My second real job was to design posters with numerous illustration for Empiribox Ltd, a nationwide primary school science provider. My team was first started with two members, and one additional member has joined the team after my departure to exchange.
The job aims to let the students discover science excitingly and enjoyably, broaden their horizon in the field of science, informing parents about science-related careers and positive impact of science education.
The first client meeting went well; we were able to understand a lot from the client side, including their needs and expectations. As our supervisor, Alison Black, was not able to join us for the first client meeting, we have met her separately. Alison is a researcher on user-centred design; she shared many suggestions on how different users will interact with the posters, and how complex should the posters be. We have started writing our restated brief right after the first client meeting, as we wanted to have a fresh mind on what we are supposed to design.
The overall idea is quite straightforward; we have to design 24 posters in total, which has changed to 12 later in the project. However, we have faced challenges in identifying the categories of the posters. As there are three subjects in science, and there are two different poster types with different audiences and functions, we were confused at first. In the end, we have solved the problem by making a table on dividing the posters, in order to make a clear mindset.
In the pre-production process, we have made a few mood boards and initial sketches on the cartoon illustration and poster styles. In particular, I have researched both the general and science-related illustration and posters, in order to gain creative ideas throughout the process.
Layout Sketches Examples:
After our client has chosen the style that we should pursue, we have started on designing the main elements, including the layout, mascots and main scientists. I have designed all three mascots for different categories before my exchange program starts, and I am grateful that my mascot designs were chosen. With the layout, three of us have proposed different ideas to our client, and we all have decided on the most user-friendly one.
Illustration-wise, since my style is different from team members’, we started by separating the illustrations into three categories and each of us in-charged one each, while Fay helped to edit all the illustrations to the same style. However, after my departure from the United Kingdom, it was difficult for us to meet up and unite the illustration style. I have then gradually shifted from working on the illustrations to the fonts, header, footer and layout, in order to smoothen our progress.
Moreover, since I have more experience with the Friday real job meetings than my partners, which they were new to it, I know the process quite well. Therefore, I prepared on the issues to discuss for the first few meetings.
At the end of the real job, we have designed 12 A2 posters with numerous illustration. Although the company ended up not using the posters as they wanted to change the brand direction and the poster concept, our illustrations have been featured on their website. It is a grateful moment when we saw our design used in real life.
The Challenges I Faced
I have learned that it is a hard task to work as a team when a member is away. Even though I enjoy creating cartoons, I still have to consider my team members and the outcome of the project. At first, we are working on all parts together, then we have separated our specific role, in order to smoothen the process.
On the other hand, the communication between me and my team members has been affected during my away. It is mainly affected by different schedules, deadlines and time zones. My members did not reply my messages often; as I know they have tight deadlines in Reading, I frequently approached them that I can help on aspects outside my role, but their replies were always delayed.
The Experience I Gained
I am not confident to use illustrator to illustrate before this real job, as I found illustrating digitally is quite difficult. However, I have gained confidence after forcing myself to apply to this real job. I found it is always good to challenge ourselves, in order to strengthen ourselves.
Also, I have learned to approach our client proactively. Since my departure to the study abroad program and my team members might be busy with the coursework in Reading, we have less contact with our client in the second half of the year. Therefore, as we wanted to provide a more professional look to our client in year 3, we emailed and called her proactively. Unfortunately, our client’s company has been rebranded, and she only needs the illustration, but not the posters.
Even though there were many difficulties during the process, I have learned a lot from this real job, which could help me to develop my communication skills, such as contact both of my co-workers and client proactively, provide updates to people in-charge progressively, and the way to deal with unexpected situations.
If I could do this real job again, I would set and follow a more detailed schedule for my team, my supervisor and our client. To conclude, it is still an amazing experience to work with my members, supervisor and client, especially seeing some of our illustrations are used in their brand.
Final Design Examples:
Mood Boards References: