Sometimes, do it for free.

Sometimes, do it for free.

I like to read a lot of articles, blog posts, and the like online to keep current on design. I’ve read over and over to never do design for free. Don’t give design away for free because then people will expect it. Granted, that’s true, and I’ve run into that on more than one occasion.

However, there are times where giving design away for free is super fulfilling, giving back, and just a nice thing to do. Giving back is just good karma. I don’t care if you believe in karma or not. It’s pure and simple: you get what you give.

I was recently asked to create a logo for a benefit for a friend of mine. She’s been a long-time sufferer of lyme disease and has only just recently been diagnosed. Her medical bills have been atrocious and not covered by insurance. Here’s her story.

LoriLogoThe requirements of the logo were that it be a round seal, be lime green, and include some sort of plant imagery. From those parameters it instantly popped into my head, so it went together pretty quickly. Lori and Brianne (the awesome chick putting on the event—also one of my high school buddies) loved it right away with no corrections. Brianne wanted me to send an invoice, but I just couldn’t do it.

Even if I had no prior history with the ladies involved, when working with an independent event trying to raise money for something like this, it just feels like bad form. I wanted to do right by them (and me) and not charge for the work I did. I’m sure some people would say, “IDIOT! Take the money and run!,” but I just don’t have that in me. Granted, that could be why I’m not pursuing much freelance these days (I’ll write about that soon), but the decision just felt right to me.

LoriShirtPrinted

This past Saturday was the big event, and it was great to get to see Lori and Brianne in person again. There was a huge turnout. They did so much work and it showed. I haven’t heard any dollar totals yet, but I’ve got my fingers crossed they made their goal and then some.

I was awash in a sea of people wearing the shirts they printed using my logo. It was overwhelming. In addition to thanks from the ladies, random people came up to me, thanking for the work done. I’ve never experienced anything remotely like that. Such amazing people in that room…all with such powerful love for Lori. I was so glad to have been there.

And now back to my original message: Sometimes, do it for free. All the hugs, thank you’s, and stories I heard about how much it meant to them meant so much more than any invoice. I know it won’t pay the bills, but take one for the team and help out a fellow human being now and then. It’ll make them (and yes, you) feel good.

Celeste & Jesse Forever?

Celeste & Jesse Forever?

First off, I’ll be blunt. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this movie. I don’t tend to like things that force me feel the feels and get all emotional about the characters and plot. Ugh. I just don’t need it. However, Celeste & Jesse Forever, co-written by Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation) and Will McCormack (In Plain Sight) and directed by Lee Toland Krieger (The Vicious Kind), was skillfully written and directed, so I’ll forgive it.

The story follows two best friends, Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg), who have been married, are currently separated (but not emotionally) and going through a divorce. They’ve been through so much together and have so many inside jokes that it really seems at first that they’re still together. Jesse makes one more attempt at reconciliation, which fails due to Celeste’s cavalier attitude that he will always be there. He finally makes the decision to move on.

I’ve always enjoyed Jones in her performances on Parks and Recreation and The Office, and figured she had a bit more depth than she was really able to portray on either program, but the real standout was Samberg. I was stunned by his performance. He’s usually in so many goofy roles that I really couldn’t see him in a character like this. It was beautifully acted, and I largely underestimated him. I hope he takes on more roles in the future that force him to stretch more like this one.

Another bright spot was Elijiah Wood as Celeste’s friend/business partner, Scott. His part seemed to be a commentary on the role of the stereotype of the “sassy gay best friend” in romantic comedies. I liked that Wood’s portrayal of Scott (and Jones’ and McCormack’s writing of Scott) were much more realistic. Scott was her good friend who just happened to be gay. It wasn’t really a huge part of his character until he’d have an awkward line here and there where he’d try to be the “sassy gay best friend,” and Celeste would make fun of him for not being true to his character.

For all the reasons I loved this movie (see above), please see it. It’s beautifully written, acted and directed. Subtle in all the right places, and gut-wrenchingly emotional in all the others. This film is an anti-romantic comedy, which automatically gets a thumbs up.

However, I don’t know that I can watch this one again. It was much too relatable. I think it’s due to the age of the characters, their stages in life, etc. Breakups are a terrible part of life, whether it be of a romantic relationship or even a close friendship. It doesn’t matter. They both sting, and we’ve all been through them, making this movie hard to watch at times.

So to recap: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry. Watch it. It will make you stronger. And who doesn’t want to be stronger?

Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use


Originally published on The Trailer Home Podcast.

Distractions

Distractions

It’s been a busy couple of days. Yesterday I finalized a new version of my résumé and cover letter, and today I’m getting things ready for an updated print portfolio. While going through some old files, I found some images from the last art show I did in Mason City. Derek and I participated in an art crawl and did a two-person show at Kush, an awesome salon and spa. We mostly displayed photography, but here are three new pieces I created for the event. The series was called Distractions and represented how life distracts people while on the job…and in some instances, while working on very important tasks.

Distractions | Beakers

Distractions | Beakers

 

Distractions | Board

Distractions | Board

 

Distractions | Bomb

Distractions | Bomb

Nearby Inspiration: Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Nearby Inspiration: Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Living in Downtown Des Moines, I’m lucky at the great amounts of inspiration around me, all within walking distance. In the first part in this series, I’d like to highlight the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, which is located in the Western Gateway area of Downtown.

According to the visitor guide (available on stands at either end of the park), “The 4.4 acre park, located within a major crossroads of the urban grid, creates a pedestrian friendly entranceway to downtown Des Moines. This accessible setting, coupled with the skilled landscape design and caliber of the art, makes it unlike any other sculpture park in the United States.” In my opinion, it truly is something that needs to be experienced in person. Here are a few of my favorites in the collection.

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Louise Bourgeois
(American, born France, 1911–2010)
Spider, 1997
Bronze
90x88x86 inches

“With Spider, viewers are confronted by an oversize version of a creature most would view with terror at its normal, tiny size.”

I find myself drawn to the pieces that are either stark black or white, and Spider fits this mental mold. It has a little bit of a dark, creepy feeling to it, and I love it for that. It seems so delicate, like it could blow over in a strong breeze, but there is strength in those thin, awkwardly-posed legs.

SculpturePark3

Barry Flanagan
(British, 1941–2009)
Thinker on a Rock, 1997
Bronze
156x103x79 inches

“Barry Flanagan is best known for his dynamic, often monumental, bronze hares performing all variety of human feats from thinking to playing music to using technology.”

Of course I’m going to love the one with a rabbit on it. That’s kind of obvious. He reminds me a little of the rabbit from Donnie Darko. Again, there’s a darkness to this guy, just like Spider, which is why they work so well next to each other.

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Gary Hume
(British, born 1962)
Back of a Snowman (White), 2002
Back of a Snowman (Black), 2002
Enamel on bronze
120x88x88 inches

“Gary Hume’s art is distinguished by bright, expressive colors, luscious surfaces, and simplified forms.”

I always refer to these as the salt and pepper shakers. I really like how simplistic the forms are and the stark contrast between the black and white. Is this a play on good and evil?

Yoshitomo NaraSculpturePark4
(Japanese, born 1959)
White Ghost, 2010
Painted stainless steel and fiberglass
144x102x96 inches

“Influenced by both Japanese anime and manga and Western animation and comics, Nara’s art seems to portray a playful world of vulnerable cartoon characters.”

This is my favorite of all the pieces. She doesn’t have eyes, but I feel like she’s staring at me and I can’t look away. I’m not sure what it is, but something about her speaks to me. I’d love to see more of his work.

SculpturePark5Jaume Plensa
(Spanish, born 1955)
Nomade, 2007
Painted stainless steel
324x204x216 inches

“Jaume Plensa uses letters as the basic components of much of his art, which explores communication issues whether between individuals or cultures.”

The typography nerd in me is in love with this one. I don’t even care that it’s been over-photographed and has become a bit of a Des Moines cliché. I still think it’s lovely, one heck of a fantastic landmark, and the way it has been presented with the large grassy hill behind it makes the white letters stand out so beautifully.

The sculpture park is open from sunrise to midnight daily and is definitely worth a visit.

Weeeeekend!

Weeeeekend!

Such a busy weekend, but so fun! My husband and I went to his dad’s farm for a reunion. So many nice people, so many nice conversations. My goal was to get a nice photo of all the kids while we were there (some were a little easier than others!). Here’s what I was able to get:

On the farm.

On the farm.

Halo and Tank.

Halo and Tank.

Halo and Tank.

Halo and Tank.

Aubri.

Aubri.

Trinity.

Trinity.

Hannah.

Hannah.

Logan.

Logan.

The siblings. My husband, Derek, is on the left.

The siblings. My husband, Derek, is on the left.

Zach.

Zach.

This is a closeup of a huge boulder in Derek's dad's yard. It has amazing veiny details. So pretty.

This is a closeup of a huge boulder in Derek’s dad’s yard. It has amazing veiny details. So pretty.

This was the first time I really got to explore the farm. One of the barns was super-organized with tractors.

This was the first time I really got to explore the farm. One of the barns was super-organized with tractors.

Barn. The sky was so blue that day.

Barn. The sky was so blue that day.

Barn roof.

Barn roof.

Sunset. It was gorgeous. Living in the middle of a city, I don't get to experience views like this very often. It was a nice change of pace.

Sunset. It was gorgeous. Living in the middle of a city, I don’t get to experience views like this very often. It was a nice change of pace.

Why checking printing samples is important

Why checking printing samples is important

Today a new Bed Bath & Beyond ad came in the mail. Normally, I’d be pretty happy since I have a love for designer patterned sheets but don’t like to spend a ton of money on them. I was excited to see if there were any good deals to be had. Then I saw this:

BadRegistration1

Yikes. Those are some PRE-TY major registration issues. It’s making their bright, disco-inspired cover super hard to look at.

Here’s the lowdown on registration: according to an article on Formax’s website, “Registration relates to the importance of precision alignment and placement. Proper registration means that any impression on the paper – ink, metallic foil, embossing, die cut shape, etc. – occurs in the precise position as intended. Conversely, the registration is said to be “off” if any element of the print job is misaligned or displaced.”

In this case, different color plates were used in the printing process. Since they were misaligned, the colors came out strange-looking and words are completely unreadable. Black text tends to still be readable in these cases since only one plate was used for that color rather than a mixture of other colors used together.

For fun, here are a few more examples of odd images I found in the same ad that had issues due to bad registration:

BadRegistration3b BadRegistration4b BadRegistration2b

The people’s faces always give me a good giggle in off printing jobs. However, the moral of the story? When having a printing job done, always do spot checks throughout the run. That way if things start to shift due to vibrating machines, plates being placed just slightly off and shifting, etc., you can catch the problem before it becomes this noticeable and goes out to the customer.

Creative Mornings

Creative Mornings

The Tumblr for Creative Mornings is one of my favorites out of the ones I currently follow. It’s great to glean little bits of wisdom from those talks, especially since I don’t live anywhere near where they take place. Here are some of my favorites:

CreativeMornings1

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CreativeMornings5

 

CreativeMornings6

 

CreativeMornings7

 

CreativeMornings8

 

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Image credits go to Creative Mornings.

Hello!

Welcome to my brand new portfolio site! It’s been awhile since I’ve had a site with a blog, so I’m a bit rusty. My intent is to eventually do research and write design-related articles, interesting things I’ve found online, inspiration and how I stay motivated.

Since I’m a little rusty at blog writing, here’s a picture of me holding my bunny, Sumi.

Bunny Beard!

Bunny Beard!

His name means ‘black ink’ in Japanese. He’s normally impossible to photograph and I tend to call him my little black blur. He’s one of my many inspirations. He’s been sick quite a bit this year, but even though we thought he was a goner multiple times, he’s kept going. He’s a little furry tank. I find him inspiring because even though he doesn’t feel well, I can tell he’s fighting to do all the normal stuff bunnies do. He may not hop straight, but he still hops. He loves hard. He’s got an amazing upbeat attitude.

I want to be like him. Not in a literal sense, of course, but I want his tenacity. I want his ability to love everything so much that I’m willing to do whatever it takes never to let go of it. In my case, it’s finding that awesome design job. This site is my first step in meeting that goal. I have found my own inner little furry tank.