July Update

Wow, does it feel like a long time since my last blog entry!

As far as a record of my activities, this has been rather sparse lately. Yet this does not meant to say I have been taking it too easy on myself! With the unfortunately premature ending of my internship with DJS, I have since had the opportunity to get more involved in a couple of small scale projects that I have been promising myself.

The most prominent of these was to give some deserved TLC to the microbrewery whose fine beverages I have the pleasure of being design-involved with!
As well as creating some sassy labels, social media assets and imagery, I have also been giving thought to further creative scope. Seeing the updates of the brewery finding its feet are very encouraging, and I would love to get stuck into some photographic documentation of their first offerings!

I have also been charged to design a ~30 page baby keepsake/records book for a family member’s fast approaching addition to their family. I know I regard my own book with some fondness, so theres no pressure here at all..! With the design based on the decorations of their nursery, at least an inspiration springboard has been provided, with plenty of characters, patterns and little decorative quirks to translate into digital assets. Still, Illustrator and I get on rather well these days and some concentrated drawing might provide respite from all this unexpectedly oppressive sunshine.

The search continues for a new and inspiring place to continue gaining design experience, of course. But there is only so much sitting in front of a computer anyone can take in a week, so today’s lunch break will be spent seeing if I can fill a day next week with interesting and unusual exhibitions to see in London. I might just use the ‘pin in a Timeout’ trick for added random inputs, to get me away from my usual museum haunts!

Until then, hopefully with something new under my belt (in either capacity)…

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Bounce Back

For what has nearly been nearly a month (since I last properly updated), it is safe to say things have been a little rocky in my patch of design.

Unfortunately my designs for the Filofax Cover Story Competition were not successful in making it to the last round of judging and this was naturally a little disappointing. Inspite of not coming out top however, I still think I can look back on the experience with a smile- and not just because of the lovely voucher off Filofax products I received with the news!) For my first entry into a ‘real world’ arena of competitive design, I had no tutors or authority to check my ideas against, nobody logging my progress, no university structure telling me when to work and when to play, and no friendly crits with people I knew well.

Even without the support I had been fostered with throughout University, I still managed to interpret a brief, work hard, develop my own ideas and sort the good from the not so good, carry out accurate research, present my work to a required standard and template, in addition to receiving and acting on feedback accordingly. That was a terrifying prospect when I started! Its all rather silly and obvious but I’d still rather encounter this now than later on down the line. Now I have a piece that I know is 120% me in my portfolio and that I made every decision on for better for worse.

After my initial disappointment, its taken me a while to realise how reaffirming it was for my abilities.

Of course, I may still know nothing and those designs may well have been worse when I sent them back BUT I’m still on the horse.

And short of putting a direct Batman quotation in this blog, why do we fall down? So we learn to get back up, keep trying and doing something new.

Study Mondays at Baseline: Perseverance

After a few weeks of chipping away at my task, this week I was finally able to complete the construction of 41 beautiful Scribble Books (I’ve mentioned these before in more detail here). Of course, I say beautiful because I made them all by hand from A0 sheets of card and extra printing sheets! The process has not been without its hitches- the most significant being my consistent but nonetheless incorrect stamping of the book sleeve. This week however, I was able to overcome this problem by reassembling the relevant pieces, trimming and re-stamping them, in addition to solving the problem of insufficient numbers by successfully adapting previously unused material. After finishing their construction, a sample of the notebooks were photographed from every conceivably intriguing angle and arrangement. Hopefully these will be appearing on the Baseline Facebook page when Issue 60 is published. I think there are even a few cringeworthy ones of me in there too, setting up the stacks with an odd look of glee on my face..!

I have been reminded of several virtues while undertaking this task, but none more than patience. Slowing down, triple checking and scrutiny of each individual item. Naturally enjoying handmade work, I approached this task with a measure of care and attention that I would have already given while performing for another. I had high expectations of my own abilities and wanted to achieve the standard that was expected of my work. However, problems and misunderstandings are, bound to happen in processes that involve such unforgiving tools such as scalpels, where one slip and suddenly not only one but two sheets are ruined! I have tried my best regardless, and I think the final products are testament to a perseverance with accuracy, responsibility for fixing mistakes and in one case, ingenuity!

The only remaining task is to compile miniature envelopes of ephemera to place inside the covers. By comparison, this has the makings of a much simpler task.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the last week, it is that there is always room for error in the simplest appearing of tasks. Attention, patience and accuracy should always be at the top of any list of virtues.

Absolut Treasure

Finally, a sneaky little blog post that I can really get behind!

For the last few years I have made it my mission to collect as many different flavours of Absolut vodka as I can. Yes, this is a questionable design related hobby and is exceedingly studenty, but give me a chance to redeem myself! After having seen a modest collection back lit behind a bar only once, the effect has stayed with me, prompting me to make my own. Since then, my quest has taken me to a few interesting locations at home and abroad, and I’m still finding new ones on the shelves!

Put simply, I love Absolut style, ethos and branding. I suspect it is their simplicity and colour that attracts me, although to me, their advertising is in a league of its own. With a history of distinctiveness and being an ‘alternative’ brand, some examples of interactive campaigns and events are truly inspirational as well as enviable. Which is not to say anything of the print campaigns!

But as for me, grabbing my own piece of a brand I love? Its all about the bottles.

And I’ll consume all I can get my mitts on. Which could realistically kill me but I’d be happy.

While I would love you introduce you to them all at the moment, tonight I will have to settle for the second newest: Absolut London.
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New Johnston Typographic Guidelines

While talking to a tutor about attending an upcoming talk about the history of the Johnston typeface, a member of staff overheard my (okay, I’ll admit it) enthusiasm and popped his head around the studio door. Having worked on the TFL branding in the past, he kindly offered and dashed off to fetch some of the original material for the New Johnston typographic guidelines, distributed in 1988. [GD’ers at UCA Maidstone: ask Frank!]

A fantastic coincidence! I thought I’d share it given its relevance and gorgeously iconic London design.

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Twinings Tea Packing

I ordered some samples of tea from Twinings about a week ago and today they arrived in truly Twinings Style.

I cannot believe I was so excited to see a package of tea samples, waiting for me when I got home. I feel a little crazy for waxing lyrical about a little packaging design, but its just so neatly put together as well as being soft and feminine, it is a pretty nice sight for tired eyes. Or maybe thats just the branding thats making me feel so tired and relaxed…?

I’ll spare you my blurb and just give you the pictures:

Tea aficionados can get their own samples by checking the Twinings website or where I discovered it, on Student Beans

Stacking Up

I sense a theme appearing…

All the pieces (save the latex balloons, flat or otherwise) are now all here.

Now just to finalise the leaflet/poster artwork and get a wedge of each printed. A small, sample sized wedge that won’t cost me the earth in colour printing. Probably 2 of each poster design also, seeing as they would be A3 colour. Of course I could just print on printer paper and say that they would be cheaply made, but that would be ignoring the fact that people may want nice copies to begin with. So it might be worth looking through the paper samples again if I think anymore about it. I’m not sure what benefit it would be, but I’ll consider it because it can be considered, and might have a noticeable impact on the overall impression of the work.

Oh, and since I’d like the posters to be rolled up, I have great incentive to go out for another run and pick up some free red-colour-co-ordinating rubber bands courtesy of Royal Mail. Kerching!