Thursday, 26 April 2012

Speaking from experience

Write three problems that could be addressed.
Time management skills
Sometimes my lack of motivation
Budgeting my money

Five reasons why
I am quite dyslexic so I can be quite unorganised with my work load. Some weeks I don't get as much work done as I could because I don't always get my priorities straight. I can get quite distracted and I often get overwhelmed by my to do lists.

I sometimes leave certain tasks for weeks, and this often leads to a backlog of work I need to be getting on with. Some of these tasks range from typing up lecture notes to design principle blog posts.

Due to living away from home, my motivation can sometimes lag. I cannot just put all my energy into my work anymore because I have to look after myself. I can get overwhelmed and I sometimes don't know where to start when it comes to tackling a brief. I also feel that I sometimes bombard myself with inspiration and my brain goes into over load and I start comparing my work to others. I think I need to stop trying to be a perfectionist.

In September I told myself that I had to write down all of my spendings into a little book. I have tried to keep up with this task, however I have missed a few costs out. I think it is important to write what I have spent down because it will give me a realistic figure of how much money I will need for second year.

When I go shopping I sometimes over spend. I am rubbish at maths and I find it hard to take my time in the Morrisons in town because it can be quite busy. I often loose count of my total and by the time I get to the check out I have gone over budget and I have to carry all my bags back to the flat because I can't afford a taxi.

Five ways to solve and deliever
Write to do lists and break them up so the tasks don't look too daunting.
Prioritise my time better and go to bed early.
Buy a calculator to use when I go shopping.
Take breaks when constructive motivationa and inspiration is lacking, for example watch a film, make some food or go for a walk.

Write 3 messages to myself in the past.
Don't be too harsh on yourself.
Don't leave your OUGD404 module tasks to the last few weeks before hand in!
You should have taken that dyslexia sooner!

5 reasons why
I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my work and I always want to push myself. This can be quite exhausting and I can put myself down about things.

I sometimes get really tired from doing work and I feel bad about stopping doing my work.

This course makes you juggle a lot of things at once so you have to be strict on your time management. I found it hard to keep up with 404 and I missed a couple of lessons because I was ill. I missed a lot from those two lessons and I found the colour theory work hard to understand.

If I had not left 404, I may be getting a better mark.

I should have taken my dyslexia test sooner. I was put off by the thought of paying out £260 for a test. I do sometimes struggle with some of the essay writing/course tasks so before easter I booked a test. In the end I thought about how much free stuff you get that can benefit my work.

Five ways to solve and deliever.
Take dyslexia test in May.
Don't leave any other module task to the last minute.
Look after myself so I don't get that poorly again.
Take risks.
It's all about the idea at the end of the day.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Mateo Ilasco

I have been looking into some useful stationary that helps with time managment and to do lists. I have found a great site called that do a great range of simple but effective note pads and paper. I really like how they have photographed and presented their work. 

To - Do List's

I have been looking into how to make the best To - Do Lists. I have found a really interesting article about the benefits of To lists and how people find keeping up with task quite hard and overwhelming. The article also lists are few examples of different organisation software people can use to help them with their work load.

Getting motivated with your To - Do List

Task management is certainly an important consideration for any designer – freelance or otherwise. Sometimes, however our to-do lists can become somewhat overwhelming. In this article, I would like to look at one small change that you can make in your approach to task management to make it less daunting and more of a motivating factor in your work.

As designers, we all need to keep ourselves organized in some manner. For many of us, this involves using some form of task management. It could be a complete software package for your computer, a smaller app for your phone, or even a good old fashioned notebook in which you jot everything down. Regardless, the chances are good that you have some kind of to-do list for tracking the various projects and tasks that you have to complete.

The chances are also pretty good that sometimes you look at that always growing to-do list and feel a little overwhelmed, or think that things just aren’t getting checked off as quickly as you might like.
Well, in this article I’d like to share a little trick that I’ve found helps approach the to-do list a bit better, and which can also help keep you energized and motivated in your work.

The Importance of the To-Do

Before moving on, however, I really need to stress the overall importance of the to-do list as a productivity tool. If you’re workload is anything like mine (and I would bet that it probably is at least somewhat similar), then you probably don’t have the luxury of working with only one client at any particular moment. I know that some freelancers do their best to focus on working on only one project at a time, but even then I would imagine that there’s still a certain amount of interaction with other clients – general maintenance, trouble shooting, content changes, and the like.
Add onto this the need to be continually working on some of your own personal projects (something I really think every designer should be doing), and suddenly, in addition to being a designer, you also have to become a juggler of sorts, managing all kinds of work at the same time.
This is exactly what happened to me. When I first started freelancing and was working only for my first client, it was pretty easy. But then I started to get a few more clients. I launched my blog and started to get requests for articles. Soon, my workload started to become far more complex, and I was having an increasingly difficult time keeping everything straight with nothing but my memory.
So, I turned to task management software. We’ll talk more about some specific applications towards the end of this article. For now, suffice it to say that the task management software really helped me keep everything organized, which certainly helped with overall productivity.

The Big Problem

Now, there’s probably nothing all that startling or revealing about the importance of keeping yourself organized with some form of task management. Most of you are probably already doing it to some degree, and I touched on its importance mostly for context – and just on the off chance that there’s someone who’s not doing it.
As important as the task management and to-do lists are, however, I always found that there was a certain overwhelming weight to my to-do list when I first started using it. The problem I faced was really a matter of scope. When I started into task management, I would use really general concepts. As a result, my task list would look like this:
  • Design [client] layout in Photoshop
  • Code [client] layout into custom WordPress theme
  • Design [client] logo

The overall list was generally pretty small, but the individual tasks within it were huge. Designing a complete website in Photoshop can take hours and hours of work. The same is true of coding a WordPress theme or designing a logo. As such, I simply found that my to-do list wasn’t really changing all that much from day to day. This in turn made me feel like I wasn’t making any progress, and was somewhat stuck in a bit of a design rut.
And that’s never a good feeling (whether it’s true or not).

The sub-division trick
Fortunately, we humans are silly creatures, who are perfectly capable of deceiving our own minds, even when we are fully aware of the deception. The solution to my problem involved precisely this kind of deception.
Eventually, I realized that these massive items on my to-do list were simply too big. So, I started breaking them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. For instance, instead of just having a single entry about creating a layout in Photoshop, I might start with something like:
  • Establish a basic grid
  • Create a greyscale wireframe
  • Test several different background options

By using these kind of smaller tasks, the complete list becomes larger, but also a great deal more manageable. Often I can get one, two or even more of these smaller, mini tasks completed in a single evening.
The benefit of this is that, while I may not actually be getting any more work done that I was doing before, it feels like I am getting more done, because I’m actually able to check things off on my to-do list pretty much every day. There is just something profoundly satisfying about completing a task, even if that task is only a small part of a larger project. It’s even more satisfying if I can make a nightly to-do list and complete everything that was on it.
It’s also incredibly motivating. Every time I check something off my list, it invariably gives me the drive to get started on something else. Plus, if I can complete everything I had scheduled for one day, I tend to wake up the next morning with more energy and motivation to keep the momentum of my work going.
Interestingly, all of these positive experiences stem from the simple act of breaking larger tasks into smaller and more manageable mini tasks, all so that I can feel as though I am accomplishing more. And, ultimately, because I feel like I am getting more done and don’t tend to get bogged down by the larger scope of the project, I actually do get more done.
Just by giving myself the satisfaction of being able to actually acknowledge my completion of small tasks, I have actually seen a significant boost in my own productivity

Task Management Software

As we bring this article to a close, I thought it would be useful to offer a brief list of different task management applications that you could use for managing your own to-do lists. If you’re already using a different app, these might provide some interesting alternatives. If you’re not using anything at all, then hopefully you can find something that will work for you.


Remember The Milk


Regardless of whether or not you chose to use one of the above cited programs or a method of your own choosing, the important thing is that you are doing at least something to keep track of your tasks. Beyond that, however, I hope that this article has demonstrated how making just one simple change to the way you handle your tasks can really help to increase your motivation and overall productivity.
It’s a small thing that can pay big dividends.

How To Stay Motivated As A Graphic Designer

I have began to do some research into motivation skills after the work shop we had with Fred about the new brief 'Speaking from experience.' This year I have had a great time but I have also found it tough, especially with the work load and looking after myself. I think motivation is a key issue when being on this course and it stems out to lots of other things. I found an interesting article on the Designrfix website about motivation. It speaks very broadly about the subject but I think it is good to keep things simple. 

Whether you work from home, as a freelancer or as part of a creative team your success as a Graphic Designer hinges upon one thing; your creativity. And in order to keep the ideas fresh, fast and coming you need to take care of your motivation levels. When you’re feeling the pressure it can be hard to stay motivated, but with discipline, a little time and attention to the way you work, you can help prevent your inspiration from drying up.
Naturally, each individual will find their own way of working, and you should listen to yourself when it comes to finding out how to get your creative juices really flowing – here are a few thoughts and suggestions to help you on your way.

Create your space

Like Virginia Woolf and her own room for writing, you need a space in which you feel comfortable, secure and inspired in order to do your best work. Whether that means organizing your desk space to your tastes or building your very own home-office, take the time to think about developing an environment that’s conducive to creativity.

 Set your goals

It’s important to set yourself deadlines and targets for your work, but keep them realistic. One of the most common reasons projects fail or turn out to be disappointing is when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Keep your goals manageable – and reward yourself when you achieve them.

Find your flow

Some people are at their most creative first thing in the morning, and find the earlier they start work the more they achieve. For others it’s late at night when inspiration usually strikes. Take the time to understand your work flow cycle and try to give yourself the space at these times to think.

Do your homework
Get as much information and facts on each project before you even consider opening your sketchbook. In the classic guide A Technique for Getting Ideas by James Wood Young, he suggests indexing your findings on a card carousel so you can quickly access and flick through information. Learn as much as you can, and then do your best to forget it. You may be surprised by how quickly your imagination can become ignited by a project when you aren’t forcing an idea.

Escape the studio
Escaping your nine-to-five environment is one of the best ways to keep your motivation levels high. Take a walk, climb a hill or go for a run – simply getting out and about and enjoying some exercise will clear away the cobwebs and you’ll feel refreshed and re-invigorated when you’re ready to return.

Ignore your peers
This may sound controversial, but if you’re someone who is always comparing yourself to others around you, try taking them out of the equation. Focus on your workload, your priorities and your imagination. We’re not suggesting you should completely ignore the work of other people,  but if you can give yourself space to think without the benchmark of more successful peers in the back of your mind you’ll find it much easier to concentrate on your own progress.

Meet your peers
The flipside to the above is to make use of fellow graphic designers and draw on the example and inspiration they can offer. It can be helpful to talk to other designers who have gone through the same highs and lows of life in the creative industries. Listen to their coping techniques, source out new work opportunities and get involved in your local design scene – by being present in your sector you’re more likely to feel spurred on to action.

Keep your tools to hand
Next time you see a six-sheet you like, a random piece of type on the train or want to take a quick sketch of an interesting passerby don’t let the opportunity pass you buy. Always keep your sketchbook, smart phone or scrapbook with you to collect random thoughts and musings as they happen. Often these golden nuggets can flourish into some of your best work yet.

Seek Inspiration
Whether it’s a gallery, a play a movie or a gig, take every opportunity to broaden your horizons by attending cultural events in your area. Motivation hits a high when you’re developing new ideas and solutions, so enhance your imagination-bank with plenty of rich and stimulating activities.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Speaking from experience - 5 Things

Friday, 6 April 2012

Erik Kessels Poster Competition

A few days ago I found out that my rain poster was shortlisted for the Erik Kessels poster competition! I am really pleased to have been shortlisted, especially in my first year of a graphic design degree!

Shortlist flickr page

Sunday, 1 April 2012

All about Lizzi

This is the final double page spread. I am pretty happy with what I have produced. I put the text from the interview and a small picture of Lizzi baking because it is one of her favourite past times.

A thing that Lizzi likes to say is 'Hey Girl' so I overlaid this over her portrait. I wanted the 'hey' to frame her face so I situated it in a spot that doesn't distract the photo.

Lizzi's favourite colour is pink so I have placed a pink over lay on top.

I did a mini photoshoot with Lizzi for my double page spread, I then put it into Photoshop and ran it through the half tone filter. I think it produces a really cool effect.

I interviewed Lizzi with a range of questions. I then developed this in to my own interview and I went to her house and made brownies with her. I already knew Lizzi but I thought it helped me a lot when designing the double page spread.