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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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.

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.

 

 

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

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.

 

RREEH initial ideas and planning

As with any project. My first step is to get out my sketchbook and start throwing out whatever ideas come to mind. I used a thesaurus to find every relevant term that could be applied to the organisation and then smash them together and see what worked.

My first steps was to summarise, in my own words, what the organisation is, does and stands for.

  • They aim to expand as they are still quite a young organisation. Potentially they hope to become an international presence.
  • They have strong ties to Cardiff Metropolitan University.
  • Their first programme was called Resilient Communities
  • Vision Statement – To empower local communities to address environmental and economic regeneration and social inclusion through the co-production of knowledge.’
  • Primary Aim – To establish a solid, practical and action oriented network, information and skill resource to enhance the capacity of Universities, community organisations, businesses, NGOs and the public sector to achieve environmental and economic regeneration and social inclusion throughout South Wales and eventually further afield.

Stated Goals

  1. Act as a focal point to gather various skills.
  2. To create the best outcomes by bringing together grass roots organisations, local businesses and Welsh Universities.
  3. To coordinate efforts between University regeneration hubs and the Welsh Assembly.
  4. To become renowned in the field of multi-disciplinary sustainability within 5 years.

Potential Names Shortlist

  • Community Hub
  • Focal Point
  • Build it Together
  • Project Local
  • Make a Difference
  • Regenerate
  • Project regenerate
  • Community Connect
  • Hub Project
  • Endeavour
  • Community Revive
  • Collective Change
  • Common Ground
  • Skillshare
  • Collective Empowerment
  • Constellaton

My shortlisted names

  • Project Local – The idea behind this name is that people interested, can join the project and be part of group which works together to create positive change. The ‘Local‘ is an attempt to emphasise the small, human scale which each project will be conducted with. This is not a corporate operation, but a group of like minded individuals with a common goal.
  • Collective Change – Again, this literally means something very similar, it is about highlighting the important role that individuals can have in creating positive change in their areas.
  • Common Ground – This is a name I am very fond of. It is far less on the nose and explicit than the other two shortlisted names. It simply aims to show people that despite having differing backgrounds and skills, there are goals we share and there’s no reason we can’t come together to realise them.

Here is the work I have done up to this point in regards to the project. A collection of illustrations detailing my ideas thus far.

My Thoughts

I will have to see if Kate approves of my naming selection and whether she is drawn to any of my designs thus far. I am eager for as much feedback as possible because it allows me to hone my ideas rather than simply throwing out whatever comes to mind.

 

 

 

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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