Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tools of the trade

So, Internet world, I bit the bullet. I bought a new Macbook Pro! A lot of thought and planning went into this purchase -- mainly just because big purchases freak me out. I weighed the options and features of each available mac, and I decided to go with the upgraded 13" laptop. The screen is way too small to do my designing, but I am also investing in an external monitor. I can get a 20" for about $100. The way I see it, the 13" is a great size for traveling, and when I want to do the big things, having a screen that's even bigger than my old laptop screen (15") will be a treat.

Courtesy of
I'm just happy to be able to do things on my computer and not have it crash on me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Non-design life

I've noticed that even though my blog is supposed to be following "the life of a publication designer," I very rarely actually talk about my life. You know, how Savannah is, what I do outside work and how things are in general. This post should solve all those problems for now.

I'm loving Savannah. I'm going to love it even more after I move downtown, into the heart of it all. Right now, I feel like I am living in this suburbia bubble, and I want to be more mixed in with the beauty that is the Historic District. This is more than just a desire to move, too. I am actually doing it on June 30 or the weekend before (depending on if they let me move in a bit earlier). I found out after I signed the new lease that June 30 is a Thursday. While that works out for my normal days off, it means I won't get a lot of help to move all mah stuff.

The best part about where I'm moving, though, is that I will be 1/2 block from Forsyth Park. The biggest park in the Historic District, and a very pretty place to view the sunsets, I've heard. And just in case you're a visual person, here's a little snippet of Forsyth ...

I took this photo while I was here interviewing for the Savannah job!

The house I am moving into is an old funeral home, apparently. It was built in the late 1800s, and is now partitioned into eight apartments and owned by a local realty firm. I'm kind of excited to see if it's haunted!

Personal life
While I haven't met anyone of the opposite sex worth noting, I have become pretty close friends with a girl that lives in my current apartment complex. She is kind of in the same boat as me: moved here without knowing anyone, a 20-something college grad. We live completely different lifestyles (She works days, I work nights. She's a runner and works out all the time, and I'm ... not), but it's nice to have someone to just hang out with. I would have seriously considered rooming with her, but she has a dog. Maia would not be pleased with that.

Speaking of Maia, she is doing great. I have a feeling she's not going to like this new place as much because it's a basement apartment, but she'll deal. Now she can truely be a basement cat! She gets mad at me sometimes for not paying attention to her. I think she misses having other people around to bug. She follows me everywhere when I am home. Here she is with her new favorite toy.

Man, I feel like talking about my cat is like talking about my child. She is kind of my child, though.

Work life
Stuff has definitely calmed down at work. We are all getting used to this new content management system, and we are up to as full of a staff as we're going to get (one less person than when I started, but we also have one less section to design every night). I feel like I've hit a stride, and I am really glad I decided to stick it out in Savannah for the next year or so. This is not forever, though. At least that much I know about my future. Ideally, I'd like to go into working for a magazine after this. I feel like there's more job security in magazines than newspapers, but it's still a shaky business. I knew that going into it, though.

My plans
I don't have many plans for the future right now. I am just living, working and paying off my student loans and my car (and soon, my new laptop!). I do however, have a few trips planned. I know it sounds bad that I am in the process of paying off all these things and I'm also taking trips to places, but some of them I just can't pass up! (That and I can fly for practically nothing on American Airlines ...)

This weekend, I'm flying to Kansas City to visit my best friends from college. One of them lives in KC, and the other two are driving from Columbia, Mo., to hang out for a weekend. It actually works out really well because I'll get into KC at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, be able to spend practically all day there, spend all Sunday there, then leave on Monday without using any vacation days! I'll need those for later.

Here are my college BFFs and I two summers ago during our last band camp together.
We're all so tan!

In June, I will be visiting one of my friend's who will be studying in Ireland. Yes, Ireland. I'm planning to be there for about 5 days, and I am beyond excited! I haven't been out of the country in more then 2 years, and I am getting U.S. cabin fever.

I am so thankful for my mom's job perks to let me have the chance to do all this traveling. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't be able to visit anyone, and sadness would ensue. All my friends and family are so spread out now, and having this ability is the best thing I could ask for.

I guess that's all for the non-design life post. I'll try to do more of these instead of boring y'all with what I did at work last night. Peace!

Monday, May 16, 2011

20 good design rules

In (almost) the year I have been working in Savannah, I have seen a lot of people come and go. One of the first major departures was a fellow designer, who was really great at illustration. I only worked with him for a few months, but he taught me a lot in those months. Namely not to be afraid of Illustrator.

After he left and someone else was hired in his stead, I took over his desk, and I decided to keep something he had tacked on the wall. It's a handwritten note listing "20 good design rules," and I find it inspirational. So, without further ado ...
  1. Have a concept
  2. Communicate, don't decorate
  3. Speak with one visual voice
  4. Use two typeface families -- maybe three
  5. Use the one-two punch
  6. Pick colors on purpose
  7. If you can do it with less, do it
  8. Negative space is magical -- create it, don't just fill it up
  9. Treat the type as an image
  10. Type is only type when it's friendly
  11. Be universal -- it's not about you
  12. Squish and separate -- create rhythmic contrast
  13. Concentrate areas of light and dark in separate places
  14. Be decisive -- do it on purpose
  15. Measure with your eyes
  16. Create your own images
  17. Ignore fashion
  18. Move it. Static = dull
  19. Look to history, but don't copy
  20. Symmetry is the ultimate evil
At the very end of the note, in bolder letters, he advises me to "now try and break them." So that's what I suggest to everyone out there.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You can't miss: The making of a cover

You can't miss. Remember those, avid blog readers? (Or maybe just fellow Advanced Design girls who still follow my blog) Well, I got this article from one of my former classmates, too! It is all about the making of this week's New York Times Magazine cover.

Courtesy of

I like the article for a variety of reasons.

No. 1: It's cool for people not in the business to see how the process works. We don't always just make a decision in the beginning and stick with it all the way through to the end. You can see that in the article. The look and feel of the cover drastically changed from the beginning (and probably even the beginning you couldn't see) to the end.

No. 2: I like to see all of the tools at NYT's disposal. Hiring a famed walpaper artist to do something and not using his work in the end? I wish we had those resources. With many most publications, there are only a handful of designers and what they can do is what you're going to get. Especially when you throw money into the problem.

No. 3: New York Times Magazine is one of my favorite-designed magazines ever.