Working as part of a professional Team

So much filing!

Something that I’ve never really had to take into consideration up to this point is the intricate and thorough filing of documents that is required to create content as part of a closely involved design team.

In my time in University, group projects would be simple as we would divide the workload and only in the final stages would be join all our work together into one presentation or display piece before showing off our hard work. Little did I realise that this will not do in the real world.

There must be thousands if not tens of thousands of files on our networks that must all be categorised, numbered and filed away. Every completed project is given its number allowing it to be more easily located. Navigating all of this has been a huge learning curve for me, but I’m getting to grips with it.

Brand Consistency

In order to be able to create consistent content which carries all the hallmarks of the company brand, a huge proportion of the design language is played out with strict rules. There are specific swatches for almost every element in a designed piece. The typefaces of course must be the same, image treatments and screen overlay templates must always be utilised.

I have always been keen on fixing every little detail in my work, but few people can claim to have total mastery of the essential software of designers and I am not one of them. And so I have, from time to time, had to find workarounds for issues I have encountered. Although I go to great lengths to hide this fact in my final products, this is not allowable in professional design. Everything has to be spot on!

Good to know

These lessons have been hugely valuable to me and allowed me to produce numerous pieces thus far which have been published on behalf of the company. Either directly by the WRU or by its subsidiaries such as Dragons rugby, who they have owned since 2017.

Much of my work is creating pieces for campaigns that have not yet come to light, or creating visual mockups of rebranded elements around the stadium or for wider advertising purposes. In short, stuff I can’t post on social media until its all gone out and is no longer confidential.

I recently completed a banner for the Dragons which hangs in their official store in Rodney Parade. I know this piece has bee signed off.

 

 

Henson Kit Ad-min

Again, it is quite a simple design. I’m quite pleased with the textured background design which shows the vertically lifting Tees Newport Bridge.

It is quite an irritation knowing that I cannot display and reflect on the most challenging and engaging pieces I’ve created. But at the same time, I’m very excited to build my portfolio. The pace of work here is so much greater than I’d experienced up this point and so the finished, polished pieces are beginning to stack up.

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Finding my Feet

I am really beginning to find my rhythm, working with the WRU graphic design team. I’ve been assigned primarily to the Newport Dragons rugby team.

Here are a couple of examples of the pieces I have created on their behalf.Dragons AGM Banner

Each year the regional teams have an Annual General Meeting. Each team is represented by a large banner adorned with their logo and website. These banners hang from the walls and are 3m x 3m. A keen eyed observer will notice that the image is not a true square. This is simply an issue with WordPress’ formatting of images. The real version will be taller.

Although this design is relatively simple, the first impressions of guests will be of these giant hangings and so the choice of placements of the logo and the text, large and centred was surprisingly one that required and lot of consultation. Nothing in the professional world of graphic design is simply done in one go and sent off. Dragons v NorthamptonHere is a fixture poster that appeared on the Dragons own website. In truth the majority of the template was already designed. I simply replaced some players as the team roster had altered since its last use as well as repositioning the background patterns and replacing the text more to my liking. I was still very proud to have contributed to something that will have been seen by potentially tens of thousands of people.

My Thoughts

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the work I have completed and contributed to. I will sprinkle them in periodically as I go. The biggest surprise for me working in a very junior position as an intern for the WRU is the amount of consultation I do. I am brought into every meeting where my department is relevant and asked my opinion on very important projects such as television adverts and advertising campaigns.

It really is an amazing experience and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to partake.

 

 

 

Internship Work

During my short time working in the Graphic Design department of the WRU I have learnt a great deal. My responsibilities are very wide ranging and the job changes from day to day.

At the moment, my focus has been on providing design services for the Newport Dragons. In early 2017 the WRU took control of the team as it was in financial difficulty, in the brief time since, they have completely overhauled the teams design language.

Due to this, our four man team is responsible for delivering all their branded media, kit design, graphics for their media, including printed media, web images and art in their stadium and store.

In at the deep end…

In the first major project assigned to me, I was asked to design an premium looking invitation on behalf of the Dragons club president to a number of ‘VVIPs’ who include CEOs of sponsor companies as well as wealthy patrons of Welsh rugby.

I have to admit, being left alone to do this was a daunting proposition. I decided to use the kit design as my template, I began by placing all the relevant branding and finding the ideal positioning for it.

For context, the new team kit design has three variants; The blue and amber is used primarily for hospitality related pieces. There is a red and black version which is for general use and is featured on the official kit as well as a red and amber pattern for community related projects.

Dragons VIP invite 1

This was my first, very basic layout. I worked to place the Dragons logo as centrally as possible while making it flow with the background.

VIP invite 7 (hospitality)-1

After several further edits I had made large scale changes to the design. I had received more information to work from and was receiving feedback as I sent rough copy PDFs to the client for review.

VIP invite 7 (general)-1

I decided to try out the other colour scheme and really liked the strong impact it gave the overall design. The colours are contrasted to one another and very punchy.

VIP invite 7 (a) (general)-1VIP invite 8 (b) (general)-1VIP invite 8 (c) (general)-1

These were the three finalised designs I sent off to the client. They may look quite simple, but everything has been proofed and refined.

  • I ensured that the shield of the Dragons logo was centred with the peak of the grey on which it sits.
  • The ‘RSVP’ sits horizontally to the left facing peak of the black wedge in which it sits.
  • The ‘VIP Invite’ had to be aligned with the boy text without the lettering secluding a small portion of the red.

In total the project went through around twenty iterations and it clearly benefitted from that process, It was a high priority project and high stakes and thus had to be perfect down to the smallest detail. Of course, the design is a subjective thing. The essential part was removing even the tiniest mistakes, misaligned text, typos, incorrect swatches. Any work I do here has a specific swatch set that must be adhered to to maintain consistent branding.

My thoughts

I am truly enjoying working to produce real world pieces of graphic design, I am coming to understand the role our small, four man department plays within the company. Jobs are forthcoming and we are required to jump to work getting them processed and sent off to strict and very short deadlines.

 

 

WRU – Internship

First Day

My first day working in my new position as a Graphic Design intern for the Welsh Rugby Union has made a great impact on me. The world of professional design is very technical and work often has a very finite timeline for completion. It gets very fast paced at times.

I was shown around by other members of the team, Gavin, Adam and Alex. I was introduced to more people than I have a hope of remembering by name, at least for the moment.

Stadium Tour

As part of my induction, I was required to go on one of the WRU’s public tours of the stadium, to learn more of the history of the stadium, the organisation and more generally, Welsh rugby.

It was a fascinating experience. I found out that in the Welsh team’s first international fixture, they played England in 1881 and travelled up to London with just 13 men. As a result they had to ask for volunteers from the crowd. Two Welshmen volunteered and completed the 15 man squad.

Sadly, according to the tour guide, Nikki, had the game been played with modern rules, the equivalent score would have been 83-0 to England. The best part, however, is the fact that while the Welsh captain was not called up to play any further games. The two amateur volunteers each played further matches for Wales. One playing another game and the other playing in a further three.

My responsibilities

As I am a new member of the team and am adjusting to the various responsibilities and systems I am required to use, I have been given small jobs that would otherwise dig into the time of other members of the team. My first day task was to take a informational manual created by the WRU in collaborations with several other large organisation and replace the text with translated copy, before uploading it to our network. This network allows anyone in the organisation to access it when needed.

Overall

I am excited to continue to develop within the WRU and gain more understanding of how everything works so I can truly participate and become a full, productive member of the team.

I am also eager to begin working on large projects that will have real world application and be seen my potentially tens of thousands of people.

 

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.