Interviewing a Mentor: Graphic Design in the Real World
Interviewing a Mentor: Graphic Design in the Real World
Interviewing a mentor with Web & Design Professional Andy Dolman.
Over the Xmas holidays i met up with & interviewed Mr. Andy Dolman local Graphic & Web design professional.
Andy who has over 16 years experience in the professional world of both web and graphic design & was a perfect candidate for this project. His experience and knowledge is as varied as it is wide. Andy has worked with both major companies & independently as a full time freelance creative.
Andy completed his degree (BA) in Design Communication back in 1996 at the University of Westminster, London. This project gave me the chance to asked Andy many questions, not only about his BA but, the very real world of working in the industry both with large players and as a freelance creative.
I choose to produce this project as a film piece. I felt this would be the most effective form of communication for this type of project. The finished product feels more assessable & allows the viewer to see & hear the subject which adds another dimension to the finished work. This makes the process of learning & absorbing this important information much more interactive and interesting.
All post production was processed in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. I then loaded the film onto my design themed YouTube site http://www.youtube.com/user/Tonytravels
and this way can be viewed publicly by anyone at anytime. I enjoyed using cross platform applications to produce my projects. This not only gives me another change to use more than one application, but i feel gives my projects more depth & scope.
This interview was very comprehensive at 50 plus minutes. I felt the length was justified as it is a very candied and detailed interview which answers 22 questions and is very applicable to what we are currently studying & will be in our 3rd year. The interview process can take a little time for the interviewee to ‘loosen up’ and the first few questions are always a little more tense. If the interviewee has not been interviewed for a while or maybe never, they will usually feel a little on the spot or even camera shy. This is not uncommon, which is why not everyone can be interviewed or will agree to be in front of a camera. With this in mind, one must make sure this is covered in the entail contacts with the subject before hand.
Needless to say, Andy was perfect; giving me full and detailed responses after every question with a little playful humour thrown in. This also helps the interview to come across to the viewer and form a watchable relationship as it unfolds between the interviewer and the subject. For my introduction, i asked a few very simple ‘warming-up questions’ about his background and design related study path but, as the interview progressed i tried to make my questions more direct and detailed. Not merely “how did you do this or that”, but to direct the questions in a specific & challenging way as an attempt to build a more comprehensive piece.
I feel that the interview went well and i managed to cover all my questions. I really enjoyed the whole process and using cross media applications also added to my film based media work. Its very applicable to us all in the second and first years alike. Covering a wide range of details and concentrating on what the last year of University is also like, so i think other students would benefit from watching it.
Project management tips to the differences between working for a company and as a freelancer. From coding and designers to University in relation to the real world of working in the industry & producing a strong portfolio.
You can reach at Andy at: www.doitproperly.com
After taking pictures around Bath of variours kinds of typographic soruces from posters to shop window placements and everything in between. I then begain to think of ways to approach this project. After researching many diffferent kinds of maps, i found myself gravitating towards the 3D style of mapping.
After dusicussing the brief further with my Lecture for this module Mike Moran, he mantioned that i can indeed draw from any exprinces and i wish. This really helped and gave me a whole new perspective on the project. Instead of trying to find ideas, i decide to let them find me in the form of experience.
I choose to use Bangkok as my map source template. Choosing a city that i have spent considerable time in i set about making a produced that i would want to buy. I think using ones own experience is valid and in many ways is the only frame of reference we can truly trust.
I know the character and spirt of Bangkok, having lived and worked there for over 6 years and being such an exciting place it would add character to something which could easily become mundane if not produced correctly and with a sense of humor and entertainment. So I decided to make a graphical infoamtion map of the main to tourist attractions of Bangkok. With this new path, i began researching again, this time knowing exsectly what i wanted to active.
Header 4. Rainy Day
We are all to aware of the many issues with in todays climate via the media, but there is also magical wonder to some aspects of this part of our world. Staying with the theme of climate change thorough written poetry; i decided to produced a classic rainbow style illustration. Being a very recognizable symbol of our world and its weather. I wanted to try to bring back those images thorough vector artwork. Simple, clean, colorful and fun.
I wanted to make this one very playful with an almost child-like approach to the illustration whilst still maintaing the over all theme constancy, look and style of the headers. Everyone remembers being taught at School about rainbows and seeing them in illustrated books and hoping they might be lucky enough to see one. With this notion, i wanted to draw the rainbow and clouds in a very fun and imaginative kind of style.
Again, using a gradient for the background and drawing small trees which i then joined together using the pathfinder tool. this gave it a more fluid and fun look. T played around with the background layer using various gradient techniques, but after trying many, i decided on using one simple tone as i thought this would over-whelm the overall design. I then used small type raining down from the clouds onto the trees saying…er well, rain…
Header 3. Happy Tree
This header illusration is bascied on the Japanes bonsie tree. I love Asian cultures and like to represent and use them from my experiences when i can. The Bonsai tree is very temperamental tree and it needs love and tender care. One must prune the Bonsai tree regluarly and water it very carfully. It is a fragile plant which i think makes a nice meterphore for our planet.
I sketched a ‘cartoon style’ Bonsai tree in pencil then scanned this into my computer. I then traced the hand rendered drawing in illustrator with the pen drawing tool. I then layed it with colours to give it some depth. I then typed some ‘v’ letters onto the tree. This can represent what the viewer wishes.
I want the audience to be involved and to let the viewer participate and think for themselves what this could mean or means to them. Its be ideas falling from the growing plant or the grow of new beginnings or just letters, its up to you. Using colours and shapes, i then gave the background a simple gradient and made a small moon out of text again using the clipping mask tool. This was all hand drawn with the pen tool.
Header 2. Angry Sea:
The second illustration come from the alarming amount of climate changes that are appear all over our planet in relation to rising sea levels and flooding. I have seen this frist hand when i was in Thailand and saw for myself the destructiveness of the 2004 tsunami. Not to mention Japan which saw some of the worst flooding seen in its history. As this seems to be a very real and reoccurring environmental event and i felt it would be a valid header of social awareness for this project.
I used text within the massive wave. In the nights sky you can see tiny ‘x’ letters for stars and a boat speeding away from the oncoming tsunamic wave to represent perspective. The giant wave has small ‘w’ s falling off the break to represent waves crest falling downwards. It was all hand drawn with the pen tool and I used a grandaunt for the descending fade and a clipping mask to get the words inside the main wave itself.
Header 1. Living Tree
Myself and Tony Ware have been assigned to design a new website for a local poetry group who focus on the environment and its effects thourgh the language of modern poetry. I was set to produce 5 headers for the website. With the 2 elements in mind of poetry and nature. I begain to draw-up some ruffs and then decide to produce all of these headers with in the Adobe illustrator application. I enjoy illustration and really wanted to use this project as a way to get to grips with this huge and wonderful application.
I wanted to give the site a new and revised look as the original was not only rather poorly set out, but lacked any kind of life or visual stimulus. The header is pretty much one of the frist things that a viewer of any website will see and this truly sets mood and identity for the website as a whole. With this in mind, i set out to make fun, lively and playful headers with bold, striking colourful illustrations whilst still retaining a clear message to the viewer about the over all message of the site.
As the project continued, i found out many new tricks in illustrator and i am now beginning to feel a lot more comfortable with in this massive application. Like all the Adobe software; its vast and will take a lot of your time to get to grips with. I have found that rather than simply sitting down in front of the computer with a bundle of Lynda.com or Total training dvd tutorials and simply jumping in, one needs to have a focused goal in the form of a project or job and to mealy use these tutorials as a guild or frame of reference, like you would a text book. Taking the bits and pieces that you need, when you need them, to sove your problems with design in the chosen application. Everyones learning methods are different, but i found this step by step isolating approach helped me greatly.
For my research, i looked at images of nature and form and the meanings behind them. I was trying to think of an effective way to embrace both of these elements together whilst producing a well designed and attractive set of header illustrations which would appear to the websites demographic. For the first header using a female face profile seemed to make more sense to represent ’Mother Earth’.
The green elements would come though in the form of birds flying out of the woman’s hair which i had made into bare tree branches. The connection to poetry would be in the form of letters falling from the woman’s ’tree like’ hair representing branches shading its leaves in Autumn. The hair flowing backwards down to make the rectangle shaped header long and flowing. The letters would be the leaves falling from the braches. This was my frist idea but, i felt it a good one which was also relevant well designed so i went with it.
My kernitic text motion project - Audio source is from Seinfeld
Today we got involved with more mayhem with Mike and motion. Working on the theme of kernitic type and graphics with in the motion application. I found motion to be a fun application and i am really enjoying the possibilities and other elements which this software adds to us as designers. With the ability to move, warp, spin text and graphics in real time and then add or place into film suites and more; motion can really open up your abilities and gives you yet another pathway in digital design.
Motion is yet another complex application, but i found it fairly intuitive. With a similar user interface as some of the Adobe applications opening motion seemed fairly familiar. This really help to break up the fear factor when beginning to learn any new large application such as this. I am also aware that motion has its limitations and is not as powerful as other applications such as Cinmea 4D or After Effects, but its a nice start of which i intend to continue. The only draw back with motion like many of these types of application, is it a very drawn out process and can sometimes crash, but seeing your creation is well worth the effort.
I based my Kernitic Type project on a scene from the American hit comedy Seinfeld. I frist downloaded the video from youtube with ‘Keepvid.com’. Of course, i needed the audio only for this project, but most of the audio rippers seemed clumsy and where all trying either sell me something or asking me to buy there app. So i imported the film clip into Adobe Sound Booth. I have found ASB to be not only very user friendly and powerful, but far superior interms of quality and persecution when it comes to sound ripping of any kind.
Its also a very complete sound system software application, so your import/export setting are again far greater then most of the outsourced sound rippers that i found on line. After ripping the audio i then placed the file into the Motion timeline and began my project. Placing texts and even some hand drawn graphics with motion. I am enjoying motion and will continue to expriment with this application and hope to move onto After Effects and 4D Cinema after mastering this bad boy…
Entered my T-shirt design to http://www.threadless.com/
Vixen Skate wear: Click to watch my Flash website intro page sample
Overview of the script: The 2 pathways
I had 2 concepts for my sort film. The first was to make a traditional sort film about the local heritage of Bath following the given brief to the line. The second script would essentially be 2 films in 1 and it would blend these two ideas together. This would be a real challenge, but ultimately more fun creative.
The film would begin as a traditional piece about the heritage of Bath until just under half way though, then a diversion to reveal an interesting sub-plot into some of the other fun things to you can do in Bath. This would be ‘where to find the best cocktail in Bath’ and who makes it? I went with the second idea. I thought it would be more interesting, humours and ultimately more entertaining for the audience. It would also allow me to undertake a more diverse dialog with the public involved, framing of shots and ‘freeing-up’ the range of creative elements that I could incorporate as opposed to just producing a film about Bath and its heritage.
The overall story board would revolve around me following this rather transitional brief then suddenly, taking a whirl-wind diversion into a more rapid form of entertainment. This would be ‘my take’ on Bath and what it has to offer. In short; this means real fun, which means alcohol; which means cocktails. I investigate Bath searching for this experience. This would involved many twists and turns; including myself quite simply ‘getting it wrong,’ by walking into various venues, shops and restaurants and asking, “Do you make cocktails?”. This of course, would be done for comic effect and give an interesting twist of irony to the film. Then, after much searching, find myself in the establishment that is indeed housing the very man that can, will and does make the best cocktail that you had ever tasted.
Research: What I did
There was 2 elements of reseasearch which I undertook for this film. Firstly, was to take a bus tour around Bath. I found to be very helpful and well worth the time. And even though I never really used any of the places of interest on the Bath bus tour, it did gave me a new perspective and appreciation on Bath. This in turn did benefit the work as I felt this feeling came through in some of the interviews. To further my research, I watched many kinds of historical and documentary styled videos on YouTube which I used as cross-reference material. This reminded me of the narrative of such films. Watching these rather formulated and conservative examples, gave me the idea to revolt and inspired the change of direction with in my film.
Permission for filming : Yes and No!
The film was set in different locations and needed props and a venue for the Pub scenes. I had to ask permission from Mr. Alan, MD of Bath Abby House Brewery and Abby Ales. Also, Mr. James Timothy the Assistant Manager at the Assembly Inn for his involvement in the film itself. Fortuity, they both accepted and I was able to film on this location 3 times respectively. Each time, filming for about an hour or so; even when James was working within the bar, which I liked as it gave a more organic feel to some of the scenes. We utilised the bar itself and a few props: bar unities, bottles, cocktail equipment, pool table, soda sprayer and glasses.
Problems and alterations: What went wrong and how I had to re-edit my film
My entail introduction of the second half was to venture around various establishments and ask if they “Could make the perfect cocktail?” These selected places and venues were not bars or public houses, but merely shops, cafes, restaurants and other miscellaneous venues. This again, was done for comic effect and may have given another humorous element to the film. But this was not to be the case. Firstly, getting permission from some of these venues was not granted. Also, arranging a time slot to come in and film on a location e.g. shop floor or a local Restaurant was incredibly difficult. After many telephone calls and attempts to arrange a shoot at a local clothes shop, I was forced to abandon this entire scene. I also tried to film in a friends shop, but the manager refused on business grounds. After reviewing the captured footage that I had already filmed, I decided that this range of scenes was no longer needed and would also make the film far too long. In retrospect, I feel that I made the right decision as these scenes would not only put me over the time frame, but would indeed detract from the narrative of the film.
The Working Processes: What I did and how
I worked on this film about 2-3 days every week from 4/10/10 up to the present day to get the results that I wanted. I had already written the script and had a fairly good plan of what was required. I walked into Bath City centre on my own; armed only with my HD camera, tripod, Canon 450 SLR and with the firm intention of getting the footage I required. Some people accepted and more refused. In the end, I managed to get 4 interviews that I knew where entertaining enough to stay in the final edit of the film. This would be more than adequate, as I wanted fun people that had confidence in front of the camera. In truth, I found that many people would suddenly become extremely camera shy and ‘freeze-up’ just as I was about about to place the equipment in front of them. I wanted individuals that could not only could talk with conviction and confidence, but people who I could interact with myself and would fire back with answers quickly even when put under a little pressure. I was also fortunate enough to grab an interview with local presenter, Mr. Jon Monie. Needless to say, he was perfect and truly added a funny, quirkiness to the film. He responded to my various challenges and cues with professionalism and seamless comedy class.
What roles and why? Lights, camera, action
James Timothy was the natural choice for the end lead-role as the crazy, manic and slightly off-the-rails cocktail bar tender. I have worked with JT before and have known him for many years. JT is also a very competent presenter and all around showman of his trade. He was a perfect fit for the role in every way. He not only delivered a highly informative and entertaining piece on ‘How to make the perfect cocktail’, but played alone with my direction and endless takes in the search for that comedy gold!
Groups and Individuals: Who and how?
All of the interviews were conducted by me. I would ask them a few questions which were already scripted, and then as they grew in conference, I would feed them various lines or the occasional joke or innuendo to see what their reaction would be. As I had already struck-up a rap-pore with interviewee, I knew how far I could push them and the situation. Some individuals were more receptive to the cue-lines and improvisation than others, but I felt the results came through in the end. There was no collaboration with any other group/s or member/s from the college or otherwise who assisted with myself on the completion of the project.
Filming techniques and post production : What applications and equipment did I use?
Equipment used for capturing this film: Sony HD motion camera, Tripod, Canon 450 SLR – still photography with speed flash. Equipment used for all post production: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, Adobe Photoshop CS5, I DVD.
For the first section of the film, I was working towards a very structured and traditional historical effect, with the classical music, the slow frames, still jpg photography shots, long shots, panning and the simple conventional framing for the one-to-one interviews. Then, for the second part of the film, I went the other way entirely. The concept being one of speed, tight framing, fast panning, zoom shots and rapid cuts. Also incorporating various post production techniques such as; when the cocktail is being made, I wanted to give the effect of speed and motion. Whilst editing I therefore used many fast cuts, transitions and low camera angles to promote this media style. From one type of framing to another I felt that I managed to capture the elements of each filming method and presentational techniques to a fair degree.
Was the film a success? It’s in the can baby!
I tried to do something different. I was given a very mainstream brief which could have lent towards a very linear and mainstream brief. What I tried to active, was to take a very traditional formula of a typical local history and heritage film and blend it with a more contemporary sub-plot using humor and an entertaining sub-culture of today. In doing so, I had in fact made two sort films. Now the real challenge was, how should I blend these two pieces together whilst maintaining the films fluidity and keeping within the time constructs. I toke a seemly very mainstream topic (if you are not into films of culture heritage films that is)! And tried to give the text a unique twist; whilst maintaining an undercurrent of humor which lent itself to almost every element of the film, from the introduction and interviews and onwards to the conclusion itself. This in turn; I felt, gave yet another element and a more in-depth range to the finished film and as a result a more creative, interesting and entertaining project.
Milson Street (film)
Enzo’s Chip shop (cut from film)
Assembly Inn (film)
The Roman Baths (photography set)
The Circus (photography set)
The Abbey (photography set)
Brainstormed ideas for my film — 10/10/10
Began writing the script — 13/10/10
Finished script — 18/10/10
Made various phone calls to ask permission to film on locations — 20/10/10
Re-wrote the script — 23/10/10
Re-wrote the introduction of the script — 25/10/10
Made more phone calls to re-confirm times and days of filming for locations and actors — 28/10/10
Filmed the end ‘How to make the best Cocktail’ with James Timothy – 7/01/11
Re-filmed fill in scenes with James Timothy – 9/01/11
Filmed at Enzo’s Chip shop & Interviewed Jon Monie & guy in chair — 11/01/11
Filmed at the Assembly Inn – Interviewed Alan Morgan, Andy Brook, the cook — 13/01/11
Filmed at the Assembly Inn – Re-filmed end scene and fill in clips for ‘How to make the perfect cocktail’ — 14/01/11
Re-wrote parts of the script & cut out Enzo’s chip shop scene — 15/01/11
Filmed fill-in scenes in city centre — 17/01/11
Wrote voice over for film / did the VO for film — 18/01/11
Re did VO for film — 19/01/11
Re did introduction of Film – 20/01/11
Cut Chop shop scene from the film and re-edited film (parts) — 21/01/11
Re edited film (parts) — 22/01/11
Re did of the VO (parts) — 23/01/11
Re edited film (parts) — 24/01/11
Our 48 hour film challenge production.
“Metrotile UK supplies Lightweight Steel Roofing systems to the UK and Irish markets and is part of an international success story that has been in operation for over 30 years. Our systems and accessories can be seen upon rooftops in over 60 countries worldwide”.
After several meetings with Mr. Robert Cunningham.
The Clients briefs is as follows:
1. A full new logo with strapline
2. A new branding identity
3. A new website
The client wishes to maintain the quality of his Fathers Company, but to expand into a new frontier with his new company.
This new company will not involved roofing tiles. It will only involve interiors.
Indoor flooring tiles, kitchen tiles, bathroom tiles, indoor hardware surfaces.
We conceded that the over look of the company should be:
1. Slick and stylish
2. Modern and accusable
3. Different form the other tile company’s branding
4. To the point – Quick and simply
5. Clear and clean – In design, form and communication
Mr. Robert Cunningham and myself concluded that the brand identity should enforce the new frontier of the company. This means we have to accomplish a new style, form and content for the New newco company. This has to be apparent with in the company, the website, the new branding and every other form of design and media which we may have to produce for newco. With this in mind, the client wishes to maintain a new vision with in the tile community; in design and presentation alike. In short, our group brief is to try and fulfill and maintain an entirely new form of identity with in our final production.