Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Placement with The Designers Republic.

In October, I undertook a 2 week placement at The Designers Republic in Sheffield.
This was a huge thing for me, as not only are the Designers Republic one of the most famous design studios around, they are also my favorite.
I was initially asked to come for a placement way back in may, however due to miscommunication and sheer lack of organization, it didn't happen until October.

Being so notorious, I was rather nervous upon my first day. The 55 minute train Journey seemed to take forever, and I didn't no whether to be giddy or terrified. After all, my work would be scrutinised by Ian Anderson, who I know from previous experience is certainly not afraid to speak his mind!
Once I got there I realised I had nothing to be afriad of. The studio has a very friendly, creative atmosphere, all to the backdrop of Ians eclectic music taste.
I set about working on some ideas for the new Gatecrasher album that tDR are working on. They wanted the album art to reflect Pink Floyds 'Wish You Were Here' (as the last gatecrasher album was based on Dark Side of the Moon.) I was responsible for coming up with design for the CD's themselves, a harder task than I originally thought it would be! The Designer Republic tagline is 'Brain Aided Design' and I can now completely see what that means, as everything tDR to needs to have a lot of thought behind it. So, I spent the first few hours thinking and making quick sketches, determined to have some good ideas before I got onto Adobe Illustrator.
Note that although I used Illustrator, Macromedia FreeHand is the preferred method of computer aided design at tDR, Ian says that the way it works makes you 'think about what you are doing a lot more.' However, as I was only there for 2 weeks, I used Illustrator as I wouldn't be able to work on a program I didn't know!
This way of working (thinking a lot more and making sure you have plenty of good ideas) is actually quite new to me, as I usually jump onto the mac way too quickly. However I have discovered that I can design much better when I bother to think beforehand...
The CD design actually took days, as I created about 70 different ideas all made in illustrator to present to Ian.
I also worked on the imagery for the inlay booklet. I was given the task of finding images of people at Gatecrasher clubs losing themselves in the music. I found about 50 images in the end, which Ian wanted cropping right into their faces, so that all you would be able to see in the inlay was faces. After cropping them all, I was given the talk of editing them in photoshop to give them a 'warm, saturated feeling' (as fire is used on the Wish You Were Here album cover, and this idea was to be continued in the inlay.) I eventually had about 120 images of faces that were cropped and adjusted in Photoshop, and presented them to Ian. Much to my relief, he loved them, and picked out some for the final artwork.
I also created the templates for the Flyers to promote the gatecrasher club anthems tour, which is below.

In the 2 week Placement I also designed a logo and some concept Ideas for a leeds clubnight called Masters of Funk. I based the logo on old 70's funk logo's (which turn out to be very similar to 80's thrash metal logo's in terms of visual style.) I only spent a day or so on these, and so the results (below) are not amazing, although i'm quite happy with the logo.


For the Designs, I tried to keep some kind of designers republic look (hence the angular, vectorised logo) but also a look that fit with the sensibilities of the clubnight.

As well as doing work, I also documented everything I did, as my dissertation project is based upon the placement. I kept a time sheet of each day and recorded all my tasks. I also took hundreds of pictures of past tDR work, not only as a reference point for the look of my project, but also as an archive of their past work.
I've uploaded all these photo's to flickr HERE
(more will appear next month, flickr only lets me upload 200 photos per month. How shit.)

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