Words – Evaluation and Reflection

Here I shall be evaluating and reflecting on this project before I shall conclude it by handing it in. Although, I shall set it up in a question and answer style, here I think I shall be answering fewer questions but in greater detail to up my analysis into the projects I do, in order to help me improve for the future.

The Designs:

What are the strengths of the designs I have created? Why is this the case?

I would say that the strengths within both designs are that they convey the word in a suitable manner. My designs for the word cosmonaut and juxtapose also feature a in-depth approach to design that I have seen has captured people’s interest and sparked conversations while receiving feedback throughout this project. I also think both designs are cohesive, all the elements work well together to make the design as one, which I am proud of as there are so many different elements I have incorporated such as the use of vector illustration and photomontage.

Specifically for the cosmonaut design, I would say that it looks rather authentic to an aged poster in a style that has connotations of the Soviet era, but instead of mimicking every detail of a Soviet space propaganda poster, it is a design piece that provides its own character. Although I have submitted it in an aged manner, it also works well without the aged features, which adds flexibility to the design that although not essential, I am pleased with.

Specifically for the juxtapose design, I would say that the way the design creates a narrative for the audience is a strong quality, that allow for an great level of interaction with the design. I would say elements such as the space hopper have been particularly useful in getting people’s interest for the design, it is the first thing they see and then they look at the wider picture. I also am pleased that it is a fun, happy piece, as I did not want to produce a design that was overly political, or ‘dark’ like some of the photomontage examples I researched into.

What are the weaknesses of the designs I have created? Why is this the case and how could I improve it if I did this project again? 

This is the first project I have done where I am struggling to find any weaknesses. This was backed up by an interim crit where my work was received in a very good manner by both tutors and other students which means a lot to me. However, time will be the greatest test!

If I had to pick a weakness in the cosmonaut design, I would say the CCCP type on the Earth may be misunderstood, as a couple of people did not get the meaning initially. I decided to leave it in though, because I felt older members of the audience would get the meaning of it being Russian for USSR and even if you did not get the meaning, it did not spoil the design of the piece. In fact I wonder if it would intrigue people into looking up the meaning if they were particularly interested in the design. This feature would not always be welcome though, for example with the App designs I did last year, the meaning needed to be clear with immediate effect, the audience would not care to research into it.

If I had to pick a weakness in the juxtapose design it would be perhaps some of the arranging of items on the desk, being near to the turn-in, although a lot of this would depend on the type of book it was placed into as turn-ins vary. I did also wonder if I tested the design by showing it to a very wide audience, would they get some of the random surreal elements, such as the eye on the lamp base? I believe that as no one raised this point at the interim crit, the audience would get the surreal or realist elements.

My working practice:

How was my time keeping been throughout this project? When did I work best?

I have been extremely happy with my time keeping for this project. It was aided by the fact that I got the ideas fixed at a relatively early stage and then being able to maximise the development time to get everything as right as can possibly be. I worked best at home during this project, when I just needed to get on with the work in question as everything is just where I want it and I can work for longer with less distractions. However, for feedback, going into college and speaking face to face with people allowed for an in-depth dialogue that could branch into many more areas much more effectively than a chat over e-mail could do.

How was my analysis of the brief? Did I need to ask for clarification over points?

I would say my analysis of the brief was comprehensive and addressed the points raised. Clarification was not really needed for this project as the brief was rather open, which allowed a real chance for me to produce a couple of pieces I am very proud of being able to put into my portfolio.

How was my research useful to the project and/or myself?

This was discussed at the interim crit, and we all agreed on the fact that my research was more on a need to know basis, which branched into two directions. The first was to gain the relevant knowledge to produce a design that had depth and could be understood and appreciated by anyone, including those who have an active interest and knowledge into the subject matter. The second was to watch video tutorials, to increase my knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, specifically Photoshop for this project. The more tools I can use, the more it allows the ideas in my head to be realised.

The research into the Soviet space propaganda posters for the design into the word cosmonaut was fascinating and I learnt a lot through doing this, which I really think you can see has benefitted my design.

The research into photomontage allowed me to get my head around the deeper meaning of the word juxtapose and made for a comprehensive design. I also have learnt information that should be useful for other subject areas, such as the Design in Context essay.

How did I experiment and create ideas for this project? Was this effective?

The first forms of experimenting came through sketches. It set me on a good path which I continued throughout. The sketches worked very well for getting ideas out from my head into a visual format to receive feedback on, such as at the interim crit. Then there reached a point as with any project once the layout of the designs has been determined where I need to trial techniques out on-screen, so most of my experimenting took place there. Unfortunately it all happened in such a blur I forgot to take screenshots to document this as effectively as possible. Overall though, experimentation was crucial to making this project work.

Where have I shown I have met the learning outcomes?

Specific:

Critically explored the role of general and specific research to inform an illustrative solution in relation to a given brief. (I conducted general research into ‘coffee-table books‘, and specific research into Soviet space propaganda posters and juxtapositions, both literal and created through art as well as exploring the meaning of both words). I also looked into tutorials to increase my knowledge, examples of which can be read here.

Produced one or more research journal containing both visual and verbal material that evaluates and analyses the student’s illustrative processes and developing illustrative techniques. (For this project that occurs when I discuss how I made both of my designs and why I used certain techniques, which can be seen here and here.)

Produced a series of research journals containing both visual and verbal material that has been critically evaluated and analysed in relation to the student’s illustrative practical and creative techniques and processes. (I have shown this by writing up my analysis of the research, an example of which can be seen here, and providing sketches to respond visually to what I have learnt through research, an example of which can be seen here.)

Demonstrated via research journals and final pieces an awareness of visually communicating to a specific audience or illustrative category. (I have shown I am aware of the audience throughout, most specifically during analysing the brief and my general research.)

Generic:

Demonstrated an awareness of visually communicating to a specific audience. An example of this can be seen here, when I assessed the brief.

Developed and experimented with appropriate media, aesthetics and visual language. Evidenced by means of research journals and final illustrations. My final illustrations can be seen here and the rest can be seen throughout my posts under the ‘Words‘ category on my blog.

Explored and documented the relationship between the individual’s research and practice. I would say it is possible to see this relationship develop throughout the project, as my research and experimentation with ideas are merged, instead of doing all my research, then all my ideas in a structured order.

What parts of the project did I enjoy? Why was this the case?

I have to say I found the research very interesting for this project, especially into the word cosmonaut. I think this is because it was on one of my major interests, and therefore the enthusiasm was there in excess to develop a design. I also enjoyed experimenting to create two suitable proposals and then it was very fulfilling to learn new techniques and processes, putting them to good use in the design.

What parts of the project did I not enjoy? Why was this the case?

While most of this project has been very enjoyable, I struggled initially to get my head around the true meaning of the word juxtapose and how it should be realised in a design. This was very frustrating, leading to some extremely stressful moments as I felt I was just going around in an endless circle of failure, and therefore it killed my enjoyment for a short while. However, once I had some help from the tutor in how to better understand things, and created a good design proposal, which evolved to become the final design, everything clicked into place.

Any thoughts and targets that can be carried over to the next project?

I would say this project has been my best yet, and I have learnt so much and put this to good use in order to create two designs I am very happy with and show the best of my designing skills. The hope is obviously to build upon this in future projects and learn more skills.

The learning of skills has been the biggest factor in my designs improving as I now have the means to better realise concepts in my head, allowing for more expressive and original work. Combine this with a greater understanding of the theories and history that makes up this subject and I would say I am developing my knowledge well in many areas.

Looking to 2013, it will be a year where progress will need to be made at just as strong a pace, if not stronger, as new challenges shall present themselves, such as writing an academic essay, working with a client for the first time for a project, creating a Final Major Project and increasing the awareness of my designing.

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