Voluntary Work: Four Mutts TV

Since the start of April, Abbie and I have been actively working with Four Mutts TV (our client from the Persuasion project) by maintaining their social media platforms, posting content and creating content. We have been “meeting” with Jennifer (owner) on a weekly basis to discuss the next week’s posting schedule, which helps us stay on track.

I feel that working voluntarily for Four Mutts TV has helped me manage my time more efficiently, especially working with them near a deadline for uni work. It has also made me much closer with Abbie, and has helped us to develop a working relationship that’s really really strong.

You can see some of our recent work with Four Mutts TV on their social channel’s which I’ve linked below.

www.facebook.com/fourmuttstv

www.instagram.com/fourmuttstv

Portfolio: Website Design

I started by trying to get to grips with a website builder that was new to me – Adobe Portfolio. I came to terms with it quite quickly, as it was very similar in terms of layout and control to other Adobe applications within the Creative Cloud suite. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of freedom in terms of layout, but it was nowhere near as restrictive as GoDaddy was.

I started by changing the template specifics, like the typeface (futura) and colour scheme. For the colours, I chose to keep them to black and white. The main reason for this was that my projects were so colourful that I wanted to keep them the focus and not the web design. I also added in my pink and red logo, which definitely added some life to the home page. I decided to make the portfolio or “work” section of my website the home and landing page, as this is the most important part of my website, and the part that I want people to concentrate on.

After I was happy with the layout, I changed the domain of the website. I bought the domain http://www.elliewilliamsdesign.com for $8 for the year, and connected it through my Adobe Portfolio settings for free. I was really happy with this as it was much more expensive to do through other website building sites like Wix and GoDaddy.

Next I started to add in the project content to my site. I kept the 3 projects per row layout (similar to my portfolio). However, this time I made the thumbnails much larger, which gives the viewer a much more detailed first impression to my work. However, I’m not sure whether I will keep them this size yet – this is something that I’ll ask in my next tutorial with Jay and my peers:

When you click on a thumbnail, you will find a detailed description of the brief and my response, along with lots of photos of my work throughout the process. In addition, any work which was used in “real life”, such as websites, social media posts etc are linked so that the viewer can access them easily, and experience my work first hand.

Portfolio: CV design progress

I was really unhappy with my CV from last year, so I definitely wanted to start a fresh with this year’s CV. However, the actual content from last year is of high quality, I just needed to add in my work experience and shorten some of the text a bit to make it a bit less “wordy”.

I added in my logo in red (similar to the portfolio), and also added my contact info adjacent to it – I felt that this gave the CV a bit of structure in terms of content. I also added in some social icons to show my other online presences.

I decided to use the font “Circe” for my CV. I used it throughout my research & development, as it’s a very clear sans-serif typeface. I made the subtitles larger and in capital letters which a white underline/strikethrough. I really like this form of highlighting a title – I think it looks very modern and current.

When designing my CV, and portfolio, it made me think how glad I am to have completed work experience at the start of the year. Especially now, when we are stuck indoors, I feel really grateful to have gained the experience. I feel that featuring the experience on my CV it makes it look a lot more professional and worthy.

Portfolio: Portfolio design progress

Although I was happy with my portfolio from last year, I feel that I’ve grown so much as a designer from last year in terms of my work, typeface choices, layout and aesthetic choices that I wanted to start from scratch with my portfolio this year. After initially sketching out some possible portfolio layouts, I decided to start creating my portfolio in InDesign:

I took my logo and made it red, and gave the first page a nice pale pink background for the red logo to sit on. I was really happy with this colour combination and thought it “sprused” up my identity by giving it a bit of life. On the home page, I included the handwritten “hello” from last year’s portfolio, as I feel this hand rendered type communicates my personality as a graphic designer well. I make this much smaller than it was in my previous portfolio, and I’m really happy with it.

I played around with different layouts (see below) for the 9 interactive thumbnails on the home page, but in the end I chose the 3 thumbnails per row layout, as I felt this was most contemporary and clean.

Thumbnail layout trial 1
Thumbnail layout trial 2

Next, I decided to add in a white border around each thumbnail, as I felt that they looked too camouflaged against the pink background. Adding in the white border gave the thumbnails a platform to sit on and made them stand out a lot more than before:

Adding white border to thumbnails

As you can see in the screenshot above, I also added some page navigation arrows either side of my logo marque. The logo would take you back to the home page (this page), and the back and forward arrows would help to navigate the pages. The thumbnails are also interactive, so whichever one you click on will take you to that project. If you don’t click on any, you can just cycle through the projects using the navigation arrows at the bottom of the screen.

Next I started to work on the layout of the project pages. I decided that I would only feature the best outcome photos or mockups that I had for each project, as I didn’t want the portfolio to look cluttered or jammed.

This was the layout for my branding project page. The background colour was a pale red to match the accent colour within the project itself. I was happy with the amount of negative space within the page and felt that the images also had “room to breathe”. I kept text to a minimum and where I felt it needed to me more detailed, I added that the viewer could see the whole process on my wordpress blog or I would link the website I had created or social page, etc. I felt that this covered all basis without overwhelming the viewer in the portfolio.

In some projects, such as Interior Styling, I only included one or two images. I feel that this helps maintain a reasonable pace throughout the portfolio and makes sure that it’s not too predictable for the viewer. You can notice that I also altered the colour of the navigation arrows and the logo marque to suit the project. I feel that this is a nice subtle alteration which also helps to maintain a nice pace throughout the portfolio.

Portfolio: Portfolio, CV & Website Design Research

PORTFOLIO

I’m really pleased that we have been asked to create a self promoting interactive portfolio, CV and website for the final project of 2nd year at University. I really wanted to create some self promotional material but could “never find the time”, so this forced me to do so. I plan to include personal projects as well as university projects within my portfolio and website:

  • UNIVERSITY – SUBJECT – Branding
  • UNIVERSITY – SUBJECT – Penguin
  • UNIVERSITY – SUBJECT – Persuasion
  • UNIVERSITY – FIELD – Interior Styling
  • UNIVERSITY – FIELD – Work Placement – Tidy Studio
  • UNIVERSITY – FIELD – Work Placement – IG Design
  • PERSONAL – Dynamic Fluids
  • PERSONAL – Ellie Williams Stationery
  • PERSONAL – Bwlch Newydd

I know that I want my portfolio to feature pastel colours, to have a calm effect, with not too much distractions from the work itself. The portfolio should also be interactive for digital use. This is my portfolio from last year, and I definitely want to update the design and layout to be more minimal, clear and crisp.

Research: Portfolio 1, by “Qode Interactive”.
  1. (above). I love the pastel colours in this portfolio, as well as the minimalist type. I feel that it’s important to keep a sense of hierarchy within my portfolio by keeping text to a minimum and a focus on the pieces of work. I also like how the typeface runs through the whole portfolio, and even matches the logo/marque. I love the simplicity and how clear it makes the work look.
Research: Portfolio 2, by “Friends with Benefits”.

2. (above). I love the one page per project style layout of this portfolio, and how the year and project name are clearly visible in the corners of the pages. However, I feel that the pace is a bit too repetitive and I aim to take this on board when designing my own portfolio, as pace is a very important factor which could determine a potential employer’s opinion of my graphic design work at first impression. I like how each page has a different pale colour, and I hope to include something similar to this in my portfolio, possibly matching the pale, pastel background colour to the project itself.

After having researched multiple portfolio layout designs, I decided to create some potential layout designs for my own portfolio, keeping in mind the interactive aspect of the design.

CV

The second deliverable of the project is a CV. The CV should accompany the portfolio and be designed in the same aesthetic style in order to maintain a self brand consistency. Along with the CV, a speculative email must be written as if to ask a company for work experience or a job. Because I chose to carry out work experience for my second field project at the start of the year, I already have a good template to work from for this deliverable.

My current CV looks like this:

Ellie Williams CV 2019

I’m really unhappy with my current CV. It really doesn’t reflect on my work as a graphic designer, and the fact that it’s split over two pages is really annoying. The typeface used is really unclear and looks very outdated. I plan to give my CV a well needed revamp during this project!

I decided to look at some existing CV designs and layouts in order to gain some inspiration, and equally as importantly, what not to do.

Research: CV 1, by Tom Temple

I like how minimal this CV is. I like how the red colour runs through it but doesn’t distract the viewer too much. I also like how there is a lot of negative space around the information, which makes the design look clean, tidy and uncluttered. I think that the sans-serif typeface increases the clarity of the type, which is crucial for first impressions.

Research: CV 2, by Sarah Dunn

I like how this CV is split into three columns, with three different sections of information. However, the CV itself lacks some colour in my opinion. I want to incorporate some colour into my CV.

Next, I started to sketch out a layout for my CV. At this stage, I wanted my CV to be portrait as I felt that it would suit the volume of information I wanted to feature within the CV.

I want to feature pink and red as my signature colours within my CV, portfolio and website. I may use accent colours in order to avoid overwhelming potential employers with colour. I also want to use a clear, bold typeface – I think I will use Futura, as this is featured in my logo and I have used it regularly within self promotion projects over the past 2 years.

WEBSITE

I have recently created a website for my wedding stationery business www.elliewilliamsstationery.co.uk, which I used Wix to create. I also recently used GoDaddy to create a website for my client Dynamic Fluids (www.dynamicfluids.co.uk). From my experience of creating these two websites, using two different website builder sites, I found Wix a lot more free and “designer-friendly”. In contrast, GoDaddy was very restrictive and template based. However, GoDaddy was much cheaper than Wix. Because of this dilemma between cost and design freedom, I researched some other website builder sites. I came across Adobe Portfolio, and realised that it was included in the Adobe Creative Suite plan that I have – so I thought it was a no brainer! I also found that adding a custom domain name wouldn’t cost extra (just the cost of the domain name, normally around £5-£10 per year). I think it’s definitely worth purchasing a custom domain name, as it makes your website look a lot more professional.

In terms of design, I wanted my website to reflect the design attributes of my portfolio and CV in order to maintain a brand consistency across the 3 platforms. I wanted to keep the layout pretty minimal, and make sure that the website design isn’t “over-designed”, as this could distract the viewers from the actual design work itself.

Research: Website 1, by Katie Proctor

I love how minimal this website is, and how each project thumbnail is equal in size. I really think that 3 projects per row works well – similar to the layout of an Instagram page. I plan to feature this within my portfolio and website when showcasing thumbnails such as these. I think that the navigation bar in the top left is very clear and uncluttered, without too many options to choose from. I also like the social icons in the top right of the page, which provide easy access to the designer’s social media accounts, which is really useful for a potential employer or client.

Research: Website 2, by Ellie Barker

I love the minimalistic colours in this website design. The off white and light pink work really well together and convey a calm, quiet feeling for me when I visit the site. However, I do think that the site is designed primarily for mobile use, and so it looks very narrow when viewed on desktop. This is something for me to keep in mind when designing my website – make sure it works on both mobile and desktop viewing platforms.

Portfolio – Branding Updates

In my formative feedback from the Branding project, Theo mentioned that my logo was nice and minimal but lacked communication of the artificial intelligence aspect of my brand. He didn’t think that the coding as the horizontal lines was sufficient. He also mentioned that the animation needed a bit more work in order to improve its meaning or message. He said that the animation itself was really well done and impressive, but it just didn’t give a message or meaning.

Logo

I started by looking into my logo. I sketched out the overall outline shape of my logo, and started to think of other objects that could fit in the rugby ball shaped gaps:

When playing around with the shapes I found that an eye shape worked really well I then decided to take this idea into Illustrator and play around with different eye shapes within the original logo:

I used red as the eye colour in order to maintain the brand’s consistency across all aspects of the branding. The first experiment is very simple and shows an eye opening and closing again. The second experiment is more detailed, featuring a circuit board inside the pupil of the eye. I think this design works best as it shows the robotic/artificial essence of artificial intelligence well. I decided the keep the right hand DNA strand the same, as it is supposed to represent human DNA, and show the comparison between the two strands.

Animation

This idea lead me to think about my animation. My original animation took me a long time to create and I was proud of what I’d done, so Theo’s feedback made me a little disappointed in myself. However, after having looked back at the work, I realised that the animation was in fact pretty pointless. I decided to look into ways of creating a more simply structured DNA strand, which moves across the screen. I thought I could somehow create a moving identity taking the main aspects from the logo, such as the blinking eye and the human DNA strands. I took my idea into After Effects, and after a lot of computer freezing and Youtube tutorials, I brought my initial idea to life.

I’m really happy with the outcome, although would possibly like to ass the brand name to it somewhere. Apart from this, unless I have time to spare after having completed everything else for the final submission of the year, I don’t think I will take this animation any further as I feel it has a message within it now, as opposed to the original animation which had no real message or meaning behind it.

Posters

Although I was fairly happy with my original posters, I thought that I could add some more to the collection in order to make them stronger as a package. My favourite poster from my original submission was the “linear” one:

I liked the typographic style I’d come up with in this poster, and thought that I could experiment further with this style.

I experimented with using different warp effects on the type in order to convey a message of creativity and liquidness. I think this was successful, so I decided to add in some red as an accent colour. I changed the first “non linear” to red, and then the ‘a’s and the ‘i’s after, to represent AI (which stands for artificial intelligence). I was happy with this outcome and thought it fitted in well with the brand identity.

I also used the updated logo within a poster in an informative manner in order to maintain brand consistency:

Here are the finished posters:

Doodle patterned poster template mockup illustration

Portfolio – R&D Updates

Persuasion

As I didn’t have many updates or changes to make to my Persuasion R&D file, and it was the freshest project in my mind, I started with that. I was happy with the layout and structure of it, so just needed to add in the extra pieces of work Abbie and I carried out over Easter, and make a few other tweaks.

Next, I went straight in with the Branding R&D updates. My original R&D file for Branding looked a bit messy, and I’m embarrassed that I submitted it with it typeset so badly! See below:

Page from my original Research and Development file for Branding.

I decided to change the layout to match the Persuasion R&D file, so used it as a template for the Branding project, and I will also use it as a template for the Penguin project. This will help to maintain aesthetic consistency throughout my work.

In Theo’s feedback for my Branding R&D, he mentioned that there wasn’t enough research within my R&D file. I had documented a lot of research on my Learning Journal, but hadn’t reflected it in my R&D file as I was afraid I was just repeating myself. However, for this updated R&F file submission I will display a lot more of my research in my R&D file.

Portfolio – Introduction

On Tuesday, Jay introduced the new project, Portfolio, via MS Teams. He explained all of the different deliverables that were expected of the project, and also what was expected for the final hand in of the year for both the subject and the field modules (constellation has already been handed in). The original deadline for the hand in was the 4th of June, but it has been extended to the 18th of June. However, I still plan to work towards the original deadline.

I started by making a list of deliverables for the final hand in:

I decided that I would focus on updating my Research and Development documents for each project first, as I feel that is the most body of work, especially as I haven’t looked at my Branding work for a few months. My next step was to go back over my formative feedback from the Branding, Penguin and Persuasion projects and write notes for what I needed to change, develop and update for each project:

To-do list for Branding: made from Feedback from Theo
To-do list for Penguin & Persuasion: made from Feedback from Ian and Jay

Persuasion – Formative Feeback

I received formative feedback from Jay on Monday for the work I did throughout the Persuasion project this term. I enjoyed this project so much! I think it’s my favourite project so far throughout the whole of levels 4 and 5!

Jay’s feedback:

General: Very good effort and engagement at a very challenging time. I’m impressed with how your team adapted so quickly to working remotely and communicating via Teams and maintaining excellent communication with your client. You’ve done a great job at interpreting what was in effect quite a restrictive brief in terms of traditional Graphic Communication with the client keeping the name, logo and colours already being used with its focus firmly on social media and video intro’s / outro’s etc! 

WordPress Blog, R&D pdf, Outcomes pdf: The combination of your Blog posts and R&D pdf are extremely thorough, detailed, up to date and reflective and include evidence of workshops, seminars, studio practice and research etc. Very well organised R&D / outcomes pdf’s that reflected client’s needs extremely well. I was impressed with the appropriateness of the results, and their application to instagram. However I’m not sure that I’ve seen everything as there are a lot of blank pages in the version of the Outcomes pdf file that you sent as follows: p2 Final Video intro/ending (is this the same as the Quick Time movie that you sent separately. p5 & p6. Final Instagram Package? I have followed the links on your Word-Press blog (tagline gif & Border Collie gif) that work but the concept document link is broken. Despite these issues a really good piece of work and a valuable addition to your folio and skillset. Well done!

Overall I was really pleased with this positive feedback from Jay. I was particularly pleased about his comments on my reflectiveness and research which is something I struggled with in previous projects – it was nice to feel that I had improved on this. I was also really happy with his feedback regarding my R&D file, which I struggled with in the branding project. Again it was nice to feel that I had improved on my previous mistakes or lack of communication. I was a little concerned about Jay’s issues with seeing the videos within my PDF files, and found that I could open and view them perfectly. I then thought that maybe his device didn’t have 3D content setting enabled. This was useful to note as it obviously isn’t a default setting to have enabled, which isn’t good when sending files to clients. Next time I will attach moving files separately so that the lecturers and/or clients don’t have any problems viewing them.

My initial feedback from Jennifer after submission of my final outcomes was really positive. We had a skype call to discuss her feedback in detail, but her initial email with feedback was:

I just downloaded the files and from first glance I am blown away!  This is better than some agency briefs I have received in the past, well done you and your classmates on your progress! It does seem like Abbie and Ellie really nailed the brief. Maybe this is because we had the call which helped them to have a better understanding of my brand values than their classmates? I am super excited to incorporate these elements into our social media implementation.

Over the Easter break, Jennifer from Four Mutts TV contacted me and Abbie to ask if we would like to do some social media work experience with them. We were both really pleased that Jennifer was so blown away with our work that she wanted us to use it in real life on Four Mutts’ social media! Since then we have created lots of content for Jennifer to review, and now we have even started posting to Four Mutts TV’s social media accounts. We have been meeting on Skype with Jennifer regularly, and more recently have been having Zoom meetings with both Jennifer and Hannah. Hannah is another member of the Four Mutts TV team – she mainly manages their marketing, business pitches and other business related work.

The extra work Abbie and I carried out over the Easter break was all social media based content. We worked together to produce professional concept documents to present back to Jennifer for each new idea she had and wanted us to visualise. See some of our work below:

Our first piece included a social media schedule, and some visuals of the content included within the schedule.

Jennifer was really pleased with this, as she only asked us to schedule the first week, but Abbie and I thought it would be better to schedule weeks in advance so that we don’t get overwhelmed with creating content at the last minute.

After this, we had another meeting with Jennifer, and also Hannah. They gave us feedback on the social media schedule and answered any questions that we had about the content. Next, they asked us if we could help them put together some mockups for a pitch they are going to send to Twinings Tea for a potential collaboration. They asked for some simple mockups on social media using imagery provided by Jennifer, and also asked if Abbie and I had any ideas for the pitch. This is what they provided us with:

Twinings Pitch Guidelines: https://www.leadingedgeonly.com/network-group/twinings

Jennifer & Hannah’s Ideas:

Abbie and my concept document:

Both Jennifer and Hannah were really pleased with our work here, this was Jennifer’s feedback: You have absolutely taken this brief and smashed IT!!! Well done Abbie and Ellie, I am blown away and definitely need to Paws for a Cuppa! This was Hannah’s feedback: I am absolutely blown away by how amazing this is!!! Can’t wait to speak tomorrow.

Abbie and I were both really pleased with the feedback, especially as we had worked over the weekend in order to produce this document within a small time frame of 48 hours. It felt really rewarding to have appreciative clients!

Our latest work for Four Mutts TV, along with maintaining their social media platforms, has been creating a presentation for the Twinings Tea pitch. Here it is: