Art, process and design blog of an aspiring industrial designer.

Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Wonderland

This video, Wonderland, is real-er portrayal of life working in the creative industry (film, advertising, graphic design, computer animation, etc.).  Super fascinating, and not always uplifting, but I watched it, and then watched it again – if that’s saying anything.

viaSwissMiss

Anything She Wants

A couple months ago an incident may have or may not have happened while I was romantically working at a coffee shop.  Let us assume: this story is true, coffee shops are UNromantic.

I am working at cash, like I have been for a while.  Person after person comes by, I take their order, ask them if they would like white, whole wheat or multi-grain.  Ask them if they would like a small medium or large.  I answer their questions about the soup of the day and about our gluten free bread.  I review their order with them and ask them if they would like anything else?  This happens over and over again, many days, weeks in a row.

It is a Sunday morning and a young, normal-looking (un-good-looking) couple comes in to order healthy, post-workout breakfast.  I go through everything, I review their order and I ask them, “Would you like anything else?”  The boyfriend says to me, “Anything she wants.”

I took a step back (mentally), and smiled at the camera observing my life.  In that moment, I shocked.  I imagined a different place and time and that I was in a comic strip.  And then I said nothing, and imagined an art project I would make of it.

Being Indispensable

beingindespensable,july13-2013IMAGES: Seth // Linch

I am reading Seth Godin‘s book Linchpin, that I originally heard about through a NY Creative Interns recommendation.  Right now I’m really into learning and reading as much about entering the business world as possible (… as much as I find not-boring), and Seth Godin falls right in there.  If you’ve never heard of Seth Godin, he’s an author and speaker who focuses on marketing, with a penchant for supporting the creative industry.  He also runs one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world. (Check it out.  Its, um, pretty good.)  Anyway, the book talks a lot about, not necessarily needing to change your job, but being indispensable in the workplace.

It got me thinking about stuff.

To me, the guts of the book emphasize: whenever you are working anywhere, it essential to input your identity and creativity into your work, because that is what makes you indispensable.  Its essential to do this, not just because it feels good, or creates a better experience for you, or makes you happier with your job, but because it is better for the company and makes you necessary.

Making yourself ‘indispensable’ means that if you left, they could not replace you as you.  I’m not saying they couldn’t get another nurse, junior graphic designer, store salesman.  I’m saying that they could not have another person that could add to their company in the same way you could – with your unique perspective and background and identity and creativity. (Because I don’t care who you are, EVERYONE can be creative.  And if you think you aren’t, then you are just either boxing in what you think ‘creative’ means, or being lazy.)  Your ‘replacement’ could even be someone very good, but they could not replace you in the company.  And that makes you ESSENTIAL to the company’s identity.

If you are a waiter, and you realize that its better to have all the wait-staff learn how to use the dishwasher incase the dishwashing worker goes to the bathroom and slows down the line, that’s creativity.  If you work at a mill and realize that it’d be faster to work in relay than to carry materials back and forth, that is inputing your identity and creativity into your work.

What are some of your qualitites that make you indispensible?  I think one of my best qualities is that I crave pushing the envelope, even when its easy to think realistically.  (I try to never be ‘realistic’, coming from a too-much-feasibility, engineering background.) Tell me about some of your awesome traits and creativity in the workplace. :)

The Importance of Side Projects

If you didn’t already know, side projects are IMPORTANT.

In whatever industry you are daring to work in.  Even the ‘irrelevant’ projects.  If you didn’t already know this, you are super late to the party.  I have heard so many great professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs speak about the importance of side projects, so listen closely.

In my opinion, and again, from what I’ve read from great people, side projects are arguably more important for your personal sanity and career of choice than school in a chosen field, or even employment experience in a chosen field.  This is because it shows:
1)  initiative,
2) potential (no client!! no limits!),
3) dependability and dedication, and
4) SAMPLE WORK

These four things are so essential for any hard working individual who inspires. Initiative and hustle are very important with everything being so fast and available these days (-> laziness runs rampant).  You have to be the one to grab it!  Also, when you work on a side project on your own time and money, it can literally be anything you want it to be, and thus holds so much potential.  It can be long-lasting and over the top and epic and beautiful, but also, if you fail, no big deal.  Just start again tomorrow.

Dependability and dedication are a given with side projects.  There are no real deadlines, you are not getting paid to do this and maybe no one will even see it.  Its almost more the opposite – often friends don’t get it, tell you its not as important as hanging out with them, and you run into at least two snags during the process (its becoming not what you were planning, you run out of materials, you are off schedule, your dog pooped on part of it).  But from this, you become self-motivated AND you become dependable.

It’s also a great way to build a portfolio, and continue to let your creative self naturally evolve.  Even if you are really great at writing fiction revolving around 9/11, sometimes you just have to move onto the next phase of your creative life and write romances taking place in the turn of the century.  You are no longer that person who wrote your first novel – you’ve grown, you’re happier/more depressed, you’ve explored it.  A side project is a great way to do that without pressure, or your editor saying that they’re not  really interested in this new kind of novel from you at the moment.  It is really one of the best ways to get the kind of clients you want and to focus your work in the area you want.

One fabulous example of a side project is starting a blog….. but there are SO many people doing all sorts of different side projects out there.

Here are some amazing examples:

Jessica Hische.  Jessica works as a letterer and illustrator, and with her early web presence started posting many different side projects on the internet.  Some of those include Daily Drop Cap (where she created a new letter of the alphabet every day. So far she has gone through 12 alphabets, but has since stopped the project).  She also made Mom, This Is How Twitter Works, Don’t Fear The Internet, Inker Linker, Should I Work For Free?, a doodle blog, etc. etc…  All while working and maintaining her own personal blog…. She makes me feel so lazy. Check out way more of her side projects right here (since she is the Queen of Side Projects, for reals).

-Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss.  In addition to starting her design blog as a side project, which has since become one of the most popular design blogs of all time, Tina has also created Creative Mornings a free, creative, conference-like lecture series that has since spread to major cities across the globe, Tattly, a design-y temporary tattoo company, and the design-y to-do app, Teux Deux.

Ji Lee. Currently a communication designer at Facebook, Ji Lee created and started the famous Bubble Project, the word as image project, and so many other side projects.

Aaron Draplin.  Graphic designer who created Field Notes as a side project!

Kate Bigaman-Burt.  Drew copies of her receipts until they were paid off, and then drew everything she bought in a day, everyday.  She’s been drawing daily since February 2006.  Crazy.

I could go on and on, but alas, I must go floss.  Go start a side project! Tell me about it in the comments!  (Also, if you need some tips or encouragement, re-read this post or check out this link or this one.)

Try Something

trysomething,may-our-2013
If any of you are worried that you aren’t ready yet for something or if you are waiting to learn stuff first or get knowledge/experience under your belt, remember to just Try Something this week.  You really can’t wait until you know who you are to start a project.   (The secret is you will never know yourself well enough to start a project.)

On the podcast, Design Matters, I was listening to Debbie Milman talk with Design Army, and the power-couple being interviewed said this:
“It’s never an idea until its excecuted.  You have to excecute. There are so many ideas floating around, and until you do it, it’s really doesn’t mean something.  So many people say, ‘Oh well, I had that idea first’.  Well, you didn’t do it first, so …. ”

Its easy to feel like you don’t want to embarrass yourself or waste people’s time, but in order to do something amazing you must put yourself out there.  It might start off embarrassing or bad or clumsy, but it is the only way you can practice and evolve and create something that is worthy of your good taste.

People even identify with the unclear ideas, because in reality, even those of us that brand ourselves well on the interwebz, don’t know ourselves nearly clearly enough.  We are constatly changing and evolving.  Sometimes I wish my About Me picture didn’t look so friendly. I sometimes wish it looked more polarizing and weird and aggressive and “murder-y in a hot way” (Lena Dunham, poet).  But I hope with time, and with the development of my blog and myself as a professional, that I will be like wine and fancy cheese.  I will age well, and get more expensive with time.

To get a client or to impress your boss or to get into grad school or to get an A, you don’t have to be good enough for yourself – you only have to be good enough for them.  Others can see things in your work that you don’t see, or will know how you and your work will look in a month better than you will.  I’m not saying lower your quality and settle for other people’s assessment of your work, but put yourself out there in order to give yourself opportunities you’ve always hoped for even before you are up to your own standards.  From someone who knows, sometimes you just have to jump and hope for the best.

Ways to try things this week:
-Don’t wait until you buy excersize clothes.  Just go in old shorts and a camp tshirt now.
-Start the website you’ve been wanting to
-Apply for the job
-Join a group or club
-Watch this video from Alex Beadon
-Talk to or email one of your heros
-Compete to win
-Raise your expectations, and believe the new expectations are possible

Cheers,
Dayna @kaleidoscopebrain

(photo taken and edited by me)

Advice to Young Future Designers

In case you haven’t heard of the website, The Great Discontent, they do these really interesting, long interviews of awesome famous artists, designers, etc.  They also always have a great photo of their subject.  A couple weeks ago they spoke to Olimpia Zagnoli, a great Italian illustrator.

When asked about advice for kids starting out she said:
“Be different. Keep your eyes open. Record everything you see, process it, and then spit it back out in your own very personal way. Get inspired by something that’s not just illustration. Be serious. Be silly. Get drunk sometimes. Dream a lot. Don’t think you can’t do it, because you can.”
– Olimpia Zagnoli viaTheGreatDiscontent

apr20,2013-OlimpiaZagnoli

Their most recent interview with Matthew Smith was great in its entirety, but here is my favorite quote about his advice to young future designers:
“I would say three things. One, spend time learning the visual language rather than just learning to style.

Second, learn to be a businessperson. Designers need to know how to solve business-oriented problems and ask questions that get at the heart of things. If you don’t already listen to The Businessology Show with Dan Mall and Jason Blumer, that might be a good place to start. Jason was my CPA for a long time and is one of the smartest, most interesting people I’ve ever met and Dan is a business owner who is doing amazing things. As designers, we need to be well-versed in marketplace and business issues, otherwise we remain stylists.

Third, for those designers who have a similar story to mine, limit your exposure to approval. Find the people you trust the most and stick with them. Ask them to help you build your own set of judgements to know when you’re doing great work because the guys who tell you that you’re one pixel off are not doing you any favors.”
– Matthew Smith viaTheGreatDiscontent

apr20,2013-OlimpiaZagnoli1

IMAGES: Olimpia Zagnoli illustrations here // here // here

The Inspiring Blogger Award

The Inspiring Blogger Award

I have been nominated for Inspiring Blogger Award by sonuduggal, and I am totally honored.

http://sonuduggal.wordpress.com/ Thank you so much for nominating me for this wonderful award.

The rules are simple: You MUST do this…
1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

So here are 7 things about KaleidoscopeBrain :

1) I started this blog on my road from engineering student, to design grad student, and I am so proud to announce that I have gotten into to grad schools!!! WOO

2) I enjoy ‘practicing’ pretty much every single different type of fine art or design.  From crochet to sculpture work to fashion to film.

3) I love baking without pressure. :) While watching a bad tv show or listening to an awesome podcast.

4) Enjoy traveling and antique shopping/thrift hunting and photography.

5) I suck at most sports… mostly because I never did any sports growing up, except for the ones we did in gym class.

6) I like that, although I may not look it, I’m pretty tough.

7) I’d love to write a short film one day.

Choosing 15 other Blogger’s is really a difficult task.  Here are my 15 picks that apply to how I’m feeling today.  (No particular order, and I tried to make it a wide variety of big guys and little guys, and varying topics.) Enjoy!

1)  Truth and Cake

3) Seth Godin

4) The Middle Finger Project

5)  HeyLookAFellowWriter

6) Jackson Sees Georgia

7) Moddea

8) Swiss Miss

9) Quiet Cassandra

10) Chris Guillebeau

11) Alex Beadon Photography

12) Dezeen 

13) Smitten Kitchen

14) DesignLoveFest

14) 1000AwesomeThings

15) The Better Man Project

16) Style Bubble

Thank you all so much for inspiring me throughout my pursuits.

Regards,

Dayna @KaleidoscopeBrain

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