I feel this module has been extremely beneficial to my learning as a Graphic Designer, the theory delivered though both the lectures and the seminars have provided me with a wealth of knowledge. One of the main skills I have developed further is my essay writing skills, although coming from a background of A Level English Literature I still feel my skills with formal writing have both developed and improved. Primarily I have never used the harvard referencing system before within my essay writing, yet I feel I have adapted well to the use of this system and my skills with referencing source and research material have also improved as as this isn’t always a focus at A Level however at degree level referencing your sources is key part of the essay. I will be able to take the use of this system into my second and third years on the course as I continue to work through the contextual modules within those years.
The research process itself self has also been a learning curve for me and I have to learn new skills to be able to fulfill the requirements of the essay. I felt the seminar takes eased me into these new process I have not previously been open to. Gathering and collecting a body of research on a specific subject to inform my essay writing is something I haven’t done before however using the online library as a tool as well as online resources I was able to gather an appropriate body of research material. The information and knowledge I have learnt within the lectures relating to my essay allowed me to work through my source material a select relevant quotes and references to inform my essay response. Additionally a skill I also feel I have developed is the ability to rework, refocus and reevaluate my essay in a view of improving it. In the past this has always been something I have shied away from, however knowing there was elements that could be improved within my essay and working again with my source material I was able to adjust, add and amend areas of the essay in a hope of improving it’s overall quality - it is something I felt I achieved after finishing the modification to the essay I felt having taken a break from the essay and then revisiting it allowed me to take a new approach to the essay and areas for improved now clearly stood out, more than before.
The use of quotes and references within an essay is another skill I have improved, as in my previous education I have used to using only integrated quotations, however will support in tutorials I learn’t how extended quotes can be beneficial to both the structure and the content of the essay and improves the overall communication of points I am making within my essay.
What approaches to design production have you developed and how have they informed your design development process?
Using my own content in the form of a written essay is something new to my design practice, as I had created the content I knew the content exactly and knew what it was trying to say and do and because of this, this allowed me to design more effectively and appropriately to help communicate this information to the audience. Furthermore I have developed my use of the grid as a format and way of working within text within a document, it is something I have only briefly used in the past. However using the theory I understood from my essay I felt I was confident in both using and exploiting the grid to aid the design and aesthetic of my publication.
What strengths can you identify in your work and how/will you capitalize on these?
One main strength I can see in my work is my ability to take the ideologies, theories of a contextual era, in my own case, modernism and transfer these principles into my own work, with knowledge of these principles and ways of working I can then translate them to influence my own design practice - a process and skill I believe the theory into practice belief aims to achieve. However being aware of these principles and knowing how they the designers of this era worked did influence heavily on my own, so I believe it will be essential in the future that I define a clear line between how I am influenced by these principle and not to just replicate what has come before me, this in it’s self is not a modernist actions, within crits it was suggested that I was not as innovative and experimental as I could have been therefore I need to allow my own personality to show in my work as a posed to just using existing ways of working.
A strength I also feel I have is my ability to interrupt essay question and formulate an formal, articulated well written response to answer the initial posed question, a skill that I feel has come from my previous study before degree level. Furthermore I feel I can structure an essay well and formulate a well rounded response that argues a key set of points that are backed up with a range of contextual references.
What weaknesses can you identify in your work and how will you address them in the future?
One weakness I can identify within my work after taking part within the final crit for this module is to never assume what the target audience will understand or know about your work. I found from looking at the work of other and my own work that the intention or subject of the work is never initially clear however I think this could easily be addressed within the way the content is structured or will an introductory paragraph so where within the publication that puts the publication into context.
Additionally another weakness I have is using the computer as a digital tool for design but not testing my creations by creating mock ups or test prints before printing the final version, the key problem I have found is I use fonts that are too small or hard to read which is not ideal when presenting an essay. Therefore by printing test pieces I could test the size of the text and then select an appropriate alternative if the text is not legible or readable.
Getting more involved within crits and studio workshops is also area that could stand to be improved, although I contribute to the group I could still be making more of an effort to say more valuable comments which can benefit both myself and the group.
Identify 5 things you will do differently next time and what you expect to gain from these?
- Next time within the context of practice module and within essay writing I would want to explore a wider range of sources for research to expand my knowledge before beginning to write the essay. Within this module I tended to only use a select few sources of research which could limit the quality of my response. Therefore if I were to use a wider range of contextual sources and reference my essay would be more informed as I would have a greater knowledge of the subject I am writing about.
- I will allow myself a lot more time for paper based design experimentation and development as I did not allot myself a lot of time to explore the visual aesthetic of the publication on paper and went into designing on the computer after considering the design only a surface level. However if I were to explore layout and visual more before I begin designing on the computer more interesting and innovative results could be produced.
- Adding images and research of my own to my lecture notes will make them even more of a valuable resource to both my design context and design practice studies. Currently the process of writing up my lecture notes is extremely beneficial to fully understanding the subjects however by adding images and my research I could gain and greater, fuller understanding of the lecture topics.
- Consider as many offline resources as possible and to refrain from using the internet all of the time as a place to get both research and visual inspiration, there is a lot of inspiration in the world that comes from other sources and formats, seeking out these other formats could open my creative practice up to new opportunities.
- Additionally I would like to explore a greater range of visual variations both settling or deciding on a final design. Often I find myself creating something that I like, looks aesthetically pleasing and communicates to the audience well however by exploring visual variation within a design could lead more experimental aesthetics that still communication the message to the auidence effectively.
Quantity of work: 3
Quality of work: 5
Contribution to the group: 3