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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Aug 26, 2010

Business Lunch

By On 09:15
My home office is a mess, with stacks of design books and paintings in piles on my worktop. So when I meet potential clients I do it like we’re back in the 60’s or 70’s. I’m talking about three-martini lunches as they were called (mine are usually sans martini, however).  I usually suggest a restaurant in midtown or Charles Village. The choices that these two neighborhoods offer are varied, eclectic and delicious.  Yes midtown restaurants are exciting!

Here are my top choices for business lunch meetings (in no particular order):

Donnas of Charles Village – I go to Donna’s weekly, business or no business. The staff is okay with off-menu orders, everything is always perfectly prepared, and wines are tasty-licious.

City Café – a great wine selection. Most of the tables downstairs are small, but outside and 2nd-floor seating more than makes up for this. Keep clear of the desserts.

Dougherty’s Irish Pub – tasty pub food and a quiet atmosphere. There are also big tables to spread out your laptops, design samples, notebooks and contracts. They've also got the best coleslaw in town.

Owl Bar – they have the best calamari in town; the capers aioli make the dish. It’s a good place to share a pizza with a client over contracts and Chianti.

Picadeli’s on Read Street – upstairs seating with the best veggie burger and fries in town. You can also get take out and have you meeting in Monument Park by the fountain.

Minato – fabulous sushi and great wait staff.  This is more of a late lunch, early dinner meeting place.

One World Café – outdoor seating and delicious vegetarian fare. The wine selection is decent and moderately priced.

Honrable Mention:
Tapas Teatro - I’ve never actually had a business meeting here, but I love everything on their menu.

Bon apetit!

One Thing All Creative Folks Need

By On 08:31
I just had dinner with a friend, a well-rounded communications professional—who shall remain nameless.  We recently talked over our plans for the future over salads, salmon and Cotes du Rhone at Donnas of Charles Village.

My buddy is a writer - designer - communications kinda-gal with diverse and extensive experience in marketing and communications.  In order to get an idea of the type of work she does you need to ask her to review her portfolio; there’s no one place to find her design or writing samples online.

She’s in the market for a workplace change, but gave me the wrong answer when I asked about her Web presence.

Creative professionals NEED a website!

Using a simple free blog site like Google’s Blogger, Wordpress, of LiveJournal is a great way to get your design and writing samples online and also showcase current projects! These sites provide professional looking templates and quick formatting of images and motion graphics. The two hours it takes to set up a blog is worth it in the long run. You only need to include the link in your cover letter or resume to a potential employer.

Another option is to purchase your domain name and use one of the easy build tools to create your site. This option allows you to create a decent looking site without advanced knowledge of HTML or any Web coding. Register.com and GoDaddy.com are two names that immediately spring to my mind.

My favorite solution is for a creative type to mine their social network.  Fellow students would love the opportunity to work on a visually interesting Web site; it will add to their experience and could become a portfolio piece. Post a job for pro bono design work on a bulletin board on campus. 

For folks out of school, college friends, colleagues, and your BFF all have skills that may be useful to you. Ask them.  Start a conversation on LinkedIn, post a fB status update, find out about trading services; maybe someone can build your website in exchange for using your timeshare for a week in the summer. That is, if they’re not interested in money.

Like I said, creative professionals need a website. If you don’t have one yet, get started today.

Aug 22, 2010

An Online Portfolio

By On 16:07
It's time to update yours!

Having an online portfolio does a lot to boost your street cred among potential clients and employers. It’s also:

More Convenient than a Resume and it saves time in your job search. This tool gives potential employers and clients a preview of your skills and abilities. In addition to the pieces that you present, folks are impressed by the design of the portfolio site and the user experience.

Showcases Your Talents - Online portfolios instantly show off your work. To establish yourself in this industry, let your designs do the talking!

Makes you Readily Accessible to clients worldwide, instantly. This opens up opportunities to work anywhere. Potential clients from other regions are now able to access your portfolio and maybe even hire you! Plus your contact information / link helps get contacts in touch immediately.

Saves Time in the Application Process - Virtually all employers have embraced the concept of online portfolios. They expect to see your samples when you apply for a position in their company. Look at it from their perspective. Employers have to search dozens of resumes, choose the right candidates, schedule and conduct interviews. This is very time consuming and virtually impossible without design samples. Having an online portfolio saves employers time and they can see your design work instantly, enabling them to find the right fit for their company.

Aug 18, 2010

Designer Job Search: Supplemental

By On 12:07
Here are a couple other job search resources that I know of.  I've gotten feedback from former jobseekers that these are valuable resources:

Mid-Atlantic Employment Search:

Maryland - Maryland Workforce Exchange
Washington, DC - DCNetworks.org
Virginia - VAEmploy.com
Pennsylvania - Commonwealth Workforce Development

Happy Hunting!

Aug 2, 2010

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Shodekeh

By On 06:20
Friday, July 23rd was a particularly hot night; not just because of the 100+ degree temperatures. The Baltimore Symphony Opera brought the heat when conductor, Maryn Alsop, featured a local musician alongside her world-class orchestra.

The Musician: Shodekeh Dominic Talifero
The Instrument: His voice

I first met the beat boxer about ten years ago when he performed on one of the West-facing stages at the SoWeBohemian Arts and Music Festival. Of course, a decade ago he had an unfulfilling day job to pay the bills while he hustled to get face time on the stages across the region.

Today, Shodekeh works for himself. In the years between our first meeting and this most recent performance at the Meyerhoff , Shodekeh toiled tirelessly to push his music into ever growing arenas. His regular gig—of the last four years—is as the accompanying percussionist to a renowned ballet studio. He’s been on stage with KRS-1, numerous hip-hop elite, classical and world beat musicians, and emerging performance artists. He’s been interviewed on NPR and lends his voice—speaking and percussion—to promote the arts wherever he goes.

Check out part of the performance, https://vimeo.com/18653408

 At the Friday night concert, my jaw dropped when I heard the newest addition to his repertoire. Shodekeh does an uncanny rendition of a didgeridoo. The technique put me in mind of the throat singers of the Caucasus Mountains, but my ear was convinced that it was a five-foot long wooden pipe being blown into by an aboriginal Australian. I was literally gape-mouthed throughout the concert. Shodekeh has something that all would-be entrepreneurs need, confidence. This unwavering confidence in himself and his talents led him to get free of the nine-to-five shackles.

Another tool in his bag-of-tricks is his inexhaustible energy. Anyone who chooses to work for themselves knows that it means trading in the eight-hour daily routine for a 24/7, perpetual process of self promotion. It’s exhausting and rewarding. We recently had drinks at Tapas Teatro in Mt. Vernon. Shodekeh, not content to take a break, told me of his plan to take his classical-meets-contemporary performance to audiences nationwide. It’s an enormous undertaking. He knows that he can do it.

Frankly, so do I.