Skills that I have developed during my internship

Working for the WRU has been a great education for me. It has required a huge shift in working style and actually in workload. Looking back, university work has always been a walk in the park in comparison.

Time management

The first and most immediate change for me has been the timescale of projects. Whereas in university a project is outlined and a deadline of say a week is given. In our department, an entire project, for example the signage for an upcoming fixture or other event, might need doing by “the end of the day” and it could be early afternoon.

The major change in attitude for me is simply not to take any downtime. What I tended to in the past was mull over a project in my mind for a few days, possibly write down some notes and ideas and then all of a sudden the deadline would approach and I’d have to put my head down and work like hell to get it in on time. The only difference here is that you skip the mulling stage and just work like hell start to finish to get things done and sent off in time.

This really makes sense to me. Most companies cannot afford to give a designer a while to just sit around and be contemplative. If you’re going to be paid a decent age you need to produce as much work as possible to make yourself an asset to the company.

Organisation – Write.It.Down

While design is a very dynamic process where you might have flashes of inspiration midway into a project or realise that another format would be more appropriate for a given project, you cannot only rely on your holding all the information in your mind.

Every single thing needs to go down on paper lest you forget it and have your work suffer as a result. Highlighting key requirements in emails, noting the file extension where your work is placed, where elements such as relevant logos are held or riding previous versions of your current project to use as templates. There is always more to retain than, at least I, can hold in my mind.

The aim of the game is efficiency and speed. Wasting time scoring the server for a document of a .png is tantamount t self sabotage when you’re on a tight deadline.

Back everything up

Every item of work our department produces is categorised and saved on our local network with it’s own job number. So each file will begin with for example:

‘WRU1234 Rugby Document’ 

We have a shared Excel spreadsheet where we record the job, the job number, the extension in which it can be found and our progress 0% – 100%. This allows us to easily pick up work if for example a colleague is unwell.

Although it is a rarity, our network has failed a couple of times since I arrived and that makes all of our assets unreachable and so backing up relevant work is essential. I have every single document I have so far created or participated in, backed up on my computer with its corresponding number. Each piece is held in a folder which also contains every asset that pertains to it. This includes not only imagery and logos, but supplied documents like word docs with the text for the project etc.

While I’ve learned a lot about the job of being a designer, I’ve also learned some of the traditional skill sets for an intern. Ive gotten really pretty good at carrying half a dozen coffees and bacon sarnies without spilling a drop.

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Animal Farm – How it should have looked

Early this year we were tasked with designing a new cover for the George Orwell classic Animal Farm based on our interpretation. Here is the finished cover I submitted.

Final Piece in minion

Below, however, is my own rendering of my design, published in hard cover copy. This is just a chance to revisit my old work and further accustom myself with Adobe Photoshop.

Finished display

Field Level 5 (ADZ5888) – Reflection on the year

While the subject element of my course is, to me, the larger part of the course as it focuses on fundamentals of design. I would have learned less this year if I had no engaged with my Field module. I have learnt a great deal of the periphery of my subject, learning about broad concepts that, although background concerns, nevertheless play an important role in shaping my development as a designer.

Circle Line

In my first module we were taught by Chris Glynn who was teaching the Circle Line module. We were asked to make an 8 minute, abstract documentary style video exploring the visual language of the Circle Line with the intention to bring a sense of the circle line’s past in an implicit manner through the use of editing, animation, visual effects and musical composition. We were to use both our own and archival media in the form of footage and audio recordings.

The whole experience, from the initial walk along the Taff river to the trip up the valleys from Cardiff to Pontyridd, and on up the valley towards Ton Pentre we were encouraged to change our usual perspectives and focus on things we wouldn’t usually. The work we were to produce should give the implicit sense of the area and its history without text and without narration, something never asked of us before. I admit I found it very difficult to adjust to this new philosophy initially.  Towards the end of the second trip, however, I found myself getting into it and found myself discovering much that I would have normally ignored.

The video editing process was also a steep learning curve, because this film genre departed from most typical rules of filming, in terms of framing of shots, linear and coherent visual narrative and unfiltered audio. I am not normally someone who would be drawn to such abstract work, but that is the same reason I think it helped me grow as a designer.

Information is Power

For our term project I was placed in the group ‘Information is Power’ which explored the role of a Graphic Designer in creating Info-graphics. Our first introduction to the topic was a look back at the origin of info-graphics, their development and their value or more complicated existing systems as a source of quick visual information.

Our first project was to collect some information of whatever kind we wanted and to display it in an appropriate manner as an info-graphic. My team did a survey on the power of a hand drawn ‘no entry’ sign to deter people from entering a bathroom that was, in fact, open and functional. This was an interesting look at human psychology as much as it was a new experience in info-graphic design. I was really pleased with my submission also.

Visual Storytelling

We were asked to create a narrative through visual story telling on any subject we chose. The idea was to create a visual piece that used a systematic approach to convey statistics or other forms of information. This was a difficult brief as it was very broad in its scope. I decided to create a website comprised on various info-graphics. This was a big learning curve as it required extensive animation as well as web design beyond anything I had done to that point. The whole nature of Field so far seems to be to drop you somewhat in the deep end with a new topic of study and see what happens. I’ve enjoyed that aspect. Being tested like that with minimal pressure to produce something amazing because it’s new to you, but occasionally surprising yourself with what you manage.

One day project Craft & Kin – Revisited

I have previously written about my work for Craft and Kin and the brief my group was given. Unfortunately, when we originally undertook the task we didn’t operate very effectively as a team and our work was very sub par, in my opinion.

Since then, I have decided to entirely overhaul this and several other projects I have done through out the year (more to come on those other projects). When I last worked on this brief, I wound up with a confusing mess of semi decent ideas that hadn’t been refined into final idea. I decided to take my favorite elements from those ideas and produce the long overdue final product.

Introduction

A quick summary of the brief: We were asked to create a brand identity for a Bristol based barber shop. They wanted something cool and modern, but nothing too cliche. They wanted emphasis on the personalised service they offered to clients as that was one of their strongest selling points. We also had to advertise the particular services they offered in terms of hair and facial treatments. 

In our original project we had decided to research Bristol and came up with two interesting points of focus:

Here was our final product. I think in retrospect, we should’ve balanced our time more in terms of focusing on aesthetics more than cleverly tying the logo to something relevant. I think the balloon didn’t really work in the end. Our idea was to combine the balloon shape with the colours of a barbers shop pole. However a balloon with stripes of blue, red and white across its body look irritatingly like a blob of toothpaste.

A cut above

Here you can see my new logo. I think this was possibly in reaction to the poor layout and definition of the previous iteration of the logo that led me to go all the way the other way. It could also be that in other projects since I have some promising results with silhouettes. I first quickly crated the shape and then added a thick, bold typeface that would stand out (left). I also made sure to pick a sans serif typeface to class it up a little and give it more unique charm.

In the second image (right) I inverted the entire image and added shading that I realised looked like a shiny emboss effect. While unintended, I felt it bestowed a more premium feel. Having just visited Zenith media on a field trip and seen the intricate detailing that can be applied to paper products, I was tempted to use a few in case I had these printed for real.

Logo Comparison.jpg

Despite the modern, minimalist design I was aiming for, I decided there was a lack of flare in my original designs, and so I experimented with gold and silver effects as well as using embossing effects on my type and my image. As well as this I decided black and white were too harsh and background colours an I reduced them to dark grey and very pale grey. On the bottom version I also added a texture to the background to give it a thick card effect, further differentiating it from the foreground imagery.

Happy with the logo, I next turned my mind towards creating ephemera and other items for the branding to sit within.

 

Here is my first item. The business card, front and back. I decided to go with my latest logo design and continue the minimalist theme on the rear. I was happy to have slightly more crammed in as the rear of the card is where the vast majority of the information should sit. I continued the gold and silver embossing effect throughout and decided to use icons for everything to give a more visual idea of the experience.

While I was very happy with this design, I could help feel that too not use the inverted design would be a waste. I decided I would find a place for it.

We originally planned to add loyalty cards, but never got that idea off the ground particularly. I decided, therefore that I would kill two birds with one stone. I need the cards and I wanted to include my white design.

Here is the final product and a rendering I made. I am very pleased with the outcome as the logo on the front is unmistakable. But cannot be mistaken as the business card. I am also proud of the maintenance of the gold and silver colour scheme with one red circle breaking the rule and drawing the eye to the selling point of the card. The gold ink stamps are also a unique touch that would be hard to forge.

Here are my shop signs. They are simply the same as my original logo except on the shop banner the  type has been moved to fit the provided space.

My Thoughts

While the original project was simply a test with no effect on my year’s performance. It had been niggling at me that I had left this project done to such a poor standard. I felt very confident at the time that I would produce something far better and I feel like I have fixed that.  Brief’s whether they are real commercial projects, or simply a one day experiment like this one, are very useful as they set specific boundaries to work within and objective goals to reach.

This now feels like a piece that, with a little bit of refinement, in terms of dpi of images and final consultation, that I could imagine waling past on the high street and being offered one of the business cards.

 

Visiting Zenith Media

Zenith Media is one of South Wales fastest growing print manufacturers. Ian, our lecturer organized the trip.

Thanks to Zenith’s links to Cardiff Metropolitan University, we were given a full tour of their facilities.

We were first given some background information about the company’s recent past and the reasons for their successes. All of this was extremely educational because as much design work as we, as students have done. There’s nothing like the real world of business.

Here we saw an engraving machine that manufactured plates that would later be inked and used for printing possibly hundreds of thousands of sheets of copy.

Four plates are necessary as a full colour page is composed in the CMYK colour gammit.

The enormous printing machines had open troffs at intervals with rollers evenly spreading each colour across the engraved plates.

As a quick aside. Zenith also does smaller batches of digital print for smaller customers or trial runs. I noticed that their ink cartridges look recyclable. Apparently every effort is made to recycle waste from each stage of the printing process.

Some examples of stacked printing jobs awaiting binding. This included a piece clearly for Cardiff Met.

What amazed me during the tour was the number of components of a print job that could be adjusted with an almost limitless number of combinations of paper weight, paper colour, texture, ink colour and formula (some are mineral based, some vegetable based etc) and extra effects such as embossing, debossing,

In the first image, there is the bossing and debossing machine which is antique, the technology hasn’t changed awfully in the interim so there is no need to replace them.

In the second image there is a job, midway through production. It is some memorial piece with regards to Amy Whinehouse. You can see that certain elements that needed to be exentuated have been given a glossy finish.

During my time at Zenith I learned of the sheer scale of operation required to create beautiful works of print on an industrial scale. The number of professionals with small specialised roles in keeping the whole operation in motion was impressive and quite daunting.

I learned an awful lot about the importance of networking and being willing to put yourself out there and encourage this to proceed to your benefit.

Final Alterations – Steps 4 Pets

App Icon

Image result for change 4 life

Here is my original App Logo. Although I was happy with the overall design language. I realised there was a disconnect between this and the posters I had created. There was also no hint in the app design itself that the project is one under the ‘Change 4 Life’ banner. I have since made some rather large alterations.

App Icon 2

Here is my final design. Along with the posters, it will be the basis of my final submission. As you can see, it holds far more in common with the ‘Change 4 Life’ logo. I have utilized the colour scheme for both the background and the lettering. I have also used the closest approximation to the typeface as I could create. My decision to use capital letters is due to the real size the app icon will eventually be constrained to, namely around a square inch.

Along with my posters, I believe I have created a comprehensive design language to convey my idea which I also believe to be strong.

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Steps 4 Pets – Developing my Idea

For the first project in my persuasion module I have been tasked with creating a campaign on a topic chosen by myself from a list. I chose to focus on health.

Originally I had hoped to do a campaign focusing on voluntary euthanasia. I explained in a previous blog post, my reasons for initially choosing this topic and for rejecting it after further research. I have now decided to focus on fitness and well-being. I decided to do my work under the banner of Change4Life. A government organisation run through the NHS in order to educate and encourage families to adopt healthier life choices in terms of diet and exercise.

My focus, while on the entire family unit, is specifically primary aged children. My reasoning behind the is that much of a child’s diet and exercise habits and choices are determined by the lifestyle of their parents.

The app concept is one that would allow a child to care for a pet avatar. The avatar would represent a pet that would need walking and caring for. The completion of tasks such as going to the park or taking a certain number of steps a day, would generate rewards which would allow the user to build their avatar in certain ways, such as increasing its abilities and buying unique items for them.

My research has been quite extensive,  this has allowed me to target my audience very closely. My idea is that young children will need supervision to accomplish the tasks set out for them in order to earn rewards and many will need a parent to download the free app. This will encourage all parties to get out and be more active.

Initially I intended to create a tamagochi type device which would be cheaply purchased and allow the child to have control of the avatar entirely independently. But it became clear that this would create a financial barrier to entry for the programme. Of course, a phone is still required, but according to www.statista.com that should be less of an issue.

Capture

Creating the app is one thing. But I had to build an entire design language that would be appropriate for the audience and work in multiple contexts. I elected to use a series of arcade style icon in bright, block colors and to begin by creating a number of posters.

 

I decided to make my posters as minimalist as possible in order to hold children’s attention. Too much information may be off-putting. Each poster contains an icon of an item that can be earned or collected in the game and each bestows its unique benefits. I wanted to make the experience of this game one of development and positive reinforcement.

This idea is partially inspired by the game Pokemon Go, where a player uses their phone’s GPS and camera to find Pokemon to capture as well as various rewards, in a similar vein to geocaching. This may seem strange as Pokemon go went from a sensation to a distant memory in a matter of months. I believe this is due to its lack of reward for persistence and its lack of variety and development as you play. This Role Playing format is very popular, for example:

  • Club Penguin was a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), involving a virtual world that contained a range of online games and activities. It was created by New Horizon Interactive (now known as Disney Canada Inc.). Players used cartoon penguin-avatars and played in a winter-set virtual world. Club Penguin was made available to the general public on October 24, 2005, and expanded into a large online community, such that by late 2007, it was claimed Club Penguin had over 30 million user accounts.[2] As of July 2013, Club Penguin had over 200 million registered user accounts
  • World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. With a peak of 12 million subscriptions in October 2010 and Blizzard’s final report of 5.5 million subscriptions in October 2015, World of Warcraft remains the world’s most-subscribed MMORPG, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most popular MMORPG by subscribers. In January 2014, Blizzard announced that more than 100 million accounts had been created over the game’s lifetime.

I believe there are a number of reasons for the success of these games. One was the community network aspect. Players had a huge number of fellows and could play and compete against strangers. There is also the aspect of character development. Both game featured a standard unadorned avatar as the starting character which could be improved and personalised, giving the player a feeling of accomplishment.

I plan for this app to incorporate both of these elements. The avatar will be a dog, a number could be chosen, their names as well as their fur patterns could be chosen by the player. They would then work towards training their pet and purchasing items for it. They would also have other features such as the ability to compare their achievements with other players on local or even national leader boards.  I would also have daily or weekly challenges that would vary from week to week, keeping the game from becoming too repetitive.

I designed this graphic to illustrate my idea.

Iphone mockup

As you can see, the app would be entirely self contained, requiring nothing but a mobile phone. I decided that since the purpose of the app is to encourage healthy life changes, there should be local events page that would allow users to advertise for activities and events. These could be a chat function allowing members to communicate within groups to organise various events.

My Thoughts

I do have my concerns that I am focusing too much on the functionality of the application rather than the design language it would employ. The two are so intertwined and so, what might work on a printed page, may not translate all that well into a an app on a small phone screen.

I will continue to advance and refine this idea as I have found inspiration for additions and features comes faster than I can implement it.