ReflectionPosted: November 13, 2016
Olwen, now the Dean of the School, came and had a chat with us third years on Friday, and I think it’s really cleared a few things up. We discussed feedback from the course, and there are a few things I didn’t mention at the time that I’d like to mention now.
I think a lot of us last term disapproved of the teaching decisions made and would make a few changes if the project were to be done again. Olwen told us we should just speak to her if we have a problem, not instead of the other lecturers or behind anyone’s back, but speaking directly with her wasn’t something I’d thought of but seems so obvious now. We know how inspirational she is, I feel like spending 2 minutes with Olwen makes me more inspired and understanding of things than weeks spent with just the required lectures and tutorials, as cheesy as that sounds.
“60% of you will be working in jobs that don’t exist yet.” – This just made me feel so much better about leaving university and jumping into the big scary ‘real world’. So far I haven’t settled on a single job that I’d like to aim for, I’d love to do something with illustration, photography or social media, but just the idea that the industry is even more fluid and open than I’d thought has put a whole new perspective on my future.
I’d like to make one suggestion about the work we’ve been doing over the last few months, and about live briefs in general. The reason for us doing a project for an in-house team (the Healthy University scheme) was because outside companies take students for granted because we’re cheap and eager to please, and working for free for the sake of our degree puts the whole industry at a disadvantage and degrades the important work designers do, and get paid for. I agree with this entirely, and it frustrates me endlessly to hear of eager students doing work for free, because when we get out of university there’ll still be students taking work away from the paid designers for the sake of recognition or a ‘head start’. Now, I don’t know the laws around paid design work enough to make any kind of assertions about students being paid full price for work they do as part of their course, or exactly what impact this would have on the industry, but I know I would feel a lot better knowing the client was paying for the effort we were putting in, and that we were given real projects that will make a different in the ‘real world’. The money would be really handy when it comes to final shows and buying university equipment and resources. It’s just an idea.
I also understand how some students get frustrated with not being aware of the final outcome, or the purpose for a project. This last brief, for instance, is a perfect example; at the beginning it felt like our skills weren’t being utilised at all and we were basically being asked to be events planners rather than designers. This was argued with the fact that modern design is more about communicating a message through whatever means necessary, but many of the students who signed up for the course signed up to learn practical skills and a bit of theory on the subject, not to ‘design’ a pyjama day in the university under the disguise of authentic, realistic work, “future facing” or not. It was only when my group took a visit to Bluegg that we were brought back down to realistically tackling the brief and using our design skills. I know it isn’t a good idea to restrict yourself to a final outcome at the beginning of a project, but a rough idea of what we were actually being asked to do might have been useful.
Overall Friday was a really productive day and I really hope we have more lectures like the typeface and layout one in the future, as well as useful, honest visits from the Dean to keep us all on track.