Thursday, 19 November 2009

Stress Free

The second year is well underway and so far I’ve found it a lot less stressful than the first. I’ve passed the first two assignments which is a relief, particularly as I was worried about the SMLP and having to learn a scripting language on my own. I’ve also met deadlines without having to stay up half the night to get everything done which is an improvement on last time round.

I’m currently working on A10 which is all about the reverse design process (designing for an unknown product) and A11 which is about Wordpress.

As with the SMLP, I had doubts about A10 as my creativity is often lacking and thought I’d struggle to fill page after page with designs. However this has not been the case. While there have been some dry spells, I’ve successfully managed to produce some 20 pages of varied ideas which should be ample to choose from when we’re given a product. I handed this in a week early as I will be away for two weeks and miss the official deadline, but even with doing the extra work to make up for missing a week I didn’t find this exercise nearly as stressful as I thought I might.

A11 is also going fairly well so far. I’ve just about got the basic structure of my site and now all I need is to get my head round templates and such in Wordpress. I’ll be concentrating more on A11 this week as I devoted last week to A10 and I’m confident I can pull ahead with this as well to give myself less work to do when I come back.

So in summary the second year seems to be running a lot smoother for me than the first and hopefully this will continue throughout.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Interview Questions

1. Do you work better on your own or in a group?

Most web design jobs that I have looked at require the candidate to work with their existing design team. Employers will be looking for candidates with good people skills who work well with others. Even if there is no group work as such, they will need to deal with people at some point. The answer to this question should give an indication as to whether they are good with people or not.

2. How do you feel about accessibility, is it something you strive for in your work?

Websites need to be accessible so that everyone can view them, regardless of any disabilities. Clients should be looking for this as it gains them more custom and so candidates who are not interested in making accessible sites or have no knowledge on the subject are not desirable.

3. List 3 ways to make content more accessible to visually impaired users

The candidate needs to know how to make websites more accessible as well as the importance of this. In answering the previous question they could also be making out they create websites with accessibility in mind but in reality they don’t give it much thought. If they can answer this question correctly it proves they do care about accessibility.

4. How do you spend your spare time?

Employers will be looking for candidates who keep up to date on the latest technologies within the industry. Candidates should spend some of their spare time researching new technology. The answer to this question should also give an insight into how interested the candidate is in the industry.

5. Tell me some news relating to the industry, such as a new version of CSS and what it’s features are going to be.

As with the above question, web designers need to keep up to date. This would show the employer that the candidate does keep up to date, regardless of how they answered the previous question because as with accessibility, they could just be telling the interviewer what they want to hear. Answering this correctly proves they do actually keep up to date.

6. Which browser would you design for?

A website’s no good if it doesn’t display or function properly across browsers. The candidate should know this and how to fix problems in other browsers.

7. Do you validate your XHTML and CSS? Why is this important?

The candidate should be used to validating their code and should know why this is important. Employers will be looking for candidates who can produce valid code.

8. How would your friends describe you?

This should give an insight into the candidate’s personality and if they do need to fit in with a current design team, it should give the employer a feel for if they will actually fit in or not. And as with the group question, it should also give an insight into whether the candidate is good with people or not.

Friday, 23 October 2009

SMLP Grade

I feel I have achieved a Pass for the SMLP as I did everything I said I would do when writing my own Pass criteria.

My first learning objective was to investigate the uses of PHP and MySQL in the interactive media industry and to do this I said I would contact people in the industry and provide evidence of a forum thread discussing the uses and/or evidence of emails. I didn't send out any emails in the end which I could have done for a higher mark but I did start a forum thread and send out PM's asking people to contribute, thus meeting the objective.

The second learning objective was to learn how to put PHP and MySQL into practice to fulfil a simple interactive media brief. To do this I said I would use my resources and record evidence skills I learnt every week in a blog. I set up a separate blog for the SMLP and posted weekly updates on the skills I had covered in online tutorials and from reading my book, thereby meeting this criteria.

I said I would use these new skills to build a simple website that meets the creative brief I would be writing for the third learning objective, which was to fulfil the requirements of a simple interactive media brief using PHP and MySQL. The creative brief I wrote was for a fictitious local business selling pet products. They wanted a website to generate more custom but wanted this to be kept small as they couldn't afford a huge commerce site. They also wanted orders placed through an order form rather than a shopping cart.

Therefore I designed a website with only 5 pages to keep it small which covered a pet's basic needs. To keep it small I kept the current number of products to a minimum but the client would be able to add to these if the business grew.

In the brief I also said the site should use standards compliant XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 2.1 which it did. I also said it should use PHP 5.3.0 and MySQL 5.4 which it also did.

The website is fully functional and displays correctly across browsers. The form sends orders to the MySQL database I set up, and thus again meets the criteria.

For the final learning objective I said I would evaluate use of the self-managed learning plan and the final product. To do this I said I would write bi-weekly evaluative journal posts of around 250-300 words and a summative journal post of 1000 words at the end of the project. I only wrote one evaluative journal post but this was 2 weeks into the project, and 2 weeks later was the week of submission so I wrote the summative journal post. This still met the objective I had set myself, and as no real problems arose during the SMLP I don't think there was any need for any more than this. The two evaluative posts I wrote were indepth and gave a clear indication of how I progressed through the SMLP. So again this met the Pass criteria I set myself.

I don't feel I met all the extended criteria. For M1 'relevant theories and techniques have been applied' which 'you demonstrate a thorough understanding of the assignment's theoretical principles, and successfully apply them to your work'. I said in my SMLP the first learning objective would cover this, but as I only got 2 replies on the forum thread and I never emailed any other people in industry outside the forum I don't feel this is of a Merit standard.

M2 states that the 'appropriate structure and approach has been used'. To do this 'effectively use a range of devices that monitor progress of the assignment'. I think I did meet this criteria through my journal posts and the timesheet I devised to show the time I put into it.

The website would be used to assess M3 - 'complex problems with more than one variable have been explored'. The website was not particuarly complex and therefore not of Merit standard. Furthermore, M3 states 'your investigations into the creative and/or technical potential of the assignment produce near-professional solutions'. I don't feel the website was creative enough to meet the Merit criteria.

D1 would be covered by the summative journal post, although I don't feel I 'clearly' identified 'strengths and weaknesses' this time round.

I feel I did meet D2 as this states 'autonomy/independance has been demonstrated' which it was since I learnt PHP without any help, proven through the weekly blog posts that show the new skills learnt each week.

And finally D3 states that 'innovation and creative thought has been applied'. Since I don't feel the creativity was of a Merit standard, it certainly isn't to a Distinction.

In summary, I did everything I said I would do in the SMLP and I feel I did this to a Pass level so I have awarded myself a Pass.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Preparation for Employment

Hours: 5 DAYS 9AM - 5:30PM
Wage: £14,000 - £16,000 PER ANNUM
Work Pattern: Days
Closing Date: 12/10/2009
Pension: No details held


The position is ideal for a University graduate looking to kick start their career in web design with opportunities of working their way up within the company. We are seeking an enthusiastic,motivated,creative hard working individual to work with our current design team. The role will include the day to day management, maintenance & design of our ever expanding portfolio of web sites and involvement in our email marketing program. Experience using Adobe Photoshop & Dreamweaver are a must along with XHTML & CSS. Knowledge of Flash would be an advantage. No work experience necessary but strong knowledge of the above applications a must.

Original advert can be found on:

I have chosen this job advert because it is one I feel I could apply for upon finishing the HND. No prior experience in the industry is required (something that I noticed a lot of employers wanted) making it ideal for someone just coming out of education.

The only experience desired is with Photoshop, Dreamweaver, XHTML and CSS, all of which I have used throughout this course. Knowldege of Flash is considered an advantage for this particular role but is not listed as essential, and I have used Flash on a previous course so it would not be completely new to me.

I have had some problems with XHTML and CSS whilst on this course, but I feel I’ve already improved and my skill as a coder would now be sufficient for this job.

Other skills they list are enthusiastic, motivated, creative and hard working, all of which I believe apply to myself. As I’ve said before, I do need to work on my creativity when it comes to designing (as I believe my creative talents lie more in writing) but in spite of this I still feel that I am a creative individual, and with time I can bring this out visually as well as through my creative writing.

If I were to apply for a job such as this after the course, I would mostly concentrate on my creativity in preparation. I think the other skills they list have always applied to me, and the practical skills I have learnt through the course.

In terms of my creativity, I think to improve I need to be looking for more inspiration, enabling me to produce more creative designs and build up a better portfolio to show to employers.

The advert also states that I would be working with their current design team. While I may not come across as very sociable at college, this is down to some things going on in my personal life at present. However, I feel it would not be a problem when I am ready to go into the working world.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t find it particularly difficult to work as part of a team, and my time management (in terms of meeting deadlines) is excellent meaning I would not let the team down and would be quite capable of sharing the workload. I also think I have good people skills which have been improved through my part-time job as a checkout operator at Asda, where I have been nominated for the ‘Above and Beyond the Call of Duty’ (ABCD) award on several occassions for good and friendly service.

If I improve on my creativity I think I’d stand a good chance of getting this job.

Therefore, to summarise, I will work on improving my creativity to a more professional standard by looking for more inspiration in preparation for employment in a similar role. I will also ensure my skills at XHTML and CSS are also of a professional standard through lots more practice.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Back For More

The summer’s flown by and the second year’s already begun. Looking back at how I was feeling at the end of the first year and the targets I set myself, these haven’t really changed. At this point in time I’m no longer sure how realistic the target of achieving three Merits and one Distinction really is, given that this year will be a lot tougher than the first. There’s also some major things happening in my personal life which may affect this particular target.

However, the other targets still stand. I intend to work on my creativity as well as the coding side of things and hopefully improve both areas. Though if I’m honest I didn’t spend time on either over the Summer as originally planned, which means I’ll need to work harder through assignments if I’m to improve.

I also still feel that my time management could be better, not so much in the sense of leaving things till the last minute but more in the amount of time I allow for certain tasks. Some parts of the first year assignments (such as the presentation for A6) I spent far too long on and consequently ran out of time at the end, which meant late nights before submission and a rush to get everything done.

I was a bit worried when I saw that the SMLP was our first assignment this year, thinking it may be the most difficult for me. However, I’m trying to stay positive and I feel I’m already off to a good start, having completed my plan and creative brief. It sounds like this year will be a lot harder but I’m ready for the challenge.

Monday, 14 September 2009

SMLP Resource List

PHP 5 Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach by Lee Babin, Nathan A. Good, Frank M. Kromann and Jon Stephens

This book provides solutions for the common problems coders are likely to face when using PHP. It covers all the major topics required to learn PHP, such as arrays, and variables and functions. It also covers MySQL. This book has received numerous good reviews from people who have bought it and is by all accounts a good companion for beginners.

This is the definitive source for PHP and has lots of information on the language, as well as many useful links to other sources for PHP. It also has some related links like MySQL and Apache which again could prove useful. There is an FAQ section which could provide answers to any problems I may have when I start learning PHP, and there are also mailing lists which I could subscribe to if I need further help and support. This will also be the best place to start for any news on PHP and to download the latest version.

This site has lots of tutorials starting from basic to more advanced PHP code, as well as tutorials on MySQL.

As the name would suggest, this is another site with tutorials on PHP for beginners. It starts with an introduction to PHP and how to create your first PHP page and then works its way through the various functions of PHP.

The PHP section of this site covers the basics of PHP and explains variables, etc. in layman’s terms which could be extremely helpful for a beginner such as myself, particularly when coding is not one of my stronger points.

Tizag has numerous PHP and MySQL tutorials as well as a forum and their own store with more books.


This site has many useful features, such as PHP source code, tutorials, articles, links to books, downloads and online manuals.

Not only does this site have a PHP Blog/News section and various tutorials, it also has free online video tutorials. This will provide a different way to learn PHP than from articles and books and may help greater my understanding of PHP. It also covers MySQL.

This is another site with numerous tutorials which cover PHP and MySQL.


This site has tutorials, blogs, a news section and a forum which I could sign up to if I need more help and support whilst learning PHP.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Self Managed Learning Plan: PHP

For my SMLP I have chosen to learn the scripting language PHP. This will allow me to create dynamic web pages which could enhance some designs. With knowledge of PHP I will be able to add a search feature on my web pages, something I find really useful on large websites in finding the information I want quicker than nagivating my way around the site. I feel that this alone will make my designs more appealing to clients (and in turn their customers who visit the site).

To further justify my choice I have used various different job sites to search for jobs within the web design industry and the skills and qualifications required by various employers. I found that PHP was listed by most employers, and I therefore believe that being able to use the language is a must within the industry. It will certainly add to my employability, and as mentioned above should allow me to enhance some designs, which will help build a better client base.

PHP is also supposed to be fairly easy to learn, which is something that is important to consider for myself, as the coding side of things is not my strong point. Learning material and tutorials also seem to be plentiful on the Internet, which will aid me in my study of this language.

I will also need to learn MySQL alongside PHP as the two work in conjunction with each other. This should also add to my employability as it was also listed as a key skill by employers (which is to be expected when the two languages work together).

In summary, I feel PHP is a good choice for my SMLP because:
  • It will allow me to create dynamic web pages
  • This language seems to be deemed as a key skill by most employers
  • It shouldn’t be too hard to learn
  • There are numerous tutorials on the Internet to help me learn this language
  • It works in conjunction with MySQL, another language deemed as a key skill by employers

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Past Mistakes

As the end of the first year draws to a close I’m feeling mostly satisfied with my progression through the course so far, though there’s room for improvement. I’m also relieved that all the assignments are done with for now, after all the work and late nights I’ve had to put in recently.

Looking back over my other entries and remembering how I felt at the start of the year, it seems like ages ago. In my very first post I said I was hoping this would be the final stage of my education before employment and I still feel the same. 

After 4 years of FE and a year of HE (not to mention another year to come) I’m ready to get a job. While I’m motivated and will continue to do the best I can and put all my effort into assignments, I grow tired of forever doing coursework. I’m just looking forward to employment now when at least I’ll get paid for all the work!

As noted in the second post, the step from FE to HE was bigger than anticipated but I feel I’m working at the level required, though I can push myself to do better. At the time I was struggling to annotate inspirational pieces, something that came much easier as the weeks went by. Word counts were frustrating at first and while at times I felt they were ridiculously low for the level of detail I thought was needed, I’ve adjusted to them. However, sometimes it can take a while to edit a piece of work down to the word count, which still leads to frustration.

A2: A Journey of 1000 Miles... was probably the easiest assignment for me, and it’s a shame we weren’t given the chance to achieve anything higher than a Pass as I feel I could have at least got a Merit for that one. Still, it was a good assignment to ease us into the course and it was probably the least stressful one, even with the move and everything else that was happening at the time. Achieving a straight Pass was also a major confidence booster.

A3: Sounds Like a Plan could’ve been considerably less stressful if my time management had been better, as noted at the time. Having no internet connection at home didn’t help matters, but I could have done more earlier on in the assignment to avoid working over Christmas.

I was also struggling to meet my 16 hours a week throughout Semester One, which I’ve also learnt from. Had I pushed myself to do a bit more each week there’d have been no late nights.

A4: Typecast went smoothly for the most part, though there was some stress meeting some of the shorter mini-deadlines. This was mostly because the ideas generation took so long, but I feel I’ve improved on this and now take a little less time to get my ideas down.

A5: Builder was one of the more difficult assignments for me, as it took a while to get my head round some of the code. I intend to practice on XHTML and CSS over the Summer break and am confident I will soon be able to build websites with ease. I got there in the end, with a little help from John, and still achieved a Pass.

A6: The Big Picture was probably the most stressful assignment. Everything was just so time consuming and I underestimated how long everything would take. I think I’m still recovering from this one, hence why I’m looking forward to the Summer break so much. I was determined not to make the same mistakes as for A3 so I pushed myself to get as much done possible each week, but even so I still struggled towards the end.

However, the fact that I managed to do so much every week perhaps highlights how I’ve progressed over the months. At school I used to get straight on with my homework and would typically not take a break until it was finished.

When it came to the first year of college I started to slip and became lazy, leaving work until the last minute and not putting as much effort in (which cost me some higher grades on the animal course).

On the GCE I was much the same and, again, my grades suffered. It wasn’t until Semester Two of the HND that I got out of this habit and really started to get on with work again. It was with the start of A6 that I began doing the 16 hours a week or more.

I think my main problem with A6 was spending too long on some tasks (such as the presentation), and not starting the other tasks sooner. This is something I will try and be more aware of in future.

A7: Rasterised I’ve mostly enjoyed, and it’s been good to have some time to myself for the duration of this one. Towards the end I had to put a lot of hours in though, especially as A1: SketchBlog was also due in the same day. This meant ensuring my sketchbook was complete. The holding page also took a lot of time to code and I still need to practice this. The last two weeks were stressful and I’m relieved to have handed it in, and confident that I’ll at least achieve a Pass.

So, I will take from this year the knowledge that I’m on the right tracks, as I’ve passed every assignment. However, I know I can achieve better grades and next year I’m going to really try harder to pull these up to Merits and possibly Distinctions.

I’ll also try to manage my time better and set some time aside for myself as well as work. I’m thinking of taking some leave off work which will leave me free to concentrate on my studies and thus allow me to get a more challenging job in my chosen industry.

I also think my level of creativity could still improve so I’ll spend some time over the Summer working on this. I intend to look for more inspiration and become more creative in my own designs.

Next year I want to learn more code, despite a few difficulties this year. I’m thinking I would like to learn JavaScript at this point in time, as it would be useful to allow me to build better sites.

Action Plan:

Better time management
Higher grades: 4 Passes, 3 Merits and at least one Distinction
Be more creative
Better developer

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Time's Mooving On

We are well underway with A7 and I have to say that for me it's gone a lot smoother than the last two assignments. I'm nearly there with this one and I'm confident I can get everything finished well before the deadline to allow plenty of time for any last minute changes and avoid more late nights!

In fact I think the hardest task was listening to the music! Otherwise I've quite enjoyed A7, and I'm just glad things haven't taken nearly as much time as they were doing for A6. It's been considerably less stressful and I've had time for me as well as work.

However, there was some stress involved last week when Steve told us he wanted to see all the CD artwork in Seminar the next day. At first I thought I would never have it done in time, but as it turned out I finished well ahead of the deadline - much to my relief.

I have to say I was also somewhat disappointed at the client's feedback after pitching my logo ideas, and was left with two designs to develop over the Easter holidays. Typically I came up with a better idea almost straight after the meeting, and was disappointed when Steve said to stick to the two the client had requested; though I can see his point. However I'm happy with the finished result.

I'm also pleased with my CD artwork. It's being sent to Moo for print as I write, and I'm hoping it will look good on the postcards when it comes back.

And so as the end of the first year draws near I'm pleased with my progress and looking forward to the second year; although I'm ready for the Summer break first!

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

All Work and No Play

It's been a while since my last post and a lot's happened. With the completion of A5 and A6 there comes relief, but also some disappointment.

I thought I’d enjoy A6, which I did in a sense but due to the sheer workload there was stress too. I feel as if I’ve been doing nothing but work and coursework throughout the duration of the last two assignments. I even had to miss things I’d usually watch on TV because there wasn't enough time in the week for anything but coursework, and it still wasn't enough time in the end!

As the deadline drew closer panic set in when I realised just how much still needed doing, and everything was taking forever. The most frustrating thing about this was that I hadn't left everything until the last minute like last time, and I had to work all through the night on the Sunday just before deadline as it needed to be mostly done before making the trek to Wakefield on Monday. Yet still I struggled to complete it; I even forked out for a taxi to Pontefract just to give myself two extra hours. And I was still forced to finish at college!

With all the work and effort I put in I was hoping for higher marks, so I’m slightly disappointed, but I'm relieved at the same time that I passed. My creativity still isn't up to scratch so I need to work on this.

As for A5, I had some trouble with CSS so I need to work on this too, but I'm glad I passed first time.

And now work’s begun on A7 I'm going to try and give more thought to things such as the PARC principles in my designs and hopefully get up to a merit.

Friday, 20 March 2009

A7: Promotional Review

Signal’s Robotron is quite unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. I think it could be classed as Intelligent Dance Music (IDM), as well as psychedelic and experimental electronic.

Robotron puts me in mind of, as the name suggests, robots and machines. Each song has a beat to it with other noises in the background at different levels, underlying the beat. Some of these make me think of a machine or robot carrying out its commands, while others make me think of a signal being sent out – much like the band ‘Signal’.

There are few pauses in this album from start to finish, which I think fits really well with the robotic theme because, like a machine, it never pauses until it’s shut down. The brief pauses that do occur at the end of certain songs indicate to me either the end of the signal or the machine/robot carrying out its last command and awaiting a new one. Some are also quite sudden as if someone pulled the plug, or shut the robot/machine down before it could finish its task.

The introduction sets the theme, sounding almost like static in parts and almost like a helicopter in others. This quickly runs into Ermafa which at first made me think of a machine starting up, or perhaps this has already occurred in the introduction and now the machine/robot is carrying out its function.

The repetitive nature of most of the songs fits perfectly with this theme of a machine, as they carry out the same tasks repeatedly until they either finish or get switched off. Ermafa is no exception to this.

Naplafa has more than one robotic noise going on which repeat throughout, like a machine performing different tasks simultaneously.

Robotron, Malimo and Wismut all put me in mind of a signal being sent out through my speakers, almost like morse code. There is a lot of static present here which fits with the signal theme. The static fades out at the end of Wismut and the machine (or signal) continues into Rawema.

The sudden end to Rawema could indicate either the end of the signal, or the machine being shut down before it could finish, as mentioned previously. For me Rawema is more like a machine, but it could be argued it’s a new variation on the signal being sent during Robotron, Malimo and Wismut.

Datasette again sounds like a signal akin to morse code, while Sporett and Epriex Motor put me in mind of machines again. The latter two also have sudden ends.

And finally the album finishes with Wismut (Version) which is similar to Wismut in some ways, though there is less static and it has a slightly different sound. This too ends suddenly as if the plug has been pulled on the machine.

Robotron is an interesting album and fans of the genre should definitely check it out. Though it may not be particularly melodic, it has a beat you can dance to and its experimental nature makes it stand out from so many other dance tracks. This is definitely an album best appreciated from start to finish, so be sure to set some time aside when you get your copy, and prepare to experience the Robotron!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Life is Good!

The next two assignments are here and I have to say I'm quite looking forward to these.

A5 involves building the website we designed in A3, meaning we get to do some XHTML and CSS - one of the reasons I wanted to do the course in the first place.

A6 is all about image manipulation and involves a presentation on Photoshop techniques (one thing I'm dreading), a mini-assignment designing advertisment banners, and the creation of a website in Photoshop. There's also links to A1 in that we have to collect digital artwork each week and annotate it as we have been doing with other inspiration.

I think I'm going to enjoy designing the website for A6. We have a choice between doing a site on Sandal Castle, The Magic Circle, or the definitive site for Earth (aimed at ET's). I've already got a few ideas for the Earth one and think this will be a great opportunity to get my creative juices flowing.

The first piece of digital artwork was fun too. We had to create a mangatar, and I thought mine looked pretty cool when I'd finished.

Annotating was frustrating though, as we were only given 200-250 words per piece and I needed far more to go into the level of detail I wanted. Still, I edited it down to the 250 and it should be detailed enough for what Steve was wanting.

So, as long as I keep on top of the work this time and don't let myself fall behind I think this next semester is going to be a lot better than the last one!

Monday, 19 January 2009

One semester down...

One semester down, three to go and I'm feeling pretty good about things at the moment. There's been a fair bit of stress to get to this point though.

I found A1 a bit hard at first with regards to the inspiration. Some weeks I was struggling to find inspirational pieces and when it came to annotating them I didn't really know what to write. I feel I've made significant progress with this area of the sketchbook work though, since I went from writing maybe a sentence on each piece to a whole page.

The first assignment, A2, went well, but the ones we've just done (A3 and A4) I found a lot tougher. The main problem with A3 was my time management. I allowed myself to get behind (which was partly due to not having the internet) and as a result ended up having to do hours of catch up work late into the night, which left me stressed and tired and lacking motivation to go back to college after the Christmas holidays. My screen design was particularly stressful and seemed to take forever. It took far longer than I expected it to, and as a result I was up late trying to get it done.

I found some of the shorter deadlines for the mini-assignments particularly stressful, and struggled to meet them. The thing that seems to take up most of my time is the ideas generation process in my sketchbook. I can get the thumbnails down in about 10 minutes but when it comes to the next stage and the final design it takes me forever, and as a result some of the mini-assignments were rushed. This led to typing errors, and in some cases I wasn't entirely satisfied with the end result though luckily we were given an hour before hand in to make some minor adjustments if we deemed it necessary.

Due to the pressure of trying to meet deadlines the sketchbook work was also a bit rushed, and perhaps not as accurate as it could have been. It could possibly have benefitted from more detailed annotations too.

In terms of written content I'm confident that's an area I've done well with, though in some cases I've struggled to edit out enough to meet the word count. My competitive analysis for A3 could have been a bit more in depth if I'd had more words to play around with, but I think it covers everything and I feel it was a damn good effort considering I had to use a competitive site written in another language!

I feel my ideas generation is an area that definitely needs improving on in this next semester, as well as my time management.

Overall though I think the first semester has gone well and I have progressed sufficiently. I've passed A2, and A3 and A4 are out of the way -- at least for now. Hopefully I've passed them too. As long as I keep on top of the next set of assignments I'm confident I'll continue to do well and move closer towards employment.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Time's Running Out

Christmas seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye and now we’re back again, getting ready to hand in A3 and A4. The holidays were good but it wasn’t all drinking and celebrating; I haven’t done so well with time management this time round and had a lot of catch up work to do, which I left the bulk of till the last weekend. After a lot of stress and a couple of late nights I won’t be making that mistake again!

The mini-assignments have gotten more intense with shorter deadlines and I found this morning’s grid exercise particularly stressful. I barely printed it off in time, meaning I didn’t get time to perfect the design like I would have wanted to. Still, what’s done is done and
 we might be getting some ‘tinkering time’ next week before hand in to correct typos, etc. I think this afternoon’s Story exercise went a lot better though.

The typography exam is also coming up, but I feel well prepared and I’m confident I’ll pass.

I’m not looking forward to one of the next assignments, A6. Part of it will be assessed through presentations, which is going to be somewhat worse than last time since I’ll no doubt have to talk for longer. Plus I’ll be worrying about passing so it’ll probably be an even more nerve racking experience.

Otherwise I’m happy with things at the moment. I’m confident I’ve done the best I can on A3 and A4, despite the couple of problems mentioned above, and hopefully it’s good enough for a pass. If I refer then so be it, I’m determined not to get as stressed as last time.