The Learning Curve – A Reflection on Nearing the End of my Course

As I’m getting down to the last couple of months of the Graphic Design course, I’m having to look back on some of the projects I’ve completed over the last couple of years to put together a bit of a portfolio. It’s been really interesting to see the amount and range of work I’ve gotten through!

For some of my assignments I remember how excited and proud I was of getting them finished but now I look at them and think of all the things I could do to improve them – thats the learning curve I guess.

Then there are other projects – like the one I’ll get to below – that I wouldn’t even really know where to start to replicate them now. I’d have to go back over my notes and run through them step by step. I think that’s probably just because I’ve gravitated towards certain parts of design and am less drawn to others so I don’t utilise some particular tools. When I think about it though if I were to try and put together this fruit bowl now, I would be more familiar with the software tools and instead of it taking me three weeks to do, it might take me maybe a day. I guess that is progress.

The project I’m referring to is this one, the “Fruit Bowl”:

We had to draw a fruit bowl that contained four different fruits, using Adobe Illustrator.
I remember I wasn’t 100% happy with the pineapple, but all in all I was pretty stoked with myself that I’d managed to pull it together at all. I struggled so much at the beginning with using the software that everything took me about 10 times longer than it should to complete. I still prefer using pen and paper now, but I do admit I’m much better with the software than I used to be and it’ll only improve the more I use it.
When I’m getting through assignments now, it’s difficult to remember how much I’ve learnt over the last few years, so it’s good to go back and see how far I’ve come. Bring on graduation!! 🙂
If anyone’s interested I went through my old notes and these are some of the online tutorials I used to make the fruit bowl:



Learning Activity: Typesetting

Garamond – Gill Sans – Rockwell – Edwardian Script – Blackmoor
Good Morning, Good Morning! It’s the weekend 🙂 What have you got planned? I’ve got a huge list of things I want to get through this weekend including a whole heap of studying! This little study activity was super easy so I was able to get through it while I had my brekkie – got to love multi-tasking haha – I had to research a few fonts and typeset my name in each of them. Not difficult and it was interesting to read some of the background behind the fonts.
First up though, what is typesetting?

“Setting type or typesetting is the process of putting text into the right style and size of type and the desired arrangement on the page in preparation for printing.”

Now a little background on the fonts I had to use…


  • Serif font
  • Old-style
  • Originally designed by Claude Garamond (1480 – 1561), then confusingly by Jean Jannon (1580 – 1635)
  • Country of origin: France
  • Uses less ink than Times New Roman
  • Large Dr Seuss picture books are set in a version of Garamond
  • Conveys solid tradition whilst remaining elegant



  • Sans-serif
  • Humanist
  • Designed by Eric Gill (1882 – 1940)
  • Country of origin: UK
  • Originally used in 1926 in a bookshop facia in Bristol
  • Was designed to be used as both text and display font
  • Used in the BBC logo since 1997
  • Originally designed as only uppercase. Lowercase was added in 1929
  • Sometimes referred to as ‘the Helvetica of England’



  • Serif
  • Slab serif / Egyptian
  • Designed at the Monotype foundry in 1934 modeled after 1910’s Litho Antique
  • Geometric
  • Mainly used for display text
  • Country of origin: UK



  • Created in 1994 by Edward Benguiat (1927 – )
  • Italic / Script
  • Designed to resemble hand drawn calligraphy
  • Elegant and flowy, often used for wedding invitations
  • Country of origin: USA



  • Designed by David Quay (1948 – ) in 1983
  • Based on old English lettering
  • Mixture of medieval and gothic connotations
  • Blackletter

My Fonts

Anyway, off to get moving on a few other things on my list, have a great weekend!

Study Notes: What is a Graphic Designer?

Seeing as this is a ‘Graphic Design Student Blog’ I thought I’d go back through some of my older study notes and assessments and post a few bits and pieces up in case it’s of any use to other students…

These notes here are some of my very first notes way back a couple of years ago when I was thinking, what exactly is this Graphic Design thing I’ve signed myself up for ??

My course study notes, referring to The Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA), said a graphic designer was:

“One who has the artistic sensibility, skill and experience and/or training professionally to create designs or images for reproduction by any means of visual communication, and who may be concerned with illustration; typography; calligraphy; surface design for packaging; or the design of patterns, books, advertising and publicity material, or any form of visual communication.”

First thing I thought was ‘wow, that’s one long sentence!’ agh. haha 😉

My study notes also had some other links to what a Graphic Designer is and what they do…

AGDA: “What is a Graphic Designer”

The Design Council: “What is Graphic Design”

Designeinstien: “What sort of Graphic Design interests you?”

It was actually kind of funny going back through my notes too because I’d written down thoughts and things that I’d had and at this time in my studying I was leaning towards wanting to work in the Identity Design or Package Design areas… possibly even Environmental Design… Now though, I have my sights set on fabric and textile design… although I don’t really have a huge idea of what exactly that involves lol :-/ More research to be done there!

Weekly Catchup… 160317

Hey, welcome to my first weekly catchup 🙂 So how’s your week been? I was feeling pretty drained from the 9-5er this week, but looking back over the ‘highlights’ of the week has actually made me feel a little happier. Maybe there is something to this ‘focus on the good’ line I hear everywhere, haha 🙂
So what’ve I been up to…

* Friends baby shower and I was super happy there wasn’t any of those awkward or embarrassing games! I was also pretty happy that the activities we did do AND the cupcakes were all themed the same as the invitations – the design nerd in me was pretty psyched, haha!

* Bridesmaid dress shopping with my friend who’s getting married later this year. We were a little disappointed when we first hit the shops and realised that they all had their Autumn/Winter stock in now… but we ended up getting the second dresses we tried on! Yay 🙂

* I finally caught up-to-date on the Being Boss podcasts – so, so luv these lovely people!

* I’m onto my second week of 30 Days of Yoga. I totally stumbled across Adriene by accident on Youtube, and I am absolutely loving it! Roughly half an hour a day, and I can already feel the difference.

* Re-bought all my Easter eggs after the heat in my house ‘baked’ the ones I bought a couple of weeks ago :-/

* Was gifted some Frangipani off-cuts which I’ve temporarily planted until I get the keys to my new house (not long now!)

* Annnd it was my mum’s birthday this week too, so there was the obligatory family dinner catchup which is always crazy fun… this time made a little crazier by me being late because my car battery died, so dinner was late and the kids (and adults) were all getting a little hangry!

Online Inspo for the Week… 
Some of these I posted on Twitter this week, and there’s some extras 🙂

The Art of Non-Conformity – “What Have I Missed in My Life?” Notes on The Novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge

The Nostalgia Machine

Collective Hub – Show Pony

Rock n Roll Bride – you Will be Judged (Or You Will Be Ignored)

Move Nourish Believe – From a Sketch to a Store

Adobe TV – Uli Staiger

Nubby Twiglet – Little Lessons #6: The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change. Embrace It.

Creative Bloq – Reasons we all see Colours Differently

Typotheque – How Good is Good by Stefan Sagmeister

Fast Co.Design – What’s The Difference Between A Font And A Typeface?

Happy Snaps of the Week…
Some snaps from Instagram, and some extras 🙂

Super gorgeous thank-you gift from the baby shower! Super tasty as well 🙂


With mornings getting darker and cooler, it’s been nice getting some candles burning while I hit the study books… this one was a Christmas gingerbready scented candle from Sophie and Spike – smelt so good!

Frangipani from the gifted off-cuts… The smell of these flowers just makes me think of Summer and holidays…

Art Deco fan pattern I created for the assignment I’m working on – a 20 slide presentation!

So that was my week! Pretty good when you’re looking at the highlights hey 🙂 Anyway, I’m off to enjoy this weekend – have a great week!

Copyright Links

Onto a not quite as exciting or interesting, but still important, study module now – Copyright.

It’s something that can seem a little confusing to begin with so I thought I’d share a few helpful links…

Australian Government: ComLaw (Copyright Related Documents)

Australian Government: IP Australia (Intellectual Property)

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

World Trade Organisation: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

Australian Copyright Council

The Copyright Agency

Copyright Act 1968 (Australia)

Arts Law Centre of Australia: Copyright and Moral Rights

Online Inspiration and Thinking

I’m online a fair bit and I come across a heap of articles and videos and other bits and pieces that are either interesting, inspiring or just make me think a bit deeper. For as long as I can remember when I’ve come across these things I’ve just been sticking them in a bookmarks folder in my browser, but I thought it might be nice to share some of them on here… So here’s some bits and pieces I’ve found online that you might enjoy.

Oh, and just a quick note, they’re not all design related, because as you know, inspiration can come from anywhere 🙂

Nubby Twiglet – Why I Chose Community College for My Design Education

Accidental Creative – 10 Questions That Will Help You Find Your Voice

Alexandra Franzen – Why Am I Not Doing That One Thing I Really Want To Do?

Design Sponge – The Consumption Conundrum: Connecting With Makers and Making Mindful Purchases

TED Talks – Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Millo – Finding Your Voice in the Design Community

99u – How I Kept a 373-Day Productivity Streak Unbroken

Independent Fashion Bloggers – Right Now: Start Where You Are

Gala Darling – Feeling Burned Out? Ask Yourself This One Simple Question…

The Sydney Morning Herald – Making a Living Out of Your Creative Talents

James Victore – Serious Play [YouTube]

James Victore – Conflict, Compromise and Kill Fees [YouTube]

Progress Challenge – Image Compositing

Another Annual Leave/Study day today, and so far this morning it’s been another productive day. I’m still not super psyched I’ve had to resort to using my holiday days, but it’s getting stuff done so that’s making me happy.

This progress challenge was on image compositing which I hadn’t heard of before, but I’d seen some of the work… If you want to check out some great typical examples of creatives in this area, see:

Erik Johansson
Uli Staiger

Our brief however was simply to use at least five different images that we’ve personally photographed  to create a totally new image with a specific theme or subject in mind.

I decided to do something a little different and create a pattern… because, well, I like patterns.

Here are the original pics I worked with:

All the original photographs – flowers and fairy floss – were taken on my iPhone 6 last year.
The flowers were edited using Photoshop. The Magnetic Lasso was used to outline the shape, then the edges were refined, a new transparent layer created and the image cropped.
A blank A4 canvas was created for the background were the fairy floss image was placed and stretched to size. The smudge tool was then used and opacity minimised.
Lastly the floral images were placed, resized and rotated on the background to create the final pattern.

And this was the outcome…

I think there’s probably quicker and easier ways of doing what I did, but I haven’t quite worked them out yet, and at the moment I’m still spending a huge chunk of time working out what file format and compressions etc I need to save images in for them not to be huge! Ah well, I’ll get there eventually, lol 🙂