Working for a tech start-up in August 2008 was like having tickets for the maiden cruise of the Titanic. Everyone was working hard, making money, enjoying Free Bagel Fridays and signing up for ping-pong tournaments. And then we hit an iceberg called Lehman Bros. and it was women and children first.
Before disaster hit, I was focused on developing the company branding and producing collateral materials like this presentation folder and datasheets. Free bagels, sigh, it was fun while it lasted.
Dreamday at Stonehedge Farm was an event to thank major donors to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. kor group of Boston created the branding and marketing for Dreamday at Stonehedge Farm featuring original acrylic paintings by local artist, Ann Marie O’Dowd (see cover illustration.)
As production design manager at kor group, I was charged with managing production and installation of all of the event signage and providing production support to the design team, including creating this fun and colorful illustrated map for the event program.
Sunday, my son and I stopped into our local grocery store to pick up some rolls for the Hawaiian Pulled-Pork sandwiches I was bringing to my nephew’s high school graduation party. As we walked in, we ran into a guy in his twenties with a bushy beard, wearing skinny jeans, Chucks and a black vest over his retro concert tee. His wife was right behind him, tight pixie cut with a streak of pink, flowing sundress and Doc Martens. Their eyes were down, their faces grim. Last came their little daughter, skipping in her pink rain boots, loving life. We passed them and my son said quietly, “We were gonna be hipsters for-EVER and then SHE came along!”
It’s tough to be the grown-up, especially when you still feel like the new kid in school. I spent the weekend at high school graduation parties and faced my own mortality with the grim look of those grocery shopping hipsters. Then a friend of mine posted to her Facebook asking advice for choosing the right high school for her daughter who wants to work in “multi-media design and art.” Should she chose a vocational and career school? A private college prep school? Or just her local public high school?
I have no qualms with vocational schools, my son attends one. But when I toured his school I remember the graphic design teacher asserting that, “your kids don’t even have to be ‘good drawers,’ because the software does that for you now.” I came home and told him he could go to the school, but only if he didn’t want to be in the graphics program!
This industry is full of people who can use Photoshop, but if they can’t think, if they can’t draw, if they can’t solve communications problems with creative solutions, then what service are they providing exactly? Give me the graphic designer who is well-read and well-rounded and I can teach them how to use the latest technology.
And that’s what I left as my comment to my friend’s inquiry. I suppose one of the benefits of being the grown-up with experience is passing it on to the next generation. That said, I still wear my Chucks pretty much everyday because I’m gonna be a hipster for-EVER.
One of the cool things about having a graphic designer for a parent is you get a pretty spectacular yearbook for your graduation from elementary school. I designed the book, illustrated the cover and photographed all the students and faculty. But more importantly, I suggested a digital printing solution that allowed the books to be produced under budget. The quality of the books were such that the parents were able to sell many times more sponsor ads than in any year previous and the additional income negated the need for the children to hold a car wash to pay for their class graduation party.
The Bradford Mercantile is a brick and mortar store in Rhode Island, well actually it’s in a historic yellow barn. It is a uniquely New England shop specializing in wares for the colonial and primitive homes. I worked with the development team to design the visual elements of the site to compliment the style of the shop.
The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive, coeducational school with an active and engaged alumni. This invitation for all alumni to attend their annual spring reunion took their existing modern and colorful branding and added the suggestion of celebration and fun.
The invitation needed to include the itinerary as well as reservation and accommodation information, so a tri-fold self-mailer was a successful solution. (the image illustrates the invitation as you open it. Left to right, cover, first two panels, full spread)
I have needed to build a portfolio site forever. I had one associated with my personal blog years ago, but then my son hit puberty and I was forced to take down my site full of great, albeit embarrassing stories of his youth. With it came my portfolio site and I’ve neglected replacing it ever since.
The problem is a common one for designers, we want everything to be perfect. To be a good graphic designer that’s a job requirement. We need to identify every flaw and fix it until there is nothing left to fix—then look in the mirror and remove one accessory before leaving the house, right? But when perfection becomes the bottleneck that keeps you from moving forward, it no longer serves its purpose.
So, I bit the bullet and started with a wordpress template. It hurt. I felt like the master seamstress buying her daughter’s wedding gown at David’s. It’s cheating, right? But I’m tweaking the template, I’m identifying flaws, I’m making it work for me—the client—and I’m getting my portfolio online where people can see what I do and maybe pay me money to do it for them.
And that’s the purpose of communication—not to show off how clever your designer is, not to recreate the wheel—to get your message out there and build your business.
So, this is my site. It’s not perfect, but neither am I. But it’s good and that’s something we have in common.
The Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp illustration had to be sexy and flirty, without being trashy. The graffiti backdrop and the sassy pose suggests our model knows that you’re checking her out, and she’s just fine with that. The Clown Shoes tattoo on her back was produced as a temporary tattoo to be given out at events and tastings.
The Clown Shoes Eagle Claw Fist has one of the best sidebar stories, “At Clown Shoes we do Kung Fu, junior high playground style. One morning a move was busted and an ale was born…”
As a girl with two little brothers, I saw a lot of playground Kung Fu growing up and I knew our label protagonist had to have that Karate Kid, Enter the Dragon, Mortal Combat, kid fantasy style to him—but with Clown Shoes.
I still remember the creative brief for Brown Angel. “Sexy, hip-hop, in your face, with wings, a thong, and Clown Shoes. But make it elegant…” That, my friends, is a design challenge!
The result is your hottest girlfriend giving you a private dance, with an amazing body and a sense of humor, kind of like Clown Shoes beer!