Posted in Attitude, Design

Help Me Choose!

I’m modifying my logo a bit for my new website launching in September, and I’m all tangled up with internal conflict – maybe you can help.
I know what I’d like to be incorporated with it – Spiders, Geometry, Symmetry or Asymmetry, Negative Space and possibly my current logo.
I sound like so many of my clients right now. …but not the good clients that say, “You’re the designer, I trust your judgement!” The picky clients that ask for endless revisions and keep saying, “It’s good, but…something isn’t right.”
I wonder if I attract these clients because I have this problem internally. I’ve always said, the hardest client to please is myself. Second guessing and self-doubt are my main obstacles.
I’m wanting the same thing that a lot of my clients ask of me. I want it to represent so many things in a glance. …and it’s a bit unreasonable.
Figuratively: 
The work I’m going to showcase will be about angles, contrast, asymmetry, symmetry, geometry, nature, and oddities – mixed in with symbolism and personal insight into how these things relate to life.
Elegant, but not girly.
Edgy, but not scary. 
Fun, but not cartoony. 
Bold, but not boring. 
Technically:
I want it to look good on screen and in print.
I want it to be a good watermark.
I want it to be scalable. 
I want it to be the most amazing thing ever made.
This is why I feel like I have a lot of patience for the client – I feel exactly like them. All the time. On every design project I do.
I’ll know it when I see it!” …but actually, I won’t.
I’ll know it when it’s put in to action.
Negative space logos are my favorite – but I’m not minimalist. Which is very popular right now… but not at all who I am. And not really a job I enjoy doing.
Anyone that knows me probably wouldn’t use the word “minimal” to describe me in ANY way.  I like vintage, geometric, eclectic, and weird things.
Logos ‘should’ be inherently simple, easy to understand at a glance, easy to remember, and unmistakable. Can this be done without being boring minimalist?
“A genius hits a target no one else sees.”
Most of my projects are minimalist and simple designs. None of which I’m particularly proud of and have yet to point to one and say, “Yeah, I did that!” A lot of them tend to be corporate boring jobs. And frankly, I‘d rather Not attract more of that type of work. …But money is money. So here we are. A logo is the equivalent of ‘dressing for the job you want’.
I’m sick to death of minimalism and perfect lines. I hate perfection. It’s So Boring.
Recently, I had a different type of client (@TangerineCoastalMarket)  who didn’t want simple or minimalist (which is in high demand right now), but instead wanted vintage, abstract, and almost realistic logo. That project was a lot more fun and fulfilling than most of my previous projects.
With this logo, I’d like to see if I can attract people looking for a more risky style.

This is my internal debate – should I ‘follow the rules’ or just go with my gut?

Here’s a few below I feel like are ‘close’. I’d LOVE to get feedback from you guys to see which one is liked more.

VOTE! A. B. C. D. or E.

Which one sticks out to you the most?

hh_Trials2
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

#Workmode Hello Holly Vlog: Rule of Threes

Last night, I was having a conversation with a client of mine and he introduced me to the “Rule of Threes”.

The Rule of Threes can be a lot of things, as I found out when I looked it up after we talked. In context, he was referring to a method to narrow down a focus in business – specifically how to market myself and narrow down what I want to do with my business.

I wonder how many other designers have great conversations like this with their clients. Truth be told, I often pick my clients brains about business strategies and try to absorb as much of their lessons from experience as I possibly can without being too obvious. I feel like this is another reason why I prefer working with start-ups, new businesses, and small businesses that need an update.
Maybe I’m an entrepreneur at heart – maybe I’m taking notes for later. 

I’ve worked with a few Engineers lately in particular (engineers seem to be some of the most interesting brains to pick), who have really let me in to their thought processes and I love it – I don’t always understand it, but, I file it away for later so hopefully one day I will.

This is probably my favorite part of what I do – being able to openly talk with super interesting people. The line between “Client” and “Friend” is very blurry for me – I would call almost all of my clients ‘friends’. They’re people I’ve gotten to know really well over the phone, internet, whatever – and once you work on a project with someone, it’s pretty impossible to Not form a connection. For me, anyway. I wouldn’t know if this is the case for other designers because THEY NEVER TALK ABOUT THIS! 

Anyways, back to topic. 

The rule of three in this context is making a concept catalyst.

Ideas that react with problems to synthesize solutions.

Dividing the concept into two categories – Overall Concept and Description – I narrowed down what it is I really do … and I feel like I’ve found a lot more. 
Probably the best thing I got out of doing this exercise was the ability to clear the clutter in my head. 

“Graphic Design” is a very vague term and can mean a lot of things.
It’s easier to say what I don’t do than what I do. And usually, if someone requests something I haven’t done before, I’ll take a calculated stab at it. 90% of the time it works out. 10% of the time I finish it – but, don’t exactly nail it.
Trying out new things lets me know immediately what I’d like to do more of or stay away from in the future.
Posted in Attitude, Design, Psychology, Uncategorized

Parellels: Freelancing vs Prostitution

Last October, I joined UpWork, which has been Amazingly helpful for keeping me motivated and helping me find work. I really do love the platform, the community, and the financial protection it provides.
I’m always seeing patterns and dots connect, keeping an eye out for trends. A few months and a few clients in, I had this observation.
It feels a lot like prostitution.

Prostitution – 

Stands on street corner with a bunch of other hookers looking for work
Competes with other prostitutes
Cheaper the rate – Cheaper the hoe – Dirtier the John
Classes of Prostitution – 
Hookers – Immediate service, safety concerns, Roll of the Dice on Who’s-Working-When, Inconsistent
Call Girls – Pay Per Minute, Quick Fix, Convenience, May or May Not get what you Want
Girl Friend Experience – All the Perks, None of the Commitment, Fake, Depending on how you “click” with them – could be good or bad
Escort – Personal Attention, Most Expensive, Better Reputation

Freelancing – 

Congregates on work platforms scouting clients
Competitive and sometimes secretive about rates / strategies
Cheaper the rate – Crappier the work – Jerkier the Client
Classes of Freelancers – 
One Stop Shop – Kindof Good at a bunch of things, Mediocre Work, Unreliable Results, Inconsistent
Nichers – Limited Skillset, Tunnel Vision, One Sided Conversation, Safer Results
Pioneers – Depending on how you “click” with them – could be good or bad, Open to New Ideas and Collaboration, Risky
Experienced – Personal Services, Knows how to play the game with clients in all factors, Highest Rates, Better Service, Lowest Risk
 
 
I’ve never been a prostitute, so the data is inconclusive, but this is the way I’d imagine it would be. I feel a bit more like a Call Girl than the Escort I was before I joined. I’m hoping a good paying Joh….err.. Client comes along soon!
**Note: I mean no disrespect to Prostitutes or Freelancers in any way. 🙂
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life

Abstract : Germany

Abstract: The Art of Design sat in my queue for a few days because I was worried it might suck.
But I really wanted it to be awesome.
           Typically, I do other things with the tv on. But, I couldn’t look away – the graphics were so expressive, it was continuously pulling me in. Christoph Niemann’s subtle but hilarious micro-expressions, Camera angles, Explore inducing music – and then these awesome little marker drawings. It was all so fascinating to me, several times I caught myself smiling so hard it made me laugh.
Christoph is so incredibly articulate – He managed to put to words many of the things I feel so often.
            “We can’t just make a film about you at your desk the whole day.” Was one of the funniest things said in the episode. THE funniest thing was when he talked about picturing himself sitting in starbucks by the window, and how he imagined it would be the most inspirational place to work – but it wasn’t. It was the most impossible place to work. The things he says after being aware that his vision of himself as an artist and the reality of it are so very painfully accurate.
            Anyone that knows me, knows I love Germany more than any place on earth (though, Barcelona is a close second). My school didn’t offer German, so I tried to teach myself. I bought a “Learn German” kit with cassette, mini dictionary, and pocket dictionary.  I carried the pocket dictionary to school with me so I could study on my breaks – I cried when I left it in my pocket and accidentally washed it. My classmates teased me for loving Germany so much – “Commy Holly” they called me. That didn’t really bother me since I didn’t know what Communism meant. Plus, I didn’t feel like I needed their approval to love Germany and was always kind of ‘different’. I asked one of my favorite teachers what it communism was, she laughed and told me the other kids were stupid (paraphrasing) for thinking Germany was a Communist country.
I’ve always loved how the German language sounds and how I feel when I speak in it. I was living in Germany when they won the World Cup in 2012 and I could feel the national pride swell. I remember driving behind some sort of construction vehicle with a small German flag at the top of it’s antennae, it was impossible to hold back happy tears. (I don’t even watch/care about soccer.)
            The first time I came to Germany in 2001, I looked everywhere for a souvenir German flag, a German t-shirt, anything with the German flag on it and only found that kindof thing at the airport. When I asked my friends I was visiting where I could find German flags and such, they looked at me wide eyed and surprised. Then told me since WWII, they didn’t feel like they could show their pride. “If we show pride in our country, the countries around us might think – ‘Oh no, Germany is rising up again, so we have to stay low.'” At 15 years old, that was heartbreaking.
As an American, I can go to any gas station in any state in any town and probably find something patriotic. We take our pride for granted.
            I felt at home in Germany. It’s truly the only geographical place I can say I Feel that way towards. In the documentary, Christoph talks about that same feeling of being at home in New York and about ‘owning’ a place no one you know has been before. Unlike Christoph who says he was immersed in American culture growing up in Germany (with the presence of the military, there are quite a few “mini Americas” there), I grew up in Texas but never felt like I “belonged” there. The first time I went to Germany was with my parents – also the first time for me to fly – and my mom and I distinctly remember the feeling of getting off the plane. Everything seemed so much fresher, we could breathe better. I stayed behind for a few weeks to travel and I remember getting on the plane to leave… looking out the window, feeling like I was leaving my heart behind, trying to swallow the lump in my throat and breathe into the emptiness in my chest.
            When I got back, no one was teasing me about Germany. The whole attitude had changed because I had done something with my dream. It was no longer “Why would you want to go there???” But instead they just sat back and were more like, “…huh.” and slight embarrassment. I could tell they were curious – the look on their faces gave away that feeling of wanting to know more about something, but knowing so little that you don’t even know what questions to ask.
            I visited Germany 2 more times while in highschool. In 2011, my husband received orders to Germany and we lived there for 4 years. It was absolutely incredible and terrifying. Living in Germany was the biggest thing I had ever dared to dream – and there I was living it. After 2 years, I soaked up as much German culture as I could (which is difficult when you live close to a military base). I had mastered the art of blending in, anywhere I went the natives assumed I was German – and I could usually pull it off as long as I didn’t get too involved in conversation. I so happy every morning to look out the window and seeing the German flag flying over my landlord’s car port.  I knew that struggle to have pride again.
            By year 4, I knew the time was coming to an end as my husband’s tour was ending. I felt like I had been on a 4 year sabbatical to live my dream, reveal in it, and thrive in it which was more than I could ever ask for. And increasingly had the feeling of, “What do I do now? I’ve accomplished my biggest dream and I’m still alive. I guess I need to dream bigger.”
When I came back, I had more appreciation for being a ‘spoiled American’ and felt more patriotic than ever. Living in Germany somehow made me feel more connected to everything I know. I’m sure I’ll visit again someday – but until then, I have sowed away in my “mental Get-away” box memories of beautiful tree trails, castles, and the best bread in the world.
            I got a lot out of that episode and it sparked so many feelings – I’m still absorbing all of the things about design and life he talked about. If every episode is like this, it’s probably going to take me 3 months to watch the whole series. ;D
Posted in Attitude, Design

Typographic Darwinism

I had a dream the other night that they outlawed typewriter style fonts. Q.Q It was tragic.
Every time I hear “I can’t read the font” when I use a script/brush/cursive/fancy font, here are the things I think but NEVER SAY. Ever. But this is my blog, so I can say whatever the heck I want!
Client/Other Designers:
Looks nice (obligitory compliment to prep for the ‘but’ ) BUT the font is hard to read…
Internal Thoughts: 
Why the HELL are so many typographers making all these great brush/handwriting fonts if there’s no client ANYWHERE EVER that will let me use them? 
Can people not read cursive anymore? 
Do you think the general population is really that dumb?
If someone can’t read the font – do you really want to do business with that person? Maybe you should cater to smart people who can read cursive/letters that don’t look like comic sans?
Survival of the smartest I say! Let the dummies buy other things.
Take a chance – Since it looks AWESOME AND DIFFERENT -just maybe- people will take more than a second to look at it. No, you’re totally right. I’ll just make it look ‘clean&modern’ like every other freaking design out there.
Don’t ever say cleanandmodern to me again. 
*Note: I know, I know. Being legible is the primary factor in communicating. I will always be learning – maybe I’m not quite “there yet” to know the rules well enough to break them. I understand fully why businesses want things to be legible and ordinary to reach the biggest audience. And sometimes, they don’t really mean “I can’t read it” they mean “I don’t like the way it looks.” Which is totally fine. But, I believe there’s value in weeding out the ordinary to attract the extraordinary. 
Posted in Design

My Favorite Font – Aquawax

I’d like to take a moment to show my appreciation for one of my favorite font families – Aquawax.

aquawax

I first found this font on dafont.com and later investigated where it came from. There’s obviously a lot of time and love put into this font, so I wanted to make sure I gave credit where credit is due – Thanks Zetafonts!

Check out the full fonty goodness here.

Or check out all their great stuff at zetafonts.com