Monthly Archives: April 2008

What Am I Doing? (Apr 2008)


A month flies by so fast sometimes, especially when you’re working almost every day. Working at Peet’s has been “learningful.” Not only did I learn about coffee and tea in general, I also experienced firsthand the corporate branding trickling all the way down to the sales floor, both in visual design and business management.

Other than the freelance route, I believe that organizational hierarchy and communication are essential to success and growth in any job out there. I am fortunate to work with a group of knowledgeable and experienced people who aren’t afraid to teach others and newbies like me their tricks and provide really useful advice. It’s not as if they were competitive and afraid that I would take their jobs somehow, especially when almost all of us have the same positions. And as “upper management” has shown us, my coworkers and I are a team; we all work together, and we are only as strong as our weakest link and all that good stuff.

I don’t think I’m revealing any company insider secrets here, but I really like the fact that Peet’s places great emphasis on two main things: quality service and quality products. Customers and fresh coffee pretty much sit next to each other at the top of Peet’s list of importance, as they should be. While it’s not possible to guarantee 100% quality on everything all the time, I still do my best everyday to make sure those two goals are achieved, and I feel proud to associate myself with an organization whose ideals are such.

Peet’s and Design Business

That sense of pride is partly due to my background in design (I say “background” like I’ve had decades of experience, haha). The way I see it, from the perspective of a baby designer with little or no “professional” design business experience, the design business is about the client and what you produce for that client. Design is about listening to what the audience and client want, but at the same time, it’s also about what you make to meet their needs and wants.

In the month that I’ve been at Peet’s, I’ve begun to develop relationships with the regulars. Every regular has his/her own unique personality and quirks, and I had to readjust to address each of them differently. Some are real cool, and some are… not so much. I feel that (and I know that) I’m going to encounter clients like that when I do design full-time. Some clients are gonna micromanage, just like some of the Peet’s customers who watch everything you do in preparing their coffee. And some are more carefree and trust you and your knowledge about coffee/design so that they get the best darn product that your skills could produce for them.


Since my last monthly update, I had worked on my home page some more, continuing with the transparency concept. I know that in a real project, I really shouldn’t work on the home page until the end (nor should I take this long to build a web site). But I feel that since this is a beta site, it’s the most seen page, so the design should reflect my concept for the site so that new visitors can immediately get a sense of what’s happening and will come back if they like what they see.

So in short, I’m not going to do much else until this home page is done, as much as it pains me to not have enough time to do anything else in the mean time. But the good news is that I think I’m almost done with the design. The remaining issues are 1) how to place the slideshow “screen” on a faux-transparency while sticking to that grid I had, and 2) a more interesting background, possibly changing based on the time of day.

I believe I will resolve these in the new few weeks, and hopefully, it’ll be sooner than later.

Design Opportunities

Two weeks ago, I saw on HOW’s design blog a fellowship opportunity at Chronicle Books. It seems like a really cool gig and I really want to do this, but seeing how the deadline is at the end of this month, I don’t think I have the time to put together a solid portfolio and application. It’s a six-month fellowship from July to December, and it pays $15,000 total, which converts to a $30,000/yr salary, which is not too bad. Unlike that teamwork mentality that I was talking about earlier, I was being a little competitive here by withholding informing people about this, especially to my graduating design friends who may be interested in this. But seeing how I probably won’t apply, I figure I should share the wealth and hopefully a Davis graduates gets in.

A few days ago, a good good design friend forwarded me about an immediate job opening within her company, and other than the 2–3 years professional experience and QuarkXPress requirement, my commitment at Peet’s is preventing me from doing anything else any time soon. And that made me think about what I will be doing in the next few months.