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!
I’m going to write this now because I was asked to finish my full cup of coffee before entering a library room where I had a fairly important lecture on artist books, layout and format, and now I’m on a worryingly strong caffeine high, and feeling motivated to get everything done, and a little bit shaky.
Firstly, I don’t know if it’s the caffeine buzz or the general positivity I am feeling this week, but just being in uni is working out really well for me. It’s really easy to just stay at home and watch the hours roll by, watching TV and eating too much out of boredom. So being here, using the studio space, going to all these lectures and workshops, is really useful. There are so many hours in the day when you are using them well.
My last hour was spent in the artist book/journal archive room in the library flicking through books in all shapes and forms, and after leaving and reading a couple of books on book-binding as well, I’ve remembered all the work I put into my book for the exhibition in first year and my interest in this subject has been reignited.
It’s not that I want to be a book maker, I’d just like to learn more about the skill. I think it’s really easy to get limited to one skill in graphic design (as well as other professions I’m sure), by yourself or your peers and employees. While I think it is important to specialise in one area of the subject and refine that skill, I do not want to be held back from projects or jobs because it looks like I am only capable of one single thing.
In conclusion, as a result of this workshop, I think I am going to look more into the skill of book-binding and potentially adopt the process for my portfolio, as a way of communicating the extent of my skills to potential employers without directly stating that it was part of a project. I think this would be a much more appropriate/relevant way of expressing myself and my work than my initial idea of a children’s book format.
A few months ago I had the sudden urge to design a co-working/supportive space for people in the community to come and work, just hang out, or even have a place to stay for the night. It was meant to double as a homelessness shelter to support local charities with the atmosphere of a library or office as well. This was a spur of the moment thing and never really stood a chance of progressing into something realistic or possible. Now I have to come up with an idea for my final project and the work I did off the back of this impulse will help in the development of my final piece of university, hopefully.
The other, more recent idea I’ve had is to start up a skate shop/brand, to support the skating community and also to help young people get into work after school and college. This idea originated from knowing multiple people in the benefit system, going through the soul destroying and hugely disheartening, inhuman experience of the job centre. I want to give people the option to avoid getting dragged down into an endless cycle of proving themselves, jumping through ridiculous hoops and ultimately getting caught up in the system for the rest of their lives, by providing an alternative option; as many young people without many qualifications or motivation are under the impression they have none. The skate shop would be specifically aimed towards 16-20 year olds so I thought it might be a good idea to merge the two ideas together to create a more defined, directed variation of the first.
The plan is to create a co-working space for young people to come and just spend time out of the house. Some ideas of what would be included are:
- Job search support
- Skill building workshops and motivational lectures run by entrepreneurs and local business owners (in the space and at schools and colleges)
- Creative talks by local artists and designers
- Live music events in the space and elsewhere
- A lounge area with games consoles, arcade and board games
- ‘Tuck shop’, free tea and coffee available to those hiring desks
- Skate shop
- Display of local artists’ work/Exhibitions
- Merchandise for sale
- Professional counsellors
- Desk spaces for hire
- Creative workshop spaces for freelance artists and designers
- Accredited courses
- Creative opportunities – eg. Life drawing and painting sessions
The main thing that would be used for the exhibition would be visuals of the interior, branding and merchandise, however I would also come up with a full business plan and action plan for things such as funding options and examples of who would be willing to support or sponsor the project.
I have spent the majority of today working on a final outcome for the final critique tomorrow afternoon. To be honest, the booklet format probably isn’t what I would have done if I’d had more time but I need to visualise my idea for tomorrow so it’ll do until I can put some proper thought into the visual presentation.
The images haven’t scanned in quite as I’d have liked and haven’t been edited to a standard that would actually permit printing, so I’m using them as placeholders for photographs I would take before the final deadline, the text is also not up to scratch and doesn’t portray what it is I’d actually like to say, but it’ll do for now.
The beginning of a new project, and once again I am filled with that sense of openness, freedom, the brief is fairly vague and includes the chance to work on film and animation, something that would go well in my portfolio and that I am excited to experiment with. I also get to work on a D&AD New Blood Award brief, a recognised and respected achievement in the industry, if I win that is. There are still a few things I need to tie up from the last project, and of course keep writing my dissertation, and work on a couple of commissions outside of university. But still, I’m excited to get cracking.
As a slight side note, I am starting to get that nagging feeling of having work pile up and losing grip on my productivity, but I think with a little rearranging and inspiration, and maybe a little caffeine, although I really shouldn’t rely on a coffee induced buzz to get me working, I think I’ll manage to pull myself out and stay on top of it all. I can only try my best.
The brief explains that the BBC want to take advantage of the developing digital world and bring together visitors of all six of the August festivals, the performers and also the people at home, or on their commute, who also want to be involved even though they can’t be there in person. One of the areas for improvement I found when doing my research was that there isn’t one single place for the festivals to all come together, so considering creating an umbrella brand for them all might be a good place to start. I also considered an app where visitors and performers could upload their photos and videos so everyone can see what is going on from their point of view. An extension of this thought is to stream the festivals live onto a digital platform; through Facebook Live, Twitter or even a virtual reality headset.
VR is looking likely to be the ‘future’ of digital technology, closely followed by augmented reality. Thinking quite far ahead of the now, an idea I had was to create an ad or feature designed for virtual or augmented reality, where the viewer can experience what it would be like to actually be at the festivals; they could chose a point of view, a festival and even a specific stage to watch and interact with. This thinking seems a little too advanced for what is currently available and commonly used but I would much rather be thinking two steps ahead than two behind.
One of the things I discussed with a variety of different people was the question of whether or not apps are going out of fashion. When was the last time you downloaded an app that wasn’t essential? Probably not much since the demise of Flappy Bird. And of the apps that you do download, how many do you use frequently and for an extended period of time? I found that the majority answered unanimously in that they do not use apps in the same way they did when they first became popular and maybe creating yet another app that would sit in the app store and not actually used wouldn’t be the best idea. Also the chances of someone downloading an app for a festival they weren’t actually going to might not be very high. Despite this I am not ruling the idea out, there may be a way of working around this and reinvigorating app culture. I’ll do some thinking.
The brief mentions using existing platforms to promote or accommodate the idea, and potentially use them in different ways. The festivals already have a twitter that people interact with, which is present on the Edinburgh Festival City website, and I imagine also makes an appearance on screens at the festivals themselves. Snapchat often includes relevant filters dependant on the events that are happening locally. They also let people share stories; small clips of their time at the events. Maybe I could introduce a hashtag for people to use to share their experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well. Considering a lot of the BBC is aired through TV an advert might be appropriate, or something like the E4 estings where viewers can contribute their own footage and the events can be shown in not such a pushy way as an ad.
There are ENewsletters and email updates already sent out about the different events but I personally just end up deleting newsletters as they get too repetitive and invasive. Maybe there’s a way to share information in a more engaging way that people will find less intrusive. There is a lot of friendliness going on between brands and their audiences at the moment and I know for some people, in the industry and otherwise, this is going a bit too far, and brands need to take a step back and realise they are not their customers’ friends.
So basically I have a lot of ideas about the issues already existing in the current design, and a few solutions. I think from here I need to firstly sign up for the After Effects workshop on Wednesday so I can improve my knowledge of that as it might help with the project, and also keep working on research before my next tutorial on Thursday. And of course, send the emails I need to send and God forbid take a break before I start to feel overloaded again.