Things You Shouldn't Say to Designers

It's an instance that seems to appear out of nowhere, but isn't a stranger. The occasion takes place and you mentally" add it to the list." It might be completely harmless, it might be vengeful, and it might be plain old rudeness. Regardless of the motive, it happens. 

Clients will often say certain things to designers that make us cringe. It's time to spread some education.

1. "Can you make the text more exciting?" / The term exciting can be interchanged with any adjective, really; cool, organic, formal, etc. Vague words only waste time. If you have an idea, be honest about it. You can save time, money, and maybe some bad words spoken about you behind your back. 

Just kidding about that last part.
Sort of.

2. "Have fun with it." / I absolutely CANNOT stand this phrase. I know you've all heard it. My experience has shown me that this is a general string of words that means, "I don't have any idea what I want." If it's the off chance that you CAN have fun with it and they accept it and love it every time, then you should ignore this and never leave your job. Ever.

3. "I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it." / Actually, since I'm a mind reader, I know exactly what you're looking for 100% of the time, so I take this back. Good times.

4. "Is there a reason you did this?" / This sentence can come in varying ways. But it should be known, there is a reason I put something somewhere. If I were haphazardly throwing design elements around, I'd probably be the same person using Comic Sans for the important defibrillator sign.

5. "Can this go here, and this go here, and..." / Someone describing, word for word, an entire design layout for you to basically assemble can be mindless (and sometimes thankful) work, but if it's not the strongest or best solution for a design, it can be downright painful. It's a feeling of no control and sometimes shamefulness. I've denied my hand in projects because it's like doing color by numbers, but you're blind in one eye, and got your hand chewed on by a baby alligator. 

Part of what it takes to be a designer is to successfully work with humans. And part of that work is combating some of these eye-roll-ful phrases. If you feel comfortable enough, go ahead and let the client know they need to be more clear, there is a purpose, and you have a potentially better solution; after all, it is your job. 

If not, patience is power in every situation and I have learned it can be just as healthy to bitch with other designers.



Off Hours

I've worked some drastically varied design jobs over the years. Some with a lot of creative flow, and some with freezing environmental design vibes. Additionally, I've had many take aways from my work that I keep locked in my brain for Catharine O'Brien's Design Survival Guide. (That's a lot of apostrophes!) Microsoft Word is usually your worst enemy. Every element should have a purpose. And never use Papyrus. But my favorite piece of advice to tossing around is my "Off Hours" chapter of CODSG (reference above title). 

Working off hours is awful and amazing all at once. You spend many hours every day staring at a computer, blinking less often as you should, and putting out fires. The last thing you want to do is come home and repeat that on your couch. And while I could list other activities to do other than work off hours, like binge watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S., eat a cup of raw almonds and then realize that's stupid and consume a whole bag of Doritos, or, you know, sleep, there are some benefits of working off hours.

• You get a chance to step back from required work projects and exercise your creative juices. Even through exhaustion, inspiration can reveal itself and everything can come together. 

• Also, it keeps you fresh-minded. Working on what you want and directing your own decisions can be relief and a common denominator to remind you of what you love. Surprise! There are times when your required work can have a lack of glamor and seem tasking. Letting loose and doing something different can keep you grounded and passionate.

• It only adds to your portfolio. Even if it's an icon that was created for fun or off hours, it doesn't mean it's not worth showing. 

In all, my "Off Hours" work can be strained and amazing and show-able and real. Sometimes it sucks, but sometimes I surprise myself. Don't forget to push yourself occasionally and never dread the off hours.

Packaging Mind Control

I'd like to take a minute.. so sit right there, and I'll tell you how I became.. obsessed with packaging. No one can EVER resist the Fresh Prince. And you're lying to yourself if you didn't sing it.

So, packaging is a thing. It's a real big thing. Such a thing, in fact, that it can influence buying and generate trillions, possibly even billions (pinky to mouth), of dollars. It's a very big, very real, and very cool thing.

I want you to take a moment and think about your average grocery shopping trip. You put together your list of essentials and head to the store. As you're automatically grabbing for your loyally-used shampoo and your Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut Coffee, you see something scribbled in different handwriting. You quickly realize your adult boyfriend has added juice boxes to your list, because, well, boyfriends..

After your roll your eyes, you head to the juice box aisle. Your eyes pass over the generics, a few unknowns, and some name brands, all in their classic, cardboardy containers, when suddenly, your eyes are drawn to something flashy!

"Well, these are adorable," you think to yourself. You hadn't planned on buying any, and even if it tastes like 2005 Propel crap, it at least looks cute. And, BAM!, that's how they get you. With no intention of buying juice, you settle for the cool looking beverage.

Or, this is how I work at least.

I love wine. And you might say I'm ambidextrous because I love both red and white. I have my go-to-twist-off Cab, second shelf from the bottom that I grab when I'm in a hurry. But if I'm gifting or taking my time, you better believe the more well-designed label is going to win. I, like many Americans, buy products based on packaging. 

Here are a few other neat ones.

Something as simple as beautiful shipping envelopes make things look more professional or cared-for. And it can influence your dollars, as well as your mindset. A great example; Apple products.

Macintosh is smart. Apple products, on the spectrum of all types of comparable technology, are behind. By no means are they pioneering much. There are other brands of phones that are waterproof. Apple iWatch was one of the last to be produced. Those Microsoft tablets do way more, have more programs, and run better than any iPad could ever dream of.


Apple things look so cool, don't they? They're sleek and slim and their programs all match and.. I could go on. Apple outsells because of this. Not to mention that beautiful, clean, white box that so delicately cradles it. With metallic printed letters practically burning "iPhone" into your hands from sheer, silvery excitement. 

I'm telling you, even if you don't realize it, packaging is affecting all of us. That champagne bottle for HiccUP would be a clear winner and conversation piece for any party, and you know it. 

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with someone about generic branding. They mentioned that Wal*Mart had a missed opportunity because their Great Value brands were all so plain.

You know the sort.

You know the sort.

"Why couldn't they add more to their packaging to make it fancier?" I was asked. They know exactly what they're doing. When polled, Americans believed Target to be a better brand for quality against Wal*Mart across the board. In the same polling structure, Wal*Mart is believed to be a lower-cost brand than Target. Spoiler: when it comes to groceries, they're practically the same.

Wal*Mart has this image because of their Great Value brand. The negative space, simple type, and photo give the image of cheap packaging, therefore, causing your brain to think it's cheaper, right? Wrong. And to think, you've been fooled all a long! 

So, what can we take from this? Even if you're making purchases because that bottle of gin looks badass, or that mac and cheese is enveloped in the cheapest-looking box, the packaging, the design, and the marketing are already making that decision for you. 

Kinda scary, huh? You're welcome.

The Grey Area

You know when you walk into a grocery store and grab a carton of milk? You walk to the register, pull out your wallet and pay the $3.99 for your dairy goodness, and go on your merry way.

Now, imagine you're in line and someone in front of you is also buying a carton of milk. But when the clerk rings them through, they start arguing the price and say they're not paying that much for milk.

The clerk kindly lets them know that good milk will cost the same just about everywhere, and if they want something cheaper, it might be past the expiration date.

In this scenario, milk is design, if you hadn't caught my drift quite yet. People want good design, but, at times, they're unwilling to pay for it. When you're not briefed in the business, you might not know what exactly goes into it and how much work it takes. People assume that they can find something cheap and great just about anywhere.

Like any service, good design costs more. I suppose a dramatic example would be a renowned surgeon being replaced with an unlicensed doctor on the Black Market. Negotiating a deal in design is such a grey area because art is subjective. 

First, a story. (Names and places have been changed for anonymity.)

I was asked to design a logo for a client. It was apparent in the initial communication that this was someone who wasn't versed in design, which is not a sin, it can just prove difficult down the line. This client gave me a wide range of ideas, with no narrowed down end in sight. I completed a first draft, and awaited her reply. They had come back with more suggestions and, again, ideas, but nothing quite narrowed.

After my second round, the client replied that they have decided they were going in a different direction and were going with someone else.

Now, calling all designers, or even laymen in general. What do you do in this situation? I worked hours on this project just to be dropped with no notice. I tried to let her know that it's not uncommon for logos to go through many rounds of revisions and that, if she had a technique she was looking for, to make it clear. 

In this pickle, I sent the client an invoice asking for a deposit of 50% for some of my labor, which she, of course, refused to pay. Is this something you do upfront for every contract? Would you have the client pay upfront? Or would you warn them of a deposit if the work is not used?

What would you expect as the client? Would you pay for the deposit understanding the work put forth on your behalf? 

Regardless, as I informed her of what it takes to do something of that stature, I felt like it was one stepping stone in an ocean of rocks that has become informed in the design world. 

It's part of my career that I run into these situations occasionally. So here is my soapbox: good design is worth the money it takes; it takes more than just a few clicks to finish a project; try not to get walked on. This grey area will always be grey, but I'm running through it with my sharpie and eraser.

The Best Of

As a designer, it's common to purchase fonts. And as 2014 came to a close, one of the sites I frequent, sent me an email entitled, "Most Popular Fonts of 2014."

Of course, I'm interested. I wanted look back to see what I've used and what I've seen. And I must say, I've been seeing repeats and repeats a million times over of the same fonts. I'm not sure what has changed in the last few years as far as using type. Probably the Internet? Maybe it's sites offering free downloads that make the seemingly unique types turn into commercially used types. Additionally, websites that offer templates get ahold of a typeface and it's game over. It will be a broken record in no time.

I know I've talked about this before. One finds a typeface or font they love and use it a few times. And then they see it somewhere else and start to be sort of sad about it. 

For example: I used a type called Lobster for a few projects at the end of 2013. 

And I KNOW you've seen this out and about. Some claim that Lobster is so overused, it's the new Comic Sans. While I don't feel that strongly against it, it's something I feel like I can't use anymore.

Case and point.

Case and point.

Here are a few others I've come to know and love and have since been tossed to the side because they're everywhere.

This last one, Bombshell, has been vomited all over anything wedding related. I get it. it's cute, and cursive and gives off this French vibe. But, come on, there has to be a line drawn.

It's hard to decipher. When fonts and typefaces become prominent nowadays, they live a short life. It's an area of such fad and fade that it's desperately in need of constant creation. Sure, you have old staples like Helvetica, Arial, or Garamond, but you can't reinvent the wheel here. How frustrating to be successful on a typeface, to see it rise on the charts like a one-hit-wonder, and then fall after you saw it on a trailer for an HBO show. 

I would pour out my beer here as  "one for my homies," if I were drinking. I feel for you. This can't be easy. I urge you to stay on track and continue inventing and creating. We need your types and we certainly use your types. Please don't give up, and I apologize in advance when I bitch about your typeface like it's a Lobster.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Keepin' Up with the Joneses

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Working in graphic design can be absolutely terrifying. You can never let your brain stop working, looking, or absorbing. You need to constantly adapt to styles, trends, and technology. And THIS.. is a huge part of being successful.

Recently, I had a few beers and found myself looking at some of my old work. And, occasionally, I'll come across something that is surprisingly exceptional. And I'll think to myself, "Wow. Great job, younger Catie!" But for the most part, I look at my old stuff and want to vomit. And no, that has nothing to do with the beer.

At times, I'm almost embarrassed by my previous self and think, I can't believe someone liked this.   I find it hard to believe most designers don't go through this. Stumbling upon old work from college and almost laughing at it. And it's here you need to remember that because your work and design aesthetic is "keepin' up with the Joneses," that your style and your work has changed and developed.

And that's a great thing.

If you didn't think the old stuff looked silly, it means you haven't updated. Make sure your work is great and something you feel confident about. And it helps to check in every so often and make sure you do think your old stuff is, well, old.

I may have added this piece of work I did previously, but it's so applicable. It is a quote from one of my favorite humans, Ira Glass, radio personality of This American Life

Enjoy! And let yourself laugh at your old self.

Better Left Unsaid

Sure, this post might not be directly related to design, but it's related to technology. And it's something, I feel, should be addressed.

I've been on social media for sometime in my life. I grew up with the transformation of MSN Messenger to Snapchat, and with that, new discoveries on human behavior are made. And by discoveries, I mean downfalls.

Cyber Bullying is no joke. It's a way for indecent individuals to hide behind a screen of some sort and say hateful things. It's ignorant and it proves that your brain is not quite as developed as the rest. I would feel sorry for you if I didn't want to punch your face so much.

Heavy subjects aside, I'm going to sidestep Cyber Bullying, as it is a very serious topic that could go on for hours, and I'd like to keep a little humor. 

Sometimes I'll be perusing a social media outlet and come across something that is eye-catching. Eye-catching as in something you should not be putting out their for everyone to see. And it turns from eye-catching to eye-being-poked-out-with-a-spooning.

Fairly recently, I logged on and witnessed someone who updated their status to, "How do I tell my parents I want to change my major?"


It took all my willpower to avoid responding with whatever sarcastic remark popped into my head at the time. I decided to leave it alone, like Steven Glansburg at the lunch table. 

And this triggered something in my brain that wants to find those who are posting inappropriate things about work, friends, and life on the internet and revoke their free-internet powers. I'll bet this is something Al Gore has the power to do.

It's like my mom used to say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all." Or was that from Bambi? I've decided that when you type something, it's not quite as instinctual or word-vomity as saying it. So, when your brain has the power to process and think something through, like posting something online, I think a good ideal would be "If you can't say something that's nice and/or not stupid, don't say it at all." This might be applicable to a multitude of things. Additionally, this does not apply to pocket posts, which are generally welcomed.

One of my favorites is when people post about how much they dislike their work, citing specific details. Talk about ballsy. I hope your boss is a dinosaur who's arms can't reach the keyboard to check your social media presence. And if that's the case, what is your job because that's awesome to have a T-Rex as your boss. Congrats.

This instance is a beautiful segue into what I've termed, "the rant."

This, too, is another example of line-crossing. I can see how much progress can be made by passive aggressively typing a novel that describes in detail--yet keeping things vague--about how someone upset you in some way. If it's working, keep it up. But know that every time, it makes me feel as though you invited me to play candy crush for the 56th time. I've also learned it seems to be a repetitive trait that can help one weed out their social media followers.

In an ideal world, we would all still have the ability to speak to others and let them know of any discrepancies, rather than get the approval and support of Facebook friends.

Side bar: I just started watching Game of Thrones. Holy hell.

Side bar: I just started watching Game of Thrones. Holy hell.


I pray that there comes a time when others will turn on the lightbulb that envelopes the shadow of rants and passive aggressive posts. Even if that lightbulb is a 3-way bulb that takes a few turns to get to its brightest. I support your 3-way.


I feel like this might be a good lesson for everyone, designers and laymen alike. 

Photoshop is a wonderful thing. The things you can use it for are, for the most part, unlimited. If you know what you're doing you can mock up entire scenes, flip everything upside down, and as we all know, make people look better.

I could, probably, go on for days about my stance on Photoshopped models. Yes, it can lead to low self-esteem issues. Yes, much of it is fake. And yes, every single magazine cover and page with a person on it is 100%, absolutely Photoshopped. 

But, that's an entirely different post. 

I use Photoshop for many things and, lately, have been using it more and more. Recently, those asking me to complete projects that involve this program, have been people who don't use Photoshop. And this can cause a disconnect that could lead to some very dramatic things. So, I can complain about this, or try my best to set the record straight.

The following example will have a few details changed to protect those involved. And by that I mean protect me. 

I was asked to do a number of print projects for a new and budding (the pun is coming..) client. Lets say this company was... a florist (see what I did there?). And this florist provided me with many photos to use in these many projects. So after the first few initial drafts, I got some edits in return, as expected.

"Okay, can you take the flower from photo 1 and put it on photo 2? Then can you take the background from photo 5 and add the greenery from photos 3,4, and 6? Basically, just make a collage of all of the things."


I stared blankly at my screen, quickly evaluating the amount of work I was about to endure. It was at this point, that I realized this person has no idea how Photoshop works. Sure it can do just about anything, but that doesn't mean you can click on one thing, and drag it to another. Part of me blames all Apple products for their click-and-do-whatever-you-want programs. 

So, as nicely as I could, I informed this client.

Morphing objects and photos in Photoshop is 100% possible. I CAN do this for you, and I will. But, because my time has value, the quote I gave you on the seemingly simple advertisement, is now going to rise, exponentially.

It's hard to dictate exactly how much time will be spent on this project, and, I hope you understand, that you will be paying for that as well. It's dire for this to be understood, to avoid any surprises. 

That specific instance took me 5 hours to complete. And at $50/hour, that shit adds up quickly.

Fortunately, this client was very understanding and appreciated my patience and work. It all happened to work out. And it's now that I get to the end of this and realize, it really is #photoshopproblems.

Also, thanks to the florist...  $$$ :)

Racist Logos

It started with hockey.

The playoffs are in full swing and with this, the NHL is taking up prime real estate on ESPN's Bottom Line. 

I've always maintained that the NHL has the weirdest mascots.

Montreal Canadiens - We already know you're Canadian. And French.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Watch out for the cuddly penguin!

Minnesota Wild - What are you, trees? A untouched landscape? Wild rice? I'm confused.

Nashville Predators - Thanks to NBC, all I can picture are pedophiles on skates.

Regardless, there was one that struck me, in which I subconsciously pocketed into the group of racist mascots: Chicago Blackhawks.

I remember, at a young age, really starting to learn what it is to be politically correct. And even in my short 25 years, the P.C. category is always evolving and changing. I grew up in rural Nebraska, where reservations for Native Americans are a commonality. I attribute this to knowing when someone is verging on racism. And if you haven't guessed, this racism is so widely accepted in professional sports.

The professional teams that come to mind in this respect are the aforementioned Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians, and, naturally, the Washington Redskins.

Chicago Blackhawks - Hockey

Chicago Blackhawks - Hockey

Cleveland Indians - Baseball He literally has red skin. I mean, come on.

Cleveland Indians - Baseball
He literally has red skin. I mean, come on.

Washington Redskins - Football

Washington Redskins - Football

It's hard to believe that, even in 2014, America has allowed blatant racism toward Native Americans. I understand the history and decades some of these mascots hold, but there is no excuse. Get rid of the Native American in warpaint, the Indian with burning red skin, and, well, both from the latter.

I see an opportunity here. The power of design can change the feel of something completely. I'll give you a few examples.

Take the Atlanta Braves. Their mascot and branding are related to Native American culture, yet they emphasize the Tomahawk (and the chop!) And no one bats and eye because a tool is not racist.

The Golden State Warriors moved from Philly to California and updated their branding to have the iconic San Francisco Bay bridge. Warriors is a Native American cultural term and, again, not offending anyone.

golden state.jpg

The Kansas City Chiefs' branding focuses on the arrow head and who is that upsetting? No one, that's who.

I get it. Re-branding as a professional sports franchise is not only time consuming, but also pricey. But something as simple as a logo change could appease the race argument for owners, players, and spectators alike. And I'm pretty sure last time I checked, the NBA bans you for life for being racist. Ahh, the power of design.

As far as the Redskins go, however, I can't really see a way to un-racist that. So, good luck.


I included a few logo options for Cleveland and the Redskins.


The Cleveland Businessmen

I decided that Cleveland has more of a businessman population that a Native American population, so why not do an ode to their city? And I'm sure they could get some sort of businessman's special.

The Washington Dream Catchers

Still tied to the culture, just much more pleasant, don't you think?

Seeking Free Electrician

"It will be good experience! And I'll give you a testimony to get your name out there."

As a professional in whatever field you work, have you ever heard this? Asking to have services rendered for free in exchange for a testimony and experience-building opportunity? I'm going to guess no, as asking an electrician to spend a few hours working on something for free, just seems ridiculous. How would you even go about asking this politely?

You wouldn't.

And moreover, you shouldn't.

But guess what, there seems to be a field of work that is the punchline to this joke, and it's literally no joke. Apparently, being a graphic designer means that you like to work for free, dislike money, and can live off the land and its many resources left on this earth.

It has become a sad, comical truth in the lives of fellow designers. I've seen a designer post an ad to Craigslist asking for free plumbing, because, hey, Craigslist-ers are asking for free design help. Eye for an eye? 

When you're in college, doing free work to build a portfolio would be similar to an unpaid internship for anyone else. But once you're out of college, we don't need anymore free portfolio-building opportunities, but thanks for the thought.

As a professional, I do have the right to turn you down. Even inquiring shows a lack of respect for my work, despite the vehement need and glamor for it. Just because you compliment my work, doesn't mean it's free.

i.e. "Why yes, Doctor! These new implants are spectacular! I'll be sure to let all my Facebook friends know to come to you. And I owe you a drink!"

See what I mean?

If you wouldn't do free work in your position, why would I? I prefer you respect my time, career, and talents and do what's best for you, get a quote and suck it up. If you want something free, go ahead and use Comic Sans in Publisher and see how it turns out. 

Typeface v. Font

As confusing as this title might be, it's only a snippit of what needs to be said. As a designer, this argument is one of my biggest annoyances. Sure, I shouldn't expect the layman to understand or know the difference, but when a fellow artist doesn't use it properly, fumes suddenly exhaust from my nose and ears. Also, I do get angry when the layman doesn't know the difference, and I'm not afraid to correct them.

A typeface is a set of type elements as a whole. For example, Cambria (default Microsoft Word type) can be described as a typeface, as it includes regular, italic, bold, and bold italic fonts, ligatures, numbers, and glyphs etc.. However, Cambria regular--by itself--is considered a font (most commonly used in vocabulary). Yes, with all the typefaces and options floating around, it's a difficult comparison, so this might be the easiest way to decipher. A font is to a typeface as a song is to a CD. Fair? Okay, moving on.

As someone who is constantly looking for new typefaces and fonts, when I see a new one, it doesn't take long to use the "swipe left, swipe right" mentality from Tinder*. So when I stumbled upon this font today, I couldn't swipe left or right. I was frozen and gawking. And rather than explaining to you the many different feelings running through my body, I thought you might want to judge for yourself. Enjoy!

Jean-Charles Debroize | Art Director, Digital Retouching Artist | Kerozen

Incredibly horrific, yet extremely innovative. I'm not sure what genre that falls under.

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a Tinder user as I am happily in a relationship.


I love me some logos.

I could look at logo designs all day. And on top of that, I could spend all day working on logo designs.

It blows my mind at some of the creative ability of people putting together logos.

Here are a few of ones you see everywhere.

The Infamous Arrow l FedEx

The Infamous Arrow l FedEx

The Hidden "31" l Baskin Robbins

The Hidden "31" l Baskin Robbins

And these are a few I found to be just incredible.

Birdie Pro Shop l Artist Unknown

Birdie Pro Shop l Artist Unknown

Bar Code l Epsilon Design

Bar Code l Epsilon Design

Black Cat Lounge l Jacob Weaver

Black Cat Lounge l Jacob Weaver

Ed's Electric l Artist Unknown

Ed's Electric l Artist Unknown

Spartan Golf Club l Artist Unknown

Spartan Golf Club l Artist Unknown

Women Writers l Tan Yau Hoong

Women Writers l Tan Yau Hoong

Logo design is so important in establishing a brand. It is vital to nail so many elements in one idea - timelessness, valid representation, simplicity – and when it all comes together, it’s just right.

Logo design gives me delight in exploring my creative abilities, but it also scares the shit out of me. Logo design is so absolutely important for a brand and if you don’t nail it, “woof.”

So, I use my old trusty process to help me through it. Lists, brainstorming, inspiration boards, and mostly, trial and error. I have to learn to let go of the fear of paramount of nailing a logo, wipe the nervous sweat from my brow, and just go for it.  And once you go for it and kill it, it feels damn good.

I’m beginning to think my love for logos is steering me toward brand design.

Let’s do this.

I’ve added what I call a logo sheet of concepts of a current logo I’m working on. Enjoy!

Genuine Jerks l Catharine Kruse

Genuine Jerks l Catharine Kruse

Type Anger

I stumbled across this video the other day..

And I cringed, I shook my head, I was shouting things like, "No!" and "Never!" It really got to me. I sent this video to a few of my designer friends who shared the same reaction: disgust, sadness, anger. 

And it wasn't two minutes later that I was perusing through Facebook, and someone who has taken on the characteristic of "Social Media Gahndi"--the people who post only and too many of the uplifting quotes--had shared another of their Gahndi photos. IN COMIC SANS.

I wanted so badly to follow my gut and let them know that Comic Sans is the ultimate sin. And when I tried to tell this story to others later, they kind of looked at me with crazy eyes. If I had the time, the pulpit, and the audience to explain why Curlz is just the worst, I would do it. I would travel the world with a tent and an elephant (because elephants are cool) and it would be the Typeface Revival, warning others of the pitfalls and where to turn. For whatever reason, I see myself doing this in a flapper dress.

And then I had another thought. I go through "phases of type." I will have my "go-to's" and the types that coordinate with specific styles. And they'll be my number one. That is, until a new type takes it's place. And it's a never ending refreshment of type. And this is a pretty good habit to have. Don't get caught following old trends, because God knows that Comic Sans was the coolest thing when we had Gateway computers and Windows '97 was released. (Just let it go.)

So, I have my little basket of typefaces in my heart that I reveal to no one. And when I see it being used on the trailer for HBO's new show, I get angry. "That's my type!" I yell. And even though I didn't actually make it, I begrudgingly spend countless hours searching for a new one, now that the world has my secret.

Isn't this hypocritical? I get angry when people use old, crappy types, but when people take my favorites, I'm just as angry? God knows I won't spend the time making my own type, unless I trip on acid with a insurmountable gauge of creativity or work for a foundry in Germany. (Germany did some good shit back in the day with foundries.)

I've come to terms with the idea that I will never be pleased. I will always scoff at Papyrus but will cry myself to sleep when another discovers my Ostrich Sans Inline. It's important for me to look at the in-between, and think positively about the differences in peoples' tastes. And even though it can be really hard, it's important to remember that a designers craft comes back to that taste, and that is what will separate the men from the boys. The people who understand the importance of Helvetica (whether you like it or not) and the people who print tri-fold copy in Mistral. 

And even though natural selection will take its course in design-type-separation, I think we can all agree that Comic Sans should be put to death.

This is my pulpit, and this was the first Typeface Revival meeting. If anyone could contact me on how to get the elephant, that would be greeeaaaat. 



So, sometimes you get lucky. You get to go to work every day doing something you love. Or, in my case, working in a field I love. 

I have the fortune to be surrounded completely by so many creative outlets, and that's pretty awesome. I work for a vintage clothing design company, do my own freelance design, blog pretty often on a few different mediums, and am always in the company of people who love and work in music. 

All bragging aside, it can be very inspiring. But, it can also be very exhausting.

You go to work all week, and stare at a computer, probably unblinkingly. The last thing you want to do when you go home, is continue to stare at a computer unblinkingly. It's so easy to plop onto the couch with your delivery Thai and binge watch New Girl until bedtime. And at times, that's so damn necessary. Take a break, sometimes. Do what you're not supposed to do and be lazy. Ignore emails if you can. Just let it go. But don't let it go too far.

Because when you do freelance.. it's all about your strength.

The hardest part is finding the willpower to sit in front of your computer after a day of work and write. Or design. Or edit. And once you can do this, you'll notice your brain contemplating it more and more. You're sitting at a bus stop and you see an older woman rocking out with Beats® and, suddenly, you have an entire story in your brain. You pass a bench advertisement and a design concept flashes before your eyes. Just getting out there, and doing your best to surround your self with what you love, even when it's the hardest thing, will push you further and further. 

Immerse yourself. Even if you friends don't do what you do, find a connection in any possible way. Creativity is all around you and, once you see it, the immersion seems to come naturally.

Happy immersing. :)


As a human who appreciates good design, art and techniques, I am always looking for new challenges, aesthetics and ideas. With inspiration bound to pop up anywhere and potentially everywhere, it's important to keep up with the times. Even if that includes education and giving the E! website a rest.

I'm not referring to professors, student loans or frat parties, although it wouldn't be too much of a curse to experience that all over again, sans the student loans. Just keeping your technique, abilities and mind updated is enough of a challenge. Look at a design. How would you create it? Can you create it? These are questions I constantly ask myself, in the hopes of a personal education, if you will. You hit a roadblock, Google it, ask a fellow designer, hell, trial and error. Just get it done. The satisfaction of learning and doing will make you want to scream it on top of a mountain.

One area that seems more blank than most in my crazy Catie brain, however, has always been web design. Sure, I've taken beginner classes. But, it's a scary, daunting, hanging-over-my-head cloud that I can't seem to shake. Especially since I hear the internet is popular and stuff. But, nonetheless, it took some real life wisdom to ground me. 

Advice from a design friend relaxed my nerves and dried the sweat from my brow on this subject. You don't have to be a web developer to design websites. In fact, many graphic designers fall into this category. It doesn't hurt to know the basics, which any web development 101-esque class can teach you. Or, a website I stumbled upon, Silkshare. [You can enroll in these classes for around $20, learn some things and make some great connections.] This way, your basic knowledge will inform you of specific constraints and ways to work cohesively with web developers. 

So, my new personal project, even though it's totally career related and not all that personal, is to work on web design. A few books in the library of Catie won't hurt, but I'm ready to go. 

Not on web development, but my own development.

Party on, Wayne.


Today's inspiration brought to you by Andy Titus and Oxide Design Co., Omaha Nebraska.