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2009 February

25

Feb
2009

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In Design Life

By Lorraine

Passions: Revisited

On 25, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Design Life | By Lorraine

Well, a week ago I posted about how having passions outside of your job can fuel your creativity and motivation. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the things that I am passionate about, and how they might relate to my future. Now, a week later, I’m doing a bit more than just reflecting: I was laid off yesterday. Our office decided to get rid of their entire print design department along with 12 others. (And just when I was thinking I had a routine down for keeping up posting/AIGA stuff too!) I’m not going to lie: I’ve been through a whole range of emotions in the last 24 hours, but for the most part, they’ve been positive. (…aside from the panicky feeling I get when I think of insurance.)

I’m not sure yet what I want to do—as I mentioned before, I have a lot of interests—but I am excited. This is exactly the opportunity I need to try something different: a different city, a different state, (different country?), different field of design…the sky’s the limit. And I plan on taking full advantage of every positive in this situation. Job opportunity in NYC? I can be there in a week. Grad school for web design? Animation? German? Sure! Freelance work to pay the bills? You bet!

I know job hunting is a full time job, but I plan on expanding and keeping my Design Resolutions. I want to use this “extended vacation” (or is it a sabbatical?) to take the time to learn how to cook, more seriously pursue learning Czech, or even finally open an Etsy shop. If James Baxter (or Pixar/Disney) calls, I’m totally moving to California. And if you know of anyone wanting to adapt an animated film about the rock cycle into a book that’s translated to German, give me a call! 

So much of what we hear lately is doom and gloom. (And let’s face it, looking for a job is pretty depressing in this economy.) But life is what we make of it, and I choose to look on the bright side of life (cue whistling). There is a lot of opportunity if we only focus on it.

23

Feb
2009

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In Design Life
Updates

By Lorraine

Ugh: Technical (and Time) Difficulties

On 23, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Design Life, Updates | By Lorraine

Just a quick post to say that I’m still here. I’ve been having off-and-on internet connection trouble at home: hence, the lack of a Weekly Reader last week. That, and I’m still working out a routine for myself to balance blog-posting (both here and at S&D) with all of the tweeting/fb-ing/linked-in-ing/flickr-ing for AIGAKC. I think I’ve gotten all of the kinks about worked out, so I should be back to somewhat of a schedule. (I hope…) Thanks for bearing with me!

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D.C. Inspiration: Goethe Institut

On 18, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Design Life, Happenings, Photography | By Lorraine

While blogging about the things I’m passionate about yesterday, I remembered that I had totally forgotten to post about the Goethe Institut in Washington, DC. Since hearing about the Goethe Institut in high school, I had always wanted to visit one of their offices, but never had the chance until our TransAtlantic Program reunion last month. Straight from their About page, the Goethe Institut is “the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution operational worldwide,” and the DC office didn’t disappoint.

Film/Neu is their series of foreign films shown in the small theater. The office entrance showcased a few posters from some of the past features. (I especially love Good Bye Lenin! — it’s such an excellent film, and I love the design!)

Movie Posters in the Lobby

Movie Posters in the Lobby

We were able to pick up a whole bunch of free bilingual publications: most of which were rather well designed. Nachtrecorder was one such publication that features beautiful black/white photography of German cities at night. Great design (I’ll have to take a photo) and great interviews/articles about the subjects photographed. We also got some really awesome buttons: who wouldn’t want a button that says “Na, und?” or “Prost!”

After a short program in the theater, we had lunch upstairs in their gallery space.

The room upstairs

The gallery space

The exhibit that was currently showing was Ivonne Thein‘s Thirty-Two Kilos.
Ivonne Thein 1Normally, I’m not a fan of this subject matter, but I really loved the lighting and just everything about these. You just couldn’t stop looking at them on the wall.
Ivonne Thein 1In any case, it was a really great visit, and I wish we had an office close-by so I could go to some of their programs or classes.

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17

Feb
2009

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In Design Life

By Lorraine

Passions: How to Put Them to Use?

On 17, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Design Life | By Lorraine

This post may be totally off-topic, but I just needed to put it out there because perhaps others struggle with the same issue. So I’ve been having a bit of a quarter-life crisis (to quote John Mayer) on and off for the past year. And in helping my sister make some decisions about whether she should double-major, I seem to have thrown myself back into indecision about my own future.

You see, I’ve always had a hard time narrowing down my passions into a career path. How do you know what you are “supposed” to do? My friends and family are probably tired of me wondering that over the past ten years or so (if you’re reading, sorry to bombard you with it again). Basically it comes down to this: I’m passionate about many things…none of which really seem to interrelate.

For one thing, I’m immensely passionate about design: one of the reasons why I started this blog and have gotten involved with our local AIGA chapter. I love book design and would love to one day work at a publishing company. Screen-printing and letterpress open so many options not available in digital technologies, and I can’t wait to explore all of the ideas bouncing around my head. Likewise, I’ve noticed I have a totally different aesthetic in my approach to web-design, and want to learn more, more, more.

Similarly, I’m absolutely and totally in love with animation—have been since I was about 5. I could bore you with long rants about how Sleeping Beauty is one of the most perfect films of all time. Listening to the Animation Podcast episodes and reading blogs like Animation Treasures or Colorful Animation Expressions are enough to have me ready to go back to school. But I really am in love with traditional 2D animation (and maybe claymation), so it’s hard to find outlets for that in the current industry. (Unless James Baxter is hiring right now…I would kill to meet him and pick his brain over a cup of coffee.)

On a totally unrelated note, I’m a (not-so-) secretly reformed science nerd. Sitting at our brother’s Regional Science Olympiad tournament, my sister and I were discussing what was wrong with the two of us for not going into something that we both obviously loved to do. Chemistry/geology…I can’t get enough of both of them—even now. And after coaching my brother for the past several months of tournament season, I’m ready to go spelunking. I think I almost died of happiness just visiting the Rock/Mineral section of the Natural History Museum in D.C. last month. The discovery that there are actually people who do forensic qualitative analysis to determine the make-up of pigments used in illuminated manuscripts was almost enough to drive me back to a college admissions office. (Btw, art history is another of my favorite subjects…)

Yet another interest of mine is linguistics: specifically European languages. If you’ve read my blog for very long, you’ll know I’m a German-phile. After taking German since middle-school, I found that I missed it too much in college and had to add it as a minor. If I had known that the field of linguistic anthropology existed, I probably would have switched my major. Luckily, an internship over seas with a German design firm allowed me to combine the 2 passions…and I never fail to get energized by the reunions we’ve had every year since. Particularly because all of us are from such diverse educational backgrounds. Each year, I come back wanting to educate others about German-American relations. Currently, I’m trying (slowly!) to teach myself Czech so I can better articulate my appreciation for the kolač. ;-)

Mind you, this is all very much an internal conflict, so no need to worry about me making drastic life changes. (And short of designing a German book based on an animated film about the rock cycle, I doubt I’ll ever be able to use all my passions at once.) But I often ponder just how things might be different if I had gone to college for a very different path… But what all of this has taught me is that it’s perfectly okay—if not necessary—to have interests outside of your line of work. They give you inspiration, motivation, and a unique perspective to approach it with. Milton Glaser addressed my classmates and I during a college trip to NYC. The biggest thing I took away from that talk was him saying how important it was to have interests outside of design: how it will fuel your creativity. He then followed that up with the advice to “always be astonished by what you see around you.” I think about that quote a lot: you don’t have to eat, breath, and sleep one thing for the rest of your life. There is so much wonder in the world and so much to be passionate about.

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12

Feb
2009

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In Design Life
Updates

By Lorraine

AIGA KC Now on Twitter

On 12, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Design Life, Updates | By Lorraine

Well, no Weekly Reader this week, but it was for a good cause. After assuming the role of Social Networking Chair a couple weeks ago, I’ve been hard at work this week getting a Twitter account up and running for our local chapter of AIGA. I’m proud to announce that if you are living/working in the Kansas City area, or just interested in design, you can now follow us @aigakc!

Of course, this couldn’t have been possible without a ton of support from my good friend, Linden. From letting me bombard her with emails, to a TransAtlantic gChat tutorial, she set me on the right track. Thank you so much! A shout-out also goes to our chapter’s web committee, especially Julie, for getting the Social Networking Chair logistics out of the way.

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D.C. Inspiration: More Pattern

While in D.C., I managed to slip into the National Gallery for just one hour. Although they Do have little 1-Hour-Must-See maps, I figured I’d just hit up the West Wing for the time I was there. I grabbed as many photos as I could. A post will be coming later on S&D highlighting my favorite paintings, but for now a tease:
National Gallery Pattern
I was on a pattern kick that weekend and I absolutely LOVED the patterns in many of the medieval altar pieces, etc. I didn’t get title cards for any of the patterns I grabbed, so no artist attributions this time. However, if you get the chance to visit the museum, GO! I was able to be inches away from Da Vinci and Raphael. If I’d have had more time, I would have sketched some of the other patterns in a lot of the paintings. But the photos are more accurate for later reference anyways.

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10

Feb
2009

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In Design Life
Updates

By Lorraine

More A5 Photos Up

On 10, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Design Life, Updates | By Lorraine

This past weekend was great: I finished a couple projects I’ll probably post about in the near future. Although I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped to work on the blog (additions/new features are still being added), I did get the rest of the photos from the A5 event loaded onto the AIGA Kansas City Facebook page.

Tonight, I just finished adding them to our Flickr page as well. I still need to finish tagging them, but thought I’d post the slideshow here as there are a couple more photos on the Flickr page than in the FB album. These photos were all taken by our photographer for the event, Matthew Collins, and include the evening’s winners accepting their awards. Enjoy!

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06

Feb
2009

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In Updates

By Lorraine

Minor Updates Around Here

On 06, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Updates | By Lorraine

You might notice a few little tweaks here and there: I’m updating some plug-ins and am adding more links to the blogroll. For instance, today I added the Related Posts feature to the bottom of each post. More importantly, I’m really excited to have added Typogrify.

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve been more than annoyed with the inability to fix widows and orphans in each post. Then I read this article over on iLT and have been dying to try Typogrify ever since. Now that I’ve upgraded to 2.7, I’m finally installing it. So far so good—even though it hasn’t been officially tested with the current version of WP. Let me know if you see any glitches that I can’t catch though…

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Wednesday’s Weekly Reader: Pattern

On 05, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Design Life, Illustration, Letterpress/Printmaking | By Lorraine

Today, my second post for Stickers and Donuts was posted: D.C. Pattern Inspiration. Here’s a bonus pattern that didn’t quite make the post:

Agate Pattern Inspiration(This is an agate sample from the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. I already had two rock/mineral samples…and while I’m in love with the pattern, it IS a bit blurry and I try not to encourage olive green) Anyways, since I’m on such a pattern kick, I thought I’d round out the week with a Pattern-themed Weekly Reader. This week’s links are short and sweet:

Rainbow Pattern Cake

Courtesy of Omnomicon

Courtesy of Omnomicon

I saw this cake recipe on MSLK’s blog this week: wouldn’t it make an Awesome Rainbow Brite-themed birthday cake? (I know, I’m a nerd…but wouldn’t it?!? And PS: I’m not too pleased with how Hallmark redesigned her…any Hallmarkers care to comment? She was cute the way she was!)

Valentine Inspiration

Courtesy asking for trouble

Courtesy asking for trouble

Sorry…no direct link the the specific post. But if you scroll down to the Friday, January 30 entry, you’ll see the beginning of Print & Pattern’s Valentine round-up. I thought this one by asking for trouble was adorable!

Feel Like Printing Your Own?

Courtesy Craft Chi

Courtesy Craft Chi

I poked around Amy’s Craft Chi blog a bit more and found this excellent How-To on using a rolling pin to relief print wrapping paper/fabric.

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03

Feb
2009

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In Inspiration
Typography

By Lorraine

D.C. Inspiration: Typography

On 03, Feb 2009 | No Comments | In Inspiration, Typography | By Lorraine

I was surprised to find so much inspiration while walking around D.C. Honestly, I never really had much desire to visit the city aside from wanting to see the Smithsonians, but it really is quite charming. This is the second in a series of posts I’m writing for both here and Stickers and Donuts (the first was on the Pepsi Campaign). Between the reunion’s scheduled activities, sightseeing with friends, and visiting museums, there was a ton of Typography inspiration to be seen:

D.C. Type 2

One of the first places we visited when we had some down-time was the National Archives. I was struck by the beautiful calligraphy on many of the displayed documents.

  1. One of the copies of the Magna Carta was on display as a part of a special exhibition: though the photo is a little blurry, I thought even the sign for it was quite nice.
  2. A close-up of the script on the Magna Carta: I had a hard time prying myself away to get to the Rotunda.
  3. Script on the Constitution: I was a little dismayed to see how faded both it and the Declaration of Independence were.
  4. More script on the Consitution
  5. Typesetting on Response to the King’s Proclamation by the Continental Congress
  6. Hand-written script on letter written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  7. Hand-written script, although I couldn’t make out the title card in my photo

The last place I stopped at was The National Gallery of Art. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, I was in such a hurry that I didn’t grab all of the title cards for each photo. I’ll update if I can decipher anything from my notes.

D.C. Type 1

  1. Altar piece
  2. Altar piece
  3. This is totally not from the National Gallery: it was a sign I saw on Adams Morgan while we were out one night, but I liked how the counters were filled in.
  4. Scroll on the back of Da Vinci’s Ginevera
  5. Latin along the bottom of a frame
  6. Latin along the bottom of a frame (a piece by Lippi?)
  7. Shield on an altar piece

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