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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Dec 27, 2010

Photographers! Be Seen

By On 13:03
Well, not just photographers--visual artists too.

I stumbled upon a great wall paper sharing site called Open Wall (www.owall.net). I was looking for creative commons and clicked on the unfamiliar link and got floored. People are sharing their work, rating others, and downloading like crazy.
Well, obviously, this image wasn't posted by the photographer, but it likely began life as one of the gorgeous, royalty-free images of space available on the NASA website.  Good deal.

I've come to use Open Wall as a resource for fun images, wall papers and even as inspiration for compositing in photoshop. Take a look and enjoy.

AND Speaking of NASAs royalty-free space shuttle/Hubble images...
Be sure to read the Image Usage Guidelines

Dec 21, 2010

Where’s Your Lightbox??

By On 09:41
JQuery is functional and fun to look at but—by god—it’s a ton of coding. A metric ton if you’re a graphic designer not well versed in the development side of JavaScript.
Thankfully, others saw the demand and have come to your rescue. Here is a Creative Commons solution to get your lightbox portfolio up and running:

prettyPhoto Lightbox Clone

To see this professionally executed JQuery clone in action,  view the PORTFOLIO page of the Robust Web template.

Dec 20, 2010

Tax Time Write-Off

By On 12:52
At the start of tax season, freelancers and consultants need to sort through receipts to get the itemized list together.  Here’s my short list of work-related expenses:

  • Marc Train Tickets / DC Metro Tickets / Road tires for my bike(tis a stretch)
  • New Laptop
  • CS5
  • Lacie 1TB portable drive
  • Lacie 500GB portable Drive
  • HP scanner
  • USB Hub
  • 5 Sketchbooks
  • CA magazine subscription (must purchase this week)
  • Rainbow Pentels and Charcoal pencils
  • Pantone Color book
  • 1 Art Gum eraser
  • Letramax boards
  • 2 reams Hammerhill 70lb cover
  • UB Lab Card
  • Toner
  • Home Office

I normally don’t count the charitable donations, but this year, that $75 is on the list baby. 

Dec 11, 2010

I've got a new look...

By On 13:25
...my  site has one, anyway.  This new design is courtesy of TemplatesDock.  The design is called BestFolio released under a Creative Commons license. I know what you're thinking, "A Web designer using another designer's template!!! Unheard of." I disagree.

I often view great Web templates created by talented developers. These sites are functional, creative,  and technically  exceptional. Bestfolio is a simple one with all the elements that I needed to revamp my site in a timely manner ---it took me approximately 6 hours to customize the template.

Learn more about : http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kudos to TemplatesDock

Dec 6, 2010

Job Search Advice for New Graduates

By On 07:28
I went to the design studio on Friday to print some comps and ran into a student I knew from grad school.  *Randy, who will graduate soon,  had one question for me while I adjusted the print setup. He queried, "You just graduated, right? Is it really tough out there?" I know that's 2 questions, but the important one is obviously the second. Randy was referring to the job market.

My answer: yes, it's tough as hell out there. You need to know what  kind of design job or work environment you're looking for.  Apply only for jobs that you want, instead of casting a wide net and applying for positions that either a.) don't interest you, or b.) don't match with your goals and aspirations. Be selective and only take the time to  go after jobs that you actually want. It'll make you happier in the long run.

This is something I've always believed and it hasn't let me down yet.

The second part of my recommendation went: don't wait for graduation to begin looking. If you've already identified your ideal work environment, start your job search now. This means:

  1. update your resume, 
  2. print and format your portfolio, 
  3. network and make inquiries, 
  4. and apply.
* pseudonym

Dec 5, 2010

Worst Interview Ever III

By On 07:28
Here’s another 2nd person account of a terrible interview. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

A year ago, “Janet Blackstock” was in the market for a new job. She found one at a national philanthropic organization located in a downtown high-rise, and sent them her resume.  The posting was for a low-level administrative position that she could do from 9 to 5 while attending university on nights and weekends.  The salary was sufficient, but not great, and she’d recently heard that this organization was not an awesome employer. Needless to say, getting this job was not a matter of life or death for her.

Janet arrived at the interview on floor 9, 15 minutes early and introduced herself to the receptionist.  After 30 minutes the interviewer had not arrived, but she waited patiently. At 40 miutes after her arrival, the interviewer’s assistant came out to speak to her. “The job that you’re to interview for is filled. Sorry.” She then offered Janet a chance to test for a different—more responsible—position in the same area. Janet was dubious but positive about the situation. She reacquainted the lackey her skills as listed on her resume, making sure to point out that her typing speed was lower than the position required—even allowing for 100% accuracy.  The lackey smiled, waved off her protests, and got the testing room set up for Janet.

30 minutes later, our heroine emerged from the test to await her  results. The computer-generated verdict was that she did not have a high enough typing speed to apply for the job. Janet thanked the stupid go-between and slinked off back to Mt. Vernon for lunch and a quick sulk. She had spent nearly 2 hours in travel, waiting, and pointless testing.

Today, Janet holds a Master’s degree and is an art director at in a communications firm in PA. When retelling this story she always laments that she could have been more firm about her desire to skip the test, and left the office when she learned that her job was filled.

The moral of the story is that she’s right. There’s no reason to be a push over in an interview. You should let the hiring manager direct the flow of the conversation, while always remembering your agenda items: finding out about the company, seeing if it’s a good fit for you, selling yourself as the ideal candidate.