Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Brief

My experience as an in house designer was quite happenstantial. The short of it was that my manager set me up with CS5 (Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop) so I could do the fundraising support material development. Very quickly I became the person they came to for pretty much every design project, including project management of the website branding and development.

I loved when I got to wear my designer hat on that job. I was learning and getting a lot of really good experience but I was also considered the office expert on design. The only frustration was that I rarely worked with a brief.

For those of you who are not familiar with this term, a brief is a way for the customer to communicate what they want to the designer. The designer translates the brief into the final design. Designing without a brief is like being asked to bake a cake but not being told what kind. So you go away and bake a cheese cake and when you bring it back they go, "Oh! No, we were thinking more of a Black Forest Gateau."

I did get a brief once, and it was amazing because the staff member who wrote it was married to a designer and had done a similar project before. That project was a dream, and that was probably the first time I thought maybe I should do this full-time. Of course, I was still really stuck on the idea of life coaching and at the time that was where my focus was.

My focus is design now, which is why I'm taking this Graphic Design course at Saint Martin's. I'm enjoying it because I'm realising how much I already know and where my talent lays currently, but I'm also picking up a lot and seeing my skills develop and improve with each class.

Each class we receive a new brief after presenting the work we'd done on the brief from the week before. The briefs vary quite a bit so we're getting to work on some pretty awesome stuff. The thing is, the brief isn't even that long or complicated. It doesn't have to be a wordy thing. It just needs to capture key elements that need to be included in the final design.

So far my favourite brief has been working on 'branding' one of my fellow classmates. After interviewing each other we then had to go away and create a graphic expression of that person. When I paint my shoes or have done commissioned work for people this is my exact method to make sure that what I'm creating will suit the customer.

Brief #2, Intermediate Graphic Design
at Central Saint Martin's
As it was, she really liked all my designs (I did three) but definitely loved this one the best.

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