Monthly Archives: February 2012

Provoke. Two week Brief.

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To design a message as a gift to motivate action.

This is my final brief of this academic year where I can chose which tutor I want to do a project with, and as I have made a conscious effort not to pick the same tutor for any of the projects, it has worked out pretty well for me, that I get to do a project with a study aboard tutor. Also it seems that the projects pretty good too.

The project is about gifts, and the idea of giving someone something, not necessarily an actual present, as a gift has multiple meanings.

After looking briefly at the suggested research areas I have decied that I don’t wish to look at any depressing subject matter as I feel that alot of people have become desensitised to all the poverty, war and poorly treated animals in the world.

I came across a TED Talk, while looking for information to support my project proposal. That said that with good design things work better, as well as this people when happy are more open to ideas and this then makes them more creative. After looking further into this I found an article in Scientific America titled – “Happiness: Good for creativity, Bad for single-minded focus”.

This article said that “studies find that people are most creative when they are in a good mood” and “With positive mood, you actually get more access to things you would normally ignore”. I’m not to worried about the part where happiness can lead you to be less focused, as I feel people are to focused – Like myself. My tutors are always telling me to experiment more and try to things, but with the stress and negativity of a deadline that makes it pretty difficult, therefore forcing me to have a narrow and focused view which shuts out creative or new ideas.

So in an attempt to become more creative I am going to force myself to come up with 20 ideas of how to show/what is happiness. Then from here I shall try filter down to the best ones and then develop them further e.g Take one initial idea and then try think of 10 ways I could produce or show it.


Two week brief. Sustain.

I have been super busy. This project, project proposal researching and a new brief starting Monday (Today). This blog post will be probably a mix of tenses, past & present.

Recreating or redesigning energy bills is actually really difficult. I don’t know whether it’s the fact you’ve seen the information format already which then makes it difficult to then try and forget what you have seen to make something new?

However I don’t feel like this brief is about creating something new. So I created for my interim crit, really basic and very similar layouts for the bill. I focused on usage and the way that in a bill you don’t normally know how well your actually doing. So on each bill I produced various charts that compared your usage to either, last month, year or even your neighbours.

At the crit I didn’t particularly get anything feedback, other than make my hierarchy of text clearer and to look at my grid/white space some more. But then I think that is because I didn’t really have a concept that I was particularly pushing.

After seeing others work and talking in groups I now have some ideas. So I’ve been forcing myself to try and experiment in my sketchbook with various ideas before I jump on to Indesign, as I did in the previous week.

Major project proposal. Exploration of area of interest.

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As a graphic design student you’d expect it would be pretty straight forward for me to explain or even just think about what interested me about the subject… Perhaps even something else that maybe connected with design. But no.

I feel as though I’m not interested in anything. So far I’ve come up with that I am interested in good design. Whether that be graphic, product or architectural.

I’m also interested in the areas of;
– form
– function
– concept
– usability
– purpose

During this week I have been trying to look deeper into why I like “good design” and also try and discover what it is.

I came across Dieter Ram’s Ten principles of good design. However asking my lecturer about this theorist/designer, he is not a person that I should consider… But to me, even though he is a product designer mainly I still feel he has valid points.

How things look, is quite a touché subject in design. There is the whole Arts and Craft movement where William Morris said that you should not have anything in your home that is not useful or beautiful.

It seems the issue is that people don’t like design if it’s main priority is to look good. But surely that can be a function in itself?

Even art has made this transition from being something than was admired and was created out of beauty and story telling into something which must stir up provoking questions and should be more conceptual.

To me it seems that aesthetics or admiring something that looks good is an shameful thing to do. Others will judge you for it. Is this because design, such as graphics needs to make a stand, to appear more serious, taken serious as a cultural subject such as Fine Art or classical music.

I’m not saying that design or work should be created purely because of looks as then it is ultimately pointless plus it won’t last.

Regarding form, function and that equation, it seems a lot more complex now. There is more to good design than this. I feel that form (aesthetics) gets quite a bad name. But there is nothing that stops form being part of the function, a piece of text can easily printed from a computer and state a message, but if that same message was done by hand it could really reinforce the content… For example a letter to a friend or a birthday greeting.

So far I’m trying to find image of what I find to be good design. It is actually quite difficult. As one blogger said, good design is like love, you can’t describe what it is, but you know it when you see it. (or feel it in loves case.)

While searching through images I have come across pieces of design that I would say are timeless, such as Edward Johnson’s typeface created for the underground or Swiss 1940s posters.

However, this then suggests to me that good design changes. Good design when William Morris was around, is different from the good design of today.

So this is where I’m at. I don’t have a essay question as of yet, but I do feel like my ideas and thoughts are coming together. If anyone has idea or information or a research area that I should look into that would be greatly appreciated.

Substain. Two week Brief.

“To design a better energy bill to help consumers save money and the planet”

This is probably the first brief i’ve done that is an actual redesign of all ready designed information.  I have chosen to redesign a British Gas, electric bill. We have to produce three different bills for three different users; Low consumers, Average consumer, and High consumer.

Things that we must adhere to;

– Retain all numbers/data

– Company logo

– Number of printed colours

– Legal information

– and any other mandatory information such as small print.

Today was the briefing, so we had a talk and a small workshop session. In groups we decided what were the most important pieces of information to display and what could be removed.

The main issue was that a lot of the bills don’t feel connected, in a sense that you do not connect them with yourself, or your usage… they information could be displayed in a more humanised form so that there was more focus on “cause & effect”

Also comparison, if you don’t compare the information, then how do you know if you are doing a good job or not? For example my bill could be £100, with 1000 Kwh usage. So what? Is that good? Could it be better? If you compared it with my last months usage, then thats a start… but still, thats comparing against myself. If you compared it against another person with the same living situation as me, then I know how well I was doing on average.

Perhaps also include a service that notifies you when your using to much? Like Loyds TSB, they will send you a text message when you are getting close to your overdraft. I plan to keep the paper bill as this is the most universal (if thats the correct term) medium. Everyone can open a letter, where no everyone can read text messages or use an Iphone app. I will perhaps add text messages on as an extra or maybe an email, but I don’t want to bombard people as they will then move the notification email to the junk folder!

Use. Two week brief.

Finally finished this project ready for the crit. My Owires never turned up in time, I’ve emailed the sellers on amazon and they were more than happy to send me a full postage refund which is fab!

I changed the colour themes quite a bit as once I printed the orange/blue theme it was difficult to see the colour differences between the sections. Also the orange looked random, as if it was more of a mistake than a design choice.

CMYK was the next colour theme, with the exception of black as that would of over powered the whole page. Also I changed the yellow to slightly orange as the reversed out text would of been unreadable.

Over all I’m quite happy with what I’ve produced. The layout is simple, the sections are easy to identify and I think it would help people use the print facilities at uni.

Notes from crit
– Look at designing the net for the stand, include that the guide it for Csm.
– Create some kind of navigation e.g tabs on the side.
— Full page dedicated to a tab or just added onto an original page.
– Make images slightly bigger on the step by step guides.

Not bad feedback. I could of done with more. So it anyone thinks there’s stuff I should change please let me know!

Screen Printing Workshop. One Day.

Today was my first lesson in how to screen print. Before I had only done printing from a premade screen or a stencil.

The day was pretty long, however there was a lot of waiting around and we only had half an hour to create prints.

As it was only a day induction we didn’t get to experiment fully with the four colour process, only mixing inks directly on the screen.

I will make an effort to go back again and try to screen print more often as its a great facility to have as well as getting back to creating images by hand rather than creating screen based work.

Use. Two week Brief.

As I decided pretty early on, on what format I wanted my piece to take I started straight away in creating a mock up version just to see how big it would need to be as well as if my size choice was actually right for what I wanted to produce.

I have been having a complete nightmare. As the project really only got it full swing from Monday afternoon, it seems as though we ultimately have less that two weeks to see through this project. Meaning that it’s impossible for me to have an idea, create a decent layout and get it all properly printed at a professional printers by Thursday (As friday I have screen printing induction).

Due to this I decided to go by my own binder. As from the pictures below you can see that I tried to create the binder style/function but using lose binder rings. They do no work in the slightest. So after buying my own craft binder, I got home to find out that it wasn’t supplied with any binder rings at all. Fabulous. My binder is 2:1 and it seems that everywhere, as in local office supply shops, only sell 3:1. I have brought some wires off Amazon so hopefully I will get them soon.

On this project so far it seems i’ve spent more time trying to sort out the manufacture and production rather than the actual design and layout of my pages. I guess, if I am unable to bind my pages how I want, at lest I can still change the design once I figure out how I will bind the pages.