Lots of Things and Stuff

19 Sep

It’s been a minute since my last post and big things have happened for me. At the end of April I was offered a freelance Art Director gig at Fraser Communications in LA, CA. I was introduced to the company by one of my besties who is on the account team there so not only was I going to work for an awesome agency in LA for a week but I was going to get to hangout and work with one of my besties—SCORE!! I had spring break the last week of April and the timing worked out perfectly soooooo… I hopped a plane and flew out to beautiful, sunny SoCal!

The week was awesome! I loved LA, had a blast at Fraser and truly enjoyed working with everyone there and the work I had the opportunity to work on. It turned out they really liked me too—so much so that at the end of the week they offered me a full time position. What?! AH!! Amazing! I was so stoked. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunity moments and I jumped on it. Things moved fast from there. I had less than a month to pack-up my life in North FL and move it out to SoCal!

Since then I have been busy, you know, doing the usual—packing, selling most of my wordly possessions, saying good-bye to friends and family, moving, driving cross-country, road trip adventures with my bestie (and hero and guardian angel who helped me move), signing a lease to a sight-unseen apartment while on the road (no worries, my bestie in LA found it and she has great taste), moving into said new place, starting a new job, getting settled, exploring LA, getting lost every where I go, learning how to drive in LA traffic, refreshing my parallel parking skills (or lack-there-of)…—you know,  just the usual, nothing big. LOL.

It’s been an awesome ride. I’m pretty much settled in now and LA is starting to feel like home. I’ve had some time to adjust and just breath. Once the dust settled, I realized it had been too long since my last post and I missed blogging something fierce. I’ve connected with AIGA LA and ThinkLA out here. They have some awesome events lined up which I’m excited to attend and tell you all about on here. I’m also excited to catch up on some of the cool things I’ve seen and done since I went MIA back in April. Check back for exciting things to come soon!

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Avoid Four-Color Body Type

13 Apr

Good article about why designers should avoid printing four-color body type (or smaller). Process colors work great for web but not for print. When printing, type should be 100% black or 100% of a PMS color for best, consistent, crisp, clear results. Process colors and screens are at your own risk—trust me! 

Here’s Why We Avoid Four-Color Body Type 

AIGA Jax Moveable Type Truck Workshop

9 Feb

Above is a picture of the Moveable Type Truck shortly after it landed in Jax. The Moveable Type Truck is a converted a 1982 Chevy step van converted into a fully functional traveling letterpress print shop. Kyle Durrie is a letterpress printer from Portland, Oregon, and proprietor of Power and Light Press. Sometime in 2010 she decided she wanted to take her show on the road. In Nov. 2010 she began raising money for her Type Truck and by June, 2011 she was traveling the country doing demos, teaching workshops and offering hands-on experiences printing a variety of ink on paper projects the old-fashioned way from right inside her Type Truck. Jessi Bruton, Programing Co-Director for AIGA Jax, heard about The Moveable Type Truck while on a call with fellow Programming Directors from AIGA chapters around the country. A few other chapters had The Type Truck stop in their neighborhoods to run a workshop for their members and each had an awesome experience. Jessi, who has a passion for design, typography and print design, loved the idea and wanted to bring the Type Truck to AIGA Jax! She contacted Kyle and set a date for the Type Truck to make a stop to teach our AIGA JAX members a thing or two about this letterpress printing stuff. On Feb. 5 2012 the Type Truck setup shop in the Burrito Gallery parking lot and AIGA Jax members stepped up to participate in a hands-on interactive workshop on the beauty and art of letterpress printing.

For part one of our workshop, we printed a poster that had been preset with a design for the workshop itself. Jessi, Jim Ward (Jessi’s fellow AIGA Jax Programing Co-Director) and Kyle concepted and setup the design for the group. The cute designer cherub for the poster was created by Jim and pre-printed digitally on nice 80# ivory uncoated stock (I’m guestimating on the paper). The type was pre-setup for us by Kyle, our letterpress maven for the day. Everyone in attendance had an opportunity to cover the basics of setting type, composing a form, setting up on-press, ink the preset design, and print their own posters to take home on a sign press from the mid 20th century.


My AIGA Type Truck Poster


Lisa Sopranzi’s poster, one of the volunteers for the event (and one of my awesome students at Kesier).


Four of my students from Keiser University were chosen to be volunteers.

The second part was for those of us who paid a little extra to create our own custom designed posters. We broke out into groups of 3-4. My group was Russel Quadros, Jim Ward, Jessi Bruton and myself.  All of us are experienced professionals here in Jax, are very active in AIGA and have been friend’s for quite sometime now. For me, being a college instructor currently working heavily with new designers, it was great to work with friends and fellow peers on a fun project like this. We word smithed what our poster would say, played with type from Kyle’s collection and experimented with the layout until everyone in our group reached an agreement. From there we set-up the press, dropped leading, magnets and spacers in to keep everything lined up nice and snug, chose our colors and got to printing. It was awesome!


My Turn!


My group’s final poster: “Wood You Be My Type” check Yes or No.


Armando and Argie Mitra (bro & sis) and their group’s poster “Field Guide.”


Katie Riffle modeling her group’s poster “Betches.”


Heather, Andrew, T Money and G Money’s self titled poster.

Kyle also had a trick up her sleeve. She surprised us with an extra special treat for the full workshop folks—AIGA Jax Coasters! She had setup an additional letterpress, an 1873 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press, with AIGA Jax type preset on it to run our custom coasters. AWESOME! It’s a self inking press whose setup and mechanics are different but it produces a similar result as the sign press. Check out the pictures below, they tell the story best.


An 1873 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press

I am uber passionate about design, typography, printing and learning how to do things hands-on so for me this event rocked my socks off. It was freaking awesome! What a cool concept the Moveable Type Truck is, wow! I was very impressed with the entire experience and Kyle is great. I highly recommend her and her Moveable Type Truck to everyone—designer or not! It was a great time and a truly memorable experience.

My pictures of the event are up on my Flickr page in the Moveable Type Truck set.

For details of our specific workshop (as posted on AIGA Jax’s site) check out the Event Page.

For details about the Moveable Type Truck check her site out: type-truck.com

Acquired Taste

7 Feb

On December 5th, 2011, six experienced and highly regarded creative directors and principals in Jacksonville gathered for a private dinner to discuss how their workflow, strategy, and business development have evolved throughout their careers. The gathering was for Acquired Taste—an elite panel discussion crafted and lead by Stephanie Soden and Jim Ward of AIGA Jax to be filmed for a short documentary soon to be released. The guests of honor discussed topics ranging from how they came to be where they are today, valuable things they’ve learned over the years, how they prepare for the future, and changes they have made to stay on the cutting edge of rapidly changing technology and venues for communication. The guests of honor were (in no particular order):

Mary Fisher
Owner of Mary Fisher Design

Carl Smith
Chief Keeper Upper and founding member of nGen Works

David Wingard
Owner and Creative Director of Wingard Creative

Jan Korb
CEO of BroadBased Marketing Communications and Public Relations

Jefferson Rall
 Creative Director at Brunet-García Advertising Inc

Mike Barnhart
Art Director at Shepherd

I had the privilege and honor to participate in the event as a volunteer. To have the opportunity to listen to individuals from our local creative community, people whom I have deep respect and admiration for, discuss subjects I am passionate about was an invaluable experience. Their discussion was fascinating. There was an innate sense of camaraderie shared by all throughout the evening that I can only assume stemmed from being in the presence of like minded individuals who share a mutual passion, similar experiences and speak a language few others understand. I found myself scribbling notes like a mad woman every chance I could. I captured some really solid stuff. Even though I am considered an experienced designer myself, I am still young in my career comparatively and I have much to learn and experience yet which was both humbling and exciting. I certainly aspire to one day achieve the level of experience, accomplishment and confidence that these professionals have.

I could go on and on about everything I learned, how awesome the event was and the crazy notes I captured. For the sake of brevity (well somewhat…) and also saving a few surprises for the documentary, I’ve narrowed down my notes to my personal key take-aways and sound bites I grabbed from the main topics discussed. For more, keep an eye out for the documentary scheduled to release this month at the AIGA event I Love Design (Feb. 16, 2012), it’s going to be epic!

My key take-aways and highlights…

My favorite quote of the night was from Carl Smith when he said “Do cool stuff for cool people. Eventually that will build into other great things and more cool people. It will make your day and your work better for it.” I really loved that. I mean, that is the ultimate goal right? Something to work towards for sure as I evolve in my life and career. A few of the highlights here I already knew and practice but it’s nice to hear it reiterated by seasoned professionals like these. There’s comfort in knowing that even though technology and communication are evolving rapidly, there are still basics to the profession that are timeless.

• Having a process helps get things done efficiently and makes people and clients feel safe.

• Anyone who is passionate is never satisfied.

• Make things every day.

• Branding is so much more than what you create and what you put on paper. It’s everything about you—from how you answer the phones, how you behave outside of work, how you pay it forward (or don’t)… everything!

• People will brand you if you don’t brand yourself. Find your voice before they find it for you and use it, LOUDLY. Be the loudest one out there to GET NOTICED!

• DON’T go after people’s accounts, especially if they help you.

• The power of know—knowing when to say no and how to say it the right way.

• The work is the catalyst and the identity of the agency. You can’t sell a business model, you sell your work.

• Keep good clients happy. If good clients are asking for something you don’t normally offer, find a way to provide it to them. Transcend expectations. Blow them away. Galvanize the relationship based on what your product is.

• Have a chemistry meeting with a potential client—if you like us and we like you let’s work together

• Sometimes you need to convince your client that the work is great, and why.

On the subject of new technology and rapidly changing venues for communication…

My key take-away here is to embrace technology, you have to, but ALWAYS remember that the design is paramount. There always has to be a good concept, a good design, an aesthetic to everything and consistency across all touch points—branding, print, web, PR, multimedia, Facebook, iPhone apps, etc. Without it your creative is crap and the technology is irrelevant.

• There are more ways to communicate now and the number is increasing. You can’t do it with the same number of people you used to be able to. It has certainly complicated things.

• Social media is a social network, it’s all about sharing, and it changes constantly so you have to stay on top of it to stay current.

• Social media is WORD OF MOUTH—SEO is NOT.

• Tweet ideas to find people who are interested and think like you do. It’s a flare sent from you out into the world to say “Hey! This is me and who I am.”

• Don’t do “me” tweets, thank people for compliments privately and don’t re-tweet your own PR—it’s tacky.

• There are some hybrid designers out there that can do more than one job at a time but the trouble with “tweeners” (in-betweeners = people who are responsible for two or more jobs) is they don’t have time to learn and grow because they’re doing two jobs.

• Tech people are totally different than creatives. The best developers are usually musicians because it’s all based on math but are not typically good designers.

On the subject of young designers & interns…

A brief discussion about new technology and young creatives brought up the topic of insecurities. It was refreshing to hear each panel member agree that at times there is an equal amount of insecurity for them as there is for the young creatives they meet and hire. It makes sense and it was refreshing to learn that even these power players in our creative community have moments of doubt and insecurity. It’s easy to forget in the presence of people we admire that no matter who someone is we are all human and experience vulnerability at times. Creatives are always afraid of not being good enough no matter what experience level or age. I appreciated and respected their candor on the topic. In the end though no matter how talented, driven or tech savvy a young creative may be, the one thing they will never have over a senior creative is experience. Our panel’s main piece of advice for young creatives is to put your time in, nothing beats experience. Below are a few more sound bites on the subject.

• Interns are great for new, emerging media.

• Students almost shut down from fear when it’s real because school is so controlled.

• Throw your creatives, especially newbie designers, into the fire and make them figure it out.

• Take a risk on a design from your creatives, even if it isn’t your taste. Let someone really run with their ideas, see where it takes everyone

• Fight for what is right and let your designers fight for it too—hear what they have to say. Teach them and help them to build confidence in themselves and their work.

Advice for young designers & interns…

• Come up with solutions, not problems (this goes for anyone).

• Do things quick and not perfect.

• Do not jump right on the computer. Sketch!

• Don’t over design it

• Share, be open and fake confidence until you have it.

• You have to be durable

• You have to learn when to let go and don’t get too attached

• Estimate time, Give a range of what it will cost, track and bill your time—ALWAYS! YOU HAVE TO!

• It’s more about time and it being correct and done right than it is about money

• If you want to get noticed, hired, a foot in the door, etc… CALL PEOPLE! Pick up the phone and call people!
(when asked what made them decide to participate in this event most said it was the fact that Stephanie or Jim called them to invite them personally, that made the difference and tipped the scale in favor)

On the topic of how to stay current, grow your business and longevity

• Develop business acumen

• David C. Baker—consultant for firms in the marketing industry.

• HOW’s Mind Your Own Business Conference

• Peers and CEO leadership groups

• Learn, read, network

• Campfire or Basecamp—collaborative business tools

• Learn from the people you learned from

• Learn from people with different skill sets

• Learn from younger people too because they are on the cutting edge usually, they learn faster and they have unbridled enthusiasm

• Hire really good interns and young people

• Second wind—http://www.secondwindonline.com/aboutus.asp—a powerful information resource designed with one thing in mind – helping smaller and midsize advertising agencies, design firms and related businesses to be better.

Cool / Useful Stuff Found Online April – August 2011

10 Oct

Here’s a collection of FB posts I’ve posted over the past 4 months (or so) of cool and/or useful things I’ve found online sometime between April and August 2011. Enjoy!
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Love Jessica Hische! Should I Work for Free?
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Thanks HOW Blog and Cameron Moll for turning me on to this site:
Designers MX
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HOW Magazine – The Rhythm of Design by Stephanie Orma: “To execute the animation, a duo from MIT was enlisted to create the laser-burning process of transferring McFetridge’s illustrations onto the toast (no Photoshop or After Effects trickery used here!). The results yielded several still images combined in a sequence to create the final piece. In total, 2,430 pieces of toast were used in the making of the video–no.
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This looks like it might be a good resource for newbies to web. I like the design of it but haven’t had a chance to read through it yet. Let me know what you think: Don’t Fear the Internet
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Need a job? Willing to relocate? Check this job board out. You never know where you might find your next (or first) opportunity: Authentic Jobs
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I ❤ Type:
Friends of Type
Awesome typography examples: Type Everything
5 Typographic No-No’s
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Free, high quality stock photos. Enjoy!! Stock.XCHNG
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These are cool! There are 3 of them (Move, Learn, Eat) here’s the “Move” one.
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Cool stop motion video using over 4,500 still photographs! Sara Lov – A Thousand Bees
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This is hilarious – 37 Ways to Get Fired
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CoolPictureGallery – 13 Most Creative Advertisements You Have Ever Seen
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This is so awesome! Mig Reyes (from Threadless) created this with a friend of his while they were still in school. They taught themselves After Effects AND created this in just over 4 days to enter into the 7th annual film festival called Artimation held at Art Institute of Schaumburg. It was inducted into the 8th annual Artimation the following year: Mig Reyes – The Hush Sound – Lyons Roar

Advice for Beginners from Ira Glass

27 Apr

Received this in my email today from a Before & After Magazine and had to share. Words of true wisdom stemming from years of experience. Great advice for creatives in any medium, especially for beginners. We all start somewhere.
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From Ira Glass …

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me … is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
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Ira Glass is the host and producer of This American Life talks about the building blocks of a great story. Click here for the full original video (runtime 5:20).

It’s OK to Print

24 Apr

If you didn’t attend AIGA Jax’s “It’s OK to Print” speaker event, then you missed out on some serious schwag! There were lots of goodies to be had at the Paper Mill Exhibition from Mac Papers awesome partners. All of the big dogs were there – Neenah, Mohawk, Domtar, Sappi, Wausau, International, New Page, Fibermark, Reich and French. These companies were handing out everything from swatch books, chip charts and printed samples, to cool promos such as a build your own clock kit from Neenah, buttons, paper “specs” glasses and posters from French and a great book on Folding and Scoring from Sappi which is filled with over 50 examples of fun folding techniques. It was a great chance to meet and talk with paper reps about their products and the latest trends and changes in the industry. Printing and paper are so major in the design world, you really can’t ever know enough about these subjects. Like all things design, this industry is constantly evolving. Which is exactly what this event was about – how print is not dead, it is here to stay and how it is still an important and viable part of today’s marketing.

The keynote speaker was Wayne Dennis, Corporate Director of Sustainability at Mac Papers. He talked about how print is still one of the most economical and environmentally responsible options you can select for marketing and all the reasons why. His talk was lively and very informative. He talked to us about what works and doesn’t work in Green Marketing, what environmental responsibility means, why it’s important and how it is not a dead issue, it is now an industry standard. He had lots of pop-questions that would appear in his presentation and each time one did he would choose someone in the crowd to toss a cute, plush World Wildlife Fund toy to for the answer which really helped keep his presentation fun and engaging.

Sustainability in design is something I am passionate about and have been researching and practicing (to the best of my abilities and client’s budgets) since college. His talk touched on many points that I am already familiar with but here are few statistics and key points I found interesting from his presentation:

  • Reading on paper is 10% easier to read and 30% easier to understand than online
  • 30% less carbon is emitted to produce a newspaper for 1 person to read a paper for 1 year than for 1 person to read online for 30 minutes.
  • Electronics use 90% fossil fuels purchased off grid
  • An average of 78% of all power used by US paper mills comes from alternative fuel sources such as wind and hydroelectric power. Some paper mills have been using green energy practices since the early 1900’s (French paper has been producing it’s paper using 100% Hydroelectric power since 1922!)
  • 98% of consumers bring mail in the day they receive it; 77% look through it that day
  • A persons mood increases 26% by the touch of tactile printed paper
  • Print is viewed as trustworthy and objective; web is viewed as timely
  • Print and electronic media work very well together:
    – Ad campaigns that combine direct mail with on online component yield up to an additional 25% response rate
    – The use of PURL’s (Personal URL’s) on print can create three times the response rate
    – QR Codes!
  • Sappi and Neenah have online programs and apps for your phone to measure how sustainable your project is based on specs that you provide

At the end of the event I came away with four large bags filled to the gills with loot from the paper mills and these closing thoughts:

  • Print is not dead but times are a changing and it has become an option, no longer the standard;
  • Print is more environmentally friendly than electronics and comes from a renewable and responsibly managed (in the US) source;
  • Print is still a powerful, important and viable medium in marketing and communication; when paired effectively with internet components – such as: calls to action directing consumers to a website, QR codes, PURL’s – marketing efforts yield much higher results/ROI.

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