Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Harmony Restored

I'm a fifth of the way through the entire course. It's hard to believe. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve got stuck into A3. A day off work was put to good effect.

Most of the written part is out of the way. The report is hanging together, including references. I’m finding my production schedule very useful, although the adjustments column is getting some use.

The HNC seminars with John have been very insightful and have given me another perspective on the assignment. John pointed out my written work is very wordy. Which after constant refinement I wholeheartedly agree. I have been diagnosed with a case of ‘verbiage’.

With just a week left before the Christmas break I’m looking forward to getting into the digital creative side of the course where I hope to show some of the skills I’ve acquired in employment. The constraints on global document size may stifle my creativity slightly though.

A presentation this coming Monday on ‘colour harmony’ with my HNC compatriots will be challenging. I’m not used to presenting to quite as many people. I’m finding it especially daunting as we are presenting in front of our peers. Getting to grips with the subject and thorough preparation should put us in good stead.

My progress with A3 and a pass on A2 as helped to re-invigorate my enthusiasm for the course. Although time is very much a luxury, I’m finding the colour harmony presentation a welcome distraction.

I feel I’ve put myself in a good position to meet the deadline with A3. Although some more refinement is inevitable when it comes to my written work.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


My confidence has slightly dwindled over the last couple of weeks.

A referral on the first assignment has got me down and is an unwanted distraction from the start of my website plan. Hopefully I can learn from my mistakes with A2 and remember to check references more diligently. I'm starting to realise near perfection is required to just pass.

Although I referred it was slightly comforting to know I was not the only one. The majority of the group referred with the same major mistake as me. I must remember to check for creation/modified dates on reference sources!

The start of the web plan is going well, although I'm starting to realise it's not all as creative as I first thought. A lot of academic work is still required to succeed. I’m hoping this will help to continue the improvement I’m seeing with my SPG.

I can't wait to start my screen designs. Hopefully I will show some of my design flair. The promise of more creative work will hopefully give me focus and encouragement to get this less enjoyable side of the assignment out of the way.

Over the next week I'm going to make sure I'm in a position where I can focus on the creative side of the web plan, this I'm sure will go some way to rid me of my current disillusionment. To do this I must polish my Competitive analysis along with the other written parts of the web plan.

I must not let the setback of A2 get me down, I've got to dust myself down and get back in the saddle.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The mechanics of a business design

An industrial visitor in college is a rare thing; something we were told to make the most of.

So when Dave Pannell and Craig Burgess from The Design Mechanics came in I listened intently to what they had to say.

It was a long presentation with lots of questions, but I found it fascinating to hear how this particular company and two of its individuals worked. When I heard that a logo design would have to be completed in just two hours (maximum) it made me feel slightly uncomfortable, has in my current work, I feel I work under quite tight time restraints but nothing as unforgiving.

The set price structure they use to entice clients on a budget is obviously appealing, especially in the times we live in, in fact their business seems to be thriving.

The unexpensive prices and time they have must put them under enormous pressure to produce work both fast and of a high quality.

Clients must fill out an extensive fact finding sheet. The Design Mechanics then develop only one design to show clients. This cuts out a lot of the back and forth in the design process. This surely cannot always be the case as there are never 'perfect' clients that are happy first time; they recognise this. That is why they set out strict design procedure terms and conditions, which must be signed.

This way of working must have a negative effect on the creative process to some extent.

I can see that The Design Mechanics is run very much as a business. This is something Dave Pannell emphatically expressed to anyone thinknig of setting up on their own one day.

I agree with this principle. But taking shortcuts to make sure you meet a deadline you have put in place because of an attractive price list can surely sometimes lead to sub-standard results, with creativity suffering. Unless of course you’re an extremely talented designer as is the case with The Design Mechanics..

Would I cut the mustard at a company like The Design Mechanics? I'd like to think I could eventually raise my game.

Monday, 20 October 2008


The first assignment is in.

I'm relieved, but extremely anxious at the same time. The fear of the unknown, will I pass? I might not know for weeks.

I found the assignment a good exercise in research and as a result learned a lot, especially in computer languages.

The precision required when using the assignment template as well as becoming familiar with InDesign will hopefully be applicable to my design and website developer orientated work.

I feel the amount of time we were given, as perhaps made me a little more doubting of my work, as its given me time to over analyse and evaluate, I maybe have changed things unnecessarily because of this.

Has deadline day loomed I felt quite relaxed as I'd pretty much done what I thought was a polished finished copy the week before. Some proof reading from a friend soon increased the pressure as he found seven SPG mistakes. Have I missed more?

I was the first to hand in, this was maybe not the best thing to do half way through a college day as I noticed a few people enjoyed watching me squirm. Hearing little things through out the rest of the day made me worry if I'd remembered everything.

All I can do now is wait. Next time around I don't think there is a lot I could do different, maybe just hang fire a little with the handing in of the assignment and get it proof read much earlier. Most of all I need to relax a little more (not to the point where I become careless); maybe I'm putting myself under too much pressure. If I have made mistakes, I am going to learn from them. .

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Time, a commodity

Going back into education after an eight year hiatus was very daunting. Walking into class the first day to find I was the last to arrive was quite intimidating. Some ice breaking exercises soon eased my initial anxieties. There’s a great mix of ages and backgrounds which has made me feel very much part of the group.

I was a little bit disappointed about only having the time to attend the HNC course. Leaving my job as a graphic designer to attend the HND course was never a serious consideration. I have managed to put any regret behind me for now.

It’s week four of the course and I’m finding it quite time consuming. Getting on with the first assignment, holding down a job four days a week, seeing my girlfriend and keeping up with other commitments is hard to juggle.

Any spare time is very much a luxury. On the other hand keeping busy, meeting new people and constantly learning new things as made me feel motivated and driven. Since starting the course I have become much more inquisitive in general.

I’m really enjoying the course, but I must learn to manage my time better. With my newly found motivation I’m finding it hard to fully concentrate on the job at hand, whether it’s work, my social life, the assignment or weekly self study tasks there’s always something else in my thoughts that I need to do. I don’t think this will be healthy for my development over the duration of the course. Do I need to prioritise and be more structured with my time? I think so.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Where I’ve come from; where I am now; where I’m going

I am currently working contently as a graphic designer at a company that specialises in licensed software aimed at children.

In my eight years at Alternative Software I have worked on several high profile licences. They include The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Marvel Heroes. My Responsibilities demand me to be involved with both functionality and aesthetics of the software and packaging.

I have taken much from my eight years in full time employment. I have become a very determined problem solver, efficient with time and resources and gained experience of working within a team as well as working independently. I feel equally at ease with either dynamic.

I feel I have exhausted my creative possibilities in work and I am hoping to expand my skills by participating in the HNC Interactive Media course.

I hope to become confident and competent in web design with at least an Intermediate understanding of the computer languages required to create a successful website. This knowledge will hopefully give me a platform to further my skills on completion of the HNC.

The first couple weeks of the course have filled me with confidence that this is the right way forward for me. I can't wait for the challenges I will face over the next two years.

As well as the new skills I will learn in web design and its languages, I'm hoping this course will expand on my experience already gained in print design by teaching me new techniques and design principles.

My ultimate goal will be to one day start my own design studio. But in the near future I hope to transfer my new skills into my company, by radically updating and revamping their sluggish, poorly designed website.