Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Wednesday!

It wouldn't be a happy Wednesday without a super cute baby animal!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


In the last week I have seen the final version of Renovate Style. I couldn't be happier that it's finished. I'm thrilled to no longer be a stress-eating monster, and it looks quite nice too! Congratulations to Chelsea, Philip and Abbey. You guys did amazing work on this magazine, and I'm so happy to have worked with you! I'm looking forward to seeing the other prototypes and getting this presentation over with! Can you tell I'm Renovate Style-d out?

I also put together some website prototypes for a client in Houston. They're looking at them now. I'm just waiting to see if they want more tweaks.

Abbey and I designed the beautiful feature that will come out in Vox tomorrow. Even though we waited for ages to get the photos, it was worth it. The entire feature well was devoted to the story, entitled the Art of the Encore. We went for lots of textures and a mix of black and white photography. I think our motif of repetition is a great touch as well. I just wish the last spread didn't have THREE ads on it!

This week I'm working on a feature design for Global Journalist, and I'll be getting my mini portfolio printed. I'm also waiting to hear back on a few possibilities for more freelance jobs. Ooh, and I'm going to revamp my website—take a bunch of stuff off and put tons of new stuff on! Exciting times!


My final semester of college is winding down, and like many of you (I'm sure), I've gotten a little nostalgic. My mom called me last night. She had been looking through the blog I kept when I was in London this time last year. She read the beginning of an entry I had written a year ago today. Time passes so quickly. When you're in the midst of it, it takes forever to get through four years, but lately even the weeks go by in a blur. I think about where I was (logistically/emotionally) one year ago and things aren't so different. I was about to leave a place I had fallen in love with, and the fantastic people and friends I met in London were staying behind as they continued their lives with or without me. I had to try to do the same when the plane landed in Kansas City.

Now I am preparing to leave (at least academically) a place where I have spent the past four years growing up and making friends. Life will continue as usual, but in a couple of weeks I will cross some imaginary line into something different. Maybe it won't feel deeply meaningful. Maybe I won't notice any change at all. It could be like getting a year older. I don't think my feelings of uncertainty will change from what they are now. I won't automatically have a job and I don't think I'll be entirely thrilled to be financially independent. I do think I might stop obsessively biting my fingernails. I might sleep a little too. And I'm looking forward to spending more time with the ones I love. Which means that Tom and I are taking a road-trip with my mom and dad this summer to visit my brother in Big Sky Country!

If there is anything I have learned this semester, it is that work is important. Doing good work is even more important. But being able to find a way to balance work and the everything else is most important.

Monday, April 20, 2009

You Can't Miss

I try to keep a file of ideas—visual and written—to help when I'm stuck. In the past year I've gotten pretty lazy about updating. I suppose I lose too many glue sticks. That's why I'm really excited about Image Spark.

It's your own virtual library that allows you to tag any images you find on the web and add them automatically to your Image Spark page. No more oversized InDesign files and no more lost scraps of paper—it's all in one electronic place. Wahoo! I just started this, so I don't have much, but I can see how it will become quite addictive. Check out my library! and then make your own.

Speaking of ideas and inspiration, if you can't make it across the pond, you can visit the London Design Museum's design library for information on an infinite number of designers and projects. It's a great resource if you're interested in finding out more about any well-known person in the industry.


The weeks never unbusy themselves. In the past week I've spent most of my time finalizing Renovate Style. It goes to the printer on Wednesday, and *fingers crossed* all will turn out splendidly. I've had a great time working with the other designers on this project, and as I've said before, it's been a great learning experience. I am, though, looking forward to having dreams that aren't Renovate Style related.

I also picked up a freelance job for a Texas company. It's a web job, so that's fun. Luckily, I get to skip the coding and just design in Photoshop. There's someone who will work the web technicalities out (yay!). I don't want to say too much, but it's tough because the client doesn't want to use any photos or imagery. I feel like my creativity is being pushed into undiscovered territory, and I'm anxious to hear the feedback on my prototypes.

I did, though, take a little design break to spend some time in Kansas City. It was worth the torrential storm we drove through on Saturday to make it home. Tom and I played lots of pool (I'm a bit of a shark!), ate way too much food and bought too many clothes. It was good to spend time with my family and attempt to remove myself from the stress that I currently associate with living in Columbia. We spent Sunday afternoon adventuring through Lawrence and happened upon Local Burger. It's a cute little diner that serves locally-produced and grown food. You pick your own burger meat —buffalo, turkey, beef, elk, veggie, soy—and enjoy the fact that you're eating all natural, local food. If you make it out to Lawrence, definitely plan on stopping for a snack.

Besides craving delicious veggie burgers, in the next week I'll be picking up more jobs at the Design Center, finishing my mini portfolio and applying for more jobs.

Monday, April 13, 2009


It's a given that Julia Hoffman is incredibly busy. As the new creative director of MoMA, she just unveiled the redesign of the museum brand, and she's in the middle of a million other things. I was thrilled that she would take time out of her day—her weekend!—to answer the questions I had for her. I think the one piece of information I really took to heart was the motif of time throughout all of her answers. Most of the work week is spent in at least 4 meetings each day. Her time to be creative doesn't even start until after 6 p.m. Sundays are special to her. She usually doesn't have to work on them, unlike her previous jobs. Her experiences with rebranding are similar to what I have learned this past semester. It's difficult to push your own ideas aside and allow for flexibility.

"It's something you cannot teach," she says. "You need to feel it, it just somehow feels right. It's really difficult to share this with designers who are not as involved with the redesign. You have to put your ego and own preference aside and focus on the brand."


The past week has been a blur. I think, if I remember correctly, most of the design work was Renovate|Style. I have to say, it's been a great learning process to be a part of the team, but I am getting to the point that everyone is reaching—we're ready for it to wrap up. Things are going well though, and I think we're well-ahead of the game. My goal is to make most of the final edits by Friday, but we all know this sort of a goal rarely goes as planned.

In other news, Epic arrived on Friday in full, beautiful, ink-smelling booky form. After the initial shock of watching dozens of boxes arrive with 800 copies of the magazine, I was able to open it up. I'm kicking myself for one thing (which I will not mention because it's not good to dwell), but now I know what to pay attention to for next time. I'm looking forward to the release party on Friday, which anyone is invited to attend. Come to the Artisan at 7 pm and pick up a free copy for yourself!

I've finished the design (well, most of it) for my mini portfolio, and I'm quite excited. I'm going to print a proof to make sure things are working correctly. I'll be in Kansas City at the weekend, and plan on making a long, over-indulgent stop at Paper Source to choose some lovely pretty things to make the portfolio lovelier and well, prettier.

I'll also be putting together a little graduation announcement for myself. I'd like to screen print something, but I'm not sure if I can get around to ordering the paper I need in time, so we'll see how that goes. May turn it into a digital print project.

Oh, and I just learned that the Fiber Arts Tour and Exhibits was granted the funding I applied for earlier this semester, so I think a celebratory glass of wine or two is most necessary.

In the week ahead, I'll be working on cover prototypes for Vox's 4/30 issue, designing the 4/30 feature, sending Renovate|Style to the printers and getting started on a freelance website job.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

You Can't Miss: Good Idea

A while ago I contacted Luke Lisi, a graduate of the University of Kansas and a designer at the Kansas City-based firm, Willoughby Design. He worked on Kiosk, KU'S graphic and literary magazine, which, despite going to Mizzou, I've managed to collect over the years. It's hard to actually describe, but he and a few other designers worked out a way to legibly "write" words on the edges of pages. I wanted to try something like that with Epic. Luke kindly went above and beyond and created a functional and beautiful tutorial for me. He's now using my question as his first post on a blog that he's going to fill with details on the things he learns and how-to's.

It's been a long day, so instead of reading my explanation, just visit Luke's blog and get inspired for yourself.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

You Can't Miss

I constantly peruse graphic design websites from all over, and most of the time they make me feel quite inadequate. In a good way, I suppose. I know I have much more to learn, and the exciting part about design (or any artform, for that matter) is that you're never "the best." There is always room for improvement, and everyone needs a refresher course every once in a while.

I thought I'd share this extremely informative and helpful website with you, which I found via Quipsologies:

50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory.

Oh, how I wish I had discovered the grid lessons to show my Design One students. It's okay, I'll make them visit the website anyway. The Graphic Design Fundamentals lesson illustrates the key themes and criticisms of Alexander White (one of our faves). There's even a lesson on typography for graphic design students (us!!). Definitely check this out. If you're low on cash (and at this point in the semester aren't we all?), this resource gives you a halfway decent excuse to sell back some of those design textbooks.

Over at Made by Many, Anajli tested out Hunch. It's a website that claims to answer any question you ask it based on an algorithm it creates after you've answered a few questions about your personality. It's still in beta form, so it's invite only for now, but the idea sounds interesting. A more in-depth, multi-word answering Magic 8 Ball? Anajli says it still needs work, but the potential is there, especially if it's claiming to work like Netflix—the more questions you ask, the better it gets at answering. Still, how necessary is it for a web application to make decisions for us? Maybe it's just a fun thing. Maybe it could be helpful for focus groups. But I still think you lose a part of yourself by leaving the decision-making to a computer.

When it does go public, though, maybe it'll tell me where I should go on vacation this summer.


With Epic at the printers and having checked the proofs on Friday, I took a little design hiatus this week. I focused mostly on Renovate Style designs and presentations, taking naps and going to a couple of great shows—something I haven't done in Columbia in what feels like ages.
I did, though, throw together an invite for the Epic Release party. It's a rip of what I did for those old Vox covers, but I think it works better here.

We had a productive meeting with the Renovate Style publishers on Wednesday, and, miraculously, things seem on schedule. Of course, on Sunday we made some major edits to pages that had already been designed, but I think they look much better and are more in-line with the magazine's mission. We'll be working on more departments and features this week. I'll need to choose a few cover options and work on the Table of Contents as soon as I get copy.

Tom was busy this week putting together Limehouse, a free arts magazine that will be distributed throughout Dublin. He's working on it right now. I'm trying not to bug him, but it looks so good! He's promised to let me put up a few pages for you to see. It goes to the printers this week just in time for the launch party with Urban Outfitters. So cooly cool, right? I'll make sure to post a link to the website/myspace page when it's up and running. Makes me wish The Publisher commissioned fashion/art prototypes!

I hate to say it, but I've made no progress on my mini portfolio. I keep getting stuck on the ideas. I think, with deadlines looming, the best option at this point is to make a choice and stick with it. Maybe I'll have something to show you (or at least some solid ideas) by next week. Actually, I guess I'll have to.

I'm working on a bespoke little graduation announcement, but it's not much for now. I'm more concerned about the cupcakes that will be at the party! I want these!

Meanwhile, I'm interviewing Julia Hoffman, the Creative Director of the Museum of Modern Art to talk about trends and the industry. She (and Paula Scher) were the brains behind the museum's brilliant and recently unveiled redesign. I'm looking forward to getting some much-needed insight into this corner of the industry. Also, since I'm in the middle of a redesign myself, it's exciting to talk to someone who does it all so amazingly well.