Friday, September 28, 2012

A Magical Experience

Earlier this week I had the wonderful opportunity to see the Lion King. I had tickets in the third row; amazing doesn't come close to describing the experience.

 All of the elements that go together to make this show an incredible Sunday afternoon are truly inspiring: puppets, actors, dancers, robotics, costumes, graphics, music, and humor. Even the graphics that they use to promote the show have a graphic and ethnic feel, just perfect for the show. I need to take time to see theater now and again because it was really refreshing to rediscover the magical experience of live theater.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I love devouring documentaries on Netflix, but this one has me salivating. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a beautiful story of a world renowned sushi chef. He is over 85 years old and still works hard everyday and considers each piece of sushi his chance to improve himself. I just imagine if I had that kind of passion in my own work.

You become the best not just by being talented or have the desire to be the best.

"Even at my age, in my work... I haven't reached perfection."

Constantly striving for better work and perfection is what helps this world be filled with good design, ideas, and for Jirogreat sushi.  The message that is continuously repeated in this documentary was the choice of self-improvement. Hard work is not easy, but that is how you get to be the best at what you are passionate about. Each day and each project that I get to work on is just practice for my work to come, and I should do my best. Now I need to find some tasty sushi to savor.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Inspired by Dia de los Muertos

Many people think of Dia de los Muertos as Halloween, but is actually the two days afterwards.This cultural celebration of the observance of the Catholic Holiday all Saints Day (i.e. All Hallows Even). I look forward to Halloween every year, and even more so this year since I am in a house which has space for a party and actual Trick-or-Treaters.But the colors, imagery, and symbolism has me really drawn to the day after Halloween. Honestly with this vibrant cultural history what is there not to love?

Cookies, tattoo, paper source, candles, make-up

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Do You Do?

Maybe it the job "graphic designer" or maybe it is the creative field in general or maybe everyone has a difficult time describing what they do for a living. I have talked with some of my fellow graduates and we discussed what is the best way to describe to our grandparents what we do.

"I make art on the computer"

It's not quite accurate, but they art and computer are easy enough concepts to understand. Graphic Design can be so inter-disciplinary that it is difficult to describe with the field that it is no wonder "outsiders" struggle to grasp the concept. (My grandparents probably think I play in Microsoft Paint all day).

What I do on a day-to-day basis:

  • Receptionist: Answer and Direct calls
  • Media Buyer: Monitor and Purchase Facebook Ads
  • Graphic Designer: From sketch book to digital files to final prints
    • Direct Mailyep, someone has to make that junk mail and keep the USPS in business
    • Newspaper and Magazine ads 
    • Email Designs 
    • Business Collateral: business cards, brochures, posters, and ect...
    • Magazine Layouts: Small publications for local non-profits
    • T-shirts
    • ...and the occasional logo
  • Web Designer:
    • Flash Ads
    • Website Development
    • Website Coding
    • Email Coding and Sending
    • Facebook Page Management
    • Website and Email hosting
My job has really shifted over the last six months and I have become more responsible for the web development and facebook management. I have had to work faster, and expand my skill-set. New projects and opportunities are definitely a blessing, but they have left me worn out and burnt out (which is why I have a vacation soon—I am counting the days). There are skills that are sitting on the back burner but would love to get out again: branding, photography, illustration, aftereffects, and drawing. (and work with more open-minded clients)

So what do you do for a living and what would you LIKE to do?

Monday, September 17, 2012

ebay: grows up

Ebay is launching a new look for their logo as well as their website. Gone are the letters are various typefaces, weights, and sizes. Ebay is left with a cleaner more modern look. I love the more modern cleaned up look. The problem? It is just so boring. You couldn't say that about their old logo, but this is just too generic and says nothing about the company. The last logo was a little too kookie, but at least it had a personality.

If they were going to re-haul their entire design and branding for the site I would expect something that looked like it had more effort put into it. In their press release they implied that the many colors represent their global community—four is not a lot of colors. Maybe instead of tight kerning the letters could have been overlapped (similar to before) to include more colors and vibrancy. 

I like their site dedicated to promoting the new logo a whole lot more than I do their logo. It is modern like the logo, but contains unexpected elements and depth. What do you think of ebay's new logo?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kitchen Adventure: Umami Burger

I have been feeling blasé about my cooking for the last month or so, but last night I found the delicious flavor of an umami burger. A delicious savory burger that uses a surprising ingredient: fish sauce! Marinated burger, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and Parmesan crisps; create a beautiful combination.

Design Morsels: Umami Burger

Burger (modified recipe from here)
1 lb of ground beef
1 Tb of fish sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 black pepper
1 clove of garlic minced

Marinate for 40 minutes. Grill or cook on stove 3 to 4 minute on each side on medium heat.

Roasted Tomatoes (modified recipe from here)
4 Roma tomatoes
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375° line a pan with parchment paper. Cut thick slices of tomato. Place on lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle thyme over tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn oven up to 400° and bake for 20 more minutes.


Parmesan Crisp

While the oven is up to 400° for the tomatoes place a pan with a silpat and four 5 inch circles of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 8 minutes.

For the last part of this recipe after you cook the burgers (if you pan fried the burgers) cook the onions in the burger grease until soft. You can also toast the buns in the same pan or the grill.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Making a Mark

With my efforts to improve my illustration skills I have been thinking more about mark making tools. My weapon of chose is usually the nearest pen or sharpie lying around. They are good enough tools, but do not allow for much variation in line width or my illustration characteristics. Different tools that have some interesting qualities to add to my pen drawings:

  1. Watercolor: one of the easiest marking tools to add, since I have a watercolor set from my grandmother and some brushes that I can begin to dabble with this fluid form.
  2. India Ink: this thick black ink was a great tool for my serigraphy prints in school, because its light-fast qualities. I still have some lying around. Similar to watercolors is that this ink can be very fluid, but you can use it with a calligraphy pen for more control.
  3. Potato Printing: I have always wanted to try this technique. I have all the tools I need for this, but have always been hesitant to waste these delicious spuds on something other than food. But the texture these prints can supply would be worth the risk. Definitely it is on my must try-list.

Do you have any favorite techniques you like to use?
Photo from Oh Happy Day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Be Animated

With Flash becoming obsolete the animated GIF is making a comeback. I found a nice little video tutorial on how to create simple animated GIFs. Apple choosing to no longer support flash has made it likely that it will become obsolete. Photography sites used to be streaming with various flash code, because it fit the purpose. Photographers need large beautiful images in small file size and flash can do that, but now if you want to appeal to the market that owns apple products photographers have to adapt there sites to use other forms of code such as java, but some are making motion with GIFs.

Since I work in advertising we still use flash a lot for making online ads because you can get the best movement and resolutions for file size. Some clients create their own ads and turn in animated GIFs so the file will move on all formats, but they will have grainy images and can't figure out why.

GIFs have a selected amounted of colors you can use, and changing your number of colors can greatly decrease loading time. This type of file is limited to 256 colors, so you have to be mindful of the color spectrum in your photography. One way to reduce the number colors is to use simple vector art. Keep this in mind when you want animate on your blog or website.