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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Research – Regeneration Research, Enterprise Education Hub (RREEH)

The Regeneration Research, Enterprise and Education Hub (RREEH) was set
up in 2016 to bring together people with interests in supporting community
regeneration. The Hub’s vision statement is:
To empower local communities to address environmental and economic
regeneration and social inclusion through the co-production of knowledge.

It is an organisation dedicated to integrating itself into the communities it serves to find novel solutions and support their own development.

For this brief I am asked to fulfil a number of key requirements set by the organisation.

  • a memorable name that people will associate with excellence in
    community regeneration;

The current name is very drawn out and could be easily shortened and refined without the message being degraded. Possible examples:

  1. Regeneration Hub
  2. Community Hub
  3. Together for Change
  •  typography which reflects inclusivity – people are welcome in
    this community;

Warmth and closeness in a manner that draws the eye and begins its message with an invitation to participate. The emphasis must be on openness and equality. Emphasising participation of any group in particular may give the impression that they are favoured.

I had considered a ring of some kind, exemplifying the message of togetherness, but this may suggest that there is no room for new participants. Possibly a ring of people or of some other symbol with a space left free for whoever might be interested.

‘We saved you a seat. Come and get involved.’

  •  colour palette which feels welcoming – people belong to this
    community;

Any community project or organisation will of course need to reflect the numerous ethnicities, cultures, religions and concerns of those it serves. Including a spectrum of colours for example would encompass people of all stripes. Any room of people will likely contain old and young, sick and well, liberal and conservative etc. Every effort must be made to avoid showing bias to one group or another, even inadvertently though symbolism.

  •  logo which communicates togetherness – people connect
    together in this community;

An emphasis of the increased power to create change that is afforded by working as a community. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Possibly a reference to a ‘great melting pot’ which would symbolise the mixture of varying personal identities that make up the whole that is the community.

  •  communication spaces – where people gather online as a
    community to share ideas, stories and news – using existing web-spaces, e.g. social media, video-conferencing, collaborative
    workspaces, and CardiffMet microsites.

With regards to this concern, there are numerous social media outlets that can be utilised for free to begin with. As a community organisation I would assume that funding is not infinite and so any use of free space to help the organisation function and reach people is surely a great boost.

There are also applications such as Google Docs which would allow people to collaborate effectively in drawing up plans, illustrating their proposals and editing one another’s work in order to refine it as far as possible.

Message boards that allow people to create groups that are open to all comers who are interested in addressing a particular concern would be vital as they would allow the sharing of ideas to reach the ideal solution to whatever the issue may be.

Everything must be open and accessible to prevent some members of any given community leveraging their collective power against another group or in a way that is against their best interests.

My Thoughts

This is only a preliminary viewing of the project parameters but I am confident that I already have some solid basis for which direction I wish to proceed. I will follow this post with more detailed ones exploring each aspect of the project brief on an individual basis.

 

 

Changing Direction

In my persuasion module I have been asked to focus on a particular health related cause in which I would like to make a change. In my previous blog post, I laid out my reasoning and research behind a campaign that would seek to educate and bring greater awareness of the issue of voluntary euthanasia.

While I feel that this was a worthy and worth while cause to pursue. It may be a very difficult topic as it is a difficult one to broach and a highly contentious issue. Many have an inherent fear of death and thus the topic of intentionally ending one’s life is one that would require a very fine line to be towed in order not to overstep ones role and cause anguish in people.

In my research I have come to be interested in another health related cause which is one with far more universal and relatable consequences. It has been a topic constantly espoused by the media in recent years and appears to be a growing problem. As we as a society grow more prosperous and have more labour saving technologies. Exercise has become more of a novelty and a voluntary pastime. As a country we are becoming more sedentary and this is the cause of numerous major health problems.

Many organisations, both governmental and charity based, share the goal of trying to persuade people to be more physically active. Not only to engage in exercise and sports. But especially to simply remain still and prone less.

Change4Life (NHS)

According to Change4Life benefits of an active lifestyle include:

  • Improved behaviour, self confidence and social skills
  • Improved attention levels and performance in learning
  • Coordination
  • Strength in muscles and bones
  • Health and Fitness
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved mood

I personally have a very active lifestyle as I have found it gives me all of these benefits. I absolutely struggle to sleep, gain weight and feel less motivated and positive if i go for any period of time without exercising and I notice this in others. Many people I know live sedentary lifestyles and poor diets and it affects their health and well-being.

I would like to take this research further and hopefully create work aimed at targeting these issues in our society.  Poor physical health based entirely on lifestyle cause a great deal of health issues and needlessly put enormous strain on our healthcare system.

According to Health.Gov 

Sitting or lying down, (with the exception of sleeping), are what we call ‘sedentary’ behaviours. You can be sedentary at work, at school, at home, when travelling or during leisure time. Sedentary behaviour requires little energy expenditure. Examples of sedentary behaviour include:

  • Sitting or lying down while watching television or playing electronic games.
  • Sitting while driving a vehicle, or while travelling.
  • Sitting or lying down to read, study, write, or work at a desk or computer.

There is a difference between a person who is sedentary and a person who is physically inactive. Being ‘physically inactive’ means not doing enough physical activity. However, being ‘sedentary’ means sitting or lying down for long periods. So, a person can do enough physical activity to meet the guidelines and still be considered sedentary if they spend a large amount of their day sitting or lying down at work, at home, for study, for travel or during their leisure time.

 

Much of my knowledge comes from TED talks I have listened to in the past. They are a font of information on topics such as physical and mental health.

According to Lifespan Fitness, the website from which I retrieved this video, the possible risks of a sedentary lifestyle are:

  • Physical inactivity may increase the risks of certain cancers.
  • Physical inactivity may contribute to anxiety and depression.
  • Physical inactivity has been shown to be a risk factor for certain cardiovascular diseases.
  • People who engage in more physical activity are less likely to develop coronary heart disease.
  • People who are more active are less likely to be overweight or obese.
  • Sitting too much may cause a decrease in skeletal muscle mass.
  • Physical inactivity is linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.

Persuasion – Health

Thus assignment is focused on persuasion. The aim is to create an effective and communicative message to persuade audiences to create change or contemplate and learn about issues they may have been unaware or apathetic about.

We were asked to pick broad categories on which to focus in groups, each group member would pick their own specific cause that fit into that category. I chose voluntary euthanasia as my cause.

Voluntary Euthanasia

This topic is, for want of a more appropriate word, rather ‘niche’. It is however, a very important topic for anyone for whom it becomes relevant to. Voluntary euthanasia is a very current moral debate. The reason I felt compelled to focus on this cause was the documentary about one of my favorite authors, Sir Terry Pratchett (1948-2015). In 2007, aged 59, he publicly announced that he had a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s, called posterior cortical atrophy. He committed himself to raising awareness of the condition and became a strong advocate for voluntary euthanasia, even creating  documentary called ‘Choosing to Die’ where he explored the topic as well as traveling to Dignitas to accompany a patient ending their own life.

“I vowed that rather than let Alzheimer’s take me, I would take it. I would live my life as ever to the full and die, ­before the disease mounted its last ­attack, in my own home, in a chair on the lawn, with a brandy in my hand to wash down whatever modern ­version of the “Brompton cocktail” some ­helpful medic could supply. And with ­Thomas Tallis on my iPod, I would shake hands with Death.” – Sir Terry Pratchett

Currently the practice is rare. As of November 2017, human euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg and Canada Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and in the US states of Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, Montana, Washington DC, and California.

Currently momentum is slowly building to allow voluntary euthanasia in more countries. I can understand concerns about the process. There are strong arguments on both sides of the isle.

Pro 

  • An important freedom is the right to die. There are those, a very small minority, but nevertheless there are people in very rare circumstances who chose euthanasia. For some, it could be argued that this is the right choice. If a person is suffering unbearable chronic pain or other afflictions that give them a very poor quality of life, Some would like the ability to take control of their fate.
  •  It is a legal right in the UK for an Adult to act as they see fit in private as long as they cause no harm to others. Death is surely a private matter and needs to consent.
  • Regulated, controlled euthanasia gives a far less traumatic way out for someone seeking to end their life. This is true for them and their family and loved ones. Forewarning can allows people to process the fact of death and not be damaged by potentially discovering the individual who has ended their own life by chance.
  • Terminal Illnesses can be painful and immensely traumatic. Whether the symptoms are physical, such as locked in syndrome, where a person is conscious but unable to perform the slightest physical action. Or a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s which often leads to senility long before death. Should victims of these afflictions be forced to undergo this trauma unnecessarily?
  • There are numerous instances of carers of terminally ill or heavily disabled people being prosecuted after having helped their loved ones end their lives because the patient was physically incapable. While it must be determined that this is indeed what happened. Those carers are forced to endure further trauma after assisting in suicide. Something they may not be equipped to handle.
  • This is less of an argument than a side effect, But if a terminally ill patient who wishes to die is kept alive despite that then they may incur huge costs in public health resources and finances. This seems cruel as well as wasteful.
  • Those who have the capacity and the will to end their own lives will do so regardless of the law. But they may not be equipped to do it properly or in a way which is as painless as possible. This often brings unnecessary trauma to the deceased and their family.

Con 

  • Many religions have tenants that suicide is a sin and therefore forbidden as your creator is the one who gave you life and therefore the only one allowed to take it away. It wasn’t until the Suicide Act (1961) that suicide ceased to be a criminal offence in the UK.
  • Abuse of the system us potential danger with government sanctioned voluntary euthanasia. It can be hypothesized that an elderly family member with a large estate could be pressured into being euthanized by a family in order to claim inheritance. Or that an elderly or disabled person may feel a burden to their carers.
  • Accepting euthanasia could be seen to be accepting that some lives hold less value than others,
  • Euthanasia is irreversible and may not be the appropriate path for a patient who may be in need of psychological care or other options.
  • Allowing euthanasia may lead to less quality of care for vulnerable groups and less incentive for doctors to keep some patients alive to the best of their abilities.
  • There are those who believe voluntary euthanasia may lead governments to overstep this and move to involuntary euthanasia.

There are powerful arguments on both sides. I was not previously aware of some of the anti-euthanasia arguments. To be clear, should voluntary euthanasia be legalized, there would have to be a huge deal of regulation and checks and balances instituted to prevent nay of the concerns arrayed against voluntary euthanasia coming to fruition.

 

Circle Line – Psychogeography

Psychogeography


“Psychogeography: a beginner’s guide. Unfold a street map… place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets: the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation… Go out into the city, hungry for signs and portents, and see what happens. Open your mind, let the guiding metaphors of the walk find you.”


– Robert MacFARLANE, reviewing the writing of Iain SINCLAIR
The philosophy behind Psychogeography is fascinating. It reads somewhat like the practice of mindfulness. The notion that we go through much of our lives without truly being conscious of our surrounding and attempting to combat that by making a concerted effort to throw off a routine and mix things up. 

I am certainly guilty of, at times, wandering through life without taking the time of notice things. For example driving, I can perfectly easily arrive at a destination having driven there in a kind of uncocious autopilot. I drove perfectly well, but I didn’t truly experience the journey. 

I am not naturally good at looking at thing son a philosophical, none linear way. That is why I chose to study this module. I want to expand my thought processes to allow me a greater pool of knowledge from which to draw. 

The idea of this brief, I am coming to understand. Is to take the unique experiences you undergo as you travel through the world and convey them as best as possible to a wider audience. Each journey, even along the same path, will be entirely unique. The weather, the sounds, the temperature. Each will have changed subtley from one day to the next. 

This may sound like I am using layman’s terms to understand a very complicated concept, but that is how I am able to invisage the philosophy and so writing about it allows me to reinforce what I have learned. 

I intend on using this time to challenge my preconceived ideas and to review my thought process in rider to widen my perspective and allow me to appreciate ideas I may previously have dismissed. 

Circle Line #1

In our first field lecture with Chris, we were given an insight in to the work of the previous year’s group. They had created an 8minute, abstract documentary style video exploring the visual language of the Circle Line. 

The intention behind this video was 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. They used both their own and archival media in the form of footage and audio recordings. 

We were shown this work in order to convey our own brief that would follow in a similar vein. The course seems to have a great deal in common with Psychogeography which was one of our potential topics for our Subject ‘On Display’ brief which I had previously completed. 

In order to demonstrate the concepts we would be employing, Chris took us on a nature walk along the banks of the Taff river and told us to record anything that came to mind. Sights, smells, memory triggers, colour patterns, shapes, textures, anything at all. 

Sasha the Staffodshire Bull Terrier 

Lleuci the Shi Tzu 

The river Taff

I am not naturally good at thinking in entirely abstract ways. I like the media I consume to be quite matter of fact and to be explicit with its meanings. But I am beginning to understand the purpose of all this. We are aiming to appeal to a very base and pure idea of the world around use. Rather than explaining it in a linear manner we attempt to show the individual impact it has on the viewer. 

Apply my brand to ephemera

At this late stage of my project I have settled on a final brand identity. It IS the final identity because even if I wanted to, time has run out for that. But luckily I quite like it. In order to present it in a manner that will allow my audience to understand its real world application, I have mocked up a number of pieces of ephemera across numerous media.

The poster and ticket design are the basis on which all these other elements revolve around. I did this in order to create a consistent visual brand. Here are my completed pieces.

Ephemera

I’m happy with the results of this work. I have tried to not simply reprint the same poster image again and again. But to adapt the signage for each piece while maintain the overall theme. I have to say that despite the rocky start I had on this project. The results are far more promising than I had originally anticipated.

I had considered making a mobile app for the exhibition, but given the nature of the subject, anything that I could include in an app would simply act as spoilers for what would be to come in the exhibition. I may create a webpage to simply work as an advert for the exhibition. Explaining a brief overview of the history  behind the topic and including some images and explanations of the exhibition, akin to a teaser trailer for a movie.

My next step will definitely be to establish a way finding system within the exhibition. I want people to be guided around in a unique way that is in-keeping with the theme of the  exhibition itself. I will explore this in my next blog post. I already have some ideas in the works.