Always Learning – Copyright for Designers

A week or so without any assignments and I’m still trying to get used to it, lol 🙂 At the same time, my head is swimming with about a thousand ideas on what I should do next – what do I want to do with my new skills? Where do I want them to take me? So many ideas! I definitely think I’m going to create some sort of business in the design/art area, but I’m not sure exactly what though… still some sorting out to do there.

One thing that did come to mind while I’ve been thinking about all of this, was an assignment I did last year around Copyright. Copyright should be a really straight-forward thing, i.e. don’t copy other people’s stuff, but sometimes things aren’t quite so simple.

This assignment was the first time I used InDesign, so it was ah, interesting… I can’t say I’m a huge fan of that program now though either… Anyway, for the assignment we had to write a one-page magazine article on ‘Copyright for Designers’. For the presentation of the article we had to find an article in a design magazine and duplicate their grid layout.

I chose an article from No Cure – one of my favourite art/design magazines 🙂

Thankfully I worked out how to set up the grid without too much hassle. We had to include photos too – I used my own photos of my own drawings – easy way to avoid copyright issues 🙂

Anyway, here is my article:

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:



The Role of the Designer


Course textbook

I mentioned in an earlier post about the repetition in my course and it doesn’t just apply to the subjects covered in the theory, it also happens with the readings we are supposed to do from the textbook.

The textbook for this course is “Graphic Design: Australian Style Manual” and I just went to pages 14-20 to do the reading for this section of study, and I’ve already read it – I’ve already highlighted the bits and pieces I thought were important. This is kind of frustrating, getting ready to get into reading and I’ve already done it.

Anyway, I thought this might be a good a time as any to make share some notes from this section of the textbook which is all about the role of the designer…

  • “The role of the designer is to work within a design process to fully understand the scope of the client’s communication problem and to clearly identify the target audience they’re speaking to. This means understanding the audience’s age, gender, media preferences, culture, lifestyle habits and ethnicity.” (Barnum et al, p14)
  • “… it is important to recognise the distinction between art and design. The clear difference between the process of design and the making of art lies in the objective.” (Barnum et al, p15)
  • “Designers are not artists in the pure discipline sense. Designers might simultaneously engage in both art and design practices, but designing involves both the analysis and the validation of ideas…” (Barnum et al, p15)
  • Graphic designers are after “…a communication solution that contains aesthetic harmony, inspirational graphic techniques and a voice that’s appropriate to the objective within the brief – something looks good, sounds good and generates the right reaction.” (Barnum et al, p15)
  • “The mission of the designer (is) to identify and isolate the most fundamental objectives that (the client is) trying to communicate.” (Barnum et al, p19)
  • “…(the) first step on the path to understanding what makes a successful designer: fully understanding and digesting what the brief requires… reducing all the data provided to the most potent points.” (Barnum et al, p19)



Barnum, A., Haddock, S., Hicks, S. and Oppen, F. (2012) Graphic Design: Australian Style Guide. Sydney: McGraw-Hill Publishers Australia

Digital Technology Research

robot copy

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that last week I finally finished and submitted that report that was driving me crazy – yay! So now I’m on to the next module in my course… Digital Technology Research.

I’ve read through the Course Notes and completed the first assessment (an online quiz), so now I’m up to the second assignment which is, again, a theory based assignment. There’s no pretty pictures or interesting images to post about, but, there are a few notes to remember on the subject so I thought I’d share them here….

  • Research is super important before using/buying/trialling technology to avoid wasting time, money and energy.
  • Event before researching, you need to write down a list of what you need to do for your graphic design work so you know what to look for, i.e. the ability to draw shapes, or export a file in a specific format.
  • The Adobe Creative Suite is generally considered to be industry standards
  • The more a piece of technology allows you to edit and modify things, the more creative you can be.
  • Some of the limitations of technology are that it can be: expensive, time-consuming, high maintenance, take up a lot of desk area/storage space, and not easily available.
  • Always be exploring and looking at different ways to use technology to find ways to better and more efficiently (and effectively) do your work.
  • Challenge technologies and see exactly how far you can push them.
  • Don’t be afraid to combine technologies.
  • Listen to other people’s opinions on technology, but also find out for yourself. That person may have a bias towards a certain technology.
  • You must develop your own working style.
  • Set up your workstation so that is safe and ergonomic.
  • Get to know your technology (i.e. a software program) inside-out. Find out its limitations and capabilities.
  • Take breaks while you’re working.
  • Subscribe to e-newsletters to stay up to date with new technologies in the design industry.
  • Always preview something before you print to check for spelling and grammar errors, etc.
  • Use external hard drives/USB drives instead of CDs and DVDs wherever possible.
  • Collaborate digitally as much as possible.
  • Always keep your files backed up (side note: I use Apple’s Time Machine – it is sooo easy!)

Fingers-crossed the next unit is a little more creative!

Study Activity: History of Graphic Design – A Poster

This was an interesting study activity from earlier in the course… we had to “create a visual communication that represents the journey of graphic design from the 1890s to the present“. We could use any medium we liked, i.e., paints and pens, computer, collage, etc, but it just had to be A4 sized. I chose to put it together electronically because it was easier to find the pictures I wanted.

I focused on movie posters for my timeline because I thought that by choosing one topic it makes it a bit easier to see how graphic design has changed through the years…

The final image quality isn’t fantastic because like I said, this activity was pretty early on in my study and I’m pretty sure from memory I put it together in Powerpoint and saved the grouped images as a JPG through there – not the best way to get good quality as I now know. I remember it also taking me absolutely aaaaagggess to put together and it kind of makes me happy to know I could do it much faster and to a better quality if I was to do it again now – yay for learning progress! 🙂