January 6, 2015

Lessons Learned in 2014


I’ve never subscribed to setting New Year’s resolutions or goals. Which I’ve written extensively about in the past. However, I do think it is important to take the New Year to look forward on how to improve life, as well as reflect on what we’ve learned in the year past. So here’s a short list of life lessons from 2014, which personally speaking, was one of my best years yet.

  • Following your passion most often will not lead to monetary success.
  • Instead, financial freedom enables us to follow our passion.
  • No one is going to pick you to do good work.
  • There is no end-result or final destination (other than death). You must enjoy the process to lead a fulfilled life.
  • Social media is an absolute fucking waste of time.
  • Promotion is not equal to creation.
  • Winning formula: make > refine > ship > repeat.
  • Loud bars are a waste of time.
  • Everyone will eventually let you down. The people who recognize when they do are the ones worth keeping close.
  • The people you spend time with are a reflection upon yourself. Choose wisely.
  • Recognition & merit rarely go hand-in-hand.
  • Everyone has their own struggle. No one’s path is easy.
  • Comparing yourself to others is a fool’s errand.
  • These are the good old days.
  • Real experiences don’t occur on a screen.
  • Working smart > working hard
  • Vulnerability is the sincerest way to build an audience
  • Make time, not money.

December 8, 2014

On Mick Jagger’s Famous-ness

He is a famous, famous person. He looks famous, even if he wasn’t in the Rolling Stones if you saw him on the street, you’d go “Oh… can I pay money to look at you”… Those people who have played arenas just have different outlook, I don’t mean mean or diva-ish. but he never had that thing of being anything but Mick Jagger. He would never be like “Oh dude… does anybody have a laptop cord I can borrow?”

John Mulaney discussing Mick Jagger on WTF with Marc Maron

November 26, 2014

Screw Black Friday – Buy Local

Powder Day Saint Hoodie

Hoodies are in the shop and available for pre-order! Use code HOODIE15 and order before December 1 to take 15% off! As always, my hoodies & tees are designed and printed right here in Utah which means your money goes to support local artists and makers like myself, and in no way fuels the corporate Black Friday bullshit machine.

Pre-Order Yours Today!

November 12, 2014

StartUp Podcast

StartUp Podcast

StartUp is a new series with Alex Blumberg from This American Life & Planet Money that follows Blumberg as he starts a podcast company. I’ve been hooked from the beginning, listening and re-listening to episodes as soon as they come out. The series is currently on it’s seventh episode and packed full with lessons pertaining to starting a business and investing.

Give it a listen over at Hear StartUp.

November 10, 2014

In Praise of Data-Driven Design

When designers don’t know which problems to solve, we spin our wheels. We make products prettier when we could be solving customer’s needs and generating real value. So any company that’s serious about design should get equally serious about listening to customers.

What Fuels Great Design by Braden Kowitz

November 6, 2014

Are You a Commodity?

There are two sets of design professionals. The first set are commodities, and deliver value on a production level. These designers set their rates by the hour, and have a direct relationship between time and money. Typically these professionals have a fair amount of competition, and their market becomes saturated over time. They possess no un-fair advantage, and rely on self-promotion and marketing as a means to winning new work. What’s more, in the tech age, there is likely a product or service available that can accomplish what they are offering for a lower price with little-to-no disadvantage for the end-user or client.

Above I’ve described about 99% of design agencies and freelancers operating today.

The second set has de-commoditized themselves. They function on a conceptual/intellectual level, and have established themselves as disrupters in their industry. Think 2004 Apple. This set of professionals charge for the solutions they provide, not the amount of time it took them to solve the problem. Clients are willing to pay over 3x what the competition would charge because they’re providing a value, service, or product that isn’t available anywhere else in the market.

The latter is the 1%. There are a handful of designers and agencies that fall into the second category. 37 Signals, Undercurrent, Ben Pieratt, Frank Chimero, & Khoi Vinh immediately come to mind. They are offering something that is not readily available and can not be crowd-sourced. They’ve established their unfair-advantage, and bring concrete value to the table with every project. This group does not build business around self-promotion or marketing, instead the work seeks them.

With that said…

How have you de-commoditized yourself or brand? Can you measure your value outside the traditional time-for-money proposition? What is the problem you’re facing and is it worth solving? What is your unfair advantage?

These are all questions I pose to myself somewhat daily as a designer. As of yet, no clear answer has emerged, and more often than not, I find myself taking on work that puts me back in the first group. However, the second option is attainable if we reconsider our approach as well as think critically about the problems at hand. What is clear is this: If I’m doing work that provides similar or little value more than a pre-built template or crowd-sourced solution, than it’s the wrong kind of work.

November 4, 2014


If non-voters started voting for outliers who live their morals, our democracy would change completely in less than a decade.

Seth Godin

October 31, 2014

Show Your Work : SCPW Logo Process (Part III)

Logo Process

We left off with Part 2 of my logo process with a set of refined sketches. The next step is presenting the sketches to the client and determine a final direction, as well as gather any potential feedback they may have. In this case, the client felt the above sketch best communicated the intended brand and most reflected the audience. To see the other sketches, go back to Part 2.

After client sign-off, I make any additional tweaks to the sketch I see fit with pencil and paper. In this case, I feel it’s pretty close to the intended result and any additional tweaks can easily be addressed on the computer, so I scan it and begin the digitization process. Working in illustrator using shapes and the pathfinder tools I vectorize the sketch and make the necessary alterations to the final letter-forms.


Early in the process we determined that the core mark would be the SCPW. From there, I’d deliver additional variations that took into account the full name of the organization.

logo process

Above is the full Summit Community Power Works logo.

logo process

Additionally, given the industry, we liked the idea incorporating a badge treatment into the brand, which can be seen above.

With final mark and logo variations intact, I now send to the client for final approval.

There it is, my full logo process from start to finish. I’m more than stoked on the way the final result came out, and even more importantly, so is the client. If you’re a designer, please chime in with any questions or feedback, as well as thoughts on your own process.

If you’re in the market for a new logo or identity, or simply need to tweak your existing brand feel free to reach out with any questions.

Contact Me to Start Your Logo Project