PDP | Personal Development PlanPosted: January 26, 2017
This year has differed greatly from the previous two; I have felt inclined to abandon all physical practise and focus more on research and academic writing; reflecting on existing art, not creating new. The most beneficial experience has been the meditation with Anna Bhushan where I have learnt about and discussed the theory and practise of mindfulness. This has been helpful for clearing my mind and encouraging focus on dissertation writing and has given me some clarity in terms of where I see myself within the industry of art and design.
Since September, prompted by my research, I have thought about and debated the topic of morality extensively. I have discovered more of the importance of honesty and working authentically. This will continue to benefit my practise when I move out of education and into an agency or freelance work where I must decide how I conduct myself honestly to my views and still have financial support for living costs and the occasional costs of leisure. I think this is something all designers struggle with, and a lot fail at, but I am determined to do well after university and I hope after researching so much into moral living I will be able to accomplish this goal.
This year of constellation merges more seamlessly to other areas of study (Field and Subject work) than other years. I have found that in the first and second years the work is more centred around fine art topics and not so much about design or graphic communication directly. While it was interesting to learn about philosophy theory (I especially enjoyed the Archaeologies of Seeing and Knowing subject with Martyn Woodward), it was a struggle to transfer the information to graphic design, I felt these sessions were much more suited to fine artists and illustration students. This year I had the opportunity to choose my own topic and work more within my own interests and creative practise.
Academic writing is a useful skill for the world outside of university as well as this year and my dissertation. The ability to transfer abstract ideas and observations into written language in a precise way is greatly beneficial for personal clarity as well as communication to others. My research since September and the things I have learned about colour theory has helped in other areas of the course. There have been projects, including the Penguin book cover and BBC Edinburgh Festival brief, where I have needed to consider colour palettes to create an effective design. The knowledge I have acquired this year has meant I have been more aware of my use of colour and the effect it might have on the audience. Because of this awareness, I have been able to create more precise and successful design work.
Over the last year, I have made a few changes to my approach to learning. Writing my dissertation, with a set deadline and a higher word count than I have ever faced, gave me a reason to channel my energy more towards university work, to sitting down and reading books on academic and philosophical study. I have had to write and edit more than I thought I was capable of. In previous years, there have been many projects to work on at one time which can become confusing and often overwhelming. This year the dissertation has been the primary focus and I have had something to give my full attention to, which has been refreshing in comparison.
An example of work I have done this year that I am happy with is my final design of the BBC app for the Edinburgh Festival. I believe this went so well because I enjoyed the challenge and I made improvements on the previous design without the pressure to finish by the deadline. I am aware that there are strict deadlines in the industry and creative flow cannot be left to happen spontaneously, however I believe that when it is natural, and not forced from pressure to finish, my work is a lot better. An example of some substandard work is the original design for the same project, where the deadline was creeping up and there was a lot of tension between the team. During this time, there was also a great deal of miscommunication and disagreement in terms of approaches to the task. This meant this design took longer than anticipated and the result wasn’t up to either of our standards. Working in a team can be difficult and this is something I will improve upon with practise.
I am happy with how well I have structured and carried out my work this year, however there are always ways to develop; I am still unhappy with a few aspects of my learning. It has become obvious during the last three years that I struggle with committing to classes and tutorials and giving my attention to the sessions. In future I will improve by communicating more with co-workers, lecturers and clients and make more of an effort to stay motivated to work well to a schedule as well as utilising spontaneous bursts of creativity. I have also struggled with writing such a large document, especially with referencing correctly and staying consistent. It is important to be aware of your weaknesses but more so to be willing to tackle them, in the industry I will need to work hard to overcome these issues.
Many people measure success in terms of financial gain, or how much closer to their main life goal they have got because of a piece of work. I am aware of how often change can happen and how important flexibility is and so I give myself smaller, more manageable goals as a pose to one big life achievement. My goals are centred around personal happiness, temporary contentment, pride in my work and how I am affecting my environment. My success this year has been in completing this dissertation, on a subject I am passionate about which I believe tackles important matters that are often overlooked. I have been successful in giving my energy to people who need it with my Women’s Aid work, and the experience I have gained with my photography for this company has also contributed to my future in the creative industry.