Time flies, man. It feels like so long ago that I made the big decision to go back to school, and now here I am, pretty much half way through. It’s been intense, it’s been stressful, but as I sit back and reminisce about my experiences during second year of design school I once again can’t believe how much I’ve learned.
I have come to find that too much comfort can quickly lead to the creative well running dry. Most of my career so far has revolved around the printed page, static images that do not change or fluctuate once they have been applied to a given surface. While this is where I have always felt most comfortable, I made a point to treat this year of school as an exploration into new avenues of design. Immersing myself in broader project scopes in general has been the fuel to my creative fire over the past few months. Here’s a bit of a recap of what I got up to in second year.
Joschka Goes to College
Year 2 Recap
This year one of my favourite classes was Branding, and the main project throughout the course of the semester was the creation, development and implementation of a new brand. For me, this project was used as a basis to finally put an idea into motion that I’d been wanting to for nearly a year: a clothing line that represents my ideals and vision as a designer. Lifeline Supply is a passion project that focuses on bridging minimal design with a meaningful message of rebirth and exploration. The concept for the Lifeline brand was conceived together with a couple of my close friends, and in the spring of 2016 I began designing and building the brand identity and initial product collection. Juxtaposing stylish and understated clothing designs with captivating photographic backdrops, Lifeline is an embodiment of optimism, creativity and rebellious spirit. The brand is set to launch publicly in the summer of 2016 and will continue to serve as a creative outlet for us to experiment with our personal tastes and abilities.
A recurring theme for me in my Digital Design class this year was the subject of the city of Paris, and my love for all things French. For one of my projects in first semester, I created a guidebook with a curated selection of writings and photos that showcase three of my favourite Parisian neighbourhoods. The articles and images are accompanied by illustrated typography and graphics, and the book serves as a tangible representation of my undying love for la Ville Lumière.
In second semester, the Digital Design class afforded me the opportunity to use inspiration from my favourite film, Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille, to create a series of projects that pushed my abilities as a designer. In the movie, acclaimed chef Auguste Gusteau is known around the world for his unique twist on classic French cuisine, and is the name behind his celebrated restaurant in the heart of Paris. My first project involved the creation of the brand identity and menu designs for Gusteau’s, using Art Deco-inspired typography and elegant embellishments to communicate an air of refined French style. For my second project, I was tasked to move out of my print-based comfort zone and into a motion-based setting to bring an interactive element into the logo design. The animated logo serves as an entry point to an online menu and ordering feature, as well as a social media spot to engage with potential customers in a digital environment.
My growing interest in early 20th century design has certainly been amplified by my love of Paris, but it’s part of a much bigger picture that has slowly been coming together over the past year. Researching historical design movements like Art Deco and Art Nouveau has built an deep appreciation and respect for the authenticity behind modern vernacular design and its proponents who successfully uphold this aesthetic today. Experimenting with typography, illustration and layouts that were unique to these movements and styles have quickly become a strong passion for me.
I also used this as inspiration for a project in Studio class, in which I set out to communicate history through modern and sustainable packaging design. The brand story for the fictional coffee company Serenissima is inspired by the origins and influence of the beverage on European culture. It was introduced by way of the ports of Venice in the 17th century, and quickly became a staple of Italian life. The goal of the Serenissima brand identity and packaging designs is to combine quality, elegance and sustainability into a contemporary customer experience that reflects the passion surrounding the product’s history.
Another project in Studio class focused on a more modern issue. I decided that the brand identity and packaging designs for the fictional seafood restaurant Captain Earl’s Crab Shack would be conceptualized to bring attention to the crisis of overfishing in North America. My goal was to present a design solution that meshed sustainably and ethically sourced product with a handcrafted and organic design aesthetic. The main logo mark uses hand drawn and linocut techniques to deliver an end result that was implemented across multiple platforms of packaging and stationery.
First semester’s Studio class involved working in a group setting to create a complete editorial layout for Conestoga College’s new applied research publication. The class was divided into a number of teams, one of which’s proposed layout would be selected by a panel of board members as the final product for the publication to use. Together with 5 of my classmates, we developed a proposition called ’ARChive’ that was centred around delivering the extensive content in a manner that would be accessible to a diverse audience of readers. The goal was to capture the innovative presence of the college’s applied research branch, while putting a creative spin on it that would help to emphasize the forward-thinking messages of the magazine’s content. Our design went on to become the final layout selected by the board of directors, and will be put into production and circulation in the fall of 2016.
Photography class always provides the opportunity of growth and skill development in areas that I had pretty much no experience in prior to starting my college education almost two years ago. This year involved plenty of practice of both in-camera captures as well as digital photo manipulations. Videography was also introduced as a new technique to experiment in; for one of the larger projects, I filmed and edited a video commercial for one of my existing clients, Speechlust Jewelry.
One of my largest final projects of the year was to redesign my personal branding and create an entirely new portfolio in physical and digital versions. I drew upon my heavy inspiration of European typography and embellishments, and developed a clean and unified system to showcase my latest works. The result is online now—head over to www.mynameisjoschka.com to see the redesigned portfolio and updated projects.
That pretty much sums up the larger parts of my second year! Now it’s back to full-time freelance for the summer before the school craziness picks back up again in September.