Sunday, 9 June 2013


5 reasons why you chose to study on this program.

Work Load - When visiting the university on one of the open days I attended a subject talk presented by Fred. One of the many things he mentioned during this talk was the amount of work that students attending the graphic design program had to undertake as part of their study. The aspect of a heavy, challenging workload was something I was looking for in my university of choice. Throughout my experience with school and college based institutions I rarely found myself in a position where I was truly pushed and made to carefully organise my time. Therefore, the idea of a course that would push me with challenging work and a heavy workload was very appealing and something  I think will help me progress as a designer. 

'Heavy work load'

Facilities - Another reason I chose to study on the Graphic Design program at Leeds College of Art is because of the facilities available to students at the university. As a practical, craft driven designer the availability of the printing facilities, laser cutter and Mac suites are very appealing and where one of the factors that helped me choose the program. 

Past students - While attending the open day I also got talking to some of the current students studying on the program, socially interacting with the students helped me get an idea of the type of people the course attracts. Not only was everyone I spoke to friendly and happy to talk, but their focus and constructive attitude was also very apparent and helped to solidify the positive image created for the college. 

Work Produced - The publications distributed to students during the open days gave me the chance to read about the course details but also review some of the work produced by past students. All of the work featured in the book inspired me as a creative as it was produced to such a high aesthetic standard and was executed to a professional level. As an ambitious student I saw the work as a benchmark of what I could be producing in three years time and, as it was produced to such a high standard, it helped outline what I could achieve by attending the university. 

Creative atmosphere - Another reason I chose to study on the program was because of the creative atmosphere that exits at the university. The combination of various creative disciplines with an interactive social mentality help to crate a coherence amongst the students which is beneficial for social and professional development. 

5 skills that you think are your strengths.

Craft - Firstly, ever since my great Grandad introduced me to woodworking as a young child I have had a fascination with building things with my hands and understanding how items and products are built and created. It was my interest in construction and the desire to understand the creative processes applied to build things, that lead to my fascination with craft based production and products. Throughout my life and creative education I have always pushed myself to integrate aspects of craft into my work, and so, over the years I have gradually improved my knowledge of craft and my ability to produce high quality outcomes. Due to my experience and subsequent ability to create quality outcomes I believe that craft based production is one of my main strengths as a designer. 

Box produced fo first year brief. 

Attention to detail - Another strength I have that is very applicable when studying or practicing graphic design is my keen eye for detail. Whether drawing, working digitally or producing craft based work I have always had a keen eye for small details and design imperfections. My eye for detail allows me to notice small mistakes and rectify them before producing the final outcome ensuring that I always produce quality work. However, I have found that my eye for imperfections can be costly as throughout the first year I found myself wanting to keep making additional changes to my outcomes despite soon approaching deadlines. 

Illustration - Throughout my life I have always loved drawing and so it is a skill that I regularly exercised for quite some time. Through the combination of interest, enjoyment and practice I have managed to develop my illustrative skills to quite a high standard. Now, although I plan to continue to developing this aspect of my practice it is something that I believe to be one of my strengths as a creative.

My secret 7" entry from last year.

Ideas generation - Additionally, another one of my strengths is my ability to generate ideas consistently for each project. Personally, I believe that the process of generating ideas to form an engaging response to the set brief is one of the most important aspects of the design process. The idea needs to be creatively engaging and appropriate for any of the following design work to be successful. Therefore, when generating ideas and concepts for projects I always devote a large amount of time to creating a strong response which later comes to define the success of the project. 

Layout - During my first year on the course I experimented with producing various types of publication, all of which allowed me to apply layout based knowledge learned in the design principles sessions. I soon discovered that as a designer producing publications is something I really enjoy and so became a focus of my design practice. As my interest in layout and publication based design increased I started researching further into the subject and applying the knowledge gained. I feel that as I continued to experiment with layout and publication design my design outcomes improved vastly 

10 Things a Designer Should Know - First year publication.

5 things that you want to improve.

Presentation confidence - During my first year on the course I was very anxious about standing in front of the class and presenting work on my own. Furthermore, I felt that these anxieties were noticeable while I was presenting due to my nervousness when talking. As I completed more and more presentations however this anxiety slowly started to fade. Now that I am starting second year building up my confidence when speaking in front of groups of people is something that I want to continue to improve upon. 

Time management - Throughout my time on the course I have faced various problems regarding time and project management. When creating work I am very methodical with my design process and quality of outcome, and so my responses are not always produced as quickly as they should be. This unsurprisingly affects my time and project management as I find myself always rushing to get back on top of my workload. Over the course of the next two years my time and project management is definitely an aspect of my design practice that I want to improve. 

People skills - In the design industry having social skills is very important as you have to interact with clients and work colleagues on a daily basis. As a person I can sometimes be reserved, quiet and sometimes find approaching strangers to be quite daunting, especially when they work in the design industry. Before leaving university I want to improve my outlook on socializing and become more outgoing in my approach to talking to industry professionals, they are only people at the end of the day. Improving my social skills will not only help me while I finish my degree but will also will benefit me hugely when integrating into the industry and looking for a job.  

Business knowledge - When heading out into the professional working environment I believe that a knowledge of business and how graphic design companies function is essential. Knowing the tricks of the trade will help to avoid dodgy binding contracts and help prevent any costly mistakes which could easily be avoided. Therefore, as I currently know little about the business side of the design industry I want improve my knowledge before finishing the program in third year. 

Research - Finally, an aspect of my design practice that I feel could be improved is my research. Currently, the majority of my research is collected through internet sources and online surveys, I feel that my researching methods could be improved by collecting more first hand primary research. By interacting with members of the public I will improve the quality and legitimacy of my research, generate a more informed insight into the target audience and simultaneously improve my social skills and confidence. 

5 ways that you will evaluate your progress.

On going written evaluations of work - By completing written evaluations regularly throughout the year I will be able to assess and evaluate my ongoing progress.

Group critiques - Arranging small group critiques will allow me and a small group of students to give constructive feedback on each others work and allow us to assess any progress made.

Personal feedback - Another way I plan to evaluate my progress throughout second year is by talking through my work one on one with students from the graphic design course, this will allow me to receive feedback on my work, assess my progress and improve my social skills simultaneously. 

Compare past and present projects - Another way that I plan to evaluate my progress throughout second year is by comparing projects with similar themes from first and second year. By comparing the projects I will be able to see how my work has developed as I have progressed through the course and what outline areas that could be further improved.

Goals - Finally, I also plan to evaluate my progress by setting program specific goals that I will aim to achieve throughout the year, for example 'work with 2 new print methods'. Additionally, I will work towards achieving the goals and regularly assess how successfully I reach them.

5 questions that you want to find the answer to.

How do you build up a client base when starting a business?

What are the pro's and con's of taking a gap year straight after finishing university?

What should I do if a client is holding back payment?

What should I do if my work is stolen/plagiarized? 

How do I persuade clients to pay more for recycled materials/ethical design?

5 things that inspire you.

Skateboarding - Skateboarding is one of my main focuses in life other than graphic design, I enjoy it as a sport but also find inspiration in the creative aspects of the subculture. Moreover, skateboarding promotes a DIY ideology that is relevant to my craft driven design practice, and so I find it interests me in both a personal and professional way.

Photography - I first became interested in photography after shooting a body of photos to act as reference images for pieces created on my foundation course at Cardinal Newman College. Although I had little experience with optimizing the cameras settings I did really enjoy the process of framing and shooting the images, and so soon after I bought my first camera. Since then I have continued to expand my knowledge of photography by learning the specifics of taking an image with the settings adjusted correctly. I personally find photography inspiring as it gives you the ability to capture objects and moments in time to which you can later revisit and work from. 

The outdoors - Ever since I was a young child I have been fascinated with the outdoors and the natural beauty that the world offers us. I feel that spending time outdoors can be revitalizing and acts as a good form of stress reduction. Additionally, the striking landscapes and beautiful natural gradients also influence me as a creative because of the soulful aesthetic beauty. 

A view atop the 'Old man Coniston' in the Lake District.

Travel/exploration - Another thing that I take inspiration from is travel. Although I haven't traveled that much as of yet I have a serious case of wanderlust that needs to soon be addressed. Despite my lack of world experience I find that the small journeys I have undertaken are very influential because of all of the new experiences encountered. When travelling inspiration can come in many forms, from social interactions to architecture, and I find that by reviewing everything with a creative frame of mind helps to derive inspiration from almost anything.

Music - Finally, one of my most important inspirations simply comes from music, without it I would feel fairly lost as it helps to keep me sane during stints of focused work based dedication. 

10 examples of design that illustrate your fields of 

creative interest.

The Makerie Studio -

The paper crafted hot air balloons displayed below are relevant to my interests as a designer as they illustrate the quality of outcome that can be achieved through applying a knowledge of craft and paper. As a designer both craft and working with paper are things that interest me and that I apply when creating work.

Paper craft hot air balloons 

Socio Design -

The two images below showcases some beautiful product & packaging design work created by London based Socio Design. As a designer my practice is focused on craft and print based production and so product and packaging design forms the median point between the two main focuses of my practice. 

Buro product & packaging

Matt Rockefeller - 

As I have previously mentioned I am fascinated by drawing and illustration, it is a definitive aspect of my design practice and something I will always try to apply to projects when appropriate. The illustration below was created by Matt Rockefeller and displays the impressive results that can be achieved through practice and perseverance. 

Illustration piece.

Socio Design - 

Another one of my focuses as a designer is publishing and editorial work, the images below display a visually engaging magazine created by London based Socio Design that clearly illustrates the type of work I find interesting and inspirational.

Publication & Editorial design.

Little Madi - 

As I mentioned when talking about my inspirations skateboarding is one of my main non-design based interests, the subculture is rich with creativity that shows through in many forms, however one of the most predominant is skateboard graphics. The images below showcase two very illustrative designs created for skateboard company 'Rekiem Skateboards' and clearly communicate an aspect of my interests as a designer. 

Skateboard designs

Michael Bohdnakiewicz - 

The project featured below illustrates my field of interest because I am a print focused designer, and so branding work will always be something that takes the centre stage of my professional practice. The images below showcase a branding project that utilises a simple, relevant pattern to form the consistent visual prop that runs across most aspects of the outcome. 

Branding for Polish Yacht club

Scott Naauao - 

Another focus of my professional practice is creating identities like the one displayed below created by Scott Naauao. As a designer the process of creating an identity to visually represent a company and its ethos is something that I find challenging yet very enjoyable. The images below show an identity created for an artisan bread making company called 'Breadshop'. The design is simple and focuses on the aesthetic quality of the product to communicate its quality. Furthermore, the designer has also utilised minimal materials to promote sustainability an aspect that is very relevant and important to my practice. 

Breadshop Identity 

Raul Alejandro - 

As previously mentioned in the post an aspect of my design practice is hand drawn illustrations and typography. I have always been fascinated with drawing since I was a child and find the quality of an hand produced outcome communicates an authentic look and feel. The logo variations displayed below were created by designer Raul Alejandro and are a clearly illustrate my field of interest.

Hand rendered typography


The two pieces displayed below were created by French designer BMD and combine hand drawn typography with illustrations to create striking visual outcomes. The pieces clearly illustrate my creative interests as a designer as they coherently combine both illustration and typography both of which are important aspects of my design practice.  

Hand rendered illustrations & typography

Patrick Rijks - 

Finally, although creating fonts and typefaces is something I am still fairly inexperienced with I find myself constantly drawn towards the creation of typography. Over the summer I plan to set myself a personal brief to create and release my own typeface, this will help me to gain experience with the process of creating a typeface and also help me to get some recognition in the industry once released. The images below display type specimens from a font created by designer Patrick Rijks, along side the various fonts that form the typeface Rijks has also produced a publication to showcase the outcome.  

Typeface design & publication

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