Team Project

 

 

 

The Potted Plant Company logo
The Grow Your Own Kit logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some additional logos for the plant information pages
Front view of The Grow Your Own Kit Packaging (3D model was created by Jake and the design was done by Ellis)
Side view of The Grow Your Own Kit Packaging

 

 

 

Layout templates for the plant information pages                   The front cover design for the information booklet
Some plant graphics for the information booklets

 

 

 

 

More work will be added at a later date due to an assignment extension.

 

 

My plant illustrations to be used throughout the project

The plant information pages
Social media post showing how to propagate a cactus
Social media post showing how to propagate a houseplant
Social media post showing what’s inside The Grow Your Own Kit

 

 

 

A collection of all the animated social media promotional adverts

Promotional advert for online advertising

3D renders of the plant pots for the website
3D renders of the scenes to be shown on the website

 

 

The home page of our website
The shop page
The individual product page

 

Overall I am really pleased with the outcome of our project, The Potted Plant Company. I feel that it is a very relevant business idea, since ‘houseplants have enjoyed a massive boom in popularity, especially with Millennials and Gen Z’ (Houseplant Resource Centre, n.d.). However, due to this popularity, we needed to ensure that our project would stand out from the market and I feel that we managed to do this through the assets and design work that we have produced. 

I really like how throughout the whole project, the brand consistency in our designs has been a fundamental factor for all members. We have taken into account factors such as ‘presenting the brand logo in a similar way, and repeating the same colors throughout [our] visual brand elements’ (Merlin One, n.d.). which I feel we have all certainly achieved throughout our assets and designs. This is really important as we all hoped that our business idea would stand out and how ‘over time, these elements become ingrained in the minds of consumers, and they’re more likely to remember your brand’ (Merlin One, n.d.).

We decided upon a fairly simple but effective colour scheme which we tried to relate to plants by mostly using shades of green, brown and grey. This was given a more modern edge to appeal to our younger target audience by incorporating lilac and pastel pink throughout the brand and assets, this helped to add a hint of colour amongst the more earthy shades. 

Another way in which we have tried to help our brand have a clear identity is our use of repeated geometric and zig-zag patterns throughout our work, this style pattern is very relevant and popular so will appeal to our audience. The geometric shapes are used in the plant pot illustrations, the 3D plant pots and the angles of the coloured panels in the animated adverts. The zig-zag pattern is used in the ‘Grow Your Own’ packaging, on the plant pot illustrations and on the front page of the plant information booklets. Again, this repeated use of pattern helps to create familiarity and keeps things very consistent for our brand. 

I feel that our project would stand out from the market if we were to go ahead and do it. There aren’t really many companies offering anything exactly like this, in particular our ‘Grow Your Own Kit’ which is really unique in that it offers the customer everything they’ll need to grow a plant themselves from scratch, as opposed to buying a plant that’s already been grown which is what a lot of companies do. Another example into how our designs are unique is the packaging for the kit which was designed to look like a greenhouse, even complete with transparent windows which I thought was really conceptual and creative. 

All of the assets have been designed very thoughtfully, and hopefully it is all presented to a good standard in the time allowed and despite the fact that some members have not completed all of their work due to module extensions, I still feel that the work that has been done is still substantial enough to give good insight into our brand. 

We have all tried to gain feedback on our work throughout the project, this has been done through asking for the other team members opinions and in class critique which helped us to the adapt our designs and therefore improve upon our work. I feel like this has been good practise for future projects.  

References:

Houseplant Resource Centre (n.d.) Why Millennials are leading the houseplant trend. Available online: https://houseplantresourcecenter.com/2020/01/the-plant-crazy-generation-why-millennials-are-leading-the-houseplant-trend/ [Accessed 11/05/21].

Merlin One (n.d.) What is brand consistency (and why does it matter)? Available Online: https://merlinone.com/what-is-brand-consistency/#:~:text=Brand%20consistency%20is%20the%20delivery,help%20to%20solidify%20brand%20recognition. [Accessed 11/05/21]. 

Reflection

At first, I was quite apprehensive when finding out that this module would be done in a team, as group projects can often not go according to plan and have problems, however,  I did understand that being able to work within a team on projects is such an important skill that we need as designers and I do feel that I have definitely built upon my team working skills within this project.

I was also concerned that due to the Covid pandemic that this would be another obstacle in our project. As some of us hadn’t actually met in real life before, I thought that this could even cause conflicts but luckily it didn’t. I feel that having to do our project entirely remotely and digitally helped me learn valuable skills including how to communicate well using this method and how to get my work done this way within a team. This was all good practise as I feel that it reflects how digital design projects will most likely be run in the future, which has helped me gain valuable skills.  

I also think that this project has enabled me to build upon my existing illustration and graphic design skills, which was what I was really hoping for in this project. I’ve done lots of illustrating before, but here I was drawing something new and in a different style which has definitely helped me to challenge myself which is a definite positive. 

Overall, I feel that this project has gone well. I am really glad that I was able to work on this project, and that I had the chance to do more illustration work. I feel that this project has hopefully given me an insight into how design projects are run for my future career, and has enabled me to build upon many different types of skills.  

Design Process

After I had found out my role, Millie prepared some research pages for me which outlined five plant varieties and their individual care information. Using her research, I was to create some plant information pages which would contain all of the essential information the customer would require for looking after that certain type of plant, these would be going inside the ‘Grow Your Own’ plant kits.

I made a start on this task by first drawing some examples of possible plant illustration styles that I could do, using the program Procreate on my iPad. I illustrated two styles for everyone to choose from, taking inspiration from some plant illustrations that were on a moodboard that the team leader created. I drew two styles, a more simple line drawing style and a coloured pencil art style, I then sent these examples into the group chat on our Discord server and asked which illustration style would be preferred. 

My initial illustrations of the possible plant illustration styles

Everyone liked the coloured one the best, so then I started working on doing the illustrations of the five plant varieties that were specified to me in the research pages in this style. I also made and used some reference image collages to help me get the details and shapes of the plant varieties more accurate.   

 

My image reference collages

For the illustrations, I made sure to stick to a colour scheme because ‘the color scheme is one of the most important elements; this is because, when used correctly, color can reflect the niche and even the overall business marketing strategy’ (Interaction Design Foundation, n.d.). Millie had already created a moodboard which contained a small colour palette, and other team members were also sticking to this for their parts of the design work, so I added these colours to my palette too to keep everything consistent. As I was illustrating and would need slightly more colours and shades for my work, I did choose some additional colours myself that I would be able to use that would compliment the other colours well, but would also look good on the plant varieties that I would be illustrating. 

My colour palette

My final five plant illustrations

Once I had finished my plant illustrations, I put them onto Box for the others to use, Joe would be using them on his social media adverts and Aury would be using them on the website. Millie then created and sent me some layout mock-ups of the plant information pages. 

Using the mock-ups I was then able to start putting together the plant information pages using Adobe Illustrator. I included the information about each plant that Millie had prepared on her research pages. I also included one of our logos which was designed by Ellis on the pages, I messaged him on our Discord server and he then shared the files on Box for me to download. Once I had finished the pages, I sent them to the group Discord for any feedback, which came back positive and it was confirmed by Millie that nothing would need to be altered on them.

My final plant information pages

Millie then messaged me asking if i’d be able to create some posts for social media. From watching her original business presentation, I decided to create an illustrated Instagram post which outlined what was in our ‘Grow Your Own’ kit. Finally, I created two other posts using a similar format which were illustrated step-by-step guides on how to propagate certain types of plants. 

My social media post showing the contents of the Grow Your Own kit

My social media/website graphic showing how to propagate a cactus

My social media/website graphic showing how to propagate a houseplant

Image References: 

Beards and Daisies (n.d.) Rubber plant [Photograph]. Available online: https://www.beardsanddaisies.co.uk/products/rubber-plant?_pos=1&_sid=29754171f&_ss=r [Accessed 14/03/21].

Beards and Daisies (n.d.) Swiss cheese plant [Photograph]. Available online: https://www.beardsanddaisies.co.uk/products/swiss-cheese-monstera-adansonii?_pos=1&_sid=7be1615aa&_ss=r [Accessed 14/03/21].

Beards and Daisies (n.d.) Chinese money plant [Photograph]. Available online: https://www.beardsanddaisies.co.uk/products/chinese-money-plant?_pos=1&_sid=30a788dab&_ss=r [Accessed 14/03/21].

Beards and Daisies (n.d.) Asparagus fern [Photograph]. Available online: https://www.beardsanddaisies.co.uk/products/asparagus-fern-pot?_pos=1&_sid=755d5748a&_ss=r [Accessed 14/03/21].

The Little Botanical (n.d.) Asparagus fern [Photograph]. Available online: https://thelittlebotanical.com/product/asparagus-fern/ [Accessed 14/03/21].

The Little Botanical (n.d.) Peperomia watermelon houseplant [Photograph]. Available online: https://thelittlebotanical.com/product/peperomia-watermelon-houseplant/ [Accessed 14/03/21].

Propagating information for social media posts found at:

Gardeners World (2019) How to take cuttings from house plants. Available online: https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-take-cuttings-from-house-plants/ [Accessed 02/05/21].

Gardeners World (2019) How to take cuttings from cactus and succulents. Available online: https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-take-cuttings-from-cacti-and-succulents/ [Accessed 02/05/21].

Quote:

Interaction Design Foundation (n.d.) What is color theory? Available online: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/color-theory [Accessed 09/04/21].

Communication

One of our first tasks when we were put into our team was to set up our communication channels. Due to the Covid pandemic, we were all aware that virtual communication would end up being our only option since we weren’t allowed to meet in person as a group. We first discussed what platform would be best for us all to use and we settled upon Discord because most of us had used it in previous team projects and found it to be an effective channel for team work as it is a really versatile platform.

Our Discord server had everything we needed to keep in contact with each other virtually throughout the entire project. We mainly used its text channel feature and had channels dedicated to specific aspects of our project such as a general one, which was good for messages, feedback and discussing ideas, we also had channels for organising meetings and 3D work.

We all had access to a voice channel on Discord which was great for having meetings, we were all able to organise when to have a meeting on it, where we would all join the voice channel at the set time and discuss ideas and explain where we were up to and what we needed to do. These meetings were done weekly at first but further on into the module when we all had a bigger workload, the meetings became less frequent. This wasn’t an issue though, as we still maintained contact with each other regularly through messages on Discord.

A screenshot showing our various Discord channels

As our project was entirely digital, we also needed a designated place for sharing files and resources with each other. We all decided upon Box where everyone had their own folders within our shared folder to put their work into which kept things organised and tidy.

A screenshot showing our folders on our shared Box which everyone had access to

Everyone seemed to engage well with all of our communication channels and were all supportive of each others work. I feel that good communication within a team is often a big factor in the success of a project, and due to Covid making every aspect of our project virtual, this meant that our digital communication channels would need to play an even bigger role than if we were to have meetings in person. I feel that a positive to our communication having to be digital is that due to everyone having different schedules it offers much better flexibility and as we had already been doing online university for almost a year, we were already used to having to communicate digitally and I feel this helped how effective communication was in our group. 

Leadership & Teamwork

At first, when I found out that this module was going to be a team project, I was quite apprehensive as group projects can often not go very well and many of us hadn’t even met each other before. This issue was brought up and discussed in some of our initial lectures, as many of my other colleagues felt this way too, which actually helped put my mind at ease. I then realised that being able to work within a team on projects is such an important skill that we need not only as designers but in general too which then encouraged me to make sure I would be a hard-working team member as ‘Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved’ (Stepanek, n.d.), this helped me realise that by bringing many creative people together, we would hopefully be able to create something really impressive.  

Once I found out what team I was in, I was really pleased as it was the project that I really wanted to work on, after watching all of the potential project presentations, I felt that I would be able to fit in best and contribute most to this team. 

In spite of the Covid pandemic, which meant that some of us hadn’t actually met in person before we still all managed to work well together throughout the project. Getting used to working with new people was really beneficial as it is very likely in the future we’ll be working with people we don’t know on other projects.

As a team, we all communicated well with each other on our Discord chat, and thankfully there wasn’t any conflicts. All team members were hard-working and good at helping each other and giving feedback if it was necessary. Everyone engaged well with our team meetings unless they had other commitments, and in these instances Millie would communicate with that individual about what needed doing that week. 

I think that the reason why we got on well as a team was probably helped by the fact that we all seemed to be really happy with our individual roles, the process of giving out the roles was done in a really fair way by the team leader who listened to what each members preferred roles would be. A large aspect to how this project went so smoothly was definitely down to the leadership which was really good. Millie suited the role of team leader very well, she was always very approachable if we had any questions or needed help and was good at organising us all. 

References:

Stepanek, M (n.d.) Mattie J.T. Stepanek quotes. Available online: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/488495-unity-is-strength-when-there-is-teamwork-and-collaboration-wonderful [Accessed 25/04/21].

Organisational Skills

As outlined in our team project plan ‘our outcome was to create a multitude of materials relating to The Potted Plant Company.’ This included creating the branding, packaging designs, assets, website layout design, promotional material and a final website. Millie laid out all of our individual job roles and then stated the materials which each member would need to create.  

Our project plan which was created by Millie stating what work was required by each group member

Millie ensured everyone knew the work that they were expected to create and let everyone get on with the tasks at their own pace and didn’t keep pushing us, but was still available if we needed any help. I personally feel like this slightly more laid back approach is actually a really positive method as there seemed to be a good balance which I feel was really beneficial for everyone in the team so I feel hopefully no one felt too pressured, which can often cause conflict. 

However, this laid back approach isn’t to say that we were being complacent in regards to the organisation and planning. The planning that was in place was clear, concise and fair and what we were all required to do as individuals was outlined early on in the process. We always planned any group meetings in advance and made sure the times and days were suitable for us all. For the majority of our group meetings, everyone turned up and engaged which was great for our group dynamics. 

A production log was also kept by Millie throughout which mapped out what each group member had been doing each week. This was good for everyone to keep track not only on what and when they had done their tasks, but also to see where the other team members were. All of our work was also organised in a tidy way on our group Box file, we all had our own folders to share our work so that if the others needed those files, they would be able to find them easily.  

A screenshot of the production plan

For my personal organisational skills, I decided not to create a personal timetable or anything as I was confident enough in my personal time management to know that I would meet any deadlines. However, as I was also relying on other people and others were relying on me, I made sure to often try and get my jobs done before the deadlines. 

Individual Role

Once we had established which team we were going to be in, we all discussed our possible roles in our initial group meeting. Millie, the team leader asked us all what our strengths and preferred roles would be, this was also a great chance to break the ice initially and for us to get to know each other a bit better. After this meeting, Millie then came back to us with our confirmed roles. 

My role was to do the illustrations for ‘The Potted Plant Company’s’ website and promotional/social media material. I was really happy with my role because it meant that I would be doing things that I really enjoy and what I consider are my strengths within design. I was also hoping to be able to work on an illustration project as I felt that I needed to add more illustration work to my portfolio and gain more experience, as illustration is something that I hope to do in the future. I also wanted to be able to challenge myself as I hadn’t ever really focused on solely drawing plants before. 

I feel that the role suited my personal skills too, including how my role fits into working within a team. I am good at communicating with others which is crucial, especially in a team environment. I also feel that one of my strengths is how I am good at meeting deadlines and time management, I knew that I would need to take even more care with this aspect seen as though it is a team project and others will be relying on and waiting for me with certain things. I was to work with everyone else within the team, as most members would be using my assets within their work. I also mostly worked alongside Millie as she was also creating the promotional materials. 

I’m also good at accepting both positive and negative feedback on my work, as I know how important it is to accept any constructive criticism and have the ability to be able to adapt my work from this. Throughout the project, the feedback on my work was actually really positive which I think helps to show that this was the right role for me.

Overcoming Issues/Reflection

Overall, I did find this module quite interesting but also very challenging. I seemed to encounter quite a lot of problems. The worst part was probably during the character rigging process – I managed to almost complete the rigging process which was really time consuming but then I soon realised that there were many problems with my character mesh and it wouldn’t go right even when I tried to rectify the problems in various ways. After exploring many options to try and sort out why the mesh wasn’t moving correctly, I decided to go back to my original character model and re-did parts of the mesh and tried to simplify it. I then ended up re-doing the entire rigging process and because of this, I ended up spending much longer on this part than I was expecting. Luckily, I was quite organised with my time management and I wasn’t in a last minute rush to get it done. 

After the rigging seemed to be working correctly, I then started on my animations. I had already researched into some possible cycles and planned out some general ideas of what I could do. As I knew that this assignment would be very challenging for me because I am a complete beginner in 3D animation, I made sure that my animations were more simple. There are some points in the animations where the mesh still doesn’t look and move right but overall, I am pleased with how they have turned out. I have learnt lots of skills throughout this assignment and most importantly, I know how crucial it is to have a character mesh with good topology before rigging and animating it. 

Principles of Animation

I tried to incorporate some of the principles of animation within my animations. Some, are used throughout every animation but some I haven’t really used at all as they weren’t necessary. Here, I’ll explain some of the ways I have/haven’t used the principles within my animations. 

Squash and stretch I didn’t really use this principle in any of my animations, because I didn’t really include anything in the animations that would be able to do this type of movement. Squash and stretch could maybe have been used in my characters face, but her face doesn’t really show lots of expression to have the need to do squash and stretch. 

Anticipation   Again, I felt that I didn’t really need to use this principle too much within any of my animations. She doesn’t move in that much of an exaggerated way to warrant having to use anticipation, compared to it she were doing a bigger moment such as throwing something. Animation 2 may show this slightly in that her swaying is continuous as it is looped, but the way her body moves in a fluid sort of way helps to show more anticipation in her movement. 

Staging I feel that all of my animations have a very obvious staging principle to them, particularly in animations 1 and 2 which only feature Lola in the scene on a simple starry floor. The main focus is quite obvious in these animations. And I tried to make sure the camera perspective also helped to add to the staging in my animations. 

Straight Ahead/Pose to Pose For all the animations, I used to pose to pose principle when creating them because I first created the starting and end frames for the motions, I then did a some key frames in between these. I felt that this method is much easier in Maya as I only really had to key frame a few poses and the in between frames are mostly all done for me, and then altered slightly afterwards in the graph editor.

Follow Through/Overlapping This principle has been used throughout my animations. Animation 1 features lots of overlapping because it is a walk cycle, the arms and legs move in opposition to each other, and the head and body also goes up and down. I attempted to use follow through action in animations 2 and 3, although this is probably very subtle as her movements in these aren’t very exaggerated. 

Slow In/Slow Out I don’t think that I really used this principle, this is mainly because all of my animations are looped I can’t really show what is happening before/after the movements this way unfortunately. 

Arcs Arcs are used frequently in my animations, I felt that this principle was really important  to include as arcs are great at creating natural movements, and as humans naturally move in arc shapes, this supports my character design well. Animation 1 uses arcs when you look at the shape both her arms and legs make as she is walking. Animations 2 and 3 use arcs in the movement of her arms/body/head. 

Secondary Action I have incorporated secondary actions in all of my animations. This is mainly in addition to her body movements, she also moves her eyes and blinks. Using the secondary actions again really helps the animation to look more natural and realistic. 

Timing I tried to ensure the timing of my characters movement was realistic throughout all of my animations, but as my animations were all looped this was quite hard to show. Instead, I had to consider how long to actually show the movements and this was done through knowing where to place the frames.

Exaggeration I didn’t use this principle in my animations, because I didn’t really think that I needed to for what was happening in my animations. I don’t think that the movements really needed to be exaggerated that much. 

Solid Drawing This principle wasn’t really used since all of my animations were done on a computer and I had already created my character in 3D. 

Appeal In general, I feel that my character has appeal which stems from her design. I feel like the animations also all have appeal in them in that her movements are all done in quite a cute and childlike way.

Overall, I am pleased with the principles of animation that I have used and I feel that they are all appropriate to my characters design.