Politics of creativity

What is the purpose of art? What does it mean to be creative? I keep dancing around this topic and this week, when divides are deeper that I can remember, I realized something. There are two broad ways for artists to approach our work: With the desire to make something both meaningful and pleasing, that has…

3 generations of media

I decided to study “mass communication” when cable TV was young. Brand new course offerings at UT Austin speculated about the mind-boggling array of emerging channels and introduced the concept of “narrow-casting” in contrast to traditional broadcasting which had sought the “lowest common denominator.” Tastes were becoming divided and specialized for demographics that were very valuable to advertisers. Internet was still to come. Email was just for…

The Not-at-home Mom

When I returned to an on-site job in 2013 I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’d worn real shoes, styled my hair and applied make-up by 7 AM every day. As my child was getting the hang of totally dressing herself, her momma was remembering how to get through a routine of her own. Stay-at-home…

Educate Your Customers (Please)

Sometimes I catch myself sharing technical aspects of graphic design with more clients than usual. Would that more of us had the willingness to take a moment to explain the work of our trade. How much compensation have we forfeited because we wouldn’t provide a brief technical lesson? Upon contemplation I’ve come up with two sinister excuses: First, clients don’t…

Meaning of Style

I was confronted with style trouble in high school on the day my cool punk friends stopped by and discovered my record collection. Why I had punk friends, I’m not sure. I guess I made one and eventually hung out with his friends too. He had a band (The Suburban Punks – no genre confusion) and I…

Finesse on a Budget

Small businesses can’t get away with not looking slick anymore. As Swann shared in ForbesAdVoice, maybe we have Apple and Ikea to thank. All customers now expect good design. But who can spend what design firms command for a great, fresh marketing approach and consistent brand? You can try getting by in the hope that…

Artists, Love Your Left Brain

I believe we all have whole brains. As far as some of us being too logical to be creative or too artsy to manage anything, well, I’m just not buying it. Maybe when you were a kid, you were told you were artistic. Or not, because your sister was or your dad was. You were…

Meaning of Style: Relax! Be Practical

This started out as a simple blog about style choices – how we (consciously or not) determine our modes of expression in dress, décor and for me, print design. It has become far more philosophical. Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien. I’m seeing how choosing style relates to my essential mantra from trade school, “Done…

Why I Love Specs

A new generation of visual artist has arisen alongside user-friendly, consumer desktop publishing. Apps now let you make a nice document without a thought to even basic concerns like margin width or type size. Great for writing the letters we used to type on a typewriter, with the ability to add things like color, an…