Zoetrope Trains

Taking all these trains back and forth to London at odd times of the day, has given me a nice patch of time to let my mind wander these days. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I keep thinking about train platforms. Especially the ones that we pass through at speed. I always look down at the tracks and make myself nauseous following those cobbled together sections of straight lines. For those of a motion-sickness persuasion, look away now…

Scratching the surface with some research, I’ve found these:

Which while fascinating isn’t quite what I had in mind for something to amuse passers by.

Its funny how things stick in your head for ages. A few weeks before the hand on of my Final Major Project a couple of experimental musicians – Rotary Signal Emitter – had been invited to play in the Student Union Bar for the evening . I wanted to go at the time, but the (now I can say!) punishing workload unfortunately made it impossible. The fact I regret this is irrelevant, but I remember the promo video as clear 5 minutes ago:

Rotary Signal Emitter – Side A from The Wire Magazine on Vimeo.

I’m not sure the word hypnotic does it as much justice as it deserves. Compared to the simple narrative approach of a conventional zoetrope, I think I prefer the abstract qualities of the pattern work and colours. Maybe mix the location/application and imagery? Perhaps it would need complimentary sick bags.

But its just the inklings of an idea. It may all end up on the growing pile of interesting ideas ‘For Later’.


End of Year Degree Show Evening

Tomorrow should be an odd day to be back at Uni. The end of year degree show evening is from 6-8pm and will be the first time that people outside of the immediate University environment will have seen the offerings from this years graduates, myself included. It’ll be great to see everybody’s work up and completed, showcasing the fantastic cross section of skills and talent that I think my year has to offer the world. Hopefully, other people will share this opinion..!

During the earlier part of the day, I cannot say that I am particularly pleased to report that I was informed that my Dissertation was chosen as one of those submitted to the external examiner. I’m unsure whether this does not have the ability to impact on the mark that I have already received (a shocking 83 that sits far further into the First boundary than I would have hoped for), but I’m sure there are materials in the UCA student archives that can advise me one way or the other. Of course, this means that the monstrous beast of an essay that I thought I had slain, will be making one last pass to darkening its final morning. Like most people in my year I have forgotten most of the contents of my Dissertation by now, which is shocking considering the comparative time I must have spent working on it! But at least I can now read through it again tomorrow morning before the meeting, with a grasp of my argument, new perspective and some new criticisms of it all.

I’d like to say my luck holds out until the end of the week, but allowing for a break on Wednesday, I find myself back in Uni for external assessment once again- this time for my major project. Given my very fresh thoughts, misgivings and alterations to this project I am a little more anxious about this meeting but once again, I am sure that a dose of positive hindsight and clear explanation will make use of itself if needed.

Due to the timing of it all, this unfortunately means missing the opening night of the exhibition at the Proud Gallery. I’m rather disappointed since it means that I won’t get to know the work, mingle and meet the photographer, but as this was always possible I can’t say I wasn’t forewarned.

So while I’m looking forward to tomorrow night and celebrating in the Union bar, it looks like I’ll have to make the most of it being sandwiched between a couple of less celebratory events.

Jobs and ends

I’ve trimmed the props for my final major project display, photographed my personal identity kit and just need to make my digital copies of CV and Portfolio. I might just be on the right track..!

And at last, my to-do list seems to be dwindling- save the ever present anxiety of having to soon find a job in/near/overlooking design. I’m highly conscious of ‘getting rusty’ when I’ve finished my uni work, a little like I did when I took a year out between my foundation and this course. As a consequence, the pressure to find, impress and produce good work makes time spent not in a studio or office feel terrible! There were a few cobwebs to blow off when I started this degree and I think they only really disappeared in my second year. I’m sure much of it was related to confidence, but I proved to myself that getting back into the swing of things was possible.

At the moment I’m caught between keeping in the loop and taking the break that I’ve wanted to take every summer but didn’t feel like I could. I’ve worked really hard for the last 3 years and in-spite of everyone telling me how great these few years are, I haven’t actually been having a lot of fun. It seems to be a truism, but while working hard isn’t fun but it does get you things. In theory.

I still don’t know where my skills and interests fit in the massive spectrum of art, design, crafts and all manner of creative production. Perhaps instead of being told to refine my area of work, I should concentrate on finding any opportunities at all and jump on them- irrespective of the area. I honestly don’t think I have the luxury of choice at the moment, to go only after jobs or agencies or areas that I have my heart set on. The intern and entry level market is going to be competitive enough without being picky. Most entry and junior positions seem to be asking for 1-2 years of experience which must create a laughably vicious cycle, surely? Its the same old chestnut: places won’t give experience but they will only take people who have it.

At the moment, I think the best thing I can do this year is not put a deadline on having a job or experience.

Project Catch-Ups

Working on as many things as I am at the moment, I am acutely aware that I am neglecting this blog at the very time I find keeping it most productive! (Un?)fortunately, I have a few items backing up that I would like to post during the 2 weeks break from Uni. Yet since a break does not mean a break in the most classical school holiday sense, it is just as doubtful whether I will have the time to type them up!

Major Project
I have been woefully under descriptive of my Final Major Project concept, these recent weeks. Having not had the opportunity for guidance, I have been hesitant to make too many strides in its development incase it was not in the appropriate direction. Yet today confirmed the scope of my project as a proposal and I can now begin to list my presentation requirements and adequate supporting materials. Next post will be about Major Project…honest.

Graduate Show 2012
My role in the Graphic Communications 2012 Graduate Show has stepped up somewhat, in the commencement of the production stage of the invitations. Having admittedly taken a more back seat to the design process, I feel that now is one of the best times for my contributions. Tomorrows will be spent voluntarily shackled to a silk screen printing bed- a process which as I took pains to elaborate on before, I have a tumultuous but ultimately heartfelt relationship with. While I am confident that my recently refreshed skills will come flooding back with authority, I count myself lucky that I am not undertaking this task alone. With an estimated 500 pieces to be printed- at 8 invitations per batch – the printing will be divided between myself and another classmate. Luckily for us, we are only using one colour so washing will not be necessary. However rather unluckily for us, this single printed colour will be white. White paint on dark purple cardboard. Heaven help me estimating the acrylic/medium ratio!

Still, I look forward to the hands-on challenge and hope to get as much as humanly possible completed in a day! I didn’t get into craft and design to keep my fingernails clean!

It caught my eye… at Pick Me Up, London

This might be the most amount of entires I have ever made in a day, but this one will be shorter with some of my specific picks from the exhibition stands and displays.

Firstly, it being my maiden visit to the event, I had not had a chance to appreciate the event aesthetic and material itself. Being me, and currently nursing a crush on signage/wayfinding, this first exposure manifested in a fascination with the interior signage, information displays and ambient elements that made up the show.

Bold, fun and above all, clear. And on every surface too! The incorporation of 3-4 key graphic images such as the arm and the arrow in different colours, made for a seamless reading indeed. You were in no doubt as to when you were approaching the space or whether the bit you were in was part of it! I would hazard that the style and continued explosions of colour throughout the fair, contributed to the buzzing atmosphere but maybe it was viceversa…?

However, I kept my eyes off the floor long enough to find a few bits and pieces that really made the day for me:

(Pardon the image quality, issues with the upload) Some of the best displays and some images above, feature work from the lovely people of Nelly Duff, Soho Warriors Football Club, Soma, YCN, Many Hands, People of Print, Cachetejack, Print Club London and Scrumping with Puck Studio. Incidentally, the images top left are by paper heroes of mine, Zim and Zou. A completely unexpected joy to see their work in all its three dimensional glory!


New connections & A Personal Creative Identity Crisis

After a day spent conquering my personal fears about networking sites, I feel like I have a small presence on a few more corners of the web.

You can now find me on Tumblr and Behance, as well as Flickr, Twitter, WordPress and Facebook. I feel such a social media floozy.

The next step is LinkedIn but as I keep telling myself, its got to happen sooner or later. That is regardless of how it reminds me that in a few short weeks, I won’t be calling this University my home anymore. And after 3 years getting settled in, that is a scary thought.

So i just thought I’d reiterate all my points of contact here (as well as the contact tab) for those who may or may not be interested:

Twitter: @TilleyScribbles      Facebook: Nicola Tilley

Behance: Nicola Tilley         Worpress: Nicola Tilley (you’re here already!)

Tumblr: Nicola Tilley            Flickr: Nicola Tilley

Obviously, the updates on Behance will be larger than the others, so may take a little more time to catch up with. Tumblr and Flickr will probably be less neglected. So drop by and say hi- I won’t bite! Continue reading

D&AD – ‘Exceptional’ Coutts

For my D&AD submission choice, I was the only student in the year to choose the brief set by Coutts bank. While this contributes to my theory that I am not the “normal” embodiment of skills and attitudes  the course is intending to produce, the brief is as follows :

Design an installation that reflects the exceptional nature of Coutts and their unique heritage in a contemporary and engaging way. A copy will be installed in every one of its 43 branches worldwide.

The piece could be interactive or static, 3 dimensional or flat, but should fully engage the viewer and immediately convey a sense of unmistakable, but perhaps surprising ‘Couttsness’

Given the nature of it, I can’t say I’m surprised it had me champing at the bit to dive into the file of 67 very high quality photographs of artefacts (letters, medals, watches, hats, snuff boxes, spectacles…) that had been supplied with the intention of being used to base a response upon. I should add that this wasn’t so much stated, rather implied in the language as the basis for a more successful response.

Consequently, I am reinforcing my understanding of the underlying values and history of the brand by examining the materials more closely. In particular, the letters to/from members of the Coutts family  to the great and good of the ages, might provide an edge to the very human narrative that seems to run through the bank and its beliefs.

Theres something about the lines, the calligraphy of all the handwriting samples that I keep coming back to. Something fragile and old underscoring something much stronger?

Trust, security, stories of life and death, wealth, words, promises. None of these things really exist- money isn’t the gold it represents in a government vault somewhere. Even more so with electronic banking- we’ve moved right past a physical presence of finance and skipped to waves and blinking numbers on a screen. But that still counts for something, because someone has told us that those numbers could still be exchanged for bits of gold that we could put in our pockets. All these promises to ‘pay the bearer’ are insubstantial.  Foolishly, the only assets that don’t apply to this would be land or property, or maybe artefacts. Yet aren’t they worth only what people will pay for them or what people deem they are worth?

The word of this bank seems to be underlined by a core interest in the individuals behind the assets, both in their founders and clients. They seem to want to present a very human face to their organisation. Listening to their requirements and catering to them, speaking about personal and socially admirable traits such as generosity and responsibility. Their word seems to be golden.

Now THAT is ludicrous. That is the economy.

We’ll see. I’ve already done some running ahead of myself for the material and form of the proposed piece, which was probably a bad idea in some respects. I should be approaching the content with an open mind instead of making it fit into that-great-way-of-cutting-and-hanging-paper-that-I-saw-in-the-library.