This is my business card and check out on my website is zahidaziz.com
This is my business card and check out on my website is zahidaziz.com
I’m planning to set up my own studio at home, promoting myself handing out business cards and networking. It isn’t easy getting a job. I’m lucky I have part-time work but after graduating I need to save money to buy equipment, so I’ll need more work. I plan to write my own briefs after I graduate, so I can create designs in my personal style. Hopefully it will be strong work. People will look at it and it will stand out.
I’ve been in touch with DeafinitEquality, a design company who promote deaf culture and sports and work with people to raise deaf awareness. They do branding, website design, logos and graphic design.
I emailed them about a summer work placement because I thought it would be interesting to work in an environment with other deaf designers so I can see how they communicate. They replied saying they weren’t looking for staff, but I explained that I would be happy making tea! I’m waiting for a reply. If they say no, I will try other smaller design companies in Manchester.
There is a strong deaf community and the culture is different, so I think there could be an audience there for my graphic design. Greater Manchester has many deaf centres, and lots of opportunities to design posters and leaflets, so I could try there for work experience.
Just come back from a university trip to London. I was supposed to be going with a mate from my course, but he couldn’t go in the end for personal reasons. It was a bit disappointing and a bit scary having to go on my own.
The accommodation was central, just near Euston. We packed a lot into three days. First stop was the ICA, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and then the V&A.
I got inspiration for my logo designs from some of the prints I saw at the studio.
Letterpress Studio in Hackney Wick was amazing. It was right near the Olympic Stadium which is a massive stadium with huge security fencing around it and the Anish Kapoor sculpture. We split into two groups to do a letterpress workshop with an artist with a space there. There were so many letterpress cases everywhere and examples of printmaking. Some of them were massive.
We all added a word into a letterpress to spell out: ‘Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one,’ A J Leibling. My word was own but I made a mistake because we had to do it in reverse. It was a good experience and when I came back to Stockport I experimented with different printing techniques.
On the last day we went to Pick Me Up graphic art fair. I saw some amazing stuff there, like colourful 3D paper sculptures of cameras and cassette tapes. They looked like the real thing.
This piece inspired me with the use of bright colours. I want the image on my campaign poster to be eye-catching and contemporary.
It was a great trip. I learnt a lot from it. I wouldn’t like to live in London. It’s a nightmare, too busy, but it’s fantastic to visit. I’d like to go the British Museum when I’ve finished my degree. It’s difficult travelling when you are hard of hearing, so it was all useful research for my travel guide.
I had another portfolio visit with James Appleton who is a freelance designer based in Bolton. I didn’t take my full portfolio, only a selection of my best work.
He was a nice guy and gave me a Coke while we chatted.
He showed me examples of his work, which was similar work to Lucy Wilson’s, hand-made book covers.
James had seen my earlier work, and said my recent work was a lot stronger. I included some foundation degree work to show how my work had changed.
He liked Brasilia and my Stamp project. With Brasilia he said the text on the poster really stood out. He’d never heard about the architect Oscar Niemeyer’s work, so I explained the context of the work. He knew about Cuban and Mexican art and said the use of colour was good because it related to the 50th anniversary and the colour palette of the 50s and 60s.
He liked the way I’d used a photograph of myself holding the poster.
James said the Stamps worked well because of the background texture, the clear text and use of simple images. The message was clear and strong. He suggested it would look better if I made the images on the stamps bigger. I don’t agree with him on that. I designed it with a lot of white space so the image would stand out. He told me to change the price of the stamp, because the prices have risen. But it’s older work, so it was correct at the time. I could experiment designing stamps to my own brief.
One thing he did say was that I need to have a good website. I asked his advice about my logo and business cards. He thought the logo was simple and effective using just initials. He said I should change the email address from hotmail to link with my website, like hello@zahidaziz, for example.
Sorry this is a late post. We had a lecture by a guy called Jon Hill, the Design Editor at the Times in London. He told us about his career and experience as a graphic designer.
He studied at Kingston University in London, which I’d never heard of. It’s probably a posh university! While he was at uni, he did a work placement at a small studio in Kentish Town, Atelier Works, where he made tea and mounted work! He went back in the holidays and was lucky enough to get a job there when he graduated.
I’d love the chance to make tea for someone! It’s difficult for me to communicate because I’m hard of hearing. I wish more people used Sign Language, so it would be easier for me to make myself understood. It would be fun to help people learn. I have a part-time job and teach the other staff a bit of sign language.
Jon told us about his experience as a self-employed designer working in an attic studio at home in his pyjamas! It was interesting because when I graduate I’d like to do freelance work too.
He joined the The Times in 2006 when Neville Brody redesigned The Times when it went smaller. He designed The Face and other fashionable magazines. The newspaper had spent a lot of money on new presses and changed from black and white to full colour, so it was an exciting time.
Now he has a design team of 40 people working for him and he oversees the design. The Times uses lots of infographics now and big colour pictures, double-page spreads and special editions. The designers read the stories to understand them and then design the graphics around that. Jon has was also behind the branding for the website, and the iPad app. The Times was the first newspaper to use an iPad app.
We had an awesome workshop on bookbinding. Lucy Wilson, an illustrator and designer, showed us how to make a soft book cover and talked about different ways of bookbinding, like using concertina folds, paper and finishes.
We started with 10 pages of paper and started folding them. We used a weird thing called a bone folder to make the creases. It was quite tricky doing the stitching. Even Lucy made a mistake when she was making marks on the paper to show us where to put the holes for stitching.
She was giving instructions for using your right hand, but I was the only left-handed person, so I had to do it all backwards which made it even harder but Lucy helped! I finished first and was really proud of myself. It’s a nice way of working, doing something hand-made.
Lucy gave us loads of advice about where to buy paper and fabric. There’s a shop called Ratchfords in Stockport where you can get all sorts of bookbinding stuff. I’m thinking of looking for some fabric there for my final major project.
I was really inspired by one of Lucy’s books. It was a concertina book, which folds out like a zigzag. It’s a style I could use for my Deaf Travel Guide. It’s similar to a fold-out map, which you could put into your pocket and open out when you need to find information or words in sign language.
If you’re travelling and trying to find your way round using an App, your phone battery could die and then you’d be lost! With my travel guide, you wouldn’t have that problem. The guide would have the alphabet, numbers and words in fingerspelling. It’s for deaf people, but also for hearing people interested in learning sign language or about deaf culture. I’m creating a template for the American Sign Language guide first, but if I have enough time I’ll do the same for British Sign Language.
I went to see Paolo, a graphic designer with his own company in Manchester, for a portfolio visit. He was about half an hour late!
He was interested in my poster design for Hobson’s Choice. He liked the image I used in black and white and I’d changed the font after advice from another portfolio visit.
With my Snowbombing poster I had to use a lot of logos. He suggested I put them along the bottom in a white strip.
Paolo thought my Shine soft drink T-shirt designs were strong … just a few small changes to spacing, and making the QR code smaller.
When I took my book to Pitch and Co, they asked me why I used pink for my Eclipse stationery set. Paolo asked the same. I planned to change the colour to orange so it relates more to the moon and an eclipse but haven’t had time.
This is my opportunity to get a job. I have to think about the features and benefits of my designs.
Paolo liked my Beards for Peace. A feature is that you can cut out and wear the beards and take photographs. The benefit is free advertising for the clients as people upload images onto social media sites. Don’t use Impact font, he said!
He really liked my Stamp project which is about recycling. His favourite was the piggy bank but he thought the lightbulb was strong too.
And he thought my Brasilia poster was another strong piece with good composition and colour.
He wants to see more branding in my portfolio, another page of logos, some literature design, maybe for a gallery or a film, and website design. I’m going to look around Manchester for a company or brand I can redesign and include in my portfolio.
We also discussed my final major project and how I should use simple graphics and contemporary colours to make my designs eye-catching for younger people.
I met Paolo Feroleto, an ex-tutor of mine, in Chorlton recently. He asked me about my final project and I explained I was designing a deaf travel guide. We had a good time chatting, then he emailed me asking if I could help a second year student who is doing a project on sign language.
Also I arranged a portfolio visit with Paolo, who is an Italian graphic designer who runs Four Design Consultants. My portfolio is still work in progress so I will have to make some changes before I meet him next week.
I’m working on a new website zahidaziz.com. It cost me about £10 for the domain name and £30 a year for hosting. I’ve not finished it yet because I’ve been busy. I need a theme and I’m thinking about playing with the text Switch On, Switch Off. This relates to my personality and how I can switch on and switch off my hearing aids and so switch sound on and off. Maybe I could create the letters out of batteries.
I had a haircut the other day. When I was sitting there I was looking at the reflection of signs through the mirror. I’m always looking at signs but I couldn’t see what they said. They were all blurred. My eyesight might not be good! I was thinking of making really large eye test signs. I don’t want to wear glasses!
A lot of Shisha cafes have opened recently near where I live. They look like fun. They’re places where people smoke different flavours like mint, mango, strawberry. It’s not heavy like drugs. It makes you light-headed. It’s influenced by Arabic culture. They have them a lot in Pakistan. The cafe decoration is influenced by Arabic art. I started thinking about the patterns they use on trucks in Pakistan. They decorate the trucks with really detailed designs and objects. It’s amazing. They paint them freehand without drawing any designs on them and they’re really colourful, full of cultural icons and references.
They don’t have things like this in the UK. Sometimes they have graffiti art on vans and in New York on the subway.
Another thing I was thinking about … I hate the sound of people chewing, crisps etc!
Last Sunday I went to the Manchester Art Gallery and took pictures for my journal of Islamic art. There was a casket decorated with beautiful geometric patterns and calligraphy inspired by the Koran.
This painting by Valentine Cameron Prinsep At the Golden Gate (1882) inspired me because of the Islamic patterns on the gate, really beautiful.
Then I visited Manchester University Museum where I was researching hieroglyphics from Egypt, a bit like pictograms.
These were painted onto a coffin lid. I was thinking about how I could link these to British Sign Language and the theories of communication.