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!
“So, where do you want to be in 5 years?” Is an all too common annoying first date question, a slightly more reasonable job interview question and a perfect question for a business plan and for planning out the touch-points will be most useful for my degree show.
So here goes.
What will Stalefish have accomplished within its first year?
- A strong online presence
- Positive messages circulating the audience
- Limited merchandise for sale (raglan t-shirts, long and short sleeves, sweaters, stickers)
- 5-10 regular customers
- Small premises (2 or 3 rooms + bathroom)
- Holding regular events (eg. spoken word, life drawing)
- Exhibit for local artists work
- Hold a live music event
What touch-points will this require?
- Thank you notes
- Branded merchandise
- Social media platforms
- Social media marketing (for space and events)
- Bathroom sign
- Printed advertisement (for space and events)
- Sandwich board
- Feature in a skate magazine
- Open coffee shop
- Start to serve food
- 10-15 regular customers
- Start to build workshop spaces
- Install vending machines
- Introduce more workshops (eg. meditation)
- Skateboard designs sold in Cardiff shops
- Move to a larger premises
- 20+regular customers
- Open a small skate shop in the studio
- School & college visits
- Start to attract big brands to do talks/workshops (eg. Google Garage)
- Start to develop an in-house magazine
- Provide accredited courses
- Working with international companies to provide internships/job positions
- Open second premises
- Start developing an indoor skate park & raising funds
What touch-points will be needed after the first year?
- Coffee cups
- Food packaging
- Paper bags (small, medium, large)
- Workshop ads (social media & print)
- Skateboard designs
- Magazine layout
- Ads for accredited courses
- Window stickers
- More merchandise (hats, badges etc.)
- Sign for front of studio
This post contradicts the title entirely but I have just walked all around town in search of something to eat, and I am not very happy with Cardiff, or the general attitude to vegetarianism here. All I wanted, in life, my absolute main focus, was something veggie friendly (preferably vegan) in a crusty bread roll, potentially warmed up or toasted, preferably avoiding burning a hole in my wallet. That is all, and apparently such a thing simply does not exist. And then to make it worse, each time I turn a corner I see this (or variants of):
And I’m just stood there like “I would! If it was possible to find something (anything!) to eat then I absolutely would!” And I feel guilty for the chocolate croissant I just ate because after half an hour of trying every supermarket and coffee shop on the high street I couldn’t find anything else. It is NOT the general public these pleas need to be aimed at, I am sure many people would cut down on animal products if an alternative was readily available to them, it is the shops, coffee shops, organisations which are providing the food and drink to the public. Walking into Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s this morning, all you can see are shelves and shelves of Chicken, bacon, cheese! Ads for local restaurants displaying “extra ice cream, fresh cream…” There is no way to escape it, three Greggs outlets later I think I have to resolve myself to the fact that their tiny vegan range failed its first few weeks; a shame.
It doesn’t have to be a big statement (I am very glad the Pret are opening up veggie stores but it doesn’t always have to be this grand), just having a few more vegetarian options, and the occasional vegan one too is all we need. To be honest, one of the best things about going vegetarian/vegan is that it’s easy to choose in restaurants because there’s usually just one or two suitable meals; we don’t need much.
So, my tiny little solution to this is applied to my final major project (I have a bit of an obsessive relationship with my work at the moment so why not direct this frustration towards uni?). Stalefish will provide AS MANY vegetarian options for food as meat options, and also a selection of vegan ones. It will not make a show and dance of it, it will simply exist. Obviously this is a few years down the line when the essentials have been covered and we can move on to serving food (I’m still considering the coffee shop idea to draw people in, but it isn’t the main focus). One aim of Stalefish is to encourage a healthy and positive lifestyle so all food and drink available will be healthy and of a good standard. “You are what you eat” so we want our customers to be eating well.
And as a side note, much like the site Bumble does in London, it will circulate positive messages such as these:
Another minor frustration from today is that there is so much pressure to network within the creative community here in Cardiff, and that’s all well and good when you’re in a sociable outgoing mood, but this morning I was feeling hazed and just wanted to sit quietly by myself without feeling anxious or ignorant, and listen to the talk. This was difficult to do with a whole room of people actively engaging in conversation and in all honesty by sitting out of the way I felt like a bit of an outsider. From the information I have gathered since starting this project, it appears that many of the target audience are introverted and much less confident in their skills and accomplishments than the older existing community, and networking is one of the reasons they are so intimidated by co-working spaces and events. To tackle this is and open the idea of working in a studio up to younger people, the events will always begin within a few minutes of the advertised start times, possibly stating that there will be a half an hour socialising time before the workshops/events begin so that more introverted people can avoid this. It is important that the studio is a comfortable space and that guests don’t feel awkward or out of place.
I used to think that we have to do far too many presentations as part of this course. It feels like after every couple of weeks we’re presenting our ideas, our designs, in different ways to different people; spending a lot of time watching and waiting and not really getting much from it. But it seems that every time I do a presentation I mess it up, however much I plan and prepare for them, however confident I am in my idea and how developed my design is, and more might be necessary if only for the advancement of my public speaking ability.
I am not a nervous person. I have to stress this; even recently I am still being reminded that I am not an anxious person; I can speak on the phone to strangers, talk at length about my ideas and passions, I am more than comfortable meeting new people and throwing myself into new places and situations; seemingly small feats and yet a few years ago I would not be so certain, so centred and sure. And yet however confident or caffeine fuelled I enter a room to present, my voice still shakes, my eyes skim over the words I have prepared and my mind goes blank. This is something I am determined to work on, and unlike before I am eager to do more, to throw myself into as many opportunities I can, to speak in front of an audience. I must be good at this, I have to be if I want to do well in the industry.
I tried using cue cards today in an attempt to override the blankness that appears in my head when stood in front of a crowd. This only aided my nerves, I was very aware that I was speaking off a sheet of paper and not being as authentic or interesting as I could have been. Next time I should probably make shorter notes and go back to speaking from the images on the screen as well. As a small note, I am still not sure if it is the presence of the lecturer I am uncomfortable with (in this case two), the number of viewers in the audience or the connections I have with each of them. It could also be adopted anxiety from the people I spend time with or the negative spaces I keep finding myself in. This is something I should resolve in order to understand why I become so unnecessarily, irrationally nervous. I am happy with the extent of my research and what I have so far and I am excited to do more with this project. I got some useful advice from feedback today, including:
- Experimenting more with the typefaces
- Do more illustrations
- Work out how the visual identity will look on different touch-points
- Condense the audience down to just the skater community, as it could be intimidating for people outside this to get involved (or change the name/theme)
This is the project I want to display in the degree show, and I really hope I can develop it enough for it to be accepted.
Here are a few images of what my presentation looked like today:
Update: Since the presentation I’ve put together a board to direct people to Stalefish, a logo painted onto the outside wall, coffee cup and thank you note designs. I also thought about putting together a short publication for guests to contribute to. This won’t be something I can show in the degree show as their simply isn’t time, but it is a decent idea for the development of the project. I am also aiming to create some promotional posters for Stalefish and a couple of social media posts encouraging people to try it out. These will include positive phrases such as “keep pushing”, and “You are flippin’ great”.
I don’t know how to make a website without opening up the terrifying site that is Wix.com, so I’ve done it in InDesign so you can rollover the buttons and make cool interactive .pdf files (you’ll notice how sad my life is right now by my use of the word ‘cool’).
My presentation/deadline is on Thursday and I am very stressed. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
(The merchandise looks better on my imaginary presentation slides, I will post those up soon.)
Learn how to use Adobe Muse or brave Wix/Squarespace and make the pages for the individual elements.
(This is just the landing page, and it took so so long. Send help!)