In this blog graphic designer Camara Dick talks about her role in developing our distinctive branding. Camara completed the work through the University of Reading Typography and Graphic Communication Department ‘Real Jobs’ initiative. This gives students studying design an opportunity to work for real world clients within the university and externally.
Explaining what drew her to the work Camara said: “I was looking for an opportunity to work on branding because I recognised it was a skill needed to develop for my future career, and a skill I felt didn’t come easily to me. I was also attracted by the goals of the research to employ natural processes to inform future flood risk management, allowing me to devise and pull together representations of water, flooding and landscapes. The need to develop distinct but linked designs for the three projects and the overall programme also appealed to me.”
“The design process initially involved meeting with Professor Joanna Clark, the Principal Investigator for the Landwise project who made time to be supportive and helpful throughout. She shared my interest in the use of shapes and colours to represent the research. She also advised me on sources of images and websites on flood risk and NFM. I spent a lot of time looking at these to help me visualise the topic. The next step was to work on a colour palate for each of the projects and the programme and start developing design ideas.”
Poster designs used at events including Groundswell 2019 and BHS National Meeting “Natural Flood Management: Does it work?” 2019
Initially Camara worked with another student, Fay Biggs who she credits with having contributed a lot to the initial designs.
“It was challenging as after Fay completed her course as it meant I was for the most part working alone to develop branding logos and adapt and apply them for the report, Twitter, PowerPoint and Mailchimp templates, the website, and overall design guidelines. Also, it was not easy to adapt the branding for all of these formats as some are limiting in how innovative you can be.”
On what originally attracted her to design Camara related: “I was inspired by a number of people especially some of the few prominent black women who have established themselves in the field. In particular researcher Audrey Bennett’s case studies and research focuses on the ongoing issues that plague the unseen. UX designers Narsha Njoya and Datrianna Meeks’ stories have also inspired me in recent years. Beyond this I have remained drawn to the stages you work through to complete a final project and the opportunity to interact with and learn from clients. Fundamentally, graphic design can be seen as a communications tool that employs typographic and visual strategies to the real world. ”
With the work now complete and an established part of the research work Camara reflected on how much she learned from the project: “…in particular the importance of regular engagement with the client, work planning and balancing the project with other calls on my time including my paid job. I increasingly recognise that I am my own worst critic and need to learn to be more pragmatic and less of a perfectionist; I produced ten versions of the design guidelines before I was satisfied with my work!”
As an early career designer Camara observed: “I feel proud when I tell people about this work. As well as the experience the work has given me a portfolio which undoubtedly helped me secure my current work including brand design for a florist, and website and app design for a Beautician.”
Looking forward she said: “my passion is web and app development. I have developed two apps: one on foods, recipes and health and another on mental health and natural remedies. This is the field I want to work in.”
“Overall the opportunity to work on NFM branding has been an amazing experience. It’s helped me to grow in confidence with branding and learn so much along the way.”
You can get in touch with Camara at: firstname.lastname@example.org