Creative Practice Module: Journal

Module Brief

This module provides the opportunity for a practical exploration of contemporary creative arts and the critical contexts in which they operate. You will develop your practical skills in an area of your choice, designing, developing and producing an artefact which synthesises and consolidates your philosophical and practical knowledge, demonstrating your understanding of the contexts in which it was created.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and the ability to apply, synthesise and critically evaluate contexts, debates and theoretical thinking in a broad context, including the cultural and economic forces that inform contemporary creative practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to select and apply appropriate technical, aesthetic and design skills in the production of an artefact or artefacts.
  • Recognise and reflect upon the processes of historical and contemporary creative practice in others and yourself.
  • Reflect critically on your decision-making and professional practice both individually and as a member of a group, able to listen, lead and contribute effectively.


“Your reflective journal should document your creative practice journey through the recording of aesthetic, design and production influences within contemporary creative practice. In addition to documenting the practical journey, your reflective journal/blog should critically evaluate a broader contextual understanding. There should be a sense that you have considered your creative process and critically reflected on decision making throughout the project.”

Practical Response:

“You will produce a practical response which is informed by your individual investigation in the critical studies module. Your artefact/artefacts can take the form of a short film, design or image based project which demonstrates the appropriate technical, aesthetic and design skills in relation to the level and quantity of study. You will give consideration to the presentation of the creative project which should be appropriate to the context of the work i.e. self-published, exhibited or festival presentation or commercial application.”


Then for the folder work side of the project we have to show our journey here on our blogs to show our research, development and final pieces as well as an evaluation at the end to discuss how the project went.



In the build up to starting our project for creative practise we were given 4 tasks to do spread over 5 weeks to give us suggestions to what our projects could be about and what techniques that could possibly be used. These tasks were aimed at using skills based in photography, graphics and media.

Photography Task 1.

For the photography task we were asked to take a camera from college and go around the building and the surrounding area and take pictures that suggested “Power”. The idea was that when you showed a person the image their initial thought would be power before annualising it more. This task was to practise our communication skills as well as what we had learnt in our representation and symbolism lectures in critical studies. The images below are of what we took.

The first image we wanted to show the traffic lights having power over the traffic. We chose to do this slightly low shot to give the traffic lights a sense of authority over the road and road uses. For the second image we carried on the road theme and took this picture of this no entry sign which again has power and control over the cars using the road because it is giving a command. We took the shot from the ground looking up to give the sense of perspective of power because it is taller than anything else. For the last image we took the picture of someone pressing the button to the traffic lights, this suggests that the person can choose when they want to use their “Power” to stop the traffic to be able to cross.


Graphic Design Task 2.

This task was to collect 7 images that represented the 7 deadly sins. Our team decided to set ourselves a challenge and collect all 7 images from one film this would bring the 7 deadly sins up to date in a modern view which would make it more interesting. We decided to collect the images from the film “The Wolf Of Wall Street”  because it has many different themes running through it. The images below are what we collected.

We felt that we had communicated the 7 sins very well through the different scenes in the movie without their being too much guessing work when you look at the images. This was another good task to practise our skills at communicating the basics when it comes to designing and delivering the message clearly.


Media task 3.

This task was to take a song that suggested the theme of “protesting” and add images to it to create a small video that deliver the message of that theme.


Censorship Debate Task 4.

For our last task we were split into 2 teams to have a debate about whether we should have censorship or not, one team would be for censorship and the other would be against it. This debate was recorded in the film studio at college to make the debate more realistic and have a new experience with being filmed. To be able to do the debate in our groups we made some notes on the points we wanted to make and argue.

  • Censorship goes against freedom of speech.
  • Limits creativity.
  • Slows down cultural development.
  • Brings a sense of communism because of the limited information.
  • Distorted idea of what is true.
  • Used to control people.
  • Internet censorship in schools and colleges limits education.
  • Limiting information to children won’t prepare them fully for adulthood.
  • If information is hidden or kept it can increase peoples curiosity.


Main Project

Because the main project for creative practise had to have a link to the critical studies lectures I decided to link my project to representation and symbolism because this is what I found the most interesting but also one of the most useful tools in graphic design because if you can’t communicate a message to the viewer correctly then you are not very good at your job. Graphic design depends very heavily on representation and symbolism because of how features are used and recognised.

After coming up with ideas on the mind map I decided to go down the idea of road signs for modern day issues. Road signs are extremely easy to understand visuals because a driver has to instantly understand the message because they are driving and cannot afford any more distractions. This means that the visuals have to extremely minimal and rely on representation and symbolism to work affectively. Because road signs were designed over 50 years ago and new technologies have come a long way since then a few issues have arisen on the roads. These issues are such as:

  • Driving and using mobile phones
  • Applying makeup whilst driving
  • Driving with out lights on
  • Not clearing snow of the rood of cars and then driving
  • Driving with misty windows and not being able to see clearly
  • Not wearing seat belts
  • Not checking blind spots
  • Driving with out insurance
  • Que jumpers
  • Blocking yellow boxes
  • Tail gaters
  • Not indicating
  • Drink driving

I decided that I was going to create some new road signs that would help reduce some modern issues such as the ones above that have become quite big problems out on the roads. This would practise what I had learnt about representation and symbolism by having to create them in the style of the current signs but also that they worked affectively.


To build up some ideas of how to execute this idea I wanted to look at whole range of signs to get an understanding of what works, I wanted to look at the specifics of how modern day road signs work as well as look at a range of current ones. Then I wanted to look at advertising campaigns for the current problems and see how they are communicating to the audience about these problems. Next I wanted to move onto signs that had been created for a competition that was celebrating the 50th anniversary of 50 years of the British road sign which were designed by Jock Kinkier and Margaret Calvert. These signs I knew would be very interesting to look at and see what some of the UK’s leading designers did. Then to finish off my research I wanted to look at some general signs that are used for all different uses in every day life.

Sign Basics

This helped me to get a good understanding of what the different shapes meant so I could apply these rules to my signs to communicate the right command to the viewer.

Common road signs.

I looked at some of the most common road signs that people see when they are driving around. From looking at these you can see how a combination of colour, simple symbols/illustrations and the shape of the sign can inform the person of something.


Driving campaign adverts.

I looked driving campaigns to see the tone of voice about these problems and the police have gone about dressing the issues. This helped me to see that continuing with simplicity and minimalism is key to keep the message strong and affective otherwise people won’t take notice as much.


Competition signs

Signs in general:



Then I looked at what other people had done with signs for their personal projects or campaigns.



After doing my research I decided that I was going to design 6 new signs that would apply to some of the most common problems that occur on the roads, I chose to do:

  • Driving and using mobile phones
  • Applying makeup whilst driving
  • Driving with out lights on
  • Not wearing seat belts
  • Not checking blind spots
  • Drink driving

Below is some of the sketches I drew up first to get an idea of what I was going to design and decide what features worked better.

This speeded up my design time instead of creating them in illustrator to find out they wouldn’t work, so below are the signs that I came up with.

One of the signs that I had to physically make to see if it would work was the blind spots sign, I had this idea to show a car and the space around in which a blind spot occurs, the image is below.

As you can see you can understand the symbol but personally it doesn’t fit in with the style of the British road signs enough. Also the question mark is too small to make it fit for purpose for the drivers to be able to read it.


What I learnt:

This project was a good exercise at practising my communication skills in designing by using colour, representation and symbolism to get the message across. Graphic design depends on using the fundamental basics of communication to work if something is not designed correctly then another message would be given resulting in a different outcome. For road signs they have to communicate their message extremely effectively and quickly because a driver only has seconds to see it and understand it to then take action upon it. If not they become not affective at their intended use. The signs rely on symbols that people can understand easily and might have seen else where.

One of the main things that I learnt was what shape of the signs tells you, circle = orders, triangles = inform and square is information. This helped me to decide what shape I needed for the intended message I wanted to create. Also I found it challenging to create a sign that was in the style of the British road signs without obscuring the intended message.


To improve this project I would have liked to have put the signs in more situations to show how it could work. Also I would have liked to have designed some signs for other uses for like safety and around city centres. This would have been interesting to see how the signs would have turned out keeping in the style of current ones.


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