Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Project Goals.

Validate to XHTML 1.0 Transitional, CSS 2.1, ActionScript 3 standards.

Producing a website that will have valid code will make sure the website is aesthetically consistant throughout cross-platforms and browsers. Also reducing the usablity errors that are already an issue with Flash. Using W3C's online validation service to constantly check and resure that I have valid code.

Creating a portfolio to professional standards.

Making sure that if my portfolio would not look out of place if it was put on a page with other experienced website designers. Meeting the standards set out in my first goal to ensure this will be the case with my final design. A website that lets the work do the talking, rather than trying to be all singing and dancing itself.

Top 3 placement in search enginges.

Because there is already some famous Andrew Whelan's such as the comedy writer, it will be productive for me to get as high as possible so I'm not just lost in the search and relegated to the latter pages. This will require some research into SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to enable me to put in the right processes to project me to the higher figures.

Flexible and Easily Accessible Website.

I will create a sitemap to make sure no information is more than 2 clicks away from each other, hopefully helping me through the presentation process having all the information on hand to me quickly. The flexibility means that updating it with new work will be a quick and simple job.

Last Semester.

The last semester is here and it’s come around quite quick, only yesterday it seems like we were doing team building tasks and dropping eggs from windows. It’s really dawning on me that soon we are going to projected out into the big wide world of discovery to find out how our talents actually rank in the industry amongst professionals and possible employers. Will what we have been taught be enough to secure jobs? Will the experience some people in the class have been gaining throughout the course with side-jobs and projects help towards the final goal of actually working for a professional design company. I’ve thought along the course that many people would not be able to find an industry job, but the people are really starting to show what they are made of. Though before I was really looking at the visual side of it, a lot of members are becoming very good coders and are hungry to learn more of that site; hopefully this will put them forward to where they want to be.

Looking at the last few assignments I’m concentrating on the ones now and leaving the thinking about the final major project some what out of my head. I think my motivation is been something that has consistently come into question with the assignments and hopefully I will be able to show a different side now we’re coming to the close of the course. Never mind proving other members of my class wrong, I think I need to prove to my self that I can actually do great things when I put my mind to it, instead of really resting on my laurels and thinking it will be okay to do this to get through. The Self Managed Learning Plan will be the main way to show this, showing that I can be self motivated with the creation of short term goals and keeping on top of deadlines and to a good quality.

The portfolio assignment is quite interesting, for as long as I can remember I’ve always been messing around with possible portfolios; doing designs and re-doing them 2 days later. In some ways I’m really my own worst critic and find it hard to constantly like the work I produce, forever changing and adding bits to suit my ever evolving outset. Now I know focus is needed to produce something that will not only please me, but the target audience too and the marker. To qualities that they haven’t seen me work before, I’ve always felt this was an assignment I’d really be able to shine in and hopefully this will be the case now we’re finally getting down to doing it. The structuring it to a presentational basis will be a nice mini-challenge also, knowing how it looks on a smart board and making sure all the information will be easy to access and succinct. But I feel I’m up to this task and have a thorough grasp of presentational techniques to compliment the graphical side of the portfolio task.

Word Count [509]

Monday, 12 January 2009

10 Resources

This website has hundreds of tutorials, ranging from basic flash tuts to dealing with the server-side of flash.

There is a lot of video tutorials on here and deals with the actionscript side of things as well as flash work.

A community to get tips and feedback on your work, has loads of tutorials for every problem you could find using flash.

Also a community with hundreds of resources and people willing to help out when you need it. Great tutorials and fast advice.

Dealing with the actionscript side mainly, it shows you how to streamline your work and gives you tips and hints for your building process.

Probably the site that has the most amount of resources, literally anything you want can be found here, with multiple ways to do it.

Bringing tutorials from various sites to put together a staggering range and depth of tricks, tips and hints for flash users.

I think the most module and class structured resource I've found, it really breaks everything down for you and puts it in an easily readable language.

Hundreds of tutorials dedicated to flash users and really focusing on the input of actionscript alongside.

Probably the place I'm going to look at first when it comes to the assignment, it's very easily usable for the novice user.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Flash in the Pan

The way I see the industry going, when looking around at various high-end sites and at the design top 40's is with Flash. Everyday it's becoming more and more usable and inturn the age old arguement of 'usability' problems is starting to be obsolete, forward movements in not only the browser technologies ability to handle a wider and more advanced range of code. The ability to create interactive experiences that the client/user takes part in, offering great feedback and the knowledge they want is definitely the way forward.

The best customer service is to go beyond what the customer expects of you. Exactly what Flash enables you to do, a person goes there expecting a simple site, but instead you give them an experience. Something to remember. This encourages a return visit, having this interactive process means that no two visits have to be the same melodic plod along to the information.People are always impressed with a well built Flash website, it gives out more of a wow factor than the generic CSS/HTML based interface of old. Now it's become a talking point, encouraging family and friends to enjoy this experience aswell.

It's something I want to learn and have always wanted to learn but never really had the chance to get into it seriously. For this reason and what I know the outcomes can look like I know I'll enjoy getting to grips with Flash, learning how everything works in conjunction with Action Script to produce that wow factor I've always been looking for. Not only that, it suits my design style so much.. I see myself as quite a minimalistic, conceptual designer. That goes for more of a stylistic aesthetic rather than obvious lording of my design talents. Flash with Action Script matches the way I work so much, offering the capability to turn the minimalistic into an experience.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jog to Christmas

I'm quite happy with how the course has gone by so far in it's 2nd year, I've discovered a never thought ability of being able to efficiently time manage. Which is something I've always struggled with, especially when it was taken on by such precedence in the 1st year. That and organization has never been my winning skill, sometimes I find it a barrier that holds back my creativity, though with the new 'Time Log' I've been using with the team project it's helped a great deal.

Instead of having to stop and record what I'm doing all the time.. I just let a full day flow out and then at the end assess how the day has gone and look at what I've done and how long it took me. I think this mixed with a small schedule is the method that suits me best. Starting the day off knowing exactly what I'm going to do, but knowing I could do each bit at any time and I'm not restricted to filling out a time sheet every time I switch from project to project.

It's something I did consciously work on, but not so much as to sit down and work all the fine details out. It's mainly been something that I've needed to get what has been needed done and organize it in a way I know what to do when. With a small help from Tom giving my a kick up the bum when deadlines are looming.. I've really been able to use it and pickup this skill I can carry on with.

Also has the 2nd year has developed, I've really refined my presentational skills and become a lot more confident when standing up there. This gives me the ability to project what I need to say properly and produce good presentations that can connect with the audience. I think a few things have been essential to this, the first of these is preparation.. I think maybe that's the biggest thing. If you are not prepared for the presentation you won't come across as confident because you don't know exactly what's going be said. Knowing your subject matter enables you to be comfortable and stop the nerves creeping in.

The 2nd of these is practice, with could be said as part of prepare, but it's nice to really highlight the need for practice. Going through it definitely helps you prepare, helping you iron out bits of the presentation you don't want to go in, this was very obvious in mine and Tom's practice presentation to Steve and the rest of our group. But because we had that practice and then another 'attempt/practice' the final one managed to come out great and we ended up landing the pitch.

I've really grown in myself over this past year so far, I'm now more mature and ready to handle the pressures of work. My core design skills have been more refined due to the more inspiration I'm having to find has part of A1 again. Confidence has soared recently and I'm happy with the way things are going.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Soft Skills.

Throughout this course we've unconciously learned skills that will see us throughout life, namely called 'Soft Skills'; these are skills used frequently and usually occur without us knowing. Simple things like teamwork and communication that can be taken from this course and used in the real world. Taking part in other activities such as football, the skills learned can be displaced and make a person be able to talk to his fellow teammates easier and also work better as part of the team. These are generic life lessons that will follow us around forever.

I've personally learned a lot about humility and trying to be positive when speaking to colleagues around me, helping them along to get to the place they want to be in. Though I still try and give my feedback as bluntly as I ever did, I now see the worth in a balanced approach... helping my points to sink in further and really make a difference.

Presentations were never something I've been worried about in my life, I feel the confidence is there to produce a 'performance' or 'pitch' enabling me to successfully put forward my opinions and findings alone. This course has helped me streamline this, by pointing out things I needed to work on... such as walking around too much and touching my face a lot during presentations. Hopefully meaning I'll be able to communicate the objective of my presentation far in advance of my previous ability.

With the completion of this course there will be the elation of a long-term goal reached. Giving me the confidence to persue things knowing I've got a good understanding of the hardwork and dedication it takes to get there. Experience counts a lot in the industry, not just with design, but with the work ethic that needs to come alongside it, enabling me to the be the best I can... and in the end making myself a more employable person to a possible client or boss.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The, Designer.


"Global beauty brand is looking for a graphic designer to join their busy studio. Working on a number of sub brands across all forms of print media - packaging, POS, Promotional, marketing and advertising you will be responsible for projects from concept through to print. You will need to possess excellent client facing skills as the designers have autonomous roles liaising with their internal clients and marketing professionals. Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate a creative flair in their folio especially on the lifestyle and cosmetics/beauty brands."

It's working with print design, something I'm really looking to go into a lot more than 'the web' side. Their design studio is located in Centeral London, a place where I think creativity thrives.. offering the bigger range for client contacts, a heavier stream of competition and higher demands placed on the employee. Pushing you further and further, striving for the excellence that surviving in this highly motivated industry requires. And there's no truer place in the 'Design World' than the 'Fashion Universe'. Therefore I expect to be dealing with big fashion brand name clients, leading me further down the path of my ultimate goal, which is high end design.

There are things I'd need to be really familiar with, if I was to be very serious about the job possession; processes and skills that I don't have much experience with right now. This would be working with different textures and inks to produce a certain finish, right now most of my work has been web/digitally based.. and this move towards print would mean an adventure in learning.

It would also mean be building up my portfolio with more examples of “fashionista” work and packaging examples, showing that I could adequately produce work at high end fashion standard, consistently. Having some expejavascript:void(0)rience with actual Marketing would be crucial too, the 2 year Advertising course at Leeds College of Art & Design would enable me to move onto this new pasture in design.