Notebook

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

One of the many reasons I love living in Columbus, Ohio is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Once or twice a week, my wife and I will indulge. This is a required stop for anyone passing through. Check out this little video. Or just click the image below.

New Work

Just posted a big batch of new work. Take a look around. Here are a few of my faves…



Photo Explosion

#-Dimension
Lately, I’ve been freaking out on Instagram. I’ve just realized how neat of a tool it is to collect all the rad stuff I see throughout my day, like that little wonderful 3-Dimension thingy up there. This stuff kills me, much like the legendary Draplin. While Instagram is iPhone only, it also posts these photos to my Flickr page. So, one way or the other, feel free to follow along, and see some of the stuff I’m seeing from time to time.

The One-Trick-Pony Steals The Show

I think it’s important for us as designers to be a bit insecure about our work from time to time. It pushes us to improve and to push our boundaries. There is a difference between sulking or whining about not being good enough, and what I’m referring to – which is the statement “Dang, they’re better than me. I must get better!”

I deal with this from time to time, for different reasons. I’m a true lover of graphic design, and I have a physical reaction in my chest when I see a piece that is just done right. Good design hits you, and I want my work to be able to hit people the way good design hits me. Continue reading 

Stay Creative

Stay Creative
I’ve been finding myself using hand-lettering as a way to relax throughout a very stressful season in design. Everyone needs their stuff yesterday, and I’m doing everything I can to accommodate. Much like a smoker takes a smoke break – I find myself taking a break to just write a word or two down. Is that weird?

Anyway, I had an idea to record myself doing some lettering. It’s even neat for me to watch it back. Click the image above to watch the video.

…and here is another one.
Don't Talk About It...

The Power of the Doodle


With my new found spirit to be a little more regular with this blog, will come a little more willingness to be that much more transparent with you readers. One of the ways that I can do that, is to be honest about some of my insecurities as a designer, and the ways in which I hope to improve.

My recent showing at WMC Fest was a quick, but enjoyable one. There were so many extremely talented designers, whose work I could drool over. As many designers do, I found myself wishing more projects like that came through, allowing me to be a little more free and experimental with my design. In band merchandise, I often care way more about the band’s needs and aesthetic, than forcing my own agenda on to the piece. This is an attribute that I believe is imperative to be able to sustain your occupation over time. However, a life without doing work that expresses your unique aesthetic gets quite mundane and creatively taxing over time. There has to be a good balance of both.

Phone Call Doodles. We have to be more willing to doodle. There are several ways I can go into doodling, and how effective it is. When I think of doodling, I first think of being on a long phone call, with the pad and pen you were ready to take notes with. You realize you had one tiny thing to write down, and the rest of the page will be filled with doodles. Whether you write the name of the person you’re on the phone with in a ton of different styles, there is something to be said about the natural doodles you create with less than half of your concentration.


Don’t Be Limited By Fonts and Software. In the same spirit, it’s important to do this with your projects, when time allows. I often find that part of my job is about working quickly, and managing my time accordingly. Because most of the time, every band needs stuff all at the same time, and it comes firing in at me. I have to do my best to do good work, and do good work quickly. But when I get time, I try to make sure I get the sketchbook out to be able to freely try certain compositions out, without the limitations of the computer. This concept is an obvious one, and most designers are aware that a big portion of their work should be done off the computer.


The Pen is Mightier Than The Pen Tool. Another way I’ve found myself doodling over the years is with type styles. The rise of the popularity of hand-drawn styles has many of us designers stepping back from our font collection, and going back to pen and paper. Since I’ve been doing this, I’ve found that I’ve been creating more end-product pieces, as opposed to sketches that I will improve on in Illustrator. The lines that I am drawing will be the lines on the final piece. I’ve been getting more and more excited about continuing to do this type of work. I’m realizing that the way I’m writing each of these letters are much freer than any attempt at moving anchor points in Illustrator. These doodles are becoming superior to my fonts. There is more heart and soul in this stuff than the perfection of even the greatest fonts. Some good examples are some of the recent lyrics tees I did for the band, Train. I also did a dribbble post about the project.

One of the greatest experiences I’m having doing hand-drawn type styles is how many times I will draw the same logotype, over and over again. I find myself doing one after another, changing something tiny each time. Or, just writing it over and over again, until one just stands out. I’ve found so much freedom and satisfaction from the ability to create a completely unique typeface with each attempt.



Work For Yourself …… Sometimes. Every once in a while, we have to be able to “doodle” with our own work. What I mean is to design the stuff that results when you just want to “mess around” with your work. Sometimes there is no client, yet, but a really good idea. So you find yourself getting in and designing a poster for no one. Or a album cover for a made-up band. There’s no other opinion to think about here, just you doing what you enjoy doing.

In my opinion, some of my favorite designers’ work seems to come from this place. They’re designing in realms where the client’s strict needs aren’t present, and they have this freedom to do whatever they feel. The drawback, however, is that many of these designers can get pigeonholed into one aesthetic. But, they’re staying happy creating what they really love to create.

I’m hoping to doodle a little more. I’m hoping to get back to whatever natural aesthetic my brain comes up with. I’m excited about what may be the result.

WMC 2011

WMC 2011
The second annual WMC Fest is going on right now. I spent the day in the gallery, with some of my work hanging behind me. It’ll still be going on tomorrow, but I had to head back home for some family obligations.

The lineup of artists got a little bit beefed up this year, and I was excited to get to say hello to a couple of designers. My man Pants Sechrist was there, and I thoroughly enjoyed our chats. I feel like him and I could probably go on and on for hours, but in crowd of people, it’s a little tough.

Also got to meet Oliver Barrett, another designer from Cleveland. It’s nice to be able to talk a little basketball, even in art circles. So thanks to Pants and Oliver, the resident Clevelanders.

Standing across from me was Ft. Wayne designer, Nate Utesch. Who, after talking for a bit, realized we knew some of the same people.  Nate’s doing some great work, as well as curating Ferocious Quarterly, a publication that collects a ton of great work. I picked up a few books right away.

I was also honored to be able to finally shake Aaron Draplin‘s hand. Draplin probably sits among my top 5 favorite designers, and the dude’s good heart just makes any chat, no matter how short, quite enjoyable and refreshing. Got my hands an Ohio poster, designed by Draplin — drawing attention to our wonderful state.

Good bunch, these WMC dudes. On the 2 hour drive back down to Columbus, it got me thinking about what a great event it really is, and what the potential for this whole deal is for the future. Reminds me of an underground version of the popular TED conferences.

It also got me thinking about what I have to do to make my site more interesting. Draplin posts every day, guaranteed. Sometimes about nothing at all. But the fact that he pops in everyday makes his site feel like something is happening, all of the time, and that you want to check up on it.

I’m going to start trying a little bit harder on building a brand around myself, and doing something with this big opinion of mine. I’ve got so much to say, but so much that I’ve held back from this site, not wanting to strike any nerves.
But heck with it. I’m a good guy, with a lot of opinions. I’m gonna try and be a little more vocal.

Love Wins

Love Wins
Very quickly am I finding myself breaking my first rule of this blog – don’t discuss beliefs, and don’t get controversial. However, one of my favorite authors, Rob Bell, has given me an overwhelming need to express a tiny piece of opinion.

I love this book. I love it for so many reasons. Like many of Rob Bell’s books, I find myself reading while an enormous weight continues to lift off of my shoulders. “I am not the only one that feels this way, and I’m not losing my mind!” See, the American Christian life is a frustrating one, especially for relatively free-thinkers. My general view of Christianity has been, for some time, that I do believe in a God, but whatever the American church has turned Him into, is so far from what makes sense to me. In many cases, “Christian” is just an extension of what our society has deemed acceptable and admirable. Jesus, in the way that I understand him, would not be welcomed into the majority of America’s churches. He’s nothing like them.

So, the need to post about Rob Bell’s book, entitled Love Wins, is my simple offering to the numerous people who, like me, can understand “love”, but cannot understand the American church. To many Christians across the country, this book was called “controversial.” To me, this book simply echoes the feelings of myself, and so many others that I know. I honestly feel that if you are among the people horribly offended by Rob Bell’s book, then you simply do not have your finger on the pulse of the opinions of our people. There are so many of us that feel this way, and we’ve been overlooked. Finally there is a popular book that echoes the same sentiment that we’ve had for so long.

I care about loving people. I don’t care about being part of the club.

If you’re interested, check out Love Wins.

Super Duper

Super * Logos
I posted a shot of this on Dribbble yesterday, and have received some great feedback. It’s for a small project, for a 70s-style raglan/baseball tee. Feel free to hop over to Dribbble to join the discussion.

I find myself with Illustrator artboards like this quite frequently. It’s a funny process. Basically, I’m trying to capture that perfect vibe for a logotype, and keep failing. I do one, think that it’s okay, but try another. I think that’s just okay, then do another, and another, and so on. Before long, I’m looking at a screen full of logotypes that have all nearly captured the vibe of what I wanted. Some may have even captured the exact vibe I was hoping for. Of course, that’s not discovered until I walk away from my desk for a while, and come back and look at them all with new eyes.

This is probably my single favorite thing about what I do. The times when I sit and tinker with letters, finely tuning things, until I see what I was hoping for. It’s much like practicing your signature on a piece of paper, you keep writing it over and over until you find one you like. Anyway, thought this could be an interesting post. Thanks for reading!

Letterpress


I could watch this type of stuff all day. Check out Naomie Ross’s video, Letterpress.

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