Thursday, 12 December 2013

New Website

Please find my new website at: where you will find some samples of latest work and a new blog.

Robyn x

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Final Evaluation
Robyn Russell

The main focus for my design practice throughout this module was to bring together; type, branding and print processes. I think by choosing briefs initially that had the potential to cover these areas I set myself up to accomplish this. Having said that, there have been changes throughout this module, that have helped me focus this even more. As I worked through the module, I began to realize that my passion really lay with processes, and finishing instead of focusing on design for screen. Initially I did set out with the hope to improve my web based skills, and although I have taken part in the web workshops I realized that I was more interested in printing and finishing work. Although this has happened in this module, I think I will need to defiantly do some screen based work within FMP because I do want to improve my skills there but it wasn’t the main focus of any briefs that I have done. One thing that  has really improved my knowledge in applying the processes and branding elements is the research that I have done, through going to talks (GBH), research for my dissertation and general research. This has helped influence my decisions in a lot of different ways because I felt I was coming from a more informed perspective. Generally my rational has not changed that dramatically, I have stuck to the key points that I set out to achieve, however the biggest change was dropping working with screen based design.

My briefs throughout this module have changed significantly, what I thought would be my main briefs (Hotel, Publication, ISTD) changed and two became secondary as well as one being completely scrapped (Publication), due to the fact that I felt there was more potential in the other briefs (Processing and D&AD). These were defiantly key decisions I made, the briefs that I expanded and worked on really helped improve my skills working with branding and pushing my design as far as I could, in what I deemed an appropriate way.
            As I set out originally to investigate processes, and hopefully transfer them across my briefs I feel I have achieved this. However, spending time on investigating, experimenting with processes defiantly created some issues, there were things I did that worked and others that didn’t at all. For example, the printing plate issue for my poster brief, this took a lot more time that I thought it would and had an impact on the brief as a whole because what I thought would be quite a quick brief ended up spreading across the whole module. What I also learnt with this module was a lot about stocks, and having no real knowledge in this before helped me gain a better understating of the appropriateness of colour, working with pantones etc. I have benefitted a lot from this because my designs are more informed and appropriate. There was another problem with this is as,  I couldn’t print on my chosen stocks as it was expensive to order in reels of the stock. However, I did managed to print samples and I could make a more informed decisions about the stocks I would print on. This is defiantly something I am going to focus on improving my knowledge in, its very important especially when my practice is partially about processes and finishing.

There is a lot a have learnt from each brief, and by outlining what I wanted to gain from them initially has really helped me keep focused what I wanted to get from them. Firstly, with the ‘Poster' Brief I used a variety of different processes, which then lead me on to using the same style of processes in my other briefs, this essentially created a foundation for me to refer back to when it came to designing my other briefs. Secondly, with regards to the Solicitor brief, I learn’t a lot from this brief; working with a live client (and getting paid), creating work with quite a corporate feel and trying to create something that would work in the real world. These are all considerations I hadn’t really had to consider before, this all influenced the designs I created and the deliverables I produced. Thirdly, with both the event promotion briefs I did (D&AD, PROCESSING), this was an area I hadn’t covered before, and although the general idea for them was the same I tried to create different deliverables that worked in different areas in order to cover as much of the areas of event promotion as possible. Another important brief was the design I created in the Hotel brief, although this was by far the most frustrating brief, I was all over the place with it throughout this module, I think the main issue was me thinking it was going to become of my substantial briefs, but as it became eclipsed by other briefs I realized I was left with no clear direction for this brief. Once I had eventually focused on delivering a set of brand guidelines, this helped me deliverer a clear set of outcomes. I think one of the other issues I had with this brief, due to time running out, I didn’t have any printed material for it and compared to my other briefs this was hard for me to accept. However, I am now happy with the proposal I have created, because this is something else I have never really done, and when I did my placement they put proposals together all the time and realizing this, I now have some experience in putting one together. Lastly, my ISTD brief was probably the most enjoyable brief I have done, again I was a bit sporadic when it came to working on this brief, doing little bits here and there, however I treated this brief as a playful brief and I feel I have delivered some strong visuals that I am happy with, and I have learnt more about layout and type with this brief than I did with any of the others, which was why I chose it in the first place.
            One thing I realized though-out all these briefs was the power of organization, I think throughout this module I have felt like an ‘organised chaos’. It was only towards the last four weeks that everything seemed to slip into place, or out of place as the case may have been. By setting myself clear deliverables and directions with the briefs helped my design practice an enormous amount. It helped a lot to have a clear direction so that I wasn’t wasting time going down the wrong avenues and I could focus my idea generation and designs for each brief.  Throughout this module I have tried to improve my skills in idea generation, I learnt how important tis was when I did my placement, and I have brought the knowledge I got from my placement such as creating mood-boards, sitting down with them and then drawing from there. This helped open up the potential of my briefs an immense amount and I will defiantly be using the style of working in the future because I have found it to be the one of the most important parts of my design practice. Throughout this module with each brief I have tried to experiment and mock up as much as possible, I have found that I need to see something before I can decided whether its working or not, so I have tried to do this as much as possible, where applicable. I have tried to make each decisions about my briefs as informed as possible, either using knowledge from other briefs I have been working on or researching and experimenting myself.

There are a lot of aspects of this module that I fully intend to take on through to my FMP. Such as my knowledge of processes, techniques that work (and that don’t) stocks, samples and ultimately organization of briefs and setting out a clear set of deliverable’s and direction for the briefs from the beginning. I really feel this module has set me up well for my FMP, and helped me as a designer on the whole. I feel more informed, more confident in myself and I think I can make appropriate decisions now.

Generally I am very happy with the work I have produced throughout this module, it has boosted my confidence working with a live client and having my work sold at the pop up shop. These little things keep me focused and make me want to improve and learn more as a designer. I feel I have produced work that I can now use in my portfolio and I am really starting to find the direction I want my work to go towards.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Solicitor Brief Evaluation

 This was the first brief I’ve done for a live client, this was working with a new Solicitor company in London called Crabtree. The client was really easy to work with, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with them because they essentially let me do what I wanted whilst having their own ideas for what they wanted. What also sweetened this brief was I was getting paid £250 to do a logo for them. I created 2 different proposals for them and sent them through, they picked one and after tweaking it here and there they settled on the logo they wanted.
What was also interesting about the brief was it was the first corporate design work I have done, and I enjoyed it. After a discussion in one of my tutorials I decided that I would turn this into a larger brief because there were ideas I wanted to do with the stationary that I hadn’t had the chance to do with the actual brief as they only wanted a logo. What made it easier to turn into a large brief was I already had the building blocks, I just needed to start with the logo from scratch and turn it into something. I still wanted it to have that corporate feel to it, however I wanted it to be something that I could put into my portfolio. The main aim for the brief was to create a range of stationary, focusing on the stock choices, editing the logo and using processes to enhance the stationary. Using skills I had learnt in the other briefs I transferred them over to this brief, so I could form a coherent brand.
As I said before this was all about creating something that was corporate still, and so I gave myself the restrictions of working with generic sizes for envelopes etc, this was more for my own skills so that I could work with something in this style and produce it well.
One idea that I had with this brief that I had had with others was using a seal, I think that this fitted within the brief perfectly because it would link to the style of the work, as well as adding a contemporary yet traditional value to the project. I also wanted to use the right stock for this, and I using the samples I received from GFSmith I could make an informed decision about the best paper stock to use.
Again this brief had to have a quick turn around, but due to the other briefs I knew how to do this, and as I had a clear set of deliverables for it I knew the direction I needed to head in.

Solicitor Boards

ISTD Brief evaluation

This was by far my smallest brief, which intentionally I thought was going to be quite a substantial one but as the module went on I realized that other briefs were stronger so this became more of a playful brief for me to look forward to in the future.  I worked on this brief possibly in the most sporadic way, I started work on it and then stopped and then started again and then stopped. This did mean I had an array of different ideas to take on and develop, but non of them really encompassed what I wanted. Immediately I realized that I wanted to set myself my own restrictions for this brief, using the text and the content to drive the restrictions. EG, 21 page publication because it’s 21 people that are in the final restaurant scene. Taking elements from the content made my publication all about it, which I think was good because I did want to reflect the content on the page. 
This was by far the most efficient brief that I have done throughout this module. This was because I had a purpose, a clear direction and a focus on what I needed to produce and when. I’ve found when im handed these impending deadlines I have the drive to push my designs and concepts. Although I had already come up with a frame of what I wanted to produce, I think that without the workshop I would still have floundered around for a while.

Out of all the briefs this has to be my favorite, purely because the simplicity of it, it was all about layout and content and all digitally printed so I didn’t need to worry about processes or didn’t styles I was going to use or formats etc. Once I had the main idea I just ran with it and pushed it. I also got another opportunity to work with stock, by the time I tackled this brief I had an understanding of what stocks were good, why I wanted them and the sort of weights that worked. So I made a point of picking out the right stock to print on. Although I had to mock up the deliverables on standard stock from college, because I couldn’t afford to buy in the stock from GFSmith. I learnt more about layout and publication style with this brief, through the research I’ve done and through the application of it, these are skills that I will bring into my FMP, and I defiantly want to try and do a similar brief to this in the future, purely because I had so much fun with it. It kept me creatively focused and inspired, which at the time I really needed. 

ISTD Boards

Type Museum Brief Evaluation

This brief from the very beginning was always about the processes and how I could incorporate them into my designs. And throughout this brief that has not changed, I set out to learn about processes and that is what I have done. What did change was the context with which these processes were used. When I started out I thought it would all be about the typography, the most I experimented the more I realized I didn’t want to create type I wanted to use it. So it became more about the content of the sayings driving both the processes and the designs. This was a lot easier and it made for a more co-he rent brief.
This brief turned out to be the most important brief that I have done, it not only helped me produce some processes heavy posters but those processes then crossed over into my other briefs and really showed me the potential and made me think out of the box when it came to designing things. This ended up being the groundwork that informed a lot of decisions I made in subsequent briefs.
I think what became most apparent with this brief and looking at the others was the work I had done with the laser cutter, whether it be creating stencils to emboss or printing plates, I have used this machine across a variety of different substrates and in many different ways and has opened up so many possibilities, and this wouldn’t have been possible without my investigation into print processes.
 I think the hardest element of this brief had to be time management, a lot of the processes I used were very time consuming (taking 2 and a half hours to raster one image for example) and this is the only thing I could learn the hard way, which in turn did have a knock on effect with the brief because I thought it would be a lot smaller than it was and not take as much time. However, I am happy with this because it meant that once I realized it was going to be time consuming I spent more time thinking about the processes I could use and how I could use them.
With each brief I have really pushed myself in getting my ideas down on paper and with this brief this helped immeasurably. I have defiantly changed the way I work for the better and because of this all the decisions I have made are more informed, and I think this brief has a lot to contribute to that factor. Everything I did I had to think about properly before, to try and use my time more efficiently.
This brief has pushed my skills and knowledge in all sorts of areas, and I now know that I can use them in my FMP in a more decisive and clearer way. I did do a lot of experimentation that didn’t work, but this was part of the learning curve (the main fail being with the printing plates, I didn’t have enough knowledge to make them work and they didn’t produce the style of work that I wanted).
I also learnt about different stocks and what was better to showcase the work that I wanted.
Overall this brief has been vital to improving and focusing my design practice, and it encompasses everything I wanted to get out of a brief, and not only did that but informed all the decisions I made in the other briefs. It was like a huge reference point for me, and my idea generation. 

D&AD Brief evaluation

This D&AD brief started out as a one day brief that we all had to do, and escalated into one of my more substantial main briefs. This was a brief involving event branding, I wanted to try and create something that focused on the information side of the event as well as making the participants feel special for going to the talk. I wanted this brief to connect with the audience on a more personable level. As I already had the foundations of the branding element for the brief I took these and developed them to create an umbrella brand that would go across the range of different deliverables that I produced. With some tweaking and pushing I created vector images that could be used on the variety of different media, from the tote bags to the posters. Throughout this module I have learnt a lot about branding, and this helped me push my skills in creating a cohesive image that could work around the event. I really wanted my brand to be about the experience and by creating a set of deliverables that the participant could interact with in a different way I think I have achieved this. The most challenging part of this brief was making quite decisions and running with them, by outlining a clear set of deliverables from the beginning it meant I had more time to focus on creating some ideas that would work with the deliverable concepts. This was a big learning curve for me with regards to time management, I had to really organize my time and structure it so that I could get the most out of the brief. I wanted to bring across processes I had used, or not yet used into this brief such as screen printing and using the vinyl cutter to draw. This brief gave me the opportunity to do this, but it meant I had to be efficient with the time I had.
Generally I am very happy with the brief that I have delivered I think that it delivers on the main aims I was setting out to achieve with this brief, and yet again it has given me more experience with working with branding. I benefitted from the efficiency of decision making and I defiantly plan on taking this on in my FMP, it’s just showed me how much I can produce in a couple of weeks.

Hotel Brief Evaluation

This was by far the most frustrating brief I’ve done. I think the main problem was I had no clear direction for what I wanted and how I wanted it until the last week of the module. I neglected this brief in order to focus on my other briefs (processing and D&AD in order to turn them into something more substantial). I don’t regret this decision, however I didn’t factor in the impact it would have on this brief and how confused it would leave me. By the time I deiced to side line it I had already created the logo and come up with a set of deliverables. However when it came back to me doing the brief I’d run out of time to do the things I’d wanted to do initially, and I’d also covered some of the processes in other briefs so I would end up repeating myself. So after talking with tutors I decided the best avenue to go down would be to focus on environmental signage, its something I hadn’t done before. This gave me more of a direction but I was still confused with what I was coming out with, and then I started photo-shopping. That was a big mistake. I am alright in Photoshop, I know the basics but when it comes to something as complex as I was trying to create it looked rubbish.
So again I had to simplify it again, and I realized I had lost track of what I actually wanted to produce and that was essentially Brand Guidelines. Realizing this I back tracked through previous brand proposals that I had done and realized what I had wanted to produce. Taking this format on I have now developed a coherent body of work, that I feel reflects the brand identity in a different way instead of following the generic stationary route, as I had already covered this in  another brief. It was more about creating the brand identity and environment and I feel I have achieved this. I did want to produce work with this, but actually producing a vectored proposal worked a lot better for this brief than I had imagined.