This week is, for me, the first “real” week of the new year. The actual first week was cut short by what was supposed to be a quick trip to Miami for a family event; due to the snow and ice storm that hit Atlanta last week, our stay was extended by four days and we enjoyed an impromptu vacation. Felt pretty lucky to be "stuck" in the only U.S. state without snow! That was last week; this week things are back to “normal,” and so I am faced with the reality that my extended contract position at TBS ended last month and it's time to get inspired and make something happen. I’ve been surfing around in order to fill my brain with new images and ideas, and thought I’d share a few of the great sites I've come across. If you have anything to add to the mix that you find particularly inspiring, please drop me a note and I’ll add to the list. Inspiration is something we can never have too much of!
Inspiredology.com – name says it all:
DesignFlavr – Daily art & design inspiration:
Communication Arts / Creative – tonic for the uninspired:
Web Designer Ledger – the inspiration category:
The D Photo – super-inspiring photography:
MomCorps blog article featuring me :)
I've been working as a contractor for TBS since May of this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience; it's a great company with genuinely nice people, flexibility, a coffee shop and yoga - what's not to love?
Camera shopping...which way to go?
New little project...
I had heart surgery a few years ago to replace my worn out mitral valve with a mechanical one. I'm fine now, just have a few reminders, the biggest being that I can often hear the tick-tick-ticking of my valve as it opens and closes, a constant event thank goodness. I created this line of items over at zazzle.com for others like me with ticking hearts and just wanted to share. T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, hats, postage stamps, etc....there is also a greeting card in the event you know someone who is the recipient of one of these carbon man-made valves. The web address to my store is: www.zazzle.com/halleyg. I am in the process of creating a yoga line as well, which will hopefully be completed soon!
In today’s tough economy, with so many people actively searching for jobs, it has become more important than ever to stay ahead of the game so that you don’t get lost in the shuffle. It has been estimated that any one employer could receive 500 to 1,000 resumes per single job posting. Even the most outstanding resume with all the right key words and qualifications can get overlooked. Sometimes it takes a little innovation to get noticed. So what else can you do? My recommendation is to create your own website that introduces you to employers, and gives a more personalized edge. This creates an opportunity to let the employer know a little bit more about you. Include your resume of course, as well as recommendations from past employers. In addition, a professional photo of yourself is a nice touch if you choose that route, or you may have your own logo to add. Any information that shows your accomplishments, or links to relevant websites you might have worked on or for, etc. can all be included. Add a link to your new resume site to the “contact” information on your resume document; then blast your websites addition to the World Wide Web on networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook.
For other important and useful tips on getting your resume noticed, this is a great article:
I was riding in my car last night, on my way home from teaching yoga, listening to the radio and enjoying my few moments of “me” time, when I suddenly noticed something out of the corner of my eye… a sign bearing a familiar logo; familiar because I had designed it. I quickly pulled over and took a few pictures of the sign and the building signs. It’s funny because no matter how long I do this, it is always gratifying to see your work being displayed. To actually see your work working. Guess that’s what it’s all about!
Low Budget, High Impact
Seems like everyone is on Facebook these days; love it or hate it, it does have its benefits. I find it useful for keeping up with friends, and I especially enjoy reconnecting with past friends I've lost touch with over the years. I caught up with one childhood friend, Lauren Janis, while she was in the midst of starting up a business called Big Daddy Biscuits, a line of homemade, organic dog treats. She already had a fantastic logo on her hands, but needed all the collateral that the logo would be used on: business cards, marketing material, labels, signs, etc. Of course being a start-up, there wasn't much of a budget for these things. I didn't see this as an obstacle, though, and we started collaborating together, and came up with some pretty great solutions. Her logo was already black and white (just like her dog and company namesake, Big Daddy) so we ran with that to cut down on color printing, which can be costly. This also made it easier for her to print certain things on her own printer as well, another huge cost saver. As a result, Big Daddy has come together as a brand, and her business is really taking off (for more info visit www.bigdaddybiscuits.com). I've enjoyed being a part of it and appreciate the opportunity she gave me to get creative with a very low budget. Her biscuits will appear on the August 1st episode of "Army Wives" on Lifetime, which I've never seen, but will be tuning in to catch a glimpse of Big Daddy Biscuits!
Last post I wrote about how to find your creativity when it goes missing… then, I ended up losing mine! All the things I had talked about are things I do on a normal basis, and they didn’t seem to be helping. So, I went back to basics, thanks to my 7 year old daughter. She was home from school for a couple of days not feeling well. We were running out of things to do, and decided to make a quick run to the dollar store where we spotted some Crayola watercolors and a pad of white paper. We both agreed it was a great find, and went home and proceeded to paint pictures outside on the porch; it was a beautiful day. I draw all the time with my kids, but it’s really been a while since I’ve drawn or painted something simply because I feel like it. Sheet after sheet I painted, some paintings were pretty awful, some not so bad, but none great works of art (evidence shown!). Still, I haven’t had that much fun painting since I can’t remember when. And when we were through, we had rows of watercolors spread out along the porch, drying in the sun. It was such a feeling of accomplishment, as well as a reminder that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a fun and fulfilling afternoon. And, though your creativity may decide to take a hike every so often, it’s not gone forever. You just have to keep digging!
Finding Creative Inspiration
Where does your creative inspiration come from? We’ve all heard of some of the best ideas materializing in the shower. Those times when the brain is on idle so to speak, the creative spark finds room to peek in and make itself known. But what if you’re running low on so called “down time,” and therefore none of that spark is making its way through? You know how it is, your mind is going a million miles a minute, and idle is something your brain never has time to be anymore. This is when you have to actually create your own down time; but how to do it without feeling so contrived that it renders useless? You have to break out of your element, explore new places – either physically or mentally – in order to jar those great ideas out of hiding.
Take a Walk
This seems simple enough, but sometimes it takes more than a spin on the treadmill or a walk around your neighborhood. If possible, get out in nature, where there are little to no distractions, and just walk. Being surrounded by trees or near water, noticing the little things, like a row of ants marching along or a patch of your favorite wildflowers, will take your mind out of its hectic state and allow some of that creativity back in. Breathing in fresh air and remembering your place in the big scheme of things can really calm down your mind, as well as free up space for fresh thinking.
Listen to Music
This may seem obvious, but sometimes it takes more than turning the radio to the same tunes you hear every day, with DJ and commercial interruptions. Put in a CD or turn your iPod to something you haven’t heard in a while. I personally like to tune into Pandora (www.pandora.com) where I have my own personal stations. While I’m working and running low on ideas or energy, I like to listen to jazz. It seems to calm my brain, and as the melodies and riffs run through my head, I often conjure up fresh ideas. For you it may be rock or R&B; there is no right way, just finding what inspires you and keeps your ideas flowing.
This one seems like a no-brainer as well; do we really have a choice? But I’m not talking about the shallow, mindless breathing that we may take for granted for days on end. I am talking mindful breathing, which comes from being aware of our breath and the affect it has on our body. Inhale fully so that your lungs are filled to capacity, and then exhale completely, until they feel empty, before filling them up again. Even just doing this for five breaths amazingly clears your mind and alleviates stress. If you can do it for even longer, great. Remembering to breathe mindfully during times of stress or low energy can make a huge difference in your mind (and body’s) well-being.
Take a Trip
I know it's not normally feasible to hop up at a moment’s notice and travel to another city or country. But, we can take a virtual trip online. Google Maps is a great thing; where have you always wanted to go? Just type it in, and voila! you’re there. (select Satellite View and you can actually navigate your way around). Explore the streets of London or sunny California and take in some of the sites. Enjoy seeing the different types of architecture and landscapes, or even cars and people. It really does get you out of your element and let your mind explore something new without even having to leave your workstation.
These are just a few ideas of things we can do when running low on creativity, ideas, or just plain old energy. Incorporate them into your daily routine, and take notice of how you feel. I'm sure others have their own methods (and I can already think of a few more - part II maybe?); I'd love to hear about them!
Life as a Graphic Designer
Came across this YouTube video entitled "Life as a Graphic Designer." Turns out that the wife is a Graphic Designer, and her husband and small son are acting out a day in her work life. To be taken with a sense of humor of course! I thought it was so cute... had me LOL.