Week 8: Mind the Gap

Studio Practice

What skills do you have? What skills do you need?

  • Write a list of your skills and a list of skills/ ways of working/ thinking/ or area of knowledge that you wish to develop
  • Create a design that summarises a process model that works for you at the moment; highlighting the skills you have and the gaps you have.

This piece of work needs to communicate your process model.

This could be a diagram or a 3D statement that clearly communicates a thought process that is relevant to you at this moment (how you deal with weaker skill gaps and how you maximise your talents).

Over the progression of this module, I have been keeping a mental note of skills that I admire in others on the course and case studies that have been presented to us. It’s fascinating how differently each of us approaches the challenges and to experience it with the other students means that my experience is widened about ways in which the briefs can be seen.

What skills do you have? What skills do you need?

  • Write a list of your skills and a list of skills/ ways of working/ thinking/ or area of knowledge that you wish to develop

The list of the skills I would like to build came quickly to me. They are:

  • Depth & 3D: giving my creations layers and a real sense of three dimensions (even if in 2D)
  • Video: How to storyboard and shoot an effective short video, and edit in programs
  • Short animations: like above. I see both of these skills as adding a fourth dimension, time, to my work
  • Razor-sharp photos: Yes, I think I take alright photos now, but how to make them super-sharp and convey a story
  • Creative layouts and white space: I can do it, but want to take it to another level
  • How to stage photoshoots with multiple objects: Like Yuki Hannes and her Ace & Tate shoots
  • Creative coding: how to use technology and data to create art and design that have depth and substance
  • VR: how to use the technology to help and educate

I also thought about soft skills that would help me as a designer:

  • Pitching ideas: how to craft a killer pitch that will win me work and/or funding
  • Self-promotion: how to really get myself out there
  • Confidence to approach and collaborate with people I want to

These ideas are just the start!

What skills do I have at the moment?

I find it really difficult sometimes to own what I can do, but so far:

  • Typesetting and typography: this is my job so I would be concerned if I didn’t have confidence in my skills to do this
  • Artworking: ditto!
  • Print processes and effects: years of working in production means that I know a lot about small and large scale printing processes, and I keep up with the latest technologies
  • Logistics and schedules: from sorting and distributing small village newsletters to embargoed Star Wars annuals, I can sort things where they need to go
  • Interactive PDFs: I am really proud of my application PDF!
  • Getting absorbed into a project and putting my heart into it: I love adding little easter eggs and bits of design into my work to interest the reader
  • Thinking outside the box and going on a bit of a tangent – sometimes a pain, but I am trying to harness this for unexpected results.
  • I am more resilient than I give myself credit for.

What skills do you have? What skills do you need?

  • Create a design that summarises a process model that works for you at the moment; highlighting the skills you have and the gaps you have.

This week didn’t go to plan: I experimented and failed. That’s OK.

I was really inspired by Yuki Hannes campaign’s for Ace and Tate, particularly because she used everyday objects that you wouldn’t expect to find in an editorial shoot. Talking to Stuart, I thought that still-life photography would be something that I could work on this week and expand my skill set.

A few weeks ago I identified the double diamond method as a process that I most identified as working towards. Of course, mine not as foccused as the model, but I feel like this is fine.

I wanted to invoke the sense that I was drawing on skills that I already had, and so I started looking around my room for objects that would reflect that: and discovered that they were all warm, brown and honey tones. I set up a studio background using my bed frame and a cork board for the base:

IMG_5405 copy.jpg

This is the start of my idea process: not a blank space but one already shaped by my experiences. The corkboard is one I refashioned from a large cork board we used to have in my parents’ kitchen, and I made it into a smaller one for a world map poster for my brother. It was still too big for his room though, so I nabbed it when I was back at home. It fits perfectly, coincidentally, into space in my new room.

The items I gathered were very personal: the bottom joint of a recorder gifted to me by my grandfather when I used to play; and my first wooden recorder. I performed at Sadlers’ Wells on it (music was my first creative pursuit). The circular lamp was made by my dad in a “let’s make all our gifts Christmas” and casts interesting light on the background. The photo album was a birthday present from my friends with some truly awful photos of us all in, and I happy-cry every time I see it. The snake headband is a piece I made for a Medusa-fancy dress costume a few years ago, and the brown tape represents an essential part of screenprinting! The little wooden block is a letterpress “R” that an old colleague gave to me when I left my last job, and it has been wrapped up in the brown paper to keep it safe.

Using these objects was recognising the creativity and experiences of the past and putting them together to make something new, by using a skill I hadn’t tried before.

I started laying objects out, and used a lamp as a spotlight to create shadows with my main light as the fill light. Objects came in, and out, and although my intention was to take one ensemble piece with all the items, playing and trying out different arrangements was part of the process. Here are the images in the layout:


In my animation, the first view to be seen is the background, which then fades into white. Then items laid out on the screen in a purposeful no-grid. I’m used to using column and page grids every day and I wanted to cut that sense of security from myself when I started. One image fades, then a series of words also fade in between the images: Explore, Define, Source, Build, Show; to describe the process by which I feel I work from. Build is important in this context: making something from little pieces, bit by bit.

The type is an outlined blue against the warmth of the images, as a contrast between emotions and codified words. The outline is deliberate too: the words may go some ways to describe the process, but there is something that goes inside too. The words also grow in size to reflect the complete of the project (which I have taken to be linear. My confidence in projects is often more winding).

The timing and overlap of images and words are important as often there isn’t such a clearly defined, 1, 2, 3, and stages come together and overrun. The time as things are shown and are hidden means that it’s not too overwhelming: things occur as they are supposed to.

Here is an image of the words together (not as they appear):


Show is the last word the displays in the centre, after the other words and images have faded. It is the most fragile part: the opening of the wings to show the project to the world and to receive feedback, whether invited or not.

The final image grows from the centre: the image with all the objects together.

So I tried to make something I never had before, and it failed! I’m going to keep on working on animation skills for the next module.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.