Tuesday, 12 May 2009

One Year Down, One To Go

With the first year coming to an end and the final assignment just handed in, I think it's about time to evaluate my progress for this year. I remember the beginning of the course, not knowing anybody, feeling a bit uneasy about what to expect and, to be honest, I think I had a lack of confidence in my ability. During this year I feel that I have progressed at a steady speed however, in terms of self-learning, I could have done more.

Personally I find self-learning a challenging thing to grasp on, as managing a busy social life with a full time HND course is a very demanding thing to keep up. I feel that when it comes to next year I will have a clear understanding of what is expected of me and this should help me reach my targets, one of which I would say is to get a wider understanding or either PHP or Flash.

At the beginning of the course I had my head set on doing flash but as time has progressed I'm beginning to steer towards PHP for the sole factor that flash is more of a specialist skill.I would still like to learn flash but I feel that I would benefit more from doing flash as a short course rather than focus a whole assignment on it.

In terms of my progression in design I would say that I have progressed. However I think that when it comes to designing, I don't realise my potential. For example, I have quite flat designs and tend to stay in my comfort zone. So over this summer I am going to experiment to find out what I can and can't do and by doing this my skills will increase and basic design skills will become more of an everyday thing.

Already I have noticed that when I look at signs and other pieces of design work I find myself analysing them instead of just seeing them for the purpose they serve. I notice aspects of them like the colours used and the way they have placed the text and with certain designs I see them, remember them and use them as influences later on.

This is something that I think everybody in the industry does as nothing is truly original but it's a combination of different styles of design made into one design with your own touch to it.

Time to reflect on previous assignments The first assignment, "A Journey of 1000 Miles..." wasn't what I really expected of the first assignment of a design course. This was a whole text document of the different elements of a computer: hardware, software, computing languages and network and communication.

I found this task useful as I now understand the terminology and different types of devices that can be relative for the course. At the time I didn't see that relevance for it but as time has progressed I see the reasons why we had been asked to do it, it was so when it came to doing the other task we had a basic understanding of what scripts were and what hardware did what. This gave us the basics that we needed just to understand what we would be doing. So once I passed that assignment I felt that I knew enough to progress onto the next assignment.

Something that I felt annoyed me in the first year was referring on silly little things that really shouldn't be forgotten but stupidly I forgot, so if I was to do it again I would make sure that I have checked all the learning outcomes before hand-in. Also, when it comes to getting the new assignments, I am going to learn the learning outcomes off by heart.I feel that this will help as I will always have the relevant information drilled into my brain so whilst I'm doing the assignment I will know if I'm meeting the targets or if there is anything that needs adding.

Another part of the course that I found to be an important task was A4: Typecast. This really cemented the importance of having the right typeface and where I position the text can really make or break a design. I found that I have really put this into practice when it comes to doing my own personal work, it really helped knowing what font is called what as it makes deciding what font you use works well with what sort of design.

I find that downloadable fonts are a good idea to get as you find any font for any design. I also enjoyed been given the mini tasks, which made the assignment feel to have less pressure on it as we were finishing tasks in a day. This felt like we were being very productive as we came in with no concept and by the time the day had finished we had a finished product; so you left feeling like you had achieved something. I enjoy this way of learning because you don't feel like nothing is happening but feel like you are actually getting somewhere.

Coming to the A5 and A6 assignments, these assignments ran together and we had been told not to favour one assignment rather than the other but, nevertheless it happened to me. I found myself favouring the A6 assignment as the work load seemed far greater than the work load that we had for A5.

When I think of next year there are obvious targets that I need to set for myself in terms of grades. I would be very pleased with a mixture of merits and passes and some distinctions and to achieve this target I need to pull my finger out and go above the minimum that has been asked of me. Also, self-motivation is something that needs to be pulled up as sometimes I feel that I have slacked off at times and find myself doing other things.

In conclusion I feel that I have progressed well on the first year and hope to progress further in the second year. My fears are that I won't progress through to the next year however if I do I will get more into my design work as I have everything I need to progress. So there are no excuses. I will take this summer to get up to the standard I feel I should be by the time it comes to next year.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Time Flies

With this year coming to an end it’s time to start thinking how much have I progressed though the year and what have I learnt this year.

In terms of progression I feel that I have learnt some key skills, for example learning the different type of typefaces has proven to be more crucial than I once thought. Also the difference between design for web and print proved to be a learning curve that I wasn’t expecting; just getting the resolution right is something that took a while to figure out.

Now the last assignment deadline is about 2 weeks away and this is scary, the summer holiday is going to prove as not only a big rest but a chance to get more freelance work and really improve my HTML and CSS skills for next year. In terms of the assignment I have nearly finished, with just the website build to go.

During this project I have come across a range of different designs and learnt that, if you’re making a range of different products for one company, reputation is important. For example, if you use yellow throughout don’t just randomly start using green. This is what happened to me with my logo design; I designed it as blue but then changed it for my album artwork.

As far as I am concerned I have progressed through this course at a steady speed however next year is going to involve personally more self-study work.

Here is my CD album artwork: