October 30, 2014

Paul Jarvis on Doing More & Promoting Less

If the work you’re promoting on social media isn’t getting enough traction to build a customer base, the answer is seldom that you need to promote it more. What it probably means is that you need to do better work–or at least refocus that work to be more valuable to its intended audience. Social media is an amplifier, so it can only amplify value in the work you do. It can’t create value that isn’t present in the work itself.

Paul Jarvis via Fast Company

Why do you make?

October 30, 2014

Coffee Thoughts

Random thoughts from this morning’s coffee sesh.

  • There is seldom, if ever, a clear path forward.
  • Everyone is on a discrete path, all you can do is explore your own.
  • There will always be opportunities if you look for them and have the courage to pursue them.
  • Nothing is once-in-a-lifetime except for the interactions we have with others.
  • The moment is all around us. Quit looking for it on a screen.
  • Never let fear of the unknown or ‘what-if’ mentality control your decision making.
  • Living on your own terms is achieved through financial independence.
  • Only spend money on things that bring real value and align with what you want to achieve.
  • You can have a lot more fun when you’re not worried how you’re going to pay rent.

October 28, 2014

Show Your Work : SCPW Logo Process (Part II)

Logo Process

We left off with Part 1 of my logo process after creating a mood board that reflected the desired style and direction as established in the initial creative brief. Now, with a bit of reference material and inspiration in place, I’ll bang out a couple pages worth of thumbnail sketches. The point of these sketches is to get as many ideas on paper as possible. As such, I like to sketch in pen as it prevents me from getting too detailed or editing sketches. Depending on the project constraints, I’ll spend about an hour roughing out potential ideas.

Read More

October 24, 2014

Rave On – It’s Friday!

Hey you know those people that act like they don’t care that it’s Friday cuz they love their job so much. They’re all a bunch of liars. TGIF bitches.

October 23, 2014

Why Do You Make?

Lately I’ve noticed myself falling back into the same rut that goes a little like this:

Make something > post to various channels > obsessively monitor likes/shares/retweets/etc…

But you know what? Fuck that. I’m over seeking validation through social media. Which got me thinking… why do I make? It’s a good question that I don’t really have an answer for. On some basic level, it’s in my nature and lineage. My father is a builder. His father is a builder, my other grandfather a farmer and my great-grandfather a mechanic. It’s in my midwest blood.

Creating, whether it’s sketching, drawing, writing, photography, or design provides an outlet. However, with the advent of social media, it seems like we subject our works to undue standards and criticism. We use likes and shares as a measure of success and even let it influence what we create, “Will this get x-many likes?” – and if not, we don’t make it. Like I said, fuck that.

While social is a great tool for distribution and connection, it’s terrible for creativity. Instead of making for ourselves, we now have a world-wide audience at our fingertips that we’re constantly trying to please. It’s design by committee to the max, and even worse, it provides infinite opportunities to measure ourselves and work against our peers. And nothing good ever comes from measuring yourself against others. We all do it on some level, but seriously, it’s the worst.

Here’s what I’m proposing; before making, ask yourself ‘If no one ever saw this, would I still make it?’ I know as creative-types (cringe) we crave validation which often comes when people use or find inspiration in our work, however, I’m confident that if we’re truly making for ourselves and not for the internet, this will become organic over time.

Also, quit checking social notifications. You’re not missing out on anything, I promise.

Further Reading: Jeff Tweedy on Doing What You Love

October 21, 2014

Southern Exposure on Gooseberry Mesa

Gooseberry Mesa - Hurricane, Utah

It’s un-officially desert season in Utah, and as such, we took advantage of the weekend and fled the Wasatch in search of red rock and campfire shenanigans. Which, as it turns out, they dish out in spades up on Gooseberry Mesa.

Fillmore Beaver, Utah Gooseberry Mesa - Hurricane, Utah PA180188 PA180245 PA170055

If you enjoyed this post, check out my Ode to Fall.

October 16, 2014

Show Your Work : SCPW Mood Board (Part 1)

Pinterest Mood Board

Above: Pinterest Mood Board for SCPW

A few months back I committed to showing my work. Well it’s safe to say that I failed miserably, however I am quite excited about a project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks and decided it would be a good time to start sharing my process again.

The project is an identity system for SCPW and in the initial brief, we established that we wanted the brand to have a very mid-century utility aesthetic, inspired by union seals and power & light companies before they had goofy names like Xfinity, Cinergy, Verizon, etc… It’s always helpful when the client comes to the table with a strong idea of what they want as it provides some solid constraints from the get-go making the designers job much easier.

Often the first step of an identity project is to get a concept in place, however, since we established this in the creative brief I can jump right into the research phase. During the research or inspiration phase, I like to create a mood board that reflects the look and feel I’m after. Pinterest is an excellent tool for this, and allows you to work in the open, which helps keep lazy designers honest and own their inspiration.

Once I have a good grasp on the visual I’m after, the next step is to create a couple dozen rough thumbnail sized sketches based off the mood board. Once I have narrowed these roughs down to a solid two or three directions, I’ll not look at the mood board again until after the identity comes into it’s own. We’ll cover the roughs stage more thoroughly in the second part of this process series, so for now, head over and check out the mood board for SCPW on Pinterest.

Continue Reading Part 2

October 15, 2014

Bill Murray on Doing Good Work & Howard Stern

I think the only reason I’ve had the career life that I’ve had is that someone told me some secrets early on about living. You can do the very best you can when you’re very, very relaxed, no matter what it is or what your job is, the more relaxed you are the better you are. That’s sort of why I got into acting. I realized the more fun I had, the better I did it. And I thought, that’s a job I could be proud of. It’s changed my life learning that, and it’s made me better at what I do.

Bill Murray via Trent Walton

The otherwise aloof Bill Murray has been out-and-about lately promoting his new movie St. Vincent. He has some very wise words about doing good work. I heard him on Howard Stern recently where he echoed his above sentiment. Basically he’s built his career on his own terms, opting out of otherwise lucrative roles and ventures where he wouldn’t have had a voice or the freedom to own it and make it his.

Listen to Bill Murray’s interview with Howard Stern, as well as read more about owning your work.