By A Welby BA Design for Art Direction
My main self-initiated project throughout the beginning of the DPS term has been officially designing and developing my long term ongoing project ‘In The Land of The Long White Cloud’.
The project first unravelled when I was travelling in New Zealand last December, but with the priority of university work over the coming months, the project never quite managed to make much progress. I’m taking DPS as an opportunity to fully develop and finish the publication, with the hope to ultimately also arrange an exhibition in collaboration with artists addressing a similar theme to mine.
‘IN THE LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD’ explores the relationship between what is natural and what is artificial, and how these two elements coexist within the world. The project began from the collection of roughly 100 objects sourced throughout various coastlines across New Zealand’s North Island, with these objects being a combination of natural debris as well as artificial plastic, glass and miscellaneous materials.
Elements of the ephemeral and the permanent are explored through three inter-connected series in which different creative mediums are practised as an experimental platform for development. The project depicts the fleeting collisions in our natural landscapes, as well as exploring the individual’s fluctuating relationship with the natural environment, and the permanent obstruction of non-biodegradable plastic objects. This reflects how such artificial objects are used for such a momentary time, but its effects are everlasting. It attempts to highlight the quantity of artificial objects obstructing even our earth’s most natural and untouched lands.
During my DPS year so far, I have begun compiling together all of the imagery and content to start designing the publication layout on In Design, with the publication now being almost complete with 66 spreads in total. I’m finding it challenging working to a project at my own pace, with no set deadline from a client or from university at all, which is resulting in my being rather perfectionist and fussy about the project and never quite accepting when the design is finished. In recent weeks however, I have made extensive progress in designing the book layout, cover, and an exhibition poster concept, as well as making decisions on paper choices for the book and visiting paper stores.
I began to set myself a print deadline in order to motivate myself to keep working on the project and ensure the project continues to keep moving forward. There is always room for improvement and always ways to develop projects, especially when there’s no deadline or no commercial purpose- the projects aim was partly to develop my own creative practice and to work with bolder and stronger editorial design for my portfolio.
With a print deadline set to produce a dummy copy, I started thinking in more depth about paper choices for the publication. Researching with multiple references and pulling out my own personal collection of hoarded publications, I decided it was definitely important to use recycled papers, and to also combine multiple papers throughout the publication to give it a tactile and intimate reading experience. Browsing through the Pimlico based paper store, I narrowed down my choices and began test prints.
Seeing your publication in print, and away from the digital screen really makes a difference in how you see your work. Everything looks better in print, when you can feel the roughness of the paper. It also helps me to notice mistakes and areas that need tweaking when its physically infant of my eyes, held in my hands rather than looking at the same screen. I also used this period to ask for a second opinion from other creatives I work closely with, in the hope to get advice for changes to make in preparation for printing the final outcome.
Having printed out the dummy copy, I was able to physically see areas that could be improved in terms of editorial design and paper choice. Having shown the dummy copy to my peers, I also collected some constructive criticism, being told by one peer that the project's concept could be portrayed more clearly and with a stronger and more understandable story line. She questioned me on what I was trying to say and what my purpose for creating the book was for, and mentioned that I could spend some more time gathering research, reading and references, in order to strengthen its concept and give it a clearer purpose to finish the project altogether. This would also mean adding more text to support the high quantity of visual imagery. By adding more text would strengthen the project and make its concept stronger and portray a direct message forward.
Taking on this feedback, I will continue to strengthen the projects concept through more research and creating more written content to add inside the publication. It may be interesting to come back to designing the publication later on in the DPS year after having completed further internship experiences and see if my editorial skills and style has developed in any way.
Minimalist culture in Tokyo
Art Lab: Useful workshops
Jasmine Walsh IVM
Art Lab: Today at Apple with Alva Skog
A group of DPS students from the 0602 collective and third year IVM (illustration and visual media) students decided to go along to a talk at Apple Convent Garden by Alva Skog to learn more about her style, process and how she’s grown from graduating last year, to now being featured in The Guardian and Apple. Alva Skog is a Swedish illustrator based in London, UK with a BA in graphic design from Central Saint Martins, UAL.
Whilst she talked us through her process of working on an iPad and with the Procreate app, whilst also showing us time lapses of how she uses a warped sense of perspective, often exaggerating hands and feet to help her illustrate a story or news article. She also explained that whilst her work often includes characters, she personally tries to make these look as gender fluid and diverse as she can, alongside fitting in her clients wants and needs from their briefs. Skog explained that in her last year of University (CSM Graphic Design) she was questioning more and more what she should do with her career after studying and started to apply for competitions, live briefs and going to more talks. This helped her expand her style, not only by listening to harsh criticism but also by gaining confidence in what works best for her in her own style.
She then led us through a workshop and encouraged us to draw and experiment in a similar style as her, as she walked around the room giving us advice or teaching us little tips and tricks. At the end of the talk we each showed our work on the screen as people gave advice or words of praise. As far as workshops and talks go, this is definitely one of the most insightful platforms a few of us have ever been to. Rather than some University workshops and talks that can feel over curated, tense and judgemental towards your work, Skog and the Apple team managed to curate a talk and safe space for artists and art enthusiasts to create and be productive in, all whilst teaching us more about a piece of technology thats becoming more and more highly desired for digital work. A few of us noted that this method of teaching and workshop tutorial was far easier to follow and be creative in then some of our past University experiences with workshops.
Blink and It's Gone
It seems crazy to know that 6 months of my DPS year has already flashed before my eyes. When I was offered my first internship it took a lot of consideration to decide to spend half my year with Inception Group. I was worried about “putting all my eggs in one basket” and becoming comfortable but now it’s over I only wish I could have done more.
I feel very lucky that I got my first experience of working design life at Inception Group. It was a perfect fit; I settled in quickly, picked up the brand style and was made to feel like part of the team. By the end, the term “intern” seemed to be a distance memory. Regardless of the huge amount that I learnt and the skills I gained, the biggest thing I am taking from my time there is confidence. I am a designer and I am able to hold my own in meetings, team discussions and through my work and I am able to take that confidence onto wherever I venture next.
During my last week, I took some time to scroll back through Trello (the online listing tool we used to track and share projects) to see all the things I had contributed to since September. They range from social media posts to menus, points of sales, website redesigns, business stationery, brand pop-ups and crazy merchandise. I have pushed the parameters that I previously conceived to be a designers job and learnt to understand the role beyond my own creativity.
Here is a selection of works I completed and also some photos from my time with the team:
After the success of this internship, I was offered the job of part-time freelancing for one of the Inception Group’s sub-brands Squirrel. I feel very privileged to have been offered this opportunity and also to have the chance to keep my foot in the door with the company, whilst still exercising my practice with them.
Lianhua Brand Launch
By Hunter Zhu
Graphic and Media Design
China’s retail giant Bailian Group has started a cooperation with us to present a brand-new corporate image to its consumers and continually improve consumers’ brand awareness and consumption experience so as to contribute to of transformation and innovation of the group. And we would be in charge of brand revitalization projects of its subordinate Lianhua Supermarket. With 40, 000 employees, Lianhua Supermarket has ranked the first in the list of China’s Top 100 FMCG Chain Enterprise for consecutive ten years stretching from 1997 to 2006.
However, compared with dramatic changes in China’s retail industry in recent years, Lianhua Supermarket has made no change and become listless since its opening. In line with “the brand evaluation procedure” under the guideline of WPP Group, Lianhua Supermarket only ranked around the 50th place in the list of China’s Top 100 Most Valuable Brands in terms of “brand influence” so that there is plenty of room for improvement.
We place the emphasis of brand revitalization on the following four aspects.
First, we will refresh the store image. We will build a brand-new visual identification system (VI) covering symbols, colors, typefaces, videos and images.
Second, we will clarify the brand positioning and will make full use of “the brand compass” to gain, by means of building a brand experience that is seamlessly connected from the inside out, the brand positioning that is deeply relevant to the target audience. By doing so, the core consumer groups will be cemented first and then the impact of brand revitalization will extend to the younger audience.
Third, we will reconstruct merchandise category.
Fourth, we will upgrade experience and service. The overall planning of brand strategy from the inside out enables each department and employee of the company to become the representative of the brand. Thus, they can provide a quality and coherent experience to consumers and leave a deep positive impression on consumers at all points of contact with consumers.
Since this March, we have begun to prepare the internal launch ceremony of brand revitalization of the Lianhua Project. And for the internal re-branded launch, I’ve been assigned to work on the parts of designs of invitation, deck and the advertising footage. After the millions of time changing and refining on the deck, thousands of hours discussion, and hundreds of times of changing on designs of visual systems. the brand revitalization has completed successfully, and the videos and invitation I made are well-revived. And in the next stage of this project, I’m going to work on the design of visual guideline which is a really big thing for me, that could be the last attribute for this company before I leave. The duration of this project is about five month, the reason why its length is much less than previous projects, is because of the great account and design team.
On March 28th and 29th, we officially held the information session on brand revitalization of the Lianhua Project. And we would assist the implementation and execution of the new Lianhua brand.
By Mateusz Gryta, Information and Interface Design
Despite currently being busy enjoying Italian sun and food, I finally got to write a post about my first placement on DPS (the Italian one will follow soon). During the first internship I had a chance to work in Prague for 3 months in a German digital agency called Sinnerschrader, now also a part of Accenture Interactive. Being large (more than 600 people in 5 offices across Germany and Czechia) and having big clients means: cool offices - they won 2 awards for the best office space in Czechia this year, a lot of parties, events and trips, free food and alcohol and generally stuff which involves money and on the other hand - bureaucracy and overly complicated and time consuming processes. For a company of it’s size though, the atmosphere and people were really chill and fun. On my first day, I expected to land in a rather corporate environment, but the first thing I saw when entering the office was a guy in pink flip flops riding around on a longboard and being followed by 3 happy dogs and then almost everyone getting a beer for lunch at 12pm. It seemed much more like a small start-up environment rather than a German corporation. I also got to know the headquarters in Hamburg during a Christmas party trip, which was great and also included a whole day of interesting workshops and lectures about design and tech in general.
In terms of the projects, I was working on one each month. The first 2 weren’t especially engaging. I was basically designing early 2000 style adverts, just sitting in Photoshop and pasting smiling models and products in the template. No room for creativity or freedom whatsoever. It’s the kind of work I would never want to do in the future. But you have to start with something, and still I had some responsibility, as these were quite important clients and I was directly working on it since the first day. At least I mastered cutting out stuff in Photoshop.
The third project was a lot different though - designing and developing a new global website for one of the biggest carmakers in the world, which I can’t name now, as it’s still in progress. The project is really complex - it involves more than 100 people working on it for almost 2 years. I was on the UX/UI design side and actually got to design stuff which hopefully will be included in the final version of the website. People in the team were really amazing and helpful, but the whole process was sometimes frustrating, as every smallest decision required multiple video calls with parts of the team in other cities, the client and external agencies. Still, I learned a lot about UX and how this kind of platforms are being developed and how large teams located across different countries and cities work together.
The last aspect - Prague, was really a great place to live for a while. After living in London, I appreciated almost everything, from efficient public transport to tasty food, £1-per-pint-in-the-bar beers, relaxed and friendly people and the fact that from the internship salary and Erasmus grant I could rent a nice studio in the centre of the city and forget about cooking. Even though I suffered a bit from the cold, the time spent there reminded me how much easier the life in continental Europe can be.
This week at my internship I have had the opportunity to “exercise what I know”, that which I’ve spent the last 2 years learning in my degree and practising through my outlook into the design world. Branding is not only my passion but also where a lot of my knowledge lies when it comes to my field of practice and I have been able to use this knowledge and technique of understanding to carry out a brand audit.
It is my understanding that a brand audit takes an overlooked view, initially as an outsider, into how the brand presents itself to the consumer and then, more specifically how its internal strategy and management plays a role in how the brand operates. In order to answer the question: do these two things go hand in hand well enough to drive the brand forward and present its best self?
I started by looking into the competition, what are they doing, how are they doing it and is it successful? It is this type of understanding where I really see the effects of my degree coming into play. I am able to analyse both the aesthetic but also the business and strategy side. I chose 5 brands that have a model that aligns with our brand and compared & contrasted what they do well. By doing this I was able to see where we could push the thinking and produce content that puts our brand above the rest. This research concerned website content, social media output, copywriting and graphic design in order to understand what their main focus was and why they are succeeding in the field.
After an on-off week of researching and understanding, I presented my findings to the head of design and branding, the senior digital marketing manager and the brand operations manager. This was a nerve-racking experience, where initially I doubted my credibility and the deck I’d put together; but I realised its all about wavelength. I was considering the brand in a certain way and by presenting my findings in a way that told the story of my thinking allowed the meeting room to all be on the same page. After the presentation, we were able to brainstorm from the findings and decide where to take the project next. I came out with a strong sense of achievement and confidence in my ability in this field, after all, if I didn’t feel this way, my studies would have been worthless; it is rewarding to know I am capable of using my skills and knowledge within a real-life situation.
Next week myself and my team go on to present further work on this project to the group directors and make decisions on where to go next. There is more work to be done but I will be going into it with a prominent sense of self-belief and I feel like having that confidence undoubtedly boosts your findings.
(Featured image is a lovely piece of concerning having confidence in Shoreditch, why have should broccoli be just one colour!)
The next exciting step
My year of placement has been quite a journey. I've been working for almost 6 months at Twentytwentyone as an e-commerce content manager. When I started, I wasn't sure what I would be learning from the job, but I've got to agree that my year with Twentytwentyone is nothing less than a massive learning experience.
My interest in furniture design took a backseat as I got deeper into design management and cultures. Working in Twentytwentyone, being in constant contact with beautiful pieces of furniture has helped me put me back on track on furniture making. I also feel that I'm beginning to cement the design language I would like my work to have as I work towards my self-initiated project to build a line of furniture. Faye Toogood's Spade chair is one of the chairs I am in love with. Simple, geometrical, and minimal. The success of a few other designers and brands with Twentytwentyone have inspired me further and has given me the confidence to make the big move. Tiipoi and Maison Bengal, brands built around Indian design language have inspired me to look back to the material culture I grew up in for inspiration.
So what's next? As we come closer to the end of this Diploma and Professional Studies, it an exciting time for me as I leave Twentytwentyone in few days to start working on my own project fulltime.
The idea of building open source furniture is an exciting one. It's democratic, inclusive, and a chance to explore the incredible manufacturing technology we have today is exciting. To achieve the truly open source furniture making process, I feel that understanding and redesigning furniture joinery is a necessity. This process if done right can make this open source designs more accessible by reducing the number of steps to achieve a usable, good looking end product. With this vision of open source furniture, my self initiated project will be concentrating on building 3D printable furniture joinery which can be downloaded by anyone everywhere. As I prepare myself to throw myself into this project completely, I'm extremely grateful to Twentytwentyone for giving me the opportunity to learn the business side of the furniture industry.
Design Management and Cultures
Me and my dear mailbox
Margarida Ferraz Dias
Graphic and Media Design
I believe this year in industry allows us to observe the good and bad things about employment, or in times of real desperation, only the bad things. Looking for an internship is definitely not an easy thing to do, specially after finishing such a great one, with the expectation of finding again a marvellous opportunity.
I finished my 2 month internship at Condé Nast, I felt I already at the swing of things when applying to different possible scenarios. But to be truly honest, it was harder than I expected. People have always told me that "once a good thing happens, a lot of them follow", which I believe but also agree that applies to bad situations. As a spiral of unfortunate situations, I really struggled to find something to do for a month and a half. As a consequence of not finding anything I felt unmotivated to work or even to anything at all. Something that seemed so easy for the past two placements, seemed impossible and it was making me very annoyed with myself and the free time ahead of me. By being a type of person who does not enjoy the "dolce far niente" type of life, I was happy to involve myself in the freelance project for the Dulwich Picture Gallery, allowing me to break the chains from my house and my laptop. It was a very exciting project with definitely very exciting approaches from all of the students. Also the opportunity to see some friends and share some experiences was a bonus from the pitch that I wasn't expecting to get.
I must say that looking for an internship is obviously the most awful thing that might ever exist but I believe every time I do it I get less affected by the amount of No's I get and just continue to email and email until someone finds me the right fit for them and so should you.