ProCon3 Evaluation
I decided to continue with the web module from last year as part of my ProCon3 this year. The reason for this was a mixture between my lack of interest in motion, my lack of hand drawing talent which would mean print would be wasted on me. But also, I remember a great sense of enjoyment from typing out some code and seeing it come to life, so to speak. I never felt as though learning HTML and CSS was too much of a challenge so I thought that Java and jQuery would be equally as rewarding to tackle. For the most part that was true. These new languages made for less code and more action, it became rewarding just to try out different query effects from sites like Codepen. I tried to be a lot more forward thinking with my website design this year and wanted to push myself to create something that would stand up on its own as a beautiful portfolio site. In order to do this in the end I had to cut a few corners towards the end which I’m not overly pleased about on a morale level, but visually I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. There were a few animations and fades that I struggled to get working on each page and the fold on the first page isn’t quite right. I had an issue with implementing my work in a way that complimented the rest of the site, but apart from that everything worked as intended. My intention to aim for a full-width site that used hi-res images was because it seems to be the way forward at the moment, not to say it is a trend however.

In terms of my blog this year I felt like I started out strong, blogging each project as it came along, but towards the end of the year I’ve started to trail off a little because of other deadlines becoming overbearing. When I have blogged I’ve tried to be as evaluative as possible, without waffling on too much.

In terms of actual professional practice I feel I have done really well this year. I have been to countless talks, exhibitions and design events. I’ve spent the majority of my spare money on design or advertising related books. Arguably most importantly I got a placement for around 3 months which gave me invaluable experience that was vital for someone in their final year. My time at the tech hub really made me want to succeed and get a job in a decent agency with a relaxed atmosphere such as theirs. Now that I have three placements under my belt I feel confident in myself that I can apply for junior design positions and get one.

Here are the screens fro my final website. I so desperately wanted to have full page width working on my site that I gave in and used some Foundation framework, this will likely lose me marks for not having hand typed every line of CSS however, I couldn’t bring myself hand in a half finished site or a finished one that looked like it’d been done in about a week. Maybe I’ll get extra marks for honesty…

I’m adamant however, that even though using framework makes life easier in terms of laying out your divs, it’s not as easy as people suggest. There’s a mountain of useless CSS to wade through and trim down, I learnt more by subtracting and altering code than I ever have creating myself, so far.

Here is the finalised (sort of) copy for the ‘About’ section of my website.

Hi there!

My name is Joe and I’m a designer studying at Salford University in the United Kingdom.

I’ve been honing my design skills for around 5 years now, but I’ve enjoyed using my imagination and solving problems for as long as I can remember. I have a strong affinity with design that has a purpose, no decisions made without consideration.

I consider myself a multi-disciplinary designer, with a great deal of interest in fields such as; user interfaces, typography, iconography and wayfinding, copywriting and advertising. The field I’ve felt most at home in over the years however, is identity design and branding. I’ve completed commissioned branding work and own numerous design literature on the subject. I love seeing a brand being extended beyond the typical touchpoints and interacting with an audience previously considered impossible.

I’ve been recently focusing on my vector illustration skills, something I previously considered a dirty word yet I am enjoying the process of proving younger, naive self wrong at the same time as creating increasingly clean and functional visuals. I am also currently working on my NMP/FMP, I have challenged myself to brand an entire fictional olympic games.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to drop me a line athello@joeburke.co. You can find me tweeting on Twitter, scrobbling on Lastfm, appreciating on Behance, and eating good food or getting emotional on Instagram. Feel free to connect with my professional side on Linkedin. I’m always looking for chances to challenge myself and take on new work. I’d love to meet up and have a chat over coffee. A few beers? Even better!

Cheers,
Joe Burke

Procon3 Bullet Point List

A list of things I’ve taken part in or done over my final year at university.

• Attended talk by Jenny Theolin & Sam Gilby at BLAB17.
• Attended talk by Dave Sedgwick (Design By Dave).
• Attended talk by Tom Bradley - BBC UX/UI.
• Attended talk by Chris Dessent - Creative Concern.
• Attended Design for Mobile talk by Jason Mayo.
• Attended Jenny Crowther - GF Smith Talk.
• Attended OWT Discourse - Dave Haslam, Malcolm Garrett
• Attended OWT Discourse 2 - Alex Zamora, Alec Dudson
• Created work and pitched idea for Broughton Trust rebrand.
• Attended BCN/MCR Exhibition at TwentyTwentyTwo.
• Attended Pong Ping Exhibition at TwentyTwentyTwo.
• Attended DPS tutorial from Hannah Gibson
• Attended Hardback bookbinding tutorial from Hannah Gibson.
• Attended Employability Day at MediaCityUK.
• 4 month internship with MirrorWeb at Techhub Manchester.
• Part of a focus group at Creative Spark for James O’Connell.
• Creative Concern placement interview.
• Turned down Manchester Confidential internship opportunity.
• Submitted re-visited work for D&AD.
• Attended a photography exhibition in Prague.
• Kabukimono commissioned logo design.
• Twelvve commissioned branding.
• Attended Typography talk by Tash Wilcocks.
• Attended One day Roses brief workshop.
• Submitted re-visited work for the Roses deadline.
• Proposed invitation design for Roses Awards night.
• Attended Roses Awards night.
• Created my first printed portfolio.
• Coded my first functioning website (waiting on hosting to go live).
• Web skills developed (HTML,CSS, Javascript and jquery)

Future plans

• BDP job interview.
• Submit a design for PrintForward.
• Submit work for Cannes Future Lions.
• Apply for RAW at Rufus Leonard.
• Attend Stan Chow exhibition at Chinese Arts Centre
• Re-visit self-promotional material before end of year show.
• Involve myself with Costa Del Salford.
• Display my work at the end of year show.
• Self-initiate a project relating to vector icons/illustration.
• Search for and apply for more internships and design jobs.
• Re-Design physical portfolio.
• Create an iPad portfolio
• Get into routine of blogging for fun, not for marks.

Online Presence

Behance
Instagram
• Tumblr (this blog & NMP blog)
Facebook
Twitter
Lastfm
Dropr
LinkedIn

BLAB 17
Talks from Sam Gilby & Jenny Theolin.
I attended BLAB 17 having heard only positive things from crowds of people. Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t take anything from either of the talks this night, honestly the best part of the night was getting a free poster designed by my tutor (and i’m not even trying to kiss ass here).

Techhub - MirrorWeb Internship
For over the period of 4 months (Jan - Apr) for two days per week I have been interning at the Techhub in Manchester. Techhub is an office space solely for start-up comapanies and it was one of these companies I was recruited by. After a quick interview I was on board with the MirrorWeb team. MirrorWeb is a company that offers a service that basically ensures that your website never goes down through some technical measures that I couldn’t begin to understand. Fortunately, I didn’t have to for the sake of why I was there. They wanted their website designed from the ground up so I had fun working on that with them. MirrorWeb was a team of just three people and then added to them were me, Alex Iacobus and Mike Carney, two other interns. The atmosphere in the Techhub is ridiculously laid back, I never thought I’d work in that sort of environment until I was well into my career.

The work itself started out very much like a blank slate, the initial days where spent wire-framing, seeking out inspiration and getting to grips with what a start-up firm usually have to do to get noticed and/or be taken seriously. Due to the developmental nature of the business the interns where involved with the front-end design and then the developers would do their best to replicate it as well as they could.

Alex was very strong at the illustrative side of things so I focused mainly on the website’s UI/UX and on the brand guidelines. The identity was already in place before we arrived which was a shame as I feel I could have created something better, but regardless the experience at MirrorWeb over the months I was there was definitely a fruitful one. I learned a lot about the business side of things, how difficult it is to set up your own venture and I learned a great deal about user experience and how best to navigate a customer through your site.

Completing this internship takes my grand total up to three. Obviously it’s quality not quantity, but I’m hoping that maybe that is enough to secure myself an actual full-time paid position come the next few months.

The MirrorWeb site as of now.


They were also featured on TechCrunch about a week after launch.

After the initial designs were approved of I got back to the client with the final logo, as seen above. I wanted to create something simple but with a potential dynamism to it that could make the brand more than just a logo. The colour scheme was one roughly picked by the client after I showed him some websites for inspiration. The curved edges of the icon and the ‘T’ give the logo a friendly and approachable feel, yet the colours are contrasting enough to maintain the corporate look required.

After the initial designs were approved of I got back to the client with the final logo, as seen above. I wanted to create something simple but with a potential dynamism to it that could make the brand more than just a logo. The colour scheme was one roughly picked by the client after I showed him some websites for inspiration. The curved edges of the icon and the ‘T’ give the logo a friendly and approachable feel, yet the colours are contrasting enough to maintain the corporate look required.

I was contacted via LinkedIn by a guy who was starting his own hospitality recruitment agency and wanted an identity designing. I was apprehensive at first, partly due to the nature in which he contacted me and partly because I’d never done commissioned work before that didn’t involve a third party. So I assumed I was going to get fleeced and not paid for my work or something (it didn’t help that the guys name on LinkedIn was Steven Jones and had the most google-image-looking profile picture on earth). However, after I sent him some initial logo ideas (which I will post in the follow-up) he agreed to meet in person. It turned out his name wasn’t Steven Jones but not to get one over on me, rather to avoid some contractual infringement with his previous employer or something. Regardless, he paid me for my work so far and promised more after more work on the brand is complete. As I previously mentioned I’m not experienced in client relations yet and when it comes to putting a price on your work/time I know even seasoned professionals can have a nightmare with it. I guess it just comes with practice and gaining more connections/reputation.