Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year's End: Now What?

I'd like to formally say that 2009 has been an exciting and blessed year for me. It had many highs: Engagement to my wife on a mountain in Phoenix, AZ; Co-directed an new Easter production; Another nephew joined the family; Spent an unbelievable amount of time with my family; helped my church get through a variety of changes brought on with renovations of the Nexus Pavilion, Impact Center, and the main Sanctuary; Married Katherine Search on August 15th and honeymooned in Seiverville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg—which is also where I discovered that Longhorn Steakhouse is my favorite restaurant of all time; Filmed 10 weeks worth of announcements; Spent an even-more-unbelievable amount of time with my in-laws because they're awesome; Joined with UC Collegiate Ministry on their Greatest Ever Winter Retreat at a lodge in Gatlinburg; co-directed another Christmas contada. Yep. It's been a joy to do so much and to work with everyone on these endeavors. I'm proud to say that 2009 was a great, fulfilling year.

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our official 2 years of being together (I asked her out Dec 30th, 2007 @ 11p). She planned the evening: we went to see Sherlock Holmes (loved it!) and then went to Longhorn for a delicious dinner. As we were driving home, it occurred to me that I've spent a quarter of my life in Cincinnati. I was 18 when I came down here for college, and now I'm 24. 2010 will be the year I turn a quarter century old. Wow.

Well, here's to 2009 and the great decade it came with. I heard a friend say that "Dubya ruled politics" for the 2000s, and I'm satisfied with that. It's been a good decade for me.

So to you and yours, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Eerie Truth, But Good Wisdom

I ran across a posting from a designer friend on Facebook, that I quickly found funny and true in the same moment. This particular post was from another website, and it commented on how horribly difficult it is to get friends and family—the ones generally asking for favors, all the time—to cough up some change to pay you for your services. But, as the posting also illustrates, it's a reality that Graphic Designers must endure, until we hit the big time. This website actually has a variety of humorous satirical work, along with some exciting resources for design gurus and geeks.

So aside from being enthralled with the reality that "fully 92% of your time will be spent on unpaid favors", what happens when you actually get paid for some of those favors? Well, I guess you're now above average, as long as you can keep it up. Yet as we all know, Freelancing is a roller coaster. A big client here, small client there, no client for a month, then they all come running to you for 2 weeks.

I wonder: in the hours we spend educating ourselves, but then the client pushes us to learn more, to fulfill their ideas: Is this ever a bad thing?

No. It's actually a good thing. I believe that the client isn't always right, but also that the demands of the client should be heard and addressed when designing. They are important (for more than just the pay) and you as the designer need to always respect them. Part of that respect is also knowing when to speak up, and add in your sentiments (from past experience), and it's also a good idea to make sure you understand their objective, so ask them to clarify. The best way that a client can be sure you're clear about what they want is when you repeat it back to them after you've written it in your notes, and then you also send it in an email after the meeting, so that everyone is "in the same boat" (on the same level). Only then can you assure them and be sure of yourself that you know what needs to be done before the next meeting, and what the end may look like.

Knowing that most of your work will be unpaid may seem hard to take in, but if you love what you do, and you can convince your clients that you are better than average, act on it, do the work, and know that you've done a good thing. You'll always have someone who can't afford to pay you your proper fee, but sometimes, doing the pro-bono stuff is more satisfying.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hmmm. Let's think.

Innovation. What's in it for Print/Graphic Designers today? What's in it for Consumers? It's a new way of experiencing a culture coming out of recession, into better financial positions. Entrepreneurs, artists, and designers are all working creatively to meet the increasing demands of a young, cyber-conscious, media-conscious society.

In a society where young & hip is where the money jingles, is it also any wonder that the design profession is quickly advancing and finding itself in the midst of so many toys to solve so many different problems? Adobe has posted a really cool link to show just what design professionals can offer in this eclectic society:
Once you're there, it'll take a little bit of time to load, but move around in the virtual environment and find the JOB FEED and take a look. As of this posting, there are currently 30,198 jobs available that require some form of Adobe software knowledge. What's more is that Adobe is one of those "toys" I mentioned earlier. You can't really be an effective designer in this society and not have any knowledge of the main 3 programs Adobe has created: Photoshop, Illustrator, & InDesign. We have the unlimited ability to work creatively and efficiently with the world of computer technology.