Haitus

14 Oct

Well, I took a pretty long break from this blog. I like to think that there’s an excuse for this; graduating from grad school, dealing with family drama, losing my two grandmothers within 2 months of each other, dealing with medical issues, moving in with my boyfriend … the list goes on. I kept telling myself that I’d get back on track once things slowed down. But here’s the thing: life doesn’t slow down. We are always moving. Sometimes we move forward and sometimes we move side to side, making lateral motions in attempt to fight change. The one way we can’t move is backwards. It’s impossible to go back and do things differently, and counterproductive to wish that we could. My dad likes to tell me to “live in the present, because we can’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.” The only time that matters is right now. Here’s my graphic to help you remember these words of wisdom:

During the hardships I’ve faced in the last 6 months, I’ve been so focused on the things that were going wrong that I couldn’t appreciate the things in my life that are wonderful. You see, I’m a pessimist. It’s not something I’m proud to admit, but my initial reaction to a situation that is less than perfect is to freak out. I was beginning to wonder why I wasn’t strong enough to deal with the hand I’ve been dealt, and what the point was of it all. When I shared these revelations with my boyfriend of two years, who is one of the most laid-back, positive people I know, his reply was as follows: “I don’t know what the point is of it all. I don’t have any answers about life on this earth. The only thing I do know is that I want to have more happy days than sad days.” So I guess I need to move on from this quarter-life crisis of mine and start appreciating the moments of right now. It’s up to me to create my own happiness. Because life really is too short.

Animation Appreciation

3 Mar

My Flash motion graphics class last semester has taught me to really appreciate the work and skill that goes into a great animation, like this one I stumbled on today by National Geographic.

 

I know, I’m a print girl through and through. But I just love how motion graphics can take the viewer on such a beautiful, engaging journey and communicate such a strong message. I’m gearing up to do some more animation in my last semester, and I’ll continue to use pieces like this to motivate me. Hopefully, some of their brilliance will rub off on me and I’ll become a world-famous motion graphics designer and everyone will want to hire me. Well, one can dream.

Music To My Ears

19 Jan

I am admittedly behind when it comes to discovering music. Some of my now favorite bands/artists were making music long before I had heard of them. I usually find music in one of two ways: from one of my more in-tune friends or through NPR’s “Song of the Day” page. However, the following two singles (which I have been playing repeatedly over the last week) were made known to me through a different venue.

Over the holidays, I took a much needed, two-week vacation to California with my significant other. We drove up and down almost the entire coast, so there was a lot of time spent in our snazzy, Dodge Caliber rental car. The car came with satellite radio, a luxury I’ve never had in my ’98 Honda Civic, Wanda. Well, satellite radio is the coolest thing ever. I found an indie-rock station that I played nonstop, much to my hip-hop-loving boyfriend’s dismay, and discovered, among others, Mumford and Sons’s “The Cave” and Arcade Fire’s “We Used to Wait.”

I was familiar with Arcade Fire’s album from 2004, Funeral, but had sort of forgotten about the band since. Their 2010 album, Contra, is full of ethereal melodies. You know that feeling between sleep and awake when your mind is all over the place and you’re kind of half dreaming? And when you wake up you’re totally weirded out by your subconscious? Contra could be the soundtrack for this state of mind.

Mumford and Sons are a newer band, having formed in 2007 and gaining popularity only recently. “The Cave,” from the album Sigh No More, is just one of those songs that has it all, including a toe-tapping beat and some crazy banjo-skills. And the band is from London. Enough said. Both of the aforementioned songs captured my attention, so I thought I’d share them with those of you who, like me, are slow on the uptake in the music world. Both songs also have great music videos (“We Used to Wait”‘s is interactive).

Click here to make your own video: Arcade Fire (The Wilderness Downtown)

Carried Away…From Print Design

8 Sep

I just started my fall semester of my last year of grad school, and my first project in my Motion Graphics class was to create a stop motion animation…in one week.  After 115 photos, 3 takes, and 6 hours of work, I made this magnificent gem of an animation. Click below to see what I came up with:

I don’t know why YouTube cuts off the end a little, but whatever. Having never done stop motion before, this was a bit of a challenge for me. But I had a lot of fun with it, and can’t wait to build an interactive portfolio by the end of the semester! Thanks to Sara Barnes for her beautiful illustrations (please check out her work here) and Tommy Kimani for helping move my little character around. Poor guy wore out his arm holding up that fishing line 🙂

Obsession

25 Jun

It’s common knowledge that I have a thing for book covers. Well, book design in general, really. If I could have anyone’s job in the world, it would be Chip Kidd’s. To be able to design book covers for a living would be so much fun, and to do it as amazingly as Chip Kidd would be nice, too. Reading has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I can devour a book in a matter of hours. In fact, I read so many books I often forget the title and author very shortly after reading one because I’ve already moved on to another book. My high school SAT reading comprehension score was not very good, if I recall…go figure.

My mom has worked in a public library for over 10 years. She’s recently been giving me books people donate that the library can’t use, so I have piles of books all over my room. I clearly need a bigger bookshelf. Last week my mom told me how one patron came in and told her that he went to art school, so my mom said “Oh, my daughter went to art school.” He said, “Have you or your daughter heard of Chip Kidd? He and I are good friends.” When my mom relayed this story to me, I almost peed my pants with excitement. I told her to track this guy down and ask him to introduce me.

Today, I stumbled on the site of  Issac Tobin, http://www.isaactobin.com. It’s been awhile since I looked at any book covers not designed by Chip Kidd, but I was very impressed. Beautiful design and compelling concepts. JEALOUS.

Turns out he has a talented, illustrator wife named Lauren Nassef. I like her “Drawing a Day” series, http://www.laurennassef.com/category/drawing-a-day.

I Left My Heart In London

21 May

My classes kicked my ass this semester, which is why I haven’t been posting that much lately. This is my final project for my Design Principles and Strategies class that I just wrapped up last week. Our assignment was to make a data-driven narrative, an information graphic about some point in our lives that influenced us. I decided to make a poster documenting my semester in London. Some of the facts are exaggerated, but not as much as you might think. I had just finished working on a research/book project for another class that had basically taken over my life, so this project was a way for me to let loose and have some fun with a stress-free design and the concept. It was nice to re-visit my time in London…I can’t believe it’s been over 3 years since I was there.

Curls Curls Curls

8 Apr

So I guess I’m already not following my rule of posting more often. Life is so busy anymore, I can’t keep up.

The weather has been warmer in Baltimore the last few days. Yesterday it got as high as 86 degree, which was a little hot for April, but after the freezing, snowy winter we had, I’ll take it. Unfortunately, just as the weather got warm I ran out of my Sunsilk hair product. No problem, right? I’ll just go to Target and get some more. Only it turns out that Target doesn’t carry it anymore. In fact, I can’t find it anywhere…not even on Amazon! And when I went to the Sunsilk website, it was under construction.

Conspiracy? I think so. And now I am going through the hideous process of finding another product that works on my hair and fits my budget. I have very curly hair, and while most of the time I consider it my best feature there are times when I want to shave it all off in frustration. The humidity makes my hair frizz so badly it looks like I stuck my finger in an electric socket. Sunsilk Captivating Curls was my only hope…and now it’s gone. I realize it sounds like I’m whining, but for those of you with straight hair you have no idea how hard it is for us curlies to find the right product. Not only the RIGHT product, but a CHEAP one at that. There are so many high-end products out there marketed specifically to people with curly hair, and they’re like $28 for a 4 oz. bottle. Seriously? 4 oz.? I would go through that in about a week. Sorry, but i can’t afford $112 a month just for one product. And what makes these products good for curly hair anyway? I’m starting to believe it’s all just a marketing strategy.

Ok. So I just googled “Sunsilk Captivating Curls” to find a picture of it for this post and found that the product still exists but they have completely changed its look. And it can only be bought online at http://www.drugstore.com. Huh? And now this post changes its tone to talk about Sunsilk’s re-design, which in my opinion, is terrible. The bold, solid-color bottles have been replaced with an awful shade of gray that has only hints of color to distinguish the different kinds of product. And they have replaced the beautiful, clean, sans-serif typeface they were using before with a squiggly, illegible handwriting typeface. Oh, Sunsilk…what are you doing? This is almost more upsetting to me than if the product were actually gone altogether.

Hydra TLC

Captivating Curls

Now the bottles are smaller and more expensive as well. I guess they are trying to make it higher-end? Well, it’s not working for me. The new price, new size, and new design are all not doing it. And as someone who loved their products before, I think Sunsilk has lost a customer. I would rather struggle with testing new products, resulting in numerous bad hair days, than support a company that can’t keep their branding consistent and keep their customer in mind.

Update: Just an FYI, Priceline finally did refund me the entire amount of my vacation package. It only took them two and a half months.