Learning logs – Changing the way you work
Following on from Julia’s recent post I thought I would write a post about my own experience as an OCA student and my struggles with keeping a learning log. If I would have had the opportunity to read Julia’s post before I started the course it would have been a great resource in knowing where to start with it all and what to write about, well worth a read! Here is my experience of being a student:
I have finally completed my Graphic Design course. There have been aspects that I thoroughly enjoyed and aspects that I couldn’t wait until they were over. As the graphic designer at OCA my job mainly entails layout, so because I was familiar with this, I enjoyed the exercises that allowed me to put skills I already had to use. The typography exercises put me out of my comfort zones so I had to work harder on these to get them right. I do feel like I’ve improved over the duration of the course and I have learnt a lot because I have had to get to grips with Photoshop and Illustrator which I had limited knowledge of previously. I feel more confident as a designer and I feel that doing this course has had a positive impact on my job.
However one of the major aspects I struggled with (having come from a fine art background at a conventional university) was self reflection; I didn’t have to keep a learning log on my previous degree because we had group critiques so I found self reflection challenging and half way through the course I had to change the way I kept a learning log. I started out with a physical note book which I just wasn’t using enough so my tutor advised me to play to my strengths and design my learning logs in InDesign (my preferred software of choice) and export them as a PDF. I enjoyed doing this, and because I enjoyed it, it didn’t feel like such a task reflecting and writing about my own work.
So as I found, don’t get disheartened if the way you are working doesn’t suit or work out how you imagined. Even if you are halfway through the course you don’t have to stick with a method that isn’t working. OCA courses are designed to help you develop and find your own artistic voice and ways of working. As long as you document it and can explain why you’ve done something, that’s half the battle.
Even though I found quite a few aspects of this course difficult and challenging I think I have overcome my problems, learnt a lot, and have been able to develop as a designer. I’m looking forward to getting my feedback from assessment and continuing my studies on the Book Design course.