Category Archives: Design Practice

Our Final Programme

Danny worked her magic once again and took the PDF’s we produced to the printers, got them printed and then produced them!
They look so much better than anything I thought we would have produced this time two weeks ago!
Modestly, I think I was a strong driving force behind this amazing turn around. A few weeks ago we had nothing and today, this. I would say I helped to motivate the team and orchestrated a really productive final week. Obviously it is all down to the individuals within the team but I would say I managed these individuals quite well.

I am so impressed with the final piece. This project offered many, many stressful and panicky moments that made me wonder why exactly there are six of us working on this one small programme. As always, it takes to the last day, when we present it and it comes together, that I realise that it was a really great process to have undergone.
For me, this project wasn’t about producing this programme. It was about working to satisfy a real client and getting the most out of each individual in a team and exploiting each of their best attributes to produce something of a higher quality (visually and conceptually) that one person simply couldn’t do.

How I Think I Did

My role in Pixelink, throughout both assignments has been one of much stress. I am essentially responsible for everything! I need to ensure meetings happen, work is being produced, everybody is happy with what is happening and ultimately it is my job to make sure the team meet the deadline with something great to show.

The biggest challenge for me has been organising and motivating everybody. It has been hard when people have the mindset of “I have other deadlines, this one can wait.” It’s often frustrated me that people didn’t seem as fussed as they should be and even more frustratingly, I have needed to motivate this attitude into positivity. I think, for the most part, I have been successful at doing this. I mean, we have all pitched in and I think we can all look back and say “I worked hard.”

Another task I had to adapt to was to find jobs for everybody. A one-week programme is not a 6 man project and it was my responsibility to orchestrate it’s production and the way Pixelink would conduct itself about it. I wanted everybody to have fair input to the theory behind it and to the production of it. So, for the most part, I tried to ensure everybody was doing something even if it meant something small. Will Ward, in particular, was keen to be pitching in but a lot of the time I had to just say “I’m not sure, there isn’t really much that can be done at this point!”

Coming back to the motivating the team point that I made earlier, there was a lot of work to be done and not a lot of time for it to be completed. I was quite happy that I stepped up and started to make definitive decisions. I know it probably wound a lot of the team up but in the end I decided, if you’re not present or don’t make yourself available, you can’t expect us to wait for you and be expected to have a say on something we decided without you. Not because I want to be the bad guy but because I need to be a good leader and get the bloody thing finished!

Final Week

Introduction to the Final Push

We started to make a lot more progress, and just as well as we were in the final few weeks before the deadline. We had no lectures on the Friday before the Wednesday deadline, so I go the team to come in and start work on the actual production. We all knew what we wanted to do but hadn’t actually started it yet.

This was what I showed when the boys met 2 weeks before: original net. It was modern but seemed to be a little lacklustre.

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We worked on it and thought we wanted a modern style with homages and throwbacks to the 18th century. We left on that Friday thinking the left was what we wanted. Something minimal but clearly Dickens House. Rage had been working on covers and sent us the right image and immediately we knew it wasn’t going to work! Modern was a misleading and just didn’t compliment the houses natural beauty. This week, Danny raised a good point, the form is modern and the mixture of form and content serves to hit our original marker of blending the two together.

Friday 26th

So we meet up on the 26th and I gave everybody their jobs for the day. I intended to leave with at least the net or the inserts finalised…

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Dickens House

Me, Chris, Rage, Will W, and Will H met up over the holidays to discuss our plan of attack. There was a slight deviation from the plan, but I think it was unavoidable. I wanted us to all meet up twice (perhaps even more) over the holidays but this appeared to be trickier than I anticipated. A lot of us had agreed to work over the holidays (dramatically reducing the chances of us all getting together), some were out of the country, but we all had a wave of deadlines fast approaching.
In the end, it seemed as though the team were just letting this project slide. It wasn’t until 3 weeks before the deadline, when I alerted everybody, to the lack of time that things really started to move again. It felt a little like motivating a sloth to run a marathon, at first, in that nobody seemed to care! And because of this, I don’t think my heart was really in it either.
Danny, to her credit, had worked very hard on her pop up insert. However, there seemed to be no Va Va Voom within the team!
Eventually, I rallied the majority of the team together on the last Friday of the Easter break (13 days before the deadline..).

I had done a few brief mock ups over the holidays but I gave up when I realised that there was no way we would decide anything over a Facebook group!
Below is one of them. It was modern like we agreed before the holiday but everybody seemed to be against it.

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Back To Pixelink

Pixelink Unite!

The end of the Design Museum brief can mean only one thing, the reuniting of Pixelink Design Agency!
I am both excited and nervous about this. I really enjoyed the group work in Module One, it was a great laugh and the ideas and energy we had as creative’s was really interesting. However, the prospect of four, fast approaching, deadlines mixed with the knowledge of how hard organising and conducting the group was in the last module was a terrifying one!
I am worried that my other projects may suffer, because I remember having to give my full undivided attention to the first project, so for that reason I told the group that they are going to have to be on it. No disappearing for a week with no contact and no “oh yeah, I didn’t do that”. Basically, I said that I am more than happy to maintain my role as CEO but I have lots of other stuff on that I simply cannot afford to be clearing up after everyone again- if I say something needs to be done, it needs to be done. I felt a bit bad as I needed to get a bit stricter and I think it may have rubbed people up the wrong way (sorry guys).

Also, the issue we noticed first time round (with designing a logo) was that with 6 people trying to come up with 1 design, it’s a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the brew. So that is why I decided to split the team into clear-cut departments and create a definitive plan…

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Christmas Break Meeting

We met before Christmas to catch up on the last few weeks and understand where the assignment is going next. I had been away for a few weeks prior to meeting so I was a little unsure on what was exactly happening but Danny quickly informed me.
The group had been required to narrow our ideas into two, core concepts. Ours were Interactive & Old vs New. I know we all liked our commemorative box set idea so wanted to keep this no matter what direction we took next. The week before we all met  before Christmas the idea of a pop up book came up. This was the first I heard about the pop-up book but it really sat well with me, I loved its possibilities and when Danny bought in some of her children’s pop-up books I immediately saw that ours could be a mini house of the Dickens House Museum.

We got spit balling ideas and quickly had an idea forming of our book. Unfortunatley, Danny did have to leave quite early but it still left half the group to come up with a mock up. I made this so that we could have a better understanding of what we were talking about.

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This was a good meeting that cleared up hours of talking and confusion over text and Facebook. It is so much better (for time and clarity) to have these meetings, just really inconvenient as everyone is so distant from each other..

Presentation Day

We had a very clear image of how we wanted it to go.
Points we were very adamant about & how we implemented them are listed below:

  • We didn’t want everyone talking at once, myself & Chris decided that we should have 2/3 of us being the most vocal. This was to ensure the client knows where to look and feel comfortable. But obviously, we all needed to get involved so we devised a way to have the best of both worlds.
    Chris was responsible for carrying the entire presentation, it would almost be as if he is presenting our members to talk. That way there is a constant the whole way through.
  • We wanted to take this seriously and step it up a bit. After all, the module is called ‘Design Practice’, it only makes sense that we come in dressed the part.
  • Chris made a phenomenal call. He said at the first meeting that we shouldn’t have any links away from the slide. The most we could do was to have screenshots of our website but we definitely shouldn’t have a link to the browser. I agreed but we very nearly put on in last minute, luckily I reminded everyone that it may not be a good idea. Fortunately we did not do this, we stuck to the screenshot. Another group did have a link away and the web browser royally messed up, the screen was in full zoom, there were loads of pop ups and it slowed the computer down causing an awkward couple of seconds (that felt like much longer). Definitely a good call by us!
  • We did toy with the idea of having our website on a tablet and handing that to the client but ultimately we decided it would be best not to as it may be off putting to what we are saying, give the client too much to focus on and we were really there to pitch our ideas and not our agency’s marketing.
  • The big one was ‘what we actually present.’ So often we see walls of text and loads of unnecessary information. We stripped all our research and our idea generation down to its absolute bare minimum, for the simple reason that we did not want to loose the clients interest. We only included it if it was 100% relevant to the outcome.
  • We didn’t need to tell the client about themselves or Dickens, they know enough about these things already!! Efficiency in delivering what the client came to see was key for us.
  • We didn’t include information of prices and such, practical, things as we knew this part of the process was pure concepts and ideas. That all comes later.
  • Also we didn’t go on too much about us as an agency. I was quite passionate about this, myself, because I believe in an essence, the client doesn’t care about the designer. They care about the designs.

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