Last week was calm yet productive. This week has started on a little more stress. I have managed to get everything delivered well in time for the exhibition, my business cards, postcards, and notepads which have on my custom made designs. I am extremely happy with my level of work I have achieved at this point in the project I think I have been quite rigorous and thorough with my research and planning, especially down to the layout and presentation of the exhibition.
My first up job when I am next in university is to print out my belly bands for the notepads. I will post pictures of all my work at the end of this post. I used the same width belly band for both my notepads and postcards. They too follow continuity within the design I have used the front of the bands. All have details of Bear Press and my website on the back.
I used Awesome merchandise to print my notepads as it was extremely cost effective and the customer service was excellent, they actually contacted me Becuase they picked up on some centre alignment issues that I hadn’t noticed. Brilliant. I had my postcards created on Moo.com. I used Moo as you can apply up to 10 designs to the back of the postcard while the front stays the same. However Moo is quite pricey but you sometimes got to pay out to get good quality stuff. Next on my list was the business cards. I am actually really really happy with them. I think they are professional (along with all my other nifty bits) and are extremely on trend, simple plain, yet illustrated with line drawings.
I did want to be a little different. I didn’t just want a boring old rectangle business card I wanted it to be new and fresh, something that looks and feels smooth. So I got the smoothed edges and I think they look brilliant. I cannot wait to have them out on the show. The only thing I would have changed about the whole order is that I should have ordered more.
I also ordered some book stands from Alplas.com very useful website, I also used it last year from my previous exhibition. Cheap and affordable products that make your own product look amazing!! I bought 3 stands, big one and two little ones to hold my autism books, All About Ben, and So your child has autism… . Another book I will also be showcasing is my illustrative book about Ben, all my doodles and sketch work. I think all of that deserved to have its own publishing.
I have painted my walls white again as I didn’t want any dirty marks, and I also managed to start putting my vinyl up. One think I definitely miss calculated was the size of my design on the vinyl, it looked huge coming off the printer but in my space, it seemed tiny. This was definitely a miss judgment of measurements which I should have picked up on. It originally was meant to go on the glass, around the wall edges then onto my feature wall (my biggest white area) However as my design seemed smaller I made adjustments. I have moved the design over to the left so now it does not touch the window at all. It’s purely on the walls. But I have now a lot of window space, which gave me a great idea to put the titles of my book. It will definitely bring an audience into my area. I have kept the vinyl on the walls and on the window all black as this will really reflect and make the colours of my books and banners really stand out. Well, thats my plan. I will have one huge banner which will hang from the floor to ceiling. giving around 60cm of space above and below. This will have on my illustrations in full colours of ben. Just ben. I think the impact this design will have will just completely brighten up my whole area. I want people to know Ben before they have even reached my part of the exhibition. The prices for the banners are A1-£10 and banner size-£30, I just need to pay the cash desk my money and I’m a free lady! Due to the miss calculations of the vinyl, it led me to more diverse and intricate ideas that have played out really nicely. I also have gained space on the left-hand side of my feature wall, so I will not have more banners but 2 A1 posters, they will have photos of my books which I had professionally taken and I then edited them on photoshop to really enhance and take away any unwanted marks or image spots. I will be using sean’s vinyl machine on Thursday or Friday to print off my next. At the time being I want it to be big, big impact, big reading experience, however, I will definitely not mistake my last measurements and actually line up everything with the correct calculations before I give my design to Sean to print.
I think on a whole I achieved what I wanted to achieve. I made my project personal by basing the final outcome on my little Brother Ben. I researched his syndrome, most what I already knew but I found out so much more. It was a huge, eye opener. I have truly researched in-depth a topic that I am profoundly interested and entwined in, personally and emotionally. I wanted to capture my brothers day to day life, and in the process, I realised it wasn’t just him living with his condition, but the whole family including myself. My mother has dramatically changed the way she parents to adapt and to consider my brother’s needs, both mentally, emotionally, and physically. I didn’t quite understand his condition, and due to this project, I feel guilty that I hadn’t tried to fully understand it sooner. I have looked into medical research, reports, uncovered medical articles, both tested and non-tested. I wanted more information, good and bad so I had to start talking to other people, other families to create my own case studies. And believe it or not, I didn’t have to look very far. I interviewed a number of people, mainly mothers, who describe their child as unique and brilliant… and a hand full and overbearing. Truthfully some were worn out, and who blames them. But they are doing the best job they could possibly do. This inspired me to create the book aimed at parents, carers and family members living with something who has autism. I wanted to be the light heart helping hand to maybe add a bit of humour but also to let people know that it’s a tough job that they didn’t choose or sign up for but guess what? its the hand they were dealt and they are doing an ‘effing’ AMAZING job. That’s the message I wanted to get across in that book. Its a hard job but we carry ourselves well and look after the family member who lives alongside autism. Ben inspired me to create the book about him and he led me to be inspired by families looking after people with autism. Simple as that.
Since I wanted to make the book completely about him. I had to make sure I went through Ben for everything. My illustrations, my chosen fonts, the colours. He gave the go ahead on everything. Some parts of the book completely changed direction due to things he didn’t quite understand, and that was the brilliant part because I used it and I stated in the book what he understood and what he didn’t. He also changed the colour of his top half way through the book and if you give it a read you’ll understand why. It’s quite funny. It is Ben. I also used some of his own illustrations in my book as I think they looked wonderful and its touching having so much of the book directed by his senses and thoughts. I personally think on a designer level that I have achieved something quite honourable, I based my whole honours project around Ben and I think I got out more from the project I could have ever imagined. I am extremely happy. As a designer, my graphics and illustrations and my narrative behind the books have made this a strong project. I think I have used my creative abilities to get my message across and maybe in the possible future carry this on and keep raising awaeness. The future of the books is unknown but I would like to make a difference and this including my Bear Press brand is the foundations to something that could be really helping and uplifting for children and adults and family members living with autism. My aim was to create something that was beautiful yet had meaning and influence and I believe I have or at least in the near future achieve it. One other area I would have liked to work on is to make Bens book bigger, a full on the day-to-day diary of Ben all illustrated by me. I think that will be my next task for the near future.
To fully promote my books I have used a number of omnichannels and platforms to range at a number of different audiences that use social media apps and accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I have already had a number of books been sold and credited and I have used blurb and Issuu to publish them. Issuu actually directed me onto a really cheap and useful site called Peecho. Really cost effective and reliable my books looked amazing. However my Autism books at the minute are available on my Blurb Shop, its called BearPress, however if you type in my name Alexandra Kate Parry, you’ll find the shop also. I am very proud of everything I have accomplished so far and will continue to post updates of the exhibition right up until the 2nd June!
The first set of images is my delivery from Awesome merchandise. With my green and pink notepads to pads the rest of my chosen colour pallet for my whole honours project. The next set of images is the B.As exhibition room. The order with the window is my ear and you can see my options I had in front of me (vinyl wise) I didn’t have enough for both the feature wall and window so window has lost out but imagine text in place. Will give you sketches and updates later in the week with my window progression! Then you can see my window ledge. At the minute it now has all of my work, sketchbooks, notepads, postcards and business and stand holders. I am trying to keep all my of products and pieces of work together. It also reminds of things that are missing including my A1 banners which definitely need printing out by Friday!
One of the last images is of my illustration of Ben. It was been placed on one of the opening walls as the link opens. I used ‘hi I’m Ben’ to really greet the audience at the exhibition and give them a taste of what they will see and also let them question and think, what Ben has to do with anyone honours projects.