• Throughout Promotional Design, we have had to keep a journal of how we wished to develop ourselves as designers, discuss future prospects and plans and think how we would go about this. It has definitely been worthwhile writing it, and it has really got me thinking. At the start of the year I was confused, I had no idea what it was I wanted to do, what area of design I most enjoyed, and neither did I know what kind of designer I was. The only thing I did know was, I was really unhappy with my portfolio, I wished I could have work I could be proud of, I felt there was going to be no jobs available after university in design, and I even questioned if I would make it into the industry. In general; I had no confidence at all within design, and I felt like nobody was there to talk to for advice about this, or that nobody would take me seriously; especially my personal tutor because I had it in my silly head that he only appreciated ‘good’ designers. In fact, despite managing to get a few marks off a First, I almost did not go back for my final year, because I felt I was not getting what I wanted out of the degree, and that I wasn't good enough to be a designer.

    During our First seminar of the module, my lecturer asked each of us in turn which area of design we would like to specialise in; came my turn, and I genuinely had no idea. Instead, I chose to make something up, and a few minutes after, once everyone had been asked, I announced I had once again changed my mind. I can only imagine this would have been frustrating for my lecturer, but I wanted to make it clear at this point, that I was confused.
    I knew coming to study a degree would not teach me how to be a designer, or automatically get me a job in this sector. This year has made me realise what kind of designer I am, developed my confidence, and made me realise exactly what I want to do once I have finished university. I have done this degree because I want to be nothing else than a designer, and I have learnt so much about design, and it has been really worthwhile being surrounded by others on my course that have completely different styles and are intending to go into different areas of design, or some even choosing to not be designers.
    A few weeks ago, I was sorting through my hard drive and I staggered across some of my old college work. This was actually the break through moment of realisation I had long needed, looking at this work had finally made me realise and understand how much I really have developed over the last three years, I had never looked at this work until now and it really was quite a shock to take in.
    When I look back now at my old second year work, I can see a big development in my work again, and this is the main reason why my portfolio only contains key work produced this year. It is not the most fantastic work and I am not overly proud or precious over it; but mainly it is a working portfolio which I wish to continue developing until I am in the “perfect” job. Yes, perfect is quite a big goal to aim for, but I will not settle for anything but this, because I truly believe if I work hard enough, I will get what I want in life.
    The briefs I chose to do through Promotional Design; Starlight Walk, Nestle Packaging, Kingsway Exhibition Poster, Sugar, Self Promotion and NSS Poster were not only based on what was ‘missing’ from my portfolio as stated in my Personal Development Plan, but ones rather to the areas I felt needed improving the most in order to find out the kind of designer I am. I really enjoyed all of my chosen design briefs, in fact I never really seen any as ‘hard work’ I just found each of them exciting to do. I must admit though, towards the final week I wished for university to end fast, because I had got to that stage where it was getting too stressful and getting my designs to look good, just hit the big impossible and the last resort of stepping away was no longer an option.  But overall, I really have enjoyed every bit of it.

    Next year, I am continuing on to postgraduate level, choosing to investigate further within a specific area of Branding (mainly the values). This is part time, so I am able to work at the same time. I am definitely looking forward to it, but at the same time; I must admit, I am really looking forward to stepping away from any academic thinking for the next few months before my return. My brain needs some rest.

  • I am against time now for this project, I still have so much to do, and why am I blogging when I still have so much to do?
    For my final university project, I chose to do a self-negotiated brief, through this I want to influence 16-25 year olds to start sending mail again. Research shows that people do not send mail anymore because of convenience and having to find something special to send.
    Here my concept involves a set of cards, which one keeps and gives to two chosen friends, which each can personalise in their own way. One way of getting my product to sell, is to advertise this to students (which is my next job) I have chosen to do this through the UCAS fair. Students often travel miles away to study at the right university, playing on the words that sending mail is seen as going that extra mile for someone; I want to incorporate the words and get students to now “go that extra mile” as a way of staying in touch with friends during university term times.

    The owl acts as the envelope and the owls wing seals the card closed.

    To read more about this project and my research journey see Social Mail posts: #1, # 2, # 3, #4, #5 and my Pitching Document

  • Everything we buy has an effective impact on the environment, and Buy Nothing Day highlights the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. As part of one of my final major projects, I have decided to create a public awareness campaign for Buy Nothing Day.

    My concept targets consumers outside supermarkets to think differently about how they retain foods of their everyday needs. The aim of this campaign is to encourage consumers to save their fruit and vegetable seeds, shop less and grow their own. Overall this will have a longer lasting impact on society than it would to influence consumers to not shop at all for one day.

    Question: Why always buy your everyday needs when you can simply grow them using a few easy steps?

    The civilisation process of the human race began about 10,000 years ago on the day someone recognised and collected seeds from the wild and then purposefully sowed them in order to grow some of their own food.

    Apple Tree
    Step 1: After eating your apple, save your seeds and wait for them to dry.
    Step 2:  Put the seeds in a small cup of potting soil and remember to water them every day.
    Step 3: Pick a location for your tree and transplant your seedling to the outdoors.
    Step 4: Water and watch it grow

    Orange Tree
    Step 1: After eating your Orange, save your seeds, and immediately wash them in tepid water
    Step 2:  Put the seeds ½ inch under in a small cup of potting soil and cover with plastic
    Step 3: Move to a sunny area and remove the plastic once the seed has sprouted.
     Step 4: Water and watch it grow

    Step 1: To make approximately 12 potatoes, save this potato.
    Step 2:  Prepare your soil and plant it in a planter.
    Step 3: Care for your potato, nurturing it as it grows.

    Step 1: Sow your peas directly into soil
    Step 2: Provide support using sticks and twigs
    Step 3: Pick regularly every 3 to 4 months

    Green Beans

    Step 1: Save the seeds from your beans
    Step 2: Prepare the soil
    and stagger when planting
    Step 3: push each seed with your finger down into the soil
    Step 4: Water and watch as they grow

    Additionally the public awareness campaign is 100% Eco-friendly ,the typography on the ground is created using natural resources, flour and water mixed together to hold the sand letterforms in place, and the packaging will be produced using 100% FSC recycled card and printed with vegetable based inks. (See the packaging illustrations here)

  • Last week I set a challenge to go towards my Buy Nothing Day project. The brief was to create something out of ‘nothing’ and without buying anything…Explore the use of your old ‘junk’ and create something new and worth using, do something different, what are your interests, do you have a long or short term hobby? Below are some of my favourite responses. It was quite interesting to see how each differed and what each had each decided to create using something, without buying anything.

    Origami stars made from strips of coloured or patterned paper.
    - Vicky Hulme

    I tend to hoard things around in my room, not really having anywhere to put similar items, like nail varnish and make-up, or hairspray and dry shampoo. The logical thing for me to create seemed to be some sort of container to put things in where similar items would be together. A box was the simplest container i could think of, and set to work to construct this in a visually appealing way.
    - Kirsty McDonald

    I didn't buy a thing so it serves its purpose.
    - Emma Wilson

    An origami rose, I did not have to buy anything and it relates to one of my projects.
    - David Yates

    Last night I started looking around for what might be seen as "junk" that I've collected over the past few months. I hoard all sorts of printed things - you just never know when it might come in handy! I found piles of stuff and thought about cutting out letters from each piece - in an almost ransom note style. It makes me laugh now looking back at it; it shows how happy I was to be doing something not related to university work! I just went a little bit wild with the scissors, glue and random bits I've kept over the last few months.
    - Lorna Dee Evans

    I thought about a few different things but then I just thought about a phone dock/holder when i saw that my phone wasn't slipping off of the sandwich box I had on the table. Anyway it started to slip so i put in a ledge. But the angle of the box made it a perfect viewing point for the phone. I love my phone but have nowhere to put it so thought it would be a good idea to make this item.
    - Brandon Millard

    The plastic is part of an old greenhouse, and the lamp is an old one from IKEA. The lamp is a bit smashed on the other side, but did I throw it away? No. 
    - Alex Franklin

  • Buy Nothing Day Project - Here are some quick illustrations of vegetables to go on my packaging. The aim of my packaging is to influence others to shop less and ‘grow your own’ fruit and vegetables. Although Buy Nothing Day is about influencing an audience to step away from their luxury’s, my concept relates to the use of every day needs, and how you can shop less by growing your own. The idea is based around the seed of civilisation, and the idea that one piece of fruit or vegetable can grow many more.
    “The civilisation process of the human race began about 10,000 years ago on the day someone recognised and collected seeds from the wild and then purposefully sowed them in order to grow some of their own food. Previously food had been gathered from the wild and humans had mostly been at least semi-nomadic.”

  • 100% Eco-friendly: Flour, Water, Sand

    Flour and water mixed together acting as a glue to hold the letter forms.  Sand was then spread over the top, and the excess sand was removed. This is part of one of my final projects, and towards my campaign for Buy Nothing Day. My concept is based around targeting my audience slightly different than I had first intended through my pitching document. I am hoping to have this project near a finish by Friday. I will explain this along with the artefacts.

  • “Nine out of 10 people say they love receiving handwritten letters in the post.”

    The idea of putting pen to paper to write a letter has come to be seen as an antiquated concept, ridiculously slow and old fashioned. Writing anything more than a birthday message in a card can be difficult enough.
    Communication of social networking through phones and social networking apps means communicating has never been easier.  Statistics show that it is mainly adults aged 18 – 29 that use social networking sites. With digital communication being so prevalent in our daily lives, the art of handwritten letters and sending pieces of mail seems to have been forgotten about. There is something more personal about receiving a handwritten letter, something an electronic message cannot compete with. Sending a letter used to be seen as nothing else than uncommon, now its seen as sending a signal to someone that you want to go that extra mile for.
    The simple thing is… nobody gets mail anymore, because nobody sends mail anymore.

    Positive and negative reactions to handwritten letters:

    ·         Do not need a computer or access to the Internet (which costs)
    ·         It is different, special and more personal.
    ·         Retain Royal Mail Jobs
    ·         Valuable
    ·         Something to have and keep forever
    ·         Much more emotion can be seen through the handwriting

    ·         Slower and less convenient  (2-5 days) it is not as instant
    ·         Might not receive the mail – (Trustworthy of Royal Mails service)
    ·         Costs of postage stamps
    ·         Inconvenient
    ·         Junk mail is too prominent. It goes against the point of receiving a letter now
    ·         Using paper, not environmentally friendly
    ·         Costs to send

    I sent out a number of letters to people I knew, asking them their thoughts on handwritten letters, and here are a few people’s responses:
     “A handwritten letter is something you can keep, and has sentimental value.” Female Age 20
    “It is more special, they have taken the time to sit down and write it.” Male Age 18
    “There is so much more effort put into a handwritten letter.”
    “When I received this letter, I was intrigued to open it.”

    It seems people know receiving a letter has sentimental value and putting pen to paper makes something that extra bit special, yet this is something that is almost forgotten about because of the barrier between this and the convenience of sending an email, social networking sites, and other ways of easily communicating with one another nowadays.
    People need a specific reason to write to someone, whether this is what to write, or why to write. The piece of mail has to be well thought, personal and unique to their chosen receiver.  
    My aim is to remind others about the power of the written word, remind those how great it is to receive a letter again…, make this more convenient and easier, and give people many reasons to write. To do this I have come up with three design solutions.

    Concept 1 - Mail Recipes

    Mail recipes’ is full of a range of different ways to write to people, and how to personalise your own cards in any unique style using mixed media’s, from old magazine cuttings, materials to printing blocks. The book is full of design tips on how to make their mail more personal and that extra bit special. My target audience for this is females aged 12 – 65.

    Concept Two – Catharsis

    Catharsis Mail is an emotional release through the power of the written word. The writer is in control with what they write, and who they write to that they feel is responsible for their inner negative feelings. The writer can choose to deliver this, or keep, tear or burn. They are in complete control of their mail.  My target audience will be anyone who wants to emotionally release their thoughts onto paper, has opposed to using expensive therapy. 

    During the reconditioning process, I found healing of the inner child by writing a letter to my parents about all my childhood disappointments and feelings.  It was a writing exercise given me by my then psychiatrist - "write a letter to your parents" he said.  It did not matter if I sent it or not.  So, I wrote the letter to air my pent up feelings of long ago - growing up in a dysfunctional home. Writing the letter was very cathartic and did clean out some of the emotional cobwebs that held me captive.

    I never did mail the letter, but that did not matter!  It worked to free the anger, hate, disappointment and the child who once had no voice.”

    Concept 3- Yours & Mine Cards
    Yours and Mine cards are a set of cards that come together as a pair, so that the cards the cards can be shared between two people. The cards will be bought by one, and given to their chosen recipient to use and keep.
    Research has shown that often people do not reply to letters because they do not have nice enough stationery, this eliminates this problem and makes sending letters easier and convenient. My target audience for this will be young couples, close friends, or other family members between the ages of 14-25. These ideally can be used for communicating with distant friends, family or lovers, and a great way to stay in touch whilst apart during term times at separate universities, colleges or schools.
    I have decided to go forward with my final concept, and develop this further with a few new ideas I mind. I will keep you posted.