Thursday, 10 December 2009

Helen Murgatroyd.

A graduate of the design and art direction degree at Manchester came to talk to us today. Helen Murgatroyd is interested in drawing and printmaking and is currently doing a printmaking MA at the Royal College of art in London. It was good to get some information from someone who didn't go on the commercial route after university and instead she carried on studying what she loved. Even after setbacks.

I wasn't to sure on some of the reasoning behind a lot of Helen’s work but after looking on her website I thought she had some beautiful drawings. 

In her third year Helen worked a lot on the idea of mapping, and the different ways you could map movement particularly among human movement and movement in the kitchen. Her sketches were rough but showed the idea well. A lot of the work that Helen did wasn't at all commercial or even graphic design so it was mentioned to her that she should do something to validate her work to fit the 'graphic design' bracket. I really related to this as I feel that I am less graphic 'designee' and more art and crafty. If I can some way find a way of validating my work as a successful piece of design I may be in with a chance of getting through my third year. 

Human movement Map.

Human movement within the household poster. A way of validating Helens work within the graphic design industry.

Movement in the kitchen map.

On Helens website are some beautiful drawings, based on the Vicar of Dibley. 
This was my favourite!

A commision piece for the cafe, cup

Overall I thought this presentation was quite useful for me especially as I have been feeling as though I maybe on the wrong course. Although I think Helen felt uncomfortable in talking to such a large group she got her point across and I thought a lot of her work was very nice.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"When you can do anything, You often make a mess."

Hamish Muir always enjoyed making things, it wasn't until later he realised he was interested in taking photographs. It was these traits that made him enroll on an art course. He left university being taught by some of the greats of the graphic design world, such as Zehnder, Wolfgang and Weingart, who all taught at the Basel school of design.

Hamish spoke of his journey through university, the starting of his company with two other friends and the work they had created pre and post computer. His lecture was very interesting and thorough, he talked of the techniques he had used and gave us tips on professional and technical practice. I have to say I did prefer the pre computer part of the lecture. I found it interesting the way Hamish and his team had created these wonderful pieces and the aspect of change from when the piece was created using collage and when it was printed.

A lot of the work shown was that created by hamishs’ company 8vo. Most predominantly they created work for factory records and the Hacienda in Manchester. The posters and album covers that they designed were all worked on at full size, they used collage processes and real type that was usually hand drawn. Because in this period of 8vo it was pre computer it was hard for them to save the different designs and mistakes they had created. It was this element of surprise that meant they never really knew how the work was going to turn out. I suppose that this is linked to the comment made by Hamish about liking to find their work, out in the wild and on the streets to see how it looked lined up against the other promotional pieces that would wallpaper the urban sprawl.

The next piece that Hamish showed us was an album cover he created using sheets of glass to collage layers of imagery and text. This ‘collage’ was then photographed and that would be the basis of the album cover. 

The next part of Hamishs’ presentation was about the magazine they created called octavo. This was also pre computer. This was to be the international journal of typography.The first issue was released in 1986. The predominant typeface used in the magazine was univer and the magazines principles were all about breaking form and content. It was this that lead on to the point which I found really useful, which was about making mockups on all the work you make. Hamish told us to not always trust our computer screen. I couldn’t agree more. 

In 1989 8vo bought their first computer. Because it was so expensive they could only afford the typefaces that were already on the computer. This is when they had to first start working with Helvetica, when really they didn't like it at all. 

The main points that I took from this lecture were those about form and content and about collage. It was nice to be given an insight into how graphic design worked before the trusty computer. I will definatly take on Hamishs’ advice about creating mock ups of the final idea before completing them to final piece standards. A lasting comment that I noted down was that, design is all about content, but sometimes its nice to work on something without content. Sometimes it is this ideal I like to work with, Why does they always need to be a concept?

'You scratch my back, i'll organise a print for yours!'

So Craig Oldham came in today to have a chat with us. Craig is a designer who graduated not so long ago from Falmouth college of art. After leaving university, and working for a string of succesfull design agencies, he decided to create a document that highlighted need to know lessons you will ultimately learn in the first year of working career. Craig seemed at ease in front of the class and his down to earth and honest nature really warmed to me. Its so much better to be told about the ups and downs of the design industry by someone who actually seems like a normal human being. 

At the beginning of the lecture we handed the 12 in 12 leaflet (freebie!) And it was this that was to be the basis of his presentation.     

He started with the basics on understanding what sort of a designer we are. He explained his opinion on the two different ‘bunches’ of designer and the characteristics of these. ‘Bunch A’ is the logical designer where form follows function and clarity is important. ‘Bunch B’ is the emotional designer. This designer uses any form of communication i.e. Wit and humour to create an emotional connection between the designer and its audience. Although this would work for a lot of people I think I have qualities of both bunches and I'm sure a lot of people feel the same. It is these strengths and weaknesses that transported Craig to his next point about being honest with ourselves. As designers we are inevitably going to have things we are good at and things that we aren’t and Craig’s words on this made me feel calmer. Like me, Craig mentioned his phobia of making websites, calling it “the f***ing dark arts” (I couldn't agree more) He said that when we are asked to create something in the work place we should be honest and state that we don’t feel we would be the best person for that job, maybe we could design some areas and get some help from colleagues to do the areas we don’t feel confident in. I suppose it is placements that will be the best way to find out the tricks of the trade and maybe see what would be expected from a young designer. Craig mentioned that placements are the most important thing that we can do as third year students. As Craig is someone that may have a say in the employment of designers he spoke of the importance of someone having experience in the design office environment and that it is less risky to employ someone like that than someone who hasn't got any experience what so ever. (ie ME!) It is this that leads me to the portfolio and getting those crucial placements. “A portfolio is for life, not just for an interview” Wise words from Mr Oldham! My portfolio is definatly something that has worried me since my feedback from second year. I think it is becoming obvious this year that if we want to learn something on our third year we have to do it ourself so I am glad that Craig gave us some websites to look at for tips on a successful portfolio. All the points that Craig outlined in this document were so so helpful and it has to have been one of the most useful presentations this year. I felt motivated to work on my portfolio, get work experience and make tea for designers. The top tips I think will definatly help me on my quest for a pass at the end of my degree. Heres hoping!

A few pieces from Craig Oldhams Website...

The 'I forgot' piece... Craig Stated on a post it note everything that he had forgotton in one month.

A pet hate of Craig Oldham... People who photograph poster like this!