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:

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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.


Week 1: Concluding thoughts

To finish viewing

To check out


Journey Music

Places to visit

Previous Flaneurs


Week 1: Challenge – Quadriptych


As you’ve seen, this week’s challenge is a community building exercise where you will create one piece of work – an analysis piece.

Who are you? (Name, background, influences, what makes you you?)

What is it that you do? (Showcase a pivotal project or moment in your practice)

Where are you? (geographically and does this have an impact on how you work?)

Why Design? (What does design mean to you? What does it do?)

Produce a quadriptych (four images) to illustrate your answer to each question above. Design your four images as a grid and save as one image. This is a relatively quick exercise but all final images must be considered in how they communicate and answer the questions.




The Structure

To form the quadriptych, I went a little off-scope: I created a tetrahedron structure on why to display my responses to each of the four questions. I’ve presented a photo of each side in a grid, so am bringing it back to brief by doing this! I had a few rough sketches of different 4-piece grids but wasn’t happy with how one usually had dominance over the other, either by size or by virtue of positioning in the top-left corner. Tetrahedrons have four identically sized equilateral triangle faces that all connect to one another. I wanted to deliberately disrupt what I know about information hierarchy.

The structure is made from cut-down kebab sticks (thank you Asda BBQ range) and assembled with a glue gun – an adult should always live with people who own a junior hack saw and a glue gun. The kebab stick material isn’t particularly relevant to me, but I used them because I knew they would be structurally sound and I could get them easily. The size depended on the length of the kebab sticks and I wanted to construct my faces from pieces of material no bigger than A4.

I respond to texture: fabrics, nature, and running my fingers over the spot UV or embossing of a book cover, so it felt natural to me that I brought this design into real life and to explore the physicality of each material used. The tetrahedron is light and about 25cm on each side, and you can transport it easily. Given that I am in the process of moving from one rented house to another, and my room seems permanently full of packing materials, the mobility of the project chimes with or contrasts against what I’m feeling – I can’t decide which!

Who are you? (Name, background, influences, what makes you, you?)


This is a question that I feel we all think about at different points in our lives and I’ve always liked the idea that “I am what I do”. I don’t mean to pigeon-hole myself into defining my entire character by what my career or job is, but my everyday actions. What do I do on a day to day basis that shows my innermost thoughts? Creativity isn’t restricted to my nine-to-five, it’s very much part of how I approach the world and throughout my life I have expressed myself creatively: music, graphic design, sewing, (terrible) painting, screen printing.

I’ve thought previously: it’d be easier to tell me to stop breathing than to stop being creative. Melodramatic? Most certainly, but truthful. In “Visual Life”,  Michael Wolff talks about creativity being formed as three organs: the curiosity muscle, the appreciation muscle and the imagination muscle, and I think very much the same that creativity is as much physical part of myself as it is mental.

The word search comes from a happy accident because it’s an advertisement for Linkedin from the Tuesday edition of the Evening Standard. In the letters, you can see different job titles: policeman, governer, physicist, musician. I spent my bus home trying to find a term I related to. Designer? No. Sewist? No. Typesetter? No. Artworker? No. Creative? No. So, I took the opportunity to connect the letters to suit me, and to represent the weaving path I’ve taken to get here: BA English, photographer, musician, librarian, waitress, web designer, logo designer, production editor, digital production assistant, junior production controller, typesetter/artworker, student.

I reduced the amount to include to keep the letters legible, the content relevant and the paper intact. The web of threads spell out:

  • I am Anna
  • I run
  • I design
  • I sew
  • I am a WIP (work in progress)

The colours of the threads are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, with the white background of the paper and the black ink coming together to form the most common gamut used in printing.

What is it that you do? (Showcase a pivotal project or moment in your practice)


My nine-to-five role is as a typesetter for a children’s publishing house in London, and I wanted to showcase that connection. I love the work that I do, my freedom to manage my time and the people I work with, and spending forty hours a week on this work does make it a very important part of my life. It’s a job I didn’t expect to get, and it was fantastic when I was offered it because I realised that people wanted to pay me to create.

I work mainly on screen, and some editors send corrections to me using digital mark-up, and I wanted to bring this into the real world. I like that this book is shown in its very earlier stages of being rather than the printed, finished form that everyone can buy, and very few people have seen the file that I’m using.

Four pages are printed on acetate, similarly to the positives I use for screen printing, at different magnifications and are rotated at 0, 15, 45 and 70º, angles that I would use to create a rosette half-tone pattern for screen printing.

Where are you? (geographically and does this have an impact on how you work?)


I live in London and have done for nearly six years. Before, I travelled down to visit family and for music lessons, so my life has been fairly London-centric. I went to university in Belfast, because I always knew I would end up in London but wanted to go as far away as I could and to have different experiences before I was inevitably drawn back to London.

I am always amazed by the stark differences between different areas of London and how quickly you can travel from an area of extreme deprivation to an area of extreme wealth. Ian Sinclair (writer of “London Overground: A Day’s Walk Around the Ginger Line”) is fascinated by these contrasts between two different areas taking up different physical spaces and different temporal spaces. Thank you, Joseph, for putting me onto this work – I’m halfway through the documentary!

Running is a form of physical exercise and a form of urban exploration. It’s my way of claiming ownership however temporarily of the space and area I occupy and to see how other’s use their space. Each run is a journey and I find that I’m not quite the same person at the end as I was at the beginning. The start point and end point of each run are connected by the thoughts I have on this run, and are important to me and me alone. I like the idea of pulling a map around and distorting the land itself. I drew a simplistic map of London onto a piece of netting and sewed a line of thread along three recent running routes. I pulled and secured the thread to gather the start and end points and route together, creating a connection along the route – like a synapse from one brain cell to another, or a wormhole from one physical space to another.

Had I not been moving, and had I not packed all my screen printing equipment and pieces of material, I would have screen printed the map of London onto a piece of fabric that was more opaque. As it was, Sharpies on netting had to suffice.

Why Design? (What does design mean to you? What does it do?)


This face is hard to see, and that is the point. It’s a single piece of white netting across the face and allows the viewer to look directly into the tetrahedron: into myself. I want to express myself through graphic design – from the inside to the outside world – and to experience the world – from the outside to the inside. I want it to be a continuing work of connection between different parts of my mind and life and the outside world.

The red threads that suture the faces to the frame and between the faces also connect to the “see-through” face to show the connections between the different responses. Red is the colour of blood and arteries and adds a visceral element to the project. The slight tension between the connections pulls the faces in and represents the dialectical quality of the connections.

Final thoughts

It’s all a bit messy and uneven. That’s me. You can see the knots and the glue and the edges: to create something perfect would be misrepresentative of who I am!

Here’s a few photos of my process:

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