Final Evaluation

VISUAL RESEARCH
Throughout my final major project I have carried out a range of both primary and secondary research to help with my project. Initially I carried out some initial research on 3 ideas of potential project ideas such as rebranding a nightclub, branding a health product range, and creating a series of posters for an awareness campaign. I carried out some research on each area to find out more about the theme of these potential briefs and to see if I would like to make it the subject of my final major project or not. Once I had done this, I carried out some primary research on my project theme, health. I collected primary material from buying health products for their packaging, as well as secondary research by using books and the internet. I felt that I had collected a lot of research, however on reflection I noticed that although I had collected a lot of research, it wasn’t broad and specific enough and I leant that I had to then go out and collect more specific research on branding rather than style inspiration which I had initially focussed on. I do however feel that I used a broad range of resources to gather my research such as pinterest, thedieline.com, books from Waterstones as well as my own primary photographs and findings. I then responded to my research visually, by drawing. Although my drawings aren’t the strongest, I feel that in a way, this helped me a lot in terms of finding a suitable style inspiration. For example, I am aware that my drawing ability isn’t the strongest so I chose to look at more simplistic research in terms of style such as the ‘plenty’ cook book which featured outline visuals of fruit. Not only did I like the visual aspect of this, but it also strongly suited my drawing ability and I managed to use this technique in my final designs.  I accompanied this style with a very contrasting style involving a mark making technique which again, is simplistic and therefore easy for me to achieve, as well as visually looking effective. An area for development within my research would be to look at more branded collections to help inspire my designs. I looked at lots of packaging designs which was very helpful however, on reflection, I would have liked to look at more brand collections as I think this would have helped me ensure that my brand packaging worked well as a set and collection

CONTEXTUAL RESEARCH
The context of my brief was to consider the themes surrounding health. Instead of looking directly at designers and artists, I took inspiration and ideas from the research I found within healthy cook books I found within Waterstones in Newcastle. The visuals I found within these books were both visually diverse as well as strongly linked to the context and theme of my project. On reflection, I would have liked to have looked at an artist or designer as I think that this would have helped bulk up my research as well as adding further inspiration which could have potentially really benefited my final outcomes. When trying to come up with a name and logo for my brand, I used the internet to come up with words related to the theme and context of health. I generated a huge list of word associations which really helped me come up with my brand name. Similarly when I was coming up with my logo designs, I used pinterest to seek inspiration from already existing brands and logo designs, as well as further research documented in my sketchbook. When carrying out research I wanted to ensure that it was all within the context with my project as I felt that looking at healthy products and packaging would be most beneficial father than looking at unhealthy products as they both have different styles and design elements. However, I did discover throughout this process that although that is helpful, having a broad range of research is also very beneficial for example, I looked at one book called the ‘Taco Cookbook’ which included recipes for tacos which are unhealthy snacks. However, I really loved the designs throughout the book including the harsh mark making and I wanted to include this in my brand in some way. I am happy that I learnt this throughout the process of my project as It is what created my final designs. I also looked on the dieline.com which was useful as this was the only time I looked at complete brand collections which was very fitting for contextual research as I was also creating a brand collection.

EXPERIMENTATION
This was the most enjoyable part of my project as I got the chance to play around and experiment with materials which were very useful for my final outcomes. Firstly I experimented with drawing by visually communicating my ideas and thought processes on paper in response to my research. Again in response to my research I experimented with water colour to created visuals of fruit and vegetables inspired by a cookbook I looked at. This technique was new as the process involved drawing the shape of the object I want to create (eg. Carrot) on paper with water and then dropping bits of water colour onto the water to create the infill shape of a carrot. I really liked this effect as it created a very detailed defused effect which was very interesting, although it was very hard to do. I looked into another cookbook called ‘sicily’ where they visually communicated images of fruit with a collage cut out effect and unfortunately, I didn’t get a change to experiment with this which I would have liked to and I feel that I missed an opportunity here. I also looked into mark making using large brushes and black paint. This was inspired by the ‘Taco Cookbook’ which I also looked into. This process way entirely experimental as all I set out to do was create a variation of marks and shapes with the use of black paint and a brush. I really wanted to capture the brush stroke effect and I did this by creating shapes and marks with little paint on the brush so that the individual brush hairs were visible on the paper. I really enjoyed this process and loved the simplicity of the results I created. I then pushed this further by using a roller and paint to create a background of marks. I loved this however it was too busy and complex to use within my packaging designs. Finally, I explored my ideas digitally by using both photoshop and illustrator. I really pushed myself when creating my final designs as I began using illustrator which I had never used before so I learnt a new software whilst creating my final designs. I do feel that I strongly explored a range of materials within the experimentation stage, however I would have liked to have made more use of some of the images I created. I feel that I pushed myself to work traditionally rather than just digitally as I feel that I work better digitally and lack confidence and ability working traditionally however I am very happy that I gave it a go and even ended up using some of my own hand drawn illustrations which I created within this stage within my final designs.

IDEA DEVELOPMENT
This was the stage which I felt I struggled with the most. I used the ideas I had from the experimentation process to begin developing digitally. I began on photoshop and I quickly found that this was not very helpful and was restricting my designs so I moved onto illustrator which was very helpful, however I didn’t have a clue initially how to use it. I found the development stage hard as I had not yet decided upon a name or logo so I was trying to develop both types at the same time, as well as using a new software which I didn’t know much about. After beginning my developments for the name ‘Nectar’ I realised that this was the name and logo I wanted to go with as it was more simplistic and easier to work around. At this stage I was still creating various developments of my ideas however I was far from happy with any of them. No matter what I did my designs were just not coming together so I decided to revisit my sketchbook to get some more ideas and inspiration and this is when I decided to include imagery of fruit and vegetables inspire by the ‘plenty cookbook’. This really pushed my developments as now I had a solid idea of what I wanted to create so it was just a matter of developments and tweaking until I got there. I chose to develop all of my ideas and designs digitally as this is the best way I find to visually show my ideas and thoughts as I am more limited working traditionally. I do however feel that if I did initially attempt to fully explore my ideas in my sketchbook rather than on the computer, that might have helped me avoid the struggle which I encountered. I do feel that working digitally was definitely a strength as I had 9 pages to work on and I just set away creating developments and filling up the pages. They layout of this enabled me to easily jump backwards and forwards from page to page taking elements of my developments and trying them in different designs. I also think that moving from photoshop to illustrator was the best move as it enabled me to create more refined outcomes in a fraction of the time and enabled me to lay out my designs in a very visually effective way for myself to help push my developments to reach my final outcome.

FINAL PIECES
Although I found it difficult initially to come to my final designs, I am very happy with how they turned out. My idea was to combine the two styles of bold mark making and simple illustrations which I do think produced a simple and contemporary yet memorable and outstanding design, and I do think that this was one of my best ideas. I think the final stages of development were my strongest pieces of work and developments as once I was clearer on what I wanted to create and I was beginning to visually show that, I found the development stage much easier from this point. I also really like refining and tweaking my outcomes slightly to ensure I have a professional looking piece of work. The refinement process included simple yet effective elements such as ensuring that all my work was centre aligned within each bottle design as well as ensuring that all font was consistent in terms of style, layout and size across all my work as well as style and layout elements. However, once I had refined these elements, I had a final task of neatening up the edges of the brush strokes which I had used across all my packaging designs. Because I had enlarged the mark so much, the edges were too rough and messy and therefore needed simplifying and some anchor points needed removing and moving. This was the best part for me as I felt at this stage my designs suddenly improved vastly and looked much more professional. I set out in my project proposal to create 1 packaging design for a drink and food product and considering I produced 4 of each, I definitely completed and exceeded what I intended on creating. As well as this I created 2 bottle top variations for each packaging design. I also stated that I would produce two other forms of media which I also completed and actually created 4 bag designs as well as 2 poster designs. I am really pleased with my final outcomes however I wish that I found it a little easier getting there as I feel that I might have wasted a little time whilst I was stuck which I could have been using to develop my ideas further. I intended on creating a simple contemporary brand identity which I feel I have successfully done and still been able to keep the packaging interesting and appealing.

PRESENTATION
The presentation of my research within my sketchbook is clear which I am happy about. Although initially I think I was annotating a bit too much within my sketchbook meaning my pages were a bit cluttered by text rather than image however further on in my sketchbook I found that little bits of annotation in my sketchbook was much better, and including bigger chunks of it within my weekly reflections on my blog. I feel that the presentation of my finished work is of a high standard as I think that it is clean and neat which reflected my brand identity. To keep in with the theme of neat and cleanliness (which also ties in with the context of health) I want to ensure that the way I present my final designs in the final show is the same. I will have a 8×4 foot board to present my work on. I want to include all of my designs however I don’t want to clutter the board therefore I want to make use of surrounding white space on the board. I will be printing my packaging designs A3. I will only be showing one of my posters at the same size as well as 2 bag designs printed A3 too. I have and will further consider the layout of how I wish to present my work. I am ensuring that there will be a significant amount of white space on both the top and bottom of the board and my work will be positioned at around eye level for most people so that they are automatically drawn to my work when they first walk in. I am confident that my work will look clean and professional when presented in the final show. However, I did want to present actual smoothie bottles with my own labels stuck on them for the final show so that viewers could truly see the packaging designs in context however we are not allowed props in the final show so unfortunately I will not be able to do this. I think that the presentation and layout of my sketchbook is good as it is simplistic and clear and I think it also reflects my own style as well as the overall style of my brand identity. A slight weakness is that I may have potentially lost time ensuring that my pages look appealing by re writing titles and ripping pages out because I want happy with the way that they have looked. I could have possibly used that wasted time on something more important.

FINAL REFLECTION
Overall, throughout my final major project I feel that I have learnt lots. For example, I learnt how to use an entirely new software within a 7 week period whilst completing my designs. In a way I think that learning how to use illustrator has definitely made me a better designer as I have learnt how to do things which I have wanted to do in the past but have never been able to do n photoshop and therefore it has restricted me. I have also learnt how to overcome problems and I think the main solution to solving my problem was to sit back, take some time out and revisit my sketchbook looking for further inspiration and ideas. This is exactly what I did to overcome my troubles of being stuck from the development stage to the realisation stages of my project and this solution is something I am going to remember and use when needed for further projects to come. Throughout this project I think that I also learnt how to successfully communicate my decisions and thought processes via my blog. This is something I really struggled to do during specialism however I feel that I am much better at it. I improved by always asking myself the question; ‘why did I do that?’ and I think that this really helped me. I also think that I learnt how to successful created developments on both the computer and then transferring them into my sketchbook. In the past, when I have created digital developments, I have noticed that I have spent a large amount of time out of my sketchbook and then when I come to present my developments within my sketchbook, it has been rushed and I haven’t been able to annotate my developments sufficiently. In this project I overcome this by making little notes of important annotation directly on my illustrator file document so I didn’t forget it in the time I printed it and stuck it into my sketchbook. I also found that creating 1 single document of 9 pages and creating my developments on there, made it much easier for me to follow my own thought processes when I followed it back as you can clearly see all the little changes in a row. Finally I think I developed my refinement skills especially considering I learnt a new way of simplifying my mark in illustrator which made a huge difference to my designs.

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