Monthly Archives: July 2008

Road Trip October 2009?

I think I’m going to combine my cross-country road trip dream (inspired by The Motorcycle Diaries) with my post-graduation trip dream, with going to my first biennial AIGA Design Conference dream in October 2009, as I could spend a week or two and drive to Memphis for the conference and then go all the way to the East Coast and take a different route back.

I thought about naming my cross-country road trip journey “The Prius Diaries,” although that might sound too marketing-y. And I certainly don’t want my car to have the same fate as the motorcycle. And seeing how there’s an environmental concern with flying to places these days, intersected with rising oil prices, driving would be a slightly less harmful and more interesting alternative. (Of course, taking Amtrak or something would be easier and less tiring, but it’s also less fun.)

Just ideas for now.


Dream Project of My Career

I just watched some On Demand programs promoting the Summer Olympics next month, and I was reminded of how much I am infatuated with the Olympics and the ideals and the visual branding campaigns that they’ve had (yes, including the London 2012 campaign by Wolff Olins).

I have long since dreamed to be a part of an Olympic Games visual branding team, preferably where the host city is in the States (although anywhere is totally fine with me; that way I get to take on the challenge and learn about other cultures). The Chicago 2016 campaign is too soon, and it seems like they’ve got it covered already, although they had to redesign their bid logo. So hopefully, 2024 or 2028, since 2020 is probably still too soon in my career.


What Am I Doing? (Jul 2008)

Little Freelance Gig

For the past month, I’ve been helping my aunt with a light box menu redesign for her Mediterranean fast food shop at the Great Mall food court down in Milpitas. She needed new photos of the dishes and a more attractive design to improve her business. I’m supposedly done with all the designing, and now it’s out of my hands and off to wherever she sends them to have the designs specially printed. When it’s all done, I will post an entry about the entire process.

There have been many challenges with this little freelance gig. I’m not gonna elaborate on the details, nor will I reveal the numerous updates on my private Twitter page, but I’ve learned plenty about being a freelancer as well as a graphic designer in general. There were technical lessons like setting up my first makeshift photo studio at the back of the store (with my trusty light tent!), and then there were client-designer relationship lessons, including overcoming a slight language barrier, understanding a difference in communication medium preference (phone vs. email), and enduring a hearty dose of scope creep.

I guess I will elaborate more in the official post, but two important things I learned from this job: 1) don’t promise you can do things faster than you can actually do them, and 2) get a contract before starting any work, even if it’s a job with your family or friends.

New Printer

Another thing that happened recently is that I finally received my new printer. It’s an Epson Photo R1900. It prints up to 13” in width and 44” in length, has individual color cartridges, and prints on CD/DVD’s! Those were the three main selling points for me. I’d been wanting to get a nice printer to print my portfolio pieces since the beginning of this year. I took about half a month to research decent wide-format individual-cartridge inkjet printers, including the price, reviews, ink costs, functions, etc., and then I hesitated a whole month before finally deciding that it would be a worthwhile investment in my still budding career.

My next purchases now will include backup ink cartridges and Epson photo paper.

The Beta Site

I have not given up on the beta site. I’ve just been busy with everything else. I realize that my last update was April/May, but the site will be built.

In the mean time, take some time off your work and find a way to watch season 1 of Mad Men on AMC. It’s about the advertising agency culture of the 1960s in New York. Lots of cultural references, lots of smoking everywhere, lots of drinking, lots of political incorrectness (compared to now), and lots of good writing. Check out the show’s site and watch the first episode.


Design is Decision Making

When it comes right down to it, design is about making decisions, right?

This goes beyond just graphic design. I was sitting in a certain room in my house staring at the linoleum tiles on the floor when I re-realized that everything in our lives are designed. From the linoleum tiles and layout of my house to the public policies and laws of the community. The former involves architecture and interior design, while the latter is design of something more ideal than physical.

When congresspeople make laws, they are designing the way we live and behave. They made those decisions; that’s design.

When we choose to go out instead of staying in to study for a big test, we’re designing the course of our future; there’s a decision made there as well.

When we figure out what we want to eat for dinner tonight, we’re designing the future of our bodies. Another decision.

While I still agree with Michael Bierut that “[n]ot everything is design. But design is about everything,” since it is stated in a different context, I now also believe that almost everything involves decision making of some sort, and therefore it is design.

Am I stretching this relationship too far? I’ve been trying to push for the fact to other people that design is more than style, and I want to get a good, satisfactory definition of “design” and “graphic design” for myself first.