I moved to Chicago in the fall of 2009 after spending most of the summer applying for jobs (The recession was wonderful, wasn't it?). By the time I arrived, I had arranged five interviews, one for each day of my first week in the big city. Fortunately, I was offered a few positions and the opportunity to make a choice. I did what any optimistic, naive recent-grad would do; I picked the only unpaid gig.
While I was excited about that position, the job search didn't end as I still needed to make ends meet. Thankfully, I picked up additional work as game-day staff with the Chicago Wolves.
I spent each of my five Chicago winters with the Wolves.
Three short years into my freelance business, I still answer my phone when an unknown number rings. Most of the time, it's a bot or a cold call, but I still hold out hope that it's a direct referral from another client (yes, if you're trying to hand me new business, feel free to give out my number). Last Thanksgiving, that direct referral popped up in my inbox.
"I'm a restaurateur based in Chicago. I'm working on a new opening in the west loop and was looking for a little bit of help on the graphic design front."
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.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of celebrating the union of two of the most adorable people I know, Kelly and Chris. As they were incredibly busy being totally lovely, they asked me to help with table numbers and guest place cards for their reception. They wanted custom table numbers (essentially mini-posters) that marked milestones in their relationship and their favorite things. The couple provided a list which included all things Nashville, music, country, and Star Trek. How wonderful.
There's a lyric from The Bravery's Time Won't Let Me Go that strikes me every time I hear it: I am so homesick now for someone that I never knew. I am so homesick for someplace I will never be.
Obviously, these lyrics mean something different to me now than they did to my 21-year-old self when the song was first released in 2007. Although they're pretty melodramatic, they're easy to identify with, both personally and professionally. The bigger my dreams about running my own business, the more out of reach those dreams seem to be.
Every now and then, I'm reminded that sometimes it's best just to put things out into the universe. There are different reasons for this: You need to express yourself. You can't know for sure if you don't ask. You're looking for your tribe. You need to be held accountable. Today, the day I'm supposed to start working on my 2017 TrashCal, I need to be held accountable.
I love Fridays. Fridays are reserved for small projects and studio work; I stay away from my inbox and work on my favorite things. As far as small projects go, it's been all wedding invitations lately. Although I enjoy the design process, it's the mailing that I really love. Today's the day I get to send out Michelle and Matt's invitations.
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.
With the commonality and popularity of computers and smartphones, handwriting seems to be a skill that's disappearing. Outside of a post it or the occasional thank-you note, how often do you practice your handwriting? I remember just missing a 4.0 in middle school because of my handwriting grade. My handwriting grade. These days, they aren't even teaching cursive in school. Thankfully, there are a lot of Instagram accounts out there reminding us exactly how cool some proper handwriting can be.