Week 3

“Making mistakes, flirting with disaster and outright failure is how to get better. Without it, you’re stuck in a zone of mediocrity and ‘meh’. Sure, you probably won’t be nervous, self-conscious and potentially mortified, but you won’t be admired by others. You’ll be boring. If you want to be creative, do original work and surprise the hell out of someone every once in a while, you need to get over your fear of looking stupid. Seek out failure. Train yourself to recognise it all around you. Get to know it and take it away for a romantic weekend. Failure isn’t fatal, quite the contrary. It’s downright fabulous.”

Erik Kessles

Lecture Notes

– What is your development and reflection process?

– How has production, risk, failure and your own personal ambition affected the outcome?

Christoph Miller – Offshore

Christoph likes to get his hands dirty as soon as possible after conducting a suitable amount of research. He says it is important to test concepts at an early stage, so you don’t waste time and prove that the idea has legs. In partnership with his colleague, he takes on a ‘messy’ role while his partner creates cleaner, crisper initial designs. By utilising both approaches they can find new ideas. They like to work on the details and then leave the project for a couple of days, returning with fresh eyes to evaluate and develop without getting lost in the ideas – Tunnel vision seems the most appropriate way to describe this.

A self-initiated project, for Christoph, represents an opportunity to try new things. To fail, to succeed and everything in between. There are fewer limitations with these projects, and it is, “a great space to explore themes in a different way than you would be capable of doing in commercial projects.” They do have to end though and it is important to treat them with the same meticulous detail that you would in any other commercial project. If you get to a point where you aren’t happy with the visual, then the concept behind it probably doesn’t work – I guess it is better to realise this and step away before throwing many hours in an empty pit of iteration and redesign!

Veronica Fuerte – Hey

Veronica likes to make the idea as simple as possible while still conveying the concept or idea behind it. I like this idea of reduction and would like to look at my own ideas in their simplest of forms.

Risk and failure can be minimal in a digital world, but as Veronica is just discovering if your ambition wants you to develop in a physical world, the risk is inherently linked with the potential for success or failure.

Vince Frost – Frost Collective

It is simple for Vince when it comes to self-initiated projects. He is the client. He tweaks it until he feels it is right. This makes me think of Graphic Design as an art form. Artists answer to know one and the masters of their own destinies. Not everyone enjoys their outcomes, but who cares?!

Success comes in many different forms – It can be in terms of your own personal development, monetary gain or as part of a learning experience. Nothing, it seems, can be a complete failure. Reminds me of the Thomas Edison quote;

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Sam Bompas – Bompas and Parr

I think Sam was being a bit egotistical with his views on reflecting and that he, “never reflects on anything”. No one is perfect and a process of review and reflection has got to be a good thing, right?

I did like the statement he made below, however:

“I view sleep as an active working process, although quite often the stuff you come up with is total rubbish, it can be a useful time in which to fabricate new ideas.”

Sleep for me also acts as a way/time for reflection and I can wake up with solutions to problems or new views on how to look at something.

Sam really is an adrenaline junkie but even he can learn from the projects he undertakes. He now thinks about things like Health and Safety – How boring!

James String – Werkflow

Creating a game is not a quick process. Creating a world and every detail in it must be extremely time-consuming. Each of the details needs to work both aesthetically and as part of the concept.

“after every project that we create, we go through the project after we’ve finished developing it and we usually sit down as a group and discuss how things went.”

For James, the risk is something that can be mitigated through over means. For example, he uses commercial work to fund his self-initiated stuff. This does make sense, however, there will be a point when he releases the game. The possibility for it to succeed or fail is then out of his hands. Unmitigable risk. If it fails, will he find the good in what he has learnt or will he just recognise the time, hours and money spent in making something a reality that did not resonate as intended?

I suppose the best way to reduce that risk is to test, test and test!

Workshop Challenge

This week you will make and produce your self-initiated project.

  1. Imagine and make one design response to your self-initiated project brief. Your direction should be informed by peer feedback to your mood boards and initial rough visuals.
  2. Make prototypes and experiment with design and production techniques to ensure you engage with your target audience. Remember to record all tests, even if they fail, and add them to the Ideas Wall and your blog.
  3. Upload your design developments to the Ideas Wall and add further reflection on your blog. We want to you to demonstrate how your project has developed.
  4. Design and deliver your final outcome, in line with your original aim and objectives. Post the final outcome on the Ideas Wall and reflect on your blog.

Following on from a tutorial with Harriet, I decided to change the direction of my idea. Most Christmas adverts are linked with commercialism and selling a product. Whilst that has an obvious place within society it does feel rather superficial.

Mental health has always been an important aspect of my life and using the ‘John Lewis approach’ to address some of these issues could be an interesting response to the brief.

Some of the keywords I wrote down from this session were:

Before getting into my final idea I felt it was important to redefine my audience and the purpose of the campaign.

1. Who are your intended audience?

2. What are you hoping to do?

I am hoping to show that the Christmas spirit is something that can be shared and that by doing so you can help those in need. Whether that be through mental health, homelessness or those having a tough time during the Christmas period.

3. Why do you think it needs to be done?

Christmas is often associated with giving gifts, commercialism, and capitalism. Design is used at this time to further these aims. I feel there is an opportunity for design to be used as a tool to shift ideas about the holiday in a positive way to help others. In 2017, Papyrus, stated that “more than 30 young people could commit suicide over Christmas.”

A New Brief?

The initial brief was:

How has Christmas been used by designers as a tool for impactful and productive conversation?

I think this needs updating slightly to include some of the devlopments from my research.

How can Christmas and design be used to create meaningful conversations about a social issue?

Defining a Style

I feel I am now in a position to create my final idea for this unit. After talking with colleagues and family members, the character which seems most appropriate for this idea is the ‘orb’. I played around with styling and illustration to get to a point I was happy with.

The Final Orb


In my head, this character would take on more realistic characteristics. I would want the final animation/posters to have real people in them and therefore the character would need to be able to inhabit that world in a believable way. My experience with 3D design is not adequate enough to create the character in the way I would want. This means that this part of the project will be more speculative from here on in and I will be asking you to imagine certain aspects which are currently out of my skill set.

The Orb

The orb is a glass character who pops into existence when you first learn about Christmas. As your parent/guardian tells you about it, their own orb shares their Christmas spirit with yours, filling it up with liquid spirit. As you grow up, learn about traditions and share goodwill at Christmas, your own spirit grows and shares its own liquid spirit with all you engage with. The liquid spirit glows and comes in various colours. Each person’s orb is made up of a rainbow of colours signifying the variety of sources they have received Christmas spirit from. The orb can be small or it can be large – It all depends on how much Christmas spirit you have.

The Story

Drawing all of these scenes to the level of detail I would want would take a considerable amount of time. After much research about software and apps available which could help with this, I came across ‘Previs Pro’ in the App Store. Fortunately, it came with a 7-day free trial.

Previs Pro

The Outcome

From here I uploaded the files into Photoshop to add the Orbs and edit the images.

The Final Design

Ideas Wall

Made with Padlet


Phew! Got there. This project has certainly been a learning curve for me. I am a perfectionist, so leaving this in an ‘unfinished’ state is tough. I hope it demonstrates the concept behind it and the visuals help aid with the storytelling. I am really proud that this moved away from commercialism and addresses issues of mental health at Christmas. 


Youtube.com. 2020. Previs Pro – Quick Start – Storyboard Fast for iPhone and iPad. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jJhBnJiqkY&t=1s> [Accessed 7 December 2021].

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