Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's Superman!

Today I was going over my archived posts and drafts to see what I've posted and what didn't make the cut. These 3 sentences were held back for more content to add to them, but in contemplating what I was thinking at the time I composed this original post, I think the questions were just questions I had in relation to being a kid.

Many of us have had the experience of hearing "kids say the darndest things." I'm reminded of a recent situation. My wife and I traveled to Ohio (from Baltimore, MD) this past Thanksgiving and on the ride home I wore my Superman shirt. The weather was quite warm for late November, so I didn't have a jacket on. We stopped at a rest area on the PA Turnpike and went in to use the restrooms. As I was drying my hands and walking out, a man entered holding the hands of his 2 boys.

The boy closest to me looked up at me and saw my shirt. He loudly proclaimed, "It's Superman!"

I felt encouraged and appreciated the little boy's perspective. He didn't know me, but he knew the symbol on my shirt and that was enough for him to believe.

Sometimes I think what we know as an adult holds us back from genuine belief—belief in others, belief in ourselves, belief in God. We don't trust because we've been hurt. We don't express because we expect the worst. We don't like being vulnerable. We don't know how much we're missing out.

What if we found a way to be a kid again (I'm not suggesting immature behavior)? What if we believed on the merit of what is presented to us instead of what happened to our brother's-wife's-cousin's-sister? Where's the challenge—the invitation to grow and learn—if there isn't risk involved?

Do kids get everything right? No, but their perspective is valuable. So, what would you do:

If there was something to say…would you say it?

If there was a song to sing…would you sing it?

If there was a book to be written…would you write it?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2012 Was good...but 2013 is going to be better!

 My friend and co-worker, Genna, asked me the other day, "What's your favorite job?"

I pondered this for a while whilst I stretched the canvas photo around the wooden frame (that's my fulltime job, although I've always wanted to do graphic design fulltime...more about that later). I began to think about all those moments when I felt like a good human, a good man, a good person. Memories from years gone by flashed through my mind's eye and I saw many many great moments. They say hindsight is 20/20, and it's true! Every time I think about what I want to do or who I want to be, I think back to those moments when life was good. Yet I know that those moments weren't only good because of me—it's bigger than that. I give credit to God for those great moments. I'm not saying I'm a bad person without God, but I'm definitely worse off.

All those moments that I think about are good, because I see Him helping me to grow as a person, as a man, as a brother, a son, a friend, a husband. I'm not the same person I was 2 weeks or 2 years or even (especially) 20 years ago.

So, "What's my favorite job?"
Genna had gone to do something else and when he returned about 30 minutes later, he asked me again.

My reply was simple, but complex. I told him that my favorite job was one where I help people. It's one where I feel better through the work I do. It could be designing a business card to help a business have better exposure. It could be helping the team setup the stage and sound equipment for Sunday morning worship. It's the job where I believe I'm helping to move God's Kingdom forward. What I mean by that is that I'm not just doing good to do good. There are a lot of good things out there in our world to do, and we can do them—but if I know my heart isn't in it, I'm really not giving it my best to help move anything forward. It would be like going through the motions.

A Better 2013
I believe growth happens when we choose to let it happen. It happens naturally in our bodies everyday, but to really change in one's character, ideas and influences, one must choose to grow and to flow with the changes of that growth.

2013 is going to be better because it's building on my experiences from days, weeks, months and years ago. It's going to be better because I choose to let God have more influence in my decisions. If you're not a person who believes in God, then let me put it this way: I'm going to walk out my faith in a real, genuine way, trusting that the choices I make are going to be the best ones; that helping people make better decisions to improve their lives, businesses and families is my job; that sometimes it isn't about finding the perfect match, but making the best of what you have.

So, what's your 2013 going to look like?

Monday, January 2, 2012

An Honest List

2012 is here!

We are super excited at the prospect of freshness that comes with change, particularly in this case, a new year! The past 4 years have been exciting as JGD gained new clients, tried new gigs, explored new designs, convinced potential customers (probably scared a few away too!) and managed to relocate from Cincinnati to Baltimore. We expanded our playing field in 2010 with our Business Page on Facebook. We transformed the logo of Peppe Ramundo & Son. We turned over some business cards and designed some fun event posters, CDs and DVDs for Central Parkway Church of God. We increased in experience and applied new consulting techniques.

2012 presents us with new opportunities to work with clients in both Cincinnati and in Baltimore! With the ease of transferring files online we'll stay connected to you for effective and efficient econonomical services.

So, you're probably asking, "Where's the honest list?" Here it is.
  1. If someone asked me what love was I'd quote John 3:16.
  2. When you call me, I smile as I answer to phone.
  3. Each day that passes isn't wasted, but it cannot be recreated.
  4. When Adobe© Illustrator crashes I get vexed.
  5. I love to design cards, logos, posters, ads, tshirts, fliers, brochures, maps, and books.
  6. Sometimes I would rather read a book like "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.
  7. My wife is my biggest fan.
  8. We have 2 cats that inspire us—they at least entertain us!
  9. My ambitions have grown but sometimes I don't like what I have to do to get to those ambitions!
  10. As a graphic designer I still don't know everything I want to know about the design world, how it works, who does the best work, and what it takes to get there, but I'm learning.
  11. Life is boring without challenges.
  12. You can live on a budget and still have fun!
  13.  God puts people in our lives to help us see more of Him.
  14. There are good ways of saying bad things, but sometimes that doesn't prevent the pain.

15.  Save and Control/Command + S often.
16.  If life had Control/Command + Z we wouldn't know how to use it without abusing it!
17.  Being a graphic designer doesn't mean anything until you help a client improve his/her life.
18.  A dose of humility is far easier to deal with than a dose of hostility.
19.  Admitting I'm wrong isn't as easy as Staples says. I would rather not push any more buttons.
20. This list isn't complete without you; JGD strives hard to meet the deadlines, create original artwork and dazzle your eyes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Explore Art

"The static routine of the workplace can narrow our minds. Enlarge your creative scope through regular explorations of the vast territory known as The World of Art (both past and present). 

Exploring art is a lifetime journey.

When you explore art, travel lightly: leave preconceptions and opinions behind. Explore galleries, museums, bookstores (new and used), libraries, artist's studios. Meet other designers and find out what they are doing now and what has influenced them in the past. Many cities host a gallery walk at least once a month. How about an art history class?"

This is an excerpt from Creative Sparks, written by Jim Krause, and it offers one a chance to both return to a former schooling and embrace new inspiration.

If, as a designer/artist/professional you find yourself too busy to explore the ever-expanding World of Art, then here are some steps I've come up with to let loose of those tight guidelines that box you in. In this case, embrace Taco Bell's mantra: Think outside the box.
  1. Eat more Taco Bell. It may not be a 5 star restaurant, but you can choose another fast food (could be a chain) to fill up on as you step outside your normal routine of trying to eat healthy.
  2. Make a board of all the small notes you write on a given day and post it on the bathroom door to remind you that when you're in the commode, deadlines, phone calls, photo edits and dreaded emails are on hold for at least 3 more minutes. Enjoy your peace.
  3. Visit a 1950s-meets-2020s diner in the middle of Baltimore, MD. The Lost City Diner thrives on the futuristic space living as the servers parade around in WWII-inspired fashion. You'll love Saturn.
  4. Sit down to a game of Bonkers and let the board change with every roll of the dice!
  5. Call someone you haven't talked to in 3 months and let them tell you what they've been doing! Listen intently and ask questions to let them know you're following along. And smile—they can hear it in your voice.
  6. Turn off all electronic devices, take out a book and read through to the end. You'll increase your knowledge on the subject matter and invest in becoming a better person—and a better reader! 150 pages later you'll be a new person.
If you have more ideas, leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Early Bird Gets The Chicken

People were lined up out the door, the drive-thru line extended into the intersection, and the phone would not stop ringing—or so people thought. Today, September 29, 2011 was the final Thursday in September for Marylanders to get a free breakfast entree from Chick-fil-a by simply saying: "The early bird gets the chicken", before 10:30am. It was a 1 month promotion (Thursday mornings only) by the chicken restaurant chain who has come to be known by the cows holding signs with this phrase "Eat Mor Chikin." Other phrases associated with them are "I can take the heat" and "We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich."

What I learned from this experience:
When a restaurant decides to put a free entree on the table, asks the public to say a simple phrase which is usually advertised over the radio, and greets every customer with a smile, who wouldn't go for it? Who wouldn't get up a few minutes earlier to get a free breakfast? Who wouldn't stop at the Chick-fil-a they pass every day on their way to work? Who wouldn't try to be sneaky and go to multiple locations to get a couple entrees? To answer bluntly: everyone who was too lazy and scared to say that simple phrase. Chick-fil-a put out a promotion that only cost 2 minutes of your time (yes, they're usually that fast!). You walk in, you say to the cashier, "The early bird gets the chicken." As they smile, they say, "Ok. Will that be all?" You say, "I'd like a large peach milkshake and a large sweet tea." No, actually, you don't have to get anything else. I didn't even get my wallet out! When the woman who greeted me asked, "Will that be all?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Alright," turned and requested an "early bird" from the kitchen. I had my bag in 30 seconds. It was simple, efficient, and very fun—tasty too!

How does this effect graphic design, marketing, and/or branding?
Each day we're overloaded with over 5K images asking for our attention, time and money. Each day we choose from these 5K where to spend our lives, our conquests, our resources. Whoever screams the loudest and clearest consistently usually attracts our ambitions, but whoever can do that and give away free stuff will always only get about 35%* of the intended audience to react. The other 65%* are too busy, too distracted, and too lazy to make it happen.
When I first heard the announcement on the radio I was excited, since I missed out on the previous promotion for their spicy chicken sandwich (it was the same idea, only you had to say the phrase, "I can take the heat,"and you got a free spicy chicken sandwich). I totally forgot on September 15, but I was determined not to miss it on the 22nd. I got there on my way in to work, parked the car, went in, and said the phrase. I had also planned on getting a peach milkshake (so I did spend money), but I quickly recognized by the cordial service that I didn't have to buy anything if I didn't want to. So, I took it back to the office and gave it to my boss (he had been out for his brother's funeral and I wanted to cheer him up). When my other co-workers heard about the free entree, they were sad they missed it, but I told them there was 1 more day.
Tuesday (27th), I made little signs and posted them up as reminders for everyone to get their free chicken today. Well, as I rolled in and began talking with everyone, they all missed it again! I had even texted several of them at 7am to remind them, and they still said they didn't have enough time, or forgot, or didn't like chicken!
As a designer/advertiser, I sunk the ship because I'm the only one who benefited from my campaign to help them out! I was 1/12 of the crew and no one else saw this as enough of an opportunity to make something happen to "spice" up their day!

Was it worth it?
Yes. It was worth the sandwich, the campaigning, the smile from the cashiers, the smile from my boss, and the fun of experimenting with the kindness of the chicken giant. I've always been a Chick-fil-a fan and will continue to help them promote good food and good advertising, down to the last waffle fry.

*percentages based solely on personal experience.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baltimore Business

JGD has moved to Baltimore! We still have connections in Cincinnati and would love to continue working with current and new clients in both Baltimore and Cincinnati (and anywhere else!)

Each step to move JGD forward has been met with challenges: of finance, of transitions, of new ways of communication, of new technology, of new ideas, of new jobs, of new clients, of new regulations (we could keep going and list everything but why waste the time and blogspace!). But I assure you we are persevering and working to make it an exciting design agency where creativity thrives and brims over into our clients' ads, brochures, websites, graphics, social networks, etc....

To sum it up nicely, Jeremiah Good, our creative director says this:

"Creativity wells up within me. Creating exciting compositions and thinking outside the box keep me inspired: to focus on the task at hand, to be ready to take on the next challenge. As a freelance graphic designer I jump at the opportunities to explore new concepts and projects that help people live more adequately. I believe that making something exciting to look at is just as important for the shirt in the store as it is for the canvas on the wall or the photo in the album. Each detail is important, each color chosen specifically, and each character kerned and tracked to communicate that specific message.

That's what I do."

And that's the way it's going to continue to be. If you have ideas, comments or questions, we're always open to them.

There are many ways to reach us. You can leave a comment here on Blogspot. You can LIKE us on Facebook. Or you can send an email to We love to hear back from our fans, clients, friends and potential clients. 

Note: We're working on our website (see pic below) which will go live in the coming months. Stay connected on here and Facebook for updates on what we're doing.

More to come!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There's Evidence…

For many years I've considered what it means to manage my own company, how to be an excellent familyman, and how to juggle all my other activities. But it just isn't as easy as I thought. There are many good things competing for my time! I love what I do, but there comes a time when I have to accept the challenge of balancing it out! The focus isn't changing on the creative side—that's my strong suit. The focus is going to change in my methods and time that I agree to dedicate to specific people, events and ideas along the way. But it's not my words that will display evidence…it's my actions.