Trip to Zenith Media

Today I spent the morning on trip with some of my peers and Ian at Zenith Media’s, Print and Packaging plant in Pontypridd.

We were showed around the plant by Alun Phillips, the Business Development Manager there, who knew Zenith Media inside and out. We started the day with a short introductory presentation given by Alun and we were then taken and shown around the whole plant, before being spoilt to lunch. After taking lots of photographs and some films from our trip to Zenith Media, I put together a short montage of the clips.

One of my favourite parts of the trip was that there was just printed paper absolutely everywhere. Wherever you looked there were stacks and stacks of paper, some almost as high as the roof, in every direction. It was great to see the companies that they worked alongside: everybody from small independent book publishers, to big car companies – they even print the prospectus for Cardiff Metropolitan University and we even spotted a sneak peak stack of the prospectus’ for this year, ready for dispatch. The cover of the Cardiff Met prospectus was navy blue with a maze-like pattern printed in a pink holographic foil effect for extra detail and a quality feeling (image below).

It was great to see the huge variety of printing processes that they could carry out in one place all at Zenith Print and Packaging. They had several rotogravure printing machines which are commonly used for high-volume printing due to their ability to produce high quality results rapidly and are great for long runs. It was great to see the machines in work and producing prints – it was incredible to see how rapidly everything moved. There was machines of all different kinds in the plant – some of my particular favourites were the ones that added special effects to prints, such as spot UV coating which creates a shiny, varnish effect which looks brilliant on practically any print (image above). Alun’s enthusiasm for the printing industry was contagious. He proved to us that you can print onto any material at all of any thickness, from paper, to wood, to metal. At Zenith, he says that they often even print onto fabrics to create cotton banners, etc.

Overall, it was great to visit Zenith Print and Packaging – it has helped me realise that it is not only digital design that I cold go into in the future, I can also take the more hands on route of printing. It reminded me just how great of a degree that I am taking because their are so many potential pathways that I could take after graduating. Alun even added that if we were ever interested in carrying out some work experience with them in Zenith, that we were very welcome. I feel that we have all made a great contact with Zenith Media by visiting them.

Digital Me – First Tutorial

Over the last few days, I have been working on developing my brand style ready for my first tutorial today.

I began with attempting to self-brand myself using my name rather than an actual logo. Finding a photograph of myself that was able to actually interactive with the ‘title’, I’m Amber, made me realise that this was the style I liked best. Unfortunately the photograph is not high quality enough for me to be happy with and I want to capture a better one, but this has at least helped me decide on a favourite style. I should be able to use I’m Amber in both ways, with and without the image of myself sat on it.

name ideas

After testing out a few different fonts and style, and picking a favourite, I began experimenting with colour and of course I had to use my favourite colour orange (Pantone 144 CP) that I use in so many of my projects. After all, it is my colour, “amber”.

I have put together an initial rough CV layout that I think works well alongside my personality and overall brand. My next step is to begin creating the online portfolio layout in consistency to the CV. As my CV is not fully completed yet, I will be able to make changes accordingly if needed – I think it is necessary to keep myself flexible in the beginning ideas generation and design stages of this Digital Me project.

cv first idea

Although I had more or less decided that I would not use my pre-existing logo (used on some social media), I wanted to put it into my CV just so that I could confirm or disconfirm in my tutorial if I was choosing the right way to go. Sure enough, my logo was pointed out as being probably unnecessary, so I am going to go ahead and remove it. Although the logo is not needed, they agreed that it was a great touch to have an image of myself interacting with the title, I’m Amber, as a personal touch. In my tutorial, it was picked up on by my peers that the use of the key colour orange worked really effectively as it doubled up well as being the colour “amber”, just like I am, Amber. The typefaces that I have chosen are Bebas Neue for the headlines and Champagne & Limousines for the body text.

Beginning the Creative Brief

The first part of the research stage of the persuasion project is to write a creative brief.

A good creative brief should cover what the aim of the project is, who you are doing it for, and why you are doing it. Having a creative brief makes your life so much easier when it comes to carrying out your client’s brief – it helps you make sense of the whole thing and to really understand what it is that they are asking for. Although our client had a brief for us, it helps to pick out the important information from that and recreate your own brief from it – it also helps to find what is missing from the client’s brief, so that when we go to see them, we can ask questions in order to fill in these gaps. A creative brief will help both myself, as the designer, and my clients – it will:

  • Provides background for the designer.
  • Clarify the goals and objectives.
  • Uncovers the facts and the most important parts.
  • Help to gain an insight into the brand.
  • Reveal the personality and values of the client.
  • Create a general agreement with the clients.
  • Provide the criteria which needs to be assessed.
  • Indicate exactly what is needed for success.

My Creative Brief

Although I have written the majority of my creative brief, it is not yet finished. I will not be able to fully complete it until after I have met with and spoke to the clients in order to fill in any gaps that I have discovered. It is highly likely that there will be multiple changes made to my creative brief as the projects goes on.

My creative brief begins with my client’s names – Dr Ellen Evans and Dr Elizabeth Redmond – and their contact information, followed by the title that they have given this project. I then have my own name and contact details as the project designer. Next comes the background/overview, the objective, the target audience, important thing to say/show, and finally, the development phases.

Background / Overview:

The bigger picture of this project is that many cancer patients undergo chemotherapy treatment, and although they themselves are usually aware of the food safety issues that come alongside the treatment, many others, including people close to them, are not. The clients, being doctors themselves, have most likely personally witnessed the effects of not knowing or understanding the food-related issues that come as side effects of chemotherapy, and how they can affect their own patients – the clients realise and fully see how much simple awareness of the difficulties could prevent food-related infection from occurring. Their core value is the wellness and safety of the chemotherapy patients, but they will most likely also care about their family and friends too.

Objective – What is the goal of the campaign?

The primary aim and objective of the campaign is to raise our audience’s awareness of the food safety issues to cancer patients being treated by chemotherapy. We need to inform the audience of the facts and advise them from there what they can do. The friends and family will want to help their loved ones who are going through the difficult times and procedure of the treatment. For this reason, we need to convince and assure them that they are able to help if they just listen to the campaign – we will show them exactly what to be aware of and do, coaxing them into action. We want the audience to feel included in the process, as if they too are personally affected by the issues, because in a way, they are. The audience should practically be able to imagine themselves in the patient’s situation, making them think, “What if it was me in their position?”. We need to urge them to take immediate action.

Target audience – Who am I talking to?

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy will undoubtedly see our campaign, however, rather than the actual patients themselves, we are talking more to the people around them. The original client brief specifically says that we are trying to reach the family-caregivers of the cancer patients at Velindre Cancer Centre. Everyone from their friends and family, to their colleagues, their bosses, their teachers, and even a waitress serving them in a restaurant – the general public around them all need to know.

What is the most important thing to say or show?

The facts need to be presented firstly – the audience need to be shown and made to understand why this food safety is an issue that needs to be addressed. They need to be told that they can help to make a difference, simply by learning about it and being aware of its existence. What are the high risk foods that should be avoided by the chemotherapy patients? But not only the negative side, with what they can’t have, but the positive side, with what the alternatives for them that they can have are as well. It’s not just ‘eating the food’ that’s necessary to be included, we should include information on a wider variety such as shopping, storage, food preparation, cooking, and eating out.

Phases of creative development:

  • Do we have sufficient reference sources? – adverts, brochures, videos, websites?
  • Do we have contact info and links to people, research and resources that can supply us with help?
  • Is it clear from the client what must be in the communication? – client requirements?
  • Is it clear from the client what might be in the communication? – client preferences?
  • Do we represent the client’s issues, concerns and wishes?
  • Have we completely excluded everything that the client determined undesirable?


Significance of Info – Final Outcome and Presentation

Today was the deadline day for our field project that I’ve been working on for the past three weeks.

This morning, we each gave presentations showing our research and development of our projects, and then showed our final outcome.

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I opened my presentation with what my topic was: a lesson on ‘How to speak Trump‘ and that overall, it was a study of Donald Trump’s body language. I talked through my initial ideas, such as how they were all Trump-based so I definitely knew that this was the direction I was heading, and why I decided to choose and settle on the particular one that I did. I added that I wanted it to be light-hearted and humorous, especially as Trump is such a scary character within the media at the moment and we very rarely, if ever, have anything positive to say about him – for this reason, my piece was going to be more light-hearted with a humorous spin. Basically, I wanted to make fun of and tease him a bit.

I spoke about how, as part of my research, I watched hundreds of Donald Trump’s speeches in order to analyse his behavioural traits, the way in which he speaks and most importantly his hand gestures and movements, which I chose to focus on. I explained how I wanted to look at whether his hand gestures had changed over time and, if so, how they had changed. To do this, I chose his four most common gestures that I discovered, and then three speeches from different time periods during his journey to presidency, to focus on, and then tallied how many times he used each gesture in each of the speeches and added notes such as when the gestures were used and what the they seemed to mean. I then showed how I had put them into pie charts in order to visually see and compare the changes – I picked out the use of his ‘hands out’ movement as an example as this had the most drastic change over time.

Next I moved onto developing my concepts from my initial ideas and research. I spoke about my first tutorial in David in which I brought a small sample of a video clip I had put together with a short voiceover, in order to roughly demonstrate how I wanted and hoped the final piece would look like. I spoke about how there was something not quite right about the voiceover I had done – it was too monotone and needed more sarcasm in it, however, it was also referred to as sounding like ‘the female David Attenborough’ which was almost so wrong, that it actually worked. I spoke about how from here, I played on this and used it to my advantage, I created my film as if was a nature documentary, like David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, and that Trump was the ‘wild animal’ that we were following.

The final development that I spoke about before showing my outcome was the addition of the part of the film which actually ‘teaches‘ the viewer the lesson on how to speak Trump. When realising that this was missing, I was already at a point of the process where my film was practically complete. Because of this, I did not want to add any more scenes to the film as this could ruin the timing and fabrication of my film, for example how the motions in the video match up with the background music. I stated that my ‘fix’ for this was the use of green screen which could be overlaid instead. I also displayed the templates for the Donald Trump face masks that I made to be used for my green screen model.

Finally, I showed my final outcome of the film:

How to Speak Donald Trump, Amber Lloyd.

Significance of Info – The Masks

After briefly speaking to David today, he reminded me that I still had almost a week to continue to develop and add to my project, so I have decided that rather than leaving the film as it is, I will include my mask idea. As David said, the strength and beauty is in the detail.

As I was worried that by adding more film clips in, it would mess with my timing of the videos and the background music so far, I decided that I could simply green screen over the clips I already had, without ruining the films fabrication. I decided to go ahead with my Donald Trump full-face mask concept, as I felt that this was simple but the most effective.

To make the masks, I used Photoshop to simply edit images of Trump so that it was just his face and then inserted them into InDesign on A3 size paper, then exported to PDF. I measured what size my own face was, so that I could use it as a rough guide to get the masks to the correct size. I printed a grayscale prototype to see if they worked and then from the prototype, I was able to adjust the mask sizes on screen accordingly. I printed the final masks onto thick card so that they would be more sturdy and reliable and then cut them out using a scalpel. The next stop was to create some sticks to hold the masks up to your face with – they needed to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of my Trump masks without flopping over. For the sake of ‘waste not, want not’, I re-used the left over card that I had cut the masks from – I cut several strips which I then stacked together and fasted thoroughly with white masking tape. It did the job perfectly. Rather than tape the sticks to the masks, I have decided to leave them separate for the time being, as I could use a reusable adhesive, such as Blu-tack, to attach them on instead as this would leave them adjustable.

The most tricky part of the mask-making process was the printing of them. Due to the fact that I was printing onto card, rather than normal paper, all of the printer’s settings had to be changed. Because I was feeding in my own printing surface, I had to get inside ‘the printer’s brain’ and tell it not to take the A3 paper out of the tray it normally would, but to instead take it from the manual feed tray which flipped out from the side of the machine. As well as changing the paper tray, I had to also program in to the machine that the paper was in fact card, so I had to tell it the weight of it. It was much more complicated than I had initially expected, but after several trial and error attempts, I managed it with some help from the IT staff. It was useful going through these difficulties actually, because I did not previously know that the printers on the university campus were so extremely versatile – among the paper settings, you could even print onto such things as, tracing paper and recycled paper.

After deciding to use the green screen, I paid a visit to Neil Pedder, who specialises in video editing – he gave me a lesson on the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro, which is the software that I would need to use to edit together green screen film.

Afterlife Talk – Lee Fairbrother

This week’s afterlife talk was by Lee Fairbrother, who is creative director at Accelerate Digital design agency.


Lee has worked in the design industry for just under 10 years and as well as being creative director at Accelerate Digital, Lee also worked with the British Olympian Association for the London Olympics 2012 campaign – Our Greatest Team – he is the creator of Pride The Lion, the official Team GB mascot.

For his afterlife talk, Lee left us with 25 brilliant tips for preparing to begin work in the creative industry:

  • Make a plan – on what you need to do, your career and where you want to go – what do you want to do? Plans can change – learn to pivot and change with your plan and always have a backup plan.
  • Your portfolio is your life story – who are you? It needs to be exciting, new and feel different, make sure to include your personality. It needs to scream, “You’ve got to meet me!”
  • Know the industry – there are lots of different kinds of agencies. The main 4: advertising, brand, digital, print. Research the agencies – know their work, their creative directors, and who’s winning the awards. Who’s your competition and who do you want to work for?
  • Never stop learning – read everything! Do tutorials, watch videos, go to meet-ups, store knowledge and share knowledge.
  • Understand the difference between an idea and an execution – an idea is a strategic driven concept; the execution is the creative output of the idea. You can’t have one without the other. Always have a strategy and always create with purpose.
  • Focus on the benefit – how is this going too change the end users’ life. For example, if it’s swimming trunks, how is going to make them swim faster? – What is the purpose? What is the point?
  • Never underestimate the power of simplicity – keep it simple, stupid.
  • Scamping/sketching = strength – attachment.
  • ‘Pretype’, then prototype, then build – ‘Pretotyping’ = faking it before making it. Test out your idea before diving in and creating it – does it even work? Prove that it does.
  • Good is the enemy of great – don’t settle for ‘good’; ‘good’ is just average.
  • Build a network and meet other creatives – go to meet-ups, ask creatives for advice, speed date creatives, use LinkedIn, stay in touch with the people around you.
  • Find your mentor, today! – they can give you another point of view and opinion, plus they’ll open you up to a whole wider network as well. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  • Get yourself out there – get your foot in the door – brand yourself: be on trend, be true to who you are, and have your own taste. Get yourself a great website – Lee recommended, ‘Squarespace’.
  • When you find a job, make the role your own – push boundaries of what’s asked of you, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, ask questions, expect to hear ‘no’, ask again, don’t be afraid of anyone (they’re just people), hard work doesn’t often go unnoticed.
  • Your biggest asset is your team around you – create thinking environments (where everyone is comfortable to come up with ideas – no idea is stupid), change the scenery, consider every idea, never make fun of anyone who has an idea, make notes/scamp/save all thinking.
  • Present better than don draper – you’re not just a designer, you also work in sales – a great commercial creative is also a great client manager. Practice both selling and public speaking.
  • Be resilient – never give up, don’t accept that you’re not good enough.
  • Radical candour – bosses will use this: they will challenge your work directly, showing they care at the same time – don’t take feedback personally.
  • Choose when to take advice and when to leave it – listen to the advice, decided what is of value and what to leave behind.
  • You should get pid in more than money – knowledge, accounts, a team, leaders, opportunities. Understand what else there is to offer – shares, promotions, etc. Never sell yourself short – charge the right rates for what you do. Look online and find what the bench mark charging rates are for junior designers.
  • Know when it’s time to move on – don’t hang around waiting for things to get better.
  • Procrastination will kill you – take it head on! Know your vices and avoid them, find a new environment, get started, ask for feedback on whatever it is you’re doing.
  • No matter where your career takes you, don’t become a dick – there’s a lot in the industry. You don’t need to always be critical and mean to those coming up through the cycle – be nice.
  • Work hard + be nice + be on time = success.
  • Love what you do!