Sometimes, when I’m working on a design on screen, I get to a point where I find myself running in circles, with progress or a solution anywhere in sight. It’s only when I stop, grab a piece of paper and a pencil, that a solution might present itself. Now, it may not be the solution, but it gets things moving, and that’s a start.
When we find our lives spinning in circles, it might not be a bad idea to grab that paper and pencil and see what happens.
Wishing you all a very happy holiday season and an awesome 2020!
This bit o’randomness has nothing to do with design, print, web, packaging, business, or anything that’s related to pretty much any profession (I suppose those in the culinary field might say otherwise).
MY SALAD DRESSING
Olive Oil (I prefer Extra Virgin)
For one salad, put a couple of drops of honey into a small container. Add 2 teaspoons each of lemon juice and balsamic, and about a tablespoon of oil. Mix or shake to blend/emulsify. Drizzle over your salad.
Note: Measurements are suggested. Feel free to tweak the proportions according to your taste.
So, where did this come from?
Lunch on work days typically consists of a salad I bring from home. Healthy options near work are few and far between, so bringing lunch keeps me out of trouble food-wise, as well as not being terrible for my pocket. 🙂 And, for a while, I was just using either leftover pouches of dressing from Wendy’s, or I would just throw some oil and vinegar together in a small container. Eventually, this got a little boring, so I looked in the cupboard and the fridge to see if there was anything I could add– hot sauce, dried herbs… Something. I gravitated to the honey and the lemon juice, and well, voila.
So, there you have it. If ever you’re stuck with having to make salad dressing, I suppose there are worse choices you could make.
We live in a world where, today, you can reach someone faster than you might even think (literally!). There are tweets, DMs, IMs, and all sort of social media messaging. There are even more “old school” means of communication– like the phone. And email.
Speaking of email– why is is that people still use “High Priority” when sending email (I know of one person that sends all emails as high priority. We’ll get to that in a moment). If something is of such importance, maybe following up with a call (or preceding the email with a call) might not be a bad idea. It might even give the recipient some context as to why it’s important to the sender.
Of course, there’s also the question of why it’s still put in the email software code. If we’ve “outgrown” the need for labeling things as “high priority” when there are more efficient ways to relay info in really short time windows, then why is this feature still put in, like some vestigial do0dad?
Just a thought.
And while I’m thinking, let’s go back to “all high priority, all the time”. If everything is that important, then everything becomes unimportant, so when there is something that is that important, it’s ignored as just another email. It’s sort of like the story of Peter and the Wolf.
So, as long as software manufacturers feel that this is some useful feature, we’ll be stuck with it. Let’s use it judiciously in the meantime.
I’ve been thinking about writing more, or rather, about the fact that I don’t write more (and I should). I also think– and I’m pretty sure this happens to a lot of us– that good ideas, whether they’re for blog posts, art, whatever– come to us at times when it’s hard to capture them and save it for later. Even with note-collecting apps and stuff.
I also think that a lot of times we operate with a “hope” and “wish” mindset. We wish we had more time for “x”, or we hope that “y” changes, allowing us to effect some change in some part of our lives. Or we spend a lot of energy spinning our wheels, wishing for some improvement in because something isn’t going the way we would like…
And it’s that mindset that I keep coming coming back and re-examining. We expend all this energy trying to figure out how to change things… When sometimes all we need to do is wait. It became clear to me while going to get lunch a few weeks ago.
I typically bring my lunch to work every day but one. On that day, I usually go to one of a handful of places (not a lot of options near work, and half of them are burger joints. Since I don’t eat beef, it sort of narrows my options. But I digress). That day, the forecast called for rain. I stepped out around 1pm, and it was drizzling. I had brought my umbrella in to the office, but had left it at my desk, so I shrugged my shoulders and resigned myself to getting a little rain on me as I walked to the car. I drove out and headed a short distance (barely 1/2 mile, I think). By the time I got there, it was not only raining, but HAIL was coming down. 10 minutes later, after getting lunch, I came out and the sun was shining, and there was not a cloud in the sky.
I thought the rain was crummy enough, and then got hail. When I thought that was as good as it was going to get– the sun came out.
I’m not sure where I was going with the story, but the bottom line is this. Every step of the way I thought it was bad or couldn’t get worse, with no “hope” in sight. But all I had to do was wait 10 minutes.
“Wait a minute”. Sometimes, that’s all we have to do.
I remember that, back in the “olden” days of pagers and beepers (you know, the 90s), we would add codes to messages to indicate certain things (a little like how we have LOL and emojis today). I imagine this was done as a way to save on the number of characters being used in a message. Frankly, I can’t remember the exact reason. I do remember that one of the most popular shorthands was to add “911” to a message to indicate the level of urgency that was needed in the reply (another was “411”, used to request info). Fast-forward a number of years, and I realize that some people I’ve come across over the years ALWAYS send their emails flagged as “high priority”. And it got me to thinking…
We live in such an interconnected world where communication has become almost instantaneous– from things like cell phones and social media posts to instant messaging on mobile devices.
So I wonder– has email’s “high priority” outlived its usefulness? Or does the little red flag (or exclamation point!) still a place for it in our modern communications?
We all have our favorite tools. But is one inherently better over the other?
Specialist– or Jack-of-all-Trades?
This has been a source of debate within the design community that has gone on for a long time now, and it’s likely to continue. Be a screwdriver or a multi-tool. Specialize or generalize. At its core is the difference between depth and breadth. Peanut butter or chocolate. Pepsi or Coke. “Less filling” or “tastes great”.
(For those not familiar, that last one was a nod to a Miller Lite campaign that was big in the 70s and 80s– here’s a sample of one of the ads)
But I realize it’s both. Especially in today’s marketplace, where global competition is so fierce. Sure, it’s important that we become focused in some area. That we have depth of knowledge in something. It helps establish us as thought leaders, experts in our field. It helps to set us apart from other professionals.
At the same time it’s important that we’re at least familiar with a lot of things outside our area of focus. If we’re a print designer, then knowing at least the basics of things like web design or packaging. Or even cooking. If our focus is on web and mobile design, maybe things like motion, or video, even music– may be a good thing. It’s this breadth of knowledge that helps balance out, and complements, that expertise. And, it also helps to give further depth, since things learned in other disciplines can be brought in and re-interpreted through that design lens. Or whatever your area of focus may be.
Is one better than the other?
So, the debate may continue. People will continue to argue for each side. And, each one has its merits, sure. But discussions on whether you should be a specialist, or jack-of-all-trades, will go on. Whether it’s better to be a hammer or a Swiss Army knife. Whether one is better than the other.
I say be both. You’ll likely be the better professional– even the better person– for it.
I love logos. There’s something about taking a business, an organization– whatever– and boiling it down to an icon or a wordmark that really appeals to me. It’s like the ultimate Cliff’s Notes (side note– do they even make Cliff’s Notes anymore?).
(After a quick Googling) Apparently they do. And they’re still made with those awesomely-almost industrial yellow & black covers. Glad some things haven’t changed.
But I digress.
As I said at the top, I love logos. And I especially love logos from the 60s-80s. There’s just something about them…
Anyway, I was doing some housecleaning the other day. As I was putting stuff away, I came across an old program from a play I did when I was around 5-6 years old, which led me down a rabbit’s hole of memories for a bit. After a while I started to look at the “booster” ads in the back (you know, the kind parents and family buy to say hi to their kids. I even saw one from my great-grandfather to me. That made me a little misty-eyed. I had totally forgotten that was there). I saw that it wasn’t just parents. There were also stores– some local to Puerto Rico, some not– that had also bought ads in these programs. Then, somewhere along the way, I couldn’t help but realize how I’d never noticed the logos before. So I took picture of a few that I especially liked. The quality of the printing was not the best, and these were quick pics taken with an otherwise decent cell phone camera, so I apologize in advance for some of the quality (although that less-than-perfect execution gives them a little something I like).
Well, without further ado, let’s look at some logos (which are used for the purpose of sharing cool stuff I’ve found and are the property of their respective owners)…
For many, many years, Burger King was the big player in the fast food landscape in Puerto Rico (Up until sometime in the 80s, there was only one McDonald’s in PR.). Burger King has gone through some logo changes over the years, but this design has always been my favorite (they seem to have brought it back– even if for a little while– these days with the re-release of their hot ham & cheese sandwich).
First Federal (now FirstBank, I believe) was one of the big local banks in PR, along with guys like Banco Popular. While Banco Popular used a lot of reds and blues, First Federal leaned heavily on the color green. The extruded “1” on this is pretty funky, IMO.
I have no idea what this company is/was, or what they did. The logo– to me– has a cool bicycle-meets-Taíno-iconography feel to it. BTW, the Taíno were the peoples native to Puerto Rico and some of the other islands in the Caribbean. You can find out more here about the Taíno and their symbols.)
This is a logo for an engineer (if I had to guess, structural engineering or something construction related. But don’t quote me on it). I like how the “E” is formed out of the left-hand frame, and the bar carries through into the arrow, and the whole thing is lframed out in that rectangle. I dig it, even if I have no clue what the “dot” (which ends up looking like a Pac-Man because of the arrow) has to do with anything here.
This one’s a little crusty. It’s a logo for a graphics and print shop. Unfortunately, it looks like the ink spread a little on the printing, and things got a little goopy. You can barely make out the “c” in “Graficor”. But if there was a logo in this bunch that epitomized that period for me, this is probably it.
Okay, so this one’s not a logo per se. But I like the feel of this ad. And I love this version of the Baskin Robbins logo. It’s most definitely a product of its time. And, if memory serves me, it was in use well into the 80s, maybe even later.
So, there it is. Nothing scientific or fancy. These were just a bunch of logos that appealed to me in some way, and I thought I’d share them with you. Hope you’ve enjoyed them. Let me know what you think in the comments.