In our current landscape, where our medium for communicating with potential patrons seems to change daily, it's really no surprise how little of what we practiced in school years ago directly applies. (Don't get me wrong -- I'm glad my education was based in print design. I really enjoy working directly with printers to make sure our final product is all that it can be.) I was just as surprised as the next 2009 grad when I had the opportunity to create a proper black and white newspaper ad series last year.
I had a 2016 To Do. I made it in about 5 minutes, it lived in one of my sketchbooks, and I'm pretty sure I glanced at it all of 4 times last year. When I got curious at the end of December, it took me 20 minutes to figure out which sketchbook it was in. Once I found it, I was surprised to see that I'd actually knocked out a couple things on the list. Cool. More importantly, I was bummed to see that I'd totally failed at a few "gimme" items on the list. New year, new list, new tools.
I met Katie Crain while interning at Invisible Records in the fall of 2009. I had just graduated, and she was my first supervisor in the big city. I credit her with nearly everything I know about small business processes and organization. She's all about efficiency and clear communication. Katie currently works both in operations for small businesses and as an adjunct teaching undergrads about the music business. A little over a year ago, we started discussing ideas for a fresh set of personal business cards.
You guys. Remember my post about why I strive to work in art full time? A big push to write that post came from a new contact, Michael Kavanaugh. We were e-introduced by a mutual friend because Michael was looking for full time creatives to interview, specifically searching for some kind of common denominator that makes folks take big risks to do what they love. I'm not a coffee drinker, but the conversation sounded worthwhile so I agreed to a morning at Starbucks.
You know Victor? Victor Saad. Of course you know Victor. He's easily got the largest network of both business and personal contacts of anyone I know. He once texted me a photo of himself with another friend of mine that he met at an event in North Dakota. North Dakota, folks. Victor and I first met at a networking event in 2010. After chatting for a few minutes, he invited me to an art show he was hosting three months from that date. When the day of the show came, I reluctantly drug myself across the city to see what it was all about. I'm glad I did as we've been partnering on projects ever since.
Before I jumped ship on my 9-5, I started thinking back to high school, back to the first time "what do you want to be when you grow up?" actually mattered. Adults started listening to your answers with genuine interest and quickly expected to see some action. I was brave enough to say "artist" out loud. I declared graphic design as my major. Seven years later, I found myself with a business card that said Event Producer. Wait. What? WTF. What happened? Where did my bravery go?
Look -- when you're the bride (or groom), it's everyone's job to make sure that you get everything you need on your big day. I actually find this job very easy. You do what you have to do to get things done, and everyone gets it. You want to get married on a Wednesday afternoon? Cool. You want your bride's maids to get up at 6 to watch you get your hair done? Fantastic. You want everyone attending your bachelorette party to wear matching shirts? Hmm. Fine, but I'm designing them.
I was recently asked to provide some advice for a friend's student who wants to have a career in design someday. The ask came out of a less-than-stellar exchange that followed feedback on a project. Without seeing the project they were working on, this was the most foundational advice I could offer.
One infamous day at Marietta college, my go-to nay-sayer, Andreas Tabor, said to our design class, "Sometimes you have to smother your own baby." That sounds harsh, but what he meant was, sometimes you have to ax your own project, regardless of the blood, sweat, and tears you've invested. That's exactly what happened late in 2015 when I deleted my website.