Mood Boards

Below are my four mood boards for the Design Group UK brief, for which my theme is woodland.

theme board

My theme for the brief is woodland, which is quite a broad theme, but this means that I will be able to experiment with lots of imagery and choose my best work. The background photo is one that I took myself on my visit to Fforest Fawr (so are the mushrooms!). I’ve included quite a few animals because I think they will be my focus for my designs, with foliage etc as additional background imagery. I’ve also included a few watercolour images as I’m hoping to go down that route with my work, so you can see where I’m aiming to be by the end of the brief. I’m pleased with this board as I think it explains my theme and intentions quite well.

colour board

For my colours, I have chosen to go with autumnal hues. I chose images that I felt ┬árepresented my colour choices and tried to take the colours from the images. I added grey to the majority of the colours to give them more depth and sophistication, as they were quite bright and child like to begin with – not my target market! The colours that have longer chips are my most important colours, and it’s visually pleasing to be able to see them. I also included some of my own photos in this board (the mushroom and stump).

client board

My customer, the ultimate receiver of the cards I’ll be designing, is a 35-60 year old woman who lives in a rural area, enjoys gardening and going on country walks with her dog. She also often enjoys meeting up with friends for coffee or cocktails. She holidays to The Maldives, and country retreats in the UK, where she reads crime novels. She cares about the appearance of her house inside and out, keeps a few chickens and regularly buys interiors and gardening magazines.

competitor board

Cath Kidston – a designer who’s target market is the same as mine, and is very popular across that group. The colours are very sophisticated but simple, and the imagery detailed, but not realistic. The designs have a vintage feel to them, and I think that is to do with the colours, because they are pale. Also because the designs themselves have details that are older – for example the baskets on the hot air balloons are not what you’d see nowadays.

Carol Robinson – an independent artist who creates mostly watercolour designs for cards as well as art pieces and prints. I really like this particular style of using watercolours, with a wash of colour in a rough shape with a line drawing on top – this is the kind of thing I imagined when I first decided I wanted to use watercolours. I think it’s quite striking because it is so simple.

John Lewis – they have a very varied range but I wanted to include a high street shop, who are slightly more upmarket. These cards are a less traditional way of using watercolours but they work equally well and are a bit more modern, which may be appealing to some of my target market. On the card featuring the blue tit, it looks like paper cutting might have been used, which I might experiment with.

Erin Brown – another independent artist who creates designs for cards and prints, with two main styles of watercolour painting which I’ve featured in my mood board. I prefer the more colourful and less traditional paintings, as I like her use of colour in the background and how it looks nicely messy; but I think my customer would prefer the traditional painting.


Library Refresher

Yesterday in our professional practice session, Martha Lee, the librarian for CSAD, reminded us of ways to research and access information and images.

She showed us how to search effectively to get better results by using “and” and “or” which narrow down results. She also reminded us of how to access databases, and gave us some useful names of image databases which could be really helpful, such as the V&A and The British Library. Another useful site is Fame, a database of lots of companies and their contact details.

This refresher was really helpful as it reminded me of all the resources that are available to me, which will be very helpful.

Fforest Fawr

Yesterday, I visited Fforest Fawr, just outside of Cardiff, to get some first hand research for my theme. It had been a little while since I had been to a woodland area, so it was nice to get back to nature – I used to live in front of a wood and I took for granted how easy it was to see plants and wildlife! I took lots of photos and collected sticks and leaves etc. which I will use for inspiration and possibly for mark making. I’ve inserted a few of my favourite photos I took below.

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My theme for the Design Group UK brief is going to be woodland, focusing on woodland animals. I think that I will pick a particular animal to focus on, with others in the background or on complimenting designs. I will try not to focus too much on animals like foxes and owls, which have had lots of limelight recently! I am hoping to use watercolours with stitch, perhaps a watercolour background with stitch on top – I need to figure out how that may work! I’m going to be creating the line extension of 8 cards for this brief.

Tomorrow I am planning to go to Castle Coch and Fforest Fawr, which are just outside of Cardiff, to gain some first hand research into woodland. Now is a really good time to visit, just as autumn has begun, with all the leaves on the ground it will (hopefully!) look lovely.

A visit to Design Group UK

On Thursday, we visited Design Group UK’s design studios in South Wales. We first went into a room where their Christmas ranges were being displayed. This was interesting to see, as there were multiple themes, as I expected, but for each theme there were then three separate collections. This was because there are three different price points, so one is budget, one expensive and the other sits between the two. The more expensive two collections use more finishes and more complex designs, naturally making it look more luxurious. Seeing this made me think about what price point my collection was going to be for.

We then went on a tour of the studios with Sarah Barker, where we saw mood boards, work in progress and the room where cards get glittered! Seeing the work in progress was really interesting, it was intriguing to see how naturally everyone in the studio seemed to be using the drawing tablets. It was nice to see so much inspiration up around the rooms and we even saw the mini (and very cute) versions of the collections that are sent off around the world!

I think it was very useful to visit the studios as it gave me a sense of what can be done within my collection, and it was helpful to have some questions answered by Sarah and her team.

Reflection of Term 3

The final term of second year was all about helping third years put up their degree show, and improving our work for the summative deadline.

My buddy who I helped display their work was Kathryn Adams; and it was interesting to work with someone who’s work was quite different to mine. I think we have quite similar personalities – a bit perfectionist and wanting to do everything ourselves! Kathryn decided she would do the finishing touches herself, which I was happy about as I didn’t want to be trusted with them in case something went wrong! I think next year, I’ll struggle to hand over responsibility to my buddy. Being a buddy was a really good experience for me, as I saw how much work needs to go into the final project, and how much attention to detail is needed in the final weeks for everything coming together.

A lot of the time, I was just helping out with small details that needed finishing off within Kathryn’s project, and helping her decide on the layout of her exhibition. Quite a few changes were made, and I’m glad that I saw it happen, so I know to expect that my original plans next year may not be the final outcome. I also learnt that it would be good to be organised and have everything ready with a couple of days to go, to give time for things to be changed around or added. When I wasn’t needed by Kathryn, I asked around to see if any other third years needed any help, and most of the time I managed to find another job to do! It was really satisfying at the end of the process to see everyone’s work up looking amazing! I think it is a very useful process for second years to go through, so we could see how putting up a degree show works in preparation for ours next year.

When it came to my own work, I was pretty happy with the grades I received for my formative assessments, so didn’t really feel the need to improve much of my work. I did some drawings in my sketchbook for the Rajasthan project, and it was really nice to look back over photos again, as I haven’t really done that since February/March time. I still need to finish sorting them into chronological order!

We also had our summative deadline for constellation at the start of the term, which was our dissertation proposals. The grade I achieved was ok, but I know I could have done better by being more organised and not rushing towards the end – I know that I need to improve in that area in all my work. I will be trying hard over the summer to start improving my time management and organisation and stop getting distracted by less important things! I know that by doing this I should get more work done, which will in turn hopefully improve my grades; as I will have more development work to explore and experiment. I am both nervous and excited about next year, but if I sort out my organisation I know that the nervousness levels should go down.

Personal Critique of the Textile Degree Show 2017

After spending some time looking around the degree show, I decided on the two shows I liked the most to critique. I looked around the whole school’s show, and was amazed by everything! Of course, one of my favourite shows was Textiles.

The first show I have chosen to critique is Emma Smith’s.

Critique/comment on the development of ideas and concepts in this work:

Without even reading the artist statement, it was obvious that Emma’s collection was inspired by somewhere in East Asia, particularly on the designs that feature buildings. Reading her statement confirmed my thoughts, and I think the intention for use in a bar or restaurant setting is appropriate, as the bright colours may not be so popular in other settings such as a home.

How successfully are the materials and techniques used to convey the concepts?

Very successfully! It is so impressive that every single sample has been hand dyed and printed, and an incredible amount of planning and practice dyes must have had to be done. The colours blend well together, even though they are bright, and as I said before; it isn’t difficult to grasp where the designs were inspired from.

What is it about this exhibition that most impresses you?

The boldness and brightness of the colours, as they struck me when I first saw the exhibition; and made me want to look at the designs more closely. Also, the number of samples and how different each design is very impressive.

Briefly evaluate the presentation style of the work:

I love the idea of scattering some of the samples on top of a bigger print, as it makes you want to look closer at those smaller samples. I also like the arrangement of the floor cushions, as the one attached to the wall suggests perhaps that a sofa within a bar/restaurant setting could come from the designs.

The second show I chose to critique is Chloe Trew’s.

Critique/comment on the development of ideas and concepts in this work:

The inclusions of sayings from New York is an interesting thing to do, as I think it would be something that wouldn’t be thought about a lot of the time; most people would focus on the visual memories when they visit a place. You can immediately tell the focus of the collection is New York when you see the map designs – they are a well known image even if you’ve never been.

How successfully are the materials and techniques used to convey the concepts?

The colours used are very successful, as New York is a vibrant, busy city and the colour palette of the collection reflects that. I like that the designs on the back of the piece are interchangeable, so you can swap them around according to what you want to see on a particular day (if it was in your home).

What is it about this exhibition that most impresses you?

Again, the colour really attracted me to Chloe’s exhibition, but it was the stitch work that was really impressive to me! I’m not sure if any was done non digitally, as the stitching was so intricate and complicated, but to take all that time programming on the digital stitch software is impressive!

Briefly evaluate the presentation style of the work:

I really like how the divider is displayed; showing how it would divide a space and making people walk around it to see the back. Chloe used the wall space well too, showing her samples and a couple of wallpapers alongside the divider. The copper piping gave it all a nice finishing  touch.

How do you perceive the shows, generally?

I think the shows were all very impressive, and much more memorable than last years’! I really enjoyed walking around the whole school and seeing how different each subject is. Even the difference between all the Textiles collections was incredible, and you can see a style from each student.

List three key things you have learnt from what you have seen overall.

  • That a lot of samples are needed for a final collection!
  • Organisation is key.
  • Lots of exploration and experimentation is needed to get a good final collection/result.