Thursday, February 27, 2014

Being a Free Radical (02/28/14)

Now that I am finishing college and looking to start a career I am getting a lot of advice from a lot of different people I know.
The advice goes something like this:
  1. Pick what you love to do and figure out how to make a career doing it.
  2. If you could do anything without the risk of failing, what would you do? Go do that.
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail.

I appreciate the advice, and I understand what they mean by the advice.The problem is I am not sure if it is necessarily the best career advice.
  1. There are many things that I love to do, but I don't know if I will be able to make career out of doing it.
  2. I know failing is a teachable moment but reckless failure can also be very harmful.
  3. Everyone is afraid to fail. Telling someone not to be afraid to fail is easier said than done.

In reading I have come across some advice that I think will be more useful to me. One piece of advice that spoke to me, is that with experience and a lot of practice will come an increase in skill levels that will lead me to new and different paths. Cal Newport, writes in Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, about the author Bill McKibben, who wrote,The End of Nature. Before McKibben went off into the wilderness and wrote his book he worked for many years as a writer. Cal Newport writes that it was because of McKibbens years of writing experience that he was able to cultivate his skills and eventually make his own path. Newport wrote that,“the systematic development of skill (such as McKibben ripping through more than five hundred articles between 1979-and 1987) almost always precedes passion.”p31 Doing, gaining experience and gaining valuable skills should be my priority as I begin my career.

Another piece of advice I have taken is that the world  is very competitive and is ever changing. Keeping that in mind and keeping in mind that I am my best investment, it is good advice to be constantly developing new skills. Robert Safian writes in  Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, “That’s the challenge for businesses, and that’s the challenge for individuals: understanding the point at which you are protecting what you know and defending what you know, instead of looking at what else you can learn and how you can grow.” p48.

In reading Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, I have given some thought to failing. Although I admitted earlier that I am afraid to fail, I think it is important to say that I find to fail intentionally or recklessly is scary. I have failed in the past and I know I have survived just fine and have undoubtedly learned from these failures. I know I will fail again, and will survive  and learn again. I think however in a career, one should  consider the consequences of their actions and decide if these possible consequences are worth the risk of failing.  Sometimes that answer will be no but many times that answer may be yes. It is a calculated risk of failing. Ben Casnocha advises in,  Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, to take intelligent risks. He wrote, “Because the flip side of every opportunity is risk, if you’re not taking risks, you’re not finding the breakout opportunities you are looking for.” 41

Advice I plan to keep in mind:
  1. If you keep doing, keep gaining experience and keep sharpening your skills, you will love what you do and you will make a career doing it.
  2. Remember you are your best investment. Keep growing by learning new skills.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take “intelligent risks” to find opportunities.


Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mapping My Online Portfolio (02/20/14)

In my Game Art course this semester I am rendering a 3D model of a room. I like working with the Maya program and am looking forward to doing some more animations with it. This led me to the Graphic Artist Guild Handbook to research careers in video game art, I have learned that there are many, including animator, which interests me. Unfortunately, I have also learned that outsourcing has diminished some opportunities in the United States. Graphic Artist Guild Handbook, states, “Art can easily be created and refined outside the main studio, so it’s easy for companies to send art-based work overseas, where labor is cheaper.” (pg. 206) To increase an video game artists opportunities it is important to have technical knowledge in programming and to keep up with the ever changing technology as well as have artistic talent.

I remind myself to concentrate on my portfolio.
My first task to to redesign my business cards, letterhead and envelopes. I feel that I have a better handle on what design I am looking for. I have designed a much simpler, cleaner looking brand. I decided to use black and red as my colors and I am happy with my designs.

Today I am going to develop the information architect for my website. My online portfolio will be seen by a lot more people than my portfolio book. A lot of thought and planning needs to be put into it.  It needs to show off my work while being easy to navigate.  Larry Volk and Danielle Currier states in No Plastic Sleeves, “It’s guaranteed to be impressive if all the components of your portfolio are designed with the same conceptual and visual brand in mind.” (pg. 146) This brings me back to my brand board. My brand board keeps me focused on the look I want to achieve. Research says to keep the portfolio simple, clear, consistent, memorable and confident.

Designing the information architecture took more time and effort that I originally thought. In No Plastic Sleeves, the authors advise, “Consider how your website portfolio will be used. What kinds of functionality (means for someone to navigate and experience the website) will be included?” (pg. 149)

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. 14th ed. New York: Graphic Artists Guild, 2013. Print.

Volk, Larry, and Danielle Currier. The Complete Portfolio Guide for Photographers and Designers. New York: Focal, 2010. Print.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Here's My Card (02/13/14)

This week I had a few things to get started on towards creating my portfolio.
I am becoming more and more aware of just how essential my portfolio is. It will be a way for me to market myself in a competitive world.

I have to begin to organize and collect all the work I have created. As I look my work over I know that I will need to tweak or to re-do some pieces.  But before I consider that, I need to decide exactly what direction I would like to go in. What story will I like to tell, and who do I want to tell my story to? From my readings in No Plastic Sleeves, I have found out that somewhere around 12 pieces of work seems to be a good number for my portfolio. Quality is more important than quantity and that although all pieces must be good, it is advisable to lead with and to end with my best pieces. No Plastic Sleeves also emphasis the importance the process book is in helping to convey my thought process. By showing my potential employer my process, I am able to present a better picture of who I am. I will keep all of this in mind when deciding on my pieces.

But first I need to decide what my identity design would be. What is my brand?  I know that I would like to do animation. It is what I enjoy the most and what I am most proud of.  In reading The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook, I am reminded of all the areas that an animator can work. Animation companies, the movie industry and the gaming industry are just a few places an animator can find work. That is good news. The not so good news is, the industry is very competitive. It is a desirable and popular profession and many U. S. companies hire outside the country.This is more reason why I need to do a good job in conveying my brand in my portfolio.

How do I tell a story about who I am as a creative professional? That is not easy. No Plastic Sleeves gave a few exercises that are helpful in this. I started with listing 5 words to describe myself.  dedicated, patient, detail oriented, considerate, gamer.
Then I tried the brand statement. “I am an animator with strong skills with Adobe Flash and Maya who is dedicated, thorough and detail oriented. I have a strong belief that animation has infinite possibilities.”

My logo is an infinity sign shaped like a D for my last name. I believe that there are an infinite amount of ideas. Some ideas on based on others but can be developed and created into whole new ideas. Now it is time to design a business card, letterhead and envelopes using my logo.

In looking for inspiration for business cards, I came across the February 4, 2014, Wall Street Journal article, “The Business Card Cannot Be Killed”, by Joanna Stern. I recommend this article because it talked about the different apps being developed to scan the business card. It was at first surprising to me that the business card is not obsolete in today’s day and age of technology. It seems however according to Stern’s article that the technology is not quite there yet. But as I thought more about the business card I see the importance of having it in your hands. The visual image of the card can quickly bring up an image of the person. To get more research I looked at the book, The Best of Business Card Design 6: No. 6 by Blackcoffee Design, Inc. The book states, “In this digital age of laptop, cellular phones and PDAs the business card has ironically proliferated. The more memorable the card the more memorable the contact.” p.6. The book gives 400 examples of cards that communicates information in a legible manner. It based its criteria on functionality, communication and wow factor.

Here I sketched a few of my favorites.

Time to start designing my own. Here are some business cards, letterheads and envelopes.


Business Cards:



Blackcoffee Designs Inc, comp. The Best of Business Card Design 6:No.6. Gloucester: Rockport, 2004. Print.
Graphic Artists Guild Handbook Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. 14th ed. New York: Graphic Artists Guild, 2013. Print.
Stern, Joanna. “The Business Card Cannot Be Killed.” The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2014.

Volk, Larry, and Danielle Currier. The Complete Portfolio Guide for Photographers and Designers. New York: Focal, 2010. Print.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Back to the Sketch Pad

After Friday’s class critique I have gone back to the sketch pad. But first I checked out Pinterest again for inspiration:

I also read David Airey’s blog. Graphic Designer David Airey gave ten steps to creating a logo. Essentially all of them was to sketch and sketch some more. His advise was not to be concerned about mistakes and to understand that can take many misses in order to get a hit. I drew encouragement from his words of advise.

I also read David Airey’s blog on his own personal logo project. Airey sketched over a hundred personal logo designs before he hit upon one he liked. I found his advise and his own experiences encouraging as I struggled with my own personal logo designs.

Here are just a few of David Airey’s sketches.

As I sketched, I asked myself about design and about myself. I stopped worrying about ideas that were done before or seemed too cliche, I just kept sketching.
Here are some of my ideas:

I tried a few comps just to see how they looked:

Airey, David. “Personal Logo Sketches.” David Airey. N.p., 7 May 2007. Web. 2 Feb. 2014.

- - -. “10 Steps to Great Logo Design.” David Airey. N.p., 29 July 2007. Web. 2 Feb. 2014.

Mind Mapping:

After Friday’s class critique, I had some work to do on my Mind Map. Instead of listing what programmed I used for the projects, Professor Hastings suggested I list my projects under what type of project they were. For example all my game designs would be listed under Game Development Design.

Everything looks clearer to me: