Grand Designs

I’ve had a bit of a rubbish start to the year – bad news and sad news abound and being incredibly busy at work has left me a little drained. But it’s times like this when the mind really helps you to focus on the important things in life and makes you realise that there’s a wonderful great big world out there and so many fantastic opportunities to take advantage of.

I have found myself seeking a little bit of solace during lunchtimes in  The National Gallery (which is right next to work and I’m ashamed to say has taken me 7 years to explore…silly girl!) and stare at some gorgeous paintings. Something to take my mind of things for a few minutes; something different to focus on. It’s been fantastic – I even found myself wandering in to a local art shop and buying a sketch pad and pencils and furiously trying to emulate the head of Medusa from Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone.

*Come on Adele get to the point*

To bring this back to the whole data viz thang, I realised that while I have the skills for playing with data and I have the skills to manipulate the data/graphics on the PC, I have little/no knowledge about DESIGN itself. Sure, I know what looks good and what doesn’t but I have no basis, no grass-roots knowledge about Graphic Design itself. With this in mind, on a whim I signed up for an 8 week evening course at Central Saint Martins College in London in Graphic Design and I’m so excited! It sounds like it strips everything back to basics; no computers just theory, small projects and basic materials and it’s exactly what I need. Something new to focus on, something that I know I will love and something that will kick me in the right direction (and also give me a little kick up the butt too!).

I have also started to read The Design of Everyday Things – Donald Norman, it was recommended on a blog I was reading about design. I’m really, really enjoying it and would advise you to read it if you are interested in UX design and good practice, it has made me laugh numerous times on the train in to work. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I was faced with the following scenario in the toilets at the local cinema last weekend, I think it’s something Donald Norman would enjoy. It was the only tap; how am I supposed to wash my hands, knowing I’ll burn myself if I do?!?

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