Mood Boards and Exposure Week 3

Over last weekend and the start of this week, I have been working on my mood boards for the brief alongside research and the beginnings of drawing and mark making later in the week. The bulk of the research is coming to an end, but of course, research continues all the time and things come up all the time! I have enjoyed delving deeper into Bolivian culture and I’ve surprised myself with the number of things I didn’t know! I wish I had done more research before going on the trip but as a sixteen-year-old at the time I took it for granted a bit and didn’t take in as much as I could have – hence why I want to go back and experience it again as well as other South American countries!

theme board
Theme

My theme board is quite simple, and very green which I like! It features some elements of my theme but also designs in the style that I am going for (collage/paper cut). The background is the Uyuni Salt Flats, with the hexagons a natural formation. I included the mother and baby because I wanted to get that bright colour in there, which I was struggling to do with the designs in the style I wanted. The range of colour is important for the brief, as you can see in the colour board! However, the green does represent a lot of the Bolivian landscape, particularly the Amazon basin and Santa Cruz areas, as well as some mountains elsewhere. I wanted to get across the texture and shape elements too, which I think I have done by including the parrots, llama and salt flats.

colour board
Colour

I really like my colour board! I love the big pile of textiles and how colourful it is – one of the main things I’m excited for in this brief is the range of colour and I’m fascinated how it is just naturally part of the traditional dress in Bolivia. This board has less on it than the theme, but purposely, to focus on the colours as they are the important thing on this board. I wanted to have quite a wide range of colours to get across the multitude used in Bolivian textiles, but also not make them too childish. When I started coming up with colours they were very bright and child-like, and I was struggling to make them more mature but found that looking at colour palettes elsewhere and adding grey tones to the colours helped a lot. I am happy with my colours as they give me that range, but in a mature fashion.

customer board
Customer

My customer is pretty much me – an 18-30 year-old of either gender, who has an interest in travelling (whether they actually have done so or not). They are likely to have an interest in being environmentally friendly, as well as possibly being a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan because all of these things are on the increase, and a recent surge in both of these areas is being pushed by this age group – I for one support both! They also enjoy a catch up with old friends they don’t see much anymore (school/college friends) over breakfast, coffee or cocktails! I have also included a couple of products that they are likely to buy, like the throw and cushions which are in a style that my collection may be similar to. My customer is also likely to have the desire for more high-end products that they can’t yet afford or are not allowed to use (e.g. they won’t be buying wallpaper if living in rented accommodation), so indulge themselves in the smaller items which are cheaper, but still a nice quality and give that impression of the decoration style they aim for later in life. Also, if they are travelling a lot they won’t want big bulky items, as it’s likely that they’re just storing stuff at their parents while they’re away.

competitor board
Competitor

My competitor board ranges from the low-end to mid-range, George being the cheapest and John Lewis the most expensive. Both Urban Outfitters and H&M are retailers that aim at this age group and are very popular within them, so they are obvious competitors. They are more known for their fashion but introducing home ranges has done no harm, and has probably actually increased the range of homeware available at the cheaper end of the market. John Lewis is at the top end of my customer’s price range, with cushions selling for £30, which I consider expensive for a cushion! It is more likely that the wealthier section of this age group would shop here – perhaps the non-students. George, being part of ASDA supermarkets, has footfall because of people doing a food shop and getting distracted! As a supermarket that is relatively cheap, ASDA would attract my customer to do their weekly shop, and something in George might just catch their eye and because it is so cheap and a relatively nice quality.

 

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Professional Practice – Pricing Work

In a session delivered by Sian, she talked to the group about the costings of freelancing, how to cost your work, commissions etc. The cost of work depends on who you’re selling to, market, customer etc. as well as on level of experience, the more experienced you are, the higher you can have your prices – and once highly experienced you can develop your own rate sheet.

There are lots of different ways of being paid:

  • Hourly rate – you tend to work in-house for a client, so hours can be recorded honestly.
  • Daily rate – a flat fee per day for the whole commission/project.
  • Flat Project rate – an agreed amount for the entire project no matter how long it takes.
  • Flat Artwork rate – the client purchases the artwork outright, owning copyright etc, and can do whatever they want with it after purchase.
  • Commission rate – new artwork is created for the client, but they are only allowed to use it on agreed products.
  • Licensing – the client can use the design on agreed products, but you still own the copyright etc, and royalty fee is received depending on sales, and typically 8-18% of the sales to you (if sold wholesale it’s the percentage of the wholesale price, not the retail price).

When increasing your rate – new tax year is a good time to do it and increase gradually, not suddenly. Holiday and sick pay also need to be taken into account, if working for yourself you don’t get these paid. Consider working with agents or studios – there are advantages and disadvantages but look at trial periods to determine whether it is right for you. When freelancing, different companies pay differently: if a company uses lots of freelancers they will pay less than those who use them less often, but the work is more regular than the higher paying companies.

ACID (Anti Copying in Design) is a group that are trying to change copyright laws in order to protect designers further than they currently are. They also offer free legal advice in the case of copyright infringement.

This session was useful to go to, even though I am not thinking about freelancing or setting up my own business, the information may be useful for future freelancing or commissions and it was also just interesting to know about!

Mark Making and Collage

Over the last two weeks, we’ve had a couple of mark marking sessions with Sasha Kingston, the first of which included blind and continuous drawing, mostly without colour, to help focus on the actual marks being made. I enjoyed the session, it helped me be more free with my drawing, and I enjoyed looking at and drawing lots of different textures. I like picking out shapes and textures from bigger images and things to draw, as I’m not amazing at figurative drawing! The more abstract things are easier for me and I enjoy them more.

I also experimented with ‘quink’ an ink that is slightly blue, and if you add bleach to it, it goes a brown/yellow colour, adding interest to the piece. You can see this below on the left, and I did it on a strange paper, it was almost fabric! I didn’t like how this made the ink blur, as I like quite sharp lines which it doesn’t give!

In the second week, on Tuesday, I focused more on collage and cutting paper, and combining other substrates with the drawings, using photocopies of my drawings and mark making from the previous week. I am really pleased with most of the outcomes of the session, although I did expect to get more done! Each piece took quite a while, longer than I expected.

My favourite out of these pieces is the parrot feather and the coloured fabric inspired one. I really like the combination of colours in both, as there are harmonious colours, but also slightly clashing colours in the fabric inspired one. I really like the parrot feather inspired piece as it looks very organic and flowy, and I like the mix of drawing and things like tissue paper and magazines ripped up in amongst the drawing. I really enjoyed the session and can’t wait to do more collage and drawing!

Professional Practice – Press Packs

On Wednesday, we had a professional practice session with Philippa Lawrence, who talked to us about press packs: what to include, consider and how to present them. A press pack is something we have to include as part of our final module, and it will include things such as a CV, postcard, business card and a USB containing images as a mini portfolio.

A press pack gives someone something to remember you by, it’s less likely to get lost than a single business card, and will give more information than a business card; it is like an  extended creative résumé.

Philippa suggested these five w’s to remember what to information to include:

  • Who are you? This would include things like name and contact details.
  • What are you promoting? If sending a pack to advertise an exhibition perhaps.
  • When is it happening?
  • Why are you approaching them? What are the reasons you have contacted them?
  • Where can they find you? During the exhibition but also how can they contact me?

The session was very helpful, as it made it clear what I definitely need to have in my press pack, and gave me a few other options to think about. We saw some press packs from previous years too, which was useful to see how they had been packaged.

Updated Mood Boards

In my formative feedback, it was mentioned that my all of my boards needed improving at varying levels. I added a background of faded mark making that I did myself throughout the module, which links all four together. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t happen because in the early stages of a project, I wouldn’t have this resource to use, but I thought as I did, why not?

In the theme board, I took quite a bit of imagery out, leaving bigger spaces, and only using what is essential to get my theme across, rather than filling the space with lots of images. I added more paper cut/collage pieces, to get across the technique that I used. I think this looks much better, cleaner, fresher and much more cohesive as a board.

new theme 2
Theme Board

Similarly, I took images out of the colour board to pare it down and simplify it, only leaving in essential images. I also changed the colours to match those on the outside of the envelopes in my collection, as they represent the colours used across the collection much better than the originals (these matched the non-watered down paint). I also made the colour blocks all the same size, making it look neater. There is a creamy coloured block that is very difficult to see, but on the physical board, the colours will be 3D, making it much more obvious.

colour board new 2
Colour Board

Again, with the customer board, I took out quite a few images, making it simpler like the other boards while still getting across who my customer is and what they enjoy.

client board new 2
Customer Board

I didn’t change much on my competitor board, just the background and one of the competitors. I swapped out Cath Kidston for Clover Robin, a paper cut/collage artist who sells cards and prints, who suits my market much better.

competitor board new 2
Competitor Board

All in all, I think my boards are much improved, and they have become simpler but more telling of what they are about.

Exposure Week Two

This week has consisted of mostly research for me, looking at artists, competitors and researching further into Bolivia and its culture. My research is compiled in a physical file, as I prefer to do this rather than online, as I can flick through whenever I want and it’s all in one place.

My artist research included a couple of artists that I looked at in the last module because I am continuing with the same technique, so they are still relevant. I looked at lots of different artists, some who paper cut, some who collage, and others who do neither but I really liked their use of colour and how they use it in blocks.

The competitor research was interesting as I saw what is trending right now, and in some cases, I could see the progression of a trend suggested on WGSN (Worldhood which is also featured in my file). The competitors for this brief are places that I would shop so I quite enjoyed this research!

When it came to researching further into Bolivia, I looked back over my trip, reading through the diary I kept while out there, as well as looking at photos and the physical items that I brought back with me. I also looked at a few books, one being Lonely Planet’s Bolivia guide which I bought in preparation for the trip and this gave me quite a bit of information – little facts and interesting things! Some of the numbers are a bit out of date like the population for example, but an up to date number is easily found online. I’ve also watched a BBC documentary, The Lost Kingdoms of South America, but this focuses on the whole continent so was only a little useful, but still interesting!

Exposure Week One

This week has been the first week I’ve been able to give my full attention to the exposure module, after handing in my dissertation on Tuesday (eek!). I’m very lucky to now only have one project to focus on until the end of university. The majority of this week has been spent thinking about and writing my brief for the module, and of course, I’ve been thinking about it since before Christmas, but it took a bit of a backseat while I was focusing on writing my dissertation!

My theme is going to be based on a trip I took to Bolivia quite a few years ago, but I have wanted to go back to South America ever since to experience the other cultures. I was going to base the project on the whole of South America, but since I haven’t been there I have less first-hand experience of the rest of the continent – as well as each culture being different, so it seemed best to focus on Bolivia. My collection will be aimed at those mostly in their twenties who are keen travellers and will consist of what I’ve called ‘lifestyle accessories’ – things like mugs, stationery, cushions, throws etc. I’m going to continue with paper cutting, but leave out the laser cutter this time as it didn’t give as much personality as I’d hoped last term! I’m going to explore paper cutting more, using both scissors and knives as well as ripping and experimenting with collaging, which will all hopefully improve my designs along with lots more mark making practice.

 

Bolivia July 2012 342
Cheeky Bolivian Llama!

 

Since I had such a clear idea of what I want to do for this module, writing my brief came quite easily to me, the part that I found most challenging was writing my timetable. This was because it was difficult allocating periods of time to different parts of the process like drawing and design development. But I looked at past timetables that we’ve had which helped somewhat, as well as knowing dates for certain points in the module, like the interim critique for example.

I’m looking forward to getting on with the project, on with the research!