Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lecture 6: Critical Positions on Popular Culture (Richard Miles Thurs 22.11.2012)

In this lecture we'll be investigating the notion of culture as oppose to mass/ popular culture. Who sets and decides whats important within culture and to what ends? How does it effect the way we think?

Raymond Williams - Defining culture through intellectual productions and art.

Critically define ‘Popular Culture’
Contrast ideas of ‘culture’ with ‘popular culture’ and ‘mass culture’
Introduce Cultural Studies & Critical Theory
Discuss culture as ideologyInterrogate the social function of popular culture

What is Culture?

‘One of the two or three most complicated words in the English language’. The general process of intellectual, spiritual & aesthetic development of a particular society, at a particular time. A particular way of life. Works of intellectual and especially artistic significance’.

Marx's Concept of Base / Superstructure 

What kind of labor relations make up the fabric of that society?
Forces of production - relations of production - materials, tools, workers, skills, etc. employer/employee, class, master/slave, etc


Everything emerges as a direct result of the material base...
Legal, political, cultural, ideology *
Social institutions -
Forms of consciousness -
‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’ (Marx, Communist Manifesto) 

Base (An organism of society) produces Superstructure producing Culture. Culture in turn can legitimise professions of production. Hows our culture a direct influence of our political capitalist culture....

‘In the social production of their life men enter into definite, necessary relations, that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but on the contrary it is their social being that determines their consciousness.
At a certain stage in their development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production ...
...From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.
With the change in economic foundation the whole immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic, in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.’
Marx, (1857) ‘Contribution to the critique of Political Economy’

The State (Hierarchal structure of societies)

‘...but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie’ (Marx & Engels (1848) ‘Communisit Manifesto)
Instruments of the State Ideological & Physical Coercion
The Bourgeoisie
The Proletariat

These relations produce systems such as the Army and Laws which in turn serve to maintain the structure of society, keeping those at the top, at the top and those at the base, at the base.


1 (a) system of ideas or beliefs (eg beliefs of a political party)

2 masking, distortion, or selection of ideas, to reinforce power relations, through creation of 'false consciousness'
[ The ruling class has ] to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, ... to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universally valid ones.
Karl Marx, (1846) The German Ideology, 

Raymond Williams (1983) ‘Keywords’ 

• 4 definitions of ‘popular’
– Well liked by many people
– Inferior kinds of work
– Work deliberately setting out to win favour with the people
– Culture actually made by the people themselves 

Popular culture is inferior to Culture and has a relevant value to the base of Culture. 

Caspar David Friedrich (1809)‘Monk by the Sea’ 

Inferior or Residual Culture?

Popular Press vs Quality Press
Popular Cinema vs Art Cinema
Popular Entertainment vs Art Culture

Creative practice that wouldn't normally be included in the realms of 'art' or 'culture'.

You can trace the fundamentals of popular culture back to the 19th century, The growth of the city and heavy industrialisation. An autonomous working class independent culture began to expand, made by the working for the working, there was a shared culture for all the country but in reality it was only the 'elite' and the aristocrats that afforded such things, things such as entertainment (Paintings, Political literature, Theatres)

E.P. Thompson (1963) ‘The Making of The English Working Class’

What you get in response to this is a backlash, and Matthew Arnold was the guy to supply this....

Culture is
–  ‘the best that has been thought & said in the world’
–  Study of perfection
–  Attained through disinterested reading, writing thinking.

In other words a high and low culture was beginning to form.
Culture polices ‘the raw and uncultivated masses’

‘The working class... raw and half developed... long lain half hidden amidst it’s poverty and squalor... now issuing from it’s hiding place to assert an Englishmans heaven born privelige to do as he likes, and beginning to perplex us by marching where it likes, meeting where it likes.

This approach continues throughout the 20th century. 'Popular Culture is like a disease'

Leavisism - Arnoldist approach, mid 20th century. Hollywood, Popular Music. Worlds been on a slow decline into the gutter. F.R. Leavis, Mass Civilisation & Minority Culture Fiction & the Reading Public
Q.D.Leavis Culture & Environment.

Still forms a kind of repressed, common sense attitude to popular culture in this country.
• For Leavis- C20th sees a cultural decline a Standardisation & levelling down
‘Culture has always been in minority keeping’

‘the minority, who had hitherto set the standard of taste without any serious challenge have
experienced a ‘collapse of'....

  • Collapse of traditional authority comes at the same time as mass democracy (anarchy)
  • Nostalgia for an era when the masses exhibited an unquestioning deference to (cultural)authority
  • Popular culture offers addictive forms of ditraction and compensation
  • ‘This form of compensation... is the very reverse of recreation, in that it tends, not to strengthen and refresh the addict for living, but to increase his unfitness by habitutaing him to weak evasions, to the refusal to face reality at all’ (Leavis & Thompson, 1977:100) 
Frankfurt School – Critical Theory    

Reinterpreted Marx, for the 20th century – era of “late capitalism” Defined “The Culture Industry” : 2 main products – homogeneity & predictability

“All mass culture is identical” :
‘As soon as the film begins, it is quite clear how it will end, and who will be rewarded, punished or forgotten’.
‘Movies and radio need no longer to pretend to be art. The truth, that they are just business, is made into an ideology in order to justify the rubbish they deliberately produce. ... The whole world is made to pass through the filter of the culture industry. ... The culture industry can pride itself on having energetically executed the previously clumsy transposition of art into the sphere of consumption, on making this a principle. ... film, radio and magazines make up a system which is uniform as a whole and in every part ... all mass culture is identical.’ 

Frankfurt School - Shut down by the Nazi's and had to reconfigure in New York where they effectively tuned into the high times of popular culture. 

The argument is that Popular culture maintains and regulates forms of society however Capitalism is seen to employ itself to perpetuate itself.

Marcuse says that this lack of diversity and exploitation is due to the way Popular culture acts as a fog around the world, displaying everything as correct when in-fact its just maintaining the systems and shrouding the view that there's significant problems wrong with the world.

Products; Churning out cultural commodities. De-valuing society. creating a system that is self perpetuating itself, exploiting and manipulating people that believe in their ideologies in order to keep giving to the people in higher power.

Popular Music - Standardised, Pre-programmed, You can flog the same base of track with slight changes. You can consume it with minimal engagement. A form of obedience emerges which reflects the docility of the world we live in

Walter Benjamin - 'The work of art in the age of Mechanical Reproduction'

‘One might generalise by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own situation, it reactivates the objects produced. These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition... Their most powerful agent is film. Its social significance, particularly in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect, that is, the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage’

We can actively pick our way through culture. 

Think about the difference between experiencing a work of art and a movie; everyone would feel comfortable discussing the latest tom hanks film for example because were all equal judgers of popular culture. But those same people probably wouldn't feel comfortable sharing their identities and opinions of art as its mostly judged by elitists etc.


Further research

M Arnold & F.R Leavis > Culture & Civilisation tradition

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Design For Print - Literature


  • Colour Management, A Comprehensive guide for Graphic Designers - John Drew, Sarah Mayer.
  • Graphic Designers, Digital Printing & Prepress Handbook - Constance Sidles
  • The Production Manual* A graphic design handbook - Gavin Ambrose/ Paul Harris
  • Production for Graphic Designers Fourth Edition By Alan Pipes

I've used various examples of literature to support my research from seminars, some of the pages I've used as reference can be seen below...
Literature Literature

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Colour Theory - PMS


Different Matches for Different Color Lovers

Pantone creates matching systems for more than graphic designers. For the purposes of this article, however, we'll focus on those systems typical of print designs.

Pantone offers chip books that help designers see how colors look on coated, uncoated, and matte stock. PANTONE Colors are distinguished by numbers and a suffix. While the number indicates the PANTONE Color itself, and is standard across all types of stock, the suffix indicates the media or stock, which affects how the ink is formulated to achieve the specific color.

Guides Through a Colorful World

There are several types of swatch guides that catalog the colors of the PANTONE Library. Some are narrow swatch books made of strips bound on one end with printed rectangular samples showing the different PANTONE Colors. The strips can then be opened or spread out in a fan-like manner. There are also binders with chips (rectangular swatches) that can be torn out and sent to a client with a proof, so that the client knows how his colors will look when printed.

Some of the PANTONE Colors can be reproduced by mixing CMYK inks while others must be pre-mixed inks. Pantone has guides for their spot colors (called "Solid" or premixed ink colors by Pantone) and guides which show the Process colors. Samples in the process guides are therefore colors achievable through mixing CMYK (or "process") inks. A special guide also shows you the spot color and how it will look printed in CMYK along with CMYK values. This way, if spot colors, which are an added expense at print time, cannot be used, close colors may be mixed in process.

Same Colour, Different Looks

The type of paper used, will affect the appearance of colors. In separate swatch or chip books, Pantone shows you how their colors look on coated, uncoated, and matte paper. Therefore you have the number of the color (for example, PANTONE Red 032) followed by a suffix, which indicates on what stock your PANTONE Color is meant to be printed. If you want PANTONE Red 032 on shiny paper, then you would specify the color in this manner: PANTONE 032 C, where C stands for "coated". You then have U, which stands for "uncoated", and then M, which stands for "matte". You get:

C = coated U = uncoated M = matte

These three are the most important PANTONE Library abbreviations. You may, however, encounter the abbreviation CV followed by C, U or M. CV stands for Computer Video, which is the electronic representation of the PANTONE Colors. Now discontinued, but still seen in old versions of software, CV merely meant that the color was an on-screen simulation.

There are also specialty guides for tints, metallic and pastel colors.

One note of warning: If you use a color with a certain suffix, don't use it again with another suffix in the same publication, unless there is an actual need for that, such as when you use a color on a 4-colour glossy magazine with an insert printed on bond paper. In this case you would be using the same color both on coated and matte paper. If you use two different suffixes in the same publication, your desktop publishing software will see the color as two different colors and this will cause the production of one extra plate, and therefore the expense of extra money. So, use them only when necessary.

Managing Colour - Gamut.

Design For Print - Visual Research


After developing design sketches and really thinking about how I could incorporate a consistent style, I came across the branding of 'BARR' which is a drinks company, I just loved the way the logo had been contained and really thought the branding was quite good despite it being ignored very often. When looking over my design sketches, I realised it would link well with the development of my layout's because quite a few of the sketches involved boxes...Maybe I could play on the perspective of the BARR logo? ...


If I was going to do a 'swatch' format for my colour theory booklet, I'd have to use curved angles otherwise it would lose its whole 'aura' and end up looking like a cheap imitation. Because of everything else I've got to pull off, I think using this approach would just jeopardise the quality of other areas.

After developing my container and clear perspex lid, I had a great idea! To use different brightly coloured stock to really bring out the design of the container, the stock would also act as an indicator to how CMYK is effected by stock. 

I want to incorporate a smaller booklet size for colour which would sit in the bottom right corner of my box. There would be a slight resemblance to paper format, as the smaller booklet will just simply look like a smaller A4.

Dimensions for colour theory booklet - 14.5 cm length & 10.5 cm wide

Most of the information in the following publication looks very informative but far too cramped, It would be a lot harder to digest the information and understand its meaning in this format, with the direction I'm heading in, I want to find a happy medium but ultimately have all of the information in chunks of digestible information.

Print Processes - Offset Lithography

**Refer to 'Commercial Print' blogpost.

Offset Lithography

Lithography is mainly used by commercial printers, printing companies that will print thousands of copies of the same item, in one production run. Lithography machines can print on both sides of paper/card and they rely on four basic colours; yellow, cyan (type of blue), magenta (type of red) and black. This is also known as the CYMK process.

1. The printing plate has the image to be printed, in relief, on its surface (the image stands out slightly from the printing plate surface).

2. The printing plate is kept dampened. Ink is applied to the plate but it is repelled from the dampened surfaces which are the non-image areas.
3. As the printing cylinder rotates the ink is transferred to the rubber blanket cylinder.
4. The ink, now on the rubber blanket cylinder, is pressed onto the paper or card as it is pulled through the machine. (The paper is trapped between the blanket cylinder and the impression cylinder - these pull the paper through the machine)

Offset Lithography...\\

The most popular printing method for small business marketing materials is offset lithography. This is a little guide to the process.

What is Offset Printing?

Offset lithography operates on a simple principle: ink and water don't mix. Image information (art and text) is put on thin metal plates which are dampened by water and ink by rollers on the press. The oil-based ink adheres to the image area, the water to the non-image area. The inked area is then transferred to a rubber cylinder or "blanket" and then onto the paper as it passes around the blanket. The process is called "offset" since the image doesn't go directly from the plates to the paper, but is offset or transferred to another surface as the intermediary.

Why is it called 4-Color Printing?

Offset commercial printing presses and inkjet desktop printers both use four basic ink colors: CMYK. Where inkjet printing puts all the different ink colors on the paper in one pass through the printer, in offset printing each color of ink is applied separately - one plate per color. Small dots of the four inks - cyan (blue), magenta, yellow, and black (K) - are deposited in specific patterns that make our eyes believe we are seeing a wide range of colors. That's why the standard offset printing process is often called 4-color process lithography or 4-color printing.
Offset printing can also use premixed inks in specific colors including metallic and fluorescent colors, called spot colors, to obtain hues outside the normal color range of process printing.

Why Use Offset Printing?

The advantages of traditional commercial offset printing are higher quality and the best cost-effectiveness for quantities over a few hundred, especially high volume quantities.
  • Low price per piece. The more you print, the less you pay per piece, since most of the cost is in the setup. With a commercial printer, any additional quantity costs only a few cents per sheet for the paper and ink.
  • Brilliant quality. Offset printing produces rich, accurate color and high-quality images and photographs, with sharp typefaces and fine details.
When you need 250 to 500 or more business cards, postcards, posters, glossy brochures, flyers or catalogs, offset printing is tough to beat for high-end quality at an affordable price. 4 color offset printing enables small businesses to compete with the "big guys" by providing professional-looking marketing materials.

The following literature provides a very detailed and descriptive account of all the print processes..

Print Processes - Gravure / Flexography / Screen-printing / Pad-printing

The following literature provides a very detailed and descriptive account of all the print processes..

**Refer to 'Commercial Print' blogpost.





Pad printing utilizes a flexible silicone rubber transfer pad that picks up a film of ink from a photo-etched printing plate and transfers it to a three-dimensional part surface. The unique properties of silicone rubber allow distortion-free, single or multi-color images to be applied to flat, curved, or tapered surfaces with excellent definition and opacity. Pad printing inks, specifically formulated to adhere to various substrates, are used to decorate metals and ceramics as well as a wide range of of plastics.

Ink viscosity is controlled by use of a closed-cup ink reservoir, which is moved over the etched plate by the printer’s mechanism. For multi-color decorating, two or more pads may apply additional images and colors to the part, while accurate image registration is maintained throughout the printing cycle. This precise repeatability also permits application of the same image for increased opacity. Fully automatic, high-volume pad printing systems may include surface pre-treatment, part handling and orientation, ink curing, and other auxiliary equipment.

The elements of design - Creative techniques

Creative techniques

Overprinting; Sees one ink print over another so that the two inks mix to create a new colour...

By default, when you print opaque, overlapping colours, the top colour knocks out the area underneath. You can use overprinting to prevent this knockout and make the top most overlapping printing ink appear transparent in relation to the underlying ink. The degree of transparency in printing depends on the ink, paper, and printing method used. Consult your print shop to determine how these variables will affect your final artwork.
You may want to overprint in the following situations:
  • Overprint black ink to aid in registration. Because black ink is opaque (and usually the last to be printed), it doesn’t look much different when printed over a colour as opposed to a white background. Overprinting black can prevent gaps from appearing between black and coloured areas of your artwork.
  • Overprint when the artwork does not share common ink colours and you want to create a trap or overlaid ink effects. When overprinting process colour mixes or custom colours that do not share common ink colours, the overprint colour is added to the background colour. For example, if you print a fill of 100% magenta over a fill of 100% cyan, the overlapping fills appear violet, not magenta.
After you set overprinting options, you should use the Overprint Preview mode (View >Overprint Preview) to see an approximation of how the overprinting colours will print. You should also carefully check overprinted colours on separated artwork using integral proofs (where each separation is shown in register on a single piece of paper) or overlay proofs (where the separations are shown in register on separate plastic sheets stacked on top of each other).
Set up overprinting
  1. Select the object or objects that you want to overprint.
  2. In the Attributes panel, select Overprint Fill, Overprint Stroke, or both.


Good colour registration isn't always possible; gaps can appear when two inks that are to be printed as solid colours are placed next to each other. This is a problem that can be foreseen and resolved! Through the use of ink-trapping.

Overprint & Knockout,   
pros: neither colour affects the other (if kept in registration)
cons: a swine to keep in perfect registration and may leave unprinted halo edges if not
pros: no halo white edges when out of registration
cons: can change the colour of the overprinted colour, makes a thicker (2 layers of print) ‘dinnerplate’ finish
pros: no halo white edges when out of registration a little
cons: guessing how much trapping is desired, overlapping printing areas may change colour giving the appearance of an outline

The elements of design - Sending the appropriate files

When preparing a document to send to a printer, there are several specifications and elements to include in your layout. These specs help to insure that the printer will provide your final project as intended.

Trim marks, or crop marks, show the printer where to cut the paper. For a standard layout, such as a business card or poster, trim marks are small lines located in each corner of the document. One line shows the horizontal cut, and one shows the vertical cut. Since you don’t want these lines to actually show up on your printed piece, trim marks are placed outside of the final visible, or “live,” area.
When working in graphics software such as Illustrator, you can set your trim marks to be shown on screen and automatically placed in your final document export, such as a PDF. If you have downloaded templates from a printer, the trim marks will often already be included.

Trimmed Page Size; The trimmed page size is the final intended size of your pages, after being cut along the trim marks. This size is important to supply to the printer because it will determine what machines will be used to print your job, which will affect the final cost. When starting a project, the size you create your document at in a graphics program is the trimmed page size.

Bleed; It is often necessary to have images and other design elements extend all the way to the edge of your printed page. If in your layout these elements only extended to the edge, and not beyond, you would risk a tiny bit of white space showing up on the edge of your paper if it was not cut exactly on the trim marks. For this reason, you have bleeds. Bleeds are images that extend beyond the live area of the page (and beyond the trim marks) to guarantee clean edges. Background colors are an example of a common use of a bleed. // The amount that your images need to extend beyond the trim marks is referred to as the bleed. Be sure to consult your printer at the start of a job to find out the required amount of bleed, which is often around one-eighth of an inch. In your graphics software, you can use guides to mark your bleed area, which do not need to show up in the final document that you deliver. Just make sure any image that needs to extend to the edge of the page actually extends to your bleed guides.

Margin or Safety; Just as images that should bleed should extend beyond the live area of your layout, images that you don’t want to risk getting clipped should stay within a margin, sometimes referred to as a “safety.” Again, consult your printer for these measurements. Just as with bleeds, you can set up guides to help stay within your margins.

Registration marks are the most commonly used marks in printing, because they are easy to line up accurately

Problems when Printing.... 

Registration Black // A black obtained from 100 per cent coverage of the four process colours. Using registration colour for text and greyscale graphics instead of black is a common error and is undesirable, as elements thus coloured appear on all colour separated films and printing plates rather than just the black film or plate, so it will print in every colour. Registration black does have its uses however.

Instead, registration black is used for printing crop marks, or "registration marks". When proofs for each color are generated on separate pieces of film, use of registration black makes crop marks visible on all channels, providing a useful reference for alignment. A thin line printed in registration black can also be used to check whether the printing plates are lined up.

Printing Imposition
The imposition shows the designer and printer how the various pages of a publication are to be arranged for print.
Planning. Information needed by the printer, such as the stock to be used for the different sections, the colours they are to print with, and how and where any spot colours are to be used, can be shown on the imposition plan. This improves the efficiency and reduces costs because it helps you calculate the colour fall so that all the pages that are to print are all a certain colour and grouped together.
Plan for colour and graphics with imposition knowledge
Knowing how commercial printers position your pages for printing can be an important planning factor when it comes to adding color and spreading graphics across a 2-page spread. As with any job, consult your printer early in the planning process to insure good results and to make sure that your job doesn't involve processes that your printer cannot handle.
Reduce the cost of four-color process printing
If planning a publication that mixes black and white with some four-color process illustrations -- plan all colour so that it falls on one side of a press sheet.
This approach provides a visual key for publication planning. For example, as the sections will be folded, due to the way the pages back up, applying a special colour on one side of a sheet means it either falls on consecutive spreads or spreads with two single pages at the end.
Proofing/ Pre-flight.
A general term for a variety of options for seeing what your file will look like when printed is a proof. Think of it as evidence (proof) that what you put into your digital file will all come out on the printed page exactly as you intend: the right fonts, graphics, colors, margins, and overall positioning.
Printing proofs are used for checking that all text and graphics and colors come out as expected before going to press. It is a good practice to print a proof from your desktop printer and send along with your digital files to your service bureau or commercial printer. They can be black and white or in color but a good PostScript laser proof is ideal. If the file won't print properly to a desktop printer, chances are it won't come out on the printer press correctly either.
Proofing your work comes at various stages but there are specific types of proofs created during prepress and printing that allow the designer to see if their piece will come out as intended in the final printing. Different types of printing proofs are more accurate than others but with increased accuracy comes increased costs.
Pre-Flight should become a standard procedure for yourself before you print, Preflight checks (preflighting) for print documents have a similar idea in mind. They run through all the files you used in the document to see if they're missing, changed or anything else that might have happened to the file. A (modern) preflight check checks all used images and fonts in the file, if the files can be found at their indicated locations, if they're in CMYK and if fonts are used and load correct. On occasion copyrighted fonts cause problems with being embedded in the PDF file. This also is checked in the preflight check. 

Preflight check in InDesign

Click File > Preflight… in the menu to open the Preflight Check dialog screen. Here you'll find categorized sections to check your documents on errors and missing files.
A small warning icon InDesign Preflight warning icon indicates problem areas.
If there are any files missing you can replace those from the Preflight Check dialog screen. If - for any reason - you can't send a packaged PDF to your printer, there's also the option to package all external files in one directory to send those separately with your layout document.

Sign off

1. Step back and wait before sending

It's tempting to act on the euphoria that comes with completing a draft design by sending it to the client straight away. You're proud of it and you can't wait to see if they approve. However you might benefit from taking a step back and waiting. You've had your head buried in that same project for some time and by taking a break and revisiting it later you might spot something that you missed in the haze of the creative process. This is a good time to spot silly mistakes that could end up embarrassing you.

2. Get a second opinion

Before the client has a chance to give their feedback, send your draft to a selection of trusted peers for a constructive second opinion. If you trust their opinion, their feedback will likely improve the design and create a stronger initial draft. It might also help to get feedback from someone in the target audience to correct any oversights.

3. Prevent extra work by predicting obvious questions

Maybe you're a design renegade and you just came up with something wild and unconventional. Be aware that your risky design choices might require you to do a little more to convince the client that it's such a great idea. Don't be afraid to go with your instincts, but prepare answers to counteract the obvious questions from the client. If you feel like an idea isn't going to be approved easily, create alternate drafts to illustrate how the obvious method doesn't work as well as your idea.
Usually when the client has strong feelings about their ideas you need to humour them with another draft, "just to see how it looks". By putting alternate ideas side-by-side at the proposal stage, you can prevent costly redrafting time and hopefully steer them in the right direction first time round. Every draft you have to create sparks a further potential debate, and subsequently eats in to the project time.

4. Don't assume the client will get it

Remember you've been staring at your work for a lot longer than the client has and not everyone knows it inside out like you do. Think about how your pitch will look on first glance with a fresh pair of eyes, perhaps by putting it aside and coming back to it later. This is particularly applicable when presenting work that requires the client to use their imagination. Start from the beginning and cover every little detail. It's easy to jump in to a pitch and enthusiastically show off the awesome parts first, forgetting to explain the core features and intricacies.
If you present every detail in a logical order, saving the best for last, the client is more likely to have their questions answered before they get a chance. When you have to retroactively explain core functionality or present things in the wrong order you risk confusing the client, and that's not conducive to a happy sign-off process. The client should feel on board with the design every step of the way, and not made to feel inferior or stupid for not understanding something you've clearly got your head wrapped around. Time invested in extra diagrams or prototypes to illustrate how even basic concepts will work is time well spent.

5. Sell your work to the client

Make the client think they're dealing with something exciting. Without creeping into arrogant designer mode (because nobody wants to be that guy), if you present your work positively and with pride the client will feed off your mood and hopefully go along with your ideas. Always explain your thought process, but try not to accompany the design with detailed reams of explanation for every decision you made. They probably won't read it. Instead carefully break down the advantages of the design to promote your ideas without losing their attention. Oh and always remember to kiss with the client. What? Of course I'm referring to that cheesy acronym "Keep It Simple, Stupid". It's an old one but it still works.

6. Present drafts using the optimal medium

I know a few designers who bought an iPad just to showcase their work to clients. This might sound like the height of douchebaggery to some, but the concept is worth remembering. The more impressive something looks the more the client wants it, and the easier it is to get approval. Don't think of it as using smoke and mirrors, it's about adding that new car smell. When a company I worked for outsourced a logo revamp, we saw concepts from two designers; one designer sent a link to a screen grab of their opened Illustrator document (toolbars and all) hosted on an image sharing service, the other designer compiled a PDF with headed pages and a bespoke layout for the concept logos. They both produced a similar amount of work but one was much more to impressive to receive than the other. (The PDF guy got the gig.) Sometimes when I need to present something that requires a little more explanation I sit face to face with the client and showcase it on an iPad or big screen, when other times it feels perfectly acceptable to send a JPG in an email with a small written summary.

7. Learn how to take criticism

I hate to say it but although you're an awesome designer you might also get things wrong. Most of the time you probably won't, because you're awesome, but nobody's perfect.
When you invest a lot of creative energy into something it's natural to feel proud and protective of your work. However, when you show this work to other people they see it through a different pair of eyes. Their view is not clouded by the investment of time and energy that went into creating the product, and unfortunately they might not appreciate exactly how difficult it was to arrive at that point. It can be hard to swallow feedback that may come across as thoughtless, but the way you react will not only determine how easy it is to continue working on the product, it may also improve it. You might not always have it right first time, but by acting professionally and acknowledging feedback constructively you're more likely to refine your creations.

8. Let the client think they got their way

The client might not always offer you pearls of wisdom. After all, you're the expert. But if the client thinks they got their way they're more likely to sign off on a design. By acknowledging their feedback you can be clever about how you incorporate it in to your design. Avoid saying "no" by offering a variation on their suggestion that's closer to your ideas. By compromising or offering constructive reasoning to your direction, the client will feel like they're involved in the process instead of being ignored.

9. Avoid being defensive or confrontational

By staying calm and swallowing your rage into a tiny repressed ball you'll communicate better with the client and avoid getting their back up. Take your time before replying to their feedback; it's easy to react quickly without thinking. When you come across as negative or confrontational towards any feedback you receive your client is going to react defensively. If this happens they're more likely to dig their heels in and push for what they want. By avoiding any struggle, you continue moving in the right direction.

10. Never present unfinished work

Whenever I'm developing prototype functionality for a website I notice there's always a “crazy inventor” period. Like in Honey I Shrunk The Kids or Flubber, it's when you've created something awesome and you can't wait to show everyone but haven't quite worked out all the bugs. As the inventor you can look past the impurities because you know they're easy to fix later. Unfortunately if you present the project at this stage to anyone outside the development process they just see a semi-functional mess, and your big bang becomes an anticlimactic fizz. Likewise with a draft design. If you try and pitch it to the client during the crazy inventor period they won't look past the messy, unfinished parts.

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Leeds College of Art. Graphic Design.

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