Thursday, 26 November 2009

Mike Rigby

Today, Mike Rigby came along for a talk to discuss his experience with design, his work and some general advice when leaving university and getting a good start within the industry. After finishing his degree at Preston, Mike began his career at the Chase and left after four years to travel around Vietnam and Australia. He was successful on getting a job at a design agency in Sydney called Landor and then arriving back home to work for Pentagram. After a shot period, he moved on to Manchester based agency True North where he recently given in his notice to work in Australia once again. Mike seemed very motivated on the subject of design and talked about some useful subjects within the design industry.

A topic I was mostly interested in was why do people work in the design community. He explained no job is the same and you become a temporary expert in different type of subjects. The competitions are also an added bonus as achieving awards for your ideas can be motivational (plus a free night out with your work mates). Like Michael Wolf explained at the Liverpool symposium, Mike said that all though we are in a recession, the opportunity of work is greater than ever due to the ease of setting up your own studio by only needing a computer, mobile phone and a desk. The positive impact you can have on a business is fulfilling as advising them on branding and improving there identity can improve revenue, which was incorporated by you as a designer.

Mike also pointed some negative areas within the job as long hours, unpaid overtime, the pressure and lost pitches can sometimes make you feel low as a designer but getting over that and doing what you love will get you through it. Mike encouraged to all that a placement was key when looking for experience. The areas of improvement within a placement will speed you up on the thinking process, working on real projects with real deadlines and also meeting important people within the industry. Taking professional pride in all your work is vital. Mike explained ‘’ there is only one letter what comes between mock up and cock up’’. Asking questions, being motivated and always offering to make a brew are key elements within a placement.

Mike finalised his talk by telling us to expect rejection. Many agencies will refuse your application for a job but that doesn’t mean to stop asking. Working away to another county is something not to rule out. Working in Australia opened up many doors for Mike and insisted on everyone to try it. His work for True North and the Chase was interesting to see. His Chase work was ironically the branding designs myself, Nick and James worked on with the Chase and the work shop at the symposium a couple of weeks ago. The True North designs was interesting as working for the Bristol Museum and the Gustav Klimt exhibition at the Tate seemed to be his best work.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Jon burgerman

I recently walked past a paper shop and noticed a colourful illustration on the front cover of Computer Arts. I do not normally buy design magazines purely because I tend to find the information on the Internet or television but I had to make the purchase purely because how intrigued I was with the front cover. The design/illustration was done by Jon burgerman who has recently made some artwork for Pepsi and applied his illustration on the bottle labels and cans.
I have come across his work before but have never focused on his pieces ever before. I plan to follow in Jon burgerman’s footsteps and illustrate some designs for labels in the near future. I already have made some sketches and I look forward to placing them in illustrator and see what I can do.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Working with the BBC

A few weeks ago, the BBC announced that they will be moving offices from London and Some parts of Manchester to Salford Quays. One morning, my tutor James gathered all the class round to explain that the BBC needed information packs designing to inform the staff about the details on the move. The details of the brief were simple as the requirement was to design two booklets, one to be handed out a few weeks before the move and the other to be given a few days before the change. This was a voluntary brief and was being treated as a real life piece of work. If you are successful to have your work printed, you have the opportunity to do a two-week placement at the BBC.

I myself felt this was a fantastic opportunity as getting experience, dealing with a client such as the BBC, dealing with deadlines, pitching your ideas but most importantly having a strong piece of work in your portfolio was to good to turn down. Our first pitch was earlier this week and travelling to the studios and presenting my ideas was great fun. They were eager for me to carry on the idea and shown a great interest into what they will see on the deadline (6th December). Like the Metro brief, I cannot put the work up at this moment in time but i look forward to the challenge ahead.

Tolerance Direct Male

I have recently been working again on the tolerance brief with fellow classmate Kat Speak and getting involved with our Ideas and starting to think of different solutions and medias from our last stage was refreshing and interesting. Kat and I had a long talk and decided to keep our ideas and see how far we could push them. One idea we has was to step away from advertising our ideas on posters and maybe using a piece of direct male as our promotion for the tolerance festival. As we began to discuss ideas, we were already sketching some positive visuals.

We decided to push it a little more to present to our tutors and get our idea on the computer. We managed to take what we had and design it in InDesign. The idea of the direct male is for the word tolerance highlighted within a see through column on the envolope and the letter pulling out to show the original idea. Also on the back would be the information about the event. As we shown this to out tutors, we were advised to think a little more and go back to the drawing bored.

Mad (Museum of Art and Design)

I made a visit to the Mad (Museum of Art and Design) while in New York. One of the exhibitions on show was called Slash: Florio Design, the studio I made my portfolio visit to, ironically designed Paper under the Knife and the identity artwork for the show. The work on show was draw dropping and I was amazed at the time and craftsmanship in all the pieces. The work from Slash was use of paper designed in different art forms handcrafted to perfection.

Another exhibition at Mad was Ghost Stories: New Designs from Nendo. The work on show was fantastic and very different to what I was normally use tom seeing. After forty-five design awards, I could clearly understand the creativity and abstract thinking behind the pieces. Overall, I was hugely impressed with Mad. New York was a fantastic place to visit and when I plan my next journey. I will definitely be visiting Mad.

The MoMa Museum

Also on my trip to New York, I managed to visit the MoMa museum. The best feature about the MoMa was the freedom of taking pictures. The work on show was fantastic with pieces such James Victore’s Racism and Stefan Sagmeister’s Fresh Dialogue. Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup prints was also on show and being so close to all these pieces of wonderful art was a great experience. As the fourth floor was next on the list through the journey of the MoMa, an exhibition was under construction for Tim Burton. Unfortunately, the display of work was secretly hidden and was due to open several weeks later.

The museum was very modern and looked great from the outside and inside. All over the building, you were always a step away from an artistic piece of brilliance. From sculptors on the piece of grace on the back area of the ground floor to the work of the Bauhaus on the top floor, visiting the MoMa was an experience I will never forget.

The Guggenheim

During my trip to New York, I was lucky to visit the Guggenheim Museum. As I previously worked on a brief for the Guggenheim last April, I new a great deal about the history of the building after my in depth research resulted in my idea of a spiral movement similar to what an overview looks like. While walking through Central Park, finding the museum was becoming a lengthy task but noticing the big white circular roof was satisfying. As I approached the entrance, I was overwhelmed with the structure and depth of the Guggenheim.

The main exhibition was the work of Vasily Kandinsky, which was fantastic to see. Also on the card was the sculpture Memory by Anish Kapoor. I would have to confess, all though Kandinsky's work was amazing, I was speechless with Kapoor's sculpture. As I walked up the spiral footpath, every step seemed to be more engaging and my trail was never lost or confused. The building has been built extraordinary well and I was overwhelmed by the Guggenheim's structure.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Florio Design

During my visit to New York, I finally made my long awaited portfolio visit with Linda Florio at Florio Design. Finding the location was slightly tricky but I arrived on time, Sol, who was a designer at the studio, greeted me in the studio. As I thanked them for seeing me, Linda, Sol and I sat down discussing the industry and what to expect when graduating and looking for that golden first job. Linda was fantastic and explained the smaller areas in the industry, which students may not be told from many practitioners. She explained that creativity is key but also knowing all aspects of graphic design is vital as the subject is bigger than it ever was. Editorial design, typography, layout and keeping up to date on all the latest software’s are just some of the skills you need to make a living in the business. Linda talked about how design is all around us wherever we go.

Advertising is getting larger with print as companies go a further step to stand out in the crowed. The bigger the ad, the more noticeable it is. Another area, which seems to be expanding is less print based products and more digital layouts. Linda advised that as a young designer, it’s vital to know as much as you can with web design and moving image, as that is where the future lies within graphic design. As I presented my work, Linda and Sol seemed very positive. As every design piece was slowly talked through and shown, their reactions made me feel very proud. In the past, I have not impressed someone so much until my visit with Linda and when she congratulated me having a strong portfolio, I was motivated to work harder on future designs.

One particular piece of work which we discussed was the Ping Pong project. Linda felt that the illustrated lines which represented the game worked well but the execution could be better. Linda suggested that taking it away from a poster campaign to some invitations or a moving image may work better. Using different colours, strokes of brushes from illustrator and the amount of lines used could help turn the idea to a series of ads of whatever appliance I felt worked best. The Harvey Nicholas tea box seemed to be a positive reaction to both Linda and Sol.They explained that the idea communicates very quickly but I should think about getting some better images for displaying the piece in my portfolio.

As we came to the end of our visit, Linda said it was a pleasure for myself and Andy calling to the studio. I myself was grateful for her time and advice and I plan to use the visit as research within what to expect when I graduate. As we thanked Linda, we left the studio with smiles on our faces, which would last the whole day. I would love to work for an agency such as Florio Design and living in New York would be a pleasure for anyone, especially myself. I had never thought about the prospect of working overseas before now and I feel it would be interesting looking into this as another option.

Rebecca Low - The Creative Process

As my research for the creative process gets more deeper, I managed to get in contact with Rebecca Low from the Chase in London who I previously had a portfolio visit with back in May this year. I put together a series of questions and kindly asked her if she could possibly help. Less than two hours later Rebecca e- mailed me with some great answers. This has helped me greatly and I plan to use this piece of information not just in my journal, but also in my design practice.

New York Slide Show

I recently arrived back from New York, which was an amazing trip. I was lucky to visit the Guggenheim, the Museum of Art and Design and Moma. The exhibitions were outstanding as well as the design aspect of the city. Its architecture is fantastic and I encourage you all to visit the city sometime in your life. I was also luck to see the attractions we all see on television and in the movie's like Central Park, the Rockefeller and Empire State building to name a few. I have put together a small slide show done in iMovie to record my pictures. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Metro No, No, No

You may have recently noticed I have removed some recent work I did for an advertising campaign for the Metro newspaper. Unfortunately I was forced to remove the post as the brief for this project is set by D&AD. As this is a competition brief, the final entry dates are mid March so the chances of someone seeing my work, but mainly my idea before the deadline could weaken my chances in the competition. I am very frustrated by this as I am extremely proud of this piece of work but I look forward to improving the idea and see where my improvements will be.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Louise Vormitting

This past week, a talk was held by Illustrator Louise Vormitting regarding working in a team. A lot of the lecture reminded me of my time on the identity brief for the New York City bowling project. I am starting to see working in a team will be a vital part when working in the industry and Louise touched on some interesting stuff. The elements of working in a team is not having an ego. This can cause problems in communication and breakdown relationships within the team as others will feel a level of quality is different from themselves. Louise also explained showing each others portfolios with your design friends can be a good thing as your getting an opinion on a regular basis.

Louise explained having a strong working relationship is key in getting positive results. Leaving personal issues away from the work place helps you focus on what needs to be done and separates your work life and your personal life. One of the first things Louise advised when starting a project was to organise the money side before it comes an issue. Being paid is important but spending the right time on a brief in relation to your pay cheque should be fair. I could relate to some of the things Louise was saying as when working on the New York City bowling project, communication, ideas and personal issues was huge factor within the process of our journey to our final work.

Louise represents Container plus who describe themselves as ‘’A multidisciplinary art and design collective specialising in playfully creating multifaceted fantasy worlds across a multitude of 2D and 3D platforms’’. You could see there work to be a long thought process but have great results. I see illustration to involve this quality and I appreciate the wide area of thinking towards the great work they do. I enjoyed the website design for advertising company The Assembly as the features illustrated worked well. Overall, I felt the advice from working in a team was useful and will always be vital to know in the future.

Dave Sedgwick

Last week, I was lucky to attend a lecture held by Dave Sedgwick. Dave currently works for design agency 999 in Manchester. I have to confess, I had never heard of 999 before the talk but was pleasantly surprised with the interesting advice Dave had presented. A brief history of Dave began by attending a D&AD course at Manchester Metropolitan University while successfully completing two placements at Flux Magazine (Derbyshire) and Splinter (Liverpool). While in his degree show, design agency Dinosaur gave him two-week placements, which then lead to a placement with TCW Creative (now Love Creative). From their, Dave managed to get a job at TCW but was unfortunately made redundant in 2003. After freelancing and working for some other design agencies for a short period, he joined 999 in 2006.

Dave explained one thing he remembered while studying his degree was how to spend your time and money. Would your last fiver be on a couple of pints or a copy of Creative Review? This was definitely something I had thought of in the past. While studying, Dave said one vital part what helped him graduate was his contact list and researching design agencies. He advised that some people would not like what your doing regarding design work, e mailing them for advice or questions as well as asking for placements. Being prepared for negative replies was important when leaving university as your motivation will be low if it’s unexpected.

Dave touched on what methods you would do on getting a job in the design industry and the small things were surprisingly the areas that may be the difference in getting a job or not. Besides having a strong portfolio, asking for placements and contacting in a different way besides e mail, researching agencies what are winning awards and offering help on projects from home in your free time can get promote yourself as a designer and improve your art work. Dave also spoke about the content of different areas a designer has. Dealing with clients, speaking to the printers, financially working the books and having meetings with the design team are all things what stop the actual designing.

Another part of the talk involved a discussion about having as many ideas as you can when dealing with a brief at the first stage. Dave advised the ideas what work well to you but not to others can let you push the ones what the design team agrees on. Not all your ideas you like will necessarily be liked by others. If the idea is dismissed, save it for another time or maybe some freelance work for yourself. Another important subject was what to put in your portfolio. I myself feel it’s vital to have a printed piece of work as it has a story behind it, but Dave advised to think about how good the piece of work is compared to your other work. Just because it has been sent to print does not mean it’s your best piece of work. The talk was very insightful and I will use Dave Sedgwick’s advice thoroughly.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Michael Wolf - Design Symposium 2009

The major event of the symposium was the Michael Wolf lecture. I had paid £8 for a ticket and I feel it was well worth it. As I entered the lecture theatre, I briskly walked past Michael as he sat in anticipation to be called up on the stage to start his talk. As I quickly found my seat, I was amazed how many people attended the talk. The room was full and people at the top of the room was standing or kneeling down. As Michael began to talk, I instantly got the impression this man was not just your normal, everyday designer. With his pink scarf wrapped around his neck, he spoke with a pronunciation so fine, listening was to him was an easy sound. He began by explaining his background and how he quickly gave up arc texture in the early 20's (or in his words ''got chucked out") and then began to design magazine covers for various publishers. He spoke about how he was sacked twelve times in his carrier and how you feel excited about being a designer.

Being motivated is a key element for a designer in any space of time as it brings the best qualities in to your work. He was very motivational as ''I don’t like it'' or ''I can’t do it'' should be ignored and aim your focus to do everything possible to get it right. Michael looked up greatly to Paul Rand and explained ‘‘if my work looked like my hero's, I thought I done a good job''. I myself feel proud when my work is to a standard to the high-class designers but very concerned if an idea is similar. Michael also made reference to how designers think. He touched on why and how a bear ended up on the Fox's Glair logo. He explained that we challenge the formula of thinking about design. Being honest and speaking from the heart will get you the best responses. Michael talked about how beneficial being you and being real towards getting a job not just in the design community, but also in all aspects of life. Regarding portfolio's, he said we should all think about them as presentations/illustration of who you are as a designer, but also as a person.

A few areas Michael spoke about was understanding what turns you on as a designer and implying it to your work so others can be turned on to. Using your interests and using your imagination to solve a brief will help the viewer indulge in your idea. Not taking no for an answer being confident within yourself and your work will guide you through the design world and steady your carrier. Overall, I felt the talk was fantastic. I was lucky to ask personally ask Michael a question at the end of his talk. I asked what he felt the difference in opportunities of graduates getting a job today in comparison to twenty years ago. He believes the industry has more choices and open doors than ever before even in the recession. He explained that most people could freelance or start a small agency from home, as the technology today is amazing. I enjoyed the talk greatly and will always remember the lecture with Michal Wolf.

Stephen Woowat - Design Symposium 2009

While waiting for the rest of the portfolio surgeries to end, I was lucky to be given an extra slot with Stephen Woowat from Leeds based agencies Elmwood Design. All though the talk was for a brief fifteen minutes, Stephen managed to fit in some useful tips and advice on what to consider when presenting my work. Stephen liked my work and complemented me on the standard of my artwork. He did however encourage me to strongly think about the order in to what work should be in. He advised that the best piece of work should be presented first and the second best piece last. I always thought this was the other way round but Stephen said there is no rule is structure and order but having an organised piece of work or portfolio is key in an interview or dealing with a client. He also advised me to think about loosing a piece as he felt I had just a little bit to much work which could end up boring whoever is looking through it.

Craig Oldham - Design Symposium 2009

While at the design symposium, D&AD held portfolio surgeries where you could take your work and have it looked at by top professionals. As you had to register in advance, I was given my slot for the afternoon ironically with Craig Oldham who I had previously interviewed a couple of weeks ago regarding the creative process. I felt this was a great opportunity as I new Craig better than the other designers, which made me, feel comfortable discussing my work. Craig made some useful pointers regarding the work I have now and what I could do with it.

He advised on pushing the brief so far it exceeds expectation. Delivering more than what the brief is asking for can only work in your favour and make a nice piece of work fit nicely in my portfolio. He also said my work was at a good standard and would prefer to touch on the issues where I can learn to improve on. He said that the level of advice he was giving me was far from what he was giving to the other students because my level of work was higher than normal. This obviously made feel great, especially coming from someone I look up to like Craig.

He also pointed out my presentation within my portfolio when I asked what he liked and disliked about my design layout and content. He advised that having just one project with a lot of work could be an option but every designer should use what feels right. If you have done a great piece of work but feel unmotivated by it or dislike it, then don’t have it in your portfolio. He explained talking about your work is vital on interviews as it shows a motivational expression and true feeling towards your work.

Ian Thompson - Design Symposium 2009

Another lecture I was lucky to catch at the symposium was the talk with Ian Thompson. The lecture was mainly focused on branding and the different elements it can bring within a company regarding gaining more customers, profit and expenditure. Ian’s history began in 1984 when was a freelance designer then moved on to starting his own design agency Thompson. He explained why companies should invest in branding, as the identity would bring in more money in the long run so they should see it as an investment. Ian also touched on why people should pay for the work we do as designers. Besides pretty artwork, the main product the customer is investing in is the idea. The thinking process will be overshadowed by the business plan the company has and the pressure of your idea working is dependent on this.

Ian also explained clients have a primary objective which is to make money. They all seem to be more interested in this than how there product or identity looks but as a designer, you know your thinking plays a big part in making money for the company which is one of the reasons branding is so effective. When working on a brief, Ian said that quality is the best business plan. This can cover your thinking, art work, presentation or engaging with the client and understanding what they want.

When presenting your final ideas to a client, Ian touched on what to think about when preparing your pitch. He said ‘’Ask yourself if you can afford to take the weakest piece of work out’’. This was useful to know as I myself in the past, when presenting work, have small regrets about using work when I didn’t need to. Ian presented some nice work he did for Durex and how he re-branded there packaging. He explained the sale figures went up 290% after his work was completed. This has made me realize that being a designer covers more than I thought. I plan to do more branding working over the Christmas period.

Andy Chambers - Design Symposium 2009

The Liverpool Symposium finally arrived and myself and three classmates were eager to get there on time. As we arrived at Lime Street Station, we were slightly confused on where the location was. We found ourselves walking around Liverpool, portfolios in hand asking random people where the symposium could be. We finally walked in the first talk 15 minutes late but we were lucky not to miss much. Andy Chambers was the first speaker and his talk was great. He is co-Founder of Digit, one of the UK’s longest established digital design companies and had a black D&AD pencil for the National Gallery’s Grand Tour. He explained his area of design goes from illustration to advertising and his main area is using branding within channel advertising on television and the internet. He touched on the D&AD brief and explained an interesting strategy as looking at the brief, as a business objective by finding a way to match the brand and the consumer together will find your answer in the brief.

Andy explained different methods in advertising by exploiting things what we see and hear everyday. He advised we should use everything we have to get ideas. Being ‘’Crazy’’ and thinking outside the box will make you stand out in the crowd. When reading a brief, Andy said the insight is to find the solution of the problem and a way of doing this is to engage with the target audience. Using things what are today’s interests like Facebook and Twitter can give you an idea as your researching the audience by reading g there thoughts. Andy also touched on how branding would act and differ from the ideas you think of. He also touched on the Metro brief which was usful. All though we arrived late, the talk was very useful.

Design Workshop with the Chase ( Mika Shephard ) - Design Symposium 2009

As the symposium was going well, myself, Nick Entwistle and James Clancy was looking forward to a design workshop with the Chase which we registered the previous week. We all felt this was an opportunity not to be missed. As the confirmation e-mail was sent a day before the event, I was unable to put together any work but was happy to discuss ideas and indulge in thoughts and ideas of others. Designer
Mika Shephard was great and was happy for us all to think of ideas no matter how silly they seemed to be. As myself, Nick and James was representing Stockport/John Moore’s University, three young students from Leeds studying MA Advertising as wel as a tutor from Preston also attended. The brief was to brand an underlay for a carpet and come up with ideas of how to advertise the product in an effective way. The Chase had previously done this brief back in 2004 and it was interesting to see their final ideas after discussing the possible outcomes we all thought of. I felt the workshop was refreshing and talking through ideas with different people other than my classmates was useful.

Monday, 2 November 2009

24/7 Thinking

These days, it feels like I have creative thinking on my mind all the time. I seem to be thinking about ideas with everything I see or hear. This in some strange way makes me feel good, as my motivation is always strong. I may think of an idea after watching a television advert and note it down in my phone or notebook so I don’t forget them. I tend to re visit the ideas weeks after thinking of them. I remember being half awake in the middle of the night this past week and for some reason, I had an idea in my mind and noted it down in my mobile phone. As I looked back at this the next day, I could not understand my thinking or what I was trying to tell myself. After a few days of thinking of my idea, or whatever it was I was telling myself, I realised what I was trying to say. Playing with strap lines or the use of type is effective in a creative way and all though I may no understand my full idea, I was happy to get something out of my thinking.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Design Symposium 2009

Last year, as a group, we made a trip to the 2008 the Design Symposium held in Liverpool. I have to admit, looking back, I felt I didn’t get as much out of the even as I could have. Throughout the past year, I have got to know the industry greatly and I was informed the 2009 symposium was due on the 4th of November but nothing was organised with my tutors for a class visit. I decided to look up the event and see what the schedule was. I was surprised to see a vast amount of lectures, talks and workshops being held this year and I instantly registered my places. Also on the card was a talk by designer Michael Wolf which cost £8. I was eager to go and made the purchase with a few classmates. Also on the schedule this year was portfolio crits with D&AD designers. Again, I was eager to get as much as I could out of the day so this was a perfect time to re-design my portfolio. I look forward to the 4th.