredness) I did feel as though I had forgotten a great deal of my re-gained knowledge from the past week's sessions, though fortunately picked it up again quickly. Really glad I decided to take the French lessons- given me a good opportunity to refresh my memory as well as having some time away from work, whilst still being productive, and developing my skillset and knowledge to bump up my CV for work placements- potentially looking into working in various European countries.

Enterprise and Personal Development//Business Cards//Research//Moo.

Having only briefly taken a look at the site in the past, I decided to take a closer look at 'Moo' today for a possible source to have my future re-vamped business cards printed. Really good possibilities in terms of variations of print (photographic, vector, typographic) as well as stock choices and corners (rounded... rather fancy)- though unfortunately not the possibility to exhaust the wide variety of print finishes available- might need to print myself- a little time consuming but I don't mind too much- hard work brings good rewards.
Very competitive prices... definitely something to bare in mind once I've completed my 
revamped designs and branding (asap!)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

French Lessons III/IV.

Unfortunately, due to demands of work and illness, I wasn't able to go along to the past two week's worth of French lessons. Fortunately for me, after popping along to go and see James in SU (student union) he passed along the sessions work and the tasks to do, happy Sophie! Found it a little more difficult than usual without the supervision of Cecilia from the sessions (my French is VERY rusty) but glad that I had the opportunity to catch up in time for tomorrow's session (the fifth of six).

Really pleased I've decided to top up my French now. Yesterday my partner and I discussed where we'd like to live after graduation (he's graduated from his three years of Architecture, but still has half of his part 1 internship, his two years masters and part 2 internship to go!- i've just got one and a half years, eep!) and discussed countries in Europe such as Switzerland, Belgium, France and Norway (that would suit both of our design-y needs)- exciting times! Multiple languages can ONLY be a plus.
Work from the sessions is scanned in below.




Enterprise Task V Research//Retail.

As part of my aspiration to work Freelance once I have graduated from University, a great deal of earnings will come through shop and retail-based bulk orders from chain stores as well as individual boutiques. I have been fortunate enough to have already gained a small insight into the world of retail selling through monthly orders from Liverpool-based boutique, 'Nook & Cranny' (blogged below), which I hope, through the sale or return arrangement, we can keep a long and happy partnership in business. 

Blogged below are some examples of the retail environments I would ordinarily aspire to stock work for, on a smaller boutique scale. Throughout the rest of the year, I hope to approach more stores such as these with my work for possible partnerships or business deals to expand my portfolio of business contacts and networks.


The Liverpool-based boutique store that I am currently selling at, on a sale or return 40% commission policy- this has proven a great starting point for me, and has taught me a little about sales relationships- with both positive and negative sides, given a lot of feedback and tips with points to improve which have been really helpful. For me, I felt really flattered to be contacted by the store owners themselves, selling alongside some of my much-admired contemporaries such as Steph Baxter and Kate Broughton.


Bird's Yard is a beautiful three-story vintage and handmade boutique in the heart of Leeds (around the corner from The Corn Exchange) which stocks a variety of unique creations from a variety of designers- including the work of one of my favourite Illustrators, Gemma Correll. Stocking in Bird's Yard would be a great platform- and I will keep close contact with them throughout my University education in the hopes of perhaps one day building a working relationship with them.



Back in my home county of Shropshire, and particularly in the near by town of Shrewsbury, there's a wide variety of wonderful boutique stores- two of my favourites being 'Ripe' and 'Baja' which sit side-by-side in 'Grope Lane'. The boutiques sell a wide variety of wonderful items, from fashion and accessories to stationary and homeware. Aspiring to develop my surface pattern work, I feel that these boutique stores would be a great addition to my future portfolio, and I would be very interested in building a work relationship with them both.

Enterprise Task V Research//Food Industry.

Over the last few months (and, subconciously over the past five years in the case of the 'Innocent' brand), I have become increasingly interested in pursing work in the Food & Drinks Industry in my design practice- admiring it's versatility and range, and the potential to work in various different fields of production- most notably, packaging design, which, I will admit, is not a strong point as of yet, but one that I really hope to expand, develop and work upon in my personal practice. 

Below, I have blogged particular areas of interest and note, and places to consider re-visiting for my own practice and personal development.



Established in 2007, The Dieline is a website dedicated to the promotion of packaging design (frequently food and drink packaging) by industry professionals and students alike upon a platform on which it can be reviewed, critiqued and admired across the globe, as well as being informed about current packaging trends, employment opportunities, awards, etc.


"In the summer of 1998 when we had developed our first smoothie recipes but were still nervous about giving up our proper jobs, we bought £500 worth of fruit, turned it into smoothies and sold them from a stall at a little music festival in London. We put up a big sign saying 'Do you think we should give up our jobs to make these smoothies?' and put out a bin saying 'YES' and a bin saying 'NO' and asked people to put the empty bottle in the right bin. At the end of the weekend the 'YES' bin was full so we went in the next day and resigned."

From innovative beginnings, Innocent has grown to be one of the most influential and successful UK brands of the past decade, and, of course, one of my personal favourites. The branding and ethos of the company is something I have always admired, along, of course, with their visual design and packaging- working for Innocent is -probably- the ultimate dream goal in my design lifetime.


Gu is a chocolate pudding brand which promotes itself as a "guilty pleasure"- beautifully and sophisticatedly branded, the packaging design is crisp, elegant and really stands out on supermarket shelves- also have great advertisement campaigns- often very clever and playful.


Green & Blacks is an organic chocolate company which pride themselves on sourcing and selling ethically grown and produced ingredients within their products. As well as luxury brand, delicious chocolates, they are also well known for their simple, yet luxuriously sophisticated brand and packaging design- which demonstrates the care, dedication, and consideration put into their products- using simple solid colour palettes and foil block print finishes.

Other areas of interest include: 

- Co-Op
- Fairtrade
- Free Range
- Tetra Pak
- Rainforest Alliance

(To research at a later date)

Enterprise Task V Research//Print-based design.

Throughout my time at University, and my Graphic Design practice, I have found myself becoming more and more interested in methods of printing, and, in particular, traditional methods such as letterpress, screenprinting, etching, lino block printing, etc. Throughout 2012 and my continued practice/design development I would like to personally push this interests through continual practice, and potential industrial experienced. Below, I have featured two companies which I would be interested in looking at further, and potentially contacting for studio visits, etc.

Blush Letterpress

Blush is a letterpress printing specialist based in Flintshire, North Wales. The company's passion for traditional printing methods combined with contemporary design makes for a "match made in heaven" with beautifully crafted designs ranging from letterheads to business cards, stickers to stationary. Amazing and innovative designs- I would love to find out more about their design processes to perhaps influence my own 
design practice.


'Snap Studio Ltd.' in Bristol is a studio space for eight young designers, one of my favourites being Illustrator, Clare Owen, alongside an open gallery space for people to purchase the designs that are produced on site. With an ambition to work freelance, for me, this sounds like the perfect set up for retail opportunity, as well as being able to network and work alongside other designers in supporting and inspiring one another. Throughout the new year I am actively looking for design and industry placements, Bristol being one of my key search areas, and would love to get the opportunity to visit the gallery at some point throughout the summer.

Enterprise Task V Research//Craft Fairs.

In December 2011, I was lucky enough to be invited along to sell at two craft fairs- the first, a two-day weekend event 'Reetsweet', held in Leeds' Reetsweet Corn Exchange, and the second (two weeks later), The Wizarding Winter Fair (a Harry Potter theme- where my Harry Potter-themed birthday cards seemed to go down a treat, yay!), which was held in the Maccelsfield Central Library.

Overall, I really enjoyed the two events, and it gave me a great insight into just how much work needs to be done in preparation for a fair- but, also, the advantages it can bring- both through networking and financial gain. For me, more than anything, it was a great opportunity to experience what life may be like after graduation as I hopefully immerse myself straight into Freelance work- of which craft fairs are a 
reasonably common occurrence.

For 2012, I aim to work at many more fairs throughout the year- my first booked being the Reetsweet Valentine Fair at the Leeds Corn Exchange on 11th February.

Enterprise Task V Research//Collaborations.

Aspiring to work as a Freelance Designer, I consider collaborations to be a very important part of my individual design practice- not only to provide company and support from what is generally referred to as quite a lonely/isolated design path, but also as an opportunity to network with other design professionals as well as to learn more from the work of others, and hopefully expand my own design outcomes more creatively.
One of my favourite existing examples is the simple collaboration between illustrators and animators Julia Pott, Anke Weckmann and Stuart Kolakovic for handmade and vintage global online store 'Etsy'- a sweet, merry "bumper" for the festive season- throughout the next few months, in my own "free time" outside of University I will be aiming to actively seek more connections and networks, with the aspiration for possible future collaborations with fellow designers- already in talks with a Gloucester-based Graphic Designer (whom I have previously worked with) in producing photographic portraits for her magazine 'Trigger', which I really look forward to in the new year.

Enterprise Task V Research//Publishing.

For a long time, (since I was around 11) I have been very interested in the world of Publishing. Being bought up with a great love of reading and literature, it seemed a natural career interest, and still one I would greatly consider pursuing to this day- though perhaps now in a more design or creative output as opposed to the language/literature editorial traditional role of Publishing that I may have once considered. 
Even after just spending one day in London (in the summer of 2011) working in London at the Hearst National Magazine Company for Cosmopolitan Magazine, I've gained a real interest in publication and layout design. Whilst I still believe that my greatest strengths in design lay elsewhere, it is a path I would absolutely not discard as a potential future move, and have shown research examples below of some of the publications, ideally, I would like to look further into gaining work/industry placements with.



Since being advised to look into gaining work experience for Elle by my design assistant from my day at Cosmopolitan (reflective of my layout style and typographic choices), I have had a real interest in potentially looking further into an industrial placement at the magazine- always a fan of their high-gloss fashion-forward and sophisticated design layouts, it would be a great experience to learn more about the publishing industry and develop my InDesign skills to a much higher level.

Oh Comely

Since the very first issue, a year and a half ago, Oh Comely has been a firm staple in my literature life. A charming and refreshingly uplifting and optimistic lifestyle magazine, Oh Comely writes about the life I want to lead- with one of my favourite Illustrators/Graphic Designers, Steph Baxter a firm fixture for illustrations within their publications, I would love to get involved one day- whether it be through more traditional layout and grid methods of design, or whether it be getting my work published for print- whatever the outcome, it would be my idea of heaven.

Computer Arts

Computer Arts is my personal favourite "go-to-guide" for Graphic Design practice, hints, tips, industry knowledge and design showcasing- and has given me a great deal of support and encouragement to push my own designs further with the use of their online tutorials and resources. What I particularly love about 'Computer Arts' is that they truly practice what they preach- the magazine design being as wonderful and visually stunning and experimental as you could hope- utilsing a variety of print finishes (notably spot varnishing) and designs that always keep me reading more- to work for a published product/magazine which specifies in my career of interest (Graphic Design) would be the ultimate aim for an industrial placement.

National Geographic

Renowned magazine/publication 'National Geographic' has now become a hugely sucessful global brand, with intellectual content, stories, and famous for it's magnificent photographic images printed alongside stimulating texts. The magazine largely depends upon a sophisticated, classic look- heavy with bold serif typefaces which are aimed at the mature, intellectual target audience- for me, this would be something completely different from the youthful, modern design that I often work with, or am encouraged to work with- and would be a great opportunity to learn from a highly-regarded and established company.



Penguin- perhaps THE publishing house of all publishing houses- a much-loved household name of companies- penguin books transcend generations, and even over seventy years since the company was founded (1935), it is still considered a contemporary choice with their constant re-invention and re-branding, yet still maintaining their distinct, classic look and famous logo.
For me, penguin really would be the publishing house dream- able to work over a wide range of target audiences, ages, and designs- it really would be an honour to learn from their in house team of practioners.

Walker Books

Growing up with a great love of Alan Allhberg's classics such as 'The Jolly Postman' and 'Bill the Burglar', I've had a strong connection with the publishing house, 'Walker Books', which specialise in children's literature (the field of design I am particularly interested in working within once I have graduated)- I will be definitely be looking further into gaining industry experience with the company for the summer of 2012.


Since pursuing my Graphic Design education, and with the aid of many a reading list, I have become a great fan of, and hugely familiar with AVA Academia books- such as 'Packaging the brand', 'The Fundamentals of Graphic Design' and 'Good: Ethics in Graphic Design', etc. Having previously applied for work experience with the company, but unfortunely being turned down due to "lack of experience" (presumably in my educational life?)- I will re-apply before the summer to either work at their Worthing or Switzerland office.


For around five years I have been a great fan of Taschen books for their effortless style, sophistication and variety- buying multiple Taschen books for myself as well as for loved ones. 
For me, working at Taschen would be a great opportunity to exercise my real design potential- with each of their publications so well considered in terms of design, as well as such (aforementioned) variety. Firmly on the to-do list.

Faber & Faber

For me, Faber & Faber has always stood for elegance, sophistication and intelligence in publishing- famously being the one-time workplace of famed poet, T.S Eliot- for me, I am sure, the chance to work for Faber & Faber would provide me a truly wonderful experience to learn about the industry, it's history and all the potential for design development that it provides.


Bloomsbury, again, another hugely successful novel publishing house, perhaps most famous in recent years for backing J.K Rowling in publishing the Harry Potter series, are a hugely successful renowned company- and one that, for me, would be an absolute pleasure to work for- they will certainly be added to the list of contacts and networks for forthcoming industrial placements.