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Here’s a recent post from the Second City Network written by Andel Sudik and visually conceptualized by me. The blog post came to me as a regular list, but the Editor was looking for something they’d never before considered: incorporating artwork into the humor. I proposed a solution – what better way to say-something-without-saying-anything-at-all than with an infographic? See if you get any smarter after reading this one.

This was originally posted on The Second City Network.

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Hello everybody! I’ve got a fresh new site!

So this has been a long time coming. I say farewell to my old blog, at last. For a time, it will sit pretty in some unknown subdirectory on cyberspace, but once the beta-testing for this new site is done, I will archive it forever.

I loved my old site. I think I was experiencing some sort of separation anxiety from it, which is why I took so long to change the theme. It was simple, functional, clean – but I knew it lacked the potential to take me into the future. While I loved its simplicity, it wasn’t mobile-friendly at all – as some of you pointed out to me – it could only display 12 portfolio items, and the blog pages remained much to be desired. So, against my will, I took this summer to develop a new site based off a new theme, so that I could futureproof my website and my brand.

So ignore my nostalgia, friends! Do let me know what you think of this new site below. It is fully responsive, has cool animations, and has a ton of random functions such as the ability to make

 

95%%
Cool Pie Charts

Current Exhaustion Level (%)

and

 

Awesome
10%
Progress Bars
100%

 

So, you know. Pros and cons.

In truth, though, redeveloping your website is hard work. I’ve done this before for clients and student groups I’ve been in, and each time you fear to death the unwelcome encounter with “Error establishing database connection” or worse, a completely blank screen. And every time you think you’ve got yourself completely covered, a new error pops up to stall you. I don’t think I could have done it without the help of my good friend, Chin Yang, a veritable prodigy, who also happens to be a very nice guy all around. So here’s a public shout out to him!

So enjoy my new site, everybody! There’s going to be a bunch of new content up very soon, where I outline my work with Harvard College Faith & Action and talk about Second City (again). (I promise it’s still awesome.)

 

Posted by geneve in thoughts Read More

People who’ve known me for a while may have an inkling that I adore street art. I’ve written about it, tried to mimic it, spent an unhealthy number of hours thinking about it, and occasionally, when I am in a braver mood, debated about it. So when the whole Sticker Lady controversy bubbled up last year, some people asked me what I thought. Back then, in the midst of the issue, I took a backseat, even though I had my opinions. Now that the whole thing has died down, I am finally going ahead and writing about it. (This, perhaps, is what would make me a terrible current affairs blogger.)

skl0

 

For better or for worse, street art was thrown into the limelight last year when artist Skl0 – infamous for the tongue-in-cheek stickers like the ones above – was arrested for vandalism of public property. This came after her work gained significant traction both online and in public space (she had distributed the stickers for others to put up, as is a common practice with many street artists such as Shepard Fairey of OBEY fame). The issue bubbled and bubbled and took over everyone’s social media feed, birthing a substantial backlash and a subsequent online petition. All in all, if you were below 30 in Singapore you had to be living under the a rock in order to not have heard of it.

At the time, what fascinated me most about The Sticker Lady issue was not the fact that she was hauled to court, but the widespread assumption that this consequence was unique to Singaporean laws.” 

As it were, I heard about this whole thing while I was halfway around the world under my proverbial rock in cold, cold Chicago. Coincidentally, I had just written a tedious but heartfelt paper for a class on the significance of street art and why it had to remain illegal in order for it to thrive, and this case popped up as if to taunt my position on the matter. At the time, what fascinated me most about The Sticker Lady issue was not the fact that she was hauled to court, but the widespread assumption that this consequence was unique to Singaporean laws. (A barrage of comments on the paternalistic, backward nature of the local government ensue.) Although there are most certainly other examples of the nanny-like responses of Singapore authorities, what I realized was sorely lacking was the knowledge that other countries have equally strict laws about graffiti and vandalism of public space. For example, Chicago has banned the sale of spray paint within the city limits, and keeps the cans securely locked behind counters in surrounding suburban areas. It spends more than $9 million on graffiti removal a year, slapping white paint indiscriminately over tiny scrawls and sprawling murals alike. The same is true for many other cities within the United States – just Google “graffiti laws USA”. And, as with any creative community in any city, there has been a backlash. Responses run parallel to those heard in favor of Skl0′s work back home: that there should be a delineation between malicious graffiti and public art, that the law should allow for the flourishing of creativity, and that the injudicious use of white paint was even uglier than the scrawls to start with… at least the graffiti painters had a sense of style.

I suppose what sets Singapore’s response apart… is that the local government is just so darn efficient at cracking down on people in general.” 

I suppose what sets Singapore’s response apart from these “battles” raging on everywhere around the world is that the local government is just so darn efficient at cracking down on people in general – which I am sure is the envy of many city officials in the United States. Along with the fact that there are fewer graffiti artists in this country than a place like Chicago, Skl0′s art was easier to single out from the outset, and easier to pursue. Thus the difference lies in the enactment of vandalism laws, not in the intent. (Note that I say this of the artist’s stickers – her Shepard Fairey “Limpeh” spoofs may be a different matter altogether: )

 

LIMPEH 2

 

Another thing that bugged me so much about the Skl0 case was the cries of people for the law to distinguish between “bad” graffiti and “good” public art. Although the intentions behind this sentiment are of the right heart, they are more difficult to enact than they seem. It is my personal stand (and you can most certainly disagree) that it is not the place of the law to determine what is art, and what isn’t. If the law decides tomorrow that aesthetically-pleasing graffiti pieces are art, and everything else is vandalism, then it makes an assumption that art must be beautiful. What about conceptual works that are intentionally jarring? How about thought-provoking text? Similarly, if the law decides tomorrow that only pieces that “do not look like graffiti” (i.e. no spraypaint) can be considered street art, then it is making a decision based on particular social connotations of certain styles. If the law decides tomorrow that it is only going to pursue graffiti works that do not originate from those who call themselves artists, then it is making an assumption about the self-identities of those taking part in this social movement. Ultimately, any decision the law makes that is any more discriminatory than it is now will be challenged by contentious new works that pop up.

The fact is, street art, public art, graffiti – whatever you want to call it – has a nature that stands innately in opposition to the law. People must recognize this as its beauty and not its downfall.”

The fact is, street art, public art, graffiti – whatever you want to call it – has a nature that stands innately in opposition to the law. People must recognize this as its beauty and not its downfall. Despite the many styles, mediums, and messages that exist, every piece of work that is intentionally put on the streets has one common theme: it is there to take back public space. It is there as a reminder that a city is not made a city by its structures and walkways, but by the heart of its people. And because of that, sanctioned graffiti – work made legal – will never have the same sort of impact as a throw-up that appears on the side of a wall in the middle of the night, or stickers that multiply as if by magic to admonish and encourage testy pedestrians. Unfortunately, this means that graffiti artists will always be at risk. However, for many, this risk is acknowledged and is part of the job. You need to step out of the status quo in order to challenge it, after all.

The bottom line is this, I suppose: Street art is a movement happening before our very eyes. A social movement, an art movement, an urban movement – it is all of those. Mark my words – it will be celebrated in the distant future as exactly that, even if it is not thought about in that way right now. And as with every movement that came before it, it comes with a desire to change perceptions, to overturn social norms, and to challenge the status quo. None of these things the law will particularly like, but the law has its own functions to fulfill in other areas of society. The controversy Skl0 has sparked because of her stickers only go to show that her work is valuable, and that the movement is surely making an impact in Singapore.

I hope she is the first of many.

 

Posted by geneve in thoughts Read More

I am running a little social experiment based on my hunches about why some of my portfolio posts are getting far more traffic than others. My most popular post is K & J’s wedding – to my surprise, clearly, because it is off to the side – and for the longest time I thought it was because people liked looking at wedding things. But is this really the case, or is it getting far more hits because it is exceptionally clear from my home page what kind of project to expect when the square icon is clicked? We shall see: I’ve now made all my portfolio posts painfully clear at the outset, outlining each project title with my specific contributions. I wonder if this will change things… time to watch my site stats like a hawk over the next few weeks.

In other, more graphic design-related news (versus that of the science of human psychology), I am excited to be embarking on a new brand identity project with a student group based out of Harvard!

Posted by geneve in graphic design, thoughts Read More

behance-logo-blackI hereby declare – rather belatedly – that I am now a functioning member of Behance! (If you hadn’t already guessed by the overlarge image up there^, or the title of this post.) I’d always been a little testy about spreading myself too thin and trying to update too many platforms at once – as you can see, I’m already struggling with just one – but the community on this network is like none other. If you’re on Behance as well, join me! I hope to be more update-y on my littler projects there. (Also, in celebration: Note the addition of my newest footer icon at bottom right.)

Posted by geneve in thoughts Read More

Two months at The Second City as of today! Again – I am so fortunate to be here, and it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re actually getting to do what you signed up for. For just being one company, the scope of work ArtCo takes on is astonishing. In the past 8 weeks, I have done some awesome things, some really cool things, and some downright hilarious things, but really gets me going is that every project is so different from the last. Here’s a breakdown of my highlights:

  • Web ads for SNL Stars Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson & Cecily Strong
  • Title treatment for Second City’s Holiday Spectacular (Miracles Not Included) - felt Christmassy all week
  • Ultra badass superhero logos for a possible new series Hero Squad
  • Resurrected the Playwrights Theatre Club logo from a 50-year-old mailing brochure
  • Smoothed out countless actors’ uneven skin tones, VPLs, silhouettes and chin fat (oddly satisfying)
  • Sorted through head shots of every. single. alum. of The Second City – old photos of famous people!!
  • Built a spinning Super Mario gold coin from scratch (see it in action in Mario & Luigi In Therapy)
  • A totally hipster shark poster
  • Designed a business card for  bogus company ProfanovationsInc (“Taking You Beyond Fuck You”)
  • Slider cards saying “Your XBox Can’t Wait To See You Naked”, “Suburban Sex Party News”, and – to my horror – “How To Celebrate National Masturbation Month”, among others

Because I worked really hard on the Hero Squad stuff, and because it’s so different from the kind of work I usually do, but mostly because I adore superheroes, here’s some of the illustration I did for the series, without giving too much away:

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Official Hero Squad Title Treatment

 

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CANARY: Veteran hero, faints in the face of danger

 

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GEMINI: She can split in two, but so does her mental ability

 

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LOCK: Opens locks. Works part-time at Best Buy’s Geek Squad

 

SCN_Hero_Squad_Logo_TANKED_004

TANKED: Gets stronger the more he drinks. But also gets drunker.

 

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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: Actually just Ben Franklin. Kidnapped from the past.


And  a poster I did today for a new Training Center class that I think qualifies as hipster:

Shark_Showcase

I really love that I get to use different styles on different projects. Will share some work again when more stuff comes my way. :)

Today – actually, late last night – I built my resume from scratch. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and something I admit I’ve been afraid to begin to do. Perhaps it is a symptom of my Northwestern education, but I’ve never even considered any other option aside from the Word-formatted, serif-fonted, power adjective-ridden resume I’ve seen in all the career counseling books. Don’t get me wrong: that has served me – and no doubt, a million other college kids – well, and is the standard for most industries, especially high-flying ones like banking and consulting that the bulk of NU kids apply to.

But then I started looking at resumes for creatives. And boy were they a whole different ballgame. As I found more and more (you can find my favorite ones pinned here on my Pinterest board), I realized that for a designer, a resume represents not only a written summary of one’s experiences and credentials, but is also an excellent gauge of his or her creative judgment. By this I don’t mean the ability of a designer to make his or hers the most beautiful resume around, but his or her ability to to solve the one problem of anyone trying to cram their life’s work into one sheet of paper: How can I best represent myself with this little space?! And so a designer’s resume is, fundamentally, both form and function, content and formatting. What’s the best page layout to use that will be aesthetically pleasing as well as read smoothly? What font is best to convey personality as well as make text readable? What visual symbols – icons, if you will – can I use to indicate that this is an e-mail address without actually saying it?

And so I opened InDesign and set about re-working my resume from scratch, incorporating elements from the fromthisdesk.com brand structure. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t go to crazy with the design, but also wanted to step it up from my old, boring formatting. Here is my before-and-after:

resume-before-after

Same content, totally different style. I’m happy with the result for now, but I’ll still have to test-run and refine it. It’s tiring but exciting to realize that a resume is always a work-in-progress, and so I expect I’ll be coming back to this before I know it and changing it up once again. But for now, it’s good. You can see the full version of my new resume here.

I just wanted to do a short post updating everyone on what I’ve been doing away from fromthisdesk.com. As some of you may be aware, I am so lucky to be doing an internship with The Second City, arguably North America’s most well-known improv group. Their list of alums reads like a who’s who of comedy… I may or may not have lifted that phrase from their website.

Working at The Second City is a real breath of fresh air because I can actually see that my work matters. Not that my previous internship experiences have been fruitless, of course – the impact of my contributions perhaps just less immediate. Here, I can design a slider card for their website and see it on the web in a matter of hours. That said, I’m working mostly with the Second City Network, their online comedy arm, so the topical nature of the content necessitates that everything moves quick – including design. I’m also slowly learning the ropes of the Art Department’s online client request system, which is infinitely useful for the avalanche of projects we receive on a daily basis.

I’ve been here 2 weeks and I’m pretty psyched at what I’ve been allowed to do so far. Here’s a small selection (warning – bold humor up ahead):

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(Btw I also get to do spoofy things like fake Craigslist posts – click on the pic above)

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Also check out SCN’s Facebook page – I designed their current cover photo! And the Network promo slider on secondcity.com. Times like these I’m still amazed that people would let a college kid anywhere near their websites. Oh well. Not complaining. Excited to do more.

Til next time! :)