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.
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.
“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
After a tutorial with Matt, I had decided to take his advice and focus more on the non-visual side of the brand and let the imagery fall into place in the background. This would have meant producing a more meaningful and interesting piece for the degree show than a simple branding task applied to various touch-points. However, then having a critique by Ian and lots of direct ‘constructive criticism’, it became clear that the visual branding needed to be actively refined, as “this is a graphic communication course after all” and I “must be aware that we only have two weeks left”.
So I spent the weekend doing odd jobs for extra pocket money, and spent some time with my brother in the city and at a gig on Saturday night, these last weeks have been jam packed full of exciting things and I just needed a break. This week I have retreated back to Ammanford to spend some well needed time out, chilling out and working peacefully on this project away from the pressures of the studio. This is what I’ve been up to:
Today I launched my survey; 10 questions to complete, with the promise of a prize draw to randomly chosen winner. The prize being a set of patches from Heads Above the Waves, a small gesture towards the overall intended goal of the project.
If you’re under 22 and unemployed/have been unemployed for a long period of time, fill it out and be entered into the draw… https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KSJQW85
The next step is to draft up questions to ask at the Job Centre, something I’m not too keen on actually doing… I think I’ll submit my Penguin Random House entry first.