A reflective journal is both a communication tool and a design method for developing professional practice. Such journals allow designers to publish their projects as they progress and provide a platform for critically reflecting on creative works and the design process.
Reflective journals can be used to discover insight about how designers approach their creative problem-solving. This is commonly understood as a central requirement for designers to develop their professionalism and to become experts in the field. They do so through reflecting on their work - characterising common features and critically analysing successes and failures.
Reflective journals also help designers situate their work within the broader creative industries and contemporary visual culture context. Designers might use their journal to document developing trends and to collect examples of inspirational works. These collections might be made as part of the research phase of a given project or contribute to a more general understanding of a design field.
Such journals should take an appropriate form so that they communicate effectively and provide necessary insight. They might exist in a singular form e.g. a workbook, a weblog or they might exist as a collection e.g. as a workbook of sketches with notes/annotations and as a weblog/Tumblr of photographs/videos with associated critical reflections.
The following are examples of art and design reflective journals:
"Reflection is an ongoing process of thinking about your development in relation to your work. Reflective writing is both a record (description) and a review (analysis and evaluation) of your work. Reflective practice is a 'sorting out/clarifying process' (Moon 2004) giving you new perspectives on yourself and your work."
(University of the Arts London)
"The eminent art expert Bernhard Berenson called this sheet 'the most beautiful drawing in the world.' It is thought to be a study for the angel in the Virgin of the Rocks in the Musée du Louvre, Paris."
(Web Gallery of Art)
Fig.1 Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1483. Silverpoint and white highlights on prepared paper, 181 x 159 mm, Biblioteca Reale, Turin.
"Tracey invites artists, designers, students, educators and researchers to respond. Responses may take the form of drawings or other visual material (with or without accompanying text) or previously unpublished articles or research papers. There's no limit on the number of images or the length of text, though all contributions are subject to editorial control, in consultation with our external advisers. For guidance on preparing a submission, see below: 'guidelines for written submissions' and 'how to submit'. "
(Phil Sawdon, Loughborough University)