This module has been very challenging but extremely interesting and rewarding at the same time.
1.What skills have you developed through this module and how effectively do you think you have applied them?
I learnt a new way of writing within this module as I paraphrased and wrote about writer’s thoughts and arguments in my own words. Whilst reference them, in several points in my essay. This is something I had never done before but after considering writing this way and applying it to my essay, I felt it read a lot better and really improved the flow of my essay. This could be beneficial in future if I go on to post grad study.
My branding skills have developed through the practical element of this module, in addition to my contextual understanding of branding of which I developed through the written element. I have also developed a deep understanding of the issue of female stereotypes which should be beneficial in future in regards to producing high quality branding projects, that are considerate of such stereotypes and the influence they can have.
2. What approaches to/methods of design production have you developed and how have they informed your design development process?
Due to the nature of the products that I was branding I was required to produce packaging, which is a field I have not worked in a lot before especially in terms of producing boxes. This was something I was skeptical about but as I was so passionate and excited for the practical idea I went ahead with it but tried my best to really concentrate on the making of the products to make them the best quality I could. I worked with different materials from clear adhesive for labels to trace for linings, and these all worked together to create a well-executed range of packaging. I feel my crafting could still be improved but this is the highest quality crafting I have done to date. In turn working with packaging in addition to branding improved another skill, as after completing the packaging to a standard I was happy with I am now much more confident in terms of approaching similar packaging briefs in the future. This should be beneficial as branding and packaging often work hand in hand.
3. What strengths can you identify in your work and how have/will you capitalise on these?
I am pleased that I picked a subject that I was so interested in as although at times the module got quite stressful, I never lost interest or passion for the subject. This has also been beneficial as what I learnt through the extensive research into the written element of the module was of interest to me personally and my practice, as branding is a key area of interest for me within graphic design. I feel that my interest in the subjects helped me create such a strong synthesis between the theory and practice.
I really enjoyed producing the practical body of work for this module as it allowed me to work in the field of branding that I really enjoy, and through this and writing my essay I have built a much stronger understanding of the use of stereotypes within branding. The synthesis between my written and practical element is clear and strong as the sectors of toiletries and cosmetics were two that I looked at heavily within my essay and research as I found that these tend to use a lot of stereotypical connotation as they take products that essentially have the same function and purpose and brand these towards separate genders. My essay explains how and why this should not be occurring, and thus producing the gender neutral range of toiletries evidenced how a brand can still be engaging whilst targeting men and women together, therefore proving that such stereotypes are often not necessary.
4. What weaknesses can you identify in your work and how will you address these in the future?
One of the weaknesses I have identified through this module is related to the way I work. I will often start one element of a project, whether this was starting one chapter or starting one of the elements of packaging, but then when/if I start to struggle I will simply move on to something else and then come back to the area I was struggling with. Whilst this ensures that I am always staying pro-active I tripped myself up somewhat as I got to a stage both in my written and practical element where I had loads of chapters and elements of designs started, but this then got to a point where I had so much started it was very difficult to go back and get myself back in the same headspace. I think I need to find the balance as to when it is necessary to stop and move on to something else and when I should just persevere and try and finish before I move on to something else.
On reflection my time management was not as good as it could have been within this module as I think I got quite comfortable in the research stage and so put off writing until later than I had originally planned. As a result Christmas was spent mainly on the written element when I had hoped it would be more about the practical. Although I left myself with a lot less time than I had originally wanted for my practical, this wasn't actually too problematic as I had done so much research on the subject for the written element that I had many ideas for the practical and didn't need to do a lot more research. If I had have managed my time better however I would have been able to produce the razors that I had initially wanted to, as it was the short amount of time I left myself that stopped me being able to do this as I ran out of time to order the plastic or source somewhere to vacuum form.
5. Identify five things that you will do differently next time and what do you expect to gain from doing these?
1. Manage my time better. This would allow finish all the elements that I set out to complete, whilst also helping with stress later in the module.
2. Book a photography slot to get higher quality photographs of my final products. This will be beneficial for my portfolio, as although I can re-photograph it would have been better to take higher quality photographs for submission.
3. If I had have left myself more time I would have liked to have experimented with different stocks as I feel my boxes could benefit from being a bit stronger.
4. It would have been beneficial to have used the laser cutter to cut out the leaf shaped cut outs as although I am pleased with the accuracy I achieved by hand, this would have been even better and more accurate using the laser cutter – although using the laser cuter without getting burn marks on the white paper would have been difficult.
5. I would have liked to have carried out more primary research for my essay. The feedback from my questionnaire and focus group were really useful so extending on this primary research would have been even better.