I thought I would share the starting point to my self initiated project.
I attended a talk at LCC by Alice Twemlow, a writer educator and critic whose work focuses on Graphic Design theory. She talked about book design and especially ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. She talked about a particular squiggle that caught her attention (see the one below)
That then got me thinking about clever design and typography in books. I looked through my own bookshelf and found a very old edition from the 50s of Alice in Wonderland that belonged to my grandmother. I found quite a few interesting playful uses of typography in it, and I especially liked the letters mimicking the tail of a mouse. This inspired me to experiment with type and storytelling for this project.
Our afternoon of drawing at the National Gallery was followed by a zine workshop. We had to use the drawings we made at the gallery and turn them into a zine that reflected our experience of that visit. As I am currently working on my portfolio for DPS, I decided I wanted my zine to be one of the projects I would use in it. I was quite excited about making a zine because it is something I have been meaning to do for a long time and I attempted a few times, and failed to ever complete them.
My zine is about how emotion and intentions can be read in the hands we see in paintings. Especially in renaissance paintings, where poses are usually quite dramatic. I used a quote by Michel de Montaigne which I thought was very fitting of that theme and turned it into a poster to have on the back of my zine.
My self initiated project is inspired by my love for modern classics and bookshops. One of my favourite things to do is go to Waterstones and look at all the beautiful book designs for hours.
I have chosen to make a series of zines (3 or 5) each inspired by a different modern classic. I will use graphic design/ digital illustration and typography to tell the narrative of the story in a purely visual way.
We were all told to meet at the National Gallery and when we arrived we were given a list of objects to draw: eyes, hats, feet… I chose hands. The main reason I chose hands was because they are notoriously hard to draw and I thought I could use some practice.
We had to create a flip book that said something about our practice. I decided to make my flip book of a girl blowing a bubble with chewing gum, because I wanted to reflect the fact that my work is quite playful and often inspired by children’s books illustration.
I got the colour yellow. I created a video during the workshop where I filmed yellow things in my surroundings but I wasn’t very happy with it so I decided to create a new one at home.
Yellow is my favourite colour and as I searched around my flat for yellow things I realised a lot of the them had fond memories attached to them. I thought this might be why I love the colour yellow so much. So I decided to create a small exhibition of the yellow things in my life and what they mean.
In this lecture Frania encouraged us to map our network and create connections between people that knew each other. The aim of the exercise was to see if we had open or closed networks, and see if our connections were in separate groups – friends, family, university, or if they were all intertwined together. I think at the moment my network isn’t as open as it could be and I think it’s something I want to build on.
An open network means you are linked to people who are not connected to your friends and it is really important to have that as designers because it opens up possibilities for collaborations and possibilities to enrich ourselves and our practice through meeting new people. I think it’s a good thing that CTS sessions mix students from different courses across UAL because I enjoy talking to people that aren’t on the same course as me. I think everyone you bother to have a conversation with has something interesting to teach you and it can always open up the gate for new friendships and new ideas to spread. As entrepreneurs we should constantly be thinking about how to enrich our networks and meet people from different parts of the industry.
I recently entered and was part of the winners for a competition called Xhibit 2017, which is an exhibition for UAL students across all six colleges, all courses and all years from Foundation to PhD. I am really excited about this opportunity because I am going to be able to meet all the other students in the exhibition and see their work. This could give me ideas for future collaborations and help me expand my practice.
This term I also did a few collaborative projects that benefited my practice greatly; I did a project with BA Animation students and learnt how to do frame by frame animation on Photoshop, and I also collaborated with some BA Graphic and Media Design students to create an app design (which I had never done before but always wanted to do) for R/GA, the international advertising agency. This has enriched my portfolio so much so I hope to do more and more collaborations this year and in my 3rd year.
Londoners have all heard of the term ‘gentrification’, that phenomenon where a building is knocked down and renewed by upper or middle-class people, usually in poorer areas thus displacing low income families and small businesses. Elephant and Castle, the home of LCC, is one of the many areas in London that are deemed ‘up and coming’ because of gentrification.
The very popular Elephant Artworks is the perfect example of that; described as a ‘creative hub’, Artworks houses over 30 start up businesses including restaurants, bars, shops and yoga studios. The space is made up of recycled shipping containers and is usually quite popular amongst students and young professionals, making for a trendy hangout place. The uglier side of this is perhaps the fact that this pop-up and the ‘Elephant Park’ £1.5 billion regeneration project is replacing Heygate Estate’s 1200 council homes with only 71 new ones. Before it was hogged by developers in 2011, the empty space was also a community area that was used as a playground and football field.
One of the big arguments for regeneration is that it gives opportunities for new creatives and artists to have their work promoted, and at a much cheaper cost than in any other regular studio. Creatives therefore find themselves faced with a challenge: is the death of the artist the birth of the urban entrepreneur? Is it truly a case of ‘adapt or die’? Creatives play a major role in urban regeneration, which benefits them greatly, but perhaps at the cost of other people’s basic needs. Should we as young creatives take advantage of pop-up shops? Entrepreneurs are creators of trends, they observe consumers and create something popular which the consumers will see as cultural, but it is actually a trend. This is exactly what is happening with pop-ups: they are seen as cool, edgy and street, they seem authentic and full of culture but they are actually just trends targeted at a young middle class audience. We are full of trends but we are missing culture.
On Tuesday 21st of February my group was chosen to set up the Beauty Salon. We decided we thought it was beautiful to help others and to donate to charity. We all agreed that we would bring items to sell like clothes that we didn’t wear anymore or some of our personal artwork.
We teamed up with Arts RAG, which is a society that helps volunteer and fundraise for those in need. Their charities are Mind, QEF and Anti-Slavery and the money raised throughout the year gets split equally between all three of them at the end. Arts RAG were also going to help us advertise the event in college and on their Facebook page.
People in our group tried out different poster designs for the event:
We decided to go with Eva’s poster because the information was presented in a more straightforward way whilst also incorporating illustration to keep it appealing.
The room we were allowed to set up our business in was on the eleventh floor of the tower block. At 5.30 we set up the items we were selling on tables, put some music on, and sat down and waited for people to arrive. Which they never did. We eventually decided we would move our things downstairs in the main hall, where we had a much better chance of catching someone’s attention.
Because it was a late afternoon on a Tuesday, most students had already gone home and I think we would’ve attracted more people if we had set it up in the early afternoon. We also only started advertising the event a couple of days earlier, and I think advertising it as soon as we decided on our idea would have been a smarter move.
In the end we did manage to attract a few buyers, mainly by addressing walkers by and touting our products.
Even though every penny raised counts, I think we should’ve thought our idea through a bit more and thought of better ways to advertise our event and our products.
Last week I attended a talk at the British Library about Online Business Databases. The Business & IP Centre in the British Library is a place where entrepreneurs can come and get support for their business idea.
We were given advice on how to seek out all the tools we need to build our own business: advice and funding, market research, company data, business news and journals, etc. There are a number of different websites that are sources of information on the market such as COBRA or KOMPASS. We were introduced to the concept of Lean Startup, which is a methodology for developing businesses that helps entrepreneurs save money developing new products and services that customer’s won’t want by looking at customer feedback in the early stages of the development process. There are two ways to go about doing that research: field research and desk research. Desk research is looking at online business databases, sales data, trends and forecasts, trade journals… Field research is all about going out and talking to potential customers. An entrepreneur can also use social media as a way of observing and conducting experiments on customers. What is important when talking to customers is getting them to talk about their past experiences.
‘Customers don’t always know what they want but they can’t hide what they need’ Cindy Alvarez
Rather than trying to predict customer behaviours, it is better to focus on their past behaviour, which they are likely to repeat.
There are also ways to predict whether customers will pre-oder or buy an early version of your product, like crowdfunding or newsletters. You could also set up a widget on your website whilst developing your product that counts how many people clicked on your landing page.
Ultimately, when setting up your business you are trying to determine a number of things: who is going to help me, what am I going to be selling, how much am I going to be selling it for, are there people whose lives can be improved by what I do, how do I reach them, how much will it cost me, how to I manage the money I earn?