Friday, 15 May 2009

First Year Reflection

Wow…time flies. The first year of the course has certainly kept me occupied. Now we have reached the end of the first year, it gives me chance to reflect and look forward to the second year.

A2: Well this was the least enjoyable and most daunting of all the assignments, even if in task; the most straight forward. It was the one where the ground rules were set. It helped give a broad outline on the languages and software we would be using, but also gave us the opportunity to see how we would have to work throughout the course. The need for near perfection was hammered home several times throughout this assignment. A widespread referral for most of the class showed us all how important accuracy is. When I look back now I‘m glad of having this emphatically expressed to us so early on, as so far it has helped keep me focused.

A3: I found this assignment the most challenging in terms of what we had to do. I was not used to planning my designs out on paper with so much detail. The research into target audiences, web hosts and writing a competitive analysis was something I struggled with initially. Once I completed this it left me with limited time to complete the fun part; the design process. No doubt the heavy writing I went through early on in year 1 as helped with my SPG. The meticulous way the website was planned as also shown me a different way of working, that also helps increase the amount of final design solutions.

A5: This was a chance to build my website from A3. Early on I struggled with the XHTML and CSS. Nothing was sinking in. I kept on trying, and with some guidance from John before long it did stick. I was pleased with my first attempt at web design. In the future I think I will be much better equipped to complete a web site both faster and more effectively. I found it a more relaxed assignment thanks to the added pressure of lengthy written work been removed. The only thing I had to worry about was making sure the site was valid. This can be quite infuriating when one error in the code can cause countless errors in the validation process.

A7: Now came the reward for all the hard work I’d put in throughout the year. We had to re-design an electronic albums artwork along with the record label logo (Raster-Noton). I had the task of re-imagining Alva Noto’s Xerrox Vol.2…it wasn’t easy. The music made my job a little more difficult than I first thought. It was unique to say the least. Mood boards really helped create some visuals for my minds eye and ideas soon started flowing. In the end I ended up with three different concepts for the finished artwork and dozens for the logo. The client scenario we worked under helped whittle down my choice for both logo and artwork. This is something I’m still struggling to deal with; the choices I must make. I find it hard to let go of certain designs. This is something I can and must improve on in the second year to become a more decisive designer.

A1: This was the one I had worked on all year. Collecting inspiration for my sketchbook, posting on the forum, working on my Online Learning Journal and of course my own ideas generation. This was a nice assignment for me, as I often see things that inspire me. Keeping a visual log helps to keep it fresh in my mind. The annotating side was something I found hard. It’s not always easy to put down in words what you think about a design you have seen or created. The lectures we had from Steve on colour theory, grid design, the PARC principles and logo design helped give me the vocabulary to write about design much more clearly and as a result my annotations both improved and became easier to write.

With year 1 over I can now think about year 2. I’ve learned some valuable lessons about me as person and designer over the last year. I now know much more about design than when I started; something I didn’t expect considering the amount of time I’ve been employed as a graphic designer. If nothing else it has shown me that in this industry you can’t afford to stop learning. I feel slightly ashamed for stagnating and not striving to improve for the last few years prior to the course. This course has helped reinvigorate my love for design and proved that it’s important to keep challenging myself and to take me out of my comfort zone.

I now analyse the designs I create much more to see if it adheres to the core principles I have learnt, rather than it just been a piece of “eye candy”. This is going some way to make me a better designer. In the next year I must carry on with this approach whilst also trying to be more decisive with my choices.

Keeping up on practice throughout the summer break with XHTML and CSS will be crucial to how smoothly I reintegrate into the second year. Building a personal portfolio will be a goal I set myself this summer. This will hopefully help keep me up to speed with XHTML and CSS, whilst helping me to gain new employment. A change of scene will hopefully satisfy my hunger for new skills and challenges in the work place.

I now feel I can move up a gear and really push on to reach the highest standard on the course next year. I know it wont be easy but I need to set myself higher standards to improve and surpass on my first years efforts. Next year I hope to never drop below a merit grade and hopefully with a lot of hard work achieve at least two distinction grades.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Nearly Done...

The last week has been hectic, moving house is not easy. As a result over the last week, I’ve found it real hard to put much time into A7.

Thankfully thanks to the extra hours I put in through the Easter break I‘m in a really good position to finish with time to spare.

A7 has been a really enjoyable assignment, I’ve loved coming up with different concepts for my Digipak design.

This is something I probably wouldn’t have had time to do if it wasn’t for my previous experience with Photoshop. With this in mind I’ve taken satisfaction from helping out some of my class mates.

The client scenario we have worked under for this assignment has also made me realise that no matter how much hard work you put into one design, it’s the client’s opinion that counts.

Initially I wasn’t that sure on the client’s choice of my three designs, has it was the one that had the least amount of time and passion go into it. But considering the music I now feel it’s the right choice.

Over the next week, with things hopefully settling down with the move in, I will refine my design and test out a client suggestion for a new logo colour combination.

Please feel free to leave feedback on my logo and Digipak outer.