I found doing the live projects a very positive experience overall, and the fact that both the briefs were so different from my personal project, and even from each other, meant I had the chance to try something different and challenge the way I design.
I viewed the Tigerprint brief like a job, it definitely wasn't very 'me' and I thought the suggested female icons sounded very twee - make up, shoes and handbags - but I suppose it is for a commercial company so you have to create designs that appeal to many people, entire genders even! I tried to create something that would fit in with the house style, and was actually rather impressed with what I created - very removed from what I usually do, but a great challenge that proved to myself that I can do these sort of briefs.
The Patternmash brief on the other hand was right up my street and I was very inspired by the theme. I had plenty of ideas, but it was interesting to see how this one took slightly longer to do, perhaps because I really cared about the overall outcome and how it looked. It was a great experience being in direct contact with Hannah and actually having a conversation with her about the project and my work. I got a really great response from her about my designs (particularly about how I responded to specific images from the Pinterest page) and my work ended up on the Patternmash blog.
I also think it was a good idea only giving myself a few days to complete both briefs, treating it like a mini project, as it gave me practice of working to a short dealine - it is so easy to get totally absorbed in your work when you are spending many weeks on it.