• Shyam Patel

YCN: Fruitopia; The learning Curve - Independent

This year, I was introduced to a competition known as the YCN (You Can Now) who are an educational institution based in London. Every year, YCN set a number of different live briefs for creatives to get involved in. This year I chose the UK Greetings brief which entailed creating the following:

  • 2 x Single greeting cards: size 137 x 210 mm

  • 1 x Boxed notecard set: size 110 x 132 mm

  • 1 x Gift Bag: size 267 x 330 mm

  • 1 x Pattern for wrap

  • 1 x Notepad cover


I really enjoyed working on this project however, and I know the tutors that are reading this will be somewhat disappointed, I did not submit my design. (way to rip the bandaid off Shyam). The reason I did not submit my project was that it was lacking something and when a design lacks something, you ask peers and colleagues to give ample feedback. I got very valuable feedback for this project but with time constraints and other projects at hand, I was not able to devote enough time to this project. I took the challenge of creating all my designs in Cinema4D (a software I had only just self-taught for a matter of 1 project). In theory, I actually did not have enough skills or knowledge to be able to create something in a short turn around hence I was not able to finish the project. I was, however, able to gain insight into my mistakes and learn the processes in Cinema4d. I was able to expand my knowledge in terminology and the way things formed using specific effects. Despite never submitting my design, I still feel I won. I may have not won in the competition, but I won in gaining valuable feedback, knowledge, skills enough so to determine the direction I would like to take my career in. Initially, I would have worked in Adobe Illustrator, however, the thought of working in Cinema4d makes me feel devilish and most certainly challenges my capabilities and skills.


These are the visuals I started off with:








I wanted to use mental health as a subject area for creating the greeting card and eventually let the design flow into the other mediums I needed to create within to form a collection. Mental health is a hot topic in present society and I feel there are not very many positive mental health greeting cards, I, therefore, wanted to design something that would break into this so very niche market in hopes it would create a trail for many other mental health greeting cards and designs to come. The reason I created the Sun, Moon, Star, Cloud, and Rainbow was because I wanted to focus on mood and weather. From previous research, I found that weather can in fact have an impact on one's mood. Although the weather was an unusual direction to take the project in, I was sure that this was a great direction due to the fact that even rain is needed to grow, no matter how dull it might be thus connoting that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.


Eventually, I decided that it was not working. The characters as a collection just did not work and although I could have picked out one character and made something entirely out of one character, I did not see any progress in that. I also thought that a collection of characters would be more engaging than just one, because then there is a selective choice, if someone does not want the cloud, they can choose the star, etc. I, therefore, decided to take a food approach and decided I would create some fruit characters. This was when things got challenging because I was constantly battling with organic 3D shapes that cannot be created that easily but I eventually got there. The next problem was the characters sitting together as a collection. That did not seem to work, again. I continued to persevere and see if the characters would work individually. The next problem I ran into was how to incorporate typography into the design as this was an essential part of the design in order to fully contextualise the design work. I found it difficult to work with type, especially with these characters as never before. Another problem I ran into was the distinction between the realism of a leaf I had created on the pear and strawberry in comparison to the actual body of the fruit which was more of a gradient giving it a 3D aesthetic. Due to these reasons and with time constraints and a handful of other projects that were prioritised, I did not submit. I did, however, like mentioned before gained valuable lessons from this project.


My other intentions for this project were to animate the whole design. For example, when submitting the design, I would have liked to have sent them a short GIF animation of the whole collection which would give the design more depth and character. Using different mediums to motivate and inspire my design intentions allowed me to further my skills in working in a multi-media format with a vision of how the design was going to be applied. I learned this when I began watching a series called Rythem & Flow on Netflix. In one of the episodes, T.I said: "as an executive, that shows me another stream of revenue" (01:22). When looking at the design work from a marketing perspective, it is important to understand what the product is and how to market that product. With this particular design, because it is fun, a serious tone would not be considered a good decision, it needs to have a vibrant and fun tone.


These were some development stages:




This was the refining stage:




Some of the design work was done using Adobe Illustrator, where character shapes needed tweaking or perfecting. At the point of the refinement stage, I was advised to give the characters vector 2D based arms and legs, which would serve as a more fun approach and would match the 2D vector faces. I also made sure the leaves were 2D vector style so that these small details would bring the whole design work together. The next problem I needed to overcome was how typographic elements were going to work. I could have just had the characters as stand-alone elements however, I wanted each character to have a message. At this point, I had run out of time and the deadline had already passed. Though I was advised to submit despite the deadline, I think it was wiser of me not to, due to the fact, that I wanted more refinement in these character designs and how they sat together as a collection.


Rythem & Flow on Netflix Reference:


Project References:




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