I expected a lot from the final three weeks; some kind of dramatic punctuated ending, a meaningful shared experience, an empathetic collective wave of emotion maybe. Instead, the approach came quickly, jarringly, and the end rolled over ironically unexpected and tense. And “That’s it.” She said, what I remember most about the last day, just yesterday, was an air of tension and then another of us repeating the words “that’s it”, “that’s it” as if this would somehow spark an ingenious revelation of possibility and hope. Instead I feel drained, dazed, like I am tilting off a clifftop blindfolded. I’m hoping the fall will surprise me with candy floss and diamonds but it could equally be a pit of snakes, tigers even, and I won’t know until I let myself fall. I have to trust that I fitted a rope, or a parachute, in preparation. I have to hope that I will somehow find and grab hold of the energy needed to throw myself forwards into the void. Into something better than just a kitchen porter job found on Indeed.com.
What is left, temporarily, the last string attaching me to university life, is the exhibition. Maybe I should have blogged more, maybe I should have spent more time on my portfolio of 3rd year work. Now it’s all handed in and there is nothing left but the silently standing exhibition space, regrettably sparse corner filled only with ‘secretly’ unfinished screen printed t-shirts and hand painted skateboards. The unrealistic initial ambition muffled underneath a simple branding project, hopefully it will be enough.
21 days and 3 projects to finish, blog about, touch up research and development documents for. Photos to take, pages to print, laser cutting and screen printing to do, feedback to take on board, changes to make. The feedback I received this week wasn’t how I expected it would be and I am disappointed in myself. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in making plans for the future on the rocky foundations of the present, and it’s difficult being knocked down to discover the groundwork isn’t sturdy enough to land on.
Enough with the metaphors. I thought Matt had faith in what I was doing. My project seemed solid and well-thought through, I suppose it didn’t come across that way and I was given an average ‘satisfactory’; slap bang in the middle of the spectrum. To me this is a failure. I have so many people expressing their admiration for “how hard I work”, “how brave I am for making such daring plans”, and “how much I throw myself into”, I guess I’ve been taking myself for granted, assuming my capability based on the throw-away comments of others. I never meant to become arrogant, I think it’s just difficult to regain total modesty once I let myself believe I was doing well.
There is no point in simply recognising my faults, although that is the first step, what is important is where I go from here. And I think the answer is to embrace my target audience, like Matt mentioned in my feedback, and do more research on a more specific market, before properly planning out my exhibition space and powering through the designs for the touch-points I have chosen. All through this project I have had a rough idea of how I wanted my exhibition piece to look, but this week I have put together a better idea of the layout.
The main touch-points of my exhibition will be the merchandise (t-shirts, hats etc.) as well as branded decks and the website on a mac, acting as the ’till. I might even find a card reader, at the risk of making it seem like too much of a shop environment. I will also throw in stickers, thank you notes and broken skateboards as shelves. I have also sought advice from other members of the course; Carwyn mentioned a clothes rail held up by halves skateboards, using the trucks to hold up a metal pole to hang the t-shirts from. Jasmine suggested providing branded boards for guests to navigate the whole exhibition on, however I am sure Ian would have a problem with the health and safety risks of actually doing this! I also need to produce better illustrations for the merchandise designs, and keep on working on the individual pages of the Stalefish website and take my own photos. Now, to get on with it…
Here’s a preview of the website I’ve put together so far: https://amydunstall.wixsite.com/stalefishstudio
This could probably be classed as procrastination, when other people on my course are getting ISTD awards for their work (which is amazing by the way, congratulations!).
I’m just sitting in the Bay drinking too much coffee as usual, and doodling up logos and merchandise designs for Stalefish…
It’s the Easter break and I have yet again escaped to the countryside town of Ammanford for some well needed time off. When I say time off I do mean spending every hour taking photos, uploading photos, setting up eBay, listing 100(!?!) items to eBay, setting up a Kickstarter account, sorting my GoFundMe, making, rearranging and deleting social media accounts, sharing all of the above and trying, desperately, to maintain a healthy social life and not be distant or absent to expectant friends, family, other(?). I am sorry to everyone I’ve seemingly ignored, I promise I am trying my best to stay on the ball.
As a reward to myself for getting all these very time consuming and brain numbing tasks done, I indulged in a little Final Major Project work. Yeah, my reward for work is more work… So, I made stickers! And while I was checking them out on the printing site, I figured for the postage price I may as well redesign and print the Thank You Notes too.
The next step is to do some more illustrations and crack on with the website! After a quick bike ride along a canal in the countryside because it’s a nice day yet again and I’d quite like to drag my face away from this laptop screen for a few hours before my brain implodes on itself.
Three weeks off and two days in I’m already pulling my hair out. This is too much free time, I don’t know what to do with it all.
What I have done so far is work more on my Final Major Project (it has basically taken over my life at this point), I’ve been to the Bay to photograph the Cardiff Bay 10k Run and taken part in the IgersCymru photowalk. In doing so, I discovered Coffi Co, a little coffee shop in the Bay, situated in three storage containers and branded perfectly. I’m a bit annoyed that I didn’t know about this place sooner, maybe their marketing could do with a bit of work? Or maybe I just need to make do with having found it now, we just need more sunny days to spend sitting outside on their cute beach chairs. They also have coconut milk and bike stands which made me very very happy, and the container idea gave me an idea for my project I’ll explain further on!
[I’m looking for sponsorship for the summer so I can afford to take myself to the land down under, message me if you fancy a hand with bigging up your business, if you need photos taken or just some help keeping on top of social media.]
This whole weekend has been really great, and I have started my Monday with my head screwed on and a smile on my face. Life is sweet.
So I started with a quick sketch of the floor plan of Stalefish, I figured if I could visualise the space more I might be able to get a better feel of what the branding should look like. Although without an exact premises to work from or a plan of the rooms I wanted to include, this turned out to be a rather fruitless task.
One of the comments from my assessment was that I should do more illustrations (I think the koi drawings went down well in my presentation). So with the (probably quite silly) themes of skating, space and tribal culture in mind, I came up with these. Just some inspiration for further work, but sometimes it’s nice to close down the laptop for a while and just work with pen and paper.
Next I cycled down to Bute park, 8am on a Friday morning, to sketch out a plan of what rooms I eventually wanted to incorporate into Stalefish. This way I could better plan out the workshops and events I want to host and visualise the floor plan. I also wrote down the different stages of development, obviously I can’t start out with all of the things I’d like to do.
Another note I made from the assessment was that I could be more experimental with my typography for the project, and so I planned out some alternative logo styles. Although what I ended up with was very similar to what I started with, just with a slightly more rough, grunge appearance using grainy textures and slightly more freedom with the outlines. I don’t want to over-design or over complicate the visuals, I quite like them being bold and minimal.
I’ve been doing a lot of work on the logo design and merchandise and haven’t really made a solid plan about the pieces needed for the exhibition. This is what I did next:
I decided the most important touch-points that I will include in my exhibition space are:
- The website
- Merchandise (Hats & T-shirts)
- Clothing labels
- Badges & Stickers
- Social media
- Skateboard designs
And I made a quick plan about what it will look like:
And then I played far too much Sims, went to sleep and this morning I have cracked on, in Kin+ilk, with the logo refinement, some merchandise designs, clothing labels and the designs for skateboards to hang on the wall. I will also use old skateboards to make shelves for the clothing.
My original plan was to print onto a film to stick to the skateboards, but I decided instead to make use of the available resources and honour the visual style of Stalefish and engrave the designs straight onto the wood using a laser cutter at university. I could also try screen printing straight onto the wood, and varnishing the engraved images or paint in the spaces.
As well as all this I’ve struggled through and (I think) achieved something by adding to the Stalefish website on Wix. I am still getting to grips with the software but I think it’s coming along okay, and my workflow is getting quicker the more I use it.
Some of the best advice I’ve heard this month has been that “if you’re feeling down, smile until you feel it.” It works. And I’ve been getting up early and working hard on this project every day and I am honestly feeling so good about it. It turns out smiling when you’re already happy works too. Until next time!