Today I was very fortunate to go on a one day course of sign writing. This was a great Christmas gift from my sister and boyfriend, and probably the best gift I will ever receive!

The class can be a two or one day event and is run by a great guy called Nick (you can find all the information here http://www.nickgarrettsignwriter.com)

We started off by understanding about sign writing, things to consider when spec’ing up a job, also things to battle with – the British weather!

We then jumped straight into tracing various letters and also practiced a few free hand letters, I went for Gill sans 3. By the fifth repetition I think I nailed it.

We chalked up our letters onto the wall and then began painting, it was really fun, but intense, I think I concentrated so hard I gave myself a headache! That or it was the fumes of the enamel / white spirit!

Now I have had this taster session I really would love to do another class in a few months time after I have had time to practice more and develop my technique.

If you have any interest in type, letters, painting in general I can’t recommend this course enough!

2015/01/img_1437.jpg By Ron, a professional sign painter

2015/01/img_1441.jpg My letters!

2015/01/img_1439.jpgNick’s wonderful ‘O’

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After 9 wonderful months I have left the LoveKnitting team and ventured back into the studio world. To welcome me back in is a studio called Eight Arms.

Over the last 9 Months I have had a lot of fun, learnt a hell of a lot about knitting, met some truly interesting people, as well as worked on a lengthy digital project – seeing it through from wireframes to launch.

After my internship I had the plan of relaxing over Christmas then I would decide what direction I should take. This all changed when I was approached by Loveknitting as, I jumped right into a freelance role. I never intended to work freelance, nor did I attend to work in-house. I couldn’t say no due to being a knitting fanatic! This was a scary (due to being out of university 6 months) yet fantastic opportunity and meant I would get experience in a totally new design situation.

I really enjoyed working at LoveKnitting and making the decision to move from a comfortable 10-6pm, well paid, in-house position may seem odd to some, but I was ready to feel uncomfortable – ready for a challenge.

I’ve finally become comfortable with being uncomfortable – new projects, new people, new clients, and the expectations of me. I’m now accepting to the fact that it’s okay to feel unsure about starting a new project. Instead of letting this uncertainty cripple me like it did many a time at university, I embrace it.

Uncertainty has become possibility.

Last night I attended the CSM graphics degree show. All I can say is that it was amazing to experience it from another perspective.

Around this time last year I was taking part in my own show, in the same building and in the same space. During that evening I was excited and nervous about talking to ACTUAL designers about my work as well as giving out and receiving business cards.

Last night was very different. No nerves, just incredibly excited to see the work produced. I was lucky enough to speak to some amazing students (which I plan to do another blog post about) as well a speak to professional designers… Which I can now include myself in!

Overall it was great for me to attend the show, I felt quite refreshed afterwards. I’ve boosted my passion for design by remembering what I love about graphic design as well as what I love about Central Saint martins. The diversity in the work is incredible, from installations to beautifully created illustrations. Speaking to students who are passionate about their work is a great experience, I’m excited for them and where they will go next in their design careers.

I’ll be visiting again Saturday to look at the work in closer detail and hopefully see some more students there.

Another post coming soon!

I haven’t blogged for a really long time. Probably the last time I properly blogged, was the first week of my internship which was well over 9 months ago. Since then, a lot has happened: the biggest thing that happened to me was fucking up big time; I failed and I failed hard.

From student through to a professional graphic designer, you are constantly told to risk failure and that failure can be good for you. This always confused me, as why would you intentionally try something that wasn’t going to work – how could you possibly gain from failing?

When I was a student I played safe due to my ‘what’s the point in failing’ approach. I had never performed badly at anything – in no way am I being big headed; I always worked hard, put the hours in and got good grades. The word ‘fail’ wasn’t in my vocabulary – that changed.

I failed at my internship. To simplify all the failures into one – I failed as I wasn’t offered a job.

Initially I blamed everyone else but myself (typical denial). As it is now many months down the line, I can be honest to myself about the situation. I can see what happened now without embarrassment/upset of failing. I can now see where I went wrong: I changed from someone who was confident, capable and excited about the future of design into a person who didn’t want to design any more. I lost my design mojo. I niavely assumed that as I had done so well before, it would just continue. WRONG.

However, not being offered a job was the best thing to happen to me. Why? Because it forced me to change.

I now have a very different job, I work in-house at Ecommerce website. The company is small as well as a start up. I would have never had this opportunity or have thought about this sector if it wasn’t for failing.

I have also changed my attitude; I say yes to any opportunities that come my way even if I don’t think I am 100% capable. I have found that learning through mistakes is actually the quickest way to learn and that making mistakes is not the worst thing in the world to happen. I am also more open to feedback, I don’t take it personally when someone asks for amends. Previously, I was controlling of projects (egotistical reasons), now I have lightened up and this has benefited group work. This also goes for my design principles: I now understand my feedback on my degree assessment form — that I should do things for the sake of it and just enjoy it as finding reasons and analysing instantly stops you making and creating.

One big thing I do differently is to remain enthusiastic about everything. During my internship there was one person who was constantly excited about every project, excited about ideas, excited just by life in general. I had previously thought that it was just his personality but it isn’t – it is a choice that as individuals we make. I have come to realise that the way you feel is due to the way that you think. If you think positive then you can only feel positive. For example there can never be a good or a bad job, only good or bad feelings about that job.

Ultimately what has failing taught me — a good designer is not how creative, capable or skilled they are but the attitude they posses.

I’m really glad I failed.

Wednesday I went back to Central saint martins to work as a student ambassador. This involves taking part in workshops and courses to help students who aren’t already on the course, decide or at lest show them what we are about.

Wednesday’s students, all bar two, I worked with in July so it was great to see them again. One student mentioned that they missed the building and that they were excited to start the workshops. Comments like that are great, they are exactly the kinds of things we want to hear.

My task was to help them set up a blog and write their first post. It’s interesting to see how they approach the writing part, some decided to post a picture, some were scared of the blank page and others just jumped straight in.

I really made an effort to reassure each one that anything you do isn’t wrong. Anything written on a blog is okay and that if you don’t have much to say that is ok too.

Just from that one session I found it really rewarding, helping and making the feel ok about what they are doing is great. Also I was being asked about my experiences on the course as well as in my internship. It’s great that they remember me from the summer and the discussions about my impending internship.

I am really looking forward to seeing the work they produce as well as the progress they will make, I am also looking forward to being a part of that and helping them as much as I can. By being a very recent graduate I have first hand experience of the kind of work that’s being produced in csm as well as the problems I struggled with (fear if doing design wrong, not making enough work, etc) but also things that are beneficial such as setting up a blog etc.

The next step for me will be to find out more about being a tutor and looking at how to make that transition from being a student. I am aware that there are programmes run by UAL and I think it would be great for me, as I enjoy being involved with this kind of work. Also it’s a good idea not to put all my eggs in one basket, working as a part time tutor and in a studio would be great, best of both worlds.

Last week I went to the AGI conference, it was great to see such great speakers such as Margret Calvert and Chip Kidd. Even though it was great it really made me question myself about design and my stand point on it. The discussion about form vs function came up and usually I find myself very confident about my stand point.

I felt that Sean Perkins pitch for minimalism struck a cord with me. I literally said to myself ‘yes! This is what I think, this is the kind of design I want to do!’ However counter arguments by Stefan Sagmeister came against Perkins, and then I suddenly felt that connection lost. This is where my panic set in, what if I’m wrong, what if what I think about design isn’t really valid, what if it is all just based on Bauhaus ideals and this has no relevance to today.

After semi-drunken conversation with some of my colleges I have found out two things – 1. I worry to much. I worry about what I think, I worry what other people think, I worry about whats right, I worry about whats wrong. And really I don’t have anything to worry about. This worry is what stresses me out and prevents me from doing. 2. I am a ‘spoilt brat’ (HAHA) which is true, I for some reason or either feel like people should feel bad for me and make me feel better when things aren’t going my way. That isn’t going to happen and the sooner I realise that the better. I have to grow a pair and deal with any feedback I am given.

So the sooner I accept these things, the better.

To try and accept this, and basically get over myself I bought a book called ‘F**k it therapy’ and so far its really good, yeah it is a self help book, but I think anything that helps me from sabotaging myself and my career is a good investment.

So in the attempt to put the ‘F**k it’ theory into action I’ve decided to do a self initiated project that I cannot possibly do minimalisticly (is that even a word? F**k it doesn’t matter) or in black and white.

I have a love for fry ups.
I like going to rubbish cafes.
I like the type, the colours, the designs.

At the weekend I mentioned that the cafes round my way pretty much suck. None of them are quite right. E.g they are not solely breakfast places therefore the food isn’t good quality. I know I like rubbish cafes but there can be a god standard of greasy spoon. I went on to say I would like to open up my own cafe, celebrating the English Breakfast where you guarantee a good sausage!

So the long and short of it is…(The brief) To create a brand that will pay homage to the traditional cheap greasy spoon menu while communicating the quality of the food.
This will involve all kinds of media such a website, blog, menus, signage, recipes, uniform etc. Should be a fun project to do. I think it will allow me to experiment with the balance of minimalism while keeping the humanistic element. Also is designing with elements of *bad* design classed as styling or unauthentic?

 

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So it’s all over, officially.
Graduation was on Wednesday, was an absolutely sweltering day, but good none the less. The speeches were great, even welled up a little at the video they played. I will miss the building so much, as well as the routine of going to a building I knew, seeing all my friends and working on my projects.

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But it’s no time to dwell in the past. The week just gone has been another good one, helping with the case studies, doing some photography and learning new skills such as masking images and the purpose of it!
The case studies are looking great and its amazing how much work goes into them. When looking at other studios work it is clear that many just post static images of the work at the typical 45 degree angle. It is vital that the case studies are engaging! By using animation and film it allows the project to come to life and to be put into context, and ultimately become more believable.
During last week I also went to a leaving party. It was absolutely fantastic. The staff really put a lot of their own time and effort into making sure its the best night the leaver has had. A lot of this involved hilarious videos created by the dev team. The things you can do with a green screen are amazing. There is a really great social atmosphere which I’m so lucky to have found myself in.

As ever, looking forward to my new week! Onwards & upwards!