In terms of personal development, I think this brief has been really successful for me. At the start of the term, I wanted to do something that I hadn’t really done before, and what I was imagining in my head wasn’t what was coming out. I wanted to get away from the style that I used in Making Connections in second year, because towards the end I really didn’t enjoy it. So in my head, anything vaguely similar would bring the negative from that brief with it. The turning point during this brief was when I decided to try some paper cutting (I can’t even remember now what gave me the idea!), and I really liked the look and playfulness about it. So I produced a few more paper cut images in time for the interim critique and presented both styles of work I had created, but the preferred was paper cutting, I think because it was quite obvious I was more happy with the paper cuts than the watercolour/fine liner work.
It was suggested at the interim that I changed my colours to brighter ones, not necessarily natural. I took this advice, and I think it was another turning point in the brief. Sarah said that it would be much more commercial, with people more likely to buy it, and I can definitely see that now; if I’d stuck with my more autumnal colours I would have struggled to create nice looking designs.
I have enjoyed learning how to use the laser cutter this term, even with some of the technical difficulties that Steve and I had fun fixing! However, I think I’m going to go back to paper cutting next term because it was suggested to me last Thursday that the paper cutting has more of a personal playful feel to it than laser cutting, because the edges aren’t perfect and it won’t be exactly precise. The reason I liked laser cutting was because of the perfect edges but I understand why it was said, and the paper cuts that I first did do have that more playful feel. I think I went to laser cutting because I was stressed about time and it seemed quicker (I don’t think it was in the end because of all the technical preparation in illustrator!). With paper cutting, the paper can be used more sparingly, cutting right to the edges, whereas the laser cutter sort of decides where it’s going and I had to give a bit of space between each piece to allow for the paper accidentally moving. This is important to me because I don’t like wastage and feel quite passionately about the environment! All the papers that I painted were (sort of) recycled, being either from the backs of old sketchbooks dating right back to A Level or from the ‘Craft Cupboard’ at my parents – which now only ever gets opened when I’m home! 😦 I hope that I can do similar or find recycled paper for next term and hopefully whatever my final designs end up on will also be ethically sourced and environmentally friendly.
Overall, I am pleased that I managed to pull this off, and even though I already know that there are a few adjustments to be made, I am happy. I’ve learnt quite a lot about myself and my style, I know that I need to stop procrastinating and get on with things to stop getting so stressed out – but I also know that once my dissertation is handed in I’ll have less on my mind. I’m looking forward to the next module!
After feedback, I changed the backgrounds of my cards to match the pattern inside the corresponding envelope. This links the two together better, and makes the cards more modern, and I think more in-keeping with what I originally intended to produce. They definitely look better than before!
Above is a photo of my space that I set up ready for my presentation to the design group consultants on Thursday. I am pleased with it, as I thought I would struggle for room, but with my mood boards to the right, it gives me all the room on my board for seven of my cards and envelopes with the eighth on the table, so people are able to pick them up and be able to see the back of the card for example. I think using white fabric as a background suits my collection, as it brings out the brightness and freshness of the colours, and isn’t distracting. I am also glad that there was room to have both my sketchbook and portfolio open on the desk, inviting people to flick through, as well as my research book.
Having my mood boards to the side has actually been quite helpful, as it has given me more space on my board, and I also think it is a quite appropriate place for them; as they aren’t too distracting, but are still displayed in a way where they’re easily visible.
I was worried about my mini board, because in my head it was going to end up looking very similar to the full size display. However, it ended up looking good! I think because they are positioned differently they don’t look too similar, and the mini board is almost smarter because the envelopes are all displayed in the same way, and there’s less white space, which I think helps pull it together as a collection.
Overall, I am very happy with my space and how it looks. My presentation on Thursday went well, and I was happy to hear only a few suggestions for improvements – a few of which I intend to do, but I am going to wait for the academic feedback before I do anything, to see what else I can do for the summative deadline.
I wanted to create a logo to go with my collection, that would feature on the back of my cards. I chose ‘BettyRuth’ because I don’t really like my surname so I didn’t want to use it! I have a few friends from school that call me Betty and my middle name is Ruth, creating BettyRuth. Initially, I was just playing around with different fonts to see what I liked and what suited my style best.
While I was in uni using the laser cutter, I had the idea of laser cutting it, using the font I had chosen as my favourite. This actually worked really well, and after playing around with colours and both the cut outs and left over negative space pieces, I choose the orange and blue design. The contrast of the colours and textures works really well and I feel that these represent my style and use of colour and texture.
After scanning my chosen logo, I edited the vibrance, contrast and brightness slightly, just to get the perfect balance.
Though not essential to the brief, it would have been strange not to include envelopes in my collection to go with each card. Perhaps if my collection were to be aimed at a lower price range, then more conventional envelopes would have been acceptable, like white or a plain colour. I decided that I wanted to include a pattern on the inside of each envelope, to make it more interesting and upmarket, as well as it perhaps making it more personal than a standard white envelope.
When it came to making the envelopes, I had a few practice runs with plain white paper first, so I could make mistakes without wasting my professionally printed paper. I first tried making them using an origami method, but it was quite untidy (as I’ve never done origami before!), used up a lot of paper and most importantly, you ended up covering the pattern up on the flap with excess paper due to the way it was folded (see above). So I went on to find a template of an envelope, which I modified to how I wanted my envelopes to look. The original template had a small, straight tab to seal the envelope, whereas I wanted a triangular one. This was relatively easy to do, and I managed to get the right measurements within two or three tries. Pictured below are the two templates I used for my full size and mini board envelopes.
Below is the first envelope I made using the template that features a pattern on the inside (before I changed the colour to match each card). It was at this point that I decided that I was going to put colour on the outside as well, because the white seemed too harsh. So I used the same colour as features on the back of each corresponding card for each envelope.
The hedgehog design is made up of quite simple shapes, so I thought more about what papers I was going to use in the design, and cut three different papers of the head part (one because the original moved in the laser cutter causing some of the lines to not quite line up), as well as an extra detail for the head. I decided not to include this yellow part, as it looked more like a helmet or hat than a detail, and it looked strange, not fitting in with the rest of the collection.
I think it’s clever that I used the paper painted with a fan brush to create the illusion of spikes; in my original drawing I added detail all over this section but I think this is a more appropriate way of showing them, and detail over the top of the texture would be too much. I think an improvement could be the grass starting off the bottom of the design, so you can’t see the bottom of it, and perhaps a small indication of back feet, as it looks a bit strange without them. However I’m not sure how I could achieve this as small parts get lost in the laser cutter. I think the blue background is a good contrast to the brown, which is lucky as I was trying to keep the number of background used around the same for each colour (most are two, except brown and pink which are one, and orange was too bright and distracting to be a background). The pattern on the inside of the envelope links with the design too, with the checks similar to the ‘stripes’ on the hedgehog.
Again, as with the Oak and Dandelion designs, I drew lots of elements for this design and photocopied the best to experiment with the composition. I chose the final composition because it has both symmetrical elements (leaves) and unsymmetrical elements (conkers). I am glad that I chose to include conkers still in their shells as well, as it adds another dimension and detail to the design.
I think the pink background works really well for this design, as it doesn’t have many bright colours, they’re quite natural, so the pink brightens it up. Also, the spikes on the conker shells add the right amount of detail, without them there wouldn’t really be anything to add a fine liner detail to without overcrowding the design. One improvement that I would make is cutting the leaves and conker shells out of different paper so they don’t blend into each other so much. I edited them to try and make them lighter but it wasn’t very easy to do without changing them to a colour that isn’t in my colour palette.