At Q & A, We showed you excerpts from my thesis and We mentioned that in total We could record separate materials about them, because of the size of the topic. It turned out that you are probably interested in it, you also asked about the defense and selection of topics, so it’s a good opportunity to talk about it. Today my bachelor thesis, how it changed, where We got the idea and what advice We have for you.
In a word of introduction, for those who do not know. Polish-Japanese College of Information Technology in Warsaw (now Academy), New Media Department of Art, specialization in graphics, specialization in visualization. The laboratories in which we were supposed to exercise our diplomas were selected in the second semester of the second year of study. And I, like a few other people, initially chose a completely different studio (both undergraduate and graduate).
What distinguishes the creation of a bachelor’s diploma from classical studies is the fact that in addition to writing a theoretical work, we must also prepare a project. For some, it will be a redesign of the local brand, for others a website or an application. What will be the project depends on the university, the studio and the promoter with whom you will work. And, of course, what you really want to do.
Where to get the idea for the diploma project
Above all, think about what turns you on. Would you like to design a visual identity of some companies, a system of markings in a shopping gallery, animation, a website or an interactive book? Also think about what you will be able to do. Think about the design of the website when you have no idea about it.
Learning tools for 3d animation, when you have to think about the scenario and draw up storyboards, at some point you can start to blame. You can leave your comfort zone and catch tasks that will be a great challenge for you. But remember, you usually do the graduation project on the same level as regular classes, sometimes the time will be less than it might seem.
Then, analyze what topics are you interested in? Is it sport, reading, cinema, personal development or maybe traveling? Do you want to take care of education, entertainment, or help a local hostel? Choosing a range of interests, narrow your options – believe me, it will be more useful than just “- We can do anything.”
Why did We take this project specifically?
During my undergraduate studies we were fascinated by three themes: typography, children’s illustration (and educational books) and mobile technologies. My head was to do educational applications for children. So when the moment came to choose the topic, it was quite easy for me.
At the beginning, however, We chose a completely different studio (typography studio) and only after a few consultations with the lecturer, We finally decided to move to the visual communication design studio.
And although the idea came quickly, it did not mean that We had a bigger concept for it. A lot of water really passed before the vision of the diploma clarified. And you know, it’s quite normal. The first assumptions and ideas do not have to be the right ones.
How has my project changed?
The first concepts were quite clumsy. We assumed that all descriptions will be made by hand. A script resembling a children’s magazine. However, you know, We have absolutely disgusting handwriting and after the first attempts it was already clear that this idea just did not work.
That’s why from writing all the texts by hand, We went on hand-made headlines. There were definitely fewer ones to create, so We quickly took up drawing new proposals. Nothing, however, made a special impression on me or the lecturers.
On one of the classes, the host suggested a nice idea. And so instead of focusing further on drawing, a ziplock typeface was created. He was awkward, clumsy, childish. We fell in love with this idea soon.
Similar changes took place within the visualization of maps and objects that were to be found on these maps. The first suggestions were quite … stupid. We combined with a form like a horse uphill. Once We strongly simplified, to complicate again by cutting the maps into small pieces. We created them from modules (triangle), unfolded and folded back.
Once they had no color, next time they would get textures, patterns and a whole range of colors. The final solution was the simplest solution – maximum simplification of shapes. We got rid of arcs and irregular lines. We bet on color, not decorating with patterns.
Next to the maps, the animals had to have their own style, visible in the atlas. The first idea was to use objects and draw in them the necessary elements that could define a particular animal or plant. From the feather, you could make a bird, an elephant stone, and so on. As the work progressed (typography, maps and animals went simultaneously), it turned out that it would be too, a mismatched concept for the rest. So the subject of simplifications has come back.
However, We still was not happy with how my pets look. Until playing with the triangle module in the maps, We came to the conclusion that objects can be treated similarly. Only that here, the starting point could be origami. Bending the paper makes the molds that we usually receive are quite angular and slightly squashy. We decided to rely on this idea and create animals from “origami”.
However, the multitude of lines, intersections, was so large that in a small format animals would simply get lost. So We removed the lines and left just angular shapes. Each animal did not have more than two or three colors and in this way it was possible to work out the form of all objects that were in the atlas.
At the end – boards!
We tried not to design only individual elements from the beginning. In the end, they had to create a whole and blend well together. Just like with other elements, the boards have also changed a lot. From the initial ones, where We tried to write by hand, by those where We strongly minimized graphic effects.
For a long time we were struggling with the way of displaying elements on the map, as if it was of such importance (animals and plants, after all, cover entire areas). Therefore, in the end the view of the world map was deprived of objects, and in a given object a small map appeared with the visualization of where the object is.
Work on this diploma lasted one and a half years – from the second semester, the second year, until the end of the third year. However, We did not get a grip on the first day and We had to spend the whole summer (it was such fun …). The defense took place at the end of September, so it gave me an additional three months of intensive work.
Not bad. Of course, looking at it after so many years of work, We see a lot of mistakes and inconsistencies. We would definitely work on the colors (sometimes it is too voracious) and the composition of some of the boards. I’ve also set too much for quantity, not quality. We remember that at some point We simply “produced” more screens, so that We could make a deadline. Looking at the scope of my colleagues’ work, We could calmly give back 1/4 of what We did and it would be good too.
Ok, you have a ready project. Theoretical work written and reviewed. The time has come for defense. But before you come to them, ask yourself, do you know what you’re going to show them. With animations it is usually easier because it will take a lot of time to recreate them.
This does not mean, however, that this is so much of your work. In the case of other diplomas is similar. Well, because you know, you go out to the center with printed boards or project on the monitor and what? You say: “Look at you.”
And here we catch the topic of the diploma presentation. Because you’ve made a great project is one thing, but you also have to sell it a bit (just like in real life presenting the concept to the customer). Prepare yourself a presentation plan. Why did you choose this topic, maybe you have some old sketches to show and you can compare them with new versions. Tell us about your design decisions, the process and carefully plan what and how you show. It will make you approach your defense much more calmly.