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Overview of Assessments in Postgraduate Arts Degree

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional academic writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Mon, 05 Feb 2018

The first semester started with an individual challenge to the Master’s students.

It consisted of an introspective project where one had to create a self-portrait piece, which could be in any possible platform or support.

A self-portrait is a representation of an artist, drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by the artist. Although self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid 1400s that artists can be frequently identified depicting themselves as either the main subject, or as important characters in their work. With better and cheaper mirrors, and the advent of the panel portrait, many painters, sculptors and printmakers tried some form of self-portraiture. (Edward Lucie-Smith, S. K. 1987)

For me a portrait should illustrate not only the appearance of its subject, but also details which link to his personality and past experiences.

My experiments on portraying myself were based on an indirect reflection of myself, inserting some of my characteristics in my painting or drawing.

In this case, I wanted to try a new approach, something quite different.

After some doodling and sketching, I opted on using the photographic mosaic technique.

This technique consists in a picture divided into rectangular segments, all then replaced with another photograph of an approximated color. When it is looked at from a distance, the individual pixels appear as the primary image, while close examination reveals that the image is, in reality, composed of many smaller images. Trademarked by Runaway Technology, Inc., in 2003 by Robert Silvers, a Master’s student at MIT (US Trademark Office. Retrieved 2009-10-13), the technique

Because life is made of bits of experiences and an individual is composed of his memories, each pixel of my portrait was to be replaced with photographs of dates, events and people that had marked me.

That piece would be inserted in a tridimensional composition, expressing how my past experiences shaped my personality and how it shows on the outside, by my actions and appearance.

The composition was influenced by the work of and Julien Vallée. His outstanding, creative and inspiring handmade graphic sculptures and stylish motion graphics are like passage ways to alternative dimensions, parallel worlds. He also has an incredible ability to connect elements in a way that his compositions always become direct means of communication.

The tridimensional lettering forms a sentence from Fernando Pessoa, the brilliant Portuguese poet, and its meaning is much more than it appears to be.

The phrase is a hymn to the Portuguese people, representing hope and belief in ourselves

Because life is made of bits of experiences and an individual is composed of his memories, each pixel of my portrait was to be replaced with photographs of dates, events and people that had marked me.

1st brief

Two weeks after my arrival at the UK, still getting used to the new life in Epsom, it was time to start the first semester work.

As starter, on the first course meeting, each postgraduate student had to present themselves as well as their portfolio of work. The purpose of those presentations was to help us students to know each other and to, after that, choose the people we wanted to work with.

The first project we would have to answer was presented to us and it consisted in, after forming teams within the class, brand ourselves as a team and represent that same team in the form of a website. Each designer or partnership had to create an interactive website design that had a recognizable identity and brand experience; defined a philosophy, rationale and methods of working; which explored through the presentation of work, how the team applied key theoretical, socio/cultural, political or industrial concepts to it; which had background documentation of research that explores a variety of contemporary screen portfolio styles and influences. The website should show the added value of the team, as well as the target companies (who would we want to work with? who would our audience be?)

As for the presentation, it should explore and apply clear graphic design and communication tools to communicate the ideas of the team.

Every presentation went smoothly and I was mesmerized with the talent, skills and impressive work shown by my colleagues and to choose the ones I wanted to work with was proving to be difficult. I know that in a team we have to combine, not only the skills of its members, but also there has to be a mutual understanding and a good relationship between them.

Taking that fact into consideration, I looked to the people I already knew and with whom I had a good connection and between them five appeared to be the most reliable.

When the presentations were done, I was asked by the two girls sitting next to me if we could be in the same group, and since they were part of the group of people I wanted to work with, I agreed with it. Later I received some invitations from other groups and people, but it was too late. Who knows if it was the best choice, or how would it had been if I’ve chosen to join other group? I don’t know, but the group was then made and it was a powerful group made of strong willed people – me, Ines Torre; Rudo Tinofieryi; Rashi Puri; Helmut Mertens; Christina Sinn; and Chia Chieh Chih.

Afterwards, I was approached by Lisa, who asked to join the team I was in.

Since our team had already six elements, we had to first be sure it was acceptable to have an additional member. She then asked our supervisor, Damian Chapman, if there’ was any problem in her joining our team, and after he said that it was perfectly fine, our team had turned from six into a seven member’s team.

We established a clear time plan and pursued on our first meeting making a first approach to how we would work and which were the personal influences from each team member.

Unfortunately, there was some sort of problem with our team. We were notified that the team couldn’t continue having seven elements since all team should have a maximum of six members and there was other team – Afterdark – which had only five members.

That brought us into a hard situation, having to choose someone from the team to leave the rest. After a long discussion on the matter, all of us being reluctant in expelling anyone, the group came to the consent that Lisa, for being the last element to join the group, should be the one to leave.

This was not an easy decision to be made, but everyone understood it was a necessary measure to be taken and it was decided in a democratic way, so everyone could have a part on it.

Having read Marty Neumeier’s publications The Designful Company: How to build a culture of nonstop innovation and The Brand Gap, I had the perspective that the power of a name strengthens the meaning of branding while promoting an industry.

While taking into consideration the name of a corporation, it’s needed to keep in mind the significance of branding.

To settle on a name is not a mere coincidence, but, on the contrary, is a meticulous process and study of possible names and meaning. Consumers don’t actually think about the magnitude of branding, but he needs to understand the brand’s product or services.

The route begins creating a simple name, consumers memorize what’s simple, and also making sure your name can be connected with something positive – the consumer is attracted to items to which he can relate positive qualities.

One more important point is that the name must be unique. If the name is too similar to another company’s, then the public is likely to mix the companies in question, which decreases revenue.

It is commonly known in the business world that a brand’s name is of the highest significance for any businesses.

Without an attractive and familiar brand name, it doesn’t matter if the products or services are good, the income would almost certainly not be that encouraging.

A great name would be easily associated with the products or services offered (people would relate excellent cars with Ferrari or Lamborghini, sportswear with Adidas or Nike, soft drinks with Coke or Pepsi the same way as fast food with McDonald’s or KFC).

The brand name is used interchangeably quite regularly within the term “brand”, even though it is more appropriately used to particularly stand for linguistic elements of any product.

It constitutes then a sort of trademark, if the name entirely categorizes its owner as the commercial font of the products or services.

As my research on the subject revealed, relating to brand names, they can appear in many styles:

  • Acronyms (constituted of initials);
  • Descriptive (which illustrates a product utility);
  • Alliteration or rhyme (amusing to say and easy to remember);
  • Evocative (which evoke a real picture);
  • Neologisms (words invented out of nothing);
  • Foreign words (adopted from another language);
  • Founders’ names (names of real people);
  • Geography (names of regions or landmarks);
  • Personification (brands that take their names from myths or legends).

Not sure about what would be the best choice of a name for the team we just formed, on the first meeting I had with my team mates, we started by defining ourselves with just one word.

Not sure about what would be the best choice of a name for the team we just formed, on the first meeting I had with my team mates, we started by defining ourselves with just one word.

Each of us had, also, to specify our strengths in graphic design. As shown in the scanned mind map on the previous page, each member mentioned their roles in the area of Graphic Design, how they describe themselves and their definition of Graphic Design. The interesting point we got from those notions was that we all complemented each other, and each one had their own and particular value to the team. It was a good start.

Knowing each member’s strengths would make it easier to plan a strategy for our work flow, as well as for each one’s roles. To maximize the time and do the best possible with a tight schedule, is always necessary to indicate specific roles for the elements of the team.

I see myself as someone determined and hard worker, never afraid of late working hours or to fight for what I believe. My core strengths are the experience in working both in web design and usability, as well as illustration.

Basically, I have had worked in the most varied areas of Design (for example, video editing, animation, airbrushing, photography and publication).

The core motive that made me join the Masters course of Graphic Design & Communication in the University for the Creative Arts in Epsom was the search for training not skills but ideas. Because a good idea is what really matters.

As for my team mates: Rashi is experienced in photography, flash animation and both print and typography, she defined herself with the word “simplicity”; Rudo has an amazing talent for packaging design and brand identity, and describe herself as unique – I couldn’t agree more, as she’s one of most remarkable people I’ve ever met; Christina is the force connecting the group an defines herself as creative, she is also strong in print design; Chih is simply crazy – by her own words- and she is strong in various areas, including the creative one; finally, the only male member of the group, Helmut, is a realist and the typography specialist.

Resuming, we all defined Graphic Design as a tool to support communication and to understand information.

As a group it was clear from the beginning that we wanted to represent ourselves as a young, fun and creative team that would approach design without fear. We wanted to create clever and wacky ideas that would translate into interesting design that communicates a message. We wanted to work for clients who are open minded and would give us the freedom to create unique ideas. An example of those companies is Coca Cola or Cadbury.

After having presented ourselves to the rest of the team, in a more profound way than earlier before all the class, we started our quest for a name doing a brainstorm on random words and expressions.

That brainstorm is illustrated in the mind map seen above. Our method consisted in quickly saying the first thing that came to mind on the instant. We then would search for the origins, context and meaning of each word or phrases.

A list was made and every name analyzed. Some of the names we came up with were excluded for being already used by other companies and to select the final one from those left, each member voted on the names they preferred.

By the end of the voting, the name chosen was Bring Back the Bacon. I personally voted on this name. It has all that is requested in a good brand name: is fun to say; easy to remember; and has that freshness of being something new. Plus, it means “bring home the prize”, which is the goal of our projects.

One of my key influences for the choice of that name was the personal website of Nessim Higson, iamalwayshungry.com. The name is incredibly fun to say and is just basically a random phrase, but communicates the author’s constant hunger for knowledge and new experiences. That was the exact feeling I wanted for the team.

The website also inspired me for its interactivity – it challenges the user to explore and unveil its contents by telling him to drag his mouse trough the page.

Initially we thought of using a food/kitchen based theme, so, the first sketches for the logo were around that theme.

While sketching possibilities for a logo, we were also thinking of possible metaphors for the website. The kitchen theme would be an interesting one.

Doodling with that idea of kitchen in mind, I thought: why not using a fridge as a metaphor? As a web page, it also has different levels, areas, and those aspects could work with a web interface. With this in mind, I tried to explore the concept, building possible information maps for the distribution of contents on the website.

Parallel to this, I started playing with different ideas for the logo. Ultimately I thought about the crazy factor we said we wanted for our team. And what’s crazier than the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street?

The character was a perfect fit for giving a certain fun aspect to the kitchen based thematic.

Developing that idea, I started with some sketches of our own Bring Back the Bacon monster (see previous and next page).

The monster was later discarded as the whole concept of a kitchen based metaphor was rejected. The fridge, interface we ultimately chosen for the page, was associated with cold and harsh. It was a flaw from our part to not consider the English public as a primary client: the cold does not please the consumer, because the typical English weather is already too cold. It could work with the use of a oven instead of the fridge, but we also admitted that all that thematic was too cliché.

So, we started all over again, from the beginning, trying to find the right way to conduct our project.

I then created some characters to impersonate the members of the team.

With those characters, the website could be developed through a comic strip, telling the story of the team, our beliefs and the way we work.

Different styles of characters were tried – simplified shapes, as well as manga style illustration (see below and next page).

This idea wasn’t developed profoundly, as it didn’t show the graphic style of the group.

We defined ourselves as a group of young designers from around the world and following the motto “nothing without fun”. Our understanding of Graphic Design is that it has to catch the attention of its viewers, with clever ideas that communicate a message.

The comic strip approach wouldn’t follow the path we had encrypted in our description.

Putting that idea to the side, and going back to the search for an adequate logo to represent Bring Back the Bacon, I thought about the values we wanted to transmit to our future clients, besides the craziness.

We would be loyal to our clients, only thinking on their behalf, and which animal is known for its loyalty? The men’s best friend – the dog.

With that I started making some doodles of dogs (see below).

The dog should be both charming and crazy – to represent us properly – so, I thought about drawing him showing his tongue. That attitude would show the character as a rebel. But it wasn’t quite passing the feeling I intended. How about a dog with an open mouth, barking loudly?

It would express the impression that we’re new but we’re here to stay, and we want to make an impact. Is the kind of feeling of screaming our lungs out – that kind of freedom – which we think defines us as a team.

And so, it seemed we had found our logo. But the truth is that it would work much better as a mascot. The logo was still missing.

Then, we tried a different approach – a typographic logo. Playing with the initials from our name, BBTB (Bring Back the Bacon). That turned out to be the best solution for us.

After some doodling, the final logo finally took form.

For the colors, the bright yellow, so catchy, in contrast with a solid black.

On one hand, yellow transmits happiness and warmth, but on the other it is the color of deceit. It also represents courage in Japan, and is a symbol of peace in the Indian culture.

Reading the book The Elements of Color by Johannes Itten helped me understanding the reasons of using the yellow color instead of others (since it was also considered the use of red).

Also, my perception psychology’s knowledge from my Bachelor has aid me on this aspect – according to The American Journal of Psychology, yellow is stimulates the brain and the nervous system, activates the memory and encourages communication.

Clearly this was the color which best described us.

The main influence for the design of the logo is clear – the D&AD logo.

Designed by Colin Forbes, one of the five founders of the Pentagram design studio, the D&AD logo has all the characteristics of success – it is attractive, simple, clear and efficient.

Every neat piece of design needs a grand concept behind it. Is that concept that’s going to preserve the core value of the designed article.

With this project, we specified the “head banging” as main concept of our identity. It is translated as “yes, we can do it”, which enforces the team’s attitude facing graphic design.

On our first brief, we needed an added value to our final concept, so it would be strong and efficient on delivering our core identity to the public.

When we went to London, to ask the designers and creatives from established design agencies and business people to say yes with us, it marked the point we wanted to make clear – we are not on the way to be a top design team, we are already on the top.

The sense of belief in our work was reflected on that act, and all the rest of the elements of the identity came along following it.

Our concept was based on the happiness that we transpire in the team, inspiring each other , and reflecting the fun side of graphic design.

With the identity of the team defined, the next step was to establish a concept, the big idea and the core value, which would bring the clients to us and make them choose our services instead of other companies.

Going over the description of our team, we did not wanted to be seen as a regular design agency, but as a fun company, which reflects the way we feel about creating design solutions.

With that in mind, we started working on the website prototype. Since we put aside the use of metaphors on our website, I started exploring minimalist layouts, with straight lines – it would fit perfectly with our style. Taking the black and yellow from the logo, those would be the main colors of the page, and, for the background, a plain white, giving it a touch of simplicity.

However, there wasn’t anything incredible about the page.

It needed something different that would motivate the users to come back to our website. I was deeply influenced by some fantastic websites which explore this matter and please the user with interactive pages (see on the right and next page).

What all these websites have in common is the fact of being different. It induces the user into revisiting the page once more to have that sensation of surprise he had the first time he encountered it.

They also make an excellent use of color, setting the right mood to the interaction of the user and the page – being with its graphics or written content.

In the current brief there was an imperative need of a fresh design.

The web is already filed with too much flash websites, and, the truth is that everyone with flash coding skills can create a simple animated website, but only a creative mind can look over from that.

I then came across the website of the Champagne Perrier-Jouet. It dazzles the user with a clean layout and soft lines, with some reminiscence from the Art Nouveau. An amazing aspect of this website is that it makes use of videos integrated in the layout giving it the difference factor – the same factor we wanted for our webpage.

Following the example of Perrier-Jouet, our website should integrate videos as an added value to the page.

The final layout was then quickly designed (see next page). The idea was to place a main video on the home page, which would have objects or elements that worked as links to the following pages, constituting on the main menu.

As for the navigation, it would be made through sliding from a page to another. Later on, that sliding effect was rejected, due to technical problems and lack of time to develop it properly.

We then opted for a simple navigation, without any animation or effect.

Each member of the team would be wearing different masks of the team’s mascot. However, the masks would have some element that would relate to the person behind it.

Then, a symbol was designed for each of the team members, which could define their personalities and work methods.

As seen on the previous spread, the BBTB website has four submenus by the names: culprits; ideology; work; and ring.

The culprits’ page starts with a fun and crazy video made from various shootings of moments the team spent together. I thought this would show to the user how we love what we do and how we have fun designing. It captures the joie de vivre we all have in our daily life and towards our work. At the end of the short movie, a message appears challenging the user to click on our mascots below if he wants to know more about the team members. Clicking on each mascot, it is possible to see a photograph of its related member, as well as a description of its role.

On the other hand, on the ideology page the user can read about the philosophy that’s behind our work methodology.

As for the work page, since we were a newborn team of designers, it wouldn’t make much sense to just display each team member’s previous individual work. As a team, our work had to represent us as a whole. With that said, we decided to go to some of London’s companies (design related or not) and ask them to nod their heads with us. As crazy as that may sound, the core meaning of that act was the fact that they would be saying “yes” to our team. Nodding their heads at the same pace as us shows how we didn’t wanted to reach the industry – it showed us as being already there. The professionals shown in that video are Phoebe Chang, History teacher at London School of Economics; Tom Probert, designer at Coley Porter Bell; Luca Da Silva, chairman of Albert & Mildred; Nadia Kellas, freelance designer at Bostock and Pollitt; and the manager of London Graphic Center at Covent Garden.

Finally, the ring page is the location where users or potential clients would be able to communicate with us, sharing their opinions and ideas regarding the team or its work.

The music that was used on the background was of great importance for the group. We wanted a sound that wasn’t annoying to listen to continuously, preferably without lyrics. It was then decided to contact different types of music bands or dj’s. The hip feeling of electro music with odd added sounds would reflect us and that was what we needed. The contemporary aspect of that music style also matched our personalities.

With that in mind, we got in touch with a fascinating Belgian dj by the artistic name of MagikBitum, who mixed a song exclusively for our team.

Personally, the choice of music was well made, since my musical influences have strong electronic roots. But in my opinion, it should have had a more indie touch to it. Because we wanted to be known as alternative agency, meaning that we would be more than ordinary, more than mainstream.

Music is an outstanding inspiration, for me as graphic designer, and I search for challenging sounds and lyrics, which stimulate my creativity. Some of the strongest musical influences on the work I developed through this design path are the Icelandic singer-songwriter, composer and music producer, Björk, and the Irish/English electronic duo, Moloko. Their visuals and sounds are sometimes strange, yet amazingly refreshing.

The stationery for our team brand was not a requested item, but I proposed it to the team and it was accepted. Being this project about branding, I felt it was a aspect that needed to be explored.

I started making some sketches and thinking of the kind of items that could be done, and designed the business cards and letterhead for the team, as well as a notebook and folder to store all the items (see below and following pages).

For the business card, I idealized a pop-up system to be inbuilt in it.

The card would have a closed version for an easy storage, and when pulled, the lid would reveal on the opposite side the Bring Back the Bacon mascot.

A number of stickers and t-shirts were created by Rashi, showing the BBTB logo and mascot. They were part of the additional gimmicks of the project.

After three weeks which passed faster than we had foreseen, the presentation day arrived.

Our main focus on planning the presentation was to introduce our project development without leaving the core idea to the side. As a continuation of the “head banging” concept present on the website, we entered the presentation area with our Bring Back the Bacon masks on our faces and repeating with our heads the movement seen on the website. We also carried our BBTB mascot plushy with us to the stage.

Even though our concept was strong and our ideas well thought, due to existing problems in the time management within this brief, the presentation wasn’t prepared as carefully as it should had been.

Therefore, we all knew how to explain and present our project outcomes, but because none of the team members was a native speaker, and with the additional insecurity it caused, communication mistakes were made. Also the language used was not at all the most correct one.

Those factors had a depreciative effect in the jury’s evaluation on the display of our work.

This first presentation was a valuable lesson for me, relating to the time planning and management – with a strict deadline and a project to be developed within a short period of time, one has to be strategic in order to bring it into reality.

One must know his limitations and based on that should try to break them.

If our team didn’t had any Native speaker member, each one of us needed more time to prepare ourselves for the presentation. That was a grand weakness that was revealed on the presentation, and made us lose the brief.

But to work in a team is to expect some experiences like the ones we had during this first project. When a team has elements which are incapable of sticking with the time plan, is always hard to have good results within schedule.

I’ve learned to impose myself and speak up when I feel that something isn’t right, and is a great feature I’m taking to the future.

2nd brief

The second brief that was given to us was print based.

Each design team was to create an illustrated book or magazine by the name “Nursery Crimes”. It would consist in a re-invention of traditional nursery rhymes, changing their thematic and message to face a matured audience.

The project would have to have a strong concept, with a distinct theme running through it, exploring theoretical and communication perspectives which supported a print based storybook. The publication would be composed of twelve rhymes and illustrations, each two by each member of the group.

Before approaching this brief my contact with nursery rhymes was quite limited, not being a native speaker.

The research, at this level, was primarily a necessity.

The term “nursery rhyme” is used for traditional children songs in English speaking countries.

The early versions of those rhymes were only lullabies (in Portuguese, “canções de embalar”), sung to children to help them sleep.

According to the Children’s Literature: a Reader’s History, from Aesop to Harry Potter by Seth Lerer, nursery rhymes were often associated with criminality and historical events (the rhyme “Remember, Remember” is an example of an historical event portrayed on a rhyme).

Throughout my initial research I came across several Children’s Literature illustrated books which I promptly analyzed.

An interesting aspect that was common in every book analyzed was the use of bright and colorful images. The illustrations had a heartwarming feeling intrinsic to them, representing elements of the text very accurately.

The text followed the clarity and simplicity adequate to its readers, consisting in regular font types, easily read.

Other factor of relevant is the attention to detail in the pictures, adding the possibility to explore the images countless times.

After this brief encounter with the Nursery Rhyme context, and having fully understood the purpose of the project, I started deconstructing the title Nursery Crimes.

The mind map on the following page shows the analysis on the word Nursery, the word Rhymes and the word Crimes.

I searched for words related to Nursery, trying to find some link between them and the thematic of crime.

Then, I analyzed the types of rhymes that could be found in literature. Since the rhymes chosen would have to be re-written by myself, I considered this research very useful to that process.

Finally, following a visit to the local Epsom Police Station, I added to the mind map every crime name that was given by the police officers. This list of crimes would be of much help on choosing the crimes with which I would associate my rhymes. Of course, the immediate link between Nursery and Crimes would have to be the crime of child abuse or pedophilia, for being directly related to children, but the other crimes on the list weren’t discarded, as they might be useful to the creative process.

In the first team meeting working around this second brief, the time plan of the work was established (see on the right). The first week would be to choose and alter the nursery rhymes into the crime theme, and with that done, the second week would be spent constructing our illustrations. With both the rhymes and illustrations finished on the third week our efforts would be directed to the making of the Nursery Crimes book, with time for the printing and binding also included.

With the purpo


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