Tuesday, 9 December 2008

2 minutes of fame

Another couple of weeks gone by and here I am again. Things have been pretty eventful but the stress is gone now we have the internet at home again, thank god! (Or would that be 02?)

Last Tuesday we had our first mini-assignment, which I thought went pretty well considering it was my first one. I finished with time to ask Steve for feedback, act on it, and still allow for any problems that may occur when it came to printing. Overall I was pretty pleased with my progress.

This week we had another one to do which again I thought went well. One area I definitely need to improve on is my ideas generation though. It’s still taking longer than it should for me to develop my ideas and draw the final design.

We’ve also had to suffer something Steve’s been threatening us with from the start. Group by group we were called to the front, and with a queasy stomach and thumping heart I went to my doom. Yes, we had to give our first presentation. Although since it was a group effort and the maximum amount of time given was 10 minutes, we actually only had to talk for around 2 minutes each. So it wasn’t too bad.

I think I need to work on my typographic knowledge. I’m getting better at recognising typefaces but without some of Steve’s hints I wouldn’t have done as well as I did on this morning’s test. I’ve been playing the font game but the fact that it’s multiple choice makes it easier than what we can expect in a few weeks time.

On the whole I’m feeling pretty good about things at the minute, and I’m looking forward to Christmas and my 21st and the New Year. Bring on 2009!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Still Getting There

To say I was looking forward to some creative work, today’s activity (ideas generation) left me feeling frustrated and slightly out of my depth.

Thumbnailing was ok, but I started to have doubts developing them, feeling a bit lost as to what measurements to state. Then it came to the final design and everything seemed to go wrong.

I would consider myself to be good at maths but I struggled somewhat to work out the measurements. Then when I thought I’d worked it out I began to draw the page, only to realise I’d mixed up the measurements for the gutter with the margins! I’m definitely going to have to go back to it in self study time and work through it again.

Writing this blog now, the frustration’s already ebbing away and I know I will perfect this skill in time. And despite my initial misgivings, it was good to finally start some creative work.

As for A4 and A3, I feel confident so far. I’m not worried about the typography test either. While I don’t feel ready to undertake it yet I know I will be prepared when the time comes. Nor am I worried about the mini-assignments we will have to do for A4, the first of which is due next week.

I just hope I get the internet back soon since we’re still not connected at home. I’m slightly worried if it doesn’t get sorted I’ll fall behind, but at least I’ve found a nearby pub with wi-fi where I can take the MacBook to get my work done.

I have to say overall I’m still confident in my studies and still feel I’m on the right path to becoming a web designer. It will be a long journey but I’ll get there in the end.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Meanwhile, out in the real world...

Yesterday we were fortunate enough to meet Dave Pannell and Craig Burgess, who talked to us about Dave’s company The Design Mechanics. It was really interesting to hear how Dave handles design as a business, and he stressed the importance of remembering to treat it as such. I felt this was a really important point because at the end of the day it is a business just like any other, and simply being creative isn’t enough.

It also gave me an idea of the kind of timescales you have to work in, something which it sounds like we’ll be getting a lot of experience on in the upcoming weeks.

Interesting as well was how the recession is affecting the business, and how they are dealing with it. I thought they would be struggling so I was surprised to hear that they are actually swamped with work, though from the talk I can now see why.

Another highlight for me was Dave’s experience of running a business. I have given some thought to eventually starting my own business, though I was planning on working for a company first and saving up. However, after hearing the problems Dave has had in the past I may well just stick to working for a company.

I think I will really benefit from what was said about handling clients too, especially when I actually get out into the working world. Craig’s advice about finding freelance work and starting to make a name for yourself whilst studying was also really helpful.

Looking at some examples of the kind of design work produced was also interesting and inspirational.

Overall I really enjoyed the talk, and would certainly be interested in working for Dave after this course. So to finish I’d just like to say thanks again guys.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Copperplate Gothic

Copperplate Gothic was originally designed in 1901 by Frederic W. Goudy for America Type Founders (ATF)1. Its name comes from the technique copperplate engraving, which was popular for reproducing illustrated material between 1530 and the 1800’s2. An unusual combination of influences can be seen within this typeface: the glyphic serifs come from stone carving, while the wide horizontal axis is similar to that of Victorian display types3.

This Linotype font family (now bundled into most Macs and PCs4) has 9 different styles5, all of which can be seen below. There is no true lowercase for this font – simply capitals and smaller capitals. That is to say this is an all-capital font, where the AB and BC in the name of each style refers to the relative sizes of the capitals and small capitals1.

5Samples of the 9 different styles of Copperplate Gothic:

Copperplate Gothic Twenty-Nine AB

Copperplate Gothic Twenty-Nine BC

Copperplate Gothic Thirty AB

Copperplate Gothic Thirty BC

Copperplate Gothic Thirty-One AB

Copperplate Gothic Thirty-One BC

Copperplate Gothic Thirty-Two AB

Copperplate Gothic Thirty-Two BC

Copperplate Gothic Thirty-Three BC

It was originally intended to be used in stationary and society printing, but is now used in a wide range of commercial printing1. At first the font appears to be a sans serif font, though each character actually has a tiny, pointy serif which gives it a more distinctive feel. This makes it a very popular choice for use on business cards2. It is also often used for the frosted glass lettering on office doors (typically those of lawyers and private investigators) and in advertisement1.

Some examples of commercial use of Copperplate Gothic:

Remembrandt logo and packaging
Opening credits for the film Panic Room
Screenshot from the film Ratatouille
Poster for the film Seabiscuit
Business card belonging to the character Paul Allen in American Psycho


1. http://www.adobe.com/
2. http://www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/family.aspx?FID=40
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copperplate_Gothic
4. http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/archives/003819.html
5. http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/copperplate-gothic/

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

HND in Stress

While it’s good to know A2 is out of the way, my stress levels have yet to drop. What with the move coming up on Friday and wondering if I made any mistakes with the assignment, I’m still stressed.

It was bad enough thinking it was all ready to be handed in Monday, only to find out I’d named my documents wrongly on the disc! I was able to burn off another disc after college, though it was a different brand than before (one yet to be tested on college computers) and the successful burn still left me feeling uneasy.

However, the disc worked fine when I tested it this morning and, to my knowledge, everything is now exactly as Steve asked for it so I’m fairly confident I’ll pass. Still, can’t help wondering if there is something I’ve missed and whether I really have passed or not.

Collecting inspiration for SketchBlog is proving harder than I thought too. Steve said he wanted us to be ‘diverse’ which I’m trying to achieve, but it makes it much more of a challenge. Annotating inspiration is also tough. Sometimes it’s difficult to put into words exactly what you like about something, and I would consider myself to be pretty good with words! But I’m sure this will come easier with time.

So now I’m looking forward to half term, when I can settle into the new house and relax. No doubt I’ll be feeling much better by the time I come back to college. I think a week’s break is exactly what I need and I’ll be back feeling refreshed and ready for the weeks ahead.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Awakening

Well, where to start? It’s been a bigger step than anticipated from college to HE. When Steve originally told us how imminent the first assignment was my stress levels were already rising. We’re just in the process of moving house so the timing of everything didn’t look good. However, now work’s begun on the assignment and I’m keeping up-to-date, I feel much more confident.

I must say there is a lot more group work than expected too. Steve mentioned ‘comfort zones’ and I think it’s fair to say I’m out of mine. I’ve always been something of a lone wolf, preferring to keep mostly to myself, so all this group work has been a bit daunting. I feel I’m settling in now though.

Today’s seminar group also deserves a mention. One inspirational piece was deemed inappropriate as assessable work (sorry again Steve), but I honestly thought I’d get away with it as artwork. I was a bit disappointed to be told it had to be removed; I mean I was looking for something unusual to include in there and it doesn’t get any more unusual than said piece. Still, I’ve learned my lesson and know not to include anything like it in future.

Something else I’m finding is just how long a day nine while six actually is! At first I found it hard to stay focused towards the end, but now it’s becoming routine I’m adjusting.

I could go on, but at 250 words I better leave it there.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Where I've Come From; Where I Am Now; Where I'm Going

I have just started the HND in Interactive Media at Wakefield.

My education started in Pontefract, at Lark's Hill Junior and Infant School. After passing my SAT's with flying colours I went on to study at The King's High School, also in Pontefract - which I hated with a passion. Not that I didn't hate junior school, but high school was even worse. Still, I survived it and enrolled at Wakefield College.

I have studied two courses at Wakefield College prior to this one, although my first was actually a BTEC National Diploma in Animal Management. A bit different to IT, but I'd always wanted to work with animals.

When I say I studied at Wakefield College that's not completely true: the course was actually run by Askham Bryan College in York, and we were required to study at both colleges. In the first year we studied mostly at Wakefield College; in the second year we studied mostly at Askham Bryan.

Askham Bryan is an agricultural college and has a far bigger animal unit than Wakfield College, meaning we got to work with a range of animals. The course was fun and gave me a unique opportunity to get up-close to some zoo animals because of Askham Bryan's partnership with Flamingo Land. However, having successfully completed the course, I decided animal work wasn't for me. That was mostly because it isn't well paid enough.

This meant I needed to rethink my career options and I decided computers were the way forward. Therefore, I enrolled on the GCE in Applied ICT. During the course Steve Smith came to do a presentation about the HND in Interactive Media and this prompted me to enrol on the course, bringing me to this point in my education.

I'm hoping this is the final stage of my education and the HND will lead to employment as a web designer.