BA Information and Interface Design
„Information and interface design” is not the catchiest name for a course. Maybe that’s why it’s being renamed. Having enrolled before the change to more user friendly “UX design”, I have to bear with the consequences of UAL having bad copywriters (or whoever is naming courses).
During a usual day, I don’t really have to think about it. My course could be named anything, as long as the contents are the same I would eventually get used to it anyway. The fun starts when the following question is asked;
“hey, what do you study?”
I usually have a number of options after this happens. The first thing that comes to mind, is to just say the course name as it is. It’s usually met with either an apparently confident acknowledgment, that is just an obvious expression of confusion, or, in a more relaxed environment, a straightforward “what?”, both replies requiring further explanation. That’s why I tend to change the naming to be easier to understand. Having gone through a number of iterations I tend to go with “applied graphic design”. I apply principles of graphic design to modern mediums, in order to create interfaces or showcase information in the most user-friendly way.
This terribly long introduction is really supposed to show how I had to go through a journey of self-definition, and how by explaining to others what I do I was also getting better at explaining it to myself. I feel like this process is going to continue as I explore more disciplines and mediums, but for now my interest is focused on the following areas:
I feel like it’s increasingly important to be a multidisciplinary person to get noticed, and I see more and more connections between those disciplines.
Say you want to design an app. After the whole research phase you start off with black and white wireframes, and gradually increase the fidelity of the prototype. Then you want to design an onboarding experience that’s crucial for user engagement. Why not use custom illustrations, that make the whole prototype much more visually attractive, and also get more likes on dribble? Then you want a story behind an app, so you also design a logo, and maybe a 3d animation of the logo?
I don’t know if this is the right approach, but I often fall down that well that makes me distribute my time towards several disciplines, flattening out my skills chart. From what I learned in a few lectures, it’s not the best approach. It’s good to have a T-shaped skills distribution, with many interests but one deep focus that lands you jobs. To find and develop that deep focus though, you need to have the arms of that “T” fully developed, and I feel like that’s what I’m currently doing.
I’m planning to finish the project that’s holding me back from applying for internships in the coming week. After that I’m going to see if my skill set is going to allow me to successfully compete for positions.
Claudia Ostafijczuk Wydrzynska
Graphic and Media Design
When I was around nine years old, I held a Playstation 2 pad in my hands for the first time and that’s when I found the love of my life - video games. My biggest dream is to find a job in the gaming industry - esports, game studios or something like that. Right now I don't feel that my designs have the correct aesthetic - the gaming industry has a certain style.
Because of this fact, I plan on taking up a couple of self-initiated projects which will involve experimenting with designs and short animations made in this certain style. - this will bring me closer to catching my dream. I am also interested in character design which is why I would love to learn the basics of Cinema 4D and/or ZBrush - who knows maybe this will be something I will enjoy. If you never try you'll never know.
“Undead Nightingale” by Zbrush user herocus
Because LCC has so many wonderful facilities, I will use them to learn more about print using traditional methods such as screenprint, letterpress, monoprint and would like to explore different textures, that I can make using different methods and materials. 3D print is something that I always wanted to try but somehow never actually went to any workshop to find out more about it. I have always enjoyed making things with my hands. I feel that this year will let me try new things and learn more about my strengths and weaknesses.
Right now my biggest weaknesses are logo designs and animation. I feel quite insecure about this and hope, that after this year of self-improvement, I will conquer them and be more confident in my profession. To become more skillful in animation, I plan to take up an After Effects course. As for the other weakness - I have found three freelance graphic design jobs which involve branding and hopefully, this will help me defeat my fear of the world of branding. I am also planning to take part in the Daily Icon Challenge. I will push myself as hard as I can to improve.
I have decided to stay in London, as I live with my partner and call our small studio flat in Zone 3 my home - also, only one of us remembers to water the numerous house plants we own (me).
I am currently working five freelance jobs, with people from different backgrounds and industries (BBE - events, JumbleArt - handmade art, Strictly United - music, Lanark United - football and JoNatural - kinesiology therapy). This also allows me to work part-time (London rent sucks) and build on my time management. I have already noticed that I need to go into every project with a totally new mindset and that researching the profession of my clients is very important, as it creates more complex ideas in my head.
My plan for now, is to continue working freelance until the end of December, whilst constantly updating my portfolio with new work. I will plan out and start my self-initiated project next month and hopefully start an internship at an agency in January. Later on who knows, but whatever happens, these experiences will teach me a bit more about life and make it a bit less scary.
Graphic and Media Design
With the current world so technology-driven and the world of graphic design seeming to become ever increasingly driven by design for screens, I was worried as I was unsure how easily I would be able to find work within print and type, the area I am most interested in.
I had become aware of my interest in print before I started at LCC and initially found the BA course very screen based in first year, but once in second year I realised that, with some better time management, I could develop my print work.
During the final unit in second year I discovered a big interest in Letterpress, which Is a whole world away from the screen. Looking at the popularity of Letterpress through the 20th century into the 21st, there is a stark decrease in its use and commercial viability as a practise. The prospect of being able to get work, let alone paid work, in this field looks constantly slim and was something I was aware of even before I started assembling my portfolio.
Postcard printed in the Letterpress Workshop to send to potential employers.
I initially shied away from creating my portfolio and kept prolonging it, but eventually booked a few days off my café job to sit down and crack on with it. Once my portfolio was finished I immediately started to send out emails to the studios and artists which I had been interested in applying to for a while, including a few in Europe, as working abroad is something I would love to do this year. I emailed several designers who work within print, particularly letterpress and only received one response, from Thomas Mayo & Co.
Thomas Mayo runs his own studio in the Cotswolds, and still works with Letterpress alongside a more contemporary use of laser-cutting and foil blocking. He has offered me an internship for a few months, which I will be starting within the next few weeks – meaning I’ll be moving out of London. I’m excited to start work within my practise and also for a change of scenery from the city.
Looking back on my DPS proposal I can see how the direction I am now looking to follow on this year has changed, initially I was interested in working for larger studios or agencies but now I have realised my interest in print and type I am looking for placements in smaller enterprises. However, some aspects are the same such as an aspiration to attend Fraser Muggeridge’s Typography Summer School and hopefully going to work outside of the UK.
After a while of worrying about finding a suitable placement, it seems i have managed to and i look forward to the year ahead, it will be interesting to see where i end up before final year begins.
Illustration and Visual Media
When I started looking for courses two years ago I tried to stay realistic with my expectations, choosing something I knew I was good at, which judging by the opinions of others was always drawing. Although I love what I do and would never trade the ability to visualise my ideas in the way I can, I always felt like I was missing something in my practice, something I was truly passionate about. When I was very young I would fill stacks of sketchbooks with fashion designs, wished for a sewing machine for Christmas and my mind was set on becoming a fashion designer. But when you grow up and real life hits you, with all its expectations and conservative career councillors, dreams become seemingly unattainable. I was simply too scared to follow a career I did not feel prepared for and that was so intimidating. So instead I chose a course that seemed open minded enough to give me a chance of figuring out what I truly wanted.
So the first year of my UAL experience consisted of a battle with myself, trying to forget about my fashion dreams and focus on what everyone told me I was good at, mostly graphic novels and story based illustration. But my passion for clothes and the fashion industry as a general slowly came creeping back into my thoughts and by the time my first summer at UAL was over I had found new ways of integrating the concept of fashion into my works and essays, such as discussing the interdisciplinary collaborations between fashion houses and artists.
Technology is a huge part of being a creative practitioner these days, not only in context of the medium we use but in terms of how all creative disciplines are closely linked with each other, interacting with and building onto one another. Social Media plays a huge role in how I understood that just because I was studying an illustration based course did not mean I could not get involved with another creative industry such as fashion. A good personal example of this is my experience of participating in @theuniqueillustraion, an instagram page which hosts illustration flashmob for which all participants post their fashion illustration works for a specific topic on the same date and time. It introduced me to the world of fashion illustration, a practice that was critical in my second year at UAL and gave an opportunity to keep developing my expertise in the field of fashion. On the other hand seeing how interconnected everyone in the industry is can be quite intimidating, which is the main downside of social media in my opinion and something that can easily discourage an introverted person like myself.
Now that DPS has started I find myself at a critical point once again, but this time I have gathered enough courage, experience and self-believe to be brave enough to stick to my true passion and at least get a start on it. My ambitions have definitely changed since the start of our very first DPS sessions in the way that I have developed personal goals such as constructing a substantial body of work relevant to a fashion portfolio and getting more acquainted with the practical side of fashion designing. My expectations however have gone through change as well. I have had difficulties finding positions and getting answers on my applications with my mind set on finding internships relevant to the fashion industry such as art directing studios across London. But if my experience at UAL and the DPS program has taught me one thing so far, it is that every opportunity life trows at you can help achieve your goals even if it does not seem relevant at first. And no hour working on your creativity is wasted as everything is so interconnected with each other. And I have finally realised that no matter what will happen this year I will find my way into the fashion industry and be a part of it someday. With this in mind I will be more open regarding any job opportunities that are presented to me and keep working hard to make this year the most life changing and productive experience possible. I am currently in the process of hopefully securing an internship as well as some freelance opportunities that are all linked to the subject of fashion in some way. I am planning to get my portfolio printed soon to deliver it to some of the places I have not received answers from yet and hope this will give me more chances at the jobs I would like to do.
This is Maria from GMD here and this is my train of thought…
Design in the real world can either be exhilarating or perplexing. As I am taking my first steps into the industry with a large network of creatives it can seem almost isolating. The influence of technology has never been so clear. As office spaces used to be hubs for creativity and conversation, they are now silent, and the main point of contact is a group chat. Technology not only drives but enhances the work I choose to do but where has the line been drawn. We sit at desk designing for a better more connected world, but in house we seem more disconnected than ever. To this I pose the question: how are supposed to create connections when the people we try to connect with are offline?
As a designer who has an interest in technology, I will always say there is not one without the other, they simply complement each other. However, in a world that is becoming more and more accustomed to technological advances and we find ourselves acclimating to this easier style of ‘Design for a better life’. Technological advances have increased rapidly over the last few years, taking steps and strides in a multitude of fields (Artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and many more) creating life changing systems. However, at what cost? With our natural resources depreciating and rapidly what is the need for a robot who can think when we have a planet that will die before we even see the full long-term effects this software can have. A small network of designers has begun to change this, but not enough. If we consider the amount of work that goes in to designing the new iPhone, imagine if we put this effort in to prolonging our own existence. Our planet is having its own existential crisis, and we do not have many options left to heal it.
This crisis goes beyond design. However, as designers we have an obligation to see how we can create for the better. This being a cleaner and greener life and not only an easier one. All it can take is one designer/artist to take those steps and network of people will follow. If we look back historically at the design movements, the pinacols of their time, remembered for beauty and class and most importantly innovation. In a world where we are this technologically advanced, educated and connected how can we still be so disconnected to the bigger picture. We question the role design plays in this world; however, we don’t seem to see the indelible consequences of the things we create. The role of design I do agree should be for a better world, but for a long-term better world, where design is sustainable and not at the expense of the one it was designed for.
Hi, Im Gaby, I’m the girl that wears all black 365 a year and I’m one of the graphics branding & identity students.
If you haven’t heard the story yet, here’s a little brief to why and how I ended up on DPS. As we started the professional practices at the beginning of year 2 the ultimate question of ‘where do you see yourself after you graduate’ came up and the only thing I could think of, was absolutely nothing. I thought, for the longest time I thought I had it all figured out - I’m going to graduate, working in industry, in some nice studio, doing a 9-5 and its all going to be fine. But then, I actually went to uni, and started the course and I have quickly realised that theres so much more to everything.
As a branding and identity student, a lot of the work that I do is centred around - you guessed it - branding and identity, which I love to do. However, when the question of the future come up, I didn’t know if that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and it scared me that I haven’t tried other things yet.
When the DPS course opened, I was so sure this is my chance to put everything I know on hold and do the things I always wanted to do. Try printmaking, learn how to animate or create motion art, go abroad and work with other creatives and find out what brings me joy and what work I want to make more of.
So far, I have been on a weird rollercoaster ride, which has stoped mid-air and is waiting to carry on. It’s been a very long summer full of rejections, commissions gone wrong and self-doubt but to quote Bob Ross, its not mistakes its happy little accidents. Theres always light at the end of the tunnel even if its very dim. Near the end of the summer, I was debating whether I should even be taking on the DPS year. I was question if I’m good enough or my work is strong enough to be working in an agency, will anyone even bother reading my emails and all I wanted to do was go back to uni and have a 9-5 structure again. It’s sounds all very dramatic, negative and sad, but the truth is, thats exactly how it was. I did not see the DPS year going any worse even before it really began.
But things slowly started to turn around, and I got myself back up again and the ride is slowly moving again. I have discovered a few opportunities and projects I can take part in, and even a long-term collaboration. The idea of freelance stoped being so scary and I have decided on take on the risk and do my own thing for a while. As uni is very much back in motion, you will see me in LCC very soon, printing and scanning and running around, working on a self initiated project which was born on accident, after a very good concert.
This has been my DPS year so far, I hope its only up from here, but being the realistic and critical thinker that I am, there will definitely be more bumps in the road, but for now I’m a freelance creative, doing my thing.
Illustration and Visual Media
Going into the DPS lectures I thought I knew that I wanted to find internships closely related to motion graphics and animation. I was set on what I wanted to do from the beginning without realizing that it might not be the exact path I’m interested in. Starting the year changed a few things though…
I started off my DPS year with going to Senegal, Africa, as part of the annual Route Artlantique. Spending the better half of July travelling through a completely new country changed my world view and goals for the better. It was a humbling experience spending a couple of nights in the eco village Ndém and sleeping under the stars, showering with buckets… And that is just one of the places we stayed at. Experiencing the local culture and taking part in it is something that will stay with me throughout my whole life. Working with the local artists was refreshing and motivating. We went back to the roots of crafting. Every single one of the workshops sparked my creativity, I became full of ideas that I can’t wait to turn into reality. I also realized that I don’t want to do just animation. I like to be able to combine my different skills and create art that pushes people to think, change, question what’s happening around them.
Going back to London after this trip I set my goal to expand my search for internships, as previously I had only looked at animation and motion graphics, which to be entirely honest was a truly discouraging experience, as they’re really competitive fields and only the best of the best get selected. But I knew that going in. Another discouraging thing is that there’s also really not any internships for image makers. Most companies offer graphic design internships which in my experience for the most part require you to prepare presentations and be able to do layout, which is far from what I’m interested in, and to be frank – something I am definitely not good at. So, one of my goals for this year is to become better at layout. That is why one of my self-initiated projects for this year is to create a zine, that was inspired by a series of photographs I took on the beaches in Senegal. The name of the zine is ‘Thiéboudienne’ and it’s about the problem with overfishing in this part of the world.
What is encouraging about DPS though is that you have the time to concentrate on different passion projects and take on all types of freelance work. Mine now ranges from designing tattoos to creating animated intros for YouTube channels. I have the time to take on many different opportunities to expand my skillset and find out what I am really interested in and how I want to continue my career path after graduation. Which is the main reason I wanted to be part of DPS in the first place. My interests are ever changing and although I like being in flux, I would love to have a clearer mind of what I want to do by the end of my year in industry.
Hi, My name’s Vicky. I’m most likely to be found in the IVM (illustration and Visual Media) or printmaking studios of LCC.
I would like to begin by analysing what is «Design» and where it stands in order to present a clearer view of my practice. Design exists everywhere in our daily lives. It comes in various types and each one exists in order to serve society and its constantly growing needs. It is a living language that transforms together with the society, it can neither remain static nor can ever die. In the book «Design as Art» the graphic artist Bruno Munari suggests that «the designer works in a vast sector of human activity». There is: visual design (communicates and informs visually through symbols and forms), industrial design (concerned with functional objects), graphic design (has to do with press, books and advertisements) and research design (concerned with experiments and research on both plastic and visual structures).
It occurred to me that design can be divided in two bigger categories: The first is the «Functional/plastic» category which is used in order to help society function efficiently through the construction of goods. These are tangible/ physical objects that make life easier and more convenient. The second is the «Emotional/visual» category. It focuses, mainly, on the psychological effect that is being created when interacting with the visual outcome. Its purpose is to explain, educate, inform, narrate, help people grow emotionally, protest against inequalities and support views and ideas.
My practice falls into the second category. My aim is to evoke feelings, embrace fears, bring back forgotten memories, engage in communication. I particularly enjoy projecting the theory of academic art into the today’s art world using contemporary techniques and materials in an attempt to communicate modern day concerns. I use colour, shape, size, texture, material and knowledge of composition in order to create an outcome that goes beyond representation and invites in further investigation. I am using design in order to re-establish the lost contact between art and the public, make it more approachable and people more willing to understand it.
I see the DPS year as an opportunity to get to know myself a bit better and grow personally and artistically. I am planning to try out a number of possible paths I could take driven by my passion for visual communication. As my practice lays upon a number of fields -illustration, painting, sculpture- and it is not focused on one, I will take this opportunity to spend the year figuring out which aspect I am most attracted to. Skills I would also like to develop are printmaking and digital art as I find the combination of handmade and digital fascinating. Optimally, later on this year, I will assist a fine artist in their studio. This will help me gain an insight of how an art studio functions, broaden my theoretical knowledge and enrich my practical skills, learn about freelance work, get to know new interesting practitioners and ways to showcase my work. Additionally, after research I have conducted over summer I discovered a number of illustration agencies as well as magazines I would like to contact and work for, which will enable me to work under pressure, be part of an active team, and get familiar with the art industry. Finally, my research included loads of freelance work and one artist in residency application.
The following are details of the progress of two posters I am currently working on for a collaboration with the MA screenwriting.
Hi, I’m Emily!
My course is BA Graphic and Media Design.
This first DPS blog post reflect on my experience setting up a display for WaterAid. It is part of Emmergence exhibition for London Design Festival at LCC. 14thSeptember – 16thOctober.
When I asked about taking part in the exhibition, I naively felt that it would be straightforward and relatively stress free. How wrong I was. This is my first participation in one and I knew nothing of the amount for planning, good time management, and absolute dedication required.
Mai Elamin ( BA, Interaction Design )
Emily Hawes ( BA, Graphic and Media Design) (DPS)
Catarina Bernardi ( BA, Illustration and Visual Media) (DPS)
Nino Mariano ( BA, Illustration and Visual media) (DPS)
Theo ( BA, Graphic and Media Design ) (DPS)
Our Aim: for viewers to question the extent clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene is taken for granted. Our concept is for water, toilets and hygiene and to be viewed as precious as gold.
Original Pitch to WaterAid:
The original pitch to WaterAid was to create a series of posters situated in Old Street tube station, which would then have a corresponding Instagram account and a hashtag #WaterForGold attached to posts. Additionally, there is a link to a donation page providing the public an opportunity to purchase a limited edition, metal, sustainable water bottle. The posters have three illustrations representing the three goals for Water Aid: clean water, represented by a gold tap with diamonds pouring out; decent toilets as a gold toilet; good hygiene as gold soap bars.
For our display we brought our posters to life by recreating everything in 3-D. The toilet, soap and tap are full scale, spray-painted gold and mounted on plinths. Mock-diamonds glued and hung from clear elastic hug from the faucet.
The participants of the exhibit are young students mostly in their early 20s, therefore our view-points had some similarities. There is a desire to design exhibits that help viewers relate our everyday habits such as considering a scenario of ordering a coffee that would 2 hours to collect water for. There is a theme around what we take granted and the the privilege of having on-demand water facilities.
Frustrating elements include not receiving delivery of materials on time and the inability for all the team to physically come in and set up. A real low point to the week was when I threw away the dots of the i’s for our vinyl writing and the despair I felt when realising that I left a shoe mark on our newly sprayed toilet seat.
The best moments were when I finished spray painting, received encouraging comments from peers, and the satisfaction after gluing the last diamond on clear elastic thread.
As designers not only are we educating and informing others about WaterAid’s mission, but we are empowering ourselves. We have greater knowledg about campaigning for non-profit organisations, WaterAid’s specific mission, understanding how have a positive impact through design.
It was an invaluable experience being part of a great exhibition that exposes thought-provoking work Just make sure you prepare, prepare and enjoy.
Illustration and Visual Media
I can remember clearly my thoughts about the DPS year when I was starting year 2 a year ago. It seemed like this big opportunity that I was hoping will change my professional path dramatically. This experience is WAY more challenging than I'd imagine it to be. I am quite shy when it comes to publishing and sharing my work, so even preparing my portfolio pushed my boundaries. I also always thought that I'm not ready to do freelance work, but now it is all I want to do. I realised that I'm interested in doing various shorter projects.
My design journey started quite late comparing to the students who were interested in art from childhood. I believe it only is a few years of my life. That is why I believe I don't really know what is my style or favourite technique yet and I think that doing a lot of different projects will allow me to discover myself more. While doing the preparatory course for the DPS I was hoping to land a placement and have a stable routine which is not the case now. It is a bit worrying, but weirdly enough I am more excited than scared. I''m trying to find projects, that would be as different as it can - from installations to advertising campaigns and etc. I think that the course that I'm doing formed a different understanding of what an illustrator is than what people imagine us to be. I feel that I can adapt my skills in a various spectrum of disciplines.
Another thing that I noticed while looking for placements is that most of the jobs are for graphic designers. It is a bit discouraging, because sometimes it seems that I have all that the company or a studio needs, except for some certain graphic design skills that I don't have. Even though illustrators are usually able or at least have some understanding in the graphic design field I just don't trust those skills. I think it comes from how short my design journey is as I mentioned before. As a person like me, that doesn't have a certain idea of who they are as an artist it is overwhelming sometimes to figure out where could I fit in internship wise.
For now I am trying to better my digital drawing skills and I think because I am trying to draw something everyday my style is beginningh to come out. I'm just trying to draw whatever comes to my head and I've noticed that the themes, colour palettes are usually similar. Also one of my goals for this year was to learn 3D rendering and since I can't afford cinema 4D I began learning how to use Blender. I don't remember when it was the last time that I used a software that is not Adobe, so it is a bit confusing, but I didn't expect it to be otherwise.
My hopes at the moment are that I will be able to learn new skills and find my own niche. I'd like to experiment with AI and do some generative art and I already know what people to contact, just need to be brave and do it. It's not like there's anything to lose. Another thing that I'd like to do is to use my skills to raise awarness. I want to get involved in projects that are not just pretty and interesting, I want them to have social value. I believe that as designers and artists we are obligated to use ours skills, ideas and insight to make a change.