A case study exploring how a graphic design student created a project about process itself.

Having a really simple idea as a starting point can make the whole project really sophisticated. This resource looks at a project concerned with the idea of process. It also presents a very structured approach to producing a final outcome.

Sometimes you see a sketchbook that just makes your jaw drop, you stop and wonder how many hours of love and passion have been put into it. More importantly, you just want to make sure that everyone sees it. This case study is a sketchbook by a student called James Bituin.


How the student became obsessed with process

At first glance it is a very simple design book. However, the closer you look the more you realise that this sketchbook is a shrine to organisation and a commitment to a very clear vision. James was interested in the idea of process, he wondered what process in a graphic sense would or could look like.

The idea of process is very important in art and design. For many students it’s the first time that they start to consider the process of creating as intrinsic to what they create. In that sense it was a very big leap for James to undertake. It took him down many paths, some of which were unfruitful, others only generated further creative problems to overcome.

Moving from development to outcome

It is true that he struggled with how to move from the production of experiments to final outcome. The idea of process doesn’t easily lend itself to something conclusive, what he did well though was to think big and complex. James tried everything on a large scale and the sketchbook was more of a documentary space, rather than somewhere to experiment.

The pages became a way of communicating all of the practices that he was undertaking, but he wanted them to be framed in a particular way. He wanted his own structured mindset and mechanical experimentation to be evident in everything from the images and reflective logs that were included in the sketchbook.


Using Process as a Project

The proposal itself became a work of typography and an opportunity to consider the idea of process as a word based piece of art.

Using Process as a Project

Using critiques as a means to test ideas

One of the most interesting developments came when James found he wasn’t making the most of critiques. He was sharing some ideas and getting some feedback, but what he really wanted to do was test things there and then rather than talk about them. He would bring new ideas to the class and get his peers to participate in experiments realted to processes. The studio group undertook mechanical tasks and these were documented as part of the portfolio.

Using Process as a Project

Images that most students wouldn’t see as having any potential were incorporated.

Using Process as a Project 

The highly experimental was combined with a rigorous and mechanical presentation method that tied it all together.

Using Process as a Project

The mundane was transformed into the distorted and processed.

Using Process as a Project

He struggled considerably with how to move from experiment to exhibition, from a process of investigation to conclusion.

Using Process as a Project

The process based outcome

A work, graphic in nature became a performance piece that would not normally be associated with this area of digitised design. James photographed everyone that entered the gallery and manipulated the images through an experimental and distortive process, finally projecting them on the gallery wall.


Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Painter, Writer, Designer danfreaker@processfreaks.com