Tuesday, 30 November 2010

JPMH Portfolio Visit

My second portfolio visit in London was at JPMH, an agency I found out about through a friend of mine I used to live with in Bristol. His brother was one of the starting members of the agency. The portfolio side of the visit went pretty quickly with no real indication of how to push the projects further, which was a bit of a shame, I wasn't really sure what was the best thing to do in that situation as most of the visits I have all stemmed around the work. The comments that I received were more on what would be expected in a portfolio for an interview, and in particular the need for digital work, which is something that has cropped up again and again. I'm pleased that I have started looking at how to integrate the digital aspect of projects with the Ted Baker brief but will definitely try and set up something online before I finish the course.

We had a really interesting chat about his choice to move to London and how difficult he found it to get a job at first (especially not living in London at the time) he found companies didn't think he was willing to commit to the job until he did, which is now something I have to consider if I am serious about working in London when I finish. He also spoke to me about what their junior designer does and what is expected of him at his level, which was useful. He said that they try and keep him as connected with the bigger jobs as much as possible and give him tough tasks to manage but will allow slightly longer on briefs.

I think initially I was a bit disappointed with the way the visit went because I didn't really receive much direct feedback but in fact some of the things he was talking to me about in terms of his path from graduating to getting a job was really helpful and learning about how JPMH operate as an agency was really interesting.

jpmh showreel from Motion Graphics JPMH on Vimeo.

Springetts Portfolio Visit

The first portfolio visit I had in London was with Jon Vallance and a colleague of his at Springetts. I was put in contact with Jon after he got in touch with one of our tutors: as he happened to be an ex-student. I knew initially that they were looking for students/graduates for a series of placements, which for the first time in a while made me really nervous about showing them my work. I guess it felt like something was at steak. In the exchange of emails he had asked me to take along some development work to show the process of my ideas, which I had never been asked before so I had a rummage around and thankfully had still kept everything from first/second year.

We had a brief chat at the beginning about the course and where Jon had studied which instantly got rid of the nerves I began talking through my projects (trying as best as possible to hold back and not talk too much – although I’m not sure how successful I was) they both asked lots of questions as i went through each brief.

The briefs that stuck out were the Ritz, book and pasta festival. The Ritz was a great talking point as it's not only an ongoing project but also works with a redesign of a brand. They really liked my approach using the shape as the key focus of the idea and thought the colour palate worked really well and was vibrant and fresh. They told me not to get too bogged down with information on and around the box and said at this stage it was really nice to see it as it is. We discussed lots of other ways I could take the project with regards to my special edition idea so not only concentrating on a Christmas edition but maybe an easter edition or summer edition to keep the brand fresh and interesting. This I thought could be a nice idea to integrate into a campaign running alongside the boxes aswell.

It was really interesting to hear their opinions of the book, they didn't seem to think the quality of it was hindered by the printing and actually really liked it. We talked lots about the experience and how it was all beneficial. They thought the link between the book and the poster was nice and noticed the detail in the circle on the poster to mimic the screen printed style.

We had a good chat about the pasta festival brief and they both highlighted ways I could really have fun with the project and really use the pasta as the source of more london landmarks in a similar way, even suggesting making a book out of it so steering away from the packaging aspect of it.

I showed them the Helvetica editorial spread and the Font Struct specimen sheet. They were both really positive about the layout aspect of the designs and liked the concept behind the typeface. What they found more beneficial was actually looking through all my early scamps of the editorial brief and seeing where my idea's began and where I then chose to take them. We then spoke alot about the importance of being able to see where the ideas come from and not just the final product and it's something more and more agencies are looking for so its something to bear in mind for further visits.

Towards the end of the visit they asked me what my opinion on placements was and whether I would be interested in doing a 4 week one there. I explained that although it would cut into my final year and I would have to check it over with my tutors, I still felt 4 weeks experience was something that could only help me get a job at the end and if it hinders my mark slightly then that's something I would have to sacrifice. I have to wait to hear from them about if I can definitely do it as they need to double check the amount of people they already have but fingers crossed I will get it because it seems like it would be a really good opportunity to open a few doors, especially in London.

Source: All pics (www.springetts.co.uk)

A bit of frustration

As part the HFO we completed at the beginning of this year I decided that I would opt to contact and visit only large companies and agencies as part of the portfolio visit section of the PDP. Last year we had to complete only two visits and I ended up going on about 6, which really helped me get a rounded view of my work and where to push the projects. What I found as a result is that I only really visited smaller agencies (apart from The Chase) and as I have progressed through the course I have found myself to sway towards working in a larger company or being the part of a bigger team instead of a small.

Source: (gallivantingaround.co.uk)

    I also decided towards the end of last year that I would like to be based in London when I finish the course so I waned to try and build some contacts down there. What I have found is that larger companies are much, much harder to get through to. Each company I contacted meant verbal interaction with the office and a lot of the time being past through a series of people before even getting an email address of the person to contact. Many of these then resulted in no reply, even after a follow up or in some cases me forwarding a sample of my portfolio to them. It has been good practice in just calling people up and getting used to speak to different departments, even if it did feel like going round in circles sometimes. As a result of this I have ended up only securing 2 portfolio visits in London, which I am abit annoyed and frustrated about, but I guess the demand from students to see companies there is much higher.

    Thursday, 25 November 2010

    V&A Shadow Catchers: Camera-less photography

    Source: (www.vam.ac.uk)

    As I am down in London for a few days I was told about this exhibition at the V&A Museum and thought it sounded really interesting. SHADOW CATCHERS: Camera-less photography is an exhibition of 5 contemporary artists who have all used alternative methods of producing images without the aid of a camera. Instead the artists have developed unique ways of creating imagery using shadows, light, photographic paper, natural artifacts and other materials. The 5 artists are Pierre Cordier, Adam Fuss, Susan Derges, Floris Neususs and Gary Fabian Miller. My favorites from the exhibition were:

    Pierre Cordier

    Pierre Cordier's work is more like a painter or printmaker than a photographer, he replaces the canvas or printing plate with photo paper. He applies photographic developer to the paper to create dark areas and fixer to light tones.

    This unique method allows him to create images impossible to realise by any other means. This process has become the artwork and his style is his technique.

    Source: (www.vam.ac.uk)

    Gary Fabian Miller

    Fabian Millers work was one of my favorite of the collections, he explores the cycle of time, from day - month - year and controls experiments by varying the durations of light exposure. His work was simple yet really energising.

    "The pictures I make, are something as yet unseen, which may only exist on the paper surface, or subsequently my be found in the world. I am seeking a state of mind which lifts the spirit, gives strength and a moment of clarity."

    Source: (www.thecrossedcow.com)

    Susan Derges

    Some of the work Susan had produced seemed almost impossible, most of them are photograms of water which she produces by submerging large sheets of photographic paper in rivers and using the moon and flashlight to create the exposure. her work is said to "examine the threshold between two interconnected worlds: between water and spirit"

    She also produced some amazing clips of the evolution of a frog starting with frogspawn.

    Source: (www.vam.ac.uk)

    I really enjoyed looking round the exhibition, I would never consider myself to be someone who knew alot about photography but I don't think that matters here at all. Its about realising what can be achieved and that sometime you should strip away all the modern technology and media that we cant help but turn to and actually force yourself to find another outcome. Its quite inspiring to see some of the literally amazing images that have been made by these 5 artists and to now see if I can maybe adopt some of that forward thinking.

    Wednesday, 17 November 2010

    Design Observer iPhone App.

    The Design Observer application for the iPone is finally here and its FREE :)

    I have only had an iPhone since Easter and since then it has had technical problems about 4 times resulting in a new phone everytime, which made me give up on it abit! I'm not an app fiend either, I don't have folders and I'm generally abit pathetic on the iPhone front. However.. I've been hoping for a while that the design observer would get cracking with an app and now they have and the fact it's free is a bonus. well done D.O.

    I think this is a great example of how technology can be used positively to keep up with design. Another medium I have recently joined is twitter, the bulk of the people I follow are design agencies, designers, art magazines etc and as a result I have found out about some great websites, exhibitions and articles.

    Check the link which explains who designed it etc..

    Hort Design Agency

    So this week I am completely green with envy and extremely jealous that everyone else has gone off to Berlin as part of the course trip.. However a friend of mine in the 2nd year told me of a few agencies they were being taken to so I thought I'd check out some of their work anyway and see what I'm missing out on! (I really don't why I'm doing it to myself) Anyway.. Hort is one of the agencies mentioned and from taking a big look at their website and their respective portfolio PDFs they have produced some really nice work (although I won't be admitting that to Steven)

    They have quite a big and recognisable client list and some of the campaigns they have worked across have been really fresh and contemporary. They have a great range of work from print — illustration —expressive, which is nice to see such a broad range of outcomes.

    I found this little caption on their website:

    HORT - a direct translation of the studio's mission.

    A creative playground.

    A place where 'work and play' can be said in the same sentence.

    An unconventional working environment.

    I love the idea of an unconventional environment and this 'work and play' attitude. I don't think creative spaces should be anything less than a combination of the two - although I suppose some people work better in different situations. I think this little ethos (of sorts) really comes through in their work. Alot of it is modern and vibrant and well, playful. We are all going through the process of trying to decide what type of place we want to work, how big/small etc and to end up somewhere like this would be brilliant.

    something else which really stuck out when looking through their website is the creative workshops they conduct.

    "HORT Creative Workshops are not about learning standardized creative techniques. But more about exchange, exploring your own boundaries and breaking them, stepping out of your daily routine."

    This along with a strictly NO MACS policy is a real sign of their capability as an agency. To openly invite people to be part of workshop which is as broad and open as it is designed, is inspiring and makes me even more jealous they are all the way over in Berlin.

    Unfortunately for the people over on the trip. I think they had to pull out of the visit lastminute, which is a massive shame.

    Tuesday, 16 November 2010

    Stephen Fry - The Machine that Made Us.

    For my dissertation I am looking into how technology is effecting the way we read. As part of this I have researched into the Gutenberg Press, which was the first ever instrument to allow print to be produced in volume, some 500 years ago. I came across this documentary by Stephen Fry called 'The Machine that Made Us' I think it's important to look at all different types of research not just books and articles. From actually being shown the way the press was made it's allowed me to really understand the logistics of how it works and where he got his inspiration to make it.
    It's also been a refreshing change from reading and taking notes.

    The Machine That Made Us (1/3)
    Uploaded by xSilverPhinx. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.
    The Machine That Made Us (2/3)
    Uploaded by xSilverPhinx. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.
    The Machine That Made Us (3/3)
    Uploaded by xSilverPhinx. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.

    Source: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xdtq64_the-machine-that-made-us-1-3_shortfilms

    Monday, 15 November 2010

    Bungo Design: Kerning my tits off

    I saw this a while ago on a friends website and liked it.. alot! BUNGO DESIGN: check out some of Ed's other T-shirt designs and his illustration work because it's pretty good.

    #WeAreTheDestroyers: Nike

    Nike Sportswear presents the teaser trailer for their new 'Destroy To Create' campaign ahead of the 18th November when a longer, more informative film will be revealed.



    Full Source: YouTube | nikesportswear|November 08, 2010

    Sunday, 14 November 2010

    Online Helvetica Clock

    I came across this website http://helvetictoc.com which pays homage to Helvetica, a typeface usually described as timeless. What better way to celebrate that than create an online clock that updates an alternative way to tell the time. It uses the white on black to indicate night and vice versa which is a lovely little idea.

    Source: (www.helvetictoc.com)

    Friday, 12 November 2010

    Stockport Degree Workshop

    As UCAS have changed the application times it means that Colleges and Universities have to have their open days a lot earlier than usual. I was asked, along with a few other people from the other 3 pathways to do a day of activities with the foundation students from Stockport College. The day was split into three 90 minutes sessions with 3 separate groups. Each session began with a short presentation to introduce the Design and Visual Arts course followed up by a series of activities and a question and answer session in small groups.

    What I noticed throughout the day was how much I enjoyed being involved. Part of the activities was to build a tower out of paper that would hold a boiled egg at the top for up to 10 seconds. Normally this isn’t really my thing but I found once I got into it I really enjoyed it. I’m naturally quite a competitive person and as soon as we split into groups and it became a little bit of a competition between the people helping out it made it quite funny, but also made me a lot more sociable with the foundation students. I guess with some of them it was difficult chatting to them because they had no real interest in who we were and it was a bit slow starting at first but after the first initial stage it was okay. I had promised myself that by the third and final tower building exercise that I would step back and let them make their own decisions but my need to beat Kris took over but he unfortunately won!

    There was a little question and answer session afterwards where all the students were asked to prepare a question and then we split off into small groups. It was great to be able to voice my praise for the course and I didn't once feel like I was overselling it. Some of the questions raised went from the opportunities the course leads to -to how beneficial the briefs we are set are - to if we think we study enough hours. The 3 sessions threw up very different individuals, some of which had a clear view of where they want to go and some pretty clueless. It was hard to try and some up the course without barricading them with information in such a short period of time. But hopefully our enthusiasm showed that it was all relevant. It reminded me of when I was that age and trying to decide where I wanted to go. I thinks it's really tough for kids these days because it's no longer about doing something you enjoy it's about doing something you know will guarantee you a job after, which is something that cropped up quite a few times over the course of the 3 sessions.

    From chatting to the other people I did the workshop with we all agreed that it was a kind reminder of just how good we have it here and actually just how much we have learnt. By the end of it we had almost convinced ourselves to sign up again. haha.

    Design By Day - Portfolio Visit

    Source: www.designbyday.co.uk)

    Earlier this week I went on a portfolio visit to a small creative agency in Manchester called Design By Day. I had initially tried to arrange a visit towards the end of last year but due to busyness at both ends we were never able to settle on a date. The whole idea of going to Design By Day was born out of an idea that me and a friend on the Moving image course had about receiving feedback from practitioners in different areas. We both felt that as design practices are collaborating more and more it would be a good idea to check out somewhere that does just that. Design By Day consists of just two young designers, Angela and Louise who graduated from Salford University not too many moons ago and use Angela's expertise in moving image with Louise's background in print and love for branding to base the foundations of a wonderful little agency!

    Matt and I were greeted by Louise at the door and guided through Islington Mill, which I had heard about before but never realised how much actually went on inside. The studio was quite small but really homely, with ephemera littering the walls and quirky props dangling from the celling. We had a little chat to begin with about the course and where we were both up to. Then we began looking through my portfolio first. Angela arrived just as I was starting.

    Source: (www.designbyday.co.uk)

    It was the first time talking about a few of the projects i.e. Ritz and 7x7 Book, so that was a little different They both seemed to really like the packaging ideas for Ritz and we spoke abit about how the packaging can sometimes sell the product on its own. Louise made a really valid comparison to when Hovis redesigned the outside of their bread packs to just beans, she said that instantly put her off buying it even though she knew the product was good. They both said they would have been interested to see the 'play on scale' example as they said it sounded really interesting. So I think I will try and sort that out for the next visit. The 7x7 book was a bg talking point too as they really liked the book and the poster and found it really interesting how we had over come so many problems and worked with a range of different people. They said having a real brief often taught you more about the way you work and making mistakes was a key part of becoming a designer.

    As I have stripped down my portfolio to only 5 projects it felt strange that it was over a lot quicker than I expected. They really liked the Helvetica Neue double page spread and actually commented more on the book cover than other people usually do, which was nice as I often forget it exists. The V&A end sting also went down well with them both enjoying being able to see the storyboard come to life through the flip book. They agreed that the 'London Pasta Festival' idea needed pushing further but really like the simplistic idea and the use of Italian restaurants around the river to form the plate, even suggesting it could form as a map. One thing that was suggested was to try and place the idea onto some packaging and see how that would work.

    I was then able to sit and listen to Matt talk about his work which was fantastic, it made me really pleased that I decided to go with someone on another pathway apposed to someone else from Graphics. Not only to see his work but to listen to what advice they were giving him. After that we sat and casually chatted to them and another one of their friends that was currently in her final year at Salford for a good hour. Other projects we had done cropped up in conversation such as the Door(way) and Water brief and also other students that had previously been to see them. It was great to feel completely comfortable talking about our interests and how we felt the course was going and what we want when we finish.

    Tuesday, 9 November 2010

    Interbrand feedback.

    I contacted Interbrand towards the beginning of the year in hope of getting a portfolio visit, however I was unsuccessful due to how busy they are. David did however offer me some pointers on the sample of my portfolio I sent him. See Below:
    I thought what David has mentioned about showing how the project can be further developed is a really good idea, as it will show I am thinking about where the project can be taken. There is definitely room for me to do this with the Ritz brief and the London Pasta festival could be developed massively and I think I am going to push it as a project next year. In regards to the type, I hadn't really changed any of the information to be compatible with looking at it on screen so I will make some changes and have a saved print file and web file.

    Wednesday, 3 November 2010

    Gruff Rhys

    Gruff Rhys talking about his new album :D