Week Eight: Skills and Making

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Lecture Reflection: Skills and Making

In this weeks lecture two questions were asked, first:

1. What would you like to be doing that you are not doing in your work?

"I don’t really think I would want to do anything else." Simon Manchipp

"The question of what would I do if I wasn’t doing what I was doing? I love what I’m doing, and I find it very hard to imagine not doing what I do." Sam Winston

"I guess a good answer is there isn’t really anything we’d like to be doing, as in most of the things we’d like to be doing, we are doing." Kristoffer Soelling

"But, I’m really, I think we very regularly think about things that we’d, I mean we draw sketches of things that we think are really cool, then a project will come around a month or two, or a year later and we’re like, remember that thing we saw that was really cool? Maybe we can do it in this project or work with it." Tom Finn

"I’d love to collaborate with product designers. I think you learn a lot from collaborating with people who have a completely different background." Sarah Boris

"Getting outdoors more." Adrian Talbot

It seems as though the general consensus is everyone is happy and fulfilled in what they do, apart from Adrain maybe. What I got from the interviews is that the work they get is diverse enough that it stays interesting. Tom mentions how something might crop up at one point that might not be relevant for a current project, however, it can be used at a later point.

2. How important are side projects and are you currently working on any?

"Side projects are interesting and I can totally see the value of them, and throughout my career, working for other people, I have definitely had my side hustles going on." Simon Manchipp

"Side projects, how to make them. I think I’ve made a fulltime career from side projects, basically. " Sam Winston

"I guess that's also where a side project, or project that you run yourself, is something that you get to define 100% what it's supposed to be." Kristoffer Soelling

"I mean we have a sub folder in the server of ideas for things that we want to do that we've got in our mind for ages, then something else comes up and you don't have the time." Tom Finn

"Side projects have always been a part of my practice." Sarah Boris

"The side project, for me, is, well it’s important in terms of making music was the first part of it because I wanted to make music and I'm into music." Julian House

The general consensus with side projects is that they're important. Important for your career but also for you own interest, something that's done organically on the side and isn't interrupted by the need to make money. Something where no one else input is valid and that you have full ownership of.

The images below are Ghost Box, Julian's side project, and work by Sarah Boris.

Image: https://ghostbox.co.uk/catalogue/

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/145241156718262639/

Image: https://womenofgraphicdesign.org/post/171563825236/sarah-boris-london-interview

I hadn’t previously studied graphic design before now, apart from a short course, so all my work (up to this point) is self-initiated. However, I wanted to build a portfolio, so there was a goal behind my self-initiated project, but I also wanted to learn, so using Adobe software was like a playground to me, with no restrictions, just creating for my enjoyment and purpose.

Image (above): An illustration I did from a YouTube tutorial

Image (above): Ilustration I did after visiting the beach and seeing so much plastic waste

I currently use the school that I work at as a testing ground for various creations. I create posters with useful information for the students, but there's no client involved, so I still have the freedom to do what I like and for it to have a purpose. For me, this is extremely important in developing my skills. There's a lot of room for trial and error and understanding. There was a mixed response to self initiated projects within the lecture, some where happy with the diverse projects that they were working on for clients already that they didn't feel the need to have a side project. On the other hand, some Like having a side project where there was no client involved so they had complete creative freedom, which I feel is important. It's important to have that release that files your passion. With the side projects the general consensus was that they were organic and weren't created in order to make money or to really achieve anything but general satisfaction. However, one point that was brought up was the need to be able to interact with an audience that weren't other designers so you weren't lost in an echo chamber of people potentially giving the same feedback.

Image: School poster for young learners

Brian Eno, Oblique Strategies Cards

I liked looking at Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies card. As mentioned I've relied on self-initiated projects and self-teaching in order to help myself become familiar with graphic design. The problem with this is finding inspiration and you can get lost on thinking about too many things or stuck on trying to process just one idea. The Oblique Strategies cards seem to give a nudge in a certain direction and as Eno mentions some card can be very broad.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/684406474613128562/

They're almost like Tarot cards (below).

Image: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-dealing-creative-block-deck-cards-help

The cards remind me of motivational posters, giving little nudges or words of advice that trigger an idea or self belief within. Prior to going the course I mostly self taught and researched what I felt would be beneficial for further study. There's still so much to learn (as my list of skills below suggests) but my process has mainly been through self motivation, with this in mind, I want to create a motivational poster as this has been the catalyst for my self initiated projects.

Anthony Burrill

I like Anthony Burrill's play with lettering and extracting words multiple meanings if there are any, such as CMYK using the CMYK colours.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/485474034830509821/

This link between words and meaning features a lot in Anthony's work such as the "Soho, not soso" poster. The campaign was created by BHH in London, the Soho poster was created for a march against development in Soho and was a way of celebrating Soho's rich diversity, culture, and vibrancy. This campaign brought together many creative minds with various interpretations of the Soho campaign.

With Anthony's poster, I feel like I'm looking down on Soho from a birds eye view, above Soho square. I like the simplicity of the colours and its boldness with the type. The message is clear and powerful.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/8655424268852200/

Another design (below) taken for the Soho not soso campaign By Rude

Image: https://www.creativereview.co.uk/work/work-bbh-london-launches-soho-not-soso-campaign/

In the 'Pow' poster below ( Anthony Burrill) I like the repetition and how through this repetition of three a fourth is produced in pink. Again, it's the simplicity and playfulness with the text that inspires me here.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/310396599296272593/

For the 'No Safe Place' campaign which was created in light of the Australian bush fires Anthony created another powerful and yet simple poster using charcoal from the actual bush fires in Australia. I love this use of materials that are taken directly from the cause the awareness is being drawn too.

Image: https://www.itsnicethat.com/news/anthony-burrill-rise-australian-charcoal-art-240220

Studio Sutherl&

"Studio Sutherl& was asked to produce a limited edition print for sale in support of Extinction Rebellion. It’s screen printed onto recycled paper using two very vibrant colour inks that mix and merge over the edition - losing their brightness until they form a dark brown."

Image: https://www.dandad.org/awards/professional/2020/233137/dodo/

"We were asked to produce a limited edition print for sale in support of Extinction Rebellion. We choose the Dodo which is recognised as a symbol of extinction.

We screen printed onto recycled paper using two brightly coloured inks - that mix and merge over the edition until they form a dark brown.

We wanted to produce a simple print that encouraged people to think about the fate of the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) which was extinct by 1700, about a century after its discovery in 1598. We wanted people to consider the potential repercussions of taking action, or no action, to stop the climate crisis.

The prints were sold at an auction organised by Accept and Proceed in aid of Extinction Rebellion."

This is such a great idea and very powerful. The message is clear and very clever and unique. I love the play on words and how the materials, such as the recycled paper, have been carefully considered.


I couldn't find who created this poster but I like how the word 'Motivation' starts off strong and whole but eventually fades off to being almost unrecognisable as a word. I feel this is a reflection of me on Monday and slowly losing motivation through the week.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/20899585759093421/

Jónsi 'Go Do'

This song is extremely uplifting and beautiful and instantly makes me find motivation, even for the most mundane tasks. It's title is a simple but powerful message to just go do! I like that it's just two simple words, two syllables, four letters, it's even and clean. The two words together are also an anagram for the word 'good.' There are many positive connotations that can be taken.

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Do#/media/File:Go_Do_cover.jpg

Workshop Challenge

First draft

I instantly wanted to create some symmetry, with Anthony Burrill's work in mind. I wanted the type to be bold and strong but not intimidating or aggressive. I also wanted the words to almost be leaping out, giving a feeling of energy and eagerness. The colour choices needed to be bold and bright, but not overbearing, subtle design with the message standing out.

I played around with other colours, alternating them to experiment.

From the feedback given during the crit I decided to create a colour by numbers page, whereby there has to be some level of motivation and interaction and a process in order to fully finish complete the page. There's a sense of curiously involved and imagination in gaging how the finished artefact will look. I also used the CMYK colour model, as I'm still learning about colour, terminology, and printing.

I took this idea further and created a small (very) beginners guide to graphic design. This could be done by a child and I think I'm definitely underplaying my skills here but I like the idea of learning something new as an adult with children's styled resources. When you learn something new your almost in that child like mind where everything is new and fresh and the possibilities are endless.

I would like to take it further and print this small guide out and use it in my school. I feel there would be a nice link between me self teaching and learning about these skills and terminology to then teach it to others. Teaching the CMYK colour model for instance as I'm sure not every child knows what colour Cyan is would make this project full circle.

However, some went their own way and did their own thing which actually broadened my mind to different interpretations and colour.

Final Draft

I took this further and made a little guide book for beginners focusing on colour, type and edit.


I've really enjoyed researching this project. Anthony Burrill was someone I hadn't previously encountered and I've blown away by his work. I've loved seeing different examples of his work and play with type and words. The same goes to the Sutherl& Extinction Rebellion project and understanding that as a designer we have to be conscious of the materials that we use in a project. The materials we use can really impact a message, with Antony Burrill and the No Safe Place Campaign using charcoal from the bushfires created this feeling that the actual place was sending the message so there was a stronger connection with the audience. It's hard to imagine the impact such natural disasters can have on peoples live, especially from the other side of the world, but this allowed it to be more real.

It has been fun taking these examples and using them within my own project. I feel the possibilities are endless with colour palettes and typography but I'm content with the result for now.

I feel really positive in regards to my guide book. I would like to take it further and print this small guide out and use it in my school. I feel there would be a nice link between me self teaching and learning about these skills and terminology to then teach it to others. Teaching the CMYK colour model for instance as I'm sure not every child knows what colour Cyan is would make this project full circle.


www.dandad.org. (n.d.). Dodo | Studio Sutherl& | Extinction Rebellion | D&AD Awards 2020 Shortlist | Posters | D&AD. [online] Available at: https://www.dandad.org/awards/professional/2020/233137/dodo/ [Accessed 22 Nov. 2020].

Burrill, A. (n.d.). Anthony Burrill. [online] Anthony Burrill. Available at: https://anthonyburrill.com.

www.youtube.com. (n.d.). Brian Eno: How To Beat Creative Block - BBC Click. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tURRSJ-q4bg.

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