FIRST YEAR REVIEW
Firstly, moving away from home was a big change, for me it was the first time I have permanently lived away from my parents, so adapting to my new surroundings was the first thing I set about doing. Exploring the city was exciting and allowed me to discover parts of my new environment; I found interesting shops, bars, markets and architecture on my travels, and found exploring the city acted as a personal introduction to the culture of Leeds. Although I managed to get to know the city quite well finding a decent place to drink was hard, as a student you have to find a bar that strikes a balance between price and quality.
The first few weeks of the course consisted of getting to know members of the class and completing the first selection of briefs. Adapting to the workload was hard, we were given a number of briefs and tasks in our first two weeks of the course, after a long summer of doing very little design work it was a shock to suddenly have so much to do. Luckily this problem was easy to overcome, as everything was new and exciting I was highly motivated so didn’t struggle to get my head down and complete the work.
Despite playing some ice-breaking games and completing a group brief, I still felt like I only knew a small number of individuals in the, class and so sometimes found it hard to approach people. I think that future classes could personally benefited from playing more ice-breaking games during their first few weeks at university, as this would give members of the class a chance to get to know everyone in the class at quite a personal level.
As a class we were introduced in detail to how the blogs work and what work should be posted where. Despite our introduction, I was still confused as to where certain things should be posted, it was only until a few weeks later when it was explained again that I fully understood how the blogs work. It is important that the blogging is done correctly as it helps the tutors to find our work when marking.
After our introductory two weeks were over the pace of the course really started to pick up, we were set our first major brief called ‘Alphabet Soup’ as well as various study tasks and blogging from Fred. Unfortunately, I did not realise at the time how on top you have to be to stop yourself from falling behind. I was late blogging some sessions and tasks which really affected my work ethic, I like to stay organised and on top of things so falling behind were odd. Moreover, as the course is so fast paced I found it hard to get back up to speed, it wasn’t until the first term was over that I fully caught up with all the work.
The lecture program was running throughout most of the year, each week a different member of staff took the lecture, covering interesting topics such as modernism, post modernism, street art and photography. I found the lectures really engaging as they presented me with a chance to widen my knowledge of the contextual side of the creative industries. I think it is important to be historically aware of past artists and movements as they can help to define certain elements of work produced today. Furthermore, after the colleges lecture program finished various industry professionals were invited to speak to us about their past experiences in the professional working environment. I found these talks really inspiring and useful as many of the visiting professionals had at one time been sat in my position.
Throughout the year I attended ‘Design Principles’ sessions which were taken by either Fred or Phil, in each session we learned about different topics such as typeface hierarchy and colour theory. Each subject is vital to my progression as a designer, as they help build a foundation of design knowledge that can be used to improve the functionality and communication of an outcome. Personally, I found the sessions really engaging as they helped improve my understanding of graphic design as a topic, this in turn helped me to recognise the changes that I needed to make to improve my work. Upon finishing the design principles sessions I started putting into practice what I had been taught, it was only then that I started producing work that I was proud of.
At the start of the course we were also made familiar with some of the different group critique methods that would be used throughout the first year of the degree. The group critiques are useful because they enable members of the group who may not usually speak to socially interact with one and other. Furthermore, they also present students with the opportunity to see what other people have been producing and give them constructive criticism. This is really beneficial as you can often overlook mistakes when working on a project, whereas an informed outsider can often spot small faults. Partaking in the group critiques has helped improve some of my final outcomes, and developed my critical analysis skills.
Finally, I believe that I have had a relatively successful first year on the course. I have now adapted to the quick paced work ethic needed to survive, and also understand how the blogs work and were specific posts should be posted. Additionally, the ‘Design Principles’ sessions have helped develop my understanding and knowledge of graphic design, which in turn has improved my outcomes making them more functional and aesthetically engaging. I feel eager to continue this progression over summer, so I will focus on further improving my understanding of the different design principles and how they can be used and adapted to help advance the quality of my work.