Wednesday, 15 May 2013


During Unit X I have learnt many things about myself and the way in which I work. I can identify how to improve my work; I can take advice for improvement and always respond positively; I am developing my knowledge and the application of that knowledge to present my work to suit a particular clients’ need; and I am learning to analyse, and evaluate my work.
At the beginning of this project I was torn between whether I wanted to design prints for interiors or fashion. Nonetheless, I chose the Dianne Harrison brief as the titles within it sounded the most interesting and inspiring. 
Working from a live brief was something new for me; this meant that although it was a project I was being assessed as part of my University Degree course, it ultimately had to meet the needs of an outside client. How exciting; I would be able to see if my textile designs were innovative and unique enough to meet the very competitive design industries’ high standards. 
Initially, I was unsure of what the client, Dianne Harrison wanted. I normally work from photographs that I have set up, taken myself and then layered with a few hand drawn images in Photoshop. I had chosen the ‘Exploration’ section of the brief and after some research decided to make it more concise and just concentrate on ‘The Exploration of the Sea’. My first thought was to visit some aquariums to get primary images; although the subsequent photographs are not visible in my end result the visits motivated me further. 
The trip to the Dianne Harrison Studio was a real learning curve for me; it changed everything. After seeing their work, I realised that all their designs are hand drawn, without any sign of digital imagery. This meant I had to re-think my normal thought process and plan of action to meet the client’s needs and requirements. - I began gathering more visual research to draw and paint from. Later, when the male Designer from Dianne Harrison Studio visited my university, he suggested I try more transparent media like tracing paper. I took his advice and after experimentation on: tracing paper, paper and acetate I finally came across clear film – it is really thin acetate on a roll. I knew immediately that this gave the ‘sea effect’ I was looking for; I loved the way the ink dried in such a fluid way. I began building a collection of ink paintings on clear film to scan and use digitally. I was pleased as I had succeeded in coming up with a new idea to get the effect I wanted and had linked together what I had learnt from the whole ‘Dianne Harrison experience’ with my independent experimentation. I had learnt new processes and had to try different ways of working, but had taken the professional advice and seen it through to completion. I adapted my experimentation accordingly to reach a successful outcome.
At present, all my designs are for bedding. Despite drawing my inspiration from ‘The Exploration of the Sea’, the Dianne Harrison review only confirmed what I was already beginning to realise that bedding with inhabitants from the sea would not appeal to the market. The man from Dianne Harrison could not understand why I was painting jellyfish and underwater creatures for bedding because it would not sell. I knew then that I had to try and just take the massive range of colours, textures and patterns forward.
In this project, I have learnt there are many benefits to creating prints for interiors; high selling prices amongst them, as opposed to prints for fashion which sell for far less. Despite this, I think I enjoy designing prints for fashion more; I find it less constraining and more versatile. Interiors on the other hand, often involve repeat pattern and although this gives me a sense of achievement as they are a good deal more technically challenging to produce than a one-off fashion print, I do not feel as inspired by them; nor do I feel as proud of the end result.
Unit X is all about interdisciplinary collaboration. I enjoyed working as a group in the first section of the project but I was disappointed there wasn't another opportunity to work as a group. Sometime in the near future I would like to create group work to give me more of a sense of what its like to work in a design team.
Generally, my time management was quite good throughout this project, I never leave things until the last minute; however I am a slow starter and work better under pressure. I do not give up easily and will always persevere with a challenge in my designs, even when the going is slow and tough.  If I think it will work, I will persevere until I can get it as good as the time allows. 
I think my contextual research could have been stronger, I should have more extensively researched bedding; I could have looked at Marks and Spencers, Sandersons, Dot Mason etc. I could of also done more artist research and this may have influenced my end results. Overall, I am happy with the majority of my designs. If I had more time, I would resolve a few of my designs. When I printed my designs off to scale a couple of them were pixelated and had too much white space, but it was too late to rectify at this late stage. Although I was not happy with a couple of the to scale prints, I was happy with them in their visualisation, so they would probably work well when printed on fabric. 
If I were to start again, I would ensure that I am sticking to the design standards of printing (for example 200cm x 200cm for bedding); I would also make sure my repeats were 8x8 or a multiple of that, to stop myself from having to edit or re-produce designs in the late stages of the project.
I have really enjoyed being a part of this project, the experiences and knowledge I have gained are invaluable; I am excited at the thought of receiving feedback from Dianne Harrison to see what they think of my designs. Whatever, the feedback I shall take any form of constructive criticism on board as it will maximise my potential in the design industry. This experience has given me a real insight in to how a real successful design company works.
Below are my flat visualisations which show both the full print and to give a sense of the scale of the print.