Final Major Project Ideas and Initial Research

So for my final major project I want to work along the lines of creating pictograms depicting student life, all based around personal experiences from my time and university. My initial research has revolved around designers, Otto Neurath who initiated the Isotype -(International System of Typographic Picture Education), Margret Calvert who designed the road signs of Great Britain  and more recently Stephen McCarthy who created the England’s Burning magazine, telling the story of London Riots through pictograms, something I would possibly like to do but about student life.


In addition to this for Criticality, I re-designed road signs to make them more representative of the times. I would quite like to also create some comedy ones about students situations which can then also be produced on t shirts and stikers to create a small side business from, which can hopefully be something that would carry on after uni and can be easily expanded upon with me focusing on other situations.

I already knew how to make thee simple pictograms before on illustrator but I do wish to do them in the style above and like in the images below.




Im sure what I have initially decided to do will change over time but I am happy I have found some decent inspiration and got some form of idea that I will really enjoy spending a long period of time working on.


Competition Time

So it is now competition time and after reading all of the briefs, I am choosing the Drop Box Paper one set by D & AD. I wanted to this one because it is so open and the possibilities are endless.

This brief in it’s simplest form is to use the power of graphic design to make a change in a particular cause, big or small. At first I wanted to do something on gun violence in the US but after some consideration I thought it would be better to do it on something closer related to home. This is where I came up with the idea to do it on the rise in knife crime in the UK.

After doing some initial research into the statistics behind knife violence, I feel I have made a good choice because some of the stats are quite serious:

  • 13% rise in the UK in 2017
  • 8% rise in the murder rate in knife violence
  • 36,998 recorded knife offences last year

Also after having a look at some of the campaigns most of them are just boring posters. This makes me feel quite confident and ambitious to produce something different to just an A3 poster. I’m I can create one for part of the campaign but have something more engaging and personal, so I can really get across (to younger people in particular) a serious message about the rise in knife crime in the UK and the devastating consequences it brings with it.

Here are some of the already existing campaigns which I think are really boring and ineffective for what they are trying to do, which is why I want to create an outcome which is much more engaging.

Refinement of the Tuck Shop (Milestone 2)

tuck shop


After our group meeting yesterday we are now all coming up with individual outcomes for communicating to retail and creating an active aging community, and mine is going to be a tuck shop.

I thought  a pop up tuck shop would be a good idea because it could hopefully remind the Gaer people of happy memories from when they were younger and their school days and the excitement of going to the tuck shop on your break. The other thing with a tuck shop is they were usually run by the children for the children, which is the images I see with the new Gaer homes. Hopefully it will be something that can be self run.

The tuck shop won’t be a regular tuck shop though. I thought it would be a good idea to base the shop on homemade goods that the residents have made themselves and can sell there. One week it could be cakes, the next pies and then maybe soup, just  for suggestions. This way it would make it more of an interactive process trying to get as many people involved as possible, creating that active aging community.

Because many of these people are on lower incomes I was thinking of trying to get the local Tesco to donate some ingredients through one of their outreach schemes (Neighborhood food watch) just so we are keeping in touch with the retail scheme of things. In addition to this it would seem a good idea to try and get one of the local retailers, like the butcher for example to come and sponsor the event, just to get them involved in the community as well and hopefully create more publicity for them.

Looking back it has been difficult getting to this point after a few weeks of brainstorming possible ideas with the rest of the team, but now I have a better and clearer direction of thought.




First Ideas


To refine the ideas we had as and group we had to ask ourselves “what is the hub in Derwen missing?” this way we can properly consider what the people need in this new hub.

(Milestone 2) The main ideas to get an active aging community are:

  • Tuck shop ran by the people of Derwen
  • Coffee club (also ran by the people of Derwen)
  • and a delivery service

My favorite out of these ideas was the tuck shop idea. The belief behind this is that we would get in contact with the retailers or local wholesalers and see if the want to get involved through the possibility of animations or leaflets for example. Failing this, there is a Tesco Extra near by we thought we could possibly get them involved with one of their outreach programs, Neighborhood food collection. This food and retail goods would then be sold in the hub in its very own tuck shop. This way it can be ran by the people living in the homes giving them a sense of purpose and belonging, hopefully bringing the active ageing community together.

This would be similar to the coffee club. It would be ran by the people living there so would be an independent shop where they can all get involved with each other.

Design for Real

This is my first blog post of my final academic year at Cardiff Metropolitan University and all I can say is that I am really looking forward to what may happen this year. Anyway the people we will be working with during this project is the housing company Gaer Homes. To kick start this project I have done a small amount of research into them and what they do.

They are a housing association dedicated to elder people, who provide a variety of home to people aged 55 and over. They aim to develop and deliver services that are informed by the needs, aspirations and concerns of elder people. Their services range across Newport, Monmouthshire and Caerphilly, all of which are in Wales. Looking throughout their website and online brochure they particularly cater for older people who are considered especially vulnerable so I think will be a really good opportunity to work with them.


Digital Me

This project is about branding ourselves as graphic designers, ready for the real world when that time comes. During this project we have to create a CV, PDF portfolio and an online portfolio to give us a presence in different medias.

So to simply kick start this project I have been looking at different forms of inspiration which I think are good pieces of work to get my creative ideas going.


All of these are nice looking and are simple to follow, including all of the needed and necessary information. The one I ma most interested in is the one with illustrations. I wish to experiment with designs like this as well as I feel it will catch an employers eye for being very different compared to the other designs. I would probably pair this with a ‘serious’ design as well when being sent out to different places.


Constellation Second Year Review

Constellation has been a lot more interesting this year, as well as easier to navigate seeing as this is my second year here at the university I had a better idea of what to expect. For my topic choices at the beginning of the year I feel I had a limited range of  options that  I could pick in terms of my interests and things that relate to my course, graphic design. This at first made me a bit down beat about constellation this year. In the end I decided to go with Puzzling out Contemporary Art. My reasoning behind this was after speaking to some people I thought, “What the heck, if there is nothing really relating to what I do as a designer, I may as well choose something in a creative subject that I know very little about”. That is how I ended up choosing, Puzzling out Contemporary Art.

During the first session with Jon Clarkson we had a discussion about what we think make art contemporary. During this we debated about the date, particular style and if the art had to symbolise or mean anything. None of these points really got decided upon as contemporary art I found out can be considered as many things, something that later on interested and annoyed me. The first piece we had a look at Leonardo’s Cat by Isa Genzken. I found this a very intriguing bit of work or installation to start off with. It was a pile made up of mundane objects and at first it just looked a big random mess to me. To this day I still can’t really say what it is about, but I would like to think that it is  piece about challenging composition and structure. This was one of the good things I found while on this module. Contemporary art, unlike other creative areas like graphic design, product design and architecture, for example, can be interpreted in more than one way. Later on in the course I found this sort of work frustrating. Examples such as Damian Hurst, who would simply put things into tanks, his most famous the shark. For me to call something like this art might be a bit too easy, with little skill involved it may seem to someone like myself who does graphic design, which is all about a process and construction that exhibition pieces like this are infuriating. It almost feels like contemporary and modern art is just there for the sake of it. To this day I still find things like this annoying that they can pass as ‘art’, but I still do find them interesting to examine and try and find some sort of meaning behind what is happening and in addition to this I have felt his choice has opened up my perception of contemporary art.

The second part of the constellation topic was the summative assessment. Due to my slight dissatisfaction towards modern and contemporary art, I wanted to compare and contrast it to my course, graphic communication. This way I could research contemporary art more and broaden my horizons further by comparing the two subjects. At first I found it challenging to research the contemporary art side of the essay because the only experience I have had with the subject is the constellation course. As the essay took shape, I was able to gather a greater understanding for the subject and began to accept it more for what it is. Overall, I feel that is the biggest benefit I have gained from this, not an improvement in my written skills but being able to look at exhibitions and modern art and not judge it so negatively.

The final part of the constellation module was to write our dissertation proposal. After partly writing my summative assessment on graphic design, I wished to do a whole essay on it which is why I have eventually come up with the question/statement, “Graphic Design is the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines or books, which will be nonexistent in the future”, discuss. I have also chosen to create a visual representation of graphic design from my findings.

One of the key issues with graphic design and communication is that it is hard to pin down what it really is. Some people think it is one thing, while others believe it is something completely different. I feel that this is down to peoples’ perception and how educated they are on the matter. For example, the online Oxford Dictionary definition is  “The art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books” (Oxford Dictionary, 2017). This definition is not wrong as these components are an important part of the industry, but people will argue that this is a very dated view of the subject, and in the modern day  a lot more different practices and thought is involved. From this introduction to graphic design there is already a few conflicting ideas about what it really is. This is why I wish explore this area.

Before this, I found it difficult coming up with a question. Because we could literally write about anything, I struggled with narrowing down what I wanted to do. All I knew at this stage was that I would like the question to relate back to graphic design somehow. At first I was desperate to do something on Star Wars, but was finding it rather difficult to link it back to graphic design in some way. After some more research I found that graphic design had no clear definition and everyone they asked would say that it was something different. Most people said things like, Photoshop, computers  and posters, but graphic design is much more than that which is why I wish to explore this topic.

Overall, constellation has been more interesting than last year and I think more enjoyable. It may have raised more questions in terms of contemporary art and my potential dissertation, but this has left me intrigued to find out and research them more.