Tuesday, 15 March 2011

No... THIS Is a Design Process

You don't often get to see the essence of Design and Illustration. The real magic, alchemy and satisfaction of design is not the finished piece - lovely though that is. It is to be found in the journey of exploration and discovery that is undertaken to create that finished artifact - the Design Process. Design & Illustration problems will never have only one appropriate solution. There will always be numerous effective answers to communication problems so the secret is to explore enough of them to make an informed choice about which are the best. Strong students speculate widely, generating numerous ideas and then select/refine/combine the best to make an informed, substantial piece of creative communication. Weak designers grab the first remotely viable idea they generate and then use the remaining time available to knock the life out of it by moving elements 2mm left or right or scrolling through type menus etc. etc. Our students spend much of their first year here dissecting and exploring all aspect of the Design Process. Here's a visual insight into the exemplary working methods of Davey Rees (21), a Year One Graphic Design student. Here's a section of the 2 week project brief, Davey's subject was Pirates:

We asked for two final ideas and after visually brainstorming all things 'pirate' Davey decided that he would explore two subjects: peglegs and pirate flags. We're going to focus on peglegs but please note there is an equally large amount of work for the flags idea!

We are now at the point where Davey knows he wants to create a scale that uses pirates' artificial legs in some way, but has no idea what the final piece will look like. What follows are Davey's A3 development sheets arranged chronologically giving you a 'ring side seat' to one person's Design Process as an idea is developed and refined to a final piece.

Notice how at various points visual questions are asked such as what's the best way to show a boot or what's the best way to draw a shark?

What you are seeing here is one person's visual conversation with himself. You draw, you think, you respond. Your first attempts are crude but you have to start somewhere. Things slowly evolve, the composition gets stronger, the marks become more graceful, the shark starts to look more vicious. You also know exactly when you need to come out of yourself to look for external research/reference to give the idea more visual credibility. It's a lot of effort but it will result in a great final piece like this...

1 comment:

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