Thursday, 20 December 2012

Portfolio Advice No.2+3.

I asked two other designers, Ian O’Phelan and Ulrika Bygge for some advice.

Ian O’Phelan gave me some really interesting links to some different sites, which would give me even more advice.

Tips he gave me himself included to a
lways show your best work, meaning don't pad. Stuff that's not my best should go on a blog, and then to use the better stuff to show your process and evolution. He said that people like to see work in use, so I might consider a few self produced projects like making a pillow or tea towel or clothing piece. He suggested I could print the fabric with your info as well as a pattern and send the towel as a promotional device. He also said I need to be sure to target specific people who have the ability to hire you or advise you within the company you're sending the mailer to.

This is a really clever thing to do and I will take it on board and get thinking of doing something very similar when going on my visits in the next semester.

Ulrika Bygge also gave me some really great advice, she says…

‘Personally I only have 2 rules:
- Do what feels right
- Follow your intuition’

‘Also, I believe that if you're passionate about your work then people will appreciate your presentation regardless of whether they like your work or not.

A complete online portfolio is essential as it can be referred to in meetings and is easy as well as cost effective to keep up to date as work evolves / changes.
Printed samples are also good to take along to meetings to give the client a sense of texture / material selection. They're a good icebreaker as something to pass around the table and gets people chatting / interacting with your work.

In-situ photomontages are a good way of presenting patterns / designs and gives the client a sense of scale as well as suggested applications.

If emailing designs to a potential client a lo-res PDF is probably the best option and make sure to include your copyright.’

All the points that she makes are so important and I am going to make sure I do really listen to them and make sure I make them happen as I don’t think I can go wrong if I take all this extremely suitable advice and apply it to my portfolio and online PDF.

I really appreciate the advice that they took time to reply to me with as I am a fan of both of their work and am really inspired by a lot of there pieces.

Portfolio Advice No.1

As part of the course we are asked to take our portfolios to people who have worked for the industry to get feedback on the work and also the look, style and layout of the actual portfolio. Having only just started putting my portfolio together, getting feedback on it so late in the year, not really having work I am fully confident in and not knowing how to use software to make a online/pdf version, I decided the only thing I could do is to ask people who do the same or similar practice to myself and ask them how they would/have approached it themselves.

I sent a message out to Freya Lines, who did surface design at London College of communication and has worked on commissions since graduating, to ask a few questions on portfolios and PDF portfolios.

She kindly replied and said a number of useful things.

Personally for me simplicity is the key, keeping the portfolio, physical or online, clean and plain, so the focus is on the work. Showing a range of your work/styles/abilities very clearly and with the best quality photographs/print outs you can achieve and to be able to tell a story along the way. 
I'm sure there are specific ways one if 'meant' to have an email portfolio, but to be honest, I don't know it.’

I agree with everything she says. Keeping it simple, clean and plain. Having a range of work and making sure it is of the best quality it can be. When asking what a client would want to see…

‘…many clients are different, some who want a clear quick online portfolio and some who want a tactile journey.’

This makes sense and I think just making sure your happy with what you are going to show people is the most important.

‘Another very important thing I would say is keeping on top of the updating of your portfolio - so you are always ready to send it or a press release via and email or go for a meeting.’

I will take on board all of what was said and make sure I am proud of what I send out.

Links to Freya Lines Website and Facebook page.

Comment + Content or Decoration.

'Are illustrators and Surface Designers merely space fillers? Can they, should they and are they allowed to make comment on matters such as economics, social and political issues or moral and philosophical debates.'

Article told to look at:

As a Surface Designer I don’t think we are ‘space fillers’ and I think only people with a small mind would think so. ‘Surface Design’ is many different things, basically every surface that can have a pattern or a single design to it. Including all interiors, fashion, stationary, greeting cards etc. Obviously for these kinds of things designers aren’t going to put matters like political issues into. I think this question doesn’t apply to surface design as the article is about illustration.

For an illustrator it is different, I think it is up to them what content they put in there work. Illustrators should be allowed to produce what they like about issues they are passionate about, and as long as they are knowledgeable on the subject I don’t think it should matter, they can be as obvious or as clever as they want within pieces of design. Personally, as a practitioner, I don’t care how, what or why people produce the work they do. It doesn’t affect me, maybe because I don’t know much about the issues people bring up, I wouldn’t have a strong argument to defend myself. I think everyone has there own opinion and has a right to do, say or in this case design what they like. I strongly believe in making work that is just astatically pleasing, that has no meaning, no deep dark undertone, just looks pretty. I have no issue with that at all, being commercial, which is fine for a surface designer. Of course when making an illustration you would usually have a reason to make something weather it is for a poster, book etc. Giving work a meaning will make it more powerful which is more important for an illustration for a political poster than a pattern design for a pillow.

I believe illustrators need to make their work clear enough for the viewer to know what it is about without having to read a side note about the meaning behind it. In a way it is harder and more challenging for illustrators than someone who say does fine art, which I think you can get away with the ‘less is more’ approach and it being more acceptable.

As a conclusion I think it all depends on the designer themselves and what they like to do. I don’t think you should do what you are told. I think you should do what you think is right, what you feel you are good at and what you enjoying doing. If you enjoy including important issues of the world that you are passionate about into your work then so be it. If you don’t then that’s fine by me.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Website Research.

I have been asked to do a ‘Website Research Post’ as part of my degree as I have to design and make my own website by the end of the year. I am used to using various websites that I have personalised to make my own such as blogger and tumblr, which is fairly easy to do. But obviously having your own website you have to basically start from scratch. Personally I think I can tell what is a good website from a bad one, regarding the design. Looking at different websites I can make note of things I do and don’t like and come to a conclusion on how I want my own website to look in the future.

I recently came across the website of Anthony Zinono, who is a collage illustrator. The homepage is a collation of different segments of all of his works, when you click each one it takes you to a full view of the pieces. This is the only page of the site and when you click each part it comes with an on site pop-up, which is defiantly, an element I admire. Other than that there are 3 links at the top left hand side of the page. The first one being ‘About/Contact’ that includes
- A very short paragraph of who/what he is.
- Contact email addresses.
- Links to all of his social networking sites; twitter, tumblr and flikr.
- A list of his commissions.
- And a list of his exhibitions too.
All these features I think, would defiantly be including on my own site, as they are all the useful things potential viewers would need to know.
The second and third links are ‘Blog’ and ‘Shop’ which would depend on if they would be useful for me at the time of making the site.
Overall I am a fan of the layout of this site and wouldn’t consider using a similar approach when starting my own, thinks I would do differently is to have a bit more order in the way the images a laid out because I find it hard to remember, mainly because they are just images with no text, which links I have already clicked if they are not going from top to bottom or side to side.

Another site I adore is Julia Rothman, who a pattern designer and illustrator, which out of all the design titles are the two I think, are the most appropriate for me. Her website is a lot more complex, with a lot more link but is still really easy to navigate.
Her homepage images change every few seconds to different pieces of her work, which is great because you can see it in a bigger size. They also have a short bit of writing with each one explaining briefly what they are.
She has a side bar, which separates her work into subtitles that is why I think it’s so easy to navigate.

At the moment I don’t have my own website or domain but I am going to make sure that when I make it I think about what works with these sites and many more to make it as personal to me as I can and so my work can be looked at and appreciated easily just like a designers website should!

Hopes, Fears + Opportunities.

In September we were asked to write about our current and on going ‘Hopes, Fears and Opportunities’ The hopes of what we wanted to achieve, the fears in how to achieve it and the opportunities which would help us get to where we want to end up.

My first hope it to be proud and to be happy with what I am and what I am going to produce this year, putting the hours in so that I can say, ‘yes, that’s my work.’ I hope to be more confident in the ability to talk about and present my work to others, so I am able to feel a strong sense of achievement. I hope to keep myself motivated and interested in the subjects I choose or get given for all the briefs. I hope to be able to develop more and more thought-out the year, by self-reflecting ad often ad possible. I hope by the end of the degree that I can approach any given task knowing how to get through it by myself, to produce work that will be accepted. I hope my final major project will really show what I am passionate about and what great work I can make when I am truly interested in what I’m doing. I hope to have a portfolio that is consistent so a client would know if am able to produce what they are looking for in a job. I hope to know what my favourite method of working is, as at the moment I am not 100% sure. Depending on which route I choose regarding my method of working I hope to have all the skills required in it so I can make the most of it and make my work look as professional as I can. Lastly I hope to make sure that I make the most of the facilities that the college offers such as the print room.


Failure. Feeling overwhelmed with the workload. Having multiple things to do and not being able to choose which one to do first or which is more important. Not having enough time or having bad time management. To not be happy with the way things turn out in the end. I have always lost confidence in my own work when I start to compare it to others. Not just what their work looks like but the ways that they approach it and make it look effortless. I wouldn’t fear getting a bad grade if I know I didn’t put the time and effort needed in, but if I know I put my all in and it didn’t show the in the final mark.


Showing work, that I am proud of, to people in the industry. Chances to collaborate with piers or others on live briefs, I think this would help me a lot because if there in another person involved with a project you will always make sure you put your all in because you wouldn’t want to let the other person down and its always nice to have someone to push you. Being able to have a space to put up my work or to have a stall to sell work. To be able to work along side people who are interested in the same things I am. I would like to have the opportunity to show clients how I would apply my work to different media that I am interested in.