Monthly Archives: December 2007

2007 Recap

Oh 2007, where have you gone?! As cheesy as it sounds, I felt like 2007 was ‘my year,’ the year that things really came together and started making sense.

The Recap

The year started out with a bang when I did what I thought was a low-key show at a wine bar in Portland and within a week, I’d sold more work than ever before to an anonymous buyer! It gave me more confidence in what I was doing and made me want to work harder.The rest of January was pretty ordinary until I was asked by Fountains of Wayne to dream up some cover concepts for their new album. Less than two weeks later, I was designing the entire packaging including a 12-page booklet! Though stressful (only two weeks to do the entire project), the staff at Virgin Records and the band were some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. Once that was finished, I jumped into designing their tour shirts. I never expected by first real freelance job to be on such a big scale, but it’s true that things tend to come to you when you feel open and ready to receive them.  


The second that job was finished, I began preparing for Modern Baroque, an art series based around gold and glitz. Stylistically, it was a big turning point from my previously saturated red and black work. I wanted to put even more effort into it, but by the time I’d finished my freelance job, I was nearly two full months behind schedule. Nevertheless, Kaebel of Sequential Art Gallery pulled out all the stops, turning the space into a mini gold mylar wall covered version of The Factory (and even dressed as Mr. Warhol himself!) It was pure magic. The show was the same night as my graphic design finals- I had to sneak out of class early, slither into some gold leggings and rush on over!  


By the time Summer rolled around, I did my best to ignore freelancing and attempted to recover from the nonstop pull by traveling as much as possible. I was standing around at work one July day when my phone rang. It was my brother, telling me that Courtney Love’s tour manager had two tickets on hold for us if we wanted to go to her top secret concert the next night. Only problem was, we were in Portland and the show was in L.A. I spent the rest of the afternoon searching for airfares and by the end of the afternoon, we’d booked two astoundingly overpriced tickets. By 5 a.m. the next morning, we were on a plane to the desert! 


L.A. was like nothing I’d ever experienced- dry air, enhanced bodyparts, and fancy cars as far as I could see with severe poverty surrounding the outskirts. I must’ve cruised the Walk of Fame four times, just trying to take everything in. It felt so surreal as I walked along the stars to meet Star!

On the way to the Courtney Love concert that night, Jeffree Star was super gracious and picked us up to go out to frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. Gangsta rap blasting, we must’ve nearly gotten into five wrecks. People were double parking, blocking entrances, you name it. While Jeffree was ordering his frozen yogurt masterpiece, I turned around and Suge Knight was sitting directly behind us. We asked for a photo and he was shockingly nice! So was the show…except for a few thrown drinks and the crush of paparazzi. 


Going back to work the day after L.A. did a number on my head- cool, overcast weather and the reminder of what everyday life was really like began to sink back in! Luckily, I was able to make another escape from Portland a week later on a day trip to the Oregon Coast. (I might be biased, but it’s one of the most serene, beautiful places there is. There’s usually a breeze, slightly overcast skies, and the most quaint little shops lining the main streets. It’s my secret getaway when I only have a day to spare.) 


In July, feeling slightly restless again, Lee and I jetted off to Honolulu. I expected a tropical nightmare (I don’t do well in hot weather!) but instead, it was a bustling metropolis with a cool ocean breeze! I wasn’t expecting such a massive city in the middle of the Pacific. There’s way more to do than just shop and lay by the pool. The view from our friend’s balcony was amazing!  


September was huge: My blog went live and I spent two weeks in New York City for my birthday (it’s becoming an annual tradition!) Auntie Nubs joined me for the first week and we trekked across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited Strawberry Fields, and hit Magnolia Bakery for a birthday cupcake. 


Photo shoots, visiting Chelsea art galleries, red velvet cupcakes and coke in glass bottles at Saks, dropping a Benjamin Franklin on pointy rainboots, and staying out till the next morning was part of the fun and made me feel alive! 


The week after I got back, I started my internship at Nemo Design. Getting hands-on real world design experience has been invaluable and it really really can’t be matched learning from home or in a classroom (not to mention, Nemo really knows how to throw a party!) I still feel honored each day I show up to just be there, absorbing what’s happening simultaneously in the four departments, watching an ad campaign come together piece by piece.

October flew by, but at least the last day of the month was memorable: I wore a faux nose and went at Steve Perry for Halloween. Dressing as a guy was odd- no purse or heels allowed! It was all fine and dandy until a David Lee Roth look-alike kicked me in the nose and knocked it loose! What I learned from the experience was…Don’t Stop Believin’! 


The year was tied up nicely in a big red bow when I finally got out of a dreadful living situation and moved into a place of my own with Lee Z. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to decorate things the way I want, to live closer into the city and to feel (sort of) like a grown-up!

The beginning of blogging

As you know, 2007 was the year I decided to start this blog. I’d been active on Live Journal for six years prior and knew that I wanted to do something on a bigger level, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. Traditionally, I felt like graphic designers as a whole seemed to be the types that were more about letting their work speak for them; they never struck me as a particularly social bunch! I didn’t want a blog to overshadow my design work, but at the same time, I felt like I had something to say and share with the world. Looking back, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve realized that sometimes you have to take chances and go with your gut, even if you’re shown otherwise.

Some favorite posts of 2007

* The 5 Secrets to Success
* How To Fight Artist’s Block: 7 Methods
* Ideas: The Value of Giving (Almost) Everything Away
* Helvetica: A Love and Hate Relationship
* My New Desk Plus Workspace Tips
* Logo Design Basics
* New York: The East Village
* Successfully Selling Yourself: How To Create A Presskit
* Oahu: The Photographic Tour


For the last few days, I’ve been working on a list of concrete goals to focus on for 2008 and that can be hard! If anything, I’m still not quite sure what I want out of life, but at least now I feel like I’m on a path I like. I’m not just going to write them in my notebook this year though; as per Gala’s suggestion, I’m writing all of my goals down on a bigger sheet of paper and pinning them up somewhere I can see them every day and hopefully the reminder will help them to manifest faster. I got really lucky in 2007; for 2008, I’m not leaving anything to chance!

Plans are inert and useless, without sufficient power to translate them into action.

-Napoleon Hill

Giving Thanks

Thank you for your support, your recommendations, your comments, and most of all, thanks for reading! I hope your 2008 is bright and brilliant. And now, a list of thank you’s are in order for: Auntie Nubs, Lee Z, my brother, Star (for building this site!!), Mom & Dad, Kaebel, Claudia Drake, Bianca, Gala Darling, and Melisser!


Successfully Selling Yourself: How To Build A Press Kit

Are you an artist, designer, a musician, or a small business owner? Do you have a product or cause you’d like to promote? A press kit is an invaluable resource if you want to take your vision to the next level and set yourself apart from the rest of the competition.

Depending on your chosen industry, a press kit may also be referred to as a media kit, artist pack or press pack. There are slight differences between these, but overall, it’s simply a marketing tool composed of an informational packet about your business / product / what you do that is designed to be forwarded to an organization or media outlet (and for my purposes, stores and art galleries).

The goal of a press kit is to effectively answer the Five Ws:

1. Who are you? 2. What are you promoting? 3. When do you need the promotion (and a response)? 4. Where are you looking for promotion? 5. Why are you seeking it?

A press kit is like a fancy extended résumé that can include a folder, letter of interest, copies of articles and press releases, a CV / résumé, business card(s), a CD (of images, music, promotional materials, etc.), a standard-sized color print-out of what you’re promoting (optional), an artist card / postcard (extra credit!), a freebie / leave behind item, and anything else you deem necessary to grab the addressee’s attention. A press kit will need to be tailored to fit your product’s needs so this is by no means a complete list of what to include.

To give you an idea of what a press kit has the potential to look like, I’ve included an example below of what I use to promote my art to galleries:

An overview (the folder, press releases and freebie item are not shown). Also, my press kit doesn’t use the #10 envelope you see above for mailing folders, but an oversized manilla version instead.

1. A Folder

A standard-sized folder with a business card slot works well for a press kit. It’s compact, easy to navigate, and keeps your presentation nice and organized, especially if you’re mailing it. Some people put together fancy books, but since my art information evolves so rapidly, I’ve found that a folder works best so current printouts can be changed out with little hassle. Additionally, a folder can easily be tailored to fit each addressee’s needs. There are some basic choices here. I’ve ordered the linen finish folders from them in the past and they are of a very nice quality and affordable. If you have some extra money in your budget, sometimes a personalized folder embossed or printed with your logo is a viable option. Many online businessess will do this; here’s an example.

2. Letter of Interest

Who are you and what do you do? Why should the reader be interested in what you’re doing and how does it relate to them? Provide some brief background information. Keep a basic form letter (or two) on hand and always tailor it to the addressee in some way. Show them that you’ve done your research (if you know nothing about them, Google is your new best friend). Make the letter short, sweet, and personalized. Refer to the addressee by name. Tell them why you’d be honored to get reviewed / interviewed / have them carry your widget / art / clothing line. Once the letter is printed, personally sign it. Small details like this show the reader that you care.

3. Press Releases / Articles of Interest

If you’ve been written up in the past, include copies of those articles. Also, past press releases are always helpful because they give the recipient an idea of how to compose future information about you. It also saves them valuable time from researching basic details.

4. CV / Résumé

What are your credentials in your chosen field? Have you participated in past events / shows / do you have a client list? Where did you go to school? Make sure that your name, website, and other contact information is clear and legible at the top of the page. Contacting you should be painless! If possible, try to keep a résumé whittled down to one page. Since my CV / résumé example is aimed towards galleries, I include all the information you see here.

If you need some tips, Gala Darling recently wrote How to Make Your CV Impressive on how to add some personality and Life Clever shows you how to give your résumé a facelift. Take all tips lightly, learn what you can, and always customize your résumé to be an extension of yourself. If you have strong design skills, do the world a favor and don’t compose it in MS Word! Please skip the pre-made templates and use InDesign or Illustrator instead.

5. Business Card(s)

This is your most important asset because it immediately defines who you are to the viewer. Your logo, the choice of typography, the weight, and the finish of the card all give the recipient immediate clues. If this isn’t your specialty, hire a designer to create an identity- it will be money well spent. Spend a good amount of time developing your cards. Who’s your target market? Is your logo legible? Is your contact information in a simple, easy to read typeface that’s at least 6 points in size? Do you want a glossy or matte finish? Regular or rounded corners? A single or double-sided format? And finally, a vertical or horizontal format?

I keep a stack of various business cards people have given me over the years for inspiration. When you’re out shopping or eating, grab a card from that business on the way out to add to your files.It’s okay to develop multiple styles of business cards for different situations. At the moment, I have three versions:

A. a two-sided version for handing out to prospective clients:

B. A one-sided version that’s bolder in design for leaving behind at coffee shops, bars, and other places where shelf appeal is needed, and 3. another that is super clean and horizontal (with no distracting details) for my press kit folder slot:

The source I go through for all of my cards is Overnight Prints. Besides a quick turnaround time, the prices are affordable, some of the add-ons are free, and rounded corners are only $2.00 per 100 cards. There are pre-made templates in many popular formats on the site for you to make sure the bleeds are correct, too.

When you have the choice between matte and glossy finishes, matte is much more elegant and classic. Rounded corners are a nice designer touch with little extra cost. Unless they’re part of a logo, skip decorative typefaces including Papyrus, Comic Sans and Zapfino! Double-sided cards are great because you can include a defining image on one side and save all of your contact information for the other. And finally, never scrimp on cardstock / the weight of the paper.

6. CD

A CD is only necessary if a selection of images / music / extra documents are needed. I usually include a CD of high resolution art images I’m promoting for a show. This makes potential online promotion for the gallery much easier. Additionally, providing digital documents means that the promoter already has materials to forward to their (email) mass mailing list and other online sources. If you choose to include a CD, design a label for the top. Always include your name, website and a title of the contents. There’s nothing worse than a CD without a label getting chucked into a pile, never to surface again!

7. Color Print-Out / Product Overview (optional)

Depending on how tech-savvy your press kit recipient is, sometimes a color print-out of what you’re promoting can do wonders because it provides immediate gratification! For instance, I place images of my most current art pieces on a single sheet with a logo and contact information so the viewer gets a quick feel for what it looks like. Because color printing can be spendy, don’t fret too much if you can’t include one, but do include the CD instead.

8. Artist’s Card / Postcard (extra credit!)

This is by no means necessary, but if you’re an artist, havng oversized cards printed up will do wonders. These are similar to model cards at agencies- they are meant to be tacked up by people who love your work and often will get you noticed at galleries. These are much bigger than postcards and are not designed for mailing purposes. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to artist’s cards, postcards are great- besides, they’re perfect for following up with prospective clients and an efficient alternative to the old fashioned thank you note.

Matte two-sided artist card promoting the Black & White Graphic Insight series with rounded corners

9. A Freebie / Leave-Behind

Everybody loves a gift, no matter how small. Show the press kit recipient that you value the time they took away from their busy schedules to view your work. A pin or a sticker are perfectly fine. If your ‘gift’ is functional and useful, even better!

3 inch die-cut Mouth with Pill logo sticker included in press kit

There’s no right or wrong way to make a press kit. It’s all about your vision; give it some personality! Your press kit is a visual representation of who you are and it doesn’t need to be overly fancy or take hours to assemble. Some words of encouragement: I’ve presented press kits for freelance work and and also mailed a few for art purposes. Almost always, I’ve gotten the response I was seeking. Think along the lines of practicality, simplicity, and professionalism. Your message should be the most important part of your kit; don’t lose it in flashy wrappings and graphics. Yes, you’re in charge of your own destiny, but sometimes it just needs a little push!

Long Live Lederhosen!



Growing up in the 80s, I was surrounded by traditional German culture. My parents visited Germany and Austria in 1983 and returned with a pair or tiny lederhosen complete with red leather straps and heart pockets as a souvenir. Every year, we went to the local Oktoberfest at Mt. Angel and took vacations in Leavenworth, Washington which is modeled after a traditional Bavarian village. During the Summer, my grandparents would drive my brother and I around in their Buick while they listened to cassettes of German polka. My mom would only drive European cars. We had a cuckoo clock in our living room. It was normal to consume elk sausage.

Though there’s mostly German heritage on both sides of my family, we were never very patriotic. I think my parents were more interested in the aesthetics of traditional European culture than anything else! It definitely rubbed off on me; I took four years of German language classes in high school and college (and will only drive Volkswagens!)  


Recently, I became obsessed with finding my own lederhosen to wear on a normal basis. The thing about lederhosen (shorts made of leather, often worn by German men) is that they aren’t traditionally designed for women. Only men and boys wear them, while women wear dirndls. This made my search particularly hard; I haunted Ebay for weeks until I found a pair of just the shorts (no fancy straps) that a U.S. woman had purchased back in 1953 at the age of 12 while traveling through Germany!

I love lederhosen because they are very durable, surprisingly comfortable and very warm for shorts. The button flap in the front is a bit awkward (yes, since they’re designed for the opposite sex, there’s a slight bulge when I wear them!), but it’s worth it. This Summer, I’ll wear them with knee-high socks and tall boots with a light cardigan. A word for the wise: It’s important to play down the rest of your look so that the lederhosen don’t take on a too ‘costume-y’ vibe.  


What’s your take on lederhosen?
Do you love them or find them to be overly ridiculous for everyday wear outside of the Motherland?