I’m gonna be real and say this term was CRAZY busy and this blog post started off as the end of the spring term post and look at me now in the end of May – yes, that’s how busy this term has been. I feel like I should sum up not only this term but the whole year and finding my footing, which I really hope I have. Now that I’m starting to clean out my things, Ican really see how much we did and how much work was generated. When I come to look at a whole year’s work all rolled up into one I am impressed at how much is there when you really don’t feel it. Maybe at the beginning of the year I didn’t really understand everything that was going on and what was expected of me: settling into a new course, new friends and a new city is always hard (believe me, I’ve done it enough times now) so although it took some getting used to, I really feel like I’ve got my feet on the ground now. Working on my designs, I feel like a real door has opened up for me, I didn’t think that I’d done much or improved that much over the course of year, other than gaining a better understanding of what is going on around me, until Ilook at my work laid out in front of me from the whole year and then I can see a marked difference. Over all, I think that it was such a good experience and that it taught me a lot and there are lots of exciting new projects brewing for next year. While I’m also looking forward to taking a break for a little bit, I’m also excited about all of the new research do be done over the course of the summer and the upcoming year.
I have picked Lucy Ledger, Rachel Ellen Designs and Emmy Designs because they were all founded by freelance entrepreneurs who have designed their own products and market their own businesses.
I believe that some of the most successful marketing tools used today include:
- Instagram: a useful marking to tool that keeps you in the public eye as long as you continuously update and post to it. It is very visual which is great for designers. Many people run their businesses entirely off of Instagram as it is a terrific way to share and gives an even platform to all who want to share their work. I myself and my newly created design account have experienced so many welcoming people on Instagram from the warm and wonderful design community there. I was messaged by a few designers with encouraging messages for my new brand which is a lovely thing to have happen when launching a brand and makes me excited to set foot in the world of design!
- Blogging: a more in-depth way to keep your readers up to date and where you can reflect on your work as well as share upcoming projects with the public.
- Design competitions: pushes you as a designer to design new things and shows that you are able to develop a new style or adapt your own to a prior set brief. Here is my entry into the design a paper gang box by Ohh Deer, a stationery brand that sends out monthly boxes with new stationery designs that one can register to get as a monthly subscription.
- Collaboration with other companies/brands including multi-disciplinary brands: indicates that you can work with other brands and is a terrific way to promote yourself in different settings and expand your personal network.
I have always been a forward thinker: I have been planning to go to university in England since the age of 9 so rest assured that I know how to plan ahead. I like to make plans and set goals, especially the long term ones. For the first two years after I graduate I plan to work as a freelance consultant in Denmark (where my husband is currently living) at a Surface and Pattern design studio, of which there are several of repute in Copenhagen. We are planning on moving back to the US in two or three years and once we are there, have plans for a house and studio where I will be able to work digitally as well as print with ease and where I will be able to build my own stationery brand which I could easily run from my home.
Here’s how I plan to grow my brand and gain experience over the five years after I graduate:
- Year 1: Work in a design studio to get an insider’s feel for the market and gain experience in a professional setting.
- Year 2: Start to build my own brand with a strong online presence by selling my designs via Etsy and my website.
- Year 5: Expand my brand to other markets, onto other websites that are selling similar products and into store fronts so that my brand will gain even more éclat. Expand my studio space and streamline my production process to minimise cost and bring my product to market in a more timely manner.
- Year 10: Hire three employees and have a stable and successful brand that is sold internationally on many different platforms.
After finishing the last module in a an intense two weeks after Christmas vacation, it feels like I have been gone for ages. It is an odd sense, as if we have come back from the holidays and are starting up again, which in a sense is true as we are starting a new project, but not, however, with such fresh eyes as the holidays are long past. It’s ironic: last week I was dying for a new project and this week I am dreaming of going back to my old project, something where I’m not floating around in a sea of ideas and empty space.
In my research for this final new major module about Welsh heritage with a special focus on Swansea, I have looked at the Welsh uprising of 1400, the history of the ship trade and types of Welsh flowers. Having done that, I think now that I am going to go with the second idea, the nautical theme. Considering that I used to be a competitive sailor, things nautical are close to my heart and this gives me a chance to connect with my love of the ocean and uncharted waters and by working up nautical themed stationery, I get to work with two things I love: things nautical and stationery.
The sea holds a special place in my heart, having spent my childhood summers by the sea, both at the beach but more importantly learning to sail. Gloucester, Massachusetts is a fishing town with a long history. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger was based on the real perfect storm which did in fact take place in Gloucester. It is also the summer home of many artists who visited the idyllic seaside town. Winslow Homer painted many watercolors of Gloucester harbor.
I began sailing at the age of eight and as I improved I moved on to competitive sailing which started off as summer racing but as I traveled further afield for sailing I also sailed for longer into the year and before you know it I was flying down to Florida to sail during the winter. A lot of hard work later and I was able to sail for the US at an international event which, happily brought me to Wales for the first time, where I sailed at the British Nationals in North Wales:
Today I get to combine my love of sailing and the sea, which led me to Wales for the first time, with the current reason I am here now, to study, and this very project to create a stationery collection, bringing me almost full circle. The connection between Swansea and Gloucester makes me feel right at home and this project has both lots of memories and new things to be discovered.
The relevance of having stationery in your home after the digital revolution has changed radically, as before it was must and now it is not as essential because we have computers and iPhones where we can take notes, set reminders and send emails. Why do we need to write things down anymore? Besides the fact that it is a satisfying task, studies have shown that you remember what you have written down better if you use a pen and paper than if you make notes or write on your computer. Besides the statistics of it, stationery has an aesthetic to it; like other aspects of design, stationary is another branch in the world of pattern.
It is also important to connect with the place that you are living in. In this day and age it’s so easy to get caught up in your computer/work/movie,what have you and forget to go outside and see the things that are right in front of your face, and I myself am also guilty of that. I’ve lived here almost six months and hardly know the neighborhood that I live in. I live next to the beach and the marina, two places that as a child I used to love so much and now live in the midst of, yet have hardly glanced at it. Therefore I jumped at the chance to be able to gain intimate knowledge of my new surroundings when assigned this brief, something that I am doubly in need of as a foreigner.
Beginning this module feels like starting from square one, and of course it is. After the wonderful and fast-paced Eyle Kishmoto brief, I am now moving onto a much different concept and way of thinking. It’s sometimes a struggle when you have to start from the very beginning, but it’s also very freeing in the sense that you have the ability to explore your surroundings, a new subject and a new way of working. Now we have gone from something very clean-cut and fast paced to something that feels (and I know this bit isn’t true) slower and a little blurry around the edges, not the sharp, bright way of working that was our last brief. It’s a very hard feeling to explain. However, I feel like this gives me the opportunity to learn new things about myself along the way, and I always welcome a challenge.
In the meantime (while I find my footing), here are a few repeats that I am playing with and a couple of doodles:
For the climax of the Eley Kishimoto brief, Pattern the World, I produced six repeat patterns that can be used in an interior context, e.g. wallpaper or upholstery fabric. These were the two kinds of samples that I produced with my designs although they could also be used for different interior contexts like curtains or rugs. All of my designs are produced using Adobe, a design platform I enjoy working on because there are always new things to learn; I enjoy a technical challenge along side the challenge of the design process. It keeps me motivated and constantly on my toes, two things that I think help me make better pattern designs.
Firstly are the three final presentation boards, concept, customer profile and context:
Next we have the six final designs:
Following are more displays as to how my designs could fit into your home:
Here we have a second color way of red:
I think I will just “flash” this post in like this week’s assignment was flashed on us. While we are doing a long Eley Kishimoto brief this term, we also worked on a short one this week. We only had 24 hours to make our designs. I made three designs in two color-ways, each for an iPhone X cover. It was surprisingly fun, and while it was intense and hard work, I personally think I work best under pressure; I feel like I’m more productive, not to mention that I think I produce better work that way.
This is the first, albeit small, project where I felt like I really understood what it’s like to be a designer and the process of designing. It’s a whole facet of production that I wasn’t interested in exploring before, but now am.
I was also really pleased with my designs. I am glad that they got the push that they needed in the final few hours. One thing I need to work on is working through dissatisfaction with my initial design, which I think I really did in this project. I’m almost sad it’s over despite the constant screen time, which is never a good thing for me no matter how much fun I find the project. However, it gave me a new perspective on my working style and I find that stimulating.
Here are my final 6 designs: