Degree show critique

Degree Shows Critique

The third year textiles degree show as expected, it had a very positive and energy filling impact on me. From the moment I stepped into the room I started to get inspired by everything. Impressive the professional overall look of everybody’s work. Making a quick analysis I’m pretty sure I liked half of the designs I saw, and for example, this doesn’t happen to me in a retail shop etc.

The 2 designer I liked the most (among others) are:

Gwen LLoyd Thomas


Philippa Renshaw


Trends in WGSN

WGSN is an online trend forecasting company in the creative industry of textiles, fashion, interior etc. founded in 1998 in West London by brothers Julian and Marc Worth.  They give analysis and research service to retailers and the industry. As they say ‘We define what’s next so you can make smarter decisions today’. For a designer it is very important to know the market and future trends, not necessarily to follow them but to be aware of them in order to make conscious business choices because in the end monetizing our work is equally important.

In my work related to the Urban Beat theme I considered two of the future trends of WGSN’s S/S 2018:

      1.Mix ’n’ match graphics go back-to-basics, with simple geometrics and hand-drawn motifs coming together for a playful textile collection. Drop shadows and over-printing create a three-dimensional feel, ideal for rugs and throws. Stripes can be worked in multicolors or broken up with diagonal lines for a contrasting look.

Mix N Mach

I took inspiration from the Mix’ n’ mach trend in my illustrator designs in a combination of simple geometrics of manholes and bricks in a playful collection, I also reworked a classic zig zag pattern adapting it to the others design and used the drop shadow in a mechanism pattern to give a dynamic and three dimensional feel.

      2.Urban Surfaces: Fabrics take inspiration from urban surfaces, from graffiti spray-paint to rough concrete, layered graphics to painterly brush marks. Digital photographic prints mix with hand-drawn doodles for cushions, while hand-woven rugs present textured deconstructed stripes in chalky electric pastels.

Urban Surfaces

I used this trend in my Photoshop designs taking inspiration mostly from the graffiti spray-paint using the black brush tool in contrast with a yellow background, a brick construction and a layered colored photograph partially eased, for a dynamic effect.

Here’s the full trend report:

Textiles_S_S_18_Youth_Tonic (1)

Photoshop and Illustrator

Photoshop and Illustrator are both Adobe graphics programs used worldwide by designers, architects and artists in general. They have similar characteristics but vary in many ways. Here some main differences:

Photoshop is a great program for modifying already created images or graphics and it is pixel based, which means that the image is made of teeny tiny colored squares. The problem with it is that if we enlarge to much a photograph or a Photoshop based image, those squares get bigger and the photograph will become blurry.

Adobe Illustrator is vector-based software, so instead of using pixels it uses mathematical constructs to create vector objects that even if enlarged infinitely will still keep the same image quality as it does if it’s scaled down. This is the reason that Illustrator is used often to create logos or anything that may need to be printed or displayed at different sizes no matter the size in which you created it in the first place.

A You Tube explanation of the differences:

The two software combined are enough to create a whatever shapes and design our mind can imagine and another amazing thing about them is that the majority of the commands are the same in both so once you’ve learned one it will get easier to learn the second. There are some important basic tools to learn and a huge amount of tutorials on You Tube to demonstrate them. I’ll post here some of them that have been very useful for me.


This is a good starting point for a beginner:


The pen tool is one of the most important tools in both softwares and explains it very well:

The rotate tool that, for example, helps building petals around a center to create a flower maintaining the proportions and distance from the center and the other petals:

Pattern generator is a tool that helps easily to create a perfect repeat instead of using a clipping mask which can be a bit more complicated in the beginning:

Another important method that I’ve learned lately was how to transform a CMYK/RGB color in Panton color:

Mood Board and Color Board

Once chosen the most appropriate images that best defined my Theme, I uploaded and started manipulating them in Photoshop. In order to create smooth looking boards I used tools as the rubber, merge tool, magic wand, brush and crop tool and resized the images to create the effect of a unified look, almost as a single photograph on the page.

Mood Board

A Mood Board is an arrangement of images, materials, text, etc., a type of collage of key images to get inspired and it’s a very useful tool to evoke or project a particular style or concept:

Mood Board

Color Board

A color board is still a collage of images that can give a general idea of the topic given, like the mood board but it has an added important element, colors. The colors, in combination of the chosen pictures give the visual outcome we were searching for.

Once selected the images, I used the Color Picker tool to select the most significant colors and I ended up with seven. I then put them in a vertical sequence, in a mechanism patterned color palette. The palette serves both for the finishing touch of the Color Board as to use it as a reference for the future designs to come. I indeed insert it alongside my every art board to assign the proper colors (and their gradients) to the design objects I was creating.

Color Board

Color Palette idea:

Another great way to make a color palette ColorSnap. It’s enough to upload a photograph and they create it automatically in a few seconds. Then you can either stick with it or they give you the opportunity to change the palette by selecting other colors or tones, for example I inserted my Color Board and this was the result:


And Hailpixel is another fun way of creating one in a very simple and quick way.



The digital module of my final year’s project aims to introduce digital skills through CAD, Illustrator and Photoshop, and creative processes. Being given three hypothetical themes we had to choose one and follow a micro design development process (DDP) in order to produce theme related designs and be able to stick to the brief.

I chose ‘Urban Beat‘: Urban beat depicts a dynamic raw energy with a gritty undertone. A modern – metro – an edgy course, cool approach to design. Street strength / graffiti / industrial materials.

The words I chose to define Urban Beat are: industrial, gritty, graffiti, concrete and dynamic.

The first step was to understand the brief and the theme requirements in order to begin an image research based on the values I’ve chosen to represent:

The second step was to choose the most appropriate ones and begin the creation of a Mood Board and Color Board that would include a big part of the shapes and colors that we would most need to create the future design.

In my research I came across an architectural artist that began to inspire me, Eduardo Paolozzi:

Iconic, indexical and symbolic art

I had a really interesting and quite unexpected experience in my philosophy study group this term. We spent our 2 hours out in the park, divided in small groups then we took different directions in search for inspiration to do a drawing through the media of a new technique for me: the indexical drawing. One group attached colored pens to the branches of a tree and let them blow in the wind shaping random forms on a piece of paper laid right underneath them. Another group squeezed a bottle and spread the water in the air in a cyclic fashion so it created different shapes on the tarmac, depending on where the wind blew. Walking through the trees I just instinctively stopped in front of one ending up drawing its spirit while the tree was lying on the ground next to its stump. The tree is an iconical representation with a symbolic meaning of the lost things and how more beautiful and meaningful we perceive them after they are gone.

We’ve learned three important terminologies that day: iconic, indexical and symbolic.

We can either look at an imagine or a drawing and stop at the mare aesthetics of it, the classic ‘it’s really beautiful’, ‘i’s crap’ or we can go beyond and discover that the artist had actually a lot to say.

Icon means image. By iconical art we mean the representation of reality by maintaining its true forms like for example a tree, a person, a pencil etc. We can easily identify it in a piece of art like a painting or a drawing:

Indexical art is an image, drawing or even installation that is achieved through a process of one thing having an effect on another without the ending result being controlled by human intervention. Here are some examples of ink and fire on glass, ink in water etc. All this are results of a random action-consequence process:

Symbolism is an arbitrary or conventional, but commonly accepted representation of a situation, emotion or action. For example there’s nothing in the play button that suggests ‘play’ but we’ve learned to associate this triangle as a play button:

Here is a nice video that explains the differences between the three forms.

Cyborg – definition and curiosity

Not an easy task to define Cyborg since there is still a chaotic understanding of what exactly being a cyborg means. There isn’t still an exhaustive and general definition of it.

A fun task and its conclusions. A group attempt on defining the meaning of cyborg:

As defined in the oxford dictionary a cyborg is a fictional or hypothetical person whose abilities are far beyond our human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body. Haraway states “a cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.” An example of this could be the use of mechanical elements to helps us survive, like a pacemaker, or it could also mean human beings using technology in everyday life both of these create the hybrid Haraway has spoken about. The definition of technology has no limitations and until a better understanding of it is made with more research means we will not have a true definition of cyborg. Once more research has happened and gives us a better understanding, a much clearer conclusion will be in place.

Neil Harbisson, the first men officially considered a cyborg by the government and allowed to feature his external element that qualifies him as a cyborg on his passport photograph. Since Neil was born color-blind which limits him to only see in black and white, his special antenna built in his skull, allows him to transform each colour in a different vibration:

A really interesting video that made me realize how the word cyborg can be and it is already part of some people’s lives through an improvement of the body or an addition of their senses rather then just an abstract concept from movies. And most of all, how can this bring us closer to nature rather then away from it: