The Beginning

It is over.

I have just presented my last piece of work as a level 5 student.  There is still around 10 days left of official term but my input is done and dusted.

So, time for an end of year review.  Normally I  would leave it a few weeks and see how I feel, but my memory seems worse than ever so I would rather go in hot of the press.

We shall go chronological.

Term started with me in high spirits, keen to improve on the first year.  I made a lot of mistakes previously and I wanted the opportunity to change this.  I wanted the second year to be my year of freedom, my experimental year; to find out who I am.  I had laid a solid foundation in the first year but this time is was about to get personal.

Well, I was met with a wall of work.  BBC brief.  Live.  Real client.  Do all this by yesterday.  Wow.  Talk about jumping onto a running treadmill at full speed.  We had a behemoth of a project but were then being taught manufacturing techniques and other such, all with deliverables.  I had a meltdown.  Literally, found that there was too much to do with any degree of quality.  It was either, just do the work or let things slip.  I did a bit of both, is my honest refection.  Oh, during this time I was about to get married so that added to the stress.  I had a great day, thanks for asking.

Then the day arrived.  The dressing down.

You.  Yes ALL OF YOU are not good enough.  Your work is really bad, you need to scrap it and start again.  Follow this by a berating of the specifics of why we suck and motivation was low.  Really low.  I had put a lot into this project and thought I had some creative responses, but to be told that we all are terrible, this early in the year?  Wow.  A punch in the face.

I knew my response was different from the rest, but I scrapped it and started again.  This time, however, this new response was from a different place.  A more fun response.  Something with depth.  I worked and worked and worked on this idea and struggled.  It was a simple idea being over complicated.  Then boom, simplicity hit me.  My table was a table, but it was more about what it represented.  This was the start of the change.

But I needed direction.  Something that helped me make sense of what I was trying to uncover.  This came in the form of constellation.  I have eulogised many times over the benefit of constellation, so I will keep this brief.  If you take it all in, relate it to who you are and wish to be, not just think of your subject, it will change you.  It will uncover elements of your mindset that were once clouded.  For me, it gave me weight to my musings.  A reason to pursue an avenue I one thought shut.

Ah, this leads me onto stage two of this year: Subject 2.0 – The practising product designer.  We were being trained to be a product designer.  A designer for now.  Wait.  I’m here to be the future of design – potentially – not a reiteration of the same thing.  Walls were closing in.  Briefs were becoming tighter, narrower.  Less scope for experimentation.  They were presented with restrictions, specific deliverables, guidelines.  The correct way of doing things.  Hmmmm…

A brief to make things for the sake of it.

No.  This is not right.  This is not me.

It felt like a rebellion but it was more the case of exploration.  I was looking for a reasoned response to the brief.  It had to do something.  Say something.  Provoke a response.  I am not just answering this brief, I am making a stand.  My stand.

Stage three: THE DRILL BRIEF.

This was it.  The final brief.  The one which counted.  Am I ready for this?  No.  I know that I was not just making a bloody drill, just for the sake of it.  I am not a BSc student.  I am an individual and I will show this.  I may be shepherded down a tunnel but I am jumping off this train.

This took its toll on me.  I wanted to make something with depth.  It had to have meaning.  A narrative.  A hidden story.  I wanted people to know this.  To see that my ‘drill’, wasn’t just a drill.  Boy did I struggle with this.  I genuinely had a meltdown.  I had idea overload but no clarity to go with it.  It took a long time and a lot of stress to realise I was wrong.  It didn’t have to be obvious.  For my own glory, I wanted people to see that my drill was a meaningful response, but the reality was, it was about the depth of simplicity.  Glory should be in the response.  If one person gets it, then the idea is a success.

So where am I now?

Debating my future.

I know the type of response I want to produce, but I still don’t have the skills to fully realise them yet.  They are in my brain, but I find them hard to find.  When I finally get my hands on the ideas, they are dusty.  Hard to see clearly.  If I can wipe away the dust, there is gold there, but I still need time.  The speed is not there.  I guess I just need to explore more.

So to finish, at the beginning of term I was keen to make things personal, to make my response known.  We were then herded up like sheep, sheared and pushed onto a train to BSc Training Town.  I smashed that train glass and jumped off.  I am the proverbial black sheep.  But I don’t wish to be that obvious.  I may just slip on a regular sheep coat and keep myself hidden.  A Jekyll and Hyde.  There is more to be revealed.

All being well, I shall see you next year.

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