Archive | September, 2011

Keep on keepin on

29 Sep

Self Doubt

You know how you doubt yourself so much, sometime you just want to give up?
I’m sure we’ve all been there, but what I’ve learned is that giving up doesn’t get you anywhere. Be persistent, and keep doing. If you stop, then that’s when you have failed.

We are all afraid of failing, but failing is just more motivation to do better the next time. There’s this amazing book designer, Irma Boom, who said that each of her books is a mistake, a mistake she looks to correct with the next book. If Irma’s books are a mistake, than some of my work must be huge fuck ups!

You always have to try to do better, and continue to create. If you’re stuck when someone gives you an assignment and you just don’t know what to do, than just make art for art’s sake. Being designers, we can often stray far away from our looser, artistic side. It’s good to go back to those roots and loosen up a little. Most of the time, creating art for selfish reasons can bring forth ideas for your client projects.

If you think you’re not good enough, than just get better. You only get better if you try and keep momentum. Practice makes perfect right!

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Too Fast? Slow down a little

27 Sep

Keeping up with the times is challenging when things change by the minute. The trending topic on Twitter doesn’t stay consistent for more than a few hours, and even then how does that effect the conversation around the world?

This constant battle to catch up is a prompt to prepare students and the generations to come on how to prepare for this stress and also realize its ok to not always keep up.

Being in the graphic design industry, much of our job is about trends. We want our clients and ourselves to look like we’re starting the new wave, or at least riding it. This is not an easy thing, and most of the time it’s up to the designer and their resources. I also think location can be a large factor in this as well, which creates a push to branch out of your immediate community.

So how can you attempt to stay on top? Follow popular blogs that have many bloggers contributing. Chances are, there job is to find the next best thing, so they will know first and can share with others. Following tech blogs is also helpful because they may have tips to share. For me, Twitter is a great way to keep up with these blogs, because when they post something interesting, it’s usually related to something that happened that day or that week.

Read or watch the news. No one wants to be out of the loop so when someone makes a cultural or political reference you have no idea what they’re talking about.

Talk to people. They probably know something you don’t, so don’t sit at home and search for trends, go out and find them.

I’ve also noticed that shopping can bring some insight into what’s next (even though it might be a little late because these products are already on the shelves).

Keep an eye on the trendsetters! To name a few, Facebook, Google, large design firms and ad agencies, celebrities, Rachel Zoe, etc. You get the point.

It’s a fast paced world, and there is no speed limit. It’s ok to slow down every once in awhile.

Edumacation

24 Sep

What is the future of education? I see more expensive college, more difficult classes in high school, and less funding for education.

One thing I learned from college, is that the teacher would push you, but you ultimately had to learn things on your own or from other classmates mistakes. School is all about mistakes. Making mistakes you learn from and try not to repeat. Or after creating a mistake, you know what not to do next.

When in a learning environment, students should experiment as much as possible. By experimenting and trying new things they can discover what they really enjoy doing. You can’t force anyone to like anything or to have a specific style. If you stifle a student’s creativity and curiosity, they may never grow.

The teacher is there to guide the student, to be a reference and answer some of their questions. I think what many students don’t understand is that the teacher will never have all of the answers. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be teaching. Students need to learn from others besides their professor. The professor is there to keep you on track, push you, challenge you, and make sure you grow. Your classmates are there to encourage, critique, challenge, help, brainstorm, and connect with. Your classmates are often the people you will learn the most from. That’s the beauty of a school setting, there’s this network of a community where most people have similar interests yet all different skill sets. They all come from different places, different backgrounds, and that’s why it’s so great to take advantage of the resources right next to you.

That is one thing about school I regret. I was often too shy to ask a classmate for feedback or advice. I would just try to figure it out on my own, because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do.

Knowledge is free, or at least its supposed to be. Gaining knowledge is what costs money. Most of us want knowledge so we can be better at what we do. But what’s the price you should pay to gain this knowledge? I think tens of thousands of dollars is a little too much, but in this day and age you have to spend that if you want a job. You need that certificate to better yourself. But who’s to say we learn everything we need to from these institutions.

I think the gaining of knowledge should be a right for every person. It’s not something you should be so lucky to receive because you’re wealthy.

Learning is Kerning

16 Sep

What is the future of education? I see more expensive college, more difficult classes in high school, and less funding for education.

One thing I learned from college, is that the teacher would push you, but you ultimately had to learn things on your own or from other classmates’ mistakes. School is all about mistakes. Making mistakes you learn from and try not to repeat. Or after creating a mistake, you know what not to do next time.

When in a learning environment, students should experiment as much as possible. By experimenting and trying new things they can discover what they really enjoy doing. You can’t force anyone to like anything or to have a specific style. If you stifle a student’s creativity and curiosity, they may never grow.

The teacher is there to guide the student, to be a reference and answer some of their questions. I think what many students don’t understand is that the teacher will never have all of the answers. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be teaching. Students need to learn from others besides their professor. The professor is there to keep you on track, push you, challenge you, and make sure you grow. Your classmates are there to encourage, critique, brainstorm, and connect with. Your classmates are often the people you will learn the most from. That’s the beauty of a school setting, there’s this network of a community where most people have similar interests yet all different skill sets. They all come from different places, different backgrounds, and that’s why it’s so great to take advantage of the resources right next to you.

That is one thing about school I regret. I was often too shy to ask a classmate for feedback or advice. I would just try to figure it out on my own, because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do.

Keepin’ it Fresh

14 Sep

Being fresh has nothing to do with age. Staying on top of things requires research and awareness. Anyone can become a guru on the next big thing. You just have to teach yourself.

The general thought is that the millennial generation knows the most about social media platforms, technology, trends, and anything new and fresh. The younger minds are more acquainted with the younger ideas and gadgets. They have new ideas and they’re inexperienced minds are able to bring about thoughts that haven’t been brought up before.

So how do older generations stay fresh and hip? That is up to the individual. You can read or do research, you can try something new, or surround yourself with the younger generation and see what they’re up to. I know plenty of people past their prime who stay fresh, young, and on top without letting age keep them stuck in the past.

Age has nothing to do with how fresh your ideas are. Keep yourself inspired by learning and experiencing. You can only inspire yourself; no one else can create that for you.

Type Truck comes to MKE

14 Sep

So the Movable Type Truck came to Milwaukee, thanks to Kate Strzok who owns Broadway Paper. Hearing about the truck through blogs, I was really excited it was making an appearance in Milwaukee.

The Type Truck is ran by Kyle, who owns Power and Light Press out of Portland, Oregon. She’s been on this excursion all summer and is planning on traveling for a year.

There’s no charge, just a tin out for donations for travel expenses. You walk right up to the truck, take a look at some of her work, and pull a print! This is an awesome way of educating and bringing awareness of letter press and how it works. Letter press is definitely prevalent in the design community, but to actually experience it is something special.

When I was there, the line wasn’t too long, but I hope more people came later. I think opportunities like this are often missed in Milwaukee, and maybe it’s just because we’re a small city or maybe the powers of social media are not that strong. If you missed the Type Truck this time, be sure to catch it next time it comes around.

If I had the money and opportunity to do something like the Movable Type Truck, I’d do it.

My Print! (It looks a lot better in real life)

Why you need to be social

2 Sep

Most of the time, when you need something you simply go and get it. The US is a country of convenience. But what if you need some advice? Or if you need someone to support your cause? You can’t really go to the store and pick these things up.

That’s when you need to reach a wider, global network. Thanks to the amazing powers of the internets, you can reach a large network.

Being social means more than just going out and doing things. It means engaging with people; a give and take relationship. No one likes to sit through a one-way conversation, and this translates to social platforms as well. People love when they get comments, likes, shares, digs, retweets, etc. By supporting their statement, it shows that you are interested, watching them (this is a good thing, not a creepy stalker thing), and that you care about what they have to say.

Sure, sometimes your network will seem very small, maybe only a few hundred people are following you on Twitter or you only have 400 Facebook friends, (300 of which you don’t talk to anymore), but even then, you reach more people than you think. According to my Klout score, I influence about 69 people, I have 177 followers and am friends with about 300 people on Facebook (50 that I actually care to keep in contact with). Thinking about this, I’m not even sure if I have 69 acquaintances!

To be influential on social media, you have to be active. If you only tweet once a month, people forget about you and chances are they will often miss you tweets. Try tweeting at peak times as well, between 10am-1pm, and 8pm-11pm.

Be active, engage, and share your knowledge. You’d be surprised and how many people are listening.