I’m now halfway through my placement year which is a total of 6 months long. I’ve moved from London back up to the Midlands then in the new year begun my second placement with Bottle Blonde in Coventry.

The change in environment was dramatic moving from Amanda Kelly to Bottle Blonde however is giving me a good understanding of different target markets, design styles and the industry as a whole. I’ve learnt a lot about myself in this past month (technically 2 months) about how I work best, what style I prefer to design to and presentation styles I prefer. In this months 5 things I’ve learnt and 5 things I’ve put into practice I’m also going to add a couple of points of how I have personally developed during my industry year so far.  

Top 5 skills I have learnt and gotten to put into practice –

  1. Abstract Illustration, in my first year at uni I learnt about how fashion illustration doesn’t always have to be pretty and life like, I developed my own unique illustration style which sometimes can be very abstract. I’ve then used this abstract illustration skill to design unique prints inspired by retro pieces.
  2. Understanding a brand and its image, during uni we have been given projects in which we have to design a product for a specific brand. In order to do this you must understand the brand and it’s vibe, I learnt how to swiftly summarize a brand in 5 images which was incredibly helpful for me to then understand and design to fit the brands I am working for during my industry year.
  3. Design development, constantly throughout my university experience I have needed to create, design and then develop the design to a final piece. This development skill has been very useful to produce the best prints possible from my ideas rather than sticking with the initial concept. From developing the prints have been enhanced and improved to pieces I am now proud to put in my portfolio of work.
  4. Multimedia design, throughout my degree I have learnt about combining my skills to design. I have learnt about when designing you don’t necessarily have to only draw, you can use photos, collage, cut and outline silhouettes to create a final design. This skill is very useful when it comes to my print designs as it widens my perspective and skills again improving my print designs.
  5. Time keeping, of course with uni comes deadlines, however working to these deadlines have helped me improve my time keeping skills and pace of work. Working to deadlines at uni has helped me work at a fast pace without losing quality of work as well as achieving lots within the working day.

Top 5 skills I have learnt on the job that will be useful in final year –

  1. How to remove noise from a photo/illustration, when editing prints at clients request at Amanda Kelly if the print was originally done by hand in water colour on a special paper they wanted the paper texture removing from the pattern presumably because they intend to screen print the pattern. I learnt how to remove said ‘’noise’’ from the image making it smooth and digital. This will be a useful skill for any hand drawing I do then scan it to make a more seamless page whether that be for my sketchbook or portfolio.
  2. Alternative Primary Research, whilst working at Bottle Blonde I have have to learn and understand a whole new way to research to create primary images that I can manipulate and or draw from for my prints. As I’m designing retro styled prints I have learnt about how to create your own primary retro research by visiting vintage fares, looking through old family photos and aging newer products. This has given me a new perspective on primary image photos and also allows me to widen my inspiration options when designing for my final major project.
  3. Importance of Image sizing for digital use, I assisted on resizing images for Bottle Blonde’s new website which launched in January. Although it was a pain resizing all the images I learnt and understood image sizing digitally for websites looks visually more appealing when all the same size. This isn’t necessarily something that is useful for my final year itself however it is useful to remember when photographing my FMP and presenting it digitally.
  4. Colour codes, although it’s a very small thing I have learnt when it comes to consistency this will help me no end. I learnt that to colour match you can type in the # code at the bottom of the colour picker, you can type this is on most digital services when choosing colours and it will select the exact same colour every time. As I personally like to colour coordinate everything I can into the same 2 shades of purple this is a much speedier and more accurate way to ensure it’s the exact same shade of purple across all platforms from digital portfolios to sketchbooks.
  5. Pattern sizing, when I worked in London at Amanda Kelly we only drew pattern squares not knowing what the prints would then be used for when sold. Then when moving onto my second placement at BB I have been designing more prints however with a specific purpose so I needed to understand and learn how to make sure when printed how big one square should be. Chloe decided the best route would be to scale it accurately onto an A4 piece of paper then that’ll tell you without printing on any computer how large or small a print is. Doing this has helped me to design to the best scale that it won’t look out of proportion on a person and understand the sizing.

Overall so far I feel have developed significantly as a person and designer. From working in the industry I’m learning what I do and don’t like working with in terms of materials, my strongest skills and what I need to improve on as well as what I want to do for my FMP then career. I’m still unsure what I want to do for my final major project however prior to starting my intern year I thought I didn’t ever want to run my own business even as a side project. However from working at BB Chloe has inspired me that if I come up with an idea for my final major that I love with a passion I could potentially pursue creating my own business. At the moment I feel I’m leaning towards designing womenswear with my own prints or accessories however this is just theories for now.