graphic design

 

I’m going to try to write about every month’s wallpaper here on my blog. To find out more about the Calendar Project, click here

January is all about New Year’s Resolutions, and Spectacularly Not Keeping To Them. I thought it’d be fun to put together all the stuff we promised we wouldn’t do as the previous year drew to a close. Designed while I ate my way through vacation, it seemed particularly fitting. So, in honor of all inevitable failures and botched plans,  I bring you January 2015’s wallpaper: “Failed Resolutions”. Enjoy: http://bit.ly/1BhsnN8

JAN2015_1280x800

Also, if it’s a mobile phone wallpaper you need, we’ve got you covered. (Check out all the different sizes on the download page.)

JAN2015_iPhone6_A JAN2015_iPhone6_B

16 Aug / New Stuff

New stuff! New stuff! New stuff is in the works!

I’m in the midst of trying to make my site less design-centric in order to incorporate some of my writing and multimedia projects. Problem is, it’s always going to look more appealing with photos and graphics up front, so how do I give everything else equal airtime?

Still looking for a solution. Relishing the challenge. :)

Posted by geneve in from this desk, thoughts Read More

If you’d asked me 12 months earlier, I’d have referred to myself as a “Designer.” I was knee-deep in my internship at The Second City, and loving every moment of zaniness it presented to me. I was also putting out branding suites for Harvard College Faith & Action, my own freelance shop, and preparing to take on a couple of wedding design gigs.

Then Disney happened.

Okay, I love being dramatic. I don’t mean, the Disney internship fell into my lap – I mean, I did actively pursue it. People I speak to regularly might even say that I was obsessed with getting it. So at some level, I knew even then that I wasn’t just a designer, since the gig that I really wanted (and ended up getting) was one in media relations & issues management, not in graphic design. The job description sounded challenging, which made me want it even more. So what changed?

I guess I knew that at some point, I had to diversify. Design has never been my only skill, although it was one I had the most fun with. I realized, however, that the projects I loved most continued to be the ones I could build and manage on my own. And then it became clear – I loved challenge. I loved planning and managing as much as I loved design. I was happiest in gigs that could stretch me and allow me to think strategically. This was an important realization for me, and one that allowed me to learn as much as I did at Disney. Because I felt like the skills I needed to succeed at this internship didn’t come as naturally – writing, for instance, and research – I knew I had to work twice as hard. I asked questions, read up extensively, and tried not to be daunted by expectations. And occasionally, I volunteered my design skills. I’d say that it is entirely to my team’s credit that they took a chance on someone whose latest job on their resume was a design one. I wonder what they saw in my application – I still wonder – but I couldn’t be more grateful.

“Because I felt like the skills I needed to succeed at this internship didn’t come as naturally – writing, for instance, and research – I knew I had to work twice as hard.”

And then I fell in love with it all – the thrill and gravity of managing important issues, the fast-paced nature of problem-solving in a business context, the exhilaration of being “on the ground.” The writing got easier, I gradually gained the trust of my team, and I found opportunities to put in my two cents. My strong software skills – the ones honed by years of graphic design – even made me a technical resource. At the same time, I saw how members of my team (they have, combined, more than 100 years of expertise) managed complex situations with confidence and ease. Proverbial teddy bear clutched to my chest, I wanted to be like them someday. 

I think I finally have some semblance of clarity: an understanding of visual communication, i.e. design, can only make me a more well-rounded communications professional. Those skills don’t run counter to my career; They serve to enhance it. The more tools I can put on the table for any future employer, the better off I will be.

So what do I call myself now? I don’t know. I still design. I also write. I have planning skills. I can’t ignore the fact that I will be a civil servant soon. I guess I’ll leave it open-ended for now. :)

 

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.

SCN_13_REASONS_YOU_MUST_002

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

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:

SCN_Hero_Squad_Logo_GROUP_001

Official Hero Squad Title Treatment

 

SCN_Hero_Squad_Logo_CANARY_004

CANARY: Veteran hero, faints in the face of danger

 

SCN_Hero_Squad_Logo_GEMINI_004

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

 

SCN_Hero_Squad_Logo_LOCK_004

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.

 

SCN_Hero_Squad_Logo_BENJAMIN FRANKLIN_004

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):

Dont-Be-Offended_620x350_001

SCN_MissedConnections_TitleCard_620x350_001

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

Why People Hate You_620x350_001

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! :)

…can also be kind of fun!

Last time, I talked about how my personal brand identity made its way from a mess of uncollected thoughts to becoming an actual logo. Although that was a fairly long process, expanding on that basic brand image took even longer. I wanted to build elements around the basic rocket pencil that would move soundly with its look and feel. Anything I did from this point on needed to be harmonious with what I’d already created. Already in my mind I had played with the possibility of creating a pattern – not least because I’d stumbled across this helpful tutorial some weeks before. And so with the heavy tutoring (heh) of Vectips.com, I set about creating my signature pattern.

Now, I’ve always been fond of patterns – I love the way they dress up any surface, rather like a good wrapping paper. They’re repeatable, thanks to the powers of Illustrator and Photoshop, and is an easy way to replicate a look. It’s almost cheating – but not quite. Patterns are also great for “futureproofing” any brand. However I choose to expand my collection for the future, I can always slap on this pattern to make sure everything is in line with the established look. Here’s the final look:

fromthisdesk_Website Pattern Showcase

Love that I can do whatever I want with it. I guess I always come back to that unthreatening, kid-like feel.

Also, I wanted to be explicit about what exactly fromthisdesk.com is without being too in-your-face or formal. I’d seen a bunch of business cards for a photography studio somewhere that used precisely a pattern like this to broadcast their range of services. I decided I wanted to do the same – thus the little word banners.

With a pattern in tow, it was now so much easier to expand outwards. I kind of went crazy on these business cards, which are printed with moo.com – I cannot recommend them more – and kept things interesting by changing things up with the colors and orientation. So happy with them. Here are some pics:

 

ftd2

ftd4ftd3

(Edit: I am reviewing this post from my iPad and I just hate how the screen dulls the pinks! Trust me, in real life, each card is a vibrant, healthy, pink!) I particularly love how the rounded edges turned out. I think just that detail adds a lot of character, and contributes to that whole kid-like look.

I also went a little crazy and bought stickers. They’re multi-purpose, help to brand anything you own, and are great for sealing letters, too.

ftd7

The last element in my initial stationery set is a Thank You card, which I use to add a personalized touch to my notes of gratitude! If anything, it helps to make you a little more memorable (read: interviews). Here, I could’ve taken a shortcut and used that same pattern (it would have worked aesthetically), but realized that I didn’t always want to send a card that broadcasted my design services. I’d like to use these for personal events, as well. And so, staying in line with the pink, pencil motif, I came up with this. I tried to make it look like the rocket was somehow catapulting into the sky from a cityscape. Smiley face can’t hurt, as well. (There’s one on the inside of the card too.)

ftd9

Now that all is just about done, I’m looking to expanding this set. Designing a letterhead is something I’ve got on the back burner for now. I’m excited. Welcome to fromthisdesk.com!

ftd6