Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apparently my feet are abnormal wide.

Actually this is not news to me. I generally struggle with finding shoes that fit. I have this oddity that I have really short, wide feet. I generally have to go to an 8 or 8.5 to get a wide-enough shoe. Technically I am a women's size 7, extra wide! :)

Thank goodness for Chacos. They are the only shoe that REALLY fit me. Anyways, I am in desperate need of some tennis shoes to work out in. I work out about 5 times a week and my tennis shoes are a pair that I had when I was in COLLEGE! That was 5 years ago and I am sure I had them long before I graduated.


Anyways, I went to a running store where they measure your feet and have you stand on a heat sensing pad to see your arches. I also had to be video taped running on a treadmill - not exactly the highlight of my day.


When I went to the store, I was very upfront in saying that my feet were wide and asking how wide their sizes came in. After going through all of the motions and having me try on several pairs of shoes, they finally agreed that they didn't have anything in the store for me (duh). So they decided to order a pair of "wides" for me to try out.


So today I received the call that the shoes were in. We went over so that I could try them out. Unfortunately the wides did not fit. The sales guy just looked at me and said that this was the widest the shoes came in. I asked about mens and he said they wouldn't be short enough. I asked about boy's and he just looked at me - I don't think they carried kids shoes. He also told me that this was the widest that they made women's sizes. I know for a fact that I have seen wider sizes online AND if someone didn't make shoes that fit me, I would have spent the last 26 years walking around barefoot!


Anyways, the experience was very disappointing and a huge waste of my time. I will probably resort to ordering a million "wide" shoes online from Zappos b/c they have free shipping. Trying them all on, seeing what fits and sending the rest back. Why does having to buy a shoe have to be so complicated?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Connectivity at McAlister's Deli

Thank goodness for free wireless internet at McAlister's Deli! I was supposed to meet with a potential client at 3:30 and she called to tell me she was 45 minutes away and did I mind waiting?!?

Well, I hate to leave b/c the meeting is a good 30+ minutes from my house, so I said, "No problem, I will see you in 45 minutes." So I went to McAlister's, purchased myself a LARGE sweet tea for $1.80 and am enjoying air conditioning, sweet tea AND free internet.


It drives me nuts when I go places like Starbucks and they want to charge for internet. What is up with that? I would much rather go somewhere that is going to provide the service for free.


So I am sitting here, killing time, surfing the internet, waiting for my meeting.


Maybe I should be trying to figure out where we are going to go camping this weekend. We are driving up to Damascus, VA so that we can bike the Virginia Creeper trail on Saturday. Most people get a shuttle to the top and "coast" the 17 miles back to town. We are going to ride up and then ride down. It is a 17 mile hill. Daniel thinks it will take us less than 3 hours to get to the top - I am not so sure...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Trust

This week I have been nervous about my workload. I actually have several projects going on, but there is this nagging voice that keeps wanting to know where the next project will come from. If the projects stop coming, then I don't make a living. The past 6 months have really been a lesson in trust for me. I have to get out there and sell myself, but I also have to trust that God will provide.

Today I have been feeling especially antsy. There is always the thought in the back of my mind that I should start searching for a "real" job. But then I just got a call from a potential client. My former boss had referred me to someone who works for
Center City Partners. The call was to find out if I would be interested in putting in a proposal for designing a Guidebook for people who live and work in the city of Charlotte. I am ecstatic about the possibility of getting this project. I am also thankful that even when I am worried about things, God has my life in his hands and I just have to keep trusting that everything will be ok.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Let there be light.

Thanks to Daniel, we now have working lights and ceiling fans in all of the rooms in our house! Yeah!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rained Out

This afternoon Daniel and I were planning on going on a 20+ mile road biking excursion from Crowder's Mountain to King's Mountain State Park and back again.

Anyways, on our way out to the starting point, we made a stop at a local bike shop to look at some bike accessories for me and to also pick up some road tires to replace my mountain biking tires.


We finally made our way to the park about 35 miles west of Charlotte. We began unloading our bikes and getting ready for the ride. We could hear the distant grumble of thunder but decided to suit up anyways, figuring that worst case scenario we cut the trip short when it started raining. Soon we had tires swapped and were on our way. We had pedaled less than a mile when we noticed a bolt of lightening followed shortly by thunder. We don't mess around with lightening, so we turned our bikes around and headed back for the car. The entire way back, the lightening and thunder were getting closer. We reached the car, loaded the bikes and got ourselves inside of the car just in time for the down pour to start. Soon sheets of rain were cascading down around us.


We ended up only riding about 1 mile, which was disappointing. We headed back to Charlotte and decided to stop at On The Border. We requested outdoor dining and hoped to finish the meal before the coming rain. We managed to make it all the way through the meal, pay our bill and sit for a view minutes before the rain began. At least we finished our food first.


The rain was definitely needed but we missed out on a good biking day. I suppose we will have other days to ride, just not today.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Has the person that folds the laundry gone on strike?

This is what Daniel asked me last night when he saw the mountain of clean clothes on the bed. The answer is YES.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstice

When Daniel and I were at Harding and first dating, we spent many dates outdoors at parks lying on Daniel's camouflaged blanket under the stars, discussing our lives. Those are very cherished moments. Other than camping, it has been some time since we have enjoyed laying under the stars, talking and dreaming about life.

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. We celebrated by going to Bruster's Ice Cream shop where we split an brownie fudge sundae. Afterward we came home and were sitting in the twilight in the car, watching the stars come out and I suggested that we go lay under the stars in the back yard. I had forgotten what it feels like to lay under the expanse of sky, staring out at the universe thinking about life.


We listened to the sounds of night and watched as daylight faded and moonlight took over and the lightening bugs emerged. It is so nice to have your own personal back yard to lay in.

Forgetting about yourself.

I have heard it said that doctors and nurses are great at healing people and terrible at taking care of themselves. It also seems that you hear of financial advisors whose finances are in shambles and moms who focus so much attention on those around them that they forget about themselves. I suppose this could be true of people in almost any type of occupation.

Yesterday I had a meeting with a native Charlottean, graphic design veteran who allowed me to pump him with all sorts of questions in an effort to educate myself. One of the most profound things he shared with me was this: "Don't forget about your personal brand identity. Designer's have a hard time designing and developing brand identity for themselves."

This statement holds such truth. I work one-on-one with my clients to develop their brand identities and at the same time I have not given the same thought and effort to myself. Something can look good, but if potential clients don't know who is behind the work, then it is useless.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tired

I am so tired. I was up this morning at 6:30 for a 7:30 breakfast meeting with a local graphic designer who has been in the industry here for over 20 years. I really pumped him with a lot of questions regarding running my freelance business. It is wonderful to have a resource to ask all of my questions to. I am learning though, that even though he is offering some great advice, I am a different person than him and will choose to do things differently. This is kind of like being taught a certain way to do things by your parents or someone else that you look up to. But as you grow and mature, you will adapt their teachings to suit you. You may not do things exactly the same way, but that is what is so great about God making us individuals. We ended up having a 2.5 hour discussion and I still have many questions. Hopefully we will get together again soon.

I officially got my business license today. It was a lot less painful than I anticipated. I had been putting it off for some time. I went right before lunch and didn't have to wait in a single line. It was great! I went in, signed my paperwork, wrote a couple of checks and presto change-o I am officially legal to run my own business.


Since I was uptown already, I met Daniel for lunch. That was a nice treat.


On a random side note, I was in Wal Mart this afternoon doing my grocery shopping and there was this grown woman wondering through the aisles calling out "Ma" and "Mama." It was very odd. At first I thought she was a teenager, but she was definitely 10+ years older than me. Maybe her mother got lost???

Families of Abraham


There are three billion people in the world - Jews, Christians, and Muslims - that claim the same Abraham as a spiritual ancestor. Earlier this year, I had the privelege of seeing the exhibit, Families of Abraham at the Levine Museum of the New South.


This exhibit is a photographic narrative that follows the lives of eleven different Jewish, Christian and Muslim families who reside in the Charlotte area. The exhibit documents the different lives and faith practices of each family. Through photographs and words, a person viewing this exhibit receives a greater understanding of the interconnection as well as the differences in these three world religions.


The exhibit will continue to be on display until July 31, 2007. If you are in Charlotte, NC, I would highly recommend taking a moment to check out this exhibit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Second Harvest FoodBank

A while back, I had posted that Providence Road Church of Christ was asked, along with 100 other churches in Charlotte, NC, to participate in a food drive for Second Harvest FoodBank in an effort to fight hunger in the community.

Providence Road challenged the members of its congregation to donate 2,000 pounds of canned goods. The congregation met the challenge and then some. The final count for pounds of food donated was 5,775. This was almost triple the amount of the challenge!

Click on
What If or Do You Think About Hunger? to view slide deck announcements used to encourgage members to think about hunger and donate to the food drive.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Marketing a "State"

Crater Lake


The state or Oregon has done an excellent job of marketing their tourist industry. I am always intrigued by their print ads that can be seen in Backpacker magazine. The marketing also ties beautifully into their web site. The site and ads feature clean, crisp design, good typography and excellent photography that all work together to tell a story.

Last summer my husband and I took a 10-day trip to Oregon. We rented a car, visited some college friends and drove all over the state. During the course of our trip, we visited the Columbia River Gorge, picturesque Multnomah Falls, we hiked up 9000+ foot South Sister Mountain, toured a lava tube, drove around Crater Lake and drove up the scenic coastal highway. It was a wonderful experience and every time I see the Oregon advertising, it reminds me of my adventures the summer of 2006. Oregon really does live up to its advertising.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Curious Squirrel

Daniel and I were sitting on our porch, eating breakfast and enjoying the cool temperature and the chorus of birds singing when we noticed a squirrel in one of our trees in the front yard.

There are a lot of squirrels in our neighborhood - reminds me of Harding. We also have a family of rabbits living in our back yard. Our neighbors are not crazy about the rabbits b/c they have a garden, but we don't mind them.


Anyways, we were sitting on our porch and this squirrel that we had noticed started paying attention to us. Soon it had climbed out of the tree and wondered our direction. Before we knew it, it was sitting on our side walk staring up at us, about 3 feet away. Then it came through the bushes and climbed up on to the porch with us where it just stared at us. It was pretty interesting. It hopped off the porch and then came back a second time and actually walked up to Daniel. It was very odd, we have never had a squirrel come up to us, normally they are just skittish and run away!


The only other time I have seen a squirrel that close to a human was on Wilderness Trek one year when a squirrel ran up one of Angela's arms, over her shoulders and down the other arm during our solo time - now that was a very funny sight to see.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Restlessness

I don't know what it is, but every so often I get incredibly restless. I am not sure if I am itching to travel or do new things or what, but the last couple of days I have definitely had an itch. Maybe it is because my sister is in Zambia and my brother is in New Zealand. Or because we have not been backpacking or mountain biking in a LONG time. Maybe it is anxiousness that I may not get any more referrals and my existing freelance work will dwindle to nothingness...

Who knows... sometimes I just wish I was more content. People that know me give me a hard time saying that Daniel and I definitely don't live "normal" lives, so I should be content, right? Why do I always want one more trip, one more adventure, one more crazy experience...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

hair cut

Last Saturday, I finally bit the bullet and got my hair cut for the first time in over a year! For some reason I have the intense aversion to getting my haircut - I think due to a really bad hair cut a couple of years ago.

Anyways, since we have moved to Charlotte, I have never committed to finding a hairdresser. Generally I put off getting it cut until I am visiting my sister and then she will go with me for moral support.


So for the first time in a very long time, I struck out on my own and got my hair cut. I am very pleased with the results, much better than the long, lifeless hair that I always kept in a ponytail.

rain

it has rained every day this week, which is a wonderful thing (except now the grass will grow and we will then have to cut it...). i have my office window open and i have been enjoying the pitter patter of the rain interrupted occasionally by the roll of thunder.

daniel had to ride his bike home in a down pour yesterday. he was completely drenched when he got home. i was a little jealous. sometimes i have the urge to go stomping through puddles. i think one of the reasons that i love backpacking so much is that you are out in the elements... rain... snow... or sun. it doesn't matter, you are completely enveloped in it and i love that.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

rode my bike to DQ

daniel and i just got back from riding our bikes to dairy queen for a late night treat. not sure if we burned off more calories than we ate, but it was fun to do. sometimes it is easy to forget that we live in a big city.

now i want to go lay out in my back yard under the stars, but i think the mosquitoes would eat me alive...


my favorite seasons are spring and fall, but there is something special about summer.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Another Bike

Daniel is off to buy another bike. It is an old Bianchi road bike that he is getting for $100 and is probably worth at least double that. Anyways, he is buying from the same guy that he got the beater from yesterday. We will now own twice as many bicycles as cars. All are in good working order and have unique purposes. Really I should say that Daniel has 3 bikes (his mountain bike, his TREK beater to now use for commuting and the Bianchi road bike) and I just have my one mountain bike.

With gas prices growing, Daniel has been trying to convince me to ride my bike to the Y (I guess that would mean I would get an extra workout). He also thinks I should ride it to buy groceries - he says that we can get an attachment for my bike to hold a significant amount of groceries. He has also gone so far as to say I could ride to my client meetings. The first 2 ideas are at least plausible. There is no way that I can show up at a client meeting all sweaty.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

New Beater Bike for Daniel

Recently Daniel's company had asked the employees to voluntarily participate in a program called LEAD. The program was about teaching employees to be better presenters. They were required to partner with someone else in the company and give 2 presentations that would be scored by their peers. They also received points for attendance. The incentive was the winning team would each get $1000.

Anyways, Daniel and his partner kinda of cheated and used me to design their presentation (I guess cheating is the wrong word since there were not specific restrictions). At the time, I jokingly told him that he would have to share his winnings with me if they won and he asked me if he could buy a commuting bike so he wouldn't have to ride his mountain bike to work.


Last week we found out that his team won. We were pretty excited. He has been keeping his eye on the classifieds for sometime for a bike. Ideally he wanted a beater that he could park outside and not be afraid of someone trying to steal it. Before the $1000 came in to play, he was "earning" his beater bike by calculating how much he saved on gas each time he rode his bike to work.


Well today he found a possible bike for $100. Since he had rode his bike to work today, he didnt have a way to go look at it or pick it up. So I ended up picking him up and we ended buying a 95 Trek bike for $100. I am glad that he didn't spend $1000 on a bike:)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Changes

Well, this is my first post on the blog with the new title: Mohaus. My husband actually came up with the name. A couple of years ago we visited Papua New Guinea for a month and he learned some basic Pidgin (the local trade language). The word for house is haus and since our last name is Moore, he came up with mohaus to describe who we are/where we live. Not too shabby for an engineer.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

One Cup At A Time

I am in the process of reading "Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built A Company One Cup At A Time." It is a pretty amazing story about how Starbucks was able to convert a nation into true coffee lovers.

During parts of the story you think about just how lucky the company was, but in reality it took a man (Howard Shultz) with a certainty of a dream, a love for a product and endless energy and perserverance to do the converting. 

This book is full of inspiration. Every chapter begins with a quote such as "Some men see things the way they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say 'Why not?'" - George Benard Shaw.

One thing that really impressed me about Starbucks is the fact that they value their employees and they have pride in their product. In 1994 coffee prices rose dramatically due to a frost in Brazil. This affected Starbucks tremendously. But instead of selling a lesser product or hiking the prices or both, Starbucks continued to buy only the best coffee beans and only raised prices minimally.

Starbucks has been able to create brand awareness in a non-traditional way. Instead of marketing the Starbucks brand and spending money on advertising, they focused on educating a nation about good coffee. They also created an environment that was not work and was not home (a third place).

"We never set out to build a brand. Our goal was to build a great company, one that stood for something, one that valued the authenticity of its product and the passion of its people." - Howard Shultz. It is truly refreshing to know that companies exist that put an emphasis on values.

10 Things I Love

There are a lot of good things in life. Here are a few of things that I really love:
  1. A good cup of coffee with steamed milk, especially if it is in a ceramic mug.
  2. My Chacos.
  3. People who bend the rules - this morning at the grocery store, a cashier in a "10 Items ONLY" line waved me over even though I had a cart full of groceries.
  4. Adobe Creative Suite, I have a special affinity for InDesign.
  5. Killing two birds with one stone - my husband was tired of not having time to exercise and the rising price of gas, so he began biking to work.
  6. Ziplock bags.
  7. Mentors.
  8. Underdogs who beat the odds.
  9. Pro Bono work - if only I could make a living doing work for free.
  10. Lists.

Referrals, Partnerships & Foosball

Last night I attended Design Unplugged, a panel discussion, hosted by the Charlotte chapter of AIGA, at the photography studio of Mike Carroll.

The 6 people on the panel were owners of the following design studios here in Charlotte: Chris Bradle of Eye Design Studio, Steven Oster of Bright Yellow Jacket, James Sack of carbonhouse, John Petrafiesa of MODE, Banks Wilson of Studio Banks & Amanda Altman of A3 Design.

The panel was asked a variety of questions such as "How to manage business vs creative?" The book "The Business Side of Creativity" was recommended but it was also noted that there is no silver bullet, no easy way to make a business work. You need drive, ambition and balance. It was also suggested that while you can launch out on your own with no experience, it is best to learn from someone. 

Whether you go through the ranks and pay your dues at a company or find a mentor in areas that you are weak, you need someone who will guide you and be willing to teach you.

The 3 major points I took away from this discussion was the importance of referrals, partnerships and foosball. When you are building a new business or starting out a freelancer you really need to do a good job for your clients. If you do this, referrals will build the business.

The point that surprised me the most was the need for partnerships. It seems that larger agencies form the goal of crushing their competition whereas these smaller design studios are more interested in collaborating with their competition. If you stay small you are able to keep your hand in the creative side of the business and collaborating opens doors to bigger clients and projects. Chris Bradle said that you should "Always say yes to a project, then figure it out." You shouldn't let the fact that you are a small company keep you from big projects.

How do you keep your employees motivated? How do you keep the creativity flowing? Banks Wilson said, "Foosball." You need to have fun and love your work. If you love your work it won't feel like work. Another panelist commented that "If you NEED to motivate someone, you should fire them." In a creative environment you need passionate and self-motivated people.

Entrepreneur Spirit

When I was 8-years-old, I started my own business. I remember getting a children's cook book that summer. I remember how exciting it was for me to look through the pages with the A-Z recipes. I especially remember all of the cookie recipes and how I loved baking. Before long I had turned into a door-to-door salesman. I would bake dozens of cookies and literally load them into my little red wagon and haul them up and down the street selling door-to-door to our neighbors.

I don't know if they bought from me because I was a good baker or if they were just so impressed that an 8-year-old could have such drive. By the end of the summer, I had enlisted my sister (then 5) to help. My mother helped me organize and she also taught me about expenses and how all of the profit was not mine because I had to buy ingredients. I don't remember how much money I made that summer, but I am sure that to an 8-year-old I must have made a fortune. More than that, I had my first taste of business. My first taste of having an idea and pursuing it. My first taste of what it was like to work hard. It was probably one of the best lessons I learned growing up.

Brown

I.D. magazine's March/April 2007 issue has an article entitled, "What Can Brown Do For You?" The article discusses Microsoft's use of brown last fall when it released its new product, the Zune (new challenger to Apple's iPod). 
 
Don't get me wrong, I love the color brown. I am a big fan of neutral colors. I also love bright colors. I have a hard time relating the color brown with technology. I think it is sometimes good to bring back certain colors, but the color should feel like it belongs in 1977 NOT in 2007.

David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy is an icon in the advertising world. He grew up in England and came to America where he would become the one of the greatest advertising men of all time.

This quick interview of Ogilvy gives a glipse of how he started out. In this interview he comments that he really wanted to work for Young & Rubricam but he didn't think he was good enough. So at age 38, with little advertising experience, he started his own agency. This is inspiring to me because he did not let fear that he was not good enough keep him from what he wanted to do.



Advice from Ogilvy: "Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine."

IDEAS

I am reading the book, NOW, Discover Your Strengths and I recently took the strengths test they offer at http://www.strengthsfinder.com/. One of my top 5 strengths was Ideation. I have to confess that upon reading this description I was surprized to learn that loving ideas was a strength. 

My husband and I have been renovating our house for a little over a year. Early on, we quickly found out that I was overwhelming him with my ideas. He is an analytical type (he is an engineer) and I have an endless supply of ideas about what we can do to our house. He thought that every idea I expressed was something that I actually desired to do. Thankfully we have realized that there is a difference in the way that our brains work and I was able to explain to him that ideas excite me and I need to talk about them. I am aware that we may only do 5% of my ideas and now he knows this too and can rest easy!

I was just reading the blog, Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds and his last post has links to a Seth Godin presentation and a Ben & Jerry's presentation. Both of these videos capture the essence of ideas. Seth's presentation theme is actually this: "Ideas That Spread, WIN." It is getting harder and harder to spread ideas. Instead of 10 TV channels, we now have hundreds of channels and with the invention of TiVo, people can skip commercials. We must create new and more creative ways to spread our ideas to people.

The Ben & Jerry's presentation starts out with a description of how their ice cream company was able to succeed in an unconventional manner. If you have never heard how 2 hippies from Vermont were able to take on Pillsbury and Haagen Daaz, you really need to watch the first half of this video clip. The more creative you can be in spreading your ideas, the more likely it will be that you will WIN.

A Favorite Quote

"Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Too often, people are assumed to be empty chess pieces to be moved around by grand viziers, which may explain why so many top managers immerse their calendar time in deal making, restructuring and the latest management fad. How many immerse themselves in the goal of creating an environment where the best, the brightest, the most creative are attracted, retained and, most importantly, unleashed?” – General Colin Powell,

Kraft Food & Family Magazine

I love Kraft Food & Family Magazine. There are several reasons for my strong attachment to this magazine. First of all I love to cook. Second, I love to try new things. Third, it is well designed. Fourth, it is FREE. And fifth, I can access recipes online at any time that I choose. 

For me to have a cooking magazine that comes to me in the mail 4 times a year is a God-send. I get easily bored so having a never ending supply of new recipes is like Christmas all year round for me.

Recently I was trying to figure out how a magazine can afford to continually send free issues to people and then it dawned on me that this is a form of guerrilla marketing. While providing new recipes with amazing photos for me, they are also sending the message loud and clear that I should buy KRAFT products to make these recipes. They are also making me a customer for life and I am evangelizing to my friends and family that they should check out this magazine and the website.

Snack Culture

Wired magazine's March 2007 issue has an intertesting article about Snack Culture

This article is about the phenomenon in our society to crave lots of entertainment in small tidbits. In fact it is almost impossible to get away from this media snacking.

iPods, cell phones, black berries, computers and TiVo allow us to watch, listen and communicate what we want, when we want, where we want.

When you eat too many snacks, it generally makes you sick. As a society will we eventually experience media overload from too much of a good thing?

Lists

I am a creative type. In general that means that I am free flowing and when ideas pop into my brain I run with them. But there is this part of me that is extremely meticulous. One might even venture to say compulsive. Here’s the thing: I love lists and there are parts of my life in which I cannot function without a list. 

Grocery shopping is one of those areas. I plan out my meals for the week. I compose a list of grocery items I will need from the store. To my husband’s annoyance, I will ONLY buy what is on my list. I go through the store methodically. And then when I go to check out I organize my items on the conveyor belt as to how I think they should be put in the bag. Whether the items go into the bag in the right way is up to the cashier. Seven times out of ten, the cashier bags it wrong (at least according to my standards).

It is particularly frustrating when I go to all of this effort and they combine items in strange ways such as vegetables with frozen foods or worse bread or eggs with something heavy! It really makes me mad if they overload my bags and the bags break before I can get them from my car to my kitchen.

You may be asking yourself, “What does this tirade have to do with design?” Well there is a connection. Designers have to be creative, but they also have to plan. If there is no plan things that do not belong together get lumped together to form a disaster.

Logos and images must match what the text is saying. If you just throw a bunch of random information on a page it would equal disaster.

Sure there are moments of pure creativity but those moments are best used in conjunction with a plan - a way to organize your ideas and thoughts. Don’t be fooled into thinking that being creative and creative license gives you a free pass to not think.

Life Shapes

Have you seen the Life Shapes Hyundai commercial? It is one of my favorites. 


The Pilobolus dancers use interpretive dance to illustrate several life shapes: musical instruments, a bicylce, an opera singer, a tent, a see saw and finally the Hyundai Sante Fe.

At the end, the dancers fade and the actual vehicle appears with the only commentary in the entire video: "The new Hyundai Sante Fe. Flexible. Agile. For whatever shape life takes."

This commercial is an unconventional example of how to convey a message with images.

What is Graphic Design?

With the current availability of computers and software, there are a lot of people who have begun to consider themselves to be designers. While it is wonderful that more people have these opportunities, it should be noted that graphic design is a process that should be taken seriously. 
Graphic design is more than just slapping something together for a brochure or presentation. When used correctly, graphic design should cause someone to think. It should evoke emotion. It should make you want to act.

Paint with More Colors

I don’t claim to know much about music. Actually beyond my personal music collection and preferences I know very little. However I do know a lot about design and I can recognize good design in its various formats.
 
Awhile ago Ethos3 worked on a marketing piece for O’brien Amps. What struck me about this company is that they perceived a problem in the design in existing amps and they set about to create an amp that would meet their needs and desires. “…there are a bunch of great amps out there, but they all made me feel like a painter with only two colors on the palette. It's the in-betweens that matter, the tones that you just can't get to with a channel switching amp. The in-betweens allow you to truly express yourself,” - Tim O'Brien.

Tim knew there had to be a way to create a great product out of something that had been around for a while. He wanted to be able to express himself musically with a simplified amp that would give him more control and allow him to paint with more colors. To me good design is all about simplifying and making things more beautiful and easier to use.

It is okay to stumble.

Recently in my step aerobics class, I decided that it was about time for me to increase the intensity of my workout. So I decided to increase my step from my regular 6” to 8”. In theory this was a good idea. I work out regularly and I need to take it to the next level. Well the reality was that about half-way through the class, when I was getting tired, I stumbled and actually missed the step and started to fall. I was able to recover without actually falling, but not before others noticed and twisting my ankle in the process. A couple of people stopped their workout to ask me if I was okay but most people just kept on doing what they were doing, ignoring what had happened to me. I was able to get back on my step and finish the class, even though I felt a bit clumsy and foolish.
"You may fall or stumble and if you are lucky, someone will be there to give you a helping hand or to offer encouragement."




This experience got me to thinking about life. There are times that you will take risks or you decide to try something that is new or out of your comfort zone. You might accept a new job or decide to quit a current job to pursue your own thing. You may make design, marketing or business decisions that don’t go the way you anticipate. You may fall or stumble and if you are lucky, someone will be there to give you a helping hand or to offer encouragement. More likely than not, the earth will keep spinning and most people will keep doing what they do. The good news is that it is okay to stumble. You might even learn something from it. The best thing you can do is to get back on your feet and keep trying.

Blogging is fairly new to me, so I may stumble. Hopefully I will always keep trying. I would like to use this blog to share my views and thoughts about design and life in general. I hope that you can learn from my ideas and that you will teach me as well.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

NoDa Gallery Crawl

Last night Daniel surprised me by taking me to the Gallery Crawl in NoDa. On the first and third Friday of every month, all of the local art galleries open their doors after hours so that you can come in and see the art.

NoDa is a historic area that has been transformed into the arts district. It is very bohemium. Charlotte is basically a pretty city, so occasionally it is nice to go somewhere that has a little flare. NoDa reminds me a lot of Asheville, NC.


Visiting art galleries is not Daniel's favorite thing to do, but there were some pretty cool metal sculptures and turned wood pieces that he appreciated. In one gallery we found a bust and a life-size golfer made completely out of rusted washers and nuts that had been welded together. In another gallery we found some sculptural pieces made out of car parts. Another gallery had a bench that had been made out of one piece of wood with excellent craftsmandship. So overall we both had a good time.


Afterwards, we came home, watched a movie and fell asleep on the couch.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Meeting at City Club

So I am not really a "country club" kind of girl. In fact I sometimes wonder how I get by in Charlotte where it is common for people to live in million dollar homes and drive expensive cars. I actually had a meeting on Tuesday with a stylist to do some graphic design for - I am not exactly stylish so I am not sure what she thought of me.

Anyways, last night I had a dinner meeting at City Club in Uptown Charlotte. I have only been to City Club once before and that was for a company Christmas party. The restaurant is at the top of one of the buidlings Uptown. The view of the city is great, even at night, and the food was delicious. I definitely felt out of my element though.


When I drove Uptown last night to the meeting, nobody had told me that the center of Uptown would be closed since they are setting the streets up for "A Taste of Charlotte" and City Club was right in the middle of all of the chaos. I could not get to the appropriate parking garage and had to park 2 city blocks away at the Dublin Hotel. I had assumed I would be able to park in the building and did not wear appropriate shoes. So now both of my feet have blisters from the extra walking.

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Over the course of the last six years, my idea for what is a good kid's party has evolved. And by evolved, I mean relaxed. ...