Thursday, September 10, 2009

Forum Nuggets—Re-evaluating your Career

As a print designer I know too well the dire employment situation and the unrealistic expectations that potential employers often expect from candidates. Based on some of their posted expectations for filling a creative position, it seems as though our niche is destined to absorb some of the interactive or other market—those print designosaurs who don't seem Darwin-destined to be snuffed out by evolution. Or, maybe not.

It's my observation that those who seem to succeed dedicate themselves to a particular creative niche. For ex., I may decide to dedicate myself to becoming a top-notch movie poster designer, or illustrator, or logo designer, etc. In that way, instead of marking myself as a sort of jack of all trades to a general audience, I increase the probability of being recognized as a specialist in that field, particularly to those who run in those select circles. People within that industry will find it easier to recognize my unique skillset.

I recently had to once again re-ignite my business and am currently in the process of re-evaluating my own target market. At this stage of my game, I really don't desire to cast a "general" wide net by trying to be good at a little bit of everything, since I have rarely seen that it's been proven to land many "fish." Among the things I'm presently exploring are my creative strengths and how I can most productively apply them towards the success of my career, even in this drab economy.

I can drone on, but perhaps my ultimate advice is this. For those of you at a career crossroads, for those who have been forced by the economy or current circumstance to re-consider or reflect on their employment situation or goals, examine what your strengths are, and find a way to apply it to your market, either as an in-houser or an independent contractor. If your gridwork is sheer genius, consider applying for a magazine's design department. If you can retouch the pants off of images (quite literally), then consider an employer or client that revolves around fashion, photography or pre-press circles. If illustration's your thing, or if you can design a book cover like nobody's business, look towards book publications or hire an illustration agent. Have a flair for invitation design? Look towards non-profits or the wedding market.

I certainly am not aiming to bunk the pros of trying to expand your skill set, especially if you are so inclined. However there are other approaches for staying in the game, by looking inward and focusing your objectives instead.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Upcoming Design Conferences

Whether you fly solo as an entrepreneur, are an in-houser with a generous employer who's willing to send you, or if you're just looking to keep your finger on the creative pulse, here are some upcoming events (in no particular order) to budget into to your 2009 calendar.

Front-End Design Conference: July 31, 2009, St. Petersburg, FL. Geared for web designers and coders.

HOW Freelancer Conference: August 26-28, 2009, Omni San Diego Hotel. Early Bird discount permanently extended! Check out the Conference Info section for new registration options, as well as what attendees from last year's conference had to say.

The IDEA Conference, presented by Advertising Age: November 12, 2009, New York City. Aimed towards all who are deeply immersed in the business of creativity. Click on the "more..." link in The IDEA Conference Is... section for Attendee Highlights.

HOW Designers' Bootcamp: Various locations and dates (to follow). Seminar-styled two day workshops designed to help fine-tune your design career! For freelancers, in-housers, project managers, business developers. Check out their Early Bird registration specials.

Running a Successful Design Business: September 17 and 18, 2009, New York Marriott Marquis, NYC. Presented by Daniel Schutzsmith (downloadable brochure available)

Moving from Print to Web, September 29 and 30, 2009, Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Atlanta GA. Presenter: Patrick McNeil

Marketing and Self-Promotion: October 20 and 21, 2009, Chambers Hotel, Minneapolis, MN. Presenter: Jeff Fisher

Building a Profitable Creative Business: October 26 and 27, 2009, Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA. Presenter: Emily Cohen

MAKE | THINK, AIGA Design Conference: October 8-11, 2009, Memphis, TN. Check out their links for possible Hotel and Travel accommodations and click on the vid link of their highlights from the 2007 Conference. There is also a discount for AIGA members, so one is encouraged to join.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Chunk of My Youth Died Today

Okay so obviously I'm late in the game. Obviously I shouldn't have remained glued to the radio all day, or the T.V., or tried to break the news as it happened to P. Diddy who was on a shoot today from my minivan. I obviously shouldn't feel bad that Farrah suddenly became a fast and hard footnote at about 12:30pm Pacific today. But damn it all, I do. I grew up watching J5 in it's various incarnations (loved their animated show as a kid) or playing with my Jill doll's hair and dressing her in hip 70's outfits. I coveted my sister's We Are the World record, and marveled at the strength of a battered woman pushed too far in the Burning Bed, still using it as a joke warning to men who recognize the reference to this day.

I admit, I am no stranger to partaking in some rousing ribbing when it comes to the darker side of their legacies. Truth told, when all is said and done, I don't really care about the scandals and sensationalism, both of which shared a-plenty. For me and for now, the good deeds outweigh the bad by a loooong country mile. I imagine I'm not alone. A big part of my childhood and adolescence died today in these two. Two who died way too young and for one in particular, so suddenly. Still I pray they both found a peace that they perhaps were not destined to enjoy in life by their very stature. And I pray that there really is an afterlife, so that they can reunite with their loved ones once again.

Rest in peace Angel...King of Pop. May your loved ones find some measure of solace amid the frenzied love of fans instead of the slings of naysayers in the coming days and weeks.