Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ category

If I learned one thing at the HOW Conference in Austin…

July 2, 2009

…it’s this:

Lack of fear leads to creativity.

When I heard this, it made me realize just how fear-based my daily routine is. I wake up some, if not most, mornings fearing I’ll miss a deadline. I fear that I won’t find the solution for the design problem that’s next on my plate. I fear the client won’t like what I’ve done. I fear that one day, one of my designs will end up on one of those website/blogs that poke fun at how badly it’s designed. I fear of losing my design mojo. I fear looking silly among my peers. I fear there won’t be enough time for everything I want to do. And, regarding that last point, I tend to do none of it because I feel overwhelmed.

So, after a few days back and, unfortunately, deeply re-rooted into my old routine of not making enough time, I find that I’m growing tired of being afraid. Mostly because I think it breeds this necessity to always be stressed out and not let myself have enough fun. I mean, c’mon, most of the time I handle deadlines pretty well. And, let’s face it, there’s never just one design solution to every problem, there are several. And, chances are, unless I totally don’t listen to the client, I’ll get to at least one of them…eventually.

You know, I left Austin thinking, “I’m going to change. I’m going to finally do what that guy said his friend does where he doesn’t open his email until, like, 10am and uses all of that morning time to do creative stuff that he really WANTS to do. I’m going to be that girl. Sketch everyday. Be carefree. Etc. Etc.” But, you see, I’m not that girl. And, a few days away from it, I see how impractical some of those practices could be in my life.

I think the moral is this: be happy with what and how you do things. Especially if it works for you at least 80% of the time. Sometimes that’s the best we can hope for. I think I spend too much time wishing I could adapt this into my workflow and start designing in that style or lay out my office in this way, when the way I do things is, well, just fine.

But, I’d really like to be less afraid. I think that could be a good thing. I also think these tips that I brought home could help me with creativity, as well as with life in general:

  • Don’t get in a rut. Do something different every week. When you aren’t experiencing new stimuli, you stop growing.
  • Be honest, not brutally honest. (if I could put this one in all caps in the largest font possible, I would. Trust me on this one.)
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself. If someone is handing you a steaming pile of frustration, make it a challenge and see where it takes you.
  • Write down your thoughts. Everyday. More than once a day. Get your ideas out of your head and make sure you have a way to reference them. Not only does it get them out of your head, it gets them logged and available for you to revisit and see which ones are great and which ones aren’t so great.

When I grow up, I want to be Paula Scher.

March 31, 2009


Before I even knew her name, I was a rabid fan. I can’t remember the exact moment when I made the connection between the images I marked in every PRINT Design Annual and the fact that Paula was responsible for most, but it changed my life. Knowing that this tough-talking, honest female created these amazing pieces of work (in a mostly male-dominated field at the time) just made my head swim. And, to top it all off, one of the greatest compliments I ever received (regardless of it’s appropriateness or truth), was that some of my work reminded them of Paula Scher.

A while back, I saw an interview with Paula. It was part of an Adobe campaign (you can see it here). She talked about her process and I found myself nodding my head in agreement. God, she’s so cool.

The more I find out about her, the more I relate. And the more I see her work, the more she tops the short list of people I would love to meet.




Inspirational Interviews

March 27, 2009

At the beginning of the year, I finally bought this book after picking it up EVERY TIME I went to the bookstore:


#1, you can’t help but touch it because it’s got this crazy mixed-textured cover (part mossy felt and part what appears to be plastic/varnished?). It’s absolutely gorgeous. The inside is full of samples and Q&A with top designers in the industry. Questions range from “Turn Ons” to “What would you be doing if not working in design?” It’s a very fun and quick look inside the minds of some of the most influential design icons (Sagmeister, Scher and Bierut, to name a few).

#2, I think it could be enjoyed by anyone interested in the design process.

I’ve made a habit of keeping it next to my computer so that I can read an entry here and there to inspire.