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Illustration / Self Initiated Project Help


I study Graphic Design but specialise in Illustration and I have to come up with a self initiated brief based on my interests etc.

Coming up with ideas isn't too hard but giving them a purpose and an audience is so difficult.

Does anyone have any ideas of projects that you could do in this area, that are quite significantly big as it's a final year project? Or examples of ones that anyone may have done themselves.

I just need pointing in the right direction really since my tutors are of no help whatsoever!


Well-Known Member
It sounds like a fairly open brief to me - choose your favourite style of illustration and illustrate something you like doing.

I don't know what constitutes a big project, but how about packaging/advertising - a sports drink which combines illustration with graphics, for instance.

Maybe do it as an illustrated book with a poster to advertise it, or an illustrated company logo with connected products?

Paul Murray

Staff member
A final project doesn't have to be big in the sense that it's huge in scale, it just needs to have enough scope that you can research thoroughly, explore a number of different options and tick off all the points in the module (which will likely be everything you've done in previous briefs). The final outcome itself doesn't need to be elaborate or 'major', it simply needs to be a research driven outcome.

I struggled with my own final project because I didn't grasp this, and went round in circles with mine. By the end I was trying to effectively launch an independent magazine, on my own, with no real experience. It was just too ambitious, and although I actually had a pretty good basis for something I could develop further, my tutor actually had to step in an tell me I'd flat out fail the module if I continued because what I was doing didn't seem to be driven by or linked to my initial research. Instead I had to go back to my research and produce something from that. I did, but I didn't get the best marks for my final project because I faffed and floundered.

Just try and keep it tight, simple and focussed. Here's one project that stood out in my mind because of how simple it was – https://www.behance.net/gallery/8193083/Personal-Great-British-Pasta

The final outcome was basically some packaging, but it was supported by additional branding elements that all riffed off of the pasta/clothing theme that really strengthened the project as a whole. The final exhibition had piles of pasta around the boxes too and it just looked great overall. I think this got the designer a lot of attention from studios.

For our final project, one of my friends designed a mobile app that took you on a random route to a location of your choice so that you could discover new areas and get to know a city without getting lost. Her motivation was "I don't know Manchester very well, wouldn't it be great if there was an app to overcome that?" That thought was the spark that led to the whole project, and I think she won best in show for it.

Another guy did a live brief I think for UK Greetings and created a range of 'blow up' greetings cards for kids (Daniel Richardson - Little Poppets). He actually put very little time/effort into his final outcome because he'd spent so long in the research stage producing mock-ups and test versions. I believe he sourced an illustrator for the graphics, so didn't even have to do them. He won a YCN award for this work too.