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June 2014 Archive

the best thing I learned in Design School
DesignSchool-blog

Today, a lot of people in graphic design are self-taught. A lot of my friends and fellow colleagues are. It takes a GREAT deal of determination and grit in order to learn something all on your own. I see so many talented designers who went to school for something else entirely, or never at all. I did go to school for graphic design, and I hold 2 degrees on the subject. Now that I’ve been out of school long enough, I’m starting to realize what my education really had to offer, that a lot of self-taught designers might be missing out on.

Let me backtrack a little. I really have so much respect for the dinosaurs of graphic design. I know dinosaur is usually a derogatory term – but I mean it in the best way. They were the giants in the industry and they had so many mountains to climb that designers today just aren’t even aware of. I’m SO grateful for two things: first, having started graphic design in junior high when I was only 13, giving me real life experience of graphic design and photography before computers, and second, having the opportunity to be formally trained in graphic design, and in turn, to have been (forced) to learn the history of graphic design.

The history of graphic design was one of the best things I learned in school.

From the Gutenberg Bible to today. From Paul Rand to Stefan Sagmeister. Women greats in graphic design, like Paula Scher. How Swiss design and the Bauhaus style heavily influences us today. All of those pioneers who came before us. Yeah, yeah, HISTORY – boring right?

Not only is it incredibly interesting, but it’s totally humbling and ultimately grounding. When I first became a graphic designer, I remember people would say – “What does a graphic designer do?” It was such a small industry, ran by incredibly talented people. My aunt was a graphic designer, and I started young, or else I wouldn’t have known what it was either. Nowadays, it’s so popular that no one asks anymore. Anyone can become a graphic designer. Which is a blessing and curse sometimes, right? But knowledge is power. There are TREASURES to be learned within the past.

There is a huge gap happening between graphic designers. There is value in knowledge beyond self. There is monetary value. Although I’ve been able to make a living off of graphic design, I look at my larger agency counterparts and see that I’m small fries compared to them. And hey, that’s okay. I made an intentional decision to be self-employed, work-from-home type and to stay small. But perhaps that’s not for everyone (and maybe in the future when my kids are grown, I will change my mind). If you are the type who would like to be a part of deals with multimillion dollar companies, you’ve got some learning to do. Learn about how things used to be done – because those multimillion dollar companies are ran by people that are used to doing things the old way. They do face-to-face meetings. They do real ideas written on whiteboards in board rooms. They aren’t email or skype or online proofs. They are brick and mortar, they are pen and paper, they are real. They are the anti-digital age. And that’s the way all things design used to get done. It’s important to know that.

If you are a self-taught graphic designer, I would urge you to take a course or learn about the history of graphic design and those who paved the way for us. You won’t regret it.

When I’m old and gray, I’ll be a graphic design dinosaur, and heck, you will be too someday. We’ll probably shake our heads at how “wrong” the youngin’s are doing it. We will scoff at their “lack of respect” and “lack of personal connection”. But… we will smile if someone writes something like this, if someone REMEMBERS us. If someone cares to learn ABOUT us. If someone learns FROM us.


Need help with balancing your dream and the rest of your life? Need to customize your path and be really true to yourself? ONLY on sale this week, I’m offering the Design Life Project as a self-study course, and you can take it at your own pace. We also have a Design Life Project alumni group that you can join (included in your registration) where you can connect with others who’ve taken the course. Not sure if it’s for you? Read more about WHO the course is for and HOW it can help. This self-study version of the course will only be offered this week, so head over and register and then you can take the course when you’re ready. We are excited to meet you!!

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when it’s time to rest

Rest-blog

Friends, can I get real with you for a sec?

Coming back from maternity leave hasn’t been the easiest for me. I have lovely women who work for me (thank you Kyleen and Jenn√©) and they did such an amazing job while I was out, that when I got back to work, I was a bit dumbfounded. I expected a crazy state of busy when I got back, but was so surprised to find it was actually a bit… calm. I’m not used to calm and it’s been throwing me for a loop… FOR REAL.

So then what did I do? I started pushing, reaching, doing, and spinning my wheels to create some chaos like I’m used to.

And yet, still, it remained calm. My efforts to crazify my life didn’t work.

I had a conversation with a friend about it in which I said, “I feel like a fish out of water.” This was so unfamiliar to me that I felt utterly stressed. I prayed a lot about it, giving my questions to God.

The answer I kept getting? REST.

To take this time, as uncertain and scary as it is, to focus and to rest. And I’m not gonna lie. I’ve been struggling with that immensely.

I just read this article, Embracing Rest in a Culture of Busy, from Everygirl and it spoke to my soul. It’s really echoing what I’ve been hearing from God – it’s ok to be calm and to rest. That rest and calm and SLOW is a normal part of life; that it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong, and that it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It’s the ebb and flow of life.

I mean, isn’t this what I wanted all along? To build a great team to help so that I could finally rest? The answer is of course. I’m beginning to look back at my break-neck speed of life and wonder, how and when did that become the new normal?

So now that I have my orders friends, my focus is preparation. To prepare my mind, body & soul for the next season and the next big thing around the bend. It is coming, so I can relax in knowing it’s there. It’s my job now to dream, to enjoy, and to savor. To REST.

 

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free webinar opportunity
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Hello hello and Happy Wednesday!

I’m so excited to share with you that the lovely Whitney English and I are developing an amazing new product together. SAY WHAT? Yep, it’s true. Now we just need your opinion!

We’d be tickled hot pink if you filled out this survey, and to show our thanks, you’ll gain access to an exclusive FREE webinar with us.¬† Yahoo!

 

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doubt kills dreams – free printable

So many people loved the quote I shared on Tuesday.

I’m obsessed with it, so I picked up a brush and ink, and made a fun printable out of it.

Just click on the images below to download it in either black or cobalt ink.

DoubtQuote DoubtQuote-blue

Happy dreaming!!

 

 


Need help with balancing your dream and the rest of your life? Need to customize your path and be really true to yourself? For a short time, I’m offering the Design Life Project as a self-study course, and you can take it at your own pace. We also have a Design Life Project alumni group that you can join (included in your registration) where you can connect with others who’ve taken the course. Not sure if it’s for you? Read more about WHO the course is for and HOW it can help. This self-study version of the course will only be offered for a limited time, so head over and register and you can take the course when you’re ready. We are excited to meet you!!

cathy-signature
quit doubting

QuiteDoubting-blog

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure EVER will.” I read this quote today and it lit me up inside, and it’s been echoing in my mind ever since.

This week I’m back from maternity leave and I’ve been filled with emotions. One of them is doubt. I’ve been worried about getting back into the swing, now with 2 kids, a mortgage and employees, things just got REALLY real. For reals. So when I heard this quote, it made my jaw drop. I love this so much, that it hurts.

Doubt KILLS dreams.

That’s so very sobering and SO very true. In working closely with business owners who have followed their dreams, I can see where those dreams have taken them… and it’s unimaginable to wonder what life would look like for them, if they hadn’t. What if they’d been too afraid – too full of doubt – to pursue those dreams?

I get it, failure is very real. But honestly, I can’t really think of any one of my clients, colleagues or friends who I would consider to have “failed” at a dream. Instead – they adapted. If sales didn’t work out as planned, they sold something else. If a business didn’t do as expected, they did something else. I wouldn’t call adapting or changing FAILING. Right? When we learn from something, and adjust – it’s surviving and thriving. It’s NOT failing.

So really then, what are we afraid of? Having to adapt or change? No problem. I hear you – it’s not always fun to adapt or change, but it’s nothing to be AFRAID of. It’s definitely not reason enough to NOT follow up on a dream.

Because really – what happens when that dream succeeds? Wouldn’t that possibility be worth it?

What have you been dreaming about lately, that you haven’t moved on because of doubt?

 

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