Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sand Villages

On Sunday, my friends I went to Coney Island to hang out at the beach for a day. Of course we had to build a sand castle, especially since one of my friends is majoring in sculpture. We didn't have any tools, so we had to just use our hands, and it turned into more of a sand village than a castle. Then we decided it was a utopian society, with a school and a university, but it also had a laboratory where dinosaurs were created, and a colosseum where they would fight to the death, and a racetrack where the winners would race. See also if you can spot the luge track, the pit the criminals and dinosaurs are kept in, the volcano, and the giant piece of pie. My god, we're such art students.

Monday, June 28, 2010

6.28.10 Life in NYC

It's time again for another round-up of the photos I've taken over the last week or two. I've been up to a lot of exciting things, so let's get to it.

:: Library ::

Yes, I consider the library exciting, especially when it looks like this in the stairwell.

:: Washington Square Park ::

I love sitting in Washington Square Park, because you never know if you're going to see a man fold himself into a tiny box or do crazy handstand tricks, like we did Thursday night.

:: New York Pier ::

On Friday night, my friends and I walked down to the pier overlooking Hoboken. I didn't bring a tripod so I could only get blurry, light stock-ish photos. But trust me that it was really beautiful in real life.

A really cool infographic showing the location of historic bells throughout the city.

:: Bubble Battle ::

On Saturday, Robyn, Erica, and I went to Times Square for the BUBBLE BATTLE, which consisted of several hundred people blowing bubbles at each other. You can see video from the ordeal here but I didn't take many photos since my hands were covered in sticky bubble solution.

:: Coney Island ::

On Sunday my two friends and I went to Coney Island for the day. I haven't been to a beach in about two or three years so it was so nice to just relax and play around in the ocean, even though I did end up with a very annoying sunburn in random places where I didn't manage to get sunscreen. I also ate my very first corn dog in honor of Hank Green. It was delicious but not something I'd want to eat more than maybe once a month, since I could just taste the fat and grease and general unhealthiness.

:: Random New York ::

I'm not really an architecture enthusiast, but some of the buildings in New York are really beautiful.


Nighttime in the city.

It's a little baby street. So cute.

And finally, I love little picturesque houses like this, where everything is beautifully color coordinated. May I please live there?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekly Inspiration #1

Thank you to everybody who left a comment on my last blog post. The things you guys said really meant a lot and I might be doing a follow-up post soon.

For today though, I want to introduce a new weekly-ish segment (yes, another one), in which I share some people or websites that inspire me, either directly related to graphic design or not.

The first person I am going to feature today is Nubby Twiglet. I have been reading her blog for several months now, but since I first came across it, I haven't missed a single post. She is basically everything I want to be in a couple years: a professional graphic designer with incredible fashion sense who seems to have some sort of adventure every week. Her graphic design work is beautiful, and her style, both in her art and in her fashion sense, have noticeably influenced mine. If you are a graphic designer, I highly recommend checking out her advice blog posts, as she gives lots of good insight into putting together a portfolio, working freelance, and other helpful subjects we all face. And if you're not a designer, she doesn't only post about graphic design! She has series of posts called What I Wore, The Week in Pictures, and Link Love, and everything she posts is incredibly beautiful.

I'm sure most people reading this blog already know who Alan Lastufka is, but if case you are new here, he is the co-founder of DFTBA Records, a musician who has released two albums, Erase This and Taking Leave, and a YouTuber under the name fallofautumndistro. Alan is one of the most hardworking people I know. He has so many great ideas, but then also has the skills to get those ideas put into action. He has turned DFTBA from a small start-up with a couple artists to a label signing some of the biggest names on YouTube, that sells thousands upon thousands of CDs. And he's done all that from a little town outside of Chicago that's basically in the middle of nowhere. Alan is a master at using social media to build a community that stays true to the values it was founded on. He has skills in many, many different fields, from graphic design to music to business management and a natural instinct about who would be good collaborators to make his projects the best that they can be. Since Alan and I became friends a little over a year ago, I've learned so much while working with him, and I can never wait to see what else he manages to come up with.

I have been reading the Unclutterer blog for more than a year now, and it is always one of the first websites I check every morning. Erin Doland, the main writer, manages to write in a way that is accessible to people at all levels of organizing, and is helpful and encouraging without being pushy in the slightest. As it says right on the homepage, "Unclutterer is the blog about getting and staying organized. A place for everything, and everything in its place is our gospel." I recognize in myself that I am quite the pack rat (seriously, I have way, way too much stuff), but reading this blog has helped me begin to realize why I am that way so that when I eventually move away from home I hopefully won't take all that clutter with me! Along with the daily posts about things like managing your to-do list or how to tackle and organize paper clutter, Erin also has weekly posts called Unitasker Wednesday, which is absolutely hilarious, and Ask Unclutterer, which can be very useful if you have a similar problem. There are a good number of people who post in the comments every day, and they often offer suggestions or ideas that are just as useful as the original post. If you are looking to declutter your life on a large scale or just need a daily kick in the pants to stay organized, this blog is a fantastic resource.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thoughts on GD as a career

For some reason, I'm still surprised when the skills I learn in school turn out to be skills I can actually use in the real world. I've been at my summer internship for a few days, and while I'm not going to tell you exactly where it is, I can tell you that it is a small design studio that does a lot of work on magazines and websites. Anyway, for the past 2 days, I was working on a logo design, and it was still so odd that I'm being paid (not much, but still) to do the things that I've been practicing and doing for fun for the last six years. However, no matter how big or small the client is, I always find myself doubting my own skill and being convinced my work is a complete mess until I hear that they are happy with it, or at least happy with the direction it is going.

Anyway, back to the logo I was working on - after I had a fair amount of concepts, I met with my boss and another designer in the studio to go over it. It felt just like I was back at a RISD critique, with the things we talked about and the suggestions they gave. I guess that could also be partially because the other designer I was talking to graduated from RISD just a few years ago and in fact did many of the same projects I just finished last semester (though his work was much better than mine is), but it was still surreal to be having a crit in the middle of New York City with "real" designers for a fairly large client.

When I'm working for a client as big as this one, it comes with a lot of pressure to do a good job. One of my weaknesses as a designer, which I know I need to work on, is to not be happy with the first decent design I come up with, and instead to push myself to make it great. It can be frustrating when you think you've come up with a successful solution, but a couple more painful hours tweaking it and pushing it into a new direction can be the difference between competent and brilliant.

I try not to show it too much, but a lot of the time I just completely lose faith in myself as a designer. There is so much good design out there that it just becomes overwhelming. I know that I can never be the best, but why can't I make my work look as good as all the people I admire? It can be kind of scary actually - if I can't even get this logo looking decent, what hope is there that I will ever get a real job? I suppose this is something everyone must feel at some point in their respective fields. There is just so much out there to learn, and the graphic design field is so incredibly competitive that it's scary to think that soon I'll have to make my own way through it, and just hope that I've gathered enough skills and knowledge to be qualified for the kind of job I want to get.

I guess the only thing left to do now is to keep on going, to try to learn as much as I can without realizing just how much I will never learn at all. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter either as a comment here or on Twitter. I may do a follow-up to this blog soon, so get commenting so I have something to actually respond to. And thank you so much for reading my rambling thoughts even when I'm not just showing you artwork.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

6.20.10 Life in NYC

Hello again everyone. As you have probably noticed, unless you're scarily unobservant, I've done some work on this blog layout, mostly to be able to accommodate larger photos. I'll probably be working on it more over the next week or two, so if you visit and everything's looking a bit wacky, just come back in a while and hopefully it will be back to normal.

Anyway, this is the first of a new series of posts in which I document my time spent in New York this summer through photography. It is inspired by Nubby Twiglet's The Week in Pictures posts, though I'll probably be tweaking the format of mine in the coming weeks so it's not quite as blatantly copying hers. I apologize for the quality of some of these photos - many were taken with the camera in my Blackberry since I only just got my new point and shoot which I'll be carrying around in the future.

:: The View (not the talk show) ::

The view from my room is really beautiful on a nice day. I'm glad I escaped the New York City stereotype of having a window that looks at a brick wall!

:: Brooklyn Bridge ::

Last Friday, two of my friends and I trekked down to the bottom of Manhattan to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. These photos really don't do it justice, so make sure to walk it yourself if you're ever in the area!

:: Festival of India Parade ::

One of the things I'm loving most about New York is that you never know what you're going to get. Case in point, last Saturday I walk out the front door to see a parade going by for the Festival of India. It was total craziness but a fun surprise nevertheless.


Similarly, just wandering around the Columbus Mall two days ago, I come across this beautiful poster for my favorite cartoon ever, Adventure Time!

:: Nerdfighter Note ::

It always makes my day when I find a nerdfighter note (though I look like a crazy person flipping through all of John Green's books to find them!) This one was found in the Barnes & Noble by Columbus Circle. Did you leave it? Let me know in the comments!

:: The Mermaid Parade ::

I'm so glad I got to go to the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island this year. I've been meaning to go for the past two years but never made it, but this year it was a beautiful day and everything worked out well. It was hot and sweaty and crowded, but the costumes and floats were beautiful and everyone seemed to have a great time.

:: New York at Sunset ::

And to finish off this (absurdly long) post, a photo I took while walking back to my apartment at sunset last night. New York City can be really beautiful sometimes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nigtmare & the Cat Banner

Last week I got an email asking if I could design a banner for a new band that was starting up, Nightmare and the Cat. I really enjoyed the music on their site, and was given some great source photos of the band to use, so of course I said yes. The band wanted the banner to have a vintage, collaged style. This was really fun for me, because this is the kind of work I used to do before I even went to RISD - just blending photos and random objects into beautiful looking collages. It was nice not having to worry about color profiles and print specifications since it was just for the web. The band is very happy with what I came up with, as am I.

A larger version of the banner can be seen at the link above.

Friday, June 18, 2010

VidCon Poster

Today's post is something that I just finished designing last week, which nobody has seen yet and most people won't see until July - a poster for VidCon 2010. When Hank asked me to make the poster, he didn't give many guidelines; he basically told me to include the logo and date and to make it look cool. I had a lot of fun exploring the themes and purposes of VidCon in a visual way; the thumbnails are what we see on YouTube every day, but at VidCon we will be ripping through the 2D-ness of the computer screen and meeting everybody in real life. The poster is tabloid size and will be available for free at VidCon, and will also be on the cover of the VidCon programs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dan Brown Shirt Photos

I don't have a new project for you today, but rather an update on one that I blogged about before. I received the shirt I designed for Dan Brown in the mail, and I wanted to show you guys what it looks like as an actual shirt. Dan decided to print it on purple instead of the gray I suggested, and while that color wouldn't have been my first choice, I think it still works well. The shirts are still available for purchase here if you are interested in buying one for yourself.