Over-locker Workshop

Subject – Term One

So today we had a workshop on setting up the overlocker machine. For myself, this was kind of a refresher as I have had experience on the machine in previous studies but it was many years ago. I thought this workshop would be a great way to gain more confidence when using the machine and could be very useful leading up to my end of year show when finishing things off like my samples.

I gathered some key things from the workshop that will help me remember when trying to use the machine on my own next time:

  • Everything is colour coordinated
  • Work from right to left when setting up the thread
  • Always leave a couple of inches of loops before overlocking my samples, this will help me to see if the machine is thread correctly.
  • I can use the edge of the machine as a guide when finish off my samples.

    I thought this workshop was very useful and having a practice run on some samples were an great way to jog my memory. I will try to keep going on the machine and gain the confidence to help myself as well as others that need guidance using the machine in the future


Presentation Critique with Consultants – Feedback

Subject – Term One

So today was a very big day for myself, to say the least! A group of consultants from the Design Group Ltd came to the University to feedback our critiques and I was glad to have had feedback from someone that works alongside industry. It was very useful getting the chance to speak to the consultants again as we had briefly introduced ourselves when visiting the center at the start of the project.


As of my presentation, I feel it went very well apart from a few hiccups – I need to work on a positive outlook towards my own work rather than the negatives. Coming away from this, I feel I spoke clearly and the consultants are my peers grasped what my theme is primarily about and who I am designing for. As well as who my current market competitors are.

– The consultant I had feedback off was Lauren and she suggest I take my theme further by printing on top of a leaf to create texture and backgrounds. I think this suggestion is a very strong one and I plan to carry out this idea next week sometime.

– As well as the consultants and Helen I also had some useful feedback from my peers that open different design ideas. Kyah suggested I use wax to flatten out the leaves in order to preserve them when printing on top. 

I plan to use some of the ideas that were suggested during my critique and to create some more designs, this may help me with my final products.

Branding and Marketing – Exercise

Subject – Term One

Following up our lecture on branding and marketing, Sian asked us to do a quick exercise that will address who you are as a designer. I really enjoyed this exercise as I really helped me discover who I am as a designer and I hadn’t thought about a lot of these question when starting my theme. We were asked to answer the following questions in relation to our stationary project:

1. What do you stand for? Looking at the imperfections in life – broken, delicate leaves. Things that are fragile just like we can be.
2. What do you want to be know for? Lots of prints and a authentic style.
3. Who do you want to appeal to? I want to appeal to family orientated women – loves nature and handmade things. Someone very sentimental
4. What does your colour pallet say about you? My pallet is tradition and warm. I think of cold crisp walks and days in front of the fire.
5. What does your theme say about you? My theme is
6. Are you fun or serious? I’m fun in life but VERY serious in my work – I would like to represent this fun in my work more.
7. How old is you customer? My customer is a women ages around 30+
8. Who is your favourite brand? Why? I am really fond of the brand Timorous Beasties. Although not related to stationary I really like there vintage, authentic style. There prints are chic and they are a brand that stay true to their style.
9. How do you stand out from the crowd? I feel my theme stands out for this project as a lot of m peers have gone for an out of the ordinary, unique style. I went for the a classic, Autumn theme with a slight twist. I think this safe theme was not expected and makes it stand out from other themes.

Brand and Marketing – Sian Ellis

Subject – Term One

Today we had a interesting lecture all about branding and marketing for your business.  As Sian is very successful within her own business I found it very inspiring to hear it first hand from somebody with the knowledge and experience.

What is branding?
– It is one of the most important aspects of any business.
– Your brand is your promise to your customer.
–  Branding covers everything from surface patterns, materials. packaging, bags, photography, website, marketing materials to tone of voice.

Why do we need branding? 
Good branding helps you to stand out in a competitive market, communicates a clear and cohesive message to your customer and most importantly will encourage customers to buy into your brand.

How to create good branding.
Your brand is derived from:
– Who you are.
– What you want to be.
– How people perceive you.

You’re brand can’t be all things to all people, you must decide what you want your brand to be know for. Branding is based on what your target customers want and need you to be. Be simple – the strongest brands are clear  in their message. Be consistent!

What is marketing?
The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.
– The process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors
– The  action of providing the customer with a low-risk purchase.
– Marketing can be divided into 4 categories which should be informed by your brand:
Product – Market research undertaken to inform the product produced.
Price – Price must be correct and set as same value as competitors.
Promotion – Brochures  and information to help you selling you product.
Place – Sale channels for example; online, shop, wholesale, retail, national, international.

How does branding effect marketing?
Your  branding should feed into every aspect of your product and how it is sold.
– Your branding strategy determines where you advertise e.g which trade show you might attend, where you sell i.e Etsy versus NOTHS, which shops you approach, how to educate and influence your consumers, whether your customer chooses to buy from you or return for repeat business.
– Brand and Marketing effect one another – they work very closely together.

What should branding achieve?
– A clear and consistant company profile.
– Perceived strong brand values i.e what the branding stands for.
– Added value coompared with other products e.g Coca Cola vs generic brands. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it dominates the market and demands  higher price points.
– An emotional attachment.

Professional Practice – Richard Morris

Subject – Term One

Working for yourself and starting your own business
By Richard Morris.

Today was another one of our professional practice workshops and this week we had the amazing opportunity to listen to Richard Morris’s lecture on starting up our own business. I found this lecture incredibly inspiring and it encouraged me to think further about my career. We looked at the different paths I can take with starting up my own business when graduating university and it made me realize just how much money / time / dedication can go into this career path.

Some interesting stats I gathered:
– Only 50% of businesses in the UK are run full time.
– 72% of businesses have zero employees.
– 46% of Welsh businesses have a turnover of less than £100k a year.

How do you make it happen?
Less than 50% of your time, a week, will be spent on your practice / business.

Working alongside industry and gaining experience by working on the job will help you gain the skills you need and may even help you decided what you want to do.
– Investment
– Market
– Competition
– Market Research
– Turnover
– Perception
– Planning
– Brand
– Profile or Loss
– Brief
– Innovation
– Funding
– Buyers
– Hours Rates
– Price Point
– Audience
– Personas

What do you hope to get out of working for yourself? 

1- Your own Independence / being your own boss
2- Job Satifcation
3- Your own freedom of designs
4 – Flexibility – Your own hours
5- Staying true to yourself

How do you cost and price a product or service?
– During your final UG year keep a record of the time you spend developing your product.
– Keep a record of the cost of all the materials you’ve purchased including sewing machine needles, sandpaper, paint rollers etc. Include packaging and postage costs.
– What will your customer pay.

Overall I found this lecture very useful and it has helped me put things into perspective with my future.

Final Moodboards

Subject – Term One

So today is the day we had in our completed moodboards. I have displayed my four different boards as well as some bits of work and some info about the design group. I decided to change my theme at the beginning of the project so I am pleased to have come up with some ideas for my boards and ways in which I can develop my project further using things like the lazor cutter and some other printing techniques.

Now with one mini deadline out of the way I am looking forward to the rest of the project and I plan to spend the rest of my weekend working on my sketchbook and getting ready for my very busy upcoming week.

Fabric Dying / Manipulation

Subject – Term One

I have been told that sometimes I am very practicable with my prints and I need to step out my comfort zones with plain, white background. This has made me keen to experiment more with fabric dying and different dying techniques using colours from my pallet. I had a play around with dye baths to try and create different effects on the fabrics. I used elastic bands to tie around the fabric when dying, I also left certain sections of the fabric in the dye to create boarders and compositions that would work well when printed onto.

I have also experimented with different medias to create effect and texture on my fabric. I used the batik on top of a thick, velvet fabric (bottom left) this created great texture once dried and I very happy with the outcome. I also clamped sections of the fabric before entering them into the dye bath (bottom right) which slowed down the dying process. I then used flock to print my design on top of the fabric to create different layers. I feel these experiments were very important at this stage of the project and I hope to create some more.