Friday, November 26, 2010

Design Symposium North

Design Symposium was originally conceived in 2007 by Liverpool agencies Uniform, Smiling Wolf and Black & Ginger. The event is run in collaboration with natural industry organisations D&AD and DBA alongside the city’s creative industry bodies, Merseyside ACME and Design Initiative along with venue sponsor LJMU and media partner How-Do. The symposium exists to bring together design professionals, design buyers and students and to raise the profile of design and creativity in the Northwest.

I attended a portfolio surgery, a workshop and a lecture at this event at Liverpool, seeking to gain valuable advice from professionals.

D&AD Portfolio Surgeries and Work Placement Offer

I was lucky enough to have 3 portfolio surgery sessions, where I presented my portfolio to a creative from Chase, Tim Sharp from Uniform and Stuart Radford from Radford Wallis. I was seeking criticism, I wanted good honest advice about how to make my portfolio better, and this I received. They told me how to improve the presentation of my work: bigger images rather than lots of small ones because these lose the detail, and black borders taken away so it looks clean. The best bits of the projects should be highlighted by enlarging sections and presenting it on its own in a clean white page. It is about selling your work, each page should speak for its self. Another tip was that more of the work should be presented in site so that the work seems more real and is given context. I recieved positive criticism in general, the professionals liked the hand-crafted illustrative style of my work, but said that some work should be more on brand and a bit less personal. In particular, an Alton Towers project that I did needs to look more like it is for Alton Towers, so I am going to work on that.

Tim Sharp also talked about pace, where it is interesting to vary layout, in a book for example, rather than being consistent which the use of space, so that it is more surprising to the viewer. This sounds obvious and I don't know why I have not thought about this a lot. I need to consider this in projects as well as my portfolio.

At the end of the session Tim Sharp from Uniform asked if I would be interested in doing a work placement, and after emailing I was offered a 2 week placement in February which I am delighted about.

These surgeries were extremely useful and I am so glad that I went. I believe when I make these alterations my portfolio will look much more professional, and I am very excited about doing the 2 week placement with Uniform.

D&AD Workshop

This was run by the organization Shellsuit Zombie, which is made up of recent graduates who want to help graduating students meet creative industries. They gave advice on how to network, how to present ourselves well and how to go about initially finding a job.

They highly advised:

-Doing a placement. These look good on the CV, can produce portfolio work, they can give you exposure and even a job, and you learn so much while doing them.
-Any commercial work you can for anybody, even for friends and family, anything paid just as long as it is something live and real.
-Networking and giving yourself exposure is also vital. Attend events that give you contact to clients, such as this, and apply to exhibitions such as New Blood in London, a D&AD graduate show that attracts many professional creative’s.

It is so important to do other work other than university. It is vital you gain experience with real briefs. When applying for jobs, professionals will be looking for a level of this experience, so I am doing all I can this year to gain experience outside university. They hammered in the fact that you have to work very very hard to get somewhere. Shellsuit Zombie are doing just that themselves.

What I did not like about the session was that they said most major design groups are in London. They did say this does not have to be a starting place, but it is a place you might end up. Shellsuit Zombie moved to London themselves. I do not want to move to London, so this worries me a bit, but there has to be good job opportunities outside London, maybe just fewer of them. So I'll just have to work even harder.

D&AD Student Award Talk

Radford Wallis

Stuart Radford, who did one of my portfolio surgeries, introduced Radford Wallis who are a multi-disciplined design company based in London. Stuart Radford has been creative director of the company for 10 years, and their clients include Land Securities, Norwich Union, Ted Baker, Royal Mail and D&AD, along with many others.

Radford talked about a few of the briefs he has worked on. One lovely little piece was a miniature brochure for Hopkins Architects that reflected the client’s environmentally friendly philosophy with paper that continuously unfolded to reveal the words recycle, renew, reduce and reuse. It is a simple idea that is interactive and enticing. It made me think about how this unfolding technique of paper could be used in other formats, such as business cards? I think that interactive pieces will always create intrigue and excitement.

Radford commented on how important it is that you should always enjoy a project. In the lecture he talked about how much fun he had had on the project, Fayre on the Square, for the National Hospital Development Foundation. They were asked to design material to advertise a summer fayre fundraiser. Taking inspiration from the events location, they created different shapes out of turf that would represent the Fayre. I like the fact this project involved a very hands on approach of much cutting and Radford said he enjoyed this. The shapes were then advertised and used in posters, and the results were cute, fun and engaging.

D&AD Awards

Following this talk by Stuart Radford, we were then informed of the D&AD awards. The winners and runners-up of this competition get a reputation and publicity and more often that not you get offered a good job. It was explained that industry are supporting new talent, and when you enter a competition like this it shows you have a level of confidence to present yourself, which is vital in getting a job. Awards are a good place to start presenting yourself in a professional standard.

The awards are judged upon firstly, good ideas, then something that is well executed and something that is on brief. The size of the boards, where your work will be presented for judgment, vitally needs to be considered. Presentation is key - will it stand out, will it be different from others?

We were then taken through this years briefs and shown examples of previous student entries that had received an award. This years winner was an idea for the Ikea Catalogue, where the items it sells were categorised by colour in an illustrated spectrum. Customers could then easily view the items that matched in colour. A simple idea that makes complete sense.

We were told that digital entries have more chance of winning because fewer people take this route. It is also what is needed in industry at the moment, designers who are capable of doing moving image. The advice was to think about where it goes, push the idea and push the boundaries. Thinking about how far it goes rather than where it stops is a better way of thinking. In presentation, demonstrate how you do things, not just what you've done in this instance. In these awards, as well as in industry, they are looking for flexible problem solving and a breadth of ideas.

I thought that these awards sounded like a really good way to promote yourself, and so I am hopefully going to enter as long as I can find the time. It sounds like an opportunity that should not be missed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paint Splodges

Experimenting with ways I could represent a plant. These don't mean anything, but I just like them because of the texture and colour, and I may incorporate them into further work.

Not Just Fleurons

A new project which asks us to explore plants in the broadest possible way.

These are my initial experiments and thoughts. I started thinking about how plants represent growth and expansion and thought this could be represented through a style of type. For my type experimentation I have used Helvetica Ultra light - to represent the multipurpose and delicate nature of flowers.

I then started to think about how flowers and plants can come from all kinds of people and represent numerous voices, so I played around with overlapping meaningful words that could represent this.

Another idea was to create flowers with the things that come with them, like tags, suggesting the theme of messages.

Further themes I want to explore are warmth and healing because flowers often create harmony. In the theme of healing, I thought as well as emotional harmony and healing, I could look at homeopathic medicine and other medicines that use flower and plant extracts to physically heal.

I have also created a logo for the flower. I have realised that this project is going to be a constant battle with cliches, as plants and flowers are used for so many things, but my thoughts are that if I create a symbol I could juxtapose it somehow, putting it into situations that question its cliche? I'm not sure if that makes sense, but what I mean is it might be interesting to play on its familiar and common nature, rather than trying to completely subvert it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Werner Jeker

Werner Jeker has created some classic beautiful posters; simple, balanced, clean and fresh.

Wes Wilson

Wes Wilson is an American artist who is known for his psychedelic rock posters of the 1960's.

He brought movement and a fun element to the type, creating lovely eye catching posters. Now, they have a gorgeous vintage quality.

Jean Widmer

A piece that has a cut and paste style to it that makes it seem casual and light hearted.

An abstract piece that draws you in simply because of shape and colour.

Ralph Schraivogel

The top one is a poster for the African Film Festival. Absolutely love these. Gorgeous intense pattern which works in balance with the organized type. The top image also advertises the African theme of the film festival in a subtle way, but clearly makes sense.

Nancy Skolos and Tom Wedell

Posters brought to life in an almost 3d format. A combination of collage, graduated papers and photography. Lighting is used to highlight its 3D quality, and they have such depth they look rather surreal.

Makoto Saito

The second to the bottom image is a poster for Ba-Tsu Company Ltd. - a unique apparel company located in Harajuku, Tokyo.

I think it advertises fashion in a whole different way.

Bruno Monguzzi

Bruno Monguzzi is a swiss graphic designer. His work is lively, bold, and type is used playfully.

Alain Le Quernec

A selection of wonderful posters by Alain Le Quernec.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hans Island You've Been Told Video

Full HD:

After shooting the band performance and final scenes on Sunday, we only had a few days to finish the rest of the filming and do the editing as their single was due for release less than 2 weeks later. With thanks to willing volunteers we finished the individual scenes - that showed a balloon holder in a mundane situation, 3 days later. We also filmed ourselves to use in the video to increase the number of characters. With limited access to the editing suite in university, we finished the editing and the video a week later.

The most challenging part of this project was getting the singing and instruments in sync to the song. We realized that on the day they had not been singing or playing exactly the same - in reflection we should have made sure that they were. This meant that there was a lot of footage that we had to cut because it didn't work, and we had no time to re-shoot. We tried to find the clips that worked the best, but they are not perfect.

We also didn't have as many volunteers as we would have liked - on the time scale we were given most could not make it for the individual scenes. It was a difficult video to produce as we were reliant on volunteers.

Editing and producing the video was a hard task, as we had to sift through 2 to 3 hours of footage to find the best bits, and only a few days to do it. We made it flow as best we could and quickened the pace of the footage towards the end of the video to create more energy and action as the song reaches its peak. It then calms down at the end to reach the conclusion of the balloon release and to signify the freedom and the letting go.

All in all, with practically a none existent budget and little time, I think we did a good job. It was a challenge but we heavily enjoyed this. There are things we would change on reflection, but for a week and a half's work I think it is a rather successful piece of work.

We hope to work on further projects like this, we enjoyed the variety of the designing, filming, directing and editing. It was a good learning process and we will only get better.

Hans Island You've Been Told Shoot

Me and 3 friends collaborated to work on a music video for Hans Island's debut single You've Been Told.

We pitched the idea of using balloons (green ones that would match their logo) that could be released to represent the running away in the narrative of the song. The band liked this idea and after further discussion the story of the balloons evolved. The video would feature a number of people in mundane situations who would be holding a balloon, and then, inspired by the song, everyone would gather at the end to where the band are playing, and release their balloons. We hoped this would evoke feelings of freedom and of letting go.

After settling on some barren wasteland in Salford to shoot the band performance and the balloon release, we advertised the event on facebook a week before, and on a sunday morning everyone gathered. We began by shooting just the band playing, using different angles and a mix of tripod distant shots and hand held closeups, and then filmed the scenes where everyone made their way to the band to release their balloons. Me and my group had to direct the band and the balloon holding volunteers, which was quite a challenge as we are all very shy! It was a stressful, nerve-racking, fun, exciting and unbelievable day all at the same time, and we loved it. We soon all got into the swing of being directors and camera people.

- My photos on the day, not the best but didn't have much time considering I was filming all day.