January 17, 2011

Ah, I have finally completed my website – well almost, there are still a couple more event posters I’d like to add, as well as two more Penguin book cover designs which need feedback before I can put them on. But other than that, it is pretty much done.

I took an evening class between September and November last year in Web Design and Publishing at Cardiff University’s lifelong learning centre after attending one of Design Wales events at the end of June. A couple of the speakers recommended that students should try and gain skills in both digital and print media, as a lot of design companies work in both and so having knowledge of both would make you stand out more.

I kind of knew this already, but going to the talk finally gave me the push I needed to get myself sorted out. I didn’t have much knowledge about HTML and CSS (not counting the MySpace profile days of ill-thought out and awful backgrounds) so decided to enrol on Cardiff University’s 10 week course. The course was pretty much ideal for me, giving me a two and a half hour blocks every week to learn and practice everything we were being taught (without any distractions) – I have tried in the past to teach myself through tutorials on the web, but had always got frustrated when I got stuck and there was no one there to ask.

One of the assessments meant you had to produce a website, so obviously I chose to produce a portfolio website to showcase my graphic design work. I am pleased with it (though there are one or two photos I think I will retake) and have tried to make it as clean and simple as possible so as not to attract too much attention away from the work itself. I produced it all on Notepad, which I didn’t even know you could do before September. Currently debating whether to enrol on the advanced web design and publishing course which covers Dreamweaver in more detail, or whether to buy a book and attempt to teach it myself fully. Hmm.

(edit: Some of my images in the website look slightly desaturated in Firefox, have no idea why this is. In Safari and Chrome they look how they should!)


CSAD Summer Show

June 11, 2010

Have been looking around the Cardiff School of Art & Design Summer Show this week, which features work from final year students across the CSAD courses. Lots of lovely things to look at! Couldn’t help feeling a bit daunted looking at the third years’ Graphic Communication work, let’s hope we can match up to it next year. I don’t think I will ever get used to looking at graphic design in a gallery setting, but these pieces caught my eye.

Clever mini posters dealing with the issue of consumerism by Andy Penny. I especially liked the small wooden stands and want some of my own.

Lovely illustration by Hannah Smith for the Puffin Book Design competition. I love the handwritten title and the traditional style of the design

A series of posters by Jack Butcher, that deal with the issue of religion and promote the website,, a public forum for religious debate. I like a good debate and thought it was a very witty and effective print campaign. I must have been very susceptible to bright colours the day I visited the exhibition.

The contemporary textiles exhibition was very pretty and feminine. So much nice work but my favourite things had to be these bears handmade by Alice Rose Lewis. I want one!

The Illustration exhibition was held at an empty shop in a shopping arcade in the centre of Cardiff. It was a nice space and thought it was a shame that the other courses couldn’t have been held somewhere outside of the college environment too. Really liked the two pieces above by Adam Travers that are reactions to our chaotic world.

There was a good yet creepy and disturbing animation shown in the basement, I watched a bit of it, but as I was alone and in a small dark room, I had to stop incase something frightening happened. Still from the animation made by Jake Eldridge.

I have no idea if this bike which was leaning against the wall was part of the exhibition, but I was very taken by it. On the back wheel is drawings of famous moustaches, and on the front, famous glasses.


April 10, 2009

an animation I produced for a tv identity brief last term. The idea is for a science-based channel aimed at children.


January 27, 2009

dirtykneecaps has been in hibernation in the depths of winter. She’s just waking up now. Here are some things she has been getting up to.

1. Doing Christmas. After eating a mountain of chocolate, I noticed I was given two rather good books. One is the fattest book I think I have ever owned:  Graphic Design Since 1950 by AGI, listing all their members and their work, I still haven’t got through it all.

The second is a more immature (and skinnier) book called Shelf Life by Rosie Walford which is dedicated to packaging found all over the world which has been a bit lost in translation. Featuring classics such as Colon detergent and Bra milk.shelflifeexample

Cream Fantasy snack bar and Golden Stream bottled water

2. Estonia. I spent the beginning of January wandering the remarkably deserted cobbled streets of Tallinn and pretending it was still Christmas. I was surprised to find that almost every other shop in Tallinn is dedicated to knitwear and/or felt goods. They are a crafty lot. I even noticed lampshades made of barbed wire, a bit useless but they looked nice.woolcakebarbedshadetallinn townscape

3. The return to University and reality wasn’t half as bad as I expected. Was lucky to catch the touring Abram Games exhibition last week and was even luckier to have visited whilst his daughter was there so could listen to her guided talk. I wish there was a relative at every exhibition I go to, would make things at least ten times more interesting!


November 8, 2008

I feel like I learnt more from just the first two days of the Word module than the whole of the previous Image one. My brain is suffering from information overload though, I think. I can’t walk past a shop sign/magazine stand/advert without automatically feeling like I have to classify every single different typeface and work out what kind of personality it has. This is good in helping me to retain all the info but a bit of a nightmare when sitting on the bus through the city centre. *

This module has kind of enlightened me to the fact that such tiny things can have a massive effect on what something is trying to say. Definitely will think much more about layout and type next time I design something.. hopefully the more practice I get, the more it will become naturally intuitive. At the moment I feel like I’m going to look at anything I’ve designed in the past and just see hundreds of flaws within it, but I guess that’s a good thing!

* It reminds me of the time when I was about eight or nine & I realised sometimes words make some kind of sense backwards (yes, I was a lonely child) and thus went through a kind of OCD-like phase of trying to say any word I saw, backwards. In my head, of course. fo esruoc..!

Gig Poster

October 23, 2008

Apologies for the long delay in updating this, the flu eventually got me and made me stay in bed for a few days and feel sorry for myself. It’s almost gone now though – hooray.

I produced another poster for Lesson Number 1 last week for their contribution to the Swn festival which takes place across Cardiff on the 14/15/16th of November.

I think it looks okay, but got a bit flustered with how much text I had to fit on to it, and think the result kind of looks a bit messy. Hopefully the more I use at Illustrator at uni the more I’ll feel comfortable enough to make neater-looking posters on it.

Ever since I spoke to someone a couple of months ago who completely denied the fact that there was any evidence for evolution (??!!) I’ve become more and more exasperated with people who refuse to see clearly. Which is why I like the new British Humanist Association bus advert campaign which fights back against the many typical ‘Jesus will save you from your sins’ (etc) adverts that are around at the moment.

The new adverts will be placed on the side of bendy buses in London – featuring the slogan, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.

The full article about it is here.


October 15, 2008

Actually had a good screening of a film about the Coca-Cola brand throughout history in a lecture yesterday. It did make you think about how powerful a brand can be, I know everyone knows that Coca Cola practically invented Father Christmas as he’s known today, but I still find that pretty weird.

Anyway (despite my initial ‘I-must-stop-drinking-Coca-Cola-as-they’re-taking-over-the-world’ thinking) I remembered that I like the taste, so nevermind about globalisation and all that. I also wish they still made Coke in glass bottles. I’m sure they have enough money to. It also got me thinking about other glass bottles I like, such as the one for the Estonian beer, Viru. The type of bottle is apparently called ‘octahedral’ and the unusual shape is based on old medieval /russian turrets. They definitely beat the coke ‘contour’ bottle by miles.