Some of the most paramount resources we have for gaining insight into the lives and culture of the human race at various periods of time throughout history are the different styles and movements of art from those times. To study what the artists of a particular era and geographical region were producing is to better understand the thoughts, attitudes and values of the people around them.
Being a designer involves wearing many different hats, particularly if you’re independent. Sometimes, it seems like the task of marketing yourself and your work is a bigger part of your job than the actual creative efforts themselves.
Making a name for yourself isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, and you can get every bit as creative with selling yourself as you do with your work. But that’s a different post.
I’ve had a lot of luck on Medium over the last couple years I’ve been fortunate enough to use the platform. I’m actually wearing a Medium t-shirt (the company, not the size), as I type this, that the company sent me as a thank you for publishing one of my more popular stories here. The level of engagement I’ve seen on Medium far surpasses any other outlet I’ve ever used to put my thoughts out into the world.
There's a Band-Aid ripping headline, huh? It's also true, and I'd love share a few words about it, if you care to read them.
The TL;DR version of this is that my lovely wife Brooke has accepted an offer from a company in beautiful Austin, Texas, and we begin the road trip down to our new place there on June 5th.
If you're someone that's found themselves here reading my blog, then it's no wild stretch of the imagination to assume that you probably like black shirts. You probably have a closet full of them, and I'm guessing you even have a favorite. The black shirt.
Well, I'm excited to inform you that The Other Shirt is officially available for pre-order on Cotton Bureau. The poly-cotton American Apparel tee is black, the Plastisol ink is black, but the choice of what to spend your money on today is clear.
Do you love letters? How about love letters? Then you'll probably love periodic letters from me about our mutual love of letters.
Alright. I think it’s high time Alpha products see the light of day outside my own closet.
Announcing the Alpha Styling Co. Inaugural Tee.
All proceeds of this Cotton Bureau exclusive Alpha signature label tee will go directly into funding production of the first commercially available offerings from the brand, which are already designed and virtually ready to be sent out for production.
All I need is a little help from you.
I came across Romain's amazing little "Loop Portraits" on Instagram this morning after Alexis Taieb (Tyrsa) reshared one of them. He's doing one a week (or more, it would seem recently, so be sure to follow him and watch the fun. Pretty great.
Romain's more serious and commercial photography is nothing short of incredible, too, so be sure to visit is site at www.romain-laurent.com as well.
Someone linked me to this great little video directly after my Creative Mornings talk back in May that features a soundbite from Ira Glass set to some wonderful kinetic typography animation. I meant to share it then, but forgot until I saw my friend Megan Bowers tweet about it today.
In it, Ira talks about a lot of the same ideas I did regarding how hard it is to do something new. More importantly, how easy it is to feel like you want to just quit and try something else, when really, that's the point when you need to dig in, double down, and do a TON of work until you can't help but get better.
Lot of truth here.
A response to Dan Petty's tips for making your clients love you
The concept of assigning value to any kind of creative work may be an extremely daunting and scary thing to you. Let me tell you why that’s okay—it is for everyone else, too.
I get at least two or three emails each month with questions about pricing and quoting projects. This always kind of surprises me, because I don’t ever remember saying or doing anything to suggest I have asingle clue what I’m doing either.
Spongebob Squarepants: "Why did you eat my boots, Mr. Krabs?"
Mr. Krabs: "You didn't need them."
Spongebob Squarepants: "I didn't?"
Mr. Krabs: "No. You see, it's not the boots, it's the bootee—err...it's the person IN the boots that matters."
...is what I think you meant to say.
Last week, I shared some thoughts about the balance between having proper equipment and putting in the time and effort needed to hone your skills, and the weight of their respective roles in achieving your desired level of excellence in whatever it is that you do.
If you don’t have three spare minutes to read them, here’s an abridged version: If you practice enough, anything can be the best tool ever.
Aside from questions about what tools I use, there’s another thing I hear from time to time that is somehow flattering, humbling, and bothersome all at the same time.
About a month ago, the topic of having the “right tools” making you better at what you do came up again, as it does regularly (specifically lettering in this case, but the idea is universal to most anything).
A bit facetiously, I posted an Instagram video of me lettering something with a Crayola Washable Marker, writing the word “Practice” in an attempt to drive home the fact that there’s only one thing that truly matters when you’re trying to get better at something—sheer dedication and good ‘ol fashioned repetition.
“In order to achieve only a modicum of precision and control requires discipline, observation, perseverance, practice, repetition, and highly critical self-analysis, essential qualities for a successful job versus a mediocre one.”
- Doyald Young -
For a long time, I stayed away from 5-panel camp caps. I have a particularly large head, and figured that these would surely look incredibly foolish on me.
At some point, though, I decided it was time to actually try one out and see for myself just how much I hated it. Well, I didn't. In fact, quite the opposite.
I got the idea in my head a week or so ago that I'd really like to be able to wear one with my own brand of some kind on it. None of the brands I already have lying around, of course, but something new.
I ordered some blank 5-panels from buckwholesale.com and threw a couple homemade labels together. Done.
So for now, these are the only two in existence. I'll probably make a few more for myself in different colorways, but maybe that will be it.
Or maybe I'll turn this into a full-blown streetwear line...
It really all depends on the response I get to these. I've got about a hundred ideas that I think are really good for everything from hats to socks, but I certainly don't have a ton of extra capital lying around to invest in a whole lot right now.
Are you interested in things like this from me? Should I keep moving with this? I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts. You know where to find me.
Yesterday, we looked at a concept-building method I sometimes use that we called your scanner is your best friend, and how in the no-save-button world of analog, creating checkpoints with a quick scan can be a life saver if you decide you’d love to just undo back to your happy place.
Today, I want to show you a different method of concept building that I use, that you might say is sort of a step further on the skill scale from the Scaling & Shaping approach.
For this method, I’m going to be using ink, rather than pencil, namely a couple of Pentel Color Brush. Later in the process, I’m going to also put my fine-point PITT artist pen from Faber-Castell to good use for some finishing.
So let’s get started with a method I’m going to call Brush & Build.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking a lot about the things you can do to prepare yourself for getting started in lettering. We’ve looked at some of the tools that I personally rely on for getting from point A to B in my work. We’ve also looked at some good sources of inspiration.
But I reckon that if we don’t start looking at some actual process stuff and how-tos, you guys aren’t going to keep sticking around for much longer. I get it. So let’s do it.