Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Inspired By...

[ I follow several blogs on a regular basis. There's something about each of them that inspires me. I decided to start sharing them with you, along with what I love most about them. Maybe they will become your regular faves too ].

> I've been struggling with migraines for the past several days. Usually I can power through and keep going, but after a long run, I get weary and I start dragging more. I was feeling a little better yesterday, but didn't realize how much til my husband got home, and I shared some recent good news: "One of my clients told me that if I want to purchase new fonts for their projects, that they would approve them and include it in my budget!" He laughed and told me he could tell I was feeling better.
> Doesn't he know that getting new fonts, especially when I get to choose them, but someone else pays for them ALWAYS makes things better??
> Yes, fonts inspire me. Which is why I love the idea of this blog. Each day, designer/illustrator Jessica Hische, features a different block cap letter. And she also shares the html code that allows people to use her designed letters on their own blogs. Nice!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Keep in Touch

> This week I'm working a couple of projects for a client—designing feature articles for a scrapbook magazine. Over the past 6 months, they've become one of my more regular clients, which honestly, is a real blessing in a business climate where work from more regular sources has been decreasing. I was thinking about this the other day, and about how my relationship with them started.
> In 1991, I got a job working for WordPerfect (remember them?) I started out as a production designer, then moved up to a position where I was working on designing international fonts. What does this have to do with scrapbooking, or magazine design? Not much (except one little detail that became the key to years worth of work). We were a small team, so we became pretty good friends. When WordPerfect and Novell merged, we were all laid off. My team leader went to work with a start-up magazine, and was with the company as it grew and expanded into related markets. And we stayed in touch.
> Several years later, I got a call from this friend after he received the holiday promotion I sent to him, and a handful of contacts, trying to drum up more work. He was in a senior creative position, and hired me to do a couple of freelance projects. Those projects turned into regular work that doubled my income for the next 3 years. Unfortunately, internal corporate changes took all the freelance design work back to their in-house creative team. I continued to send my monthly email newsletters, and annual holiday promotions, hoping to break in again.
> About a year ago, my monthly email newsletter was returned, saying my friend was no longer with the company (I still don't know where he went or what happened—gotta work on that!) Luckily, I was able to find out who had taken his position, and because of the work I had previously done for the company, I had a foot in the door. The rest was up to me—using my creativity, skills, and work ethic to show them what I could offer. I've been able to do several projects for them in the past several months, and hopefully am building a new business relationship that will provide me with continued work in the future. But it all started with a co-worker, in a less-than-creative job.
> The point? Keep in touch. You never know which relationships are going to one day turn into something really rewarding.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Turn it Up!

> Do you listen to music when you work? Does it help you think? Does it make you more productive? Or does it hamper your creativity or your thinking?
> I took lots of art and drawing classes in college, but I specifically remember one day in a head/face-drawing class. It was an informal setting—we drew from a live model, and while we usually concentrated on what we were doing, we could chat, or take short breaks to get up and walk around. Someone had brought in some music, and we were all enjoying it. The professor, who usually sat and drew along with us, was discussing that music was distracting from the thinking process. He argued that while you're listening, you often hum or sing along (either out loud or in your own mind), and that your brain is using it's power of recall to do that. So if your brain is multi-tasking—thinking of lyrics or a melody, as well as trying to come up with a creative concept, or concentrating on your project—your capacity to be creative, or effective is reduced.
> On one hand, I agree that he's on to something. But on the other hand, I know from years of experience, that music has often been helpful to my creative process. At times, listening to my favorite music makes creative thinking more effortless. And time passes by more quickly when I'm burdened with repetitive production tasks. Now, if I'm writing, or working on a proposal, I typically turn off the music, I find it distracting. But creativity? Music turns it up a notch for me. What about you?