End Of Module Evaluation: Context Of Practice 3

1.  What skills have you developed through this module and how effectively do you think you have applied them?

Throughout this module I have looked at two key movements; modernism and postmodernism, focusing on the latter. This process of informing myself on postmodern and modern theory has informed my practice as a graphic designer, and by observing methodologies and aesthetic in relation to the theory looked at, I now feel that I have a rounded knowledge of graphic design in general. I feel that the work I have produced shows praxis in relation to the written element, and my practice as a designer, showing synthesis between the two. Postmodernism has been a very interesting subject to focus on, and although it covers a wide range of subjects and themes, focusing in on my own practice has made it fun and allowed for a successful practical outcome.

Although academic writing is not a personal strongpoint, learning about postmodern theory and how this has shaped contemporary graphic design practices has improved my creative thought process, and I now look at graphic design in a completely different way. This entire process will inform my next upcoming briefs. As I have produced a critical blog based on 'postmodern formula' and how theory can inform design, this will be carried on throughout the next few months and hopefully this will engage in a kind of dialogue with other creatives, and this will additionally

2. What approaches to/methods of design production have you developed and how have they informed your design development process?

The practical element to my context of practice 3 project works to synthesis postmodern theory in relation to graphic design, and because postmodernism is often dismissed as a made up term to describe a plethora of aesthetics and methods, I aimed to convey a satirical and objective take on the term. It is additionally associated with trends in graphic design, and key words used to describe postmodernism in graphic design are used to create a certain 'style', and so in order for this to translate to an audience, I created a platform from which designers and creatives can choose to interact and offer personal opinion on postmodernism in contemporary graphic design. The printed collateral is meant to feel satiric and parody postmodernism in general, though it is up to the audience to translate however they choose.

The printed material is small in comparison to the digital aspect, and comprises of postcards, sealed in a secretive envelope that the viewer can interact with and rip open to view the content. Each postcard is double sided, that required precision printing methods, and using card put through a laser printer to achieve a coated effect. The digital platform takes the form of a critical blog, using my own personal take on graphic design trends and individual pieces that could be described as postmodern. I learned to make gifs for the first time (and found the process to be far easier than pre-thought) and used them for the blog to promote it. Tumblr has been used for the blog, and although it is flawed in its interactivity, exposure is easily achieved, and so many people have already seen the blog. Development in both print and digital aspects have been achieved.

3. What strengths and weaknesses can you identify in your work and how have/will you capitalise on these?

In regards to the written element, I have improved vastly in terms of using theory and applying it to my subject. I have learned to understand the theory I looked at, and although postmodernism is difficult to define in its nature, I managed to apply it to graphic design, and so this made it easier to understand. Looking at the practical work produced, it feels relatively small, but in hindsight, it makes sense when looking at the brief and what I needed to communicated. The overall project feels far more organised than that of past briefs I have done, and the large amount of research undertaken has has positive effects on the entire outcome. Saying this, theres always room for improvement, and I could have experimented more with the practical element, although it was thought of quite late in the project, and I needed to have finished my dissertation in order for the brief to be written in the first place.

By way of designing from theory, to create praxis, my design process is more informed, and the research methods used for this project will be used for others, as it is thorough, both with primary and secondary research. I used more qualitative than quantitative primary research as this made sense in relation to my chosen subject of postmodernism.

5.How would you grade yourself on the following areas?

Attendance- 4
Punctuality- 5
Motivation- 4
Commitment- 4
Quantity of work produced- 4
Quality of work produced- 5


Format Research

Research into format design that will inform my practical printed products.

The type of format needs to contain the postmodern formula, and so some element of reveal and conceal needs to be achieved. The format below could work for a colour coded system where the designs are concealed inside the envelopes. The die cut element would show the colour but nothing else of what is contained. In order for information to be hidden, an interactivity aspect would be added to this kind of format.

Another idea was to use perforation to reveal the information that would be hidden, and so in this case, as publication is opened by the viewer ripping the perforated strip in order to open the book. This could work for an envelope format too.

Another idea would be to use postcards, that are small and contact. This could work well by storing different categories on each card, and gives an opportunity for them to be double sided. These postcards are held together by rubber band, though cards could be stored or hidden in envelopes or boxes, so this could be an option.

By designing postcards, different information would be stored on each card, and each card could have perforated strips that gradually peel away to reveal more and more information. This would be more interactive than simply having postcards that come out of an envelope. Or the envelope could be perforated itself. The whole point of revealing the formula in this way is that it feels exclusive to the person that opens it.

In another example, books could be stored in a box, layered up some kind of order. This could also feel interactive.

Animated Gifs Design Process

The design process of making the gifs was easy once it was understood how to make them. The difficulty lay in lining the images up so they looked seamless from one image to the next. For the poster gif, I changed the timing from 1 second to o seconds so that the Postmodern Formula logo reveal would 'flash'. The gifs will look good to promote the blog, and the logo gif is subtle enough to be used as the permanent page logo, as you can only just see it change when you look closer.


Trendlist: Postmodernism For A Digital Age?


Trendlist presents itself outwardly as a digital source of information for designers to keep up to date with current trends, though it could also be viewed as a manifestation of digital technology being used to inform designers on what graphic design 'should' look like. It is additionally something that is a kind of by-product of images blogged on sites such as Tumblr, Ffffound and Designspiration, and collated into groups that present aesthetic similarities. Much of the work shown on the site expresses symptoms of postmodern application in relation to graphic design, and display use of deconstruction, pluralism, vernacular and conceptuality, or to use the correct terms; scanned, left, right, up, down, wiggles, stretched and frame.

Using simplistic language, and drawing basic similarities onto work produced in the last 3 or 4 years poses questions such as what is contemporary graphic design informed by? Can anyone become a graphic designer through using websites such as Trendlist and Tumblr if it largely formed by using a set of rules of purely style over any kind of substance? As designers seem to create postmodern work in a very instinctual way, these kinds of observations have become a second nature, and this may be why this kind of website exists. We accept that this is the way design has progressed.


Steven Heller: The Cult Of Ugly Typotheque Online Article

Steven Heller: The Cult Of Ugly: Typotheque Article

"How is ugly to be defined in the current Post-modern climate where existing systems are up for re-evaluation, order is under attack and the forced collision of disparate forms is the rule? For the moment, let us say that ugly design, as opposed to classical design (where adherence to the golden mean and a preference for balance and harmony serve as the foundation for even the most unconventional compositions) is the layering of inharmonious graphic forms in a way that results in confusing messages."

"The layered images, vernacular hybrids, low-resolution reproductions and cacophonous blends of different types and letters at once challenge prevailing aesthetic beliefs and propose alternative paradigms."

"Does the current social and cultural condition involve the kind of upheaval to which critical ugliness is a time-honoured companion? Or in the wake of earlier, more serious experimentation, has ugliness simply been assimilated into popular culture and become a stylish conceit?"

"Ugly design can be a conscious attempt to create and define alternative standards. Like war-paint, the dissonant styles which many contemporary designers have applied to their visual communications are meant to shock an enemy – complacency – as well as to encourage new reading and viewing patterns."

"Extremism gave rise to fashionable ugliness as a form of nihilistic expression."