Skype Lecture Notes

During the lecture, week commencing 3rd February, we were shown an old lecture that occurred through the medium of the social network provider ‘Skype’. It was an intriguing way to learn and gave me ideas to help me catch up, if lecturers are available, if I am away ill etc.

The lecture taught us about the seven key points that all graphic designers need to know:

Work experience is valuable.

Teach yourself how to teach yourself.

Don’t be shy.

Attitude is everything.

Find something you are passionate about as experimental work in your free time is what gets you jobs.

Things will always be ugly before they look good.

Just put everything on the page, don’t be scared to debate.

These seven things were great pieces of advise, and I hope they will help me in my personal progression in this industry. From this, I know that during the summer, I will be undertaking personal projects that are inspired by life at the time. I need to start making time to be myself.

Learning Progress

On week commencing 10th February, we were instructed to find methods of helping ourselves in our idea generation. Our lecturer taught us about how placing work up on a visible wall could aid in our work process. The idea was that if the work was in plain sight, it could be critiqued and given feedback for.

A few of us who were prepared, put our mind maps up on the designated wall and talked through our workings.

I found that both talking through my work out loud, and being questioned, helped push me further into research and developing my ideas. Challenging ideas and work is key to perfecting what we do as graphic designers, after all, ‘the client is always right’.

The Hunter Vs The Hunted

A designer is both a hunter and is being hunted.

A designer is both searching for themselves and is also being criticised for all their work.

A designer is neither right nor wrong.

A designer is neither loved nor hated by society.

A designer aids people but can also point out fault in people.

When considering what a designer can and cannot do or be, we must also consider the pros and cons of such a profession. One of the major cons for such a profession are the job prospects. This is a dog eat dog industry. Walking over people is a part of the job description. Whether or not this is the moral thing to do, it is one of the only ways to get ahead.

When shining this into a more positive light, instead of walking over people, we can use each other to build each other up and to make ourselves a better designer. In recent times we have made a study group. The main idea behind it, is that we can help each other where others are lacking. Everyone is good at something. One person might be good at using a piece of specific software, but another would be good at photography, and so on.

Many people struggle in education. I for example, feel like I’m thriving at idea generation and the theory side, but I am lacking in the practical because of opting out of doing another BTec or entry level into university. With a group like this, people can help me in learning about the practical and I can help them in their essays and so on. This does not mean for one minute that we are doing other people’s work for them. That is not the aim. By working together people can achieve a common goal, in this instance: a degree.

Study groups have also aided us in finding more friends. In this industry, making friends in your own profession can be difficult, as it is a survival of the fittest industry. At the moment we are only in education, but there is nothing wrong with getting practise in. By making friends in study groups, we can help each other in the long run. Having allies is always a bonus. If we know each others strengths, we know who we can trust to come to when we need help, or even have jobs passed to us. Working closely with other people can be very beneficial.

Study groups are very exciting concepts, and I will look forward to being a part of one in the next coming weeks, potentially years.

Society Today

As a part of a practical lesson, we had to make a collage in the style of Richard Hamilton’s ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different?’ (1992), which gave our own views on society today.

I chose to base mine on the loss of innocence and how those in charge of our nations seem to be in the middle of it all. Political scandals and there being ‘near nudity’ and ‘adult themes’ on daytime t.v. (i.e. before the watershed), have been the main causes of concern. The image I created depicts so called role models making everything seem ok. They merely joke and pass off the women in front of them and their dress sense. It has become the norm.


In a day and age where nations seem to be outgrowing the need for politeness, euphemisms and subtlety, it is no wonder we are out of control. I’m not saying it’s right, but if kids now a days were raised as I was, the threat of a light hit to the back of the hand would enough to put anyone  back in their place. As well as consistency and the love behind it. No parent wants their child to be like ‘that’. Some parents don’t even praise their kids when they do right.

Children now a days get away with murder.With the internet and television, barely being filtered, it’s no wonder children seem to be getting less well behave. Television shows tell us that casual sex, perversion, voyeurism, swearing and violence are all ok.  Kids now, have access to so much. I didn’t have a mobile phone until just before high-school, now I see 7 year olds with I-phones. I mean seriously, what are they going to do? Snap chat Dora the Explorer? BBM Banana’s in Pyjamas? WhatsApp the Clangers? (Granted, the last one may not be around any more).  I also had limited time on the house computer for quite sometime. Now, children have more privacy to search around on a non-filtered sources.

I can remember a school boy harassing me on the bus once, because I asked him politely if he would stand up for this old lady who just got on the bus. I personally couldn’t do it due to ill health, but he was more than capable. I would never dream of swearing around children or in front of strangers, but this pip-squeak did. If I was his mum, a nice clip around the ear or grounding him would have been enough.

The funniest ones, I have to admit, are the hypocritical parents. Parent’s will be a child’s first role model, and will shape how the child grows up. The main example of hypocritical parenting has to be when a parent tells their son, or daughter, to “Stop F****** swearing”. If they cannot even get one sentence out without swearing, why should they be telling their kid not to curse?

With role models like some parents, some famous people and some politicians, who is to blame when it comes to society breaking down?

The Minority Report Story

This is the story I wrote in regards to a news report (Please see a prior blog for the reference).

Sat in a bar, I stared at my mac-book screen. The words just stood stationary, nothing felt like it would jump out at me. It felt about as useless as my brain in its current state of having writers block. I needed the next best thing. A tap on the shoulder woke me out of my trance and I turned to see an eager, smiling man. It was my friend, Jason. He had worked with me on several movies, and we went to college together, back in the day.

“Hey Adrian,” came his loud, husky voice, “You won’t believe what a friend in the UK just tweeted me.” I watched as Jason rummaged through his laptop case for his laptop, setting it up opposite mine. It felt like a head to head battle against our laptops, his had slightly better specs than mine, but I was comfortable with my baby, “You know how it is thanks to Space Odyssey, we have tablet computers, The Andromeda strain, that we have plastic eating bacteria, Things To Come, that we have started to develop transparent phones, The Joy Maker, from The Age of the Pussyfoot, that we have Siri, Return from the Stars that we have spray on clothes, Fahrenheit 451 that we have Bluetooth headsets, thanks to StarTrek that we have 3D printer and When the Sleeper Wakes that we have automatic doors.” He rambled on, “Well clearly the world is flirting with fantasy a bit too much.” A few clicks and clacks later, and he turned his laptop round, showing me a news article from the Sunday Times, a British newspaper.

After reading the report in front of me, I chuckled.  ‘Scotland Yard will soon be using Hollywood magic to capture criminals’ it read. “Are you kidding me?” the words fell from my lips, dripping with a mix of sarcasm and shock, “I spent months on that film trying to perfect the screen play. Now they are to pull the rug from under my feet and steal my ideas just because a bunch of nerds that thought the movie was that great they would make it real?”

“Not your ideas,” Jason reminded me, “Mr. Spielberg’s.”

I shot a look up to Jason of distaste. He knew I wanted to write my own movies properly, and this was just my day job until I wrote the perfect script and story. Relaxing and leaning back on the seat, I sighed, “It’s at times like these where I realise we don’t get paid enough, my friend.”

“Amen,” my amigo responded, as he pulled his laptop back to facing himself, “Copywriting doesn’t seem to mean much now-a-days. Maybe laws are different in the UK than in our good ol’ United States. Plagiarism is still theft though; the cops should shoot to kill thieves.”

“Don’t get me started on gun control, Jase,” I teased. I wasn’t a fan of the gun control stories I’d heard recently on CNN. I loved my Remington 870, my .45 and my Glock 17 a bit too much, when it came to self-defence, of course.  “So, let me get this straight,” My fingers massaged my forehead then pinched the bridge of my nose, as I found my words carefully, “A bunch of Einsteins have partially made the Minority Report real. They have made actual algorithms to work out, and predict crime?”

The reply was just a nod followed by my friend ordering a round of the drinks we had when in deep thought, whiskey.

“I’m not one of those nerds but surely, a lot of innocent people could be put away, like in the movie, if it panned out like the film?” As the short glasses hit the wooden table in front of us, I snatched it off the table, taking a sip. With a wince I replaced the glass from whence it came, “Why couldn’t they make the nano-robotic-sniffer-dog things into reality? They would be much easier to maintain than a dog. With dogs, you have their training, vet bills and food to pay for, which can come to hundreds and thousands of dollars per year. A nano-bot thing, would cost perhaps a million pounds to develop, but would cost less in the long run, theoretically. It is a potential business idea for entrepreneurs, as long as they pass it by our legal team first, of course.”

“Again, you mean Mr. Spielberg’s legal team,” the chubby man pushed his reminder once more, as he ran his fingers through his beard.

“Yes, his.” I sighed looking to him before noting a waitress’s nice…

Distracting me, my counterpart interrupted my thought patterns with a finger click in front of my eyes. As my eyes refocused on my friend, he continued, “Imagine the domino effect of that though. NASA and the military squints could be sued for stealing the ideas of jet packs. In saying that though, Jet packs have been used in movies, to the point where they are starting to become a cliché. It should still be an accredited idea, if they are using that idea. I’m pretty sure they should be checking with the script writers, instead of pretending they had that amazing epiphany.”

He paused and it was almost like I knew him too well. That face he was making showed his ‘light bulb’ moment, “Epiphany?”

“That was the word I was thinking of earlier today,” He furiously typed.

With a chuckle I continued the conversation, “I am almost positive that Mr. Spielberg himself would agree with me, when I say that the reasons why aliens haven’t visited us, is because we get all our ideas from entertainment. They probably look at us from a far, mocking us. How dumb does it sound when I phrase it like this: We make things that look like good ideas, thanks to Hollywood magic? By that reasoning there should also be Prince Charmings for every woman, a fairy godmother for every abused child, every step mother should be evil, all men get the girl in the end,” I nodded to Jase’s ex as she walked in through the door, “and the meaning of life should be 42.”

In response Jason muttered something that wasn’t quite audible as he watched her for a moment with daggers in his eyes, before returning his gaze to me and leaning back in his chair sipping his whiskey, “Those that claim to have been ‘molested’ by aliens are probably just high. However, if abductions are real, then we should probably come to the conclusion that they are just fascinated by how stupid we actually are as a race. We are probably the equivalent of Jersey Shore to the race on Mars -surreal comedy. To quote the minority report, ‘I call it a gift, for them it was more like a big cosmic joke’. “

“Jersey Shore? Really?” I coughed almost spitting out my drink, “Damn that girl had you whipped if she made you watch that.” After clearing my throat from the burn of the whiskey searing it, I looked to the nearing empty glass, “I don’t mean to slag off the boss, but according to his film Close Encounters, we played midi files to aliens in the hope that we could make a bridge of peace between our worlds. Imagine if aliens ever did attack and ‘we’ just stole the idea from that film. I think it would be safe to say that Earth would probably be f-.”

“Language, you know I’m trying to kerb it,” came the interruption. Jase had just been made an uncle, so was trying to give up some of his disgraceful habits, including swearing and smoking. A kid changes things, even if it’s not yours apparently. It’s strange to thing that we are both in our early thirties and only one of us wants to settle, Jason.

“The minority report was a book before we touched it, right?” I questioned, changing the topic slightly, since I was scolded, “By Phillip K Dick or something. So we definitely aren’t hypocritical, because clearly we needed permission to do the film.”

“Imagine the films that we could write in response to that news report,” Jason scoffed.

Raising an eyebrow, I considered his thought process, “The back lash against the UK government if the scheme works?”

Nodding, Jason continued the thought process, paraphrasing some of the news report in front of him, “In some places, it has already worked up to 26% of the time. Let’s say they perfected it. What would criminals then do? Change careers? Their industry would be shutting down. Or they would have to move to another country. Doesn’t the UK have something called benefits, that they give to people who are out of employment?”

I continued, “Technically they would be classed as redundant mobsters. Are you suggesting writing a script that would be an inverted version of RED? Retired and Extremely Dangerous? It could be called…” I paused for a moment, collecting my thoughts. Too many ideas were spinning through my head, “Redundant and extremely dangerous!”

My partner in writing crime smirked, pointing at me as if to say, ‘by George he’s got it’, “I like this idea, you should pursue it.”

I agreed, before suddenly feeling a wave of guilt over myself, “You ever scared that we glamourize crime for a living, a bit too much?”

“We can glamourize it as much as we like, it’s up to the critics to decide. Mum’s will be the only ones who care,” he began. His green eyes fixated on my blue ones, and he finally paused, “I mean, yes, yes we do glamourize it too much. We should look out for the younger generations, and future generations. We should change the world for the better.”

I laughed, shutting my laptop lid and standing up, “Be the cool uncle, dude. You suck at trying to censor yourself.” I stood up, picking up my satchel and downing the last bit of my drink, “In the meantime, I shall go change that barmaid’s world for the better.” With a soft bump to Jason’s shoulder I walked over to the bar.