Assignment 1 – Self Assessment

Creativity

I am not sure that my idea for my postcards was particularly creative or unique, but I did want to create cards with simple, clearly communicated messages which were playful and fun and I hope that I achieved this. I did also give consideration to some of the more subtle ‘messages’ about me, in my postcards, such as using photography for the postcard images which is something that has been a major part of my life in recent years and using my own handwriting to write on the back of the cards which I felt was more personal and unique to me than using a handwriting style of typeface.

Research and Idea Development

I did not carry out much research for this particular assignment although my design ideas were initially influenced by reading I had done around graphic novels. However, I did give quite a lot of thought to what I wanted to communicate, who my audience was and which of my ‘messages’ would work using the idea of taking a photograph of something with text in it and then manipulating the text to show my message.

Visual and Technical Skills

I have considerable experience in both taking photographs and manipulating them using Photoshop, so I hope this comes across in this assignment.

Context

I had not been my original intention, but on reflecting on my assignment, it did occur to me that my postcard designs had quite a playful ‘internet meme’ style which is a very prolific form of social media communication at the moment.

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Assignment 1 – Introducing Yourself

Design a series of at least three postcards (final size A6) that say something about who you are, your interests in graphic design and your wider cultural influences or interests.

Sketch Book Workings

I started this assignment by clarifying in my mind what the objective of the exercise was and thinking a little bit about who the ‘audience’ for my postcards would be:

I then worked on a mind map of ideas of what I might want to say about myself. I pulled out the main messages I wanted to communicate in the points in the top right box.

I then started thinking about ideas for post card designs:

My initial design ideas for the postcards were influenced a lot by some investigation I had doing around graphic novels and their use in educating adults. However, I felt that my initial ideas were leaning more towards illustration rather than graphic design and I felt my postcards should include more text in them.

I am also not confident in drawing and felt that basing my postcards on photographs would communicate more about ‘me’. Photography has been a very dominant part of my life for the last five years, as I worked as photographer, so it felt more appropriate for my postcards to feature photography.

I decided, eventually, to take a series of photographs from around my home which where relevant to the points I wanted to make in the postcards. Each image already included some text inherent within it, but I manipulated the text in Photoshop to communicate the exact message I wanted to make. My idea was that the person reading the postcard would have to look closely to see the ‘hidden message’ in it about me.

My Postcards

Post Card 1

Post Card 2

Post Card 3

Post Card 4

Thoughts on My Final Designs:

I decided to use photographic images and photo-manipulation for the designs of my postcards. I have a lot of experience of photography, (having previously worked as a wedding photographer), and am quite comfortable taking photographs. I also enjoy the process of manipulating photographs and am quite experienced in using Photoshop. As this assignment is intended to demonstrate current abilities, photography felt like a good choice for me, given it has been a very dominant part of my life for the last few years.

Because the postcards were about me, I also felt it was appropriate for the photographs to be from around my home. I did also consider the idea of taking photographs that showed more of my home – I think you can learn a lot about a person from their home environment, but I needed to photograph objects which included text, which often required taking quite a close-up image, so that the text was readable.

I wanted the messages of my cards to be clearly communicated so I kept the message on each postcard quite simple, and with a single message per each card. I do, however, think the card designs may be a bit too simple. I am not communicating anything particularly exciting or complex in my postcards.

I also wanted my postcards to be quite fun and playful and I enjoyed ‘hiding’ my messages in the text of each card, so that the viewer has to spot the message.

For the text on the back of the card, I considered using a handwritten style of typeface but I felt that I wanted the message on the back of the card to be my actual handwriting. I felt this worked better with the concept of a traditional ‘postcard’ which would have a handwritten message on the back. Also, if you believe in ‘graphology’ (learning about a person’s personality traits from their handwriting) then, in theory, you will also be able to get some clues about me from the way I write. That said, I found it quite difficult to write using a pen stylus and tablet, so I am not sure the handwriting is very representative of my usual handwriting style!

One interesting question that came up for me with these images, was a question of copyright. Is it appropriate to take a tin of Whiskas cat food and swap the name of it using Photoshop? Similarly, is it permissible to take a screen shot of the BBC news and invent my own ticker across the bottom? Interestingly, I noticed that the BBC were recently sharing similarly ‘doctored’ images (memes) of their own news bulletins that others had shared on social media – which made me wonder exactly what are the rules here?!

Another challenge I had with this assignment was working out how best to sketch out my ideas for the postcard designs. I  do not have much experience of drawing and I ended up ‘sketching’ my ideas quite slowly, carefully and neatly – which felt quite inefficient and did not really feel particularly ‘creative’. I am not sure at the moment whether it is worth sketching an idea out more slowly and carefully and really think about it or sketch quickly and more messily, so that the focus is more on forming the idea rather than the sketch itself.

Finally, I had originally wanted to print these postcards but I could not find a company that would let me print a small print run of double-sided postcards where the design on both the front and back of the card was different.