OUGD504 Module Evaluation (summative) Beth Taylor
Overall this module has been quite refreshing for me. Throughout the first year I was constantly plagued by worry and panic about my ability to complete work to the expected standard and how my work was always the worst. Predominantly, I think this came from a lack of experience and no previous proof that I could do these things. However, with last year under my belt, I entered this year surprisingly anxiety free and enthusiastic. Even though this year contributes to my final grade I finally feel that my grade is nowhere near as important and the confidence, experience and knowledge I gain from being on this course and being surrounded by talented people. I have had more confidence to take risks and experiment more in the areas that interest me.
For example, I would probably say my most successful brief would be the second in this module. This might seem strange to say but I surprised myself during this week long brief. I really dug down deep conceptually, which is nothing new for me, but I also managed to produce something that I feel hits the nail on the head in terms of the message I wanted to send. I struggled hard with the legibility of the hand rendered type and creating a logo that was clean and assertive, not usually an aesthetic I am good at creating. After a long week of stress and constant trial and error, it finally came together after the final crit. The feedback that I got at this stage was so useful and a classic example of the way, for me, talking to people about my work allows me to step away from it and start to evaluate it through their eyes, which is quintessential to creating a design that fulfills its purpose. This is a concept that rings true in what I probably consider my least successful brief of this module (the last one). The way the brief stretched over the Christmas holidays made it very difficult for me. I need to talk to others about my designs as they are forming (my form of formative evaluation) and no matter how hard she tries, my mum is no replacement for a studio full of my piers. The general lack luster feeling of this brief could also have been down to the fact that I felt like I wasn’t designing anything new. What really fuels a brief for me is doing something new and it felt as if I was simply applying a concept I had already design to different mediums. I should have made a more concerted effort to do something really new, even if some of the visuals were the same.
Something that has definitely contributed to my general happiness during this module is the increasingly large role illustration and hands on methods I have used in each of these briefs. My illustration in the first brief, my hand rendered type in the second two and the food lettering in the fourth. I am not the kind of designer that can stare at a screen all day, and this module has helped me to discover this. In terms of production methods, I have not experimented as much as I would have liked to. However, I find it difficult to see where I could have done more in this area because so often I was held back by restrictions of the brief or considerations of the practicality of commercial print. Next module I am going to pay more attention to opportunities to experiment in production methods, so that I can learn as much as possible while I am here. I am especially waiting to try type setting and letterpress.
In terms of research methods I think that my preparation work over the summer has been the most interesting any useful research in the briefs of this module, and probably many to come. I did everything I possible could to create usable primary research material and it definitely worked. Taking pictures, colour sampling and sketching all contributed to creating a very usable body of work. Other types of research such as practical research are sometimes overlooked. A huge part of any type design, for me, is endless sketching, talking to people about each letter, and slowly crafting it into something workable, this in its self is probably the most useful form of research that I use in every brief. Secondary research can be just as useful, but has to be transformed into usable information. My predominant method for doing this, and something I have enacted considerably during this module, is the analysis of existing designs. Through writing about them I find information that was not originally obvious and theoretical ideas that I implement in my own designs. The best example of this would be the kick starter brief, in which I analysed the existing brand and found the abrasive and shape visuals they had decided on, a strange way to represent modern feminism. So, I took this and found that finding power in femininity was what I wanted to achieve with my design.
If there were one thing that I would change about my work during this module it would be the finishing quality of each piece. Although in some circumstances this was a designed scruffiness (Brief 1 and 4), I feel like some of the finished pieces are simply not good enough for submission. This is something I am going to strive to mediate in subsequent modules by making print slots far in advance and finding ways to preserve well printed work until submission. Although my work for this module may not be fantastic, I have a tangible sense of improvement and learning that leave me feeling positive about each brief.