Monday, 28 September 2009

As the third year approaches...

 "...never stop thinking. Never stop asking questions. Never, never stop reading, looking, imagining what else can be done. And don’t be afraid to start small. You’ll get there, eventually. And when you do? Send somebody a thank you note."

An inspirational piece of writing from Jessica Helfand. Read the full open letter here.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

On the spot design pitch

This afternoon I visited my favourite teashop to meet with a friend. He is the founder and president of NTSU's newly formed Textiles Society and this past week I have been busy creating a logo and overall visual concept for the society. We were meeting to discuss the PDF of designs I had sent him.

I arrived to find out that the majority of the committee was now meeting up, and that he wanted me to pitch the idea and my designs to them - a very different scenario to informally discussing it just with him. And suddenly the nerves began to bubble.

It was nothing like a design pitch in industry would probably be like, so being nervous seems quite unnecessary now. They are students, I'm a student and it was quite informal really. But I'm not the sort of person to do things half-arsed, so I attempted to treat it as the real deal. I formulated the points I wanted to make and tried to communicate them in the clearest way possible.

It was extremely rewarding when they ended up choosing the design that was secretly my favourite, and how responsive they were to some of my other ideas regarding how they undertake some of their promo materials and fundraising. When it's all done and dusted, I plan to post the work here along with images of it in use at the upcoming Fresher's Fayres. Keep an eye out.

So. Not that big a deal. But a happy ending all the same.

It has arrived!

Returning to Nottingham yesterday, imagine my excitement when I unlocked my flat door and felt resistance as I pushed it open - my copy of Mark Shaw's Copywriting, the book I blogged about here, had arrived!

Even just from briefly flicking through its pages, I feel its going to be an interesting read, and that makes me quite excited. Here is a small snippet from the first chapter that has caught my attention so far:

"The best way to write copy is to focus completely on the true nature of the target audience so that your messages are crafted with them in mind. This will produce compelling copy and your reader will feel at home with your writing. Using a clever play on words, a pun or a quick witticism is becoming less important than being able to craft a well-constructed, stimulating message."

It might seem like it is stating the obvious, but clear and simple advice is often so easily forgotten, especially as a student. Working solo on projects and trying to do everything yourself, wanting to impress your tutors and peers; you can get overloaded and lose the ability to see each part clearly and might neglect a certain aspect, there's no point in denying it.

I look forward to curling up on the couch and giving it my full attention.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Let's see how this works...

I really want to make the most of this blog and post regularly, but like a lot of people, time can sometimes be hard to find. And usually I can't write a post straight off the top of my head - I have to have drafts which I rewrite a few times first.

Often I get an idea for a blog when I'm in the middle of doing other things. Sometimes I like to leave a draft and come back to it at a later time when I can read it fresh before modifying it.

So I've decided to make the leap and set up mobile blogging so I can write and send drafts on the go whenever I have spare time. And then by laying down the groundwork I can make edits later at my laptop before publishing.

Sounds good to me. And this happens to be my first mobile post.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Oh dear.

Words escape me, haha.

I wonder what the response would be if a similar video was made in Britain?

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Visiting college

Today I went and visted my tutors from the college where I did my national diploma. It was lovely to be able to catch up and see how the course has developed. A lot of changes have been made, and for the better it seems. I was slightly jealous.

I also realised how much I have learnt since college. My conversation with my design tutor was so much more involved and interesting. Having become more aware of the current goings-on in the design sphere (largely because of, but not limited to, my RSS feed obsession) I was able to discuss topics in greater depth, and with better understanding than I could have ever done two years ago.

Two years ago I knew very little. Now I'd say I know at least a little bit more.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Not a good look...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Yes Men fix the World

Today I read about this comedy/documentary film via swissmiss.

It looks incredibly interesting, but unfortunately isn't playing at any of the independent cinemas in the Nottingham area any time soon.

You can watch the official trailer here and find out more info here.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Homeward bound...

After spending the majority of the summer in Nottingham, it is time for me to head home for a week before the start of term. I'll have only been home for a total of 12 days this summer - its quite surreal.

I don't regret it - I've been much more active and productive in Nottingham than I would have been at home. But it'll be nice to spend some time in Blackpool again and see my family.  Also, whenever I return home something has always changed, due to the ReBlackpool masterplan and I always like to analyse the developments.

I'm taking books for dissertation reading with me - whether I'll get the chance to read them however...

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

News article on maternity leave

I think this is really good news. Yesterday the government announced that fathers will be able to take six months' paternity leave.

Not only do I approve of it, but I think it is really interesting in regards to my dissertation as well. I've not really spoken yet on the subject matter of my dissertation, mainly because I'm still in the process of clearly defining the question and narrowing the direction. However, it is focused on women in design, and I've been doing a fair amount of reading on the subject over the summer.

Its great that men now have the opportunity to take a longer period of paternity leave if they wish to - a vast improvement on the previous miniscule two weeks. Whether the majority of men will want to or not is another matter: an interesting viewpoint in one of the sociology books I have been reading is that men are generally disinterested in taking on the active role in their child's early years, being more hands on and useful in the adolescent years. Maybe they've just never been given the chance?

To allow that greater flexibility for couples to discuss what is best for them is a big step forward. Its not just about equal opportunities for women, its about equal opportunities for men and women. And this new scheme can benefit both.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The tea maker

As a student, I expected to be the tea-maker on work experience. I have no problem with it either, its a common thing isn't it? However Jupiter have a really fair policy on tea-making, where people take turns in offering to make a round. They are astonished when I keep offering to make cups of tea, and really voice their appreciation. I don't mind at all really.

Coincidentally, I've just been looking for images of a mug for a poster I'm helping to work on here at Jupiter, and stumbled across this amazing creation:

Is it too early to start writing a list for Father Christmas?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Good news!

Today I've been asked if I'd like to come back next week for more work experience at Jupiter. Of course the answer was yes. Afterwards, I couldn't stop smiling as I sat at my desk. Good times.

Seth, the designer I've been working with, said how nice it was that I actually chatted and interacted with team. Apparently they'd previously had a work experience student placed in a different team within the company who hardly spoke a word. Though I can't really judge the person as I don't know them, it baffles me how you can go on a work placement and not interact with the staff you are working with. Isn't that the point of a work placement? To get involved not only in the tasks given to you, but with the staff so that you can absorb what advice they can offer and question them about how they work and why.

Initially, I was nervous about doing work experience at Jupiter. What if they didn't like me? If I wasn't good enough? If I couldn't work fast enough? But I knew that I just had to ignore my worries, get stuck in and get as much out of the experience as possible.

And I think its working.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The art of copywriting

Today I was talking to India, one of the designers at Jupiter who happens to have graduated from Trent in 2004. She mentioned this book, written by Mark Shaw, one of the founders and the chairperson of Jupiter.

This book has really grabbed my interest. This past year, I've come to understand more clearly that it is an important aspect of design and a useful skill to gain at least a basic knowledge of.

In my head I can't help but remember my first encounter with Ben and Jerry's ice-cream years ago. When I read the packaging of their products, the language and tone of voice they used was so refreshing and fun. Ben and Jerry's immediately became my ice cream of choice (and still is). I love their quirky personality, and love it even more when its on offer at half price!

Its obvious now that copywriting really helps to bring the design together. And that the written language is just as important as the visual language in conveying a solid personality.

I have fowarded Mark Shaw's contact details on to my tutor to see if a guest lecture for the course can be arranged. Apparently he lectured at Trent for the art and design college as a whole, but I don't know many people in my year group who attended. They were probably like me: not realising how interesting and beneficial it would be. Or maybe there wasn't enough awareness raised about the event. C'est la vie.

Either way, the Book depository offers the book at a good value price with free p&p.

My copy is on order!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Degree Show Committee

One of the things I'm looking forward to this year is being involved with the degree show committee.

I've taken on the responsibility of being the chairperson and I'm enjoying the idea of the challenge ahead, although I've already had a few hiccups regarding setting a deadline for committee applications. By trying to anticipate the work load of the third year, and be organised so we could hit the ground running with the fundraising activities, I've set the deadline too early... twice.

Within the next few days I'm going to have to send out a third email to change the deadline one final time. I'm hoping people don't hold it against me. I've been a student rep for the past two years - but this is the first time I've ever been a chairperson and had to organise something like this, so some amount of trial and error is to be expected.

The good thing is hiccups eventually pass.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Less than a month to go...

September has arrived, and with it the almost unsettling realisation that its almost time to start my third and final year at university.

Don't get me wrong, the prospect of my third year is an exciting one, but I'd be lying if I denied it is also incredibly daunting. This is the year that counts.

Its going to be the hardest year. Its going to be the busiest, the most stressful and the most demanding. There are probably going to be frustrated tears, moments where it feels like everything has gone to pot, episodes of self-doubt and possibly the rare point where I almost feel like giving up (but never do).

Which means without a doubt its going to be a year where I learn loads and grow massively as a designer and a person. So what better time to start writing this blog, and documenting the experience. People can see what sort of person I am, what sort of designer I am developing into, and how far I have come.

Its going to be the hardest year but its going to be the most fun. Bring it on.