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Showing posts from 2015

Animated experimentations for the projection project

Projection project experiments

I am experimenting aesthetically with techniques and overall moods for the projection project, using these experiments to direct my development. The aim is to produce a consistent style throughout these projections to tie them all together aesthetically so that they look belonging. I have used a mixture of my own imagery as well as found imagery to conduct the below experimentations:

This was some found imagery; I was experimenting with colour and subtle additions of animation to create an overall mood.

For this one below I took a few consecutive shots to experiment making footage from a series of photographs:

Inspiration for my projection project

I have been looking at how people have done different styles of animation that invokes a mood, as well as generally interesting techniques. Here's some below:

This video above is predominantly hand drawn animation, however I'm interested in the parts that have collated photography/filmwork alongside the animations, and how they interact with each other. The use of black and white throughout ties the whole animation together well.

I like the technique of ink dropped on to water to develop an illustration in front of the camera. Different coloured inks could represent different moods. I think the difficulty would be rendering illustrations that would be comprehensive and easily understood. Also an excellent video camera would be required in order to pick up the fine details, a video camera with good macro abilities.

I'm not entirely sure how this was made, but a guess is that it's a sheet of tracing paper or something similar, with the 'animator' standing behind,…

Unpaid internships

Internships are more or less essential for anyone who wants to break into the design industry. Job postings specify experience in nearly all cases, and even if this isn't a 'requirement', it's certainly preferable and those who have experience have the edge over those who don't. Currently, the law in the UK means companies can have people work for them as 'work experience' without having to pay the student/graduate. This is where the problems arise.

Companies get the opportunity to attain a 'free' worker. Graduates fresh out of university who can use the software and have a smashing portfolio, along with an amazing skill set, can be used for little to absolutely no cost. What's more, companies are under no obligation to employ the graduate after the internship is finished. Arguably some companies are running their business model partially on the availability of graduates who are desperate for that all important experience. Cycles of skilled peop…

Where did the last 6 weeks go?!

Well, I've seemed to have abandoned this blog! Absolutely not the case, however time has rather ran away from me. I've so far had 2 projects, and onto a third alongside the ever present dissertation. I've also been ill numerous times...pharyngitis, food poisoning and finally a chest infection which is my current illness - my immune system has been taking a proper beating these past 6 weeks! It's all been madness; I even got made redundant but thanks to the TUPE law, even though my current company lost the contract, the new company coming in legally has to employ me - yey I have a job! For a period of two weeks however there was no sign of a new employer coming along to save I was very stressed! All of these factors have meant I have been one stressed-out woman, juggling endless worries. Most are gone now - well - except obviously dissertation which looms in the background.

My last project which was a publication on Adrian Frutiger has just been handed in. Didn&…

Final days of placement

Seeing as I only have Thursday and Friday left of my placement, I thought it would make sense to do a post on what I have learnt. You always hear of people saying how important it is to get a placement because you learn stuff you don't learn in university blah blah, talking about how it's different in the real world. And you know what? It is.

First thing that immediately springs out is that if you send something to print at university and there's an error, it's frustrating but the cost of a reprint is most likely under £10. A sting if you're living on not much more than that a week. In the real world however, it's not your weekly budget that's on the line. It's potentially thousands of leaflets, posters, business cards etc with big budgets to match. If you mess up, the company or person you are working for is going to have to pay, and it will be a lot more than £10. What's even more, is that your reputation is also on the line, and the fact you will…

Summer reaching an end

This coming week is the final week before university commences - I'm really looking forward to starting third year, even if it is the beginning of the end of my (formal) education, and the real world is just around the corner.

So, what have I done with my summer? Redesign and recode my website - twice - as well as working on placement for 7 weeks where I have learnt an awful lot. I've drawn up a list of projects I'd like to do in third year, and I have thought on my lines of enquiry for dissertation. Admittedly I haven't done as much reading as I would have liked to have done on dissertation, but at least I've thought on the areas of which I'd like to study. I have also documented this both on my dissertation blog and my notebook where I mind map and write stuff down.

This final week before uni will be used for cracking on with dissertation so it's all fresh in my mind for any up and coming meetings on the essay that I assume commences the same week I start…

Logo design in the digital age

Everyone is talking about Google's new logo design. If you haven't already noticed, here is before and after:

Me personally - I'm largely undecided over if I like it or not. One thing I was certain I liked, was its flexibility on screen and that part of the new logo involved how it could be animated in a digital context.

Before the boom of the digital age and computers, logos were designed for solely print in mind. Once the internet really took off and companies saw the benefits of being online, logos were having to be considered for digital screens. Now digital screens are gaining more prominence in people's lives than print and so it's vital now that logos are designed with a strong consideration of digital implementation. Think of how much time you spend on the screen compared to printed products. Emails, phone applications, online banking etc. Of course in the real world as you walk through streets and towns you will be consciously (and subconsciously) inundate…

Oh dear...

I think I have that curse of never being satisfied with my website design. Although I'm really eager to start coding and building a new one straight away (I have a design already), I want to fully ensure I'm going to be happy with it 110%. That and I think it will be a good idea to incorporate this as a self-branding project in third year. This way I can dedicate time to it properly because at the moment I'm darting between my current 3 jobs, and my very sparse spare time when I'm not catching up with food or sleep is spent reading for my dissertation.

The lesson I've learnt from this? Designing for yourself is incredibly hard. And also don't settle on a design if you're not 110% happy with it. On the plus side, I learnt how to do responsive website coding whilst building my current site design, so the time spent certainly hasn't gone to waste!

So below is the new website design, very roughly outlined below. I need to experiment more with the overall pr…

What I learnt in second year

I've lately been thinking over what I have learnt now over the past few years at university. So I've compiled a (lengthy in depth) list. I don't expect anyone to read this; if anything this is more of a useful reflection for myself to read back through. So here goes.

1. Looking at good design improves your own.

I follow a good amount of blogs using my blogging app Feedly, as well as lots of boards on Pinterest. I've collected inspirational pieces from both of these sources onto my Pinterest whether I found them useful for a current project, or useful in general. I've found the more I've looked, the more I've learnt, and the more it's inspired me. This has been a key factor in improving my own work because I learn what looks 'good' and what doesn't. It helps me understand why something I have designed just doesn't quite hit the nail on the head yet.

It's also important to never stop looking. If I see a good beer label (I found one toda…

I know I just redesigned my website within the past two months, but...

I'm already thinking of redesigning my website - again! My new current site is an above the fold design, which means that the website is designed so that specific pieces of the webpage stay above the point in which you need to scroll. In my case, it is the entire site.

It has it's positives, in that the user can see all the information they want as soon as they land on any of my pages without having to scroll or look around to find where they want to go. On the downside of things, it was difficult to make it work responsively. It works don't get me wrong, but if a browser isn't just that bit long enough. a 'pointless' scroll bar appears. Pointless as there is no content hidden below the fold except presumably the actual div box that holds the content. This is something that sounds incredibly easy to fix but I'm pretty sure I tried previously and it didn't work for whatever reason. I recall it being related in some way to the fact I have the website code…


I just started my placement today - the time flew by! There's lots of exciting stuff lined up to do, and I can't wait to get cracking and make some progress after we now have confirmation on a client's decision. The meeting I joined with a client was a very useful experience in learning how best to communicate and relay ideas effectively, and present initial concepts. I loved the whole interaction process of being able to offer suggestions on solutions to different problems, especially when the client responds positively and is as excited as yourself on the idea. I also experienced the other side of things; that dreaded creative block. We worked through it though, and even though the client chose an idea that was already conceived earlier, it was a choice that will enable us to have a lot of fun with it.

Aside from my placement, I'm also busy on the late evenings when I'm back home researching for my dissertation. I even have my own dissertation (www.laurenminesdis…

Experimenting with compositions

Although not studying illustration, I'm certainly partial to doodling and playing around with illustrating in my spare time, such as this piece I did a couple of days ago:

I recently had an idea in my head of a sailing ship being drawn by two whales in the night sky; a peaceful image. Instead of sketching this idea on paper, I found myself grabbing what I could find off google images to help me decide on a composition.

Admittedly, for the concept image below I didn't actually experiment too much with composition, but actually ended up testing how good my Photoshop skills were; more precisely how well I could match the lighting of two separate images.
Below is a before and after:

Although by no means perfect (and apologies for the poor cutting out of the images, this really was just a rough sketch up of what the illustration idea I had in my head was), I was quite pleased with how I managed to alter the lighting. 
In the process I learnt how useful it can be to mock-up illustra…

Quick update

As a piece of experimentation into 3D type, I came up with this piece, looking into what type could be 'made of'. Perhaps pt could be a unit in which 1pt = 1 letter of a certain size. So in this image below, the big 't' could be 1,000,000,000pt in size, and so is made up of 1,000,000,000 't's inside of it.

Although just a quick experiment, I may at somepoint texture this into something better than the standard grey material.

Folding Paper

I have had the below book for quite some time:

Yet only recently have I gotten round to reading it properly. I decided to give a very quick shot at one of the paper fold designs, and came up with this little thing:

Despite appearances, this was quite tricky to do. Also thicker paper is a must; I used thin copier paper as I just wanted to try it out quickly but it soon became apparent that it wasn't great at holding a shape. If it's too thick however it could prove tricky to do the folding so there will have to be a compromise.

Although on the surface these folded pieces of paper may look like they serve no purpose other than looking nice, there are several pieces in the book which have packaging potential. Furthermore, I was inspired by how some of the pieces looked almost like pieces of architecture, so I think there's an opportunity to make some physical structures and photograph them as if they were buildings.

In other news, I feel I've been suffering from creative …

The internet is here!

So a couple of days ago we finally got internet in the flat! Which meant time to sort a lot of things out. I got my website ( live which is very exciting. However, there is some tweaking to be done. I found even though my website functioned as it should in Dreamweaver browser preview, when it went live there were a few little niggles that appeared. I'm now working on them to fix them (although some issues are proving nigh-on impossible to solve, so I may have to look to replacing some html and css with java script) but at least I have a far better website design than the previous one! I found it to be an incredibly useful learning process, self teaching myself responsive web design. I've enjoyed it too which is also important.

After I sort my website out, I'm unsure as to what to pursue next. I want to design some business cards, a cv, and a portfolio for myself. These are 3 big projects in themselves as I obviously want them to stand out from the crowd w…


I find coding comes relatively easily to me (most of the time...), so my problem isn't understanding it. My problem is redesigning stuff halfway through! Plus, there's been a few tough obstacles to overcome, despite me thinking my design would be simple to do.

I'm trying to have an 'above the fold' website in which once you click onto the site, everything is there on one page without scrolling down for more content. This involved making stuff responsive vertically which isn't as straightforward as making stuff responsive horizontally. The solution was simple enough, and so the only other issue was the nav bar being annoying. In the end I just didn't make the nav bar consist of any listed items then voilĂ ! Problem fixed. 

Now I'm just sorting out my images for the site, and a few other bits and pieces of small things to do that take weirdly longer than the bigger stuff. Oh, and you've guessed it - still no internet in the flat! So I've been sat her…

Once again, I'm still alive...

Our internet has still not been sorted out, something to do with the engineers but we expect it to turn up sometime in the next two weeks! Posting on here is difficult without pc internet access to attach photos but I expect to go to uni tomorrow so I may get the chance then.I've made really good progress with my new website as I came across difficulties with the responsiveness, mainly a pesky navigation menu not doing what I wanted it too. I still need to fully design a page or two, and make sure it works on mobile and tablet devices effectively but the underlying foundations are done.After the website I plan to design a business card, CV, portable portfolio to give out and a full size portfolio design. I also have dissertation research I'm looking forward to commencing, working on narrowing down my question. I will be taking full advantage of the university library over summer and so will be spending some time there quite often.So yeah, can't wait for the internet to arr…

I'm Still Alive!

I'm going to have to keep this post reasonably brief as I'm typing on my phone...reason being I have moved house and there is no internet until at least the 17th of June, so I'm relying on my phone which is getting a very poor signal.So, what have I been up to? Well, moving house mostly. It's exciting but stressful. Lack of imternet makes doing certain design projects I want to do difficult, as getting tutorials/general help is nigh on impossible. I only have 1GB of data allowance on my phone, nevermind poor internet from it!I've entered the BBC Oneshow OS map symbol competition, which I found an enjoyable challenge. I also sent in my dissertation proposal, which is to be on typography (awaiting for feedback from my tutors to see how to proceed). However, I'm excited to start reading the book 'An Essay on Typography' by Eric Gill, both as benefit to myself in general but also some dissertation research.For the dissertation research, I will be setting up…

Website Progress

So, after several hours of coding, I have so far got a basic underlying structure for the desktop site:

A simple horizontal scrolling site, with fade transitions to each page. I've of course got to put in all my projects but once that is done, and the social media buttons are added, it will be a case of making this responsive and thus suitable for portable devices. 
I've had to do a LOT of research for seemingly simple sounding things such as slideshows and such. But it's been worth it as hopefully by the end of this I will have a more personally satisfying website.

Have I Finally Settled on a Website Design?

When I say settle, I mean I won't want to change it within 2 days. I have come up with this design and found it simple enough to focus on the work, but also has a clear structure to it. I plan for pages to transition in some way, perhaps fading in and out but this is something I will experiment with.

I've also started to teach myself responsive web design, I found some good online tutorials which took a while to locate. The best one being a chap on YouTube who kept it nice and simple! Essentially, responsive design coding is exactly that; simple. It seemed it, but a lot of websites I went on for guidance seemed to overcomplicate it. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong places...

Anyway, here is what I hope will be a design I won't want to change in a couple of days (ignore black outlines, this was just where the design didn't fill my laptop's screen): 

I've found myself really busy this week, as I'm covering at work at a site about an hour's drive from where…

Website Redesign

One of many projects to do over the summer, is the re-designing of my website. Currently I feel it lacks impact, and presentation skills. I'm having difficulty settling on a design however. 
I want something clean and simple that will showcase my work, and also allow prospective clients and employers see specific types of work i.e. editorial, photography etc, quickly and easily. Here's a snippet of a design idea I had, but that I'm not all that convinced of yet.
The graphic design section, with a side bar that when a category is selected, instantly filters out such work:
An example of what a specific project page could look like:

Importantly, this website will need to be responsive; adaptable depending on the device the website is viewed upon. I think essentially this requires separate designs for significant size differences. The mobile website may look entirely different from the desktop, as ease of access is most important on mobile devices. A simple 'scaling down' …

Whisky Packaging; The Result

After many, many hours of hard labour using 3DS Max, I finally achieved some renders for my final design:

Overall I'm proud as to what I've achieved in such a short space of time relative to the learning curve of the program (namely texturing; I used V-Ray for this and glass is notorious for not only being one of the most difficult materials to texture, but also taking such a long time to render). 

Over the summer I will be spending more time with the program, with scope of being able to turn to this program more often if suitable. I have noticed that many graphic designers do actually use 3DS Max commonly in their work, and it is becoming a popular tool within the graphic design industry.

This was the last university project for the year, and now I am busy putting together all my work and final submissions for the end of the semester. I feel I have learnt a lot this year, and I feel like I have pushed myself hard too.

(Slightly) Better Bottle Renders

Only a couple of days to go until I complete this current whisky university brief. As I posted earlier on last week, I've been experimenting using 3DS Max in order to be able to visualise my design. Although not totally settled with a bottle design, here are some examples of the sort of experiments I've been doing with shapes, textures and lighting. My main aims of these experiments were to see what textures I could achieve, and what lighting suited the environment.

None of these are my final design, but have helped me inform my decision into a better direction.

I'm still extremely new to 3DS Max, and texturing I barely knew at all before this project, so I've had to put in a lot of time to teach myself using my own initiative to achieve these results. Baring all this in mind, I don't think I've done too bad of a job.  A lot of hours have went into this!

Whisky Project

My new current university project is to design packaging for whisky aimed at 18-25 year olds.

The final design will have to be represented in some way, as we don't have the resources to physically make a glass bottle (unless of course, the final packaging design doesn't involve glass, but perhaps cardboard). With this in mind, I have been doing some very rough mock ups on how I could texture the product in 3DS Max, and here are some results:

Considering I had no access to references or tutorials regarding texturing glass (and so relied on my own initiative), I'm pleased with these quick mock ups so far. Although the focus of this project isn't rendering a product in 3D (we are not taught any 3D software, this is the result of me teaching my self after a few hours), I believe it will be a strong and useful skill to have in the industry; being able to mock up quickly packaging products without having to use a third party.

Easter Holidays

The Easter holidays for most students are a break, not necessarily for me though! I've been spending some time redoing some projects ready for the reassessment due in May. Below are a couple of preview spreads in progress of my magazine editorial:

I also plan on tweaking my TV Ident that needs one or two small changes applying. What I can't believe though is the fast approaching end to my third year of study at University, and the end of year 2 of this course. I have a big list of things I would like to do over summer (as posted earlier, but now with lots more added), but I'm doubting if 4 months is really enough time for it all! 

The one big thing I can't wait to get to work on, is redoing my website which I believe has been in desperate need of redoing since I made it...all I've managed so far is quick thumbnails before getting stuck. The difficulty is balancing something that reflects my personality whilst displaying my work in a clean and simple to navigate manne…

Branding Animations

The current briefs I am undertaking at university involve creating new identities for two clients; one a photography conference called 'Visualising', the other a charitable trust called 'The Hadfield Trust'.

Below are some examples of how their logos could be animated for digital use.

The Hadfield Trust:


Creepy Character

Like many people, I have moments of procrastination. This time, it involved a spur of the moment drawing of an emaciated, elongated weird character. I ended up scanning it into Photoshop and spending around 20 minutes playing around adding some shading to it. Here is the result:

I have been incredibly busy as of late with university work (well, when am I not?!), hence it being a month since my last post. I have spent the last week or so writing an essay, deconstructing three advertisements using semiotic terminology. Very intellectually challenging stuff. Now I'm undertaking two client briefs at university, both involving a re-brand. I haven't felt like I've been able to really get to grips with this latest project, owing to the essay I have on my hands. Luckily now I only have to clean up my references and I'm done. Then I can continue happily with the new projects.

Plans for Summer

I recently looked at my timetable for university, and realised how quickly this academic year is now coming to an end. There's less than 3 months now of doing work, which lead me to the question of how will I spend my summer?

I have a part time job but this is only 10 hours a week, 2 hours a day, Mon-Fri, 5pm until 7pm. This leaves a large portion of time to dedicate to something else. Admittedly, last summer I could have spent my time more wisely. It's important to enjoy the sunshine and the free time, and I did achieve some progress with my sewing skills, but I felt like I questioned myself once summer was over, what did I actually do?

I will be moving from year 2 to year 3 at university, so really this is my last summer where I won't be worrying about applying for my first design job, and also one summer closer to the real world. I think therefore this time will be crucial to add to my portfolio. 

I feel my portfolio seems empty, lacking in the things that reflect and show…

Experimentation with Transitions

For the above example experimentation, I experimented with the ways I could transfer from one scene to the other. I tried instead of a simple one scene to another straight forward transition, to integrate the two together so it provides a more flowing and interactive experience, that's certainly more interesting to watch.

I will be continuing to experiment for the next few days on different transition types, but I am nearly decided on this style already.

More Animation Experiments

Over the past few days I have been continuing my experimentations for the TV ident project. I have a few ideas in mind now in terms of aesthetic, and it seems every day I come up with an idea that I think is good, but the next I come up with another I like just as much. Luckily, we have had the deadline of our project extended so I can take a little more time in deciding the best way forward for this brief. Below are some examples of what I've been doing:

So far I really like the aesthetic of the bottom animation. However, whilst experimenting I found perhaps mixing the half-tone style of the photos of the toy dinosaurs with the paper hand made feel textures seemed worthy of trying out, so this is what I shall be doing next.