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Graphic Design Festival Scotland 2016

Oct 25th, 2016

Last week, we descended upon the lighthouse for one of our favorite design events of the year – Graphic Design Festival Scotland. Laura, Lisa and Martin were mentors at this year’s Live Brief, where they coached some eager young minds through a two-day activity. Meanwhile, a bunch of equally eager (but not quite so young) Front Pagers took part in a variety of workshops at Glasgow’s Lighthouse – the host venue for the event.

Here’s our rundown of what we got up to, how we did, and what we learned…

A BIT OF BRANDING

Course: 2 Day Workshop: Studio Koto Branding Masterclass, hosted by James Greenfield and Jowey Roden

Attendees: Kath and Mark H

Why did you choose this particular course?

Kath: Studio Koto are highly regarded and are behind some recent high-profile rebrands so I felt I’d learn a lot from them. 

Mark: To gain insight into how a top company works on the largest brands and how they explore the issues to create an inspirational brand identity.

Give us a brief description:

Mark: A workshop aimed at getting you to think more from an overall point of view, with case studies and rationale to sell to the client so that once you present your concept, the client has already bought into your vision.

First impressions?

Kath: Immersive, intelligent and industry-applicable.

Were you set specific tasks?

Mark: To pick an idea from some concepts supplied and then create a new brand out of it, working in teams to bounce ideas off each other.

Favourite part?

Kath: I found James and Jowey’s insights and feedback after every presentation invaluable – no matter what sector the hypothetical company was in.

Mark: The thought process behind your idea and how to present that to an audience.

Any mishaps or memorable moments?

Kath: I enjoyed myself a bit too much at the GDFS launch party and suffered for it on day two!

What did you take away from the workshop?

Kath: A lot of what was explained and discussed with us was familiar to me but the level of detail, insight and industry experience combined with touching on trends and semiotics really raised it to a different level that I will incorporate into future branding opportunities.

Mark: How to present better, be prepared, how to think through the process and be concise.

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FAILING WITH STYLE

Course: 2-Day Workshop: Wieden+Kennedy Design London

Attendee: Andrew

Why did you choose this particular course?

I wanted to exercise my idea generation muscles. To loosen up, think fast and become less afraid of doing it wrong.

Give us a brief description:

A rapid, fear-free way of thinking, demonstrating how failing can push work into untried mediums and unexpected outcomes.

First impressions?

I was nervous and a little intimidated. I was worried about making a fool of myself; I thought I’d get stumped and be unable to deliver ideas for the tasks requested. We were all put on the spot, time and time again. But that was the whole point.

Were you set specific tasks?

Short, impossible briefs turned around in almost no time at all.

How did you get on?

I feel I did well, but know that I could have done better. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I feel energised and inspired.

Favourite part?

Observing the varying interpretations of the same brief and marvelling at just how many directions a seemingly straight-forward task can go in.

Any mishaps or memorable moments?

In one brief my team developed a brilliantly simple, bold and exciting concept, but executed it in entirely the wrong way. This was a great example of how infinite the solutions to a single problem are.

What did you take away from the workshop?

Generate as many ideas as possible, and explore them, before narrowing your options.

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CRACKING THE CODE

Course: Code Base

Attendees: Jim and Mark W

Why did you choose this particular course?

Jim: I wanted a basic understanding of HTML/CSS.

Mark: I have a keen interest in expanding my skill set in the digital world.

Give us a brief description:

Jim: The course was designed to give us a basic understanding of HTML 5 and CSS. By the end of the one-day course we had created a simple yet operational website.

First impressions:

Jim: Excited, yet slightly perplexed as to how I was going to pull together even the smallest of websites with such limited knowledge and no prior learning.

Were you set specific tasks?

Mark: Our task for the day was to create a responsive portfolio webpage.

How did you get on?

Jim: Towards the end of the day, time was quickly running out and the class still had so much to squeeze in, so the teaching became a bit rushed. But I’d learnt a lot more than I’d imagined, so very happy.

Mark: With a very minimal understanding of CSS and HTML already, I managed to keep up with the momentum on the days task. However, towards the end we began to run out of time and also brain space as we rushed to get things finished, so we were essentially just copying what the tutor was doing which in my opinion and experience isn’t a great way to learn.

Favourite part?

Jim: My first eureka moment, when the code I’d written actually did what I wanted it to do—and I understood why it did!

Mark: It was great being taught by a passionate designer in the industry with an inspirational ‘anything’s possible’ attitude.

Any mishaps or memorable moments?

Jim: Bumping into my long lost buddy, Bert.

Mark: When Diego showing us an amazing website he is working on that allows people to design and upload any illustrator file onto a cycling gear website to create your own customized cycling top.

What did you take away from the workshop?

Jim: A better understanding of front-end coding.

Mark: Although I have most likely forgotten everything I learnt the course has only encouraged me to expand my skills in digital design.

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LET’S GET VISUAL

Attendee: Emma

Course: 2-day workshop: Urban Outfitters Visual Merchandising

Why did you choose this particular course?

I’ve always had an interest in fashion and retail merchandising and was curious to discover all that went into it.

Give us a brief description:

A collaborative challenge to bring together graphics, fixtures, concepts and products to fit within the Urban Outfitters aesthetic

First impressions?

I have no idea what we will be doing – was I supposed to wear old clothes?!

Were you set specific tasks?

We worked on two different projects; some more general ideas for visuals and experiences in-store, and another to pitch a concept for a window display for the Buchanan St store.

How did you get on?

It was challenging to incorporate so many different elements to a project in a short period of time, but it was really fun and interesting to see just how much goes into something that seems so effortless. I worked with some really imaginative people and we came up with some ideas that I’m really proud of.

Favourite part?

Getting to think in a purely visual context was a really refreshing change from my day-to-day verbal job! Also the 30% discount we were treated to in-store was pretty sweet. 

Any mishaps or memorable moments?

It’s probably the first time since I was 5 that I’ve made papier-mâché balloons!

What did you take away from the workshop?

There is creativity in so many different places and in so many different forms, and it informs so many of our experiences and decisions that we are not even aware of, which is pretty cool. Oh, and an armful of totally beautiful and unnecessary items at 30% off!

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