And, as if my magic, all the work was done……. if that were only the case! As I now find myself finally in the position to reflect over the first year of the HND Interactive Media course I realise what a massive undertaking it has been. The year has presented more challenges then I could ever have anticipated and the shear volume of work has been immense. Not only that but the, expected, professional standard of presentation has meant revising and refining all of my working practices. So, it is not with relaxation and ease that I reflect over the past seven projects but more with a definite critical eye, ever keen to develop and refine these skills further. Particularly now as I look back and realise how far I have come but also how much further there is to go. In order to make sense of what has now passed and it’s implications for future development I will now reflect on each individual project, finally summarising with targets for next year.
The ongoing sketchblog has held a unique position of both generating a great deal of pleasure but also a quantifiable amount of pain over the year. Initially it was somewhat of a novelty to be working in a sketch book again and my enthusiasm to push the opportunity to its full potential was high. Equally the initial journal entries were an unusual but enjoyable addition to my weekly tasks. This enjoyment of A1 extended for many weeks as I explored the potential for creativity in both areas. However, as the saying goes ‘all good things come to an end’ and my desire to strive for perfection, particularly in journal entries, put considerable pressure on my time management.
After a discussion with Steve I decided to try to be more ruthless in my journal entries, purely recording the factual information of the week. Initially this was a struggle as I found it difficult to adapt my working methods. However, as I persevered I gradually became re-conditioned and my entries were more instantaneous, if not a little uninspired. This proved to be a valuable lesson in determining a hierarchical structure of importance for the tasks in hand.
In fact, upon reflection, a very similar scenario can be applied to my relationship with my sketch books. However, I am yet to achieve a suitable balance in this aspect of my studies. Predominately my sketchbooks begin strongly but deteriorate as the pressure of the assignment build and ideas and information begins to be filed rather than analysed. This causes obvious problems nearing the end of the assignment when I find myself re-visiting several pages trying to fill in the gaps. Once again this brings about a realisation that I must become more disciplined even in creative tasks ensuring assessable details such as notation, references and dates are included at the time of creation. Although this will initially disrupt my natural work flow it is a discipline that I must adopt in order to achieve maximum efficiency in the second year, bearing in mind that ultimately the work load will increase.
Developments in terms of using the Sketchblog next year are firstly to be more systematic in my documentation of tasks and secondly to fully utilise it’s potential in terms of receiving and providing feedback on designs. Although overall I feel both my collection, response and generation of feedback has been strong throughout the year at times it has been inconsistent.
A2 That’s the Plan
My recollection of A2 is somewhat hazed due to the seemingly vast expanse of time which has passed since its completion. My resounding memories are that it created a land mark for both the quality and quantity of work that would be expected on the course. In particular the competitive analysis and delivery requirement sections of the project posed the greatest challenges, mainly in the fact that I was more intent on creating the actual design of the website and did not anticipate this more academic approach. In hindsight both the delivery requirements and competitive analysis played a vital role in producing coherent and justified screen designs. However my approach to those tasks was somewhat less structured and could have severely encroached upon the quality of my screen designs. Thankfully my previous design experience counter balanced these difficulties and enabled me to complete all elements successfully within the time scale.
A3 Back to Basics
Completing the previous web-plan in A2 greatly assisted my progress in A3, as I was able to replicate the prescribed structure with more efficiency and attention to detail. Therefore this already signified a definite development in my working methods and time management. This proved to be essential as writing the content for the site proved to be very time consuming as I was unfamiliar wit most of the computing terms we had to define. Equally this more disciplined approach allowed me more time to explore the creative section of the project and familiarise myself further with using Adobe InDesign. The through target audience research I undertook in this project once again significantly informed my design ideas and I was extremely satisfied with the design concept I created for the website.
A4 Image Rights image compression
Completing A4 along side A3 created a well needed balance between academic and creative focus. A4 presented the opportunity to explore what I would consider my strengths of image manipulation and idea generation. I feel the assignment definitely developed my appreciation for the creation and application of imagery in design, both in a technical and aesthetic sense. Overall I feel I produced a strong body of work which demonstrated my flexibility in idea generation something which was later pushed to its limits in A6.
A6 Revert to Type
The fast paced, high pressure timed task element to A6 probably provided the most realistic scenario in terms of working in industry. Thankfully this was an element I greatly enjoyed and I felt it enabled me to push my creative idea generation work to its limits. It also stressed the importance of attention to detail when working for a client. The presentational aspect of the assignment was something I was confident in my ability to deliver. However, the sheer volume of work at the time meant I significantly neglected the preparation for this task and I was greatly disappointed with my performance. Equally, in hindsight, the design of the presentational slides themselves were somewhat overcomplicated, something which had overlooked. Gaining global feedback across all areas of this assignment could have eliminated this problem instantly.
A7 Wailing Whales
Probably the most design based project of the year A7 proved to be more demanding then I had initially anticipated. In particular the seemingly simple task of designing a logo created numerous problems and several revisions of designs had to be made based on feedback. In fact across the board the ‘straight’ forward design tasks proved to be more complicated and time consuming than I had anticipated. This was mainly due to trying to keep consistency between interrelated elements. In terms of using the appropriate software applications effectively and creatively I feel I successfully fulfilled the criteria.
In conclusion I feel I have made significant developments in several areas over the year. Primarily, I feel my design ability both in my creative idea generation and understanding of the design principles has increased considerably. These are definitely areas I did not expect to develop so extensively, as I felt these were already my strengths as a designer. Less surprisingly my ‘creative’, or at times ‘chaotic’, working methods have also undergone distinct refinement. However, these still require considerable adaptation to ensure a smooth transition into the second year. In terms of my knowledge of web design this has obviously improved vastly but also needs considerable development to cope with the demands of year two. Finally it is important not to loose sight of the ultimate goal, making myself as employable as possible for this time next year.
Goals for next Year
- Gain more extensive feedback on all design work
- Designate structured, rigid time slots in self-study
- Create a comprehensive and professional On-line portfolio
- Devote time to self initiated learning of coding languages and scripts.