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Showing posts from 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab Review

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I bought a Galaxy Tab about 3 weeks ago. I've had the chance to use it "in the wild" for a while. The main question I get asked about it is "why buy this device and not an ipad"? The 1st answer is that I travel a lot. Having a device that's small enough to fit into my pocket is optimal. I carry this thing with me everywhere. I'm writing this blog post on it thanks to the Blogger app for Android. The device is more like a big phone than a "small ipad". The main attribute I've noticed is that I get a lot of stares using this thing. I take it with me when I go to the store with my wife or to meetings at work. People are definitely curious about it. I'm writing this from a hospital waiting room; people are kinda craning their necks to get a look at the thing I'm pecking away on.

It ships with Android 2.2 and did a quick sys update when I powered it on. This is my first Android device and I have to say its a bit of a weird change fro…

The Why of it All

At our 3rd Quarter Meeting last week, our Chief Creative Officer asked all of us at LPK to figure out individually "Why we do what we do". I didn't take long to figure out my reason: I do what I do because I'm intensely curious and I love a challenge. I never planned to get into what I do for a living; life just kinda' took me in that direction. However, in many ways, I've been doing the same thing since I was 12 years old. The only difference between now and then is that I've added skills and have gotten better at what I do along the way. And my client list has grown along the way too.

So far in my pro career I've done a combination of all of these jobs:
• Comic Book Artist
• Comic Book Publisher
• Photographer's Assistant/Darkroom Tech
• Graphic Designer
• Storyboard Artist
• Commercial Illustrator
• Photo Retouching
• Consumer Product Concepts
• Consumer Product Designer
• Motion Graphics
• Instructor
• Who the hell knows next…

I love waking up the next morn…

Design Scams!

"Trust built on nothing is a con."–David Johnson
I am a professional designer of 20 or so years by now. Many of those years were spent grinding away in the Chicago market as a freelancer. In that time I dealt with ALOT of companies. Some were very large, some very small, most were in the middle. Most were legitimate; and a few were a bit iffy. Like many talent-related businesses, there are many war stories about gullible professionals who have been taken advantage of by scammers, dreamers, incompetents, and just plain dirty people.When it comes to scoping out new clients, here are a few rules I've developed over the years:
1) NEVER apply to a "blind box" ad. I've heard that some companies use blind box replies to "keep prospects from calling them all day about the job". These are the classified ads that do not mention the name of the company, a phone number, or even a contact name.
Blind Box Ads are BULLSHIT!
A legit company will let you know who th…

A Decade in the Top Tier… The End?

Continued…
LPK arranged for a relocation expert to find suitable apartment candidates, we made a trip a few weeks earlier to look at them. We picked one, started packing and I gave notice to my clients that I will no longer be a freelancer. I got a lot of "good bye and good luck" e-mails and I also said good bye to my friends in South Bend. The change would be welcome. I spent 7 years in Northern Indiana; add another 1 1/2 for my wife. She finished college in 4 years, she went straight to grad school that summer. It took me a bit longer to finish undergrad and move to Indiana to be with her. Although I have many friends there, I don't miss that place. Too small, too cold, nothing to do except go to Chicago. I was on my way from living in a small town to moving to a "Weather Map City"; which are the ones that are shown on TV when the weather guy goes to a map of the country.
June 9th 2003; Estelle and I threw all of our crap into a 14 ft. U-haul truck and made th…

A Decade In The Top Tier… Part Four

Continued…
Spring 2003; I had spent the last 3 years freelancing in Chicago from South Bend, IN. I found success way faster than I thought I would, and the time came to find some stability after 3 years of lost invoices, sporadic workloads, and crammed all-nighters.
I worked with so many great people at some great companies and maintain contact with many of them to this day. I managed to keep my workload going during 9/11; during the stock market implosion of 2002, and in spite of the fact that the local area I lived in at the time had almost NO market for top-tier creative; I might as well had been a ventriloquist dummy salesman.
Basically I did the impossible; but I knew that I was pressing my luck continuing to freelance. All during the time I freelanced, I kept an eye on jobs in the Chicago market. I interviewed at a medium-sized toy company in Chicago as a Design Director. The gig looked promising; and it would have been a lot of fun; my background in comics and illustration would h…

A Decade in the Top Tier… Part Three

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Continued…
Late summer 2000, I met with two people at Unilever's Wells St location; let's call them Clark & Bruce. They sat me down and showed me the creative deck for a variety of Suave shampoos; this was my initiation. I knew next to nothing about Packaged Consumer Products! Again, I learned by doing! Over time a variety of Unilever brand managers filled my in box with one concept request after another.
This was everything I dreamed it would be! The work was steady, but the lifestyle of a freelancer was a lot to get used to. I was not used to the invoice cycle; do the work, send an invoice, wait 30 days, get paid… if there were no problems! Otherwise you had to wait, and wait, and wait for your money. Guess who doesn't wait? The phone bill, the light bill, the rent, etc. etc. Money was a constant juggling act; sometimes the phone got "disconnected"; it was fun! Estelle was a grad student at the time, so she didn't make any money. We were solely dependent …

A Decade in the Top Tier… Part Two

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Continued:
I gave notice at The Tire Rack months in advance. The original plan was to move to Atlanta, GA.
Estelle and I were tired of living in the frigid Midwest and Atl is close to our hometown (10 years later and we're still in the Midwest). So earlier that spring I flew to Atlanta and interviewed at a bunch of places. Some were very promising, some not so much… just about ALL of them did not offer me a job. When I got back to Indiana I looked around at the local design companies there (most did RV catalogs, most were terrible, and NONE of them offered me a job!)
This is the part of the story where a person with sense would have just gone back to work at The Tire Rack and stayed there. The gig was good, I had lots of creative freedom, and the people were very nice; if not a little bit old-fashioned. The problem was that I was terribly bored working there. Most of the time I just looked online at all the creative gigs in "real" cities and wished I were there instead.
So t…

A Decade in the Top Tier… Part One

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As the decade rolls into 2010; I'm feeling the need to write about the last 10 years of my career. I've been a creative professional all of my adult life; starting when I was 17 as the only high-school student intern at The State Newspaper in my hometown Columbia, SC. To this day I have no formal Graphic Design education; everything I know how to do comes from experience, patience, and trying very hard to learn something new all the time. I have tried to possess little fear of the unknown. I was never trained how to use any of the programs that I intimately know how to use now. The answer is that you learn a little bit at a time, and translate what you know into what you are trying to learn.The year was 1989, and the digital design field was still very young. I spent the next 5 summers (1 in high school, 4 in college) learning as much as possible about the Macintosh, and what a creative mind could do with it! Design was my backup plan; as I aspired to draw comic books profess…