Monday, May 31, 2010

The Miracle of FREEcycle

It's official... yesterday the last three items of my former apartment were moved outside and the keys turned in. It's such a huge relief to close the chapter on the over-one-month long process to slim down and offload over 75% of my personal effects, officially completing the move.

It's amazing how much stuff/junk one acquires over just one year's time; how the longer you stay in one place, the more things fill your space/life; and how, over time, your junk begins to own you.

In a conscious effort -- it was either store or farewell -- I conducted the ultimate spring cleaning this year and tried as best as possible to keep my temporal possessions from living out their last days in a landfill. Most things were in nice condition with many good years of use left in them, so I wanted to see them go to a new home.

With a multifaceted plan of attack, I hosted a moving sale via Fb, posted flyers at my apt. complex, sold a good bit by posting to craigslist, donated to local non-profits to help folks who are trying to get back on their feet, took boxes and bags of clothes to Goodwill, etc.

When it comes to keeping records, I'm a bit of a hoarder, so the biggest task was getting down to the essentials of the last 7-10 years of personal documents. It was a nice trip down memory lane -- especially reflecting back to my college days as I trimmed down my class files to a small stack of syllabi and essential work -- as eight boxes bacame just two.
Note: I was a little leery of doing anything less than burning these docs, but decided not to let the fear of identity theft rule my life any longer. Plus, I found comfort in the fact that if anyone actually goes to the trouble of stealing my identity, jokes on them since my credit is still ca-ca from that extended period of unemployement. If these identity scoundrels wait it out for a year+ until I restore said credit, then kudos to them; they can reap the rewards of their due diligence.

Over this last week when I was just desperate to get the remaining hold-outs, out, I made the wonderful discovery of freecycle. Living in an apt. complex, I knew that I could put a small pile of odds and ends out by the dumpster & recycling bins, which is the universal symbol for 'free to a good home.'

Sure enough, on Friday morning (when most of the residents were out at work) my pile of junk became someone's new found treasure and disappeared within a half hour of its creation; even while I was still creating it:)

Friday, May 28, 2010

News | On The Vine

Very exciting things for On The Vine all culminating this past week... no wonder I am wiped out today and ready for a 3-day weekend!
  • Work | On The Vine
  • WSBA | On The Vine
    I reconnected with a great group of women on Tuesday for the Wexford/Cranberry chapter luncheon and decided now was the time to join as Premier Member (only $80 through June 15th?!).

    The organization is growing and from all the other business networking groups in the Pgh area, this one tops them all and gives you big bang for your membership buck. I'm looking forward to getting involved with the group to meet other amazing businesswomen and to help out with upcoming events, further developing On The Vine's event coordination experience.

    Sign up for e-newsletter here:
    Check out news and events here:
    Great blog, too:

  • On The Vine, on the radio!
    Very exciting news that I received, via email yesterday, from the producer of 'Into the Night with Chris Wakefield' on KHND1470. I emailed Chris in response to a discussion on the Comm Arts group on LinkedIn calling for interviewees.

    I'll be on-air on June 3rd at 10:40pm (EST) chatting with Chris about On The Vine, my design career/experience, the value/purpose of design, and I'll also be chatting up our Pgh design community. Very exciting!

    I'll post a reminder on the Fb biz page that day -- you can stream live via the station website above or download a podcast of the show after the fact. 

Links: The Week in Review

I've come across a number of great reads this week. There are so many blog articles that could be written around each one, but I want to get them out there sooner rather than later. Happy Friday, if you aren't already on Memorial Day vacation (I know, mentally, I have been gone since Wednesday:) and enjoy:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Being Inspired + Getting Paid For It

As far as part-time jobs go, especially for designer-types, one couldn't do much better than to work for Target. Armed with a Dave Ramsey game plan, I've taken on a few extra hours a week in part-time work at Target in an effort to unearth myself from a small mound of debt. Once I began a little over a month ago, I was delighted to discover a few extra benefits to my professional career and personal life that I could never have anticipated:

1) Reconnecting with society: for me, the only undesirable part of being a designer is being chained to a chair with a face in a computer screen for hours on end daily. A nice benefit of working retail is to be interacting with people on a large scale and working along side/getting to know new co-workers. Compared to headache clients as a designer, customers (guests, in Target speak) are a walk-in-the-park to deal with, even when you get the occasional crabby/cranky one. It's helped me to get back into the art of communicating with people. As much as we don't want to hear it, design is a service-industry (though a little more specialized; and hopefully one in which we are seen as experts) and knowing how to interact with the customer is a necessary ability.

2) Exercise: instead of throwing money at a gym membership, I'm just working 2-3 days a week for a few hours being up and about walking around the store. I should get a pedometer to see how many steps I take in a shift. Plus, I'm getting paid for it:)

3) Mind-numbingly easy work w/instant gratification: sometimes, it's tough to work on projects that are critical thinking intensive for long periods of time -- 3-6 months (or up to 3 years, if you're unlucky). It's nice to know what you're doing and to have time to think on random things while doing a mundane task. Additionally, I'm a list-maker, task-oriented person and I worked in retail before (Walmart) for 6 years through high school and college. When I got into the design field, I often missed the satisfaction of looking back across activities of a workday and seeing progress. Many design projects do not provide that daily feedback (the result of a day's work is not in direct portion to the amount of time/effort put into it) that you get from seeing a department go from total chaos when you arrive to clean, neat and orderly by the end of a shift.

4) Design inspiration: lastly, the reason to work for Target as opposed to any number of other retail outlets/positions, is being surrounded by good design and constantly inspired by new patterns or color combos. Liberty is a new edition to the Target line and their prints are always fascinating. I've been taking pics of great colors and pattern with my phone during my shift and have even been able to discover a few new visual solutions to the design problems that roll around in my head on any given day. I also helped a guest :) yesterday to color coordinate a skimpy tank-top with a short-sleeve shirt of complimentary color and level of famine detail. Who would have thought that I'd be applying what I do professionally to this type of work?

Below is a sampling of mobile pics from my Target inspiration file... expect to see some paisley swirls, intricate Indian graphics and organic flourishes making their way into On The Vine's identity work:) 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gypsy Punk: Renewed Interest in Roma Nations

Oh, man... I double-heart Gogol Bordello and Eugene Hütz even more after seeing this movie -- The Pied Piper of Hützovina. Loved, loved, loved it for three reasons:

1) Mainly because I share a similar passion of getting back to my heritage. My grandparents are from the same general area that Eugene and his family are from; grandma's parents were from Lithuania and grandpa's parents were from somewhere in the present day Slovkia. They played a major role in my life during my formative years -- visiting them 3x/week for my first 15 years; until their passing in '96/'97 -- at their home in a ghost-town of a former coal mining community in SwPA called, Bakerwhitely. In their old age, they still had some of their Eastern European cultural tendencies and superstitions -- ones that had seemed so unassuming to me until I visited Russia/Siberia and saw them first hand for myself as part of everyday life.

As we've been tracing our genealogies, my cousin, Rebekah, and I have hypothesized that our grandfather's family is of gypsy descent... based on the fact that they made special effort to leave the past behind when they came to America and did not tell their children (my grandfather or any of his many siblings) any particulars of their heritage; also based on the family resemblance to photos of certain Roma peoples and because we can only trace the lineage back so far -- to the region where the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Ukraine meet. Records changed hands (and languages) so many times in the early 1900s that we continue to experience trouble tracking their name/details down.

2) It reminded me so much of my trek to Siberia in 2007. The limited photos that I took could only capture a small portion of the people, places and things that I experienced. The Gypsy camp in Carpathia that they visit in the documentary looks just like some of the villages on the outskirts of town that we visited daily during my trip. Such a sharp contrast between the 'modern, city-life' and the old country life co-existing in such close proximity. Now I have a video to show to friends and family to help them to see another part of the world and culture as I had seen it. The documentary even follows Eugene to Siberia, to a city called Chita, which is only a little way east of Irkutsk where I spent most of that month in Russia. Very well done!

3) I understand now why I am so drawn to belly dancing and gypsy music. It is the nature of the culture and music... it has almost a spiritual aspect to it. The human spirit -- the history/tragedy of that dispersed and discriminated group of people who even still have a wonderfully contagious resilience to find joy (laugh, dance and sing) in otherwise miserable circumstances -- is so ingrained in the culture and expressed through that music and dancing. It's given me renewed interest in studying the language and culture again... with a new focus on the gypsy nations. I must find ways to return to Easter Europe at least once time per year and connect with more folks who share similar interests in this culture.

 Photo from Irkutsk, Siberia: Babushkas (grandmas) are everywhere, here I am stalking three.

Happy Friday: Typography Presentation

For your viewing pleasure; and to get you through the rest of this Friday (closer to a beautiful Pgh weekend). Props to John DeGore for this epic find:

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Fav quote: "Don't think I'm a nerd because I've like noticed this... okay? I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions. I'm just like inviting you to join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty..."

Hahaha, so true! It's the, like, cry of an entire generation, or something, you know?:)

Happy Hour at Embury (IxDA, IDSA, AIGA)

While the sequence of 4-letter acronyms is quite the mouth-full, the Happy Hour at Embury in the Strip on Wednesday night was full of wonder and tomfoolery:)

Embury is a recent edition to the Strip Distict that offers guests 'pre-prohibition style cocktails with a modern twist.' Named Embury, for David Embury, author of "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks," we indeed found it to be quite the 'intimate space featuring hand crafted cocktails, a knowledgeable staff using premium ingredients and classic American fare.'

I posed a question on my Fb and LinkedIn status, prior to the event, wondering if Embury could handle so many design nerds in one place? The answer... almost no:) With a group in excess of 20 at 8pm from all the participating design associations, we nearly had 'the intimate space' bursting at the seams.

I enjoyed catching up with AIGA peeps and meeting some new IxDA folks. Though, I have to say that I more thoroughly enjoyed the old-man-mansion-style-door (the campoflaged one hidden in Bruce Wayne's study bookshelf) leading to the restroom... fantastic! My role became, upon greeting anyone I knew who entered that evening, to introduce them to my wonderful discovery:) I am saddened however, that I did not take a pic to include along with this post. You'll have to just check Embury out and experience it for yourself. The gentleman in the above pic, however, was the bartender for the event and looked pretty much like the pic.

Chatting with the IxDA event coordinators, we came to the conclusion that we need to partner more often on events -- both social and industry-related -- since we end up doubling efforts to do the same ideas with only a limited number of volunteers. Since the design community in Pgh is intimate and tight-knit, it sounds like we'll be teaming-up and pooling resources a lot more in the future.

Find all of them on facebook, too.

PS: Embury article in PPG:

Trying to Be Sustainable & Junk

It's been one of many plans in the works for two years now... this weekend, I finally got my first window-box garden started.

From a cute road side farmer's market stand, I snagged two great looking 1' tall tomatoes plants (Early Girl and Cherry) + a few nice flowering plants (Salvia, Geranium and a third that looks great but whose name escapes me). Target just so happened to be having a sale on planter pots and later that day I also stopped by a local nursery to add green and red leaf lettuce, sweet peas, green beans, chili peppers, green onions and garlic to the garden.

My mother has always had beautiful vegatable gardens and flower box planters adorning the yard and porches for as long as I can remember. Though, she claims that she's never been completely satisfied with her results. For me, the ideal situation is to be able to sprout the plants from seeds in the late winter, and to have an actual small plot of land to plant them in. But, we'll see how this first attempt goes before I invest any more time in the prep work and before investing a lot of $$ in any real estate.

Here's to hoping that in two months time, I'll be reporting on an abundent harvest of fresh vegies instead of mourning a vegie cemetery. TBC...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Overcoming the Overwhelming Fear of Failure (psst... it requires falling flat on your face first)

I recently discovered the design groups and subsequent discussions on LinkedIn. I love them and parusing new topics is becoming a part of my daily ritual. Kudos to LinkedIn for engaging me professionally in a way that Fb has socially.
Yesterday, on Communication Arts group, I discovered a discussion by Jarod Matthew Kessler referencing a blog article called "The Stigma of Being Unsucessful," and responded with the following on that discussion thread as a realization of the past few months in becoming okay (dare I say, comfortable) with failure.
  • "Great read... aren't we all on the edge of crumbling and trying just to keep it together long enough until we get home -- so no one else will see that we're just as lost and trying to figure it all out, too?

    A designer friend and I were just discussing this over lunch yesterday. We're very similar personally and professionally. We both had perfectionist tendencies and an overwhelming fear of failure -- as designers, those are probably the two biggest things that have caused us to lament the day we stepped into the field for the first five years of our careers.

    This past winter, we both left our full-time jobs for agencies to start our own individual freelance businesses -- giving up the comfort and security of a permanent position (that we both respectively hated and that had driven us to the point of burn-out). We both also went into our respective freak-out periods of self-discovery and life/career questioning about two months later. What had we done? What kind of mistakes had we made leaving a full-time gig to try to scrap by on our own? What if we can't do this? What if we lose everything? What will everyone think when they find out? What if we have to crawl back to the old positions? What really happens when you don't pay your bills?

    Through those really tough experiences, we both came out the other side as much more confident, fearless and mature people personally and as designers professionally. Instead of being afraid of making mistakes -- and trying at all costs to avoid making them -- we both realized that mistakes are going to happen and it's not the end of the world, the end of our lives or the end of our careers when we make them (though it can still feel like it is the end for a while). We're both much less apologetic for who we are and much more bold and decisive when faced with a problem or decision (without second guessing afterward).

    The only differences in our paths have been the outcomes 6-months after initially leaving those full-time gigs. She's a very successful full-time freelance designer and I've picked up a full-time in-house marketing position while I do freelance as a supplemental income (and creative outlet). Neither are wrong or mistakes... just good fits for our personalities and working styles.

    Very encouraging to read that there are other professionals out there comfortable enough with themselves to share similar experiences and realizations. Thanks again for posting!"
When I was about at my lowest point earlier this year (January and February were personally hell for me because I had lost purpose/direction for my career and life + being snowed in for a month in Pgh didn't help), I thankfully came across an article in Reader's Digest (as luck would have it) summarizing new research to suggest that 1) failure physically makes our brains stronger; and 2) your mind-set (growth vs. fixed) is the key to finding success.
From there, I dove into more research by Dr. Dweck on her mindset theories and made some important self-discovers about my own fixed-mindset -- a another term for being a perfectionist.... not really a new idea or realization. More importantly, I came to a point of peace toward all the people who had unknowingly helped shape who I am today and with that knowledge was able to start recognizing when I was exercising that fixed-mindset (with all it's unrealistic expectations), to counter it and be a little more willing to fail in order to figure something out.
  • Mindset Online: Book Supplement by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D's

    Particularly the page on how well-meaning parents, teachers and coaches have done number on creating a fixed-mindset in most of our generation.
    If you’re like most parents, you hear these as supportive, esteem-boosting messages.
    “You learned that so quickly! You’re so smart!”
    “Look at that drawing. Martha, is he the next Picasso or what?”
    “You’re so brilliant, you got an A without even studying!”

    But listen more closely. See if you can hear another message. It’s the ones that children hear:
    “If I don’t learn something quickly, I’m not smart.”
    “I shouldn’t try drawing anything hard or they’ll see I’m no Picasso.”
    “I’d better quit studying or they won’t think I’m brilliant.”

I hope that these resources are as helpful to all my fellow designers (as quirky and escentric as we all are) in helping to face and accept failure in their lives, businesses and designs -- and reap all the freedom that comes from allowing yourself to not-be-perfect.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Keep/Cut: 100 Friend Facebook Spring Cleanup

A recent glitch in my Facebook news feed settings -- people/businesses that I had specifically chosen to 'hide' for a number of reasons, made their way back into my feed this weekend, uninvited -- caused me to re-evaluate the unspoken Fb rule that you must keep all the people you 'friend' and the game that the more friends you acquire = you win.

Remember the old days when everyone and their mothers (literally) weren't on Fb? When you could talk to the people you wanted to talk to without the world watching? When you could post a rant or tongue-in-cheek blurb and people that you haven't seen in 10+ years (who wouldn't know your sarcasm and cynicism has aged along with you) weren't there to scold, correct, worry about you or otherwise 'mom' you via the comments?  I kinda miss those good old days...

Facebook has been around long enough that most of us have been using it for years -- I think that it's time for a little countercultural backlash. Hmm... maybe that's too strong of a phrase. It's more of a natural life cycle occurance of any new device or fad/trend -- everyone jumps on board and then there's either: a) leveling out period; or b) the thing becomes so big that it fails and off to the next bandwagon everyone goes.

There's been a lot of backlash to Fb via the privacy changes and increased advertising, but what I propose is a little less high level and more of a introspective look to take back the control of ones own virtual account/life (and maybe your mental health, too).

Spring is the time to go through your house/apt and clean out all your closets of clothes and other things collecting dust that you haven't seen or worn in a year or so. I'm going to apply the same principle to the cleanup (or in Pittsburghese, 'red-up') of my friend list. The following is the checklist of criteria that I will be applying to this slim down... the end goal; 2/3 cut down to 100 friends or less:

Keep friends or businesses if:
  • you enjoy their witty or pithy posts; wish they would post more often; virtually stock them to find their humorous allegories on other posts and pages

  • they post interesting articles or videos -- industry specific or totally random/entertaining

  • they've got their finger on the pulse of the local social scene -- the only reason you find out about 1/2 the local happenings is because a post in your news feed alerts you that they are attending a Fb event... you immediately check it out and maybe attend:)

  • they are great photographers and their compositions inspire you

  • you're building your professional network of clients, business partners, colleagues and peers -- you'll actually get to know them better through their fb posts and have something meaningful to chat about at the next happy hour or next business meeting

Cut friends/businesses if:
  • you have hidden them from your news feed (for any reason... most of which follow)

  • you forgot that they were friends because you accepted their request and never heard from them again

  • you only met them once at some event, long, long ago, and cannot (for the life of you) remember who they are or how you know them

  • on a daily basis, you have to hide more than one application that they subscribe to; when you check out their wall... all their activity involves fb applications

  • for sales prospecting purposes, they are constantly hounding you to become a fan of their business page... even after you've responded with an ignore on their past 5 page suggestions

  • their frequent posts are an ongoing matter-of-fact narrative of what they are doing right now and that they mistakenly think the world should know about every detail
    * disclaimer: I use fb as an entertaining escape and do not care to be reminded of the trite everyday; I live in it, too... it's boring and usually uneventful, that's why I'm monitoring Fb

  • they are those parents that photo-documenting every single movement of their little ones lives, AND they are not good photographers
    * disclaimer #2: I'm not a parent and I'm sure I'll do the same thing if I ever become one... many, many years from now. However, some of you could have single-handedly kept the Kodak plant in Rochester, NY pumping out the goods, had not digital killed the film. 

  • you find yourself constantly rolling your eyes when their posts pop up on your news feed; there's a whole group established around this, Reading someone's status and thinking 'oh shut the hell up;' if it's a consistent occurrence, please stop complaining about it and just unfriend

  • you discover that you share almost nothing in common anymore with the people that you knew at one specific point in your life. It's known as situational friends... it's okay that after the situation ends, your friendship comes to a close as well; some friendships don't last forever (online or otherwise)

  • you find that your views on many personally important issues and values are in direct/complete opposition AND you get really fired up when you read their frequent posts about it... just unfriend, it's not worth the time/energy to debate the issues, nothing good becomes of it

  • you're friends with a business; there was a weird early period of fb business pages where you became friends with an inanimate object. All of them now have a 'like' button. Delete the friendship and like them instead... this alone will cleanup about 100 of your friends.
    *PS:'Like' On The Vine on Fb
Of course, I'm going to have special circumstance exceptions to every point I've listed. There's going to be some friends and family members that will make the cut -- even if they shouldn't:) Though, their status updates will be hidden... oh, yes, they will be hidden.

Also note, this does not apply to On The Vine's business page... keep all your biz friends and contacts, but do act as a wall moderator and censor the posts that are negative or unbecoming to your biz's identity and continued success.

Feel free to post in the comments 1) any other checklist items; and 2) the results of your own Fb spring cleaning. I'll be cutting in the next few days... results TBC.

Note: see the update in this article.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Heart Constructivism (Part 2 - Contemporary)

(Note: see history examples via Part 1:

On all the applications below, you'll notice a consistent color theme: black, red, white (or off-white). Almost 20 years since the end of the Cold War, it's still a challenge to use this pallet without instilling visions of the Communist Manifesto.

Though my love of Russian runs deep, On The Vine lent itself more to an Art Nouveau inspired identity rather than Constructivism. It's my next favorite design/art movement... maybe another design history post next week.

Favorite contemporary applications and interpretations of Constructivism are below.

Neo Soviet Russian Eagle, 2008, source:

Franz Ferdinand Album Cover, You Could Have It So Much Better, 2005

Franz Ferdinand, This Fire Music Video, 2004

Stolichnaya Commercial, Born in the heart of Russia, 2007

Stolichnaya Commercial, A Russian Icon, 2007

I like Smirnoff's logo, label and product design better, though... current campaign from website.

White Stripes, Seven Nation Army Music Video, 2006

V For Vendetta, Movie Poster, 2006

Of Course I have to include Shepard Fairy's work... Downtown Pittsburgh Board.

Weird campaign by Shepard Fairy for Saks 5th Avenue. Weird because principles of the Communist/Soviet-era were not about expensive/high-end shopping, consumerism or putting your own 'wants' above all else, but whatever. Another example of a design trend separated from the original ideology of the historical movement. Oh... American Consumerism (... and, dismount high horse).

I Heart Constructivism (Part 1 - History)

Trying to keep engaged on this Friday afternoon, so I thought I would get around to a post that's been cooking in the ol' noggin' for a while.

My-all-time-favorite period of design history is Russian Constructivism (big surprise!). I think I missed my calling as an Art Historian  -- though there's still time to become a Graphic Design Historian; a developing discipline -- because I love how design trends are cyclical and I enjoy seeing how a trend is revamped each time it resurfaces.

Below are prints from some of my favorite original Constructivist artists/designers (Lissitzky, Rodchenko, Schwitters and Müller-Brockman); in the second blog post, contemporary adaptations/interpretations of Constructivism. Enjoy!

 El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919 Lithography

 El Lissitzky, Poster for the Russian Exhibition in Zurich, 1929

Alexander Rodchenko, Dobrolet Airline Poster, 1923, lithograph

Alexander Rodchenko, Lilya Brik,1924, photomontage,

Kurt Schwitters, Photomantage

Varvara Stepanova, The Results of the First Five-Year Plan, 1932

Josef Müller-Brockmann, Weniger Larm (Noise Control), 1960
(okay, so he's part of the Swiss movement, but I heart him, too).

Josef Müller-Brockmann, Beethoven Concert Poster, 1955

Monday, May 10, 2010

Frank Parsons Paper Show: This Thursday (5/13)

Support our favorite paper rep, Art Groll, this Thursday. I'm planning on attending the Adobe CS5 Workshop at RMU Downtown, but will be visiting the Paper Show over lunch.

Frank Parsons Paper Show
Thursday May 13, 2010
Omni William Penn Hotel
Lower Lobby
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
RSVP to Art Groll
agroll@frankparsons or

So You Need A Typeface

Thought this would provide a little humor to ease into Monday. Thanks to Brian Nichols, who relentlessly peruses the internet blogs, for this gem.

My favorite is one of the bubbles on the far right -- when you try to beat the system, the author of this chart has accounted for every variable with a 'Get Out of My Flowchart' response:)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nuggets of Wisdom: AIGA Pgh Fellow Awards

Last night was the AIGA Pgh Fellow Awards honoring Rick Landesberg and Dennis Moran for their long commitment and significant contributions to excellence in the field of design. AIGA Pgh President, Greg Gibilisco, in a brief speech before delivering the awards, described Rick and Dennis as design community leaders, mentors and inspirations; in short, motivators.

The event was held at the August Wilson Center... perfect location. It was nice to see a good turnout from the design community and to catch up with all the former/current AIGA board members.

The dialog/chemistry between Rick & Dennis was entertaining and their career/business 'war stories' were both comical and packed with valuable nuggets of wisdom. An added bonus, Ray Werner was the event's moderator.

The complete presentation was recorded and I will post the link when it becomes available. For now, I'm including a few of my favorite quips and -isms that I can remember:
  • Don't work for jerks (RL)
  • Always keep a sharp x-acto knife (RL) ... you'll have to see the video for the whole story
  • Two traits of a design entrepreneur: an inquisitive mind & tenacity (or strong 'ego' as Dennis called it).
  • In this business, we get to learn a little bit about a lot of different stuff. (RL)
  • I've only ever met three real geniuses -- they were all designers. (RW)
  • All the 'true' designers, the real greats of our industry, have been the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met; nice to a fault, a rare-breed. (RL)
  • I miss the illusion of magic. What we (as designers) do used to be highly esteemed for its craftmanship/artistry. Now, there's this idea that anyone who has access to the programs/tools can do what we do. (DM)
  • It's tough having employees in this business. When I was managing a group of designers -- really creative people, but with very strong egos (the strengths as weaknesses thing) -- I was the most miserable I've ever been in my career (DM)
  • I was never very employable... I knew very early on that my only option was to be an entrepreneur (DM)
  • My adaptation of the Pocket Fisherman, the Pocket Portfolio, was the best sales pitch tool I've ever had. It's so compact and portable that I would bring it with me on the old 'three-martini' lunch meetings. (DM)
Feel free to add your favorite quotes (or your corrections to the ones I've posted:) in the comments.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Soviet -Era Propaganda Posters

Two years ago, the prolific author of one of my favorite blogs, A Soviet Poster A Day, mysteriously stopped posting. It wasn't too long before I began experiencing withdraw. I loved reading about the history of these posters as well as their translations. Even more, I enjoyed making the connections between US and Soviet propaganda from WWII -- ex. (above) 1942 "Everything for the Victory: Women of the USSR for the Front" vs. (left) 1942 "We Can Do It" aka, Rosie the Riveter).

Friends and family know that I have a (borderline) obsession with everything/anything Russian. With my design background, I particularly appreciate anything graphic from the era of Heroic Realism including Soviet Propaganda Posters. So needless to say that when I discovered that my favorite Soviet Propaganda Poster Blogger was back at it, I was posting like crazy on Fb. The new blog, Art Posters of War, includes posters from all the WWII nations.

In addition to the two blogs going into my delicious account, I discovered a few pages to follow on Fb, Soviet Posters and Propaganda Posters. For your visual enjoyment, I've included all the links below:
This week's events and discussions have got me thinking back to my travels to Russia (Irkutsk, 2007). I have submitted a presentation synopsis of my trip, Lessons from Irkutsk, Siberia, 2007, to the upcoming AIGA PGH event called Pecha Kucha (PKN) on June 17th. You can peruse all my Irkutsk/Moscow pics on Flickr:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Russian Film Symposium 2010

One of my favorite Pittsburgh spring events begins again this week -- the 12th Annual Russian Film Symposium at Pgh Filmmakers. Past symposiums have been fantastic. I highly recommend two from 2008 -- Hard Hearted and Simple Things.

Evening schedule and film synopsis:

See you there!