ELLIS & CO – Logo redesign competition

Post-  28th august 2011: Today I began a brief for Ellis & Co, an accountancy agency that is split into 2 main stations, one in Wrexham and one in Chester. I was really excited to receive this competition brief, because it was another live brief, and I really look forward to doing them. It was also a corporate redesign brief, and corporate identity is my favorite are in graphic design. It is really my passion surrounding the industry, looking at a fresh sheen that can make a company look really professional, especially design companies. I have looked at a lot of design company websites and each one has something unique and individual to itself. This is what really attracts me to corporate design.
I began to brainstorm what I thought the new image of Ellis & Co could be, but, after much thought I realized that I can only go so far with the redesign. I think that Ellis and Co just want something fresher and modern than its old logo. Ellis & Co were established in the 1989, according to the website. Therefore I think a sophisticated modern look, with a nice elegant typeface will attract them more than an abstract, playful design.

(Image rights belong to Ellis & Co, and the designer and owner, I claim no ownership of any kind)

Ellis & Co Update – Research & Designs (September 1st 2011)

I began to look at different corporate logos from well known and reputable businesses. Barclay’s and Santander, are two specific companies I looked at, their brand portrays an overall quality and stability of the business. The colour, form and shape of the image and typography a certain character that reflects the way they want their customers to see them.

(Image rights belong to Barclay’s, and the designer and owner, I claim no ownership of any kind)

I think it is important to think about colour and imagery, I think these are the elements, the first thing we see in our minds when we think about Barclay’s as a brand and a company. However I feel that Ellis & Co needs to reflect sophistication as well as stability and colour.
I began to look at the logos for other Accountancy agencies, and discovered that simple imagery is a reoccurring element of accountancy symbols, such as graphs and arrows. I wanted to do something different that had the look and feel of a trusty and secure company without adding in the extra elements that would possibly put them off my designs.

Post: September 5th

WORK EXPERIENCE – Contacting companies

Today I contacted companies about work experience. I began to browse google for local graphic design companies that specialised in Corporate Identity, Branding and magazine design. These are the the 3 main areas I want to work in when I finish my Course.
The first company I contacted was Jaffa Design, which is located in Mold, Flintshire. I was excited about getting my teeth into the professional field. It makes the whole experience seem a lot more real and worth while. The person I talked to at Jaffa Design was John Mannering, and I explained that I am a 3rd year graphic design student and was looking for some work experience in the 3 areas I listed above.
However, unfortunately  Mr Mannering explained that his company was in the process of being reduced down and he explained that he was moving the company. I thanked Mr Mannering for the information and carried on looking for local design agencies.

(Image rights belong to Jaffa Design, and the owner, I claim no ownership)

Secondly I came across UpCreative, A branding agency, located in Wrexham and Llangollen. I began to look at their website and was intrigued by the style of the work. I really love minimalistic and stylish designs. I noticed that UpCreative have a strong and innovative style of using photography in their work and I was very impressed. The person I spoke to at UpCreative was Dan Glover. I explained to him that I was a keen 3rd year graphic design student and was looking for some work experience. Mr Glover explained that there was nothing available right now and that I should Enquire again in the new year.

(image rights belong to UpCreative, and the designer, I claim no ownership)

I was slightly disappointed, but I really think its worth contacting Dan Glover again at the start of 2012. I will be contacting more companies this week and try and get my enthusiasm across. I personally find it difficult as far as an approach goes, because I don’t know a lot about the professional world or design. I think it’s a going to be a big learning curve this year about how the business works, and how the five stage process works on real jobs in the industry.

September 7th 2011, POST – Phoning companies for Work Experience

Today I come across a company called JPDS Creative, a graphic design company located on the Wrexham Industrial Estate. I spoke to a lady called Alex Tedford, and I explained that I was looking for some possible work experience. On my brief I noticed that I required 2 weeks minimum work experience for professional practice. I thought that the best way to do this would be to split it up into a week in one company and another week in another company. I explained to Alex that I would like to take part in a weeks work experience, and she explained that the best time would be from the 31st of October to the 4th of November. So she booked me in for that week, and I was very pleased.
I am really looking forward to this new experience, I am a little nervous but I know I’ll settle down and get into the work. Alex explained that the company have all their own computers and drawing equipment needed for the job, I also asked about the appropriate attire needed for the work environment, and she explained smart causal was acceptable.

(I do not claim ownership of this image, all rights belong to JPDS creative and the designer)

I also contacted Pauline Amphlett, my graphic design co-ordinator for my course and explained about the work experience I was going to do. I thought that taking the work experience wasn’t allowed during term time, because I thought it might conflict with the modules needed for my degree. However Pauline assured me that work experience can be taken for as long as wanted, and I can even take a whole years paid work experience if  I wanted to. It seems that ‘the more the better’ is the key when it comes to professional practice.

October 3rd 2011

POST – First day back to Glyndwr – YEAR 3

Today I was shown some fantastic work by Adam, from a Polish design school. I was incredibly intrigued by some of the work I saw, the sheer level and professional standard that was evident in all the work I saw was very motivational. I love that look of professional looking corporate identities spread out to a professional ‘board’ standard. It is really what compels me to be a graphic designer. I love the seeing the different avenues that an identity is taken to, and how it can be experimented with in different ways to produce an impressive body of final pieces.
For my negotiated study I decided to apply this live brief to my negotiated study 1. I also plan to contact JPDS Creative for another live brief, I need to contact Alex Tedford once again and ask if she could provide me with a branding, magazine or typography live brief. I feel this will be a great addition to my professional practice. From the briefs pre-chosen by Adam and Dave G, I feel it is steering away from what I want as a designer. I feel negotiated study is a good way to show off my creative flair as young designer.
However I am progressing well with Ellis & CO, I have began applying the logo in different ways, and trying to be more creative and innovative with my ideas. Maybe tomorrow I will have some great ideas to post and reflect on.


Today I contacted baabaadesign, which is located in New Broughton, Wrexham. I sent a request via email, inquiring about a live brief. I asked if it would be possible to take part in a live brief in the areas of branding or layout/magazine. I am hoping to hear back soon, It is much more enjoyable than I first thought it would be. I met the task with some apprehension at first, contacting companies, because I am a beginner to the industry and approaching companies the right way is always a thought that’s on my mind. It make approaching people at a professional level a bit intimidating, but I do feel it is necessary, and a big part of learning.

(image rights belong to and the image owner and designer, I claim no right)

POST – 11:50am          JPDS CREATIVE

Today I also contacted Alex Tedford at JPDS creative. I phoned her up and asked if it would be possible if she could let me partake in a brief, specifically in branding, corporate identity or magazine/layout. Unfortunately she didn’t have any to offer at the time, but she did mention that maybe when I start work experience there they will have something. So I think it’s best to stay optimistic and keep contacting companies.


This afternoon I came across a site called, and on this website it provides information for design students looking to expand there learning and develop there portfolio and provide jobs and live brief. The website required me to write an email asking ‘why would you like to join us’. So I wrote
“I would like to join you because I am a young creative hungry to expand my learning and experience the real industry for what it is.” Maybe I will hear of them soon? it will be interesting to see.

(image rights belong to and the designer, I claim no right for the ownership of this image or its contents)

POST – 5th October 2011                                                             PROGRESS – Ellis & Co

Today I worked really hard to solve the Ellis & Co identity problem. I found it very difficult to try and grasp what Ellis & Co were, I had a great idea of what accountancy is from my research. However In most accountancy agencies I looked at, most had useful adjectives on which to produce a concept idea. However Ellis & Co is simply just 2 words that I found it difficult to relate to and draw up some rough ideas. From the designs I had already done, I still found I wasn’t able to really portray the companies qualities. I was basically just restyling the old logo, using the same old boring tones of colour, and not communicating the companies relationship with its clients.
The first direction I went in was experimentation with shape, and I had found an interesting serif font to experiment with called, Pona Display. I tried designing with constructing the type and font around the shapes and using truncating techniques, to create interesting styles.

As compared my designs more and more I felt like I was going backwards. I talked to my lecturer Pauline A, and showed her my development work and she suggested that I try and move away from the same colours and style of the ‘corporate’ appeal. I could clearly understand what she meant, because I had just been following a pattern of shape and typography. Pauline suggested that I try to reconnect to what Ellis & Co are really about and why they feel they need to update their Identity. I really respect her opinion because she really encourages me to move away from that comfort zone and try and make my concepts evolve. She also suggested that Ellis & Co are trying to be more attractive to their clients to portray a sense of warmth and ‘one to one’ assurance, and to connect back with the care of the client. So I started to look at colour and what colours would signify warmth but also attractiveness. I had noticed that a lot of agencies use orange a lot, maybe some works with complimentary colour might work well.


Here is some of the experimentation I did on screen, but I still feel that my designs need to evolve a little more, move away from this colour and style of corporate cliche.

Once I had moved forward I felt I needed to move my designs into a less ‘boxed’ state and be more open. At this point I didn’t deal with colour, because I felt I didn’t want to get too attached to a design before ‘I’ felt it was right to build up on as an Identity. However I do feel I am very close to achieving what I want from this project. The typeface above is a very interesting font I found, called Mayberry Pro. I feel that a sans serif font will help move my designs away from that old style of Ellis & Co and allow me to be more adventurous.

12th October 1:30pm – ELLIS & CO progress

Today I began to look back at my research, and I found that I had really missed what it was I wanted to communicate. I think that the Ellis & Co logo needed a more humanistic quality, and attractive colour. Orange is an interesting colour that reflects radiance and warmth. I began to draw some designs using circles, and after a little time I created a 6×6 dot square with an incline in a different shade of orange. I thought this worked really well because you have the trusty and warming orange with the steady incline of a graph. I began to experiment on screen with this new concept, and found it worked really well. I decided to experiment with the design on screen and tried other colours rather than orange. I found that blues and reds made it look to corporate and moved away from the attractive and warm orange I had previously used.

14th October 2011  – TYPOGRAPHY
I also began looking at other types of typography I could use for the design. I came across a font called MetaPro. I really liked this font because it had a certain sophisticated quality about it. In uppercase it was a bit too pronounced and heavy. Therefore I had to rework around the type and experiment with the type more. I found it worked a lot better with the dot design when it was in lower case, much more friendly and attractive. However another problem risen when I had to choose a colour that would compliment the 2 shades of orange on the graphic. I talked to Dave K and he suggested that I reduce the 6 x 6 dot graphic to 4 x 4 so it would accentuate the circles more. He also said that grey would compliment the tone of the orange quite well. I then began to experiment after Dave K’s advice and it began to look really professional.

I began to experiment with the colour of the typography and what shades of grey to use in the name ellis & co. Thinking about hierarchy of the type and what greys were gonna make the type read correctly. However, this posed a problem because it was hard to balance the typography because Ellis is a 4 letter word and using & as a centre point, co is only a 2 letter word, therefore I had to manipulate the spacing between the words to make the design more legible.
I then began applying the logo design into sketches of letterheads, business cards and compliment slips. In the designs I used a 2 stripes of the 2 shades of orange I used in the logo, and used the logo to balance the address information of the company. I was pleased with the designs, and I tried using different variables in the letterhead and compliment slip of the 2 stripe concept. However on the compliment slip I included the style of the old compliment slip I had done earlier, because I thought it added an interesting ‘smooth’ element to the design.

16th October 2011 MASTHEAD – ELLIS & CO

Today I began to experiment in my sketchpad about how the masthead could look. Initially I thought that the design would look more effective it had a nice orange gradient on the background and then some clear typography describing that the company was professional and trusted for over 22 years. I think making clear that the company is reputable will enhance the design. However I wanted to add in a element of calm and friendliness into the content below the masthead. Therefore I had the idea of using a photograph of a cup of tea. To get away from that uptight look of a business thats all work and no play. Ellis & Co wanted there image to be more connected to their customers, and be ‘more friendly’. I think this will work very well with the use of some typography and useful photography.

17th October 2011 – FEEDBACK ON ELLIS & CO 

Today I got feedback on my Ellis & Co project from Adam and Dave. They were initially impressed with what I had done with the project and how I had moved it forward and applied the design to many different avenues. However I felt also that the design wasn’t quite there yet and needed some tweaking, for example the colour of the type on the logo and the 2 stripes that I had incorporated into the design of the letterhead and business cards. Dave suggested that I used elements of the logo in the actual design to create a specific effect that would brighten up my designs more.

31st October 2011 – Work Experience in the Design Studio (JPDS Creative)


Today was the first day of my work placement at JPDS Creative, I was a little nervous to begin with but once I had settled down at met everyone I was more comfortable. I was greeted by JP the managing director at JPDS, and he introduced me to Alex who was in charge of projects and she also a designer. JPDS was only a small firm with about 4 employees. Alex gave me a brief introduction to the company and explained how the process works in professional design companies. She explained how designers can be working on a number of projects at once, and most of it is done on screen, or being productively created physically. I was also surprised that at JPDS they dont have the time to do roughs, which really surprised me because I’m always used to doing a little bit of research to inspire my ideas and produce some rough designs so I have a brief idea of what I want to create on screen. However the manager, JP, explained that only specific companies spend time on doing rough designs for a prolonged period of time, like bigger companies, like the ones in London.
Alex gave me my first brief, which was a branding brief for Northern Marches Cymru, which is a voluntary service for people who help the economic, social, cultural and environmental vitality  of Wrexham. The brief was very in depth and wanted to get across the importance of being environmentally’green’. Alex insisted that I start designing straight away in Illustrator, but I said I needed to get something down on paper, otherwise I’d jus not have a concept. I can understand why companies work this way though, judging from the studio environment, there just isn’t enough time in the day to spend working specifically on just one project. Whilst I was working I could see how busy JP and Alex were, and I could hear them talking to their clients about how things could be changed on their currant project and what worked and what didn’t; trying to find a neutral ground with the client. I worked on the project for most of the day, but struggled to get used to the experimentation on screen. However Alex told me to save all my work so I could continue tomorrow. She also gave me tomorrows brief in advance to read, which is handy because I dont think the team at JPDS have time to relax and read about their next project.

DAY 2 – Tuesday

Today I was greeted by Alex who encouraged me to carry on with the The Rural Environmental Project for the morning. After a good nights sleep and a change to adjust to my new environment, I felt more relaxed, and it was easier to think about new concepts for this branding project. I started to get more used to experimenting on screen, because it was no different to how I would work in Uni once I had enough roughs to enable my ideas to move onto screen. The brief asked that the original logo had to tie in with the new brand, which included the image of a dragonfly. I wanted to experiment with this and try and create something that communicated and explained what it was about. Similar to my GTV project, which I named ‘Voice’ and structured it so it fitted within a speech bubble with a gradual incline in the type. It was visually and technically legible, because I worked in the type with the imagery, like Abram Games.

Once I had found my concept I began experimenting with it, and creating patterns and gradients in the images of the dragonfly, to create a focal point. I used the type as the main body of the arrow, and then the points of the arrow were images, with a gradient in each image to where the images meet the end of the name. So it subconsciously draws your eyes across the type from left to right, and also arrows give a sense of direction and motion. After lunch Alex told me to start  the brief she had given me to look at last night. It was a re-branding job for a European funded project called Swansea Bay 4 Water Sports. The original logo was very badly designed with an illegible hand written font and poor image. I was keen to start this one because, it was different to anything I had done.
Throughout the day I noticed that the manager JP was busy cutting a producing work for a job he was doing. He didn’t explain what he was doing at the time but I could see he was productively producing a packaging project. Once he had finished he invited me to join him to meet the client about this specific job. On the way he explained that he was producing packaging and a brochure for a client who sells garden and D.I.Y supplies.
He handed me 2 clear vacuum plastic boxes, which were empty but contained the designs he had done, ready for the physical product to be placed in. He explained that today he had been resizing and cutting out the packaging design to fit the requirements of the box.
Once we had met the clients, JP was negotiating with the editors who were in charge of making sure all the information was correct on the packaging and what pages in the brochure they didn’t want. It was clear that the client was sure about what they wanted, and there was a lack of communication between JP and the person in charge of the project. One of the ladies who was working for the client was pointing out pages that needed to be changed, and also what JP needed to adjust. I could see the frustration in dealing with the client, nothing is ever quite right and you need to find a neutral ground in order to move forward and get the job done.

DAY 3 – Wednesday

Today I began the day by working on the Swansea Bay project. It did seem like business as usual, just carrying on with ideas, and I guess thats the function of a design studio. Every hour is solid production work. JP and Alex did converse with each other about different projects, and also with their web designer about choosing the right aspects needed for that specific job. Also today I met JP’s accountant who was organising all their invoices and receipts. She was phoning a lot of JP’s clients to chaise up information about previous Jobs that the JPDS team had done through the year.
Curious to learn more about the company I asked Alex how much JPDS would charge for example a branding job, or a brochure. She explained that its usually JP who negotiates the price for a job, and theres no specific price list, it just depends on the size of the project, and how much time and money will be needed in order to get it done, because as I mentioned yesterday, the team are constantly working on different projects through out each day.
I come up with some solutions to the swansea branding brief, and Alex was impressed by my on screen experimentation. I am really starting to enjoy the studio atmosphere, the routine or production is really allowing me to settle into my element and generate a continuous flow of ideas and concepts, that previously took too much time. Thats the main thing I’ve learned from this work placement, that spending too much time on one idea is not efficient enough, it one design doesn’t communicate properly, move on and start again; and keep trying until you find a solution that does communicate properly and answers the brief.

I asked Alex what she wanted me to do tomorrow, and she said that I will be designing a brochure and designing a web page. It’s good that she is introducing me to a wide depth of different jobs rather than just sticking to branding, and I am looking forward to it.

DAY 4 – Thursday

Today I arrived at JPDS, and Alex was out with a client. JP just told me to start the website brief for the pioneer wash client. I asked JP what program would be best to structure it, and from structuring the design of websites before in other projects I used Photoshop. JP advised me to use it as well so it was a pretty straight forward morning. JP was also working on one of the many projects he does over a number of days. I think it’s really good to move between different projects because you get a creative spark for some when others have run dry and vice versa. Thats one thing I’ve learned on work experience is to move from one project to the other so you can look at your projects with fresh eyes and notice your mistakes.
Once I started the Pioneer Wash project, I noticed that they didn’t have an actual website yet so I had no where to extract the logo from, because I like to structure the brand of a company from the logo, using similar colours and styles. I called to JP and explained the dilema, and he just said try and find a solution around it. I can understand it because I could see he was busy, and his studio has a very independent way of working. So I just scanned in the business card he gave me from Pioneer Wash, and used photoshop to extract the logo. I then started to build up the website on Photoshop itself on a web size page.

In the afternoon Alex gave me another brief, which was a brochure for a French Ski Holiday. The main focus of the brochure was Chalet and upper class accommodation. The actual example that the client gave was just set out like a Powerpoint presentation and had terrible fonts and no design structure. So I got to work, and started in InDesign, and using my experience of Indesign previously I was free to play around and look at different ways of building up a stylish, classy brochure. I figured that a white background was just going to be really standard because I set the designs on a landscape A5 document. Therefore there wasn’t a lot of space to experiment too much. However I felt that using different textured backgrounds to make the images sit well against worked quite well. Most of the day was spent working on the computer, but in the studio environment its good to just converse with the team and offer to make a cup of tea. I noticed that being friendly and helpful was really helping me to settle in to the working environment because I can see its not easy when clients r demanding results.

DAY 5 – Friday

Today was my last day at JPDS, and I was just beginning to settle in and enjoy the experience. I thought it would be a nice gesture to say thank you for having me, so I bought the team a selection of cream cakes. It went down really well, and I asked Alex if it would be ok if I could come back in the new year for another week of work experience. She said that would be great, which was really pleasing because I really enjoyed my week there.
Today  just carried on with the brochure project, and conversed with JP and Alex, they were the only people in today so it was easy to just settle down and concentrait on my ideas. I think this experience will be valuable to me when I finish University because I will have a view of how the real world works and how jobs are in the design studio.
At the end of the day, JP gave me some feedback on the work I had produced over the week. He said my designs were smart and innovative and he was really impressed. I showed him my Rural Environmental logo and Swansea Bay logos first, he really liked the style of the Swansea Bay logo because I tried to give it a clean stylish edge. I explained that the brief asked for something to tie in with the existing Wales logo, but its difficult to get something so specific to tie in with a nationality when the main target is water sports. I explained that the bilingual version of the logo should represent the welsh connection, rather than including too much imagery of red dragons and sharp red tails. JP asked me what he thought I had learned from the whole experience, and I explained that the experience has opened my eyes to the reality of the studio and how clients work with designers, and what negotiations and how much work has to be done. I explained the process of ideas seemed a little strange to me at first because I like to find my concepts on paper first and refine them before moving on to screen. However I guess that in real life there isn’t enough time because theres just too much to do, and with enough experimentation and perseverance the concept will come to you. It’s inevitable that you will hit a brick wall, JP explained it’s similar to a writers block, but eventually you will be able to find the answer.

8th November 2011                                                        Competition Briefs: Graze rebranding project

The brief I looked at that jumped out at me the most today was YCN brief that required a redesign of the brand ‘’. This required a logo redesign and the box updating. I thought this was a really good project to sink my teeth into because I hadn’t attempted a packaging project since last year when I did the maths brief that was a project that tried to encourage children and young teenagers, aged 10 to 14 to engage in mathematics. However this project was much more straight forward because they just required an image make over. I thought from first impressions it was a bit too generic and needed something to lift it up and relate it more to what it was entitled for. My first impressions of the box was that it was a really unique and constructive idea, that has really appealed to peoplE who dont have a lot of time to eat healthy on the go, but Graze seems to offer a solution to the problem. I also noticed that there is not a lot of nutritional information or anything showing how it benefits the Grazer.

I do not claim any ownership of the Graze brand or logo, the copyright belongs to and it’s designer and owner

I thought this would be a good avenue to investigate further. I also noticed that the inner design is just covered over with really generic macro shots of fruit, which dominate the inner box, and I thought the main focus was meant to be the food that the Grazer is presented with? However I feel that I can really improve the box and make it much more functional from a 360 point of view. I also thought that the design was too bleak and quick, it didn’t communicate what graze are about and had no sense of identity about it, nor did it appeal to its target audience. It was really neutral, and purely typographic. I look forward to working on this project

9th November 2011 – Ellis & Co Feedback

POST 10:00am

Today I had the great news that I was in the final 6 for the ellis & co competition. Apparently 60 people had entered and only 6 were chosen to be taken further before a decision is made. P.Amphlett said to me that I needed to re order my board and be prepared for a presentation at the end of the month. Im guessing this presentation is to the leaders of the company and a panel of judges. I am really confident in my designs, because I feel I’ve put everything into them and I’m confident with the decisions I made to come up with my concepts. In the presentation I’m going to talk about why the imagery and the type work for an accountants, and why I chose the colour scheme and used it in relation to the designs of the website and stationary.
I always get nervous when doing public speaking, but I am always able to talk about my work in a positive way, that best sells it as a concept. I can explain why I chose certain things and make people aware of my conscious decisions. I need to talk further with P.Amphlett about how they want the presentation to be, and what I need to present, because I think it would be interesting to show some slides of the project on a projector screen so I can talk about my work. I am really excited about this and I am very confident about placing in the competition.


This afternoon I got stuck into the Graze project even more and found my ideas were flowing well. I started to relate my designs to the vintage labels I had been researching. I had produced some vector graphics of a shield like shape with the logo on then I began drawing around the vector with marker, including floral patterns. I thought they worked really well visually, but I still dont think they were communicating what I wanted them to, and I was really struggling on how to move it forward. I still thought that the focus and aspect of the design needed to focus on the food itself inside the box, and it needed to be incorporated  into the design. When I get home I will try and push these design forward, and find that one hook that will fire up that flow of work I want.

11th November 2011 – Graze IDEAS & CONCEPTS

Today I talked to Dave K about my concepts, and explained that I was struggling to find a concept that I could use to take forward my design on this Graze project. He looked through my work and explained that I needed to move away from that cluttered look I had produced on my work sheets. What I had done was make the main focus of the logo design the typography and then a flourishing wave of floral patterns, nuts and fruit. It was very over crowded and was over complicating the design. I realised that because I couldn’t find a concept straight away, I was forcing the issue by overloading the design with unnecessary clutter that was not needed. It was not communicating the friendly and welcoming aspect of the design that comes with say for example the welcoming factor as a gift. However I am working on it and I am going to find a concept no matter how long it takes for me to find it.

14th November 2011 – COMPETITION BRIEFS: Whiskey

Today Adam got us working in random groups from the class, on a brief for an hour. He wanted us to generate ideas and concepts on a newly introduced competition brief by D&AD. The brief required us to produce a brand of Scotch Whiskey that encouraged women to drink it, and because the main target audience for whiskey is Men, it needed a different approach to the traditional masculine built design of other branded whiskey such as Jack Daniels and Bell’s. I thought this brief was really interesting and fresh as a first impression. I thought I could really get my teeth into a project like this, because again, communication is key to its success. Catering to the needs of the target audience is the most important element in the whole concept. In our group of 5 colleagues we designed a quick mind map of what we wanted to communicate and sketched out our initial ideas and thoughts. We wanted to reference the whiskies Scottish heritage in the design, and we came up with the name ‘Silk Thistle’, illustrating its smoothness and also sharp alcoholic taste. There is also lots of imagery to build upon in that name, and colour. Silk is a very feminine material and I really thought we could run with it well as a design concept. We also thought that producing a whiskey as a mixer would really appeal more to women, like a cosmopolitan does. I think a female drink has to be classy and tasty, but also not look ‘tacky’. I don’t think that many women drink whiskey straight, so therefore it would make sense that it would work more as a mixer or included in the design as a suggestion, maybe infusion?


This afternoon Adam wanted us to report back to the studio about our ideas and concepts on the whiskey project. He also explained that this 1 hour project was an opportunity for the group to express our ideas more openly and to converse our ideas more to the group, as you would in a real life studio. I can understand this motivation for doing this, however I think we all just wanted to get on with our own projects. But, we were all positive on the brief itself, because it was fresh and new, and not over complicated. The brief gave its requirements in basic elements and I think this will be a very good brief to take forward, and work on with the Graze project because they both cross over in terms of research and target audience.

15th November 2011 – Ellis & Co Competition – Board Preparation 

Today I started ordering my boards on screen ready to print for Ellis & Co. I found that attention to detail was the most time consuming factor of the whole project. Especially producing well laid out prints that looked right optically on the white paper. I found that even in Illustrator I struggled to fit the design with enough space between the top and the bottom of the page so that it looked right. Also little intricate details on the business cards and letter heads, for example the cutting lines on each piece of stationary left the type too close to the edge of the paper. Therefore it needed some quick tweaking on screen before I could produce final prints.

20th November 2011 – Ellis & Co Board Preperation

It didn’t take too long to print out the final boards, I was veyr pleased with the printing quality and to present I wanted to mount them to foam boards so it would be easier to explain and talk about without the paper creasing or waving about. I also thought it would be a good investment because they could be reused for another presentation in the future, because spray mount isn’t so permanent. The next thing to organize was the presentation itself, and sorting out what it was I wanted to talk about. Roy Meredith emailed me with a list of things that the pannel was looking for in terms of the design.

1. Impact of the logo – distinctive and memorable
2. Use of shape, colour, typography and their relevance to our target market
3. The sustainability of the design
4. Reflection of the Ellis & Co values
5. Rationale for the design 

What I wanted to talk about mostly was how I made it different from the other competing companies out there. Most importantly how my design moved away from the typical pharmaceutical green and blue colour scheme. Also the orange colour scheme that I used was trying to convey a warmer and more trusting brand than the bold competitive and dominant colour schemes that other companies use. It’s like targeting the industry from another approach, and I feel that positive emotion is more likely to influence people choice rather than negative design thats too intimidating.
I wanted to explain the simplicity of the Barclays logo, and how its colour and imagery is easy to remember compared to an over complicated Starbucks logo, which is really hard to understand in its concept. However I wanted to contrast this to the impact of the black and white logo, because I feel you can judge a logos strength and memorability in black and white, because it is breaking down the design to its rawest elements.

24th – 28th November 2011 – Ellis & Co Presentation Preperation

Over the next few days I started finalising my boards and ordering how I was going to present my work. I thought it would be good to present to the company with hard copies of the stationary as well as explaining it on the board I had produced. I wanted explain that I tired to keep the main focus of the design on the lighter tones of the logo, so that the strongest tones stay in the actual brand. I felt that the darker oranges would draw the strength away from the brand, so the lighter orange circles were used in the stationary and the masthead. I think this is an important point to get across, and also the reference to mathematical imagery in the logo. I wanted to make the logo replicate the ‘graph’, using the steady rise in bright orange to replicate an incline in profitability. Also the circles that the graph is made from can be used in lots of functional ways because its a generic shape. logo123

1st December 2011 – Ellis & Co presentation day

This morning I was quite nervous about presenting, I think the reality of the situation hit me, but I wasn’t going to let it affect my presentation. I made sure all my boards were ready to be presented and I quickly went over what I wanted to talk about for practice. It was a long morning and I had to wait until 2:15pm to present and I wasn’t sure what to expect. By the time I arrived at Ellis & Co in Chester, I as greeted by an Ellis employee, and was offered a drink. I thought it would help me relax before I went in so I had a drink. I had to wait for someone else to finish presenting before I went in, I was then greeted into the conference room by Robert Ellis, and I faced a pannel of 6 judges. I wasn’t too nervous after I introduced myself and where I was from, I started to settle down and really address what I wanted to get across about my designs. It was quite daunting because they were very quiet at first. However it went really quick and it didn’t take long for them to start asking questions. The main question they asked that surprised me was one judge asking about a font license. I wasn’t sure about how to respond, but I just explained that would be something I’d have to look into. I felt a lot of there questions were unnecessary because they hadn’t chosen a winning piece yet. They were just little details they picked up, like how did the logo relate to Ellis & Co’s own values? and how does it say what we are about?
Overall though I felt I gave it the best the I could and I was very pleased with how I presented. Now I just need to wait patiently until Wednesday 7th to find out if I was lucky enough to win.

3rd December 2011 – COMPETITION BREIF: Whiskey progress

Today me and Ash B were working hard on the Whiskey project and conversing our ideas, Ash was going in a slightly different direction to me but we were still able to help each other. Ash was a prime element in research for my target audience, and therefore it was easy for me to ask her questions about my work and get some feedback on how well it was all communicating. I noticed that Ashes main points were that the design should not look ‘tacky’, but it should be strong and simple, but also elegant. She explained that sometimes a its how a bottle looks that will attract her to a certain drink, or a type of girl if it looks expensive will be more inclined to buy a specific drink. Me and Ash were looking at Gaelic names that rolled off the tongue well, and made the whiskey sound expensive and classy. I was not happy with my first name choice ‘Silk Thistle’, because it wasn’t classy enough for the concept that I wanted to move towards. I wanted to work on a simple and sophisticated design that stood out from every other whiskey bottle. Later that evening I was talking to another friend called Steph who is also a young lady in the target audience range. She gave a very strong piece of advice that the design should remain neutral to both men and women but it should again not look ‘tacky”. She claimed that she, like Ash, would by a drink based on its bottle design. Steph encouraged me to look at the Bombay Sapphire Gin bottles. She said that she sometimes asks her mother to buy her the drink just so she can collect the bottles.
I did some research and really underestimated the extent to which Bombay Sapphire designed there bottles. I thought that Bombay Sapphire was an old Gin brand that appealed more to old women who mixed it with tonic water. However I was surprised to see that they had produced a range of miniature bottles that embodied the brand of Bombay Sapphire but kept the same colour scheme, and made them look really classy and elegant, below are a few examples.

I do not claim any ownership of the Bombay Sapphire images above or the design, Copyright belong to Bombay Sapphire and its owners.

It is really evident the detail to which Bombay like to communicate there individuality, it retain a visual impact without over complicating or over cluttering the design. The colour scheme is strong and powerful, and also elegant and impressive little qualities are added in to create a ‘whole’ design; such as the diamond shaped bottle top, or in the case of the above, a diamond incrusted bottle. I can now really understand how this would appeal to women, its design is so striking and powerful, it easy to understand how it could not draw your attention to it, I credit the designer of the product in these images, they have really caught the concept and communicated it in its most powerful way possible, I am inspired to achieve the best I can in this project.

Wednesday 7th December 2011 – Ellis & Co Results

Today I had an email off Roy Meredith, he explained that unfortunately I did not win the competition. I was really disappointed not to win but I knew that I gave it the best I could. I still had a good portfolio piece which I could add to my portfolio which I was really happy with. However I didn’t leave empty handed, Ellis & Co were generous enough to give me a £25.00 amazon voucher that I could use. I emailed Roy Back thanking him for the opportunity I had to present, and I was really happy with the voucher. Overall it has been a fantastic experience and a good addition to my professional practice, I pitched a concept project to a real client and I learned a lot, and more importantly what I need to improve on.

POST 5:00PM – NSS Student survey with – STEPHEN BOSTOCK (Nick Whitehead Theatre)

Today the whole Art & Design department were asked to attend a meeting in the Nick Whitehead Theatre, which was a forum giving students the opportunity to express there thoughts and concerns on the positive and negative factors that were affect them on their courses. I thought that this was a good opportunity to express how me and the rest of Graphic Design felt about the studios and the tutors. Since September, a lot has changed to our course, and for the most part we were unhappy about a lot of things. Mainly the unorganised information delivery we received, and the rumour that circulated about the selling of our Regent Street campus building. However there were a lot of issues raised and I think we all expressed the bulk of our concern to Mr Bostock. Mr Bostock encouraged us to work in our subject areas in teams, to discuss what we thought needed to be changed, and also what positives there were. Mr Bostock then went round each group asking one positive and one negative issue that was affecting our course of study.
One of my main concerns was the unorganised attitude between lecturers and the registration scanner. We all felt its treated like an unimportant task that sometimes gets done if its remembered. However we were all well aware of how important attendance is to our course of study, and a certain percentage of attendance is vital to allow us to get our degree. We also flagged up how the new Creative Industries Building has affected our work study, and how we are sent from one place to another, and the lack of feedback from tutors. I feel there is a lot of things that need to be addressed and the tutors need to think about. Another issue was, that we have no friday morning session, with someone to give us Dissertation feedback, and considering it is due in for January, the tutors are not treating it like its an important factor in our work. Its just mentioned every now and again, when our drafts are due in for an update by our course leader. I thought this was a really good opportunity to put some of our issues on the table, and have them actually listened to and taken into account. Hopefully these issues will be acted on and help me and my colleagues to better there study and reach there full potential.

Friday 9th December 2011 – Graze Project Progress

POST: 18:00PM
Today I was conferring with Ash B, and we had been bouncing ideas off each other all week. She has this incredible ability to enlighten my passion for creative concepts. I find it difficult sometimes to find a hook that will enlighten my create flow of ideas. For example with Graze, I was struggling to achieve a concept idea that would lead my ideas to a final concept. I struggling to invision a concept that would embody the 3 main points I wanted to communicate:
1. Natural and Healthy Food
2. Appeal to women
3. Its delivered in the post
When I want a strong concept that communicates in its simplest form I look at the work of Abram Games, because he was a genius in stripping back a design to its rawest and simplest elements. Incorporating the most important elements is difficult without over complicating the design. At this time I was also working on the Scotch Whiskey brief and I found it difficult to be inspired into spending time exploring my ideas more with Graze, I hit a brick wall.
However after talking to Ash she managed to just throw some ideas on the table, and it was like finding a golden chest. I had been looking at jam labels and old vintage perfume bottle labels. But, Ash said have you looked at post stamps? the post stamps she was referring to were the old style ink stamps that would be printed on the back of an envelope with a post office clerk, I had forget about them because today they use stickers instead.

I do not claim any ownership of the image above, Copyright ownership belongs to the designer and the hosting website

I did some rough sketches and looked up some examples online of inked stamps. I really thought I could incorporate a concept in this idea, because the main focus of the concept is right there, ‘the stamp’, that communicates a few things:

1. Its from a delivery service
2. colour (making it look natural)
3. Incorporating elements of nature into it
4. Sustainable
I am really looking forward to seeing where I can take this project next, I want to look into lino cutting and printing and doing some experiments to see what results I can get, which can fuel my design even further. As far as font research is concerned, I really like the font ‘Fontin’, It works really well and has a unique stylish edge that suits the natural concept of my designs.

Monday  11th December 2011 – FEEDBACK ON ALL PROJECTS

Today Adam and Matt gave me some feedback on all m projects. Everything was ready and in order for them to see, and I felt pretty confident that they’d be pleased with the work I had done. My Ellis & Co project was finalised and all my other work was laid out. Adam was really impressed with how I had progressed on my whiskey project. However what happened was that he hadn’t seen my on screen experimentation, and I had already chosen the bottle which I wanted to put my design on. Adam and Matt were really happy with my progress and suggested ways for me to improve the design of my bottle.

This is the imagery I chose for the logo itself, I wanted to focus on the female curves, so I looked at the work of Aubrey Beardsley because the female forms in his work have great curves and lines that accentuate the female form. I really like the simplicity of the image too, and I think the glow against the black give it a classy elegant and warming look, almost like flames or fire. I have noticed that people during the week, mistakenly thought the name was ‘Scorcha’ instead of ‘Sorcha’, which fits the design quite well, it looks almost like the same word in a different language, so I played on this in most aspects of the whiskies Identity.

The font I decided to use for my whiskey brand is called ‘Requiem Display HTF’, it has a nice sophisticated edge to its shape. I really liked this font because it wasn’t over worked in terms of its style. The original font I was going to use was called ‘PF Monumenta Pro’, which looked really similar, but the circles had curls inside them, and they just looked over styled, and didn’t suit the simple elegance of the Requiem font. I wanted to include the glowing affect to the type in Photoshop like I did with the imagery. I think keeping the brand uncluttered is the key to keeping it looking elegant, I dont think that it needs to be over worked in any way, because the design will speak for itself.

12th December 2011 – WHISKEY BRAND PROGRESS

Today I began working the brand into other areas of design package, and I looked at designing a box for the bottle. I wanted the box to really stand out and be innovative because in production it would be the first thing you’d see on the shelf. I also began looking at how the mixer would look in comparison to the red and black whiskey bottle. I wanted it to follow the same trend of as the whiskey bottle, but be a different colour, and look as though it is part of the same brand. I the cocktail mixer I decided to make is a fictional mix that I thought of called ‘Lime cordial and Vermouth’ which I imagine would be a fruitful flavored drink. However I wanted to make the two bottles look sleek and sexy, with nice elegant touches that made it stand out well.
I began to design the bottle and wanted to keep the bottle of the mixer the same shape as the whiskey, juts larger. I began experimenting with colour and typography to keep the design nice and central without adding in too many patterns. But, I did want to incorporate the flames off the whiskey bottle but maybe use a different colour, and I decided Lime Green would work best against the black. The black really was the foundation of these designs, it just accentuates the colour much better than if they were against white.

Graze Project Update – 9th January 2012

Today I began looking at how I could push my designs forward for the Graze box. I was thinking of ways that I could make it into a unique specialized box that could be sent out once to cut down on carbon footprint. So I thought that the box could be made out of wood and the words etched on with the laser cutter. That way the burnt layer of the wood could have its own tones so there would be no need to add extra colour, the wood tones would already be visible. Also I am not limited by font because the laser cutter is very precise and concentrated with detailed images and typography. I am going to try some testers on some 3mm MDF today and see how it works out as far as font goes.


The tester strips were successful and I got some nice looking tones on the wood, I am going to design the patterns and typography in Illustrator and then see what kind of tones I get when I laser cut them. The basic structure of the box is the same dimensions as the original cardboard Graze box but, I am going to create a lid that slides on and off, so it looks more natural. It will look a bit too modern with brass hinges and I would also need some kind of device to keep the lid shut. which poses a new problem. I also had the idea of creating a rope hand on the side of the box so that it could be carried to work like a lunch box , which makes it much easier and accessible. Graze is very pro green and likes to show how it is environmentally friendly, so this idea is based on the fact that having on wooden box to keep, could prevent the continuous amount of cardboard boxes being sent out. The box will be very unique and have stylish designs engraved onto it so there is another advantage of keeping it.

12th January 2012 – Whiskey Brief Project – Advertisements

Today I got some feedback from the group about the adverts I had created for my whiskey brand. The one I showed first was an advert I did for the mixer, called ‘Fusion’. The image was landscape and basically two tones of Lime green and black. It worked really well and was really vibrant, I used the font ‘BravoScript’ to give the font a nice curvy, elegant feel to the design, and also a green outer glow so that it corresponds to the mixer bottle design. The imagery consisted of a pouring of the mixer liquid and a woman being splashed by the water. However the class didn’t like it so much, and I think its the sexual imagery of it, and they might of thought that it was trying to be ‘sexy’, however the woman was fully clothed and wearing a hat, and she was holding it. The concept was that she was leaning back and feeling the sensuality of the drink, that it is an ‘experience’ not a physical ‘shower’ as such. However it was good to get other peoples opinions on my design, and I began to think about other ways that the flow of liquid could communicate the brand. I didn’t want to throw the bottle into the design, but I wanted to use a different image that would work well with the flow of mixer fluid. So I worked in the image of a cocktail glass under the flow of liquid so it looked like the liquid was pouring at fast past into a cocktail glass and splashing out. I layered the droplets of water and the cocktail glass and desaturated the images, then colorized the layers the same shade of green, so that it would show that the Lime Cordial and Vermouth would be ‘green’ in colour.
I need to find a suitable billboard image for my portfolio, I am going to use the vanishing point effect to sit my design properly on the billboard, I just want to it to be a nice strong, professional piece for my portfolio.


Today I finished my whiskey brief, and organised my final boards ready for assessment. I wanted to concentrate more on finishing graze because i knew it would take a lot more time, since it was going to be made.

16th January 2012 – UPDATE ON GRAZE BOX

Today I went to see Dave J about making my graze box, he was quite positive that it would be easy to make, so he asked me to leave the wood and plans with him. I really appreciated his help on this project, seeing as I had no experience of working the routing drill and cutting machines. I think its good to get help on producing a product because I’ve learned thats what they do in industry and projects get done as a group. I went away confident about getting the box looking professional, and began working on designs for the tag and the inner pull outs.

17th January – GRAZE TAG

Today I began working on the tag for the graze box handle, and I figured that it didn’t need to be too big; possibly 3×4 inches was enough to fit on all the information I needed. I wanted the take to explain the purpose of the eco box and how it was made using 80% less materials than a traditional wooden box with hinges and locks to keep the lid shut. Also things like chemicals and Ink, it would just be a nice piece of wood work. I also wanted the tag to resemble graze’s booklet, and have that friendly personal appeal that relates to the customer. But, I also wanted the tag to follow the same design aspects as the lid with the floral pattern and integrate it into the design somewhere, I’ll keep posted.

18th January 2012 – FINISHED GRAZE BOX

Today I went to start cutting the wood for my graze box, I got their and realized that dave had already done it and it looked fantastic, very productive and professional. All I needed to do now was to apply my rope handle and tag. This would require two drill holes in the side of the box and a piece of rope, with a knot in at each end to hold the handle n place. I had already started thinking up ideas for the photography of the box, that was really going to make the product look professional.

20th January 2012 – WHISKEY ANALYSIS

I am really happy with my whiskey project, But it was a real shame that I was not able to make a physical product, I think the photography would have sold the product much better than just using vector graphics. However I did the best I could do, and more importantly I am happy with it, which is what counts the most. It will be one of the most defining pieces in my portfolio and I am very excited to see it printed. There were a few problems that I addressed earlier but I think no project is worth doing if your not going to challenge yourself, and I am very happy with the final pieces, and I am confident that they are going to do well in assessment on the 30th January.

22nd January 2012 – GRAZE TAG AND INSERTS

Today I began the process of printing my tag and inserts for the graze box. It took me a while to find the right type of paper that I wanted to use. I wanted a nice brown coloured piece of card that was going to contrast with the tones of the graze box. So after hours of searching I decided to just buy some textured card and stain it with coffee. My first attempt went really well and I got a nice fusion of tones and textures that are going to look great printed on, but I made not that the type had to be a dark brown so that its legible against the brown of the stained card.
I attached the tag to my rope handle, and began to make marks for the drill holes. This mad eme uneasy because the routed line on the side was quite far down leaving a small Margin of space between the base and the top. However it was a success and it allowed me to finish my box all in the same day. The tag really makes the box stand out and look professional.


Today me and Chris planned to start photographing my graze box. Chris has a degree in photography and I have used his help before in photographing final pieces for my portfolio. He has a good knowledge of composition and this is where I fail. It’s good because he  really knows how to make something stand out and look the best it possibly can. I bought some fruit and nuts to place in and around the box, to make it look more appealing and to its purpose. I also tried to get a varied amount of colour and texture so that the food would help frame the box and make it look strong and appealing. Chris decided to take some nice macro shots of the lid so that the depth of the lazer etching could be easily recognisable. He took some fabulous shots and I was really impressed. I told chris that we could structure a border of fruit and nuts around certain words on the lid, almost like a frame. This was the idea that I could use one of these photographs on a billboard.


Me and Chris looked at the shots we took, and Chris began to look through his shots and pick out the visually strongest. I wanted one macro, on full, and one side shot of the box. The lighting was fantastic and we managed to get some great tones on the box and the fruit really helped sell the box. Once I had my photographs I began to compose a billboard piece that was going to look natural and striking. I wanted to use an image which framed the typography with fruit and nuts so it would sit nicely against the billboard.


This evening I managed to finish my graze project, I had 3 photo boards and 1 billboard that was going to accompany my designs for assessment as a supporting piece. I was really happy that I had progressed so well and so quickly with the project, because at first I struggled to find a concept that was going to make the box unique and really special. I am really considering handing in the project to the competition, and seeing if it does well against other peoples ideas. I think its really strong, and considering graze’s approach to being sustainable and aware of the environment, the eco-box might appeal to them more than a traditional cardboard box idea. I was at a certain point going to abandon the project because I just couldn’t get motivated towards a concept, that was strong enough to take forwards. However with the facilities being so open at uni I thought I might as well try and be more experimental and make the product. I defiantly wanted contrast in my portfolio, because my last project ‘whiskey’ was all computer generated and I wanted some variation, and I also thought that portfolio could benefit from strong photography.

2nd February 2012 – ASSESSMENT FEEDBACK

Overall I was pleased with my feedback, and I realised that I need to slow down the work pace and refine my work a little more. I am well aware of the speed in which I work. But I usually get a flow of ideas, and I try to take advantage of it and get as much down on paper as I can. I really love to experiment with my ideas too and think up innovative ways to apply my concepts. However apart from the brief feedback after assessment I had been give lots of advice and advice from lecturers during the projects themselves so I know what worked and what didn’t. Overall though I liked all four projects that I did, and they will help add to my portfolio.

5th February 2012 – ONLINE PORTFOLIO

Today I began to start designing ideas for my digital portfolio. My knowledge of CSS and HTML code is very limited. I produced a mock up digital portfolio in Dreamweaver in year 1, but I found it incredibly difficult to get used to. I think its a process that takes a lot of time to develop and get used to. However I thought that Cargo Collective would work a lot better for me, and it isn’t too difficult to use. I dont think I want to put all my best pieces on my website because employers are just going to be seeing the same things and flicking through. I want to create a nice balance between the two, and have unique and strong projects in each. I talked to Dave K and he said that your website should be just a taster of your portfolio and should make employers want to see more, make your work exclusive, as if to say if you want to see more; contact me for an interview.


After looking at the main competition briefs available from D&AD, YCN and ISTD, there wasn’t a lot of briefs to in relation to ‘branding’. This is what I wanted to base my portfolio on and show off my skills in. However I decided to look further afield to other competition brief websites for a nice corporate branding brief. I looked on 99designs and their competition briefs were also limited, but, they had a lot of branding competition briefs that had recently finished. I decided to not let this stop me and I chose a brief that required a new corporate identity for a home security company called ‘True Protection’. After previously using the laser cutter to extended my designs onto different mediums, I thought during that period how nice a clean corporate logo would look engraved into a sheet of stainless steel, and then photographed. It would make a beautiful home page for a website or even a magazine ad.
I thought that True Protection would be the ideal candidate to experiment with this technique.

8th February 2012 – STARTING ‘TRUE PROTECTION’ 

Today I started my True Protection Project, I already had a lot of ideas in my head of how I wanted my project to look. I wanted a clean cut but unique logo that represented strength and security. The brief stated that the brand needed to be masculine, modern, serious and simple. These basic guides helped me to establish some rough ideas right away that focused on imagery and form of what I thought represented True Protection. For the type I thought that a simple roman serif or sans serif would work quite well. I began looking on and for suitable and unique fonts that would accompany the brand name. I wanted to go for a futuristic, high tech font.

Later that day I started to look at how other corporate home security companies represented themselves as a brand. Reoccuring imagery is used a lot in these kinds of brands. Imagery such as key holes, shields and padlocks that are integrated into the type itself. However I wanted to give the brand it’s own unique look, and incorporating a positive but high tech style. The 80’s had a futuristic style for some brands, but they are extremely recognisable as being influenced by the futuristic video game style of the 80’s. However in the last decade, less is more in terms of futuristic style. The 80’s style design was very square and blocky in comparison to our view of futuristic today.

(I do not own this work, all rights belong to the artist and the file hosting website)

It is instantly recognisable that this logo is an 80’s styled design that is trying to be futuristic that uses a metal effect and an element of simplicity to achieve this concept. However in comparison:

This logo is very simple and uses smooth and simple shapes to create a futuristic effect. Its typical of what you’d imagine to be a futuristic style logo today. This is what I wanted to achieve with True Protection.


Today me and the group began preparing the walls ready for the exhibition. The reception area of the art building consists of 2 panels on either side of the walls as you come into the building. These walls needed cleaning and sanding, and then needed a coat of paint to provide a nice clean background in which to lay our work against. A member of our class had already brought the supply’s with him ready for us to get started. We began by removing all the work that was already up, and then used sanding blocks to smoothen the walls down and get rid of any dirty marks. We all then wiped down the walls and used brushers and rollers to apply the white paint. It was a great team effort, and a real example of our desire to make this show a success. It built everyones confidence in the show, because it was entirely in our hands, with the lecturers being on hand to help us out when we needed it. However I think that when we see all our work up tomorrow, everyone will feel great, not only at the standard of work produced but also that we accomplished the night ourselves as a team.

16th February 2012                                       GRAPHIC DESIGN CLASS EXHIBITION

Today was the day of the our graphic designe exhibition. I knew this would be a great event because it would be a chance for us all to just relax and reflect on all our hard work from the first semester. I also knew it would help everyone to relax and be more sociable with it being a public event. A time where were all not focusing on finishing projects or dissertations, and a chance to have a drink and socialize. I was really confident about my Sorcha Whiskey project going up on the wall, I really enjoyed producing the work for that project and I knew other people would like it. We spent most of the day measuring and organising which projects were going to go where. I wasn’t too worried about not having my work on the main entrance walls because I think that ‘the exhibition’ is the smaller size work, the detailed work is what people come to see, because after first glance the larger posters have been seen and people go and look at the smaller pieces and spend more time analysing.

POST 9:00pm

The show was a big success, everyone really got into the spirit of the exhibition and proudly displayed their work. We all had a few drinks and everyone brought plenty of food, it allowed us all to sit back and admire what we had accomplished, and also be proud. I am really looking forward to doing it again before the final show in May/ June. I think these are the golden months now that I need to take advantage of and use the resources the best I can to benefit my portfolio and gain a better experience of things I will need to tackle the work in the design industry.

22nd February 2012 – FEEDBACK ON NEW PROJECTS

Today I talked to Dave K about how I was getting along with my new projects, and I needed some help on structuring my logo for True Protection. He went through a complicated process of connecting both halves of the shield together into one image, with a nice stroke line around the edge of the shield. This allowed me to control the gradient on the shield more effectively than there being a big stroke line right down the centre of the shield.

This is how the logo looked before I showed Dave k, and Dave also pointed out that the connection between the letters P, E and R would look better if they were fully connected to the letter without any spaces. He also pointed out that the spacing between the letters of PROTECTION were not legible. But, this is easy enough to correct in Illustrator.

The type will be lined up when the shield and the spacing is corrected on the word ‘PROTECTION’. However this screen shot clearly demonstrates how much more effective the changes have been to the overall design. It looks a lot more legible and easier to read when reduced down. I did look at colour ways to see which would be help express what True Protection are about, and I thought that the gold helped express a solid, wealthy and reliable company more than the red and blue combination colours.


Today I began a new project for Google, and the brief required a set of designs that would form a packaging for google applications. These applications were web, social, geo, media, mobile, specialised search and home & office. I think it would be more effective for me to chose specific applications that I know, and create them as a range like the Adobe Creative Suite.

(I do not claim any ownership of this work or image, all rights belong to its owner and designer at Adobe.)

Google was very clear about the use of their logo and the ways and variations it can and can’t be used. Along with the brief came a PDF booklet that gave the do’s and don’ts of how the logo can be used, i.e in an image or grey scale. My first thoughts on the brief were that the man colour scheme should be based in the logo itself, because its such a recognisable and unique identity. It is also a very visually strong identity in terms of its colour scheme, and the booklet also talked about how they use white space practically as part of the design. They also gave precise measurements of how much actual white space was required around the logo itself. With the simplicity of the logo I thought that if I create a packing range that compliments the logo and has each unique applications in its own design. I am really keen to be experimental on this brief, and I really want to produce a finished product, because the photographs will really look professional and benefit my portfolio.

I do not claim ownership of the work above, the work belongs to and the original designer, all rights belong to them.

Googles colour scheme is very unique and it’s played through in most of their designs. Even above, in their Chrome web browser it is used really well. I think it will be good to use this technique in creating the packages for the applications. But keep the strong colour scheme on the logo itself.

In the video above, it shows the comparison between the simple style of Apple vs the over complicated and over cluttered Windows design packaging. It illustrates how the simplicity of Apple works and speaks for itself, but conflicts with the over cluttered and over powering Windows design.

Monday 27th February 2012 – FEEDBACK FROM ASSESSMENTS

Today I talked to Adam about my assessment grades, and I told him I was very pleased with my results. However I knew exactly what I needed to do jump over the fence to get a 1st grade. I have been producing the same kind of work for my projects this year and i’ve been balancing on the fence between a 2.1 and 1st since year 2. I was explaining to Adam about a D&AD project that was out recently that required a brand for the city of London. Adam suggested that I could do a brand for Wrexham, and this made me stop and think about Wrexham itself as a place. I realised that Wrexham itself didn’t have a brand, it had a logo, a really scratchy ‘W’ and the multi lingual name ‘Wrexham County Borough’ in Welsh and English.

I thought that writing my own brief on designing a brand for Wrexham could really work well for me this term. I think it will be a really good chance for me to show off what I can really do with my design skills. I think it’s one of those projects where I feel like I’m going to explode because I have so many idea’s that I’m eager to scribble down on sheets and sheets of paper. Adam showed me some work that instantly visualised the initial ideas I had. It was a brand for a city I can recall, but what strook me the most was the very significant, but memorable colour schemes that the designer had used in each aspect of the design, and the different media the brand was applied to. So I did some research of my own, and I found a brand for the City of Melbourne, which resembled something similar to what I had in mind.

(I do not claim any ownership for the design work above, all rights belong to the owner and design, images extracted from hosting website)

This work really demonstrates the kind of brand I want to produce for Wrexham. I think this project will challenge me a lot more than the google project, and therefore I think I will start this project after creative futures week, instead of doing the YCN project. I thought the google project would provide the platform I needed to express myself. But, I feel I haven’t yet had chance to express myself as a branding designer just yet. I think that the True Protection Branding project has helped me, but this could be something a lot more exciting and different. I can’t wait to start drawing up some idea’s on this project. The City of Melbourne brand is very unique and distinct in its ability to be used in a 360 degree spectrum of different applications, yet its very unique. Even aspects of the logo have been used in the actual design spreads of leaflets and posters, the lines create an interesting back drop of tones and colour. Also different colours can represent different things for different subjects. This all stems from the original logo which is built up of different shapes and complementary pastel tones, which works extremely well. But this doesn’t have to be used for the name, the brand could just be patterns of colour, repeated. This could produce an amazing platform in which to become experimental and have fun.

(I do not claim any ownership of this work, all rights belong to the designer and it’s owner)

This piece of work really caught my eye, and was visually strong. I think it would be even stronger if it was against a white background with lots of free space to let the design ‘breathe’. I want to produce something similar for the Wrexham brand, something innovative and unique. I want to focus on shape, colour and pattern for the brand rather than making it look cut out of stone and corporate. I need to express the real Wrexham, the exciting free spirit of the people of my hometown, and I dont think that will be expressed by a piece of compressed and restricted typography. It needs to work 360 degrees, across all boards of media and application.

2nd March 2012 – OH Design – Portfolio Website Update

Today and yesterday I was working hard on trying to make my website look more professional and personalised. I began looking at the CSS code of the website and trying to change the link and hover button colours, to make it look more like a recognisable brand than the basic preloaded settings. I wanted to change my quick mocked up logo which consisted of just a grey ‘OH’ and a slightly darker grey ‘design’ underneath.

I wanted to design something a bit more personal that this, and I wanted something minimal but something that looked really modern and clean, with a cool colour scheme of pastel colours, nothing too aggressive. I began experimenting with different font styles and colours. The font I decided to choose was a font called Sinaloa, a modern blocky font that had a unique line pattern over each letter of the font.

I wanted to strike up a balance between a look of modern and illegibility. This is the kind of design that I really like as a designer, something modern with nice calm palette colours that work well together. I’m still not 100% sure this is what I am going with, but I produced some business cards that work really well with the logo, against the space.

I think that the colour schemes in my business cards work quite well, they aren’t too bold or harsh in their colour scheme, its quite complimentary. The grey and the blue work quite well. I’m still not sure on the typography, but I have plenty of time to experiment more and make suitable changes.

Monday 5th March 2012 – CREATIVE FUTURES WEEK

Today was the first day of creative futures week, I was really looking forward to seeing what speakers were going to be at the event and what new things I was going to learn, as a new upcoming designer who would soon be facing the industry. I think that this year is going to be more beneficial for me, especially to gain feedback on my portfolio, because I can extract and tweak what needs to be changed or made better. Pauline told me that she has booked me and a few others a 1 to 1 session with a designer called Andy Cheetham of Cheetham Bell in Manchester.

The link above gives details about Andy Cheetham himself and what he has done in his career. I am really looking forward to meet him and get his thoughts and opinions on my recent project work. I am going to show him my Scotch Whiskey Project and my Graze box project, and possibly my True Protection project ‘to date’. I am really confident about my work and it will be an interesting session. I am really looking forward to it.

POST 3:00PM – Angus Montgomery – Editor of Design Week

This morning I listened to an inspiring speech by Angus Montgomery, who was the editor of a magazine called Design Week.

This work belong to ‘Design Week’ and it’s designer, who owns all copy rights and ownership, I claim no right to this work

I was really looking forward to listening to Angus’s speech because he has a direct connection to the design industry, and is situated in the hot spot for design work, London. One of the main things that Angus said that inspired me was, ‘to feel very lucky that we have the skills to become designers’. I think that after being exposed to the impressive innovation skills that designers bring to the table, it opens up a new area in peoples minds, to what design communication actually means. I think that people who aren’t familiar with the industry have an unrealistic point of view of what the role of the designer is, and what skills we bring to the table.
This is the one thing that intrigued me, and interested me about the graphic design field. Especially when you see a piece of design work that makes you stop and think, and makes you question “what influential factors encouraged this designer to produce this innovative idea?”.
Angus was really intrigued by ‘designers’, and he also said that we should be learning to work like business people. As well as providing a design communication platform, we should also be learning how the trade works, and how to benefit ourselves financially, as another important factor. I think this is also important because it is really important to have a good knowledge of the industry and how it works professionally, and I feel this is something I really need to get to grips with, because it’s a fate that dawning upon me day by day. It is really exciting though but also frightening to think that I will be entering the professional industry very soon. However on the other hand, I brought up an issue with a friend that, universities dont provide some kind of facility that helps and guides graduates in the right direction after their course finishes. I think that a lot of graduates suffer from low confidence  when faced with the ‘big wide world’ and it can be very intimidating for them to get everything together and put themselves out there. It wouldn’t be a big over budgeted facility, just keeping in contact with staff, to help guide or give advice on how to approach companies or give you contacts to the industry. I think this would benefit design students especially because a this moment graduation seems more of a dread than something to look forward to, because it’s almost like being kicked out of the nest and being told to deal with it. However I understand that being self efficient and determined is all part of the confidence building and adequacy in approaching possible employers.

Copyright for Creatives Talk – Janet Jones

This was an interesting talk, because I wasn’t 100% aware of how copyright works in certain circumstances. I learned a lot from this lecture because it allowed me to get the how, and why copyright is used on certain kinds of work. Janet outlined the basic principles of how copyright worked in relation to our own work. She explained that as soon as a piece of work becomes tangible and is produced by that person, that person automatically claims rights to it’s copyright, and control how and when it gets used. I didn’t know this and I was surprised, because I thought your work had to be recognised by somebody in ‘copyright’ and that the work had to be registered ‘copyright’. However Janet also explained that it is always important to ask permission to the use of any images that you use. The owners of the work have ever right to sue you in civil court, and you could end up paying damages to the original owner. This is something I am always aware of when I produce my work, even for Uni, which is exempt from the copyright infringement because it’s for educational purposes. Janet also explained how long copyright last for and how its controlled, I was really surprised when she said that copyright can last for an additional 70 years after the original and all other copyright owners die,  and that the material doesn’t officially become available free to the public, until all ties to copy right have passed away + an additional 70 years. It was really eye opening for me, because even when I start in industry copy right will be something I will have to be very careful with.


I was really looking forward to John’s presentation, I knew he was a former student of Glyndwr. However It took me a second to click that I had spoken to him once when I was inquiring about work experience. As soon as he mentioned Jaffa Design I realised who he was. John’s main point of the presentation was that there is money to be made working in a local area design job, but the salary doesn’t compare to the salary of a city job. However John explained that most of his career endured 2 heavy periods of economic recession. This was a really inspiring story because John said that he just kept his head up and faced the problems he encountered, no matter how difficult they seemed at the time, and came out successful in the end. He made the choice to stay local so that he could be with his wife and children. However he explained that ‘commuting’ helped broaden his range of work as a freelancer. I think that commuting isn’t an option when working free lance, because North Wales isn’t a densely economic area for design specific jobs, only in specific places.

John wasn’t always a freelance designer, he worked in many different companies and other kinds of media businesses that moved away from his typical design discipline. The most interesting thing that John mentioned was how his career changed over time, and he showed this in a simple graph form at it was very effective.

This graph was really effective in explaining how John’s career developed over a 26 year period. John had faced all sorts of different problems during his career and it was really good for him to share them with us. He also said there was a technology jump in the early 90’s and it required him to retrain and learn new skills. This is something i’d never heard someone say before so it was interesting to learn about the different kinds of problems a designer can run into during a long career.
John also explained that companies are a much safer place to work than being a freelance designer, because ‘they look after you’. I think he meant that, your guaranteed work and it gives you a chance to develop in your job and earn more money as you get higher within the company. But, he explained that this can be a problem in itself because your job can become stale, and sometimes it’s good to take a sideways jump into something that keeps your skills to a high standard, or learn something different that will benefit your career.

POST 21:52pm – GO Wales job opportunity for Design and Marketing Executive

This evening I was talking to my friend Kate, and she mentioned an interesting job opportunity on the GO Wales website, and the position was for a Design and Marketing Executive. I hadn’t previously thought to look at the Go Wales website because I am so preoccupied with other project work. However this job description looked very interesting, and something I’d be good at. It required a post graduate designer who had specialised skills in Packaging Design, Website Design and Maintenance, Brochure Marketing and Literature Design. Also the applicant needs to be skilled and methodical with the Adobe design software like Photoshop, Illustrator etc. The company themselves are one of the countries leading Bath & Body product companies, and are based in North Wales, Flintshire. This really got me interested and I think I will enquire more this week. I think it would defiantly be worth uploading my CV and write a covering letter, this could be a good opportunity and it’s well worth trying.

(I do not own or claim any rights to the work above, the image is a screen shot of, all rights belong to the site owner and designer, and the company)

Wednesday 7th March 2012 – Work Experience  through Go Wales – Lucy Jones

This morning I went to the Go Wales talk given by Lucy Jones. I didn’t know much about Go Wales but I had recently heard about it, but I didn’t know what services they offer. The function of Go Wales is similar to an agency, they help supply work and experience opportunities to graduates and under graduates. I think this maybe something I want to look into when I finish my course, it could be very useful in helping me get started in work. I feel quite hopeless in the fact that when I leave university i’ll be out on my own, looking for my own future, but at least with Go Wales, you have some guidance and support. Lucy said that you can earn up to £250 a week with the Go Wales program, and also they offer support with doing your CV and finding work that suits your specific area of skills. Lucy also said that people think that after a certain amount of time students ‘forget’ that they are graduates, but as a matter of fact, you never stop being a graduate, no matter how long ago you finished your course.
I feel enlightened a little more confident in graduating now, because I know that there are services that help you get kick started into work and give you the support you need to make a future.

(the image above belongs to ‘go wales’ and all rights belong to the owner, designer and the hosting site

POST – 4:00pm                                         Jason Minsky – Putting a Portfolio together

(image rights belong to the owner and the photographer, I claim no ownership)

After the Go Wales talk I attended the John Minsky talk. Jason Minsky was a former student of Glyndwr University and his talk was about preparing your portfolio before entering the world of work. Jason had a portfolio that was built up over 20 years and had done numerous jobs for different clients over the years. However he had also delved into other areas of the creative industry and else where, he said he had worked in 3D Design, Sculpture and even in Blacksmithing; and even applied to do an M.A.
Jasons main advice was that ‘not everyone is going to like your work’, I think that is something I need to get my head around, because I find it difficult to take hard criticism. I think sometimes people can over criticise and do it negatively, and I think that criticising work positively can help motivate people to better themselves and their work.
Jason also said that being aspirational can encourage you to think passionately about what you’ve accomplished and where you want to be. I think being passionate about your work is the most important element, because if you are not passionate, you are not going to enjoy it, and there is no point in perusing your career. Jason said ‘Put everything, all of yourself into your work’, I totally agree with him, putting in tireless effort will help you to succeed, being determined is going to push you higher and higher.

Jason also said something that surprised me, he said that when he graduated in 1992, there was a technology jump and this restricted his abilities to a certain degree. Technology took a huge step forward in the early 90’s with the resurrection of the internet and computer technology in general. This is something that John Manwering talked about yesterday, and must be something that restricts designers and creatives to some degree, therefore retraining must be very important. It makes me think about web design, because I not very skilled with it because I haven’t had specific training in CSS & HTML code. However this may be something I need to do in order to get a decent job, because from the jobs that I have looked at, designers are also required to have web design skills as well.

Jason also said “Invest in yourself”, I think this is also very important because it also shows that you are professional and care about what you’ve achieved. This is something I need to do in the next few weeks, I need to print a lot of portfolio pieces to complete my portfolio ready to start looking for work when I finish my course. Jason also said, think about who you are showing your portfolio to, and what kind of work they do. Jason made an interesting point that, “Being a creative is getting more and more difficult, because disciplines are getting more and more specific, and portfolios have to be tailored.” I think the most important thing that Jason said was “Be Confident”, I think that this goes without saying. To be confident shows that your passionate and have the ability to converse with others, and I think that these are the kind of things that employers pick up on.

Jason also said that thinking of an idea from every angle shows that you have really carried forward your ideas and worked to the best of your ability to make a success of your work. Jason was making references to his work saying that clients are so picky and can be a nightmare to deal with, especially freelance. He said it is very important to show them ‘one’ idea, and not to give them too much choice, because they just cant make a decision sometimes, and can even milk your efforts for their benefit. This is a very important piece of advice, because giving the client a finished product shows that you have been able to make choices and decisions that best suit the job, also your not going to get messed about by unreliable people.
Overall I was very impressed with Jasons presentation, he had a lot to offer all disciplines. A lot of different people from the art school attended his presentation, it was probably the busiest all week. His advice was multi-dimensional and I think everyone took something away from that talk. His work was very bold, but also dated. It’s not a bad thing though because his portfolio was very specific to its era, at a time without Adobe and Macs. His effort was unmistakable and he was a very inspiring character.

8th March 2012                   Andy Cheetham  (Cheetham Bell) – Visions

I was really looking forward to Andy Cheethams presentation because he was a successful advertising director. I was astonished when he said that he was once in Glyndwr University studying. Andy has worked with many well known celebrities, one specific advert I remember is the Umbro advert which was inspired by the film ‘The Great Escape’. Now this is an ad I remembered vividly from when I was young. It really surprises you when you meet someone who claims they were directly responsible for creating all those memerable advertisements you’d see on tv everyday, and you’d whistle the tunes. Andy started talking about how it was working with celebrities, and he claimed that they only give up a certain amount of time to you, so you have to be organised and get the job done effectively. I think the thing that surprised me the most was when he said how much on average it costs to make an ad, or to borrow the rights to use certain tracks or elements of certain songs or films. He claimed that to borrow the right to do the Umbro ad in the style of The Great Escape and use the track elements it cost over £100,000.
Some of the ads that I recognised were Vimto – Purple Ronnie, Phones 4 u, Gaviscon, Bonjella, Lem Sip, United Utilities, BMI Baby, John West, Alten Towers, Chicago Town and even the Anti Fraud Campaign. These were all ads that I used to see daily on television and never thought anything of it. I knew they were really good but I didn’t give any thought to who helped create them. I was very impressed by the work that Andy had done, that he had worked for a good long career build himself up as a very respectful and accomplished creative director. The first segment of Andy’s presentation was explaining who he was and what work he had done. I was very excited to have the opportunity for a 1 on 1 portfolio review session with him later on in the afternoon, hope it goes well.

POST 5:00pm                                                  Andy Cheetham – The Chip Shop Story

This segment of Andy’s presentation was basically a breakdown of how the Chip Shop Awards came into existence.
Andy explained that early in his career he was producing freelance work, and he did a project for his family owned chip shop. It was an advertising campaign to encourage people to go to the chip shop. Andy produced many innovative and exciting posters that won several awards, such as D&AD gold, and Roses. The posters were very simple but very effective, they were smart little words and Phrases that  had an element of comedy and wit. I could see how and why they won so many awards, it was such a well thought out campaign. Andy claimed that the project won him 5 D&AD gold, and 12 Roses awards in one year, and he instantly gained a lot of recognition for the project. Andy seems to have this natural gift of design innovation and ‘wit’ that give his work this amazing style thats hard to ignore. He is defiantly an inspiring character and one I will always remember.

One to one Portfolio Review Session – Andy Cheetham 2:15pm

This was a really nice time for me to expand my mind and my ideas about the future, and what it will inevitably be like when my portfolio is reviewed by a potential employer. I wasn’t 100% confident because I am in the process of re-editing a lot of old projects and  not all are finished, and also have bits and pieces printed and finalised, and others that need reprinting. However I only found out about our one to one sessions Sunday night, so I wasn’t able to produce a ‘finalised’ portfolio, and I think this is what Andy was expecting. However I am very proud of the work I have done and I explained the situation when I sat down with Andy. However I feel that he didn’t really listen and was quick to pick out faults with my work. I am not the kind of person who gets too defensive about my projects, however I dont think that Andy understood what I was saying. The university way of working is a lot different to industry, we have to provide evidence and rough ideas, and he said that his team could have produced all the work I showed him in a week. I dont like to compensate, and I can understand a true judgement. But, I have been working to 100% capacity and did the best I could. However I wasn’t expecting ‘too much’ because he is a top advertising director and I’m a university student. But, I told him i’m not giving up, im going to do what it takes to succeed, and I’ve got the passion and energy to keep moving forward. A useful tip that Andy gave me was “Choose your briefs more carefully”. This is a very true point, especially after the first semester of year 3; my briefs have run dry in their creativity, and it is something I need to work asap. However with the hopeful new project I was given on Monday this could be prosperous. I have chosen to do a lot more smaller briefs this semester, and just had fun doing them.
Overall I was a bit conflicted about Andy’s opinions, but I know that this is a very critical and cruel industry. I think the main thing is not to be afraid and keep moving forward, and keep the advice and criticism on board, and use it effectively to better myself.

12th March 2012 – Wrexham Project Continued

Today I sat down with Matt and talked about what I had done so far with the Wrexham Branding project that I am currantly working on. He looked over my designs and said that he didn’t think that they were moving in the right direction. I did a little more research and began to look more closely at the Melbourne and Manchester brands and found that they followed a similar trend in the way they looked. Lots of white space is good, accompanied by a minimalistic design that has a combination of memerable colours.

These were my initial designs, and after going away and looking at them with fresh eyes I found that they were not moving forward, but lingering in a similar contained pattern. I needed to get experimental and look at more styles of design that was new wave and modern. Matt suggested that I start to look at some Non Format style design. Non format has always interested me because it’s almost the style of graphics that represents the modern age of the 21st century. Modern, Minimalistic, Abstract and high contrast.

(Image rights belong to the designer, and, I claim no ownership of any kind of this image.)

This kind of design has always intruigued me, because of it’s unique and grungy style. It moves away from the constraints of tight, clean serif typography and soft lighting. High contrast has a lot of impact and works really well to bring character to design. This is what I wanted to communicate in the Wrexham branding, a unique and stylistic character that can always be remembered and associated.
(Image rights belong to the designer and of I claim no ownership of any kind of this image.)

Non format has a very memerable style and it is applied to most of their work. Even a signature style of type that is really bold and unique, but Matt said try no to copy the style too much, keep the brand unique. His most important suggestion was to design my own style font, that would be the brand for Wrexham, so I got started straight away in Illustrator.

This is the initial design that I did for the Wrexham brand. Overall I am pleased with the way that it looks, however I think it needs a lot of tweaking and reshaping, because some of the type doesnt look like it flows that well with the rest of the the letters. I will keep on trying to tweak the designs, and also I think that the ‘Wrecsam’ word need not be just a stroke like. I think that both words will be better and more legible if they are solid blocks of colour, I could even insert images into the type.

21st March 2012 – Manchester Design Symposium

Today was the day of the Manchester Design Symposium. I was really excited to go to this event because it has some fantastic speakers, and I could tell that it was going to be an eventful and useful day that I could learn from. A few of us from class attended the conference, and we were looking forward to the speakers that we had heard of. I was especially looking forward to hearing Adrian Shaughnessy’s speech, because I know of him to be very insightful and experienced in the design industry. I have a copy of his book ‘How to be graphic designer without losing your soul’, and I am still reading parts of it. I have found it very useful and it has great detailed information about how to prepare yourself for the industry and some of the problems you might face as a working designer. I was also looking forward to the talk by Jason Smith from ‘Fontsmith’, Jason is a renowned type artist and has done some fantastic work.

POST 8:00PM                                                                            Design conference (reflection)

(Image rights belong to and the owner and designer of the site, I claim no right to the image)

Jason Smith – Fontsmith   (13.25)

(I do not claim the rights to this image, all rights belong to the owner and the hosting file website)

The first of the speakers to give a talk was Jason Smith of Fontsmith. I was really looking forward to Jason’s talk because it gives a good insight to those designers at the top, creating all these fonts that I use in my own designs. Jason gave a brief hello and got straight into the talk. He explained about his background in Caligraphy and designing type. But, he also explained how much the industry had moved on the last 20 or so years with the invention of the computer. I agree it must be so much easier to produce legible type on screen, especially with the capabilities of the mac, it allows us to access so much more. Jason said that he is in a fantastic place because he can add his character and passion into the fonts that he is creating. He showed us some examples of the fonts that he had created and how he achieved the concept of the design.

(Image rights belong to the photographer and owner, and the file hosting website

Fernando Mello
It was interesting to find out how a type designers comes up with ideas to designing their own font. Jason said that he sometimes used the character of certain celebrities to create the style of a certain font. He also explained that the process of creating fonts is very important, and that he works as part of team in his studio to accomplish his finished font. Jason also gave mention to a colleague of his called Fernando Mello who joined the Fontsmith team in 2008. He said that Fernando had a very important job that allowed him to create unique and complex typography, and he was very skilled and methodical in the way he produced it. Jason said he had the fantastic job of looking over artwork and making the corrections and changed that would determine the look and feel of the fonts that the team were creating. He showed some photographs on the projector screen that illustrated how Jason changed and altered his fonts in the process of construction. I can imagine its a very tedious and difficult job, producing fonts because of the different weights of letters. Each letter is unique in its character and has a unique balance of thicks, thins and decenders etc, including uppercase and lowercase. However I can imagine it is very satisfying to see your work spread across a lot of different areas in the industry.

(Image rights belong to and the designer and owner of the artwork shown in this image, I claim no rights)

Jason said that to try and keep to your style and incorperate it into your work, I think this is important because we all adapt a style in our work. I think that I am starting to create my own style. Especially this year now that I am putting a proper portfolio together. It’s a recognizable trend that gets carried through different pieces of work. I thought that Jasons talk was very enlightening, it was good to see what goes on in the life of a type designer, and a big name type designer company. I will definatly be looking at their ’10 Years in Type’ collection of books, It will be really interesting to see some more of their work.

(Image rights belong to and the designer and owner of the artwork shown in this image, I claim no rights)

Dave Kirkwood – 3hundredand65     (14:00)

I hadn’t heard of Dave Kirkwood before but as soon as I saw some of his artwork I was immediatley intreseted in what he had to say. Dave was primarily an Illustrator and had claimed some recognition for his work on the site Dave explained that he is always drawing and sketching work and he posts it up on his blog at 3hundredand65. I looked at his site and was really impressed, allows other illustrators to post up their work and comment on the blog at any time. Dave also explained that he is trying to build a graphic novel on his site in the aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust. I thought this was a wonderful cause and a fantastic way to promte charity and produce great work. Daves work was very interesting and unique, his style is abstract and clean, with interesting narrative in his drawings.

(Image rights belong to Dave Kirkwood and the site owner of, I claim no ownership of the work)

Morag Myerscough – Studio Myerscough (14.35)

(Image rights belong to the owner of this photograph, and of its content, I claim no right or ownership)

I was really interested in listening to Morag’s presentation, because I had read about her work in the program whilst I was waiting for the conference to start. Morag specializes with designing and creating visual enviroment. From when morag first started her presentation I could tell she was a wonderful character, and that is carried through into her work. Morag explained that she has always tried to challenge herself and move away from the world of Art & Design that is confined to the boundaries of 2D. Another point that Morag made was bringing narrative into the enviroment is important in expressing feeling. I was really impressed with the work that she showed on screen. Inparticular the train cafe that she designed, which consisted of a train carriage that she stripped out and gave it’s own unique design. Morag has a unique and abstract style that is hard to ignore, she combines colour and form to create powerful sculptures and imagery that provoke emotions in the observer. I was really interested in how she explained her methods of moving away from the norm and challeneging conventional style of art.

(Image rights above belong to Morag Myerscough and the photographer, and the file hosting website, I claim no ownership of any kind.)

(The 3 images above and its contents belong to Morag Myerscough, I claim no ownership of any kind)

I thought that Morag’s train project was really really good. It’s a very unqiue and abstract idea, and as she explained it brought a lot of joy to the community in the area. I think that her style is incredibly inspiring and I was really glad to have had the oppertunity to hear her talk about her work. To do things out of the normal constraints of design is really inspiring and something I think that all of us students can learn from.
Morag’s style is incredibly stylish but I think it has aspects of surrealism and cubism, the style that focuses more on pushing the boundaries of what is visual and what is physical is incredibly inspiring. Morag also said that her work runs through all aspects of her life, and I could really see why, even her style of fasion reflected her style of art. She seemed a fun and loveable character, and full of life and charisma. She also seemed a very intelligent woman, to think of concepts so complex but also so unique is really impressive, I think to myself sometimes “I wish I had the ability to think about my work in abstract and interesting way that challeneges conventional style.” I think that Morag tries to focus more on the way people react and feel when they move into a space she has created, and uses colour and form to subconciously make them feel a certain way. I think her work can soemtimes be over powering visually, but thats not necessarily a bad thing, I think to provoke emotion of any kind visually is something incredible.

(The image above and its contents belong to Morag Myerscough, I claim no ownership of any kind)

Will Hudson – It’s nice that! (15:30)

(Image rights belong to Will Hudson and the photographer, I claim no ownership of this image.)

Will Hudson is the founder and director of the London based publishing platfrom ‘It’s nice that”. He also runs a design studio in London called ‘INT Works’. The tightly knit studio work closely together to develop creative work, and have had clients such as MTV, Channel 4 and Nike. The thing that caught my attention most about Will was his mention of ‘Its nice that’, the creative online website that helps people to express their creativity. I think we lack more platforms like this because a lot of peoples work is left in portfolio cases or on peoples computers. I think that ‘It’s nice that’ allows people to show that work off and get some decent feedback from all sorts of people.

Team Gwawr Branding Update  – 22nd March 2012

Today me and Adam were going to meet Graham, the leader of the Team Gwawr project. Up to this point he has been quite a curtious client, however today he did not turn up to the CIB building to dicuss the project, and did not email us to to us that he wasn’t going to be able to make it. I thought this was quite an unprofessional result for the project, considoring he was very enthusiastic to begin with. However I think this is a good example of how to deal with problems in the industry. Adam is the one of us two working on the project who has the contact about meetings with Graham, so I told Adam to email Graham to see what went wrong. I hope he gets in contact soon, because this is a great project to work on, and I am enjoying it so far. With Graham missing the meeting, it gave me chance to restructure my logo and look at it from a new angle.
I began by simplifying the logo right down to its basic elements. For example keeping the logo green to show its ecological connections, whilst also making it bilingually friendly, and giving it a sense of motion. ‘Gwawr’ is the welsh word for ‘Dawn’ and non Welsh speakers are going to ask what it means anyway. So I thought that stripping the name down to initial letters might help simplify the logo, just like the ‘F1’ logo, but calling it ‘TG’.

Editing Gwawr logo – 24th March 2012

I began by experimenting with different concepts for the logo, and deciding wether it should be image based or type based. I think that keeping the logo type based will make it more legible, and also it ads a sense of motion with the Italic set on the font. I also began experimenting with different tones of green and yellow to try get a good balance of colour. I found that the 3rd image had a yellow that was too light, and therefore the ‘G’ was losing legibility as it was reduced in size. I also found that the movement lines were making the the ‘T’ look odd, the second stripe was interfering with the top hald of the T, and creating a step effect. Therefore I took out that stripe and simplifyed it more by using just 3 stripes. Now when the logo is reduced the legibility of the design is much more readable. I talked with Dave K today, and he said that simplyfying the logo was the best way to go, he noticed that the step between the T and stripe were looking odd, but its an easy enough mistake to fix, its really good to get feedback in this way because I can pick up on my mistakes and move my ideas forward and improve.
I thought this project was very interesting, even though Graham had let me and Adam down so far, I think if the problem isn’t resolved it would be fantastic to carry on with the branding and make it as exciting as possible. However even if I cannot take the project as far as I’d like to in terms of application of the brand, that is something that I can document in this blog, because it is experiencing the problens encountered with live clients.

Post Yourself Project – 27th March 2012

This was a project given to me this week, and the idea was to create something that could be sent to a design studio of my choice. The objective was to make contact within the industry without chosing to do it the traditional way of a laborious email or phone call. I think this was a very good idea, because with an email or a phone call you put yourself in the same place as every other designer or graduate in the country, and it’s a good way to stand out from the crowd, because the first thing they are going to see is your design skills and then the information about you.
I came up with a few ideas, such as lazer cutting out the shape of my hand, running off the idea of post ‘yourself’, and also possibly a clay mould of my foot with printed type on, running off the idea of ‘getting your foot in the door’. This is where I started making my design sheets, I will try and come up with as many ideas as possible for this project because I think it is worth while.

29th March 2012 – Wrexham Project Progress

Today I began making mock ups of my leaflets, which was very difficult because, mock ups take a lot of skill to get right. Making sure things line up properly and creating them to a high standard is very tough. Especially with standard equiptment I dont think that you can expect to get an anywhere near industry standard quality with standard equipment. However I really tried my best to push myself and get the designs as soundly mounted as possible. Printing hasn’t been an issue this year since I sorted myself out with a high quality A3 printer, It allowed me to push my ideas without the worry of lagging behind on my portfolio. I think having this at my disposal will make the run up to assessment much more smoother and less stressful.

1st April 2012 – Gwawr Progress (Independantly)

I really enjoyed this project so far, it had a lot of free reign for me to expand my abilites. Now that I can work on the project independantly I think I will try and experiment more with my ideas, and get as much out of the project as I can. I still need to apply the logo to different media, and I have already started mocking up the web pages. I wanted to keep the design of the website clean and fresh, whilst keeping the colours strong and legible with the brand itself. I want to try and apply the logo to racing helmets and also solar cars to get a feel for how it looks in production. I think that making team cards would also work very well, so when the team are at international events, each team member can wear a badge or card around there neck as an identification card, to get access to thier car.
I dont think that this project needs to be over worked because it’s just a basic part of the team, the foundation point. I think the main focus should be on what the team do and what they are trying to communicate, therefore a simple, legible brand will work really well. I will update in the coming week on progress with application.

3rd April 2012 – Post Yourself – Progress

After doing some research I found that to make the project more exciting I would have to think of something unique. I had a feedback session this week with my design tutor, and she suggested that I look at my old school reports, and possible compile some quotes from each into a piece of typography. I began looking through all my old school reports, looking for interesting and humerous quotes that best described me as a person, and showed a bit of my character. I also found some old photographs that I could use to accompany my type. The booklet would be A5 landscape format, and have a clean and stylish format, with typography in my own custom font ‘Rave’. However Rave was designed to be a heading style font because it’s so bold and large.

8th April 2012 – Font Project Reflection

I decided to create my own font because I began reading more design books, and I was influenced greatly by Non-Format and their style of design. I had never created my own font before, so I was really excited to do it. I really liked that style of work, which was bold and had an artistic impact. Initially I had no problem drawing and designing the font because it was a bold square font that only had one weight. However the problems I had were creating even curves on letters such as P, R, B etc. But, once I had created all 26 letters of the alphabet I proceeded to design all the keyboard characters and also number 0 – 9. I found the numbers most difficult to create because they had more curves and angles that were hard to judge and get right. However I felt I gave it my best go considoring it was my first attempt, and I was able to apply the font in many different and exciting ways.

10th April 2012 – Post Yourself Production

I began working on the content of my booklet today, I wanted to make each page unique and stylish, but also following the same design scheme. I think its working very well so far. I think it would be good to keep the pictures looking similar as possible so they fit in the with the design. I had the idea of making the photos of myself black and white, and keeping the main colour scheme green and grey. But, then because the photos are on their own page, tie them into the design with a small graphic or piece of type. I wanted to keep all the photos a similar size and in the same grid on each page, I think its working very well so far, I’ll keep posted on progress.

13th April 2012 – Wrexham progress

Today I began producing the website mock ups for the Wrexham website. The original website was so standard and typical of the Wrexham brand I was excited to get started on it. I felt that the website needed a lot less information on it, and it needed to be simplified. Therefore I decided to carry through the brand into the webpages and use the colour stripes from the brand integrate the images into the language page and the home page. Originally I used a white background but I found that the colours were much stronger against black:

 15th April 2012 – Mocking up Wrexham Leaflets

This was the most difficult mock up for me to do because I needed the leaflets to fold in a certain direction so I could see the type properly. I also had difficulty because I wasn’t sure how to structure duplex printing, which meant I had to print back to back. But, also I had to place a cardboard spine inbetween the 2 pieces because it was a bit flimsy. Combining these 3 elements was quite difficult, however with some Photshop editing I managed to get some nice shots of the leaflet itself.

17th April 2012                               Wrexham – The brand guidelines

Today Matt had a look at my currant work for Wrexham, and he couldn’t under stand which logo worked for which aspect of Wrexham. Therefore he suggested a I produce a brand guidelines booklet for each logo. I thought this would be really good because I hadn’t done it before, it gave me a chance to cover more of the brand itself.

21st April 2012                                Wrexham – Brand Guidelines Booklets

Over the weekend I managed to design my booklets, the content was really easy to produce, because I just made a checklist of content to put in each booklet, and then went along with designing them in Indesign. Overall I was really happy with the design, but, again the mocking up was the most difficult of all to do. Using conventional method of adhesive to mount my pages back to back. However I think that this has improved my photoshop skills, because I have learned how to adjust hues and workin secondary colours to help compliment my photographs and my designs. This set off a chain reaction in my other portfolio photographs since, and it has allowed me to produce brighter more striking images.

25th April 2012 – True Protection polishing

Today I took another look back at my True Protection branding and decided to redesign my letter head and produce a business card to finish the project. I found that the original letter head I had produced was way too illegible, because the font I had used, Baskerville, was getting lost against the black, and I needed it strong and legible as possible.

I found that keeping the colour scheme a lot softer on the letterhead and sleaker on the business card, I could reduce the amount of heavy black used in the designs, which I thought was over powering the designs.

10th May 2012 – Mocking up Gwawr Website

This was relativley simple after I had produced the logo, because when I produce the logo I also create a common element which I can carry through into my brand. In this case I used a horizontal bar, which I have carried through into the designs for a business card and letterhead.
I think these elements work better the more simple they are, because they are instantly recognizable as belonging to that specific brand. For example these elements could consist of colours, patterns or symbols that accompany the logo, and I think this also builds a strong base for a strong identity.

This is how the website could, I must point out however that the images used are simply for educational purposes, and used as a mock up to show a client (work experience) how the website COULD look. None of these image would be used in production. I claim no image rights or making any money off these liscenced images.

13th May 2012 – Team Gwawr applied to stationary

This was the first design I produced for the Gwawr letterhead. I didn’t Like it initially, because it was simply the logo repeated. But, I like how it has a sense of speed and movement about it. I think there needs to be some common element that is unrelated to the logo but, corresponds to the brand.

The next idea I had was carrying through the stripe effect from the website. But, as much as I liked it subtly on the website, I just dont think it works on the letterhead, because the base bar is much to thick and heavy and it overloads the design. I also found that the print caused the stripes to fade out and they wern’t very visable, this is another reason it should be changed, however I will keep adjusting my designs.

15th May 2012 – Post Yourself Designs

Today I was experimenting with layout, and I was looking at ways to make the layout of the booklet look less clinical and polished. I had feedback off my tutor today and she said that make the layout more visually exciting would help elevate the designs. Heres what I came up with:

I used different variations of design to try and make the designs look as visually exciting as possible. I think this will really capture the attention of design studios when I have the booklet produced.

15th May 2012 – Gwawr Stationary Update

Today I began applying my new designs for the brand to print and seeing what they’d look like photographed. I much prefer to photograph my stationary because you can get some nice perspective and depth of field with the lense that you cannot get on screen.

I think that these angled strokes work much better and accompany the design much more strongly. I also edited the images in Photoshop, and experimented with different background colours that would compliment the green. I think it works really well, the colours stand out strong and accompany the logo very strongly. I tried to be subtle with the business card because there was so much information that I needed to include. However I think the grey supporting type accompanies the ‘design itself’ very well, and the flow of information reads correctly, I’m sure Graham will be very interested in these.

18th May 2012 – Update with Graham (Team Gwawr)

Today me and Adam were working in the creative industries building and we had a suprise visit from Graham. He didn’t explain why he missed the last appointment, but non the less he seemed interested and wanted to see the progress of our work. I didn’t think this was very professional but It was good to finally get some feedback. Both Adam and myself showed Graham our work, and he was very pleased with the progress, but, he explained that he wasn’t able to make the final decision and it would have to be shown to the team leaders. Therefore Graham suggested that me and Adam send him a link in an email of our portfolio websites so that his team could view the work.

19th May 2012Post Yourself – Design Update

I was pleased with the progress so far on this project, the designs were coming together really well, I even bought some high quality satin paper to print the booklet onto. However I am bit apprehensive about mocking up the booklet because I am terrible at getting final pieces right using conventional equipment. It would have been good to use the professional binder at the CI building but there isn’t a lot of time left before assessment, and also with finishing other big projects. I would also have to rework the whole design layout if it meant that the pages are joined a certain way, because each page wouldnt be bound as a double page spread, spread 1 would form part of the 1st page and part of the back page. However if I had more time I feel I would have addressed this problem more thouroughly. However on a positive note the booklet is almost done, I also had the strong idea of creating a little pocket on the back page to include my business card. I am really looking forward to see how the booklet looks printed.

21st May 2012 – POST – Emailing Graham (Team Gwawr)

Today I managed to update my Team Gwawr work and email the link of my personal website to Graham of Team Gwawr, I’m looking forward to his teams feedback.

22nd May 2012 – Business Cards

Recently I had been struggling with a concept for my final business card, and then I put it off for a while whilst I began to finish my website, But today I managed to finish and send off my final design to

This was a fantastic site, it had everything I needed in order to get some nice quality business cards. I chose the Luxe quality to print because I thought it was well worth it for the price. The luxe quality cards were heavy weight with the added coloured edges. I thought this would accompany my designs really well.

I wanted to keep the design as simple and clean as possible without having an over cluttered design. I really liked the colours though and how the space worked with the logo. The white space compliments the design really well, and I can’t wait to see how the business cards look in luxe quality. I will have them delivered in time for the final show so I could send them out. I was looking into getting the logo foil blocked, but it was very expensive, and I didn’t want to over do the business card too much with too many fancy effects. I think the luxe quality will be enough to make my design stand out well and sell my portfolio.

23rd May 2012 – Mocking up the Post Yourself Booklet

Now this was a terribly difficult thing to do because of the weight of the paper. I wanted to get the visual of the booklet looking as close to finalised as possible. However the Satin paper was very difficult to fold and compile with a conventional adhesive. I thought that using a typical ring binder or staples would be too convetional. Besides with the way that the booklet was designed, I wouldnt have been able to staple the booklet. I managed to take some interesting visuals that I was able to edit in Photoshop of the final mock-up.


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