Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Week In Pictures: 9.28.12

The Week in Pictures

Happy Friday from Palm Springs!

I woke up at the crack of dawn yesterday and flew to San Francisco to meet my dear friend Star for a little adventure. After downing some airport food, we boarded a tiny plane to Palm Springs and wow, is it hot. I’m loving all the palm trees and midcentury modern architecture though!

Why, exactly am I camped out at The Ace, deep in the desert? Early in the summer I received an email from Promise and Alyssa, inviting me to a design retreat. At first, I felt like I was going to jump out of my own skin, partially in excitement and partially in fear. There were a lot of female graphic designers I really admired on that list. I had to let the email sink in for a few days before even responding. Meeting around 25 new faces from across the country all at once felt a bit intimidating but also potentially life-changing. Pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones is what makes us grow as people and as creatives. I was ready to embrace that.

The Week in Pictures

Star and I were a little late to our first group dinner last night because we were having a dance party to Rick James in the hotel room (truth!) We had to squeeze in at the very end of the table and ended up seated next to the lovely Kate, Bri, Emma, Bre and Erin Jane. And though I was meeting everyone face-to-face for the first time, all the girls were so welcoming, funny (oh, the stories that were told!) and I have a feeling that at the end of this weekend I’ll have made some new friends for life.

Lessons learned: Don’t second guess yourself. Seize every opportunity that you can. And, showing up is half the battle. I’ve been once again reminded that life can be a beautiful adventure if you’re willing to open up and embrace new experiences.

More from Palm Springs next week. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, everyone!

Link Love: 9.27.12

link love

link love

Kate Moss by Marc Hispard

• I can’t get enough of the fresh fashion images and inspiring color combos over at the Color Collective.

• Kat’s post about collaborations that work and building a strong team is really solid advice, no matter what industry you’re in.

• How to do you know when it’s time to close up your business and move on?

• What are the ways that you cope when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

• In my opinion, Alexander Wang’s niece Aila has the best child-sized wardrobe, hands-down.

• Myspace has a fresh new look once again. But at this point, is it too little too late?

• I applaud the argument that introverts can also make great leaders.

• Sometimes, stepping away from the internet is the best thing you can do to clear your mind and get back in touch with your life.

• Cary Tennis has some rock solid advice: never, ever walk out on a job without a backup plan.

• Apple’s catalog from 1983 is all sorts of amazing.

Advice #50: 11 Tips For Acing Your Next Design Interview


Hello! I graduated about 2 years ago from college and landed a couple of jobs where I’ve been able to pick up new skills. Now, the printing company I currently work at has been doing layoffs and this has set up a red flag for me. I am applying to new jobs and have gone on interviews, but I can’t seem to close the deal! What am I doing wrong? Do you have any tips?



You’ve come to the right person! I’ve been on a lot of interviews during my career. Some went exceptionally well and I was handed the job on the spot. Others were so embarrassing and weird that I walked out wondering what had just happened — was I secretly being interrogated for a crime I’d unknowingly committed?

Today, I’m going to share some rapid-fire advice for what has worked for me and how to make the most of your limited time during an interview.

Here are 11 tips to help you ace your next interview:

1. Always do your research.

You can never be too prepared. Search the prospective company’s site for as much information about their clients and corporate culture as possible. Make sure you have their phone number and address tucked away in the event of a total catastrophe. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going. Know your interviewer’s name so you can ask for them at the front desk (and write this down as well).

2. Revise, revise, revise.

Make sure you have a pristine copy of your resumé on hand. Even if it’s a fairly generic design resumé, tailor your overall objective statement to align with a potential opening they may have or an ideal skill they seem to admire. Going above and beyond shows that you care and that you have an attention to detail.

3. Be on time.

This is common sense but it bears repeating. Design studios are busy. They don’t have time to wait around for you. On the other hand, they’ll often keep you waiting! This is your chance to take Instagram photos of their lobby, which is most likely filled with amazing modern furniture and rad design books.

4. Dress the part. But, don’t overdo it.

Stay true to your personal style but also keep the look accessible. Lean towards what’s both polished and pulled together but also in line with the overall industry. If you’re perusing the company’s blog and everyone seems to wear t-shirts and flip-flops, common sense would tell you to avoid a suit and tie at all costs. After all, you want to make them feel like you already belong there!

5. Be attentive.

At the end of almost every interview, you’ll get asked if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to first provide an overall complement of the company and its work and secondly, to hopefully have at least one question. It shows that you are inquisitive, interested in their work and engaged.

6. Be enthusiastic but not creepy.

Smile and demonstrate that you’re a real person. I can tell you from experience that even if your portfolio is the absolute best and you can run the full Adobe Creative Suite in your sleep, if you come across as a cold-hearted, soulless serial killer that doesn’t make eye contact and can’t carry on a conversation to save your life, you’ll probably get passed up for someone who is a little less experienced but a complete joy to be around.

I worked at many places where I was far from the most experienced but I did everything I could to make up for this in other areas. I’ve grabbed coffee for my art directors, gone out of my way to stay late to wrap up presentations, worked as well as I possibly could in team atmospheres, came in on the on the occasional weekend and so on. Make yourself absolutely indispensable, act like you want to be there and most likely, they’ll keep you around.

7. Have your portfolio ready to go.

Even though the world around us is increasingly going digital, a lot of top agency folks still appreciate old school touches. I know a lot of designers that bring in their portfolios now on laptops and iPads but I still go out of my way to carry a print portfolio.

Have a strategy. Mine has gone like this: I save my absolute best 10 to 15 projects for my print portfolio. It’s hardcover with custom foil embossed logo — yes, it cost me a fortune to have made but it shows my level of commitment. As a backup, I have my portfolio also saved onto my iPad with a few additional projects just in case the interviewer shows an interest in viewing more work. This is also your opportunity to share some recent works in progress that you may have not had a chance to add into your book yet.

8. Always ask your interviewer for a business card on the way out.

After all, they may not be the person who contacted you originally and if you don’t have a way to thank them, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

9. Say thank you and have your business card ready.

Always thank the interviewer for their time on your way out. Make sure they have your resumé and business card in hand. Every day, I hear that people don’t care about business cards any more but I completely disagree with that. Also, they’re a prime opportunity to show off your design skills. These are my cards and I carry them absolutely everywhere.

10. Always follow up with a brief but enthusiastic email.

Studios don’t have the spare time to mull through rambling messages. Get to the point, address your interviewer by their first name and thank them for their time. Yes, you can send snail mail but I suggest firing off an email because they’ll receive it faster and it won’t get lost in a pile on someone’s desk!

11. Be persistent but not annoying.

There is a fine line here, as we all know. If you don’t hear from your interviewer right away, follow up within a week. When I was trying to line up my first-ever internship while still in college, I spent about 2 months emailing and calling two contacts at a design studio. I had a recommendation email from my instructor but it still took awhile to get through. Finally, the week before I went back to school, I landed my first interview and got the internship. Instead of lasting a quarter, it lasted a full year and resulted in my first full-time job in the industry. If I had given up after that first email, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Once again, studios are busy. Sometimes, it just takes a few times to get through.

In closing: Be yourself. Be prepared. Do your research. We’re all human — interviews are rarely easy. Just do your best, follow up and keep your head up. And, go to every interview you possibly can. With practice, it does get easier.

Readers: Do you have any more tips on how to seal the deal?

Computer Arts Collection: Branding

Computer Arts Branding

“Branding is about driving a big idea. It’s not about telling untruths — it’s about honing in on a brand’s core truth, and amplifying it.” — Steven Owen, Creative Director of Heavenly

By now, you’ve probably gathered that I’m a huge fan of the Computer Arts Collection, a series of six in-depth guides jam-packed with information from key areas of the global design industry. Topics covered include graphic design, typography, illustration, branding, photography and advertising.

Any of us can hop online and spend hours online doing endless image searches (and I often do), but what makes this branding issue so valuable is that it digs deeper, way beyond the surface level of aesthetically stunning graphics and delves into the design process and strategy. Since my main focus is as a brand designer, this issue was especially insightful — I particularly enjoyed the breakdown of micro branding trends (Branding Influences) because although I’ve come across a lot of the images before, seeing them distilled into specific movements gave me a focused sense of what’s striking a chord in the industry.

Computer Arts Branding

And at a larger scale, I found the macro trend of simplicity in branding to be fascinating. Over the last few years, there’s been a real sense of cutting out the excess visual noise and distilling a brand down to its core elements in an effort to relieve consumers of the completely overwhelming number of choices and social influences they’re constantly inundated with. Think about it: when we’re feeling overwhelmed, we often reach for what seems the most simple, honest and familiar.

Perhaps the most important area this issue touched upon is the current state of the branding industry. With brands now needing to work seamlessly across multiple platforms, it’s imperative for designers to be more informed than ever about how these pieces work together to create a solid, unified experience.

Finally, the real standout of this series is that each issue features a studio project. A leading design studio reveals their full creative process behind a project and you get to follow along, from the brief to the outcome, including video diaries. I thought this would be especially helpful for design students who are wondering what it’s like to work in a studio environment. Having worked in many, I know how different each studio can be depending on the size of the team, the size of the client and the overall corporate culture so getting glimpses of how different studios handle a project can really help all of us hone our process further.

To get your hands on the Computer Arts Collection, go here.

The Hair Dryer Diaries

The Hair Dryer Diaries

I’m one of those girls who admires fancy beauty tools from afar but I always question if they’re really any better than the basics. Will they really improve my life in some way? I tend to mix up my beauty products fairly equally between the high-end and low-end but when it comes to hair, to me it’s just hair. My hair has always been long and straight and it grows really fast. I don’t do a whole lot to it (but let’s be real — if I had the time and funds, I’d get it styled all fancy once a week). For the last five years, I’ve used a basic Conair hair dryer that probably cost a max of $25.00. It does the job but admittedly, it’s not great.

That’s where the Super Solano 232X hair dryer comes in. When Beauty Supply Online offered to let me try one out, I thought sure, why not — it’s a splurge I probably wouldn’t normally invest in on my own and I was really curious. Was it actually superior to my standard-issue dryer?

The Hair Dryer Diaries

After trying it out for a few weeks, the consensus is a resounding yes. Let’s start with the superficial — this is a hair dryer I’m talking about, after all! The Solano is way better looking than a standard-issue dryer. It’s sleek, all black, imprinted with a gold coat of arms logo and not too bulky. But beyond that, it’s way quiet, which I love. The Italians sure know what’s up when building anything with a motor, that’s for sure. The first time I turned it on, I was a bit blown away (haha). Imagine starting up a Ford. And then a Ferrari. One sounds like a basic car, the other one purrs.

A bit embarrassingly, my Conair can overheat big time. I often feel the back of my neck burning and if I get it too close to my hair, this weird clearish smoke comes out in plumes. Kind of scary! The Solano has more precise, dialed settings (it’s not just ice cold air or third degree burn hot) and even on the highest setting, I don’t get that dreaded scorched hair smell. Yet, my hair dried about five minutes faster. The time savings was by far the biggest selling point for me. Finally, I should mention that the cord is super heavy duty which has led to a lot less tangles. The OCD Virgo in me loves that big time.

The Hair Dryer Diaries

In closing: This hair dryer is the equivalent of a luxurious Italian sports car. It probably won’t change your life but it will definitely make your hair drying experience much more enjoyable. I like using a hair dryer that leaves me feeling like I’m in a fancy salon. The sad reality is that I step foot in a salon perhaps every six months so it’s nice to have a pro quality dryer. While your current hair dryer might work perfectly fine, if you can step it up down the road, consider treating yourself.

Readers, I have a question for you: Do you have any extravagant, pricey beauty product or tool that you absolutely swear by? I’ve always had the mindset of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but in my older, wiser age, I’m starting to see that there often is a difference.

* Special thanks to Beauty Stop Online for providing me with the Solano Dryer for review.