I have to admit that I was apprehensive at the start of this module, which of course marked the start of first year. When Fred casually explained in an early briefing that all we have for OUGD301 is to do is our Product, Range & Distribution module from second year times four, this sounded simple enough. However, simple is not quite the word that I would use for how this module unfolded. In my case, I would certainly put this down to unorthodox time management.
My methods of time management involved occasionally scrawling important times and dates into my diary, as well as on my calendar at home. This worked to some extent in the grand scheme of things. However, problems arose when I had to begin dividing my day into segments to work on several projects at a time. I did cope in the end, but it would have been a lot easier had I constructed some sort of schedule with mini deadlines to meet. One of my main mistakes was not giving myself these deadlines. I should have finished my first two briefs way earlier than I did which would have given me more time for other projects, balancing out the input I had on each of them. This will definitely need addressing
One thing that I feel like I have actually improved on is my methods of blogging. I’ve been linking things together and keeping the tag toolbar clean with only the relevant tags available to click on making it way more user friendly. I have also got into a good habit of blogging my work as I go as opposed to not blogging whilst working and having to catch up a hell of a lot before crits and deadlines.
As far as progression with knowledge of software has come, I have been constantly been picking up tips and tricks as I go which – I hope – are slowly snowballing into an amalgamation of good software knowledge that will enable me to work much quicker on the Adobe programs improving my efficiency and work production as a designer. I have found my self using Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and even Adobe Bridge at points in progression with my work. Mike Flower’s Indesign workshops were fantastically helpful. They certainly increased my knowledge of Indesign and helped me feel much more confident with the program. Other tips have simply come from peers in the studio. It’s surprising how much you learn from other people and it’s also surprising how much you can help people. It’s a wonderful never-ending cycle of knowledge.
I’m pretty sure that anyone would agree that the workload has increased significantly this year. And in almost all cases, more work means more stress. I have been pretty determined to avoid stress and to let it get to me this year as I was fully aware that the work this year was going to hit me like a brick. And it sure did. I have done my best to avoid stress by keeping in a good mood as much as I can. Working in a relatively informal studio environment helps a great deal. Without the odd spell of laughter the studio can seem far too dreary for something that is supposed to be a buzzing creative environment. Music has played a large factor in this. Whilst working on my placement over summer, music was constantly playing in the studio. It simply lifts the mood and this makes a lot of sense to me now.
I definitely could have been more prepared for crits in almost all crit circumstances. I seemed to always find myself running around at the last minute and scuffling pieces of design work together to display some sort of progression with my work. Although I did get great feedback in almost all my crits, I know it would have been even better had I prepared properly for them by having a bit more decorum to the presentation of my work.
One thing that I started doing late on in the module was using the screens provided by the college that can connect to laptops. Providing I got in early enough to grab one to use, I fully understood the benefits of using one. It much clearer designing on them and I intend to keep on using them.
I mentioned there, ‘… if I got in early enough to use (a screen)’. This is an issue that needs addressing. I worked out that my average time of arrival had probably been somewhere around 10 in the morning. I should be starting at half 9. I admit that this is a bit lax, however, I think staying late till at least 7pm and 9pm frequently plus working into the night at home can justify a slightly later start. Nevertheless, if I’m going to make the most of my time here, I should be starting early.
All in all, this module has been a fantastic push forward in my developing career as a designer. It has been a good experience shuffling around which projects to work on and learning how to prioritise certain things over others. It is a skill that needs developing but you have to start somewhere.