Paula Bailey

May 21, 2010

When it’s all over

Interview Day

Not miserable, just concentrating on getting the sign in the shot

Just over three years ago I went to the University of Portsmouth for an interview for a place on the Communication Design BA Hons (now Graphic Design) degree course.   I was delighted to be accepted on the day of my interview.  I don’t look very happy in the photograph, which I took just afterwards, but this was my third or fourth attempt at getting the sign and myself in the shot.

Three years later and I have just handed in my final project work and done my viva presentation.  That’s it.  It’s all over apart from our summer show which we will start working on in June.

I have had a brilliant time at university.  In some respects I wish I had done it years ago, but I know that I would not have had the same experience as I have done if I’d done a degree when I left school (in nineteen … I’m not telling you!).  I didn’t know what I wanted to do then and I would have ended up taking a subject because I was good at it or choosing a university because of the city it was in.  Nothing wrong with that, but I know I wouldn’t have got the best out of the experience.

As a mature student I have loved every minute – now that I have a vague idea that I might know what I want to be when I grow up.  I had always felt that making images was meant to be a ‘hobby’ and not something I could have as a career.  It’s a shame that people are sometimes made to feel that the creative path is not worthwhile.  It is.  And I’m so glad that I made the decision to take it, even though I waited a long time to do so.

Steep Climb

It's been a steep climb at times but I've not been on my own

That’s not to say it has all been plain sailing.  Not at all.  It’s been hard work and at times very stressful, but most definitely worth it.  And I’ve been lucky enough to make some great friends along the way.  In most cases I am old enough to be their mother but that doesn’t make any difference.  We’ve all been on the same journey together and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye when our summer show is all over and everyone goes back to wherever home is.  Hopefully we will keep in touch.  There is always Facebook these days and at least we will get to hear some news from time to time that way.  Some I imagine will go on to work together, and some of us will be back for more!

I’m not ready to give up being a student.  I have decided that I want to continue and do the Masters degree.  I have some ideas about what I would like to do after that but I am very aware that plans too far ahead are not always a good thing.  So they’ll stay as rough ideas for now.  I have some definite outside interest in some of my degree work so I’m hoping to develop that further, which is very exciting, and I have some personal projects on the go which I can now spend a bit more time on over the summer.

So it’s mixed feelings at the moment.  I’m glad all the end of year stress is out of the way and my work is in, but also I know I am going to miss being there.  I’m still trying to switch off, but find that I’m still on the lookout for anything related to my projects.  One minor annoyance was that after three weeks of almost daily visits to supermarkets on the lookout for early cherries to photograph, I drew a blank, only to find they arrived in the shop three days after hand-in.  They weren’t essential but I had hoped to include a real cherry with the variations that I had created for my logo cherry.  Such is life.



March 12, 2010

Coming soon …

Under Construction

Under Construction

I’ve finally completed the skeleton of my new website.  This means that the basic framework is in place and the ‘photography’ and ‘information’ sections are laid out with external links.  All I have to do next is complete the ‘design’ section of the site.  I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to tackle that part, and I really need to figure out what I want to put on there first!

What should go into an online portfolio and what is the best way to organise diverse styles of work?

It’s tempting to put everything I’m happy with onto the site (and into my physical portfolio), but according to adigitaldreamer, this would be a mistake.  In their article, Graphic Design Portfolio Creation, they suggest that quantity over quality is a bad idea.  This makes perfect sense of course, but sometimes when you’re up against a deadline (we graduate this summer) and eager to get everything sorted out, it is easy to forget these simple considerations.  So maybe I won’t include all the business cards, price list and posters I made for an aromatherapist, but just the logo I created which is the focus of the design.  Perhaps not every page of the calendar I produced for a florist needs to be on the website for visitors to wade through.  We are taught that ‘less is more’ when designing so I will keep that in mind when I put together the final section of my site.

The advice from Positive Space blog in their Students, nothing is perfect especially your portfolio post suggests that we can hold ourselves back from success by trying to make everything perfect from the outset.  This is good common sense advice.  They counsel that prospective employers realise you are ‘entry level’ designers – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to make your portfolio the best it can be, but don’t beat yourself up because it doesn’t look like something Neville Brody might carry around.  Another reason not to try to cram a site full of too much work.

Finally (for today’s musings at least) some technical information that I need to get my head around.  My first port of call is the aforementioned Positive Space blog whose post, 10 practical SEO tips for your portfolio is a good starting point (now that I know what SEO stands for – it’s Search Engine Optimisation, but you knew that already didn’t you?).  I can see I’ve got a lot of reading to do but I’m sure it’s not difficult – just new (to me).

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