Ever since my first mention of the subject, I just keep discovering more and more hand drawn type splashed across magazine covers and I can’t seem to get enough of it!
All of The Typofiles can be viewed here.
It’s been so ridiculously cold and windy that I haven’t felt like doing very many outfit photos as of late. This is what I wore on Saturday — I’m holding my hat down in a few of the photos, trying to keep the wind from blowing my hair across my face! Under the Rick Owens jacket, I am wearing a wool dress and a wool cardigan…and thick wool socks under my boots. Layers are a must!
Last night we went to the annual holiday party at Fiction. No holiday party is ever complete without a drunken Santa and in true form, Fiction thought out every last detail. They even had real snow hauled in from Mt. Hood! Near the end of the night, I hopped on Santa’s lap for a snapshot but when his hands began to roam, I attempted to escape, only to have his beard get caught in my sequins. As I became panicked and pulled away, he said “This isn’t the worst place my beard’s been.” Later, I heard stories of people hopping into his bag of presents, pretending to lick huge gold bells that were positioned in his lap and rumor has it that he even autographed one woman’s breast. Bad Santa!
Joey and Jason compare tattoos (I designed Jason’s numbers) as I catch up with my friend Amanda.
The staff really went all out with the window displays this year. They concepted, designed and built each one themselves. I’m not great at building much of anything so I sat in front of the TV one night where the faux fire (a.k.a. Yule Log) was burning and wrapped empty boxes in brightly colored paper for under the tree.
At one point, I caught Santa downing a very strong cocktail. Surprise, surprise!
The night before Fiction, we were at the Overland Agency which hosted an art opening featuring Joey’s paintings. They are the nicest, most sincere group of folks and immediately made us feel welcome. I made a new BFF on the spot and we spent the night chatting about art school and Paris.
Last weekend, I arrived home to be met by a mysterious package addressed to none other than ‘Baby Niblet Corn.’ The corn was wearing futuristic wedges, a hair bow and red lipstick. There could only be one culprit: Auntie Nubs. Is defamation the sincerest form of flattery? Perhaps, methinks.
The very current state of my desk: empty coffee, empty bowl that once contained a large serving of potato chips and a to-do list that never seems to shrink. And with that, I’m off to the trenches! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
• Gala and I are planning a trip to Paris at the end of February and in true Virgo form, she’s already mapping everything out, including daily outfits!
• Building your design business: promotion.
• Kris Atomic’s post of Iceland imagery is truly awe inspiring and magical!
• 10 realizations that will crush your little heart in your first year of blogging.
• My good friend Bianca Alexis was just featured in Time Out New York. Congrats and thanks for the shout-out!
• All Kim Jong-il seems to do is look at things. Haha.
• An interesting glance into why models do commercial work.
• If you’re a fashion design student and a lover of journals, Fashionary is for you.
• A very cool concept merging t-shirts and type that I completely endorse by Masashi Kawamura. (thanks, ryan!)
• What has happened to having downtime? “Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the internet, people, and other forms of distraction.”
Hello, I am a graphic designer and long time reader of your blog. I’m writing to ask for some advice on how to start a good freelance career and to hear your experience as a freelancer for design agencies. How long did it take to you to become a valuable freelancer? Do you send resumès to agencies, or do the agencies call you directly? Are recommendations important in finding a freelance job?
First of all, design is an immensely competitive field — for every one designer hoping to make it at an agency level, there are probably 100 more candidates waiting in line. Over the last year, I’ve started doing portfolio reviews at colleges and the talent coming out of schools is astounding! Students are more well-versed in what’s required to work in the design field now more than ever. Talent isn’t the only component of building a successful freelance career, though. Work ethic, personality, the strength of your portfolio and industry connections all play a part.
As a freelancer, there are a number of ways you can seek new work. The tried-and-true method of sending resumés and portfolios off to agencies and setting up interviews is perfectly okay. Placement agencies are another great option. And finally, it’s always a good idea to build a client base on your own outside of agency work because this could supplement your income if that area slows down. They say that you should never put all of your eggs in one basket and I agree 100%. As a freelancer, I’ve diversified my revenue sources as much as possible and they are now split between a steady freelance agency gig, a roster of my own clients and ad revenues.
It’s never too early to get started with your freelance career. The day school ends, work doesn’t just magically appear — I know that this seems like common sense but I cannot tell you how many students are ill prepared for the harsh reality of being out on their own! By ‘building your career,’ start networking (with fellow students, teachers and local agencies), perfecting your portfolio, building an online presence (these days, a blog and online portfolio are a must) and reaching out for internships as soon as possible.
While I was in school full-time for design, I also worked full-time. I don’t think I had a real day off for a year. But, I still made time to start thinking about my portfolio and picked up the occasional freelance design job so that it wasn’t all school work. Once I finished my first year of school, I began working on getting an internship. Luckily, I got my first choice and spent my second year interning at an agency. A combination of things helped me get in the door and jump-started my career:
1. My portfolio was diverse and included projects that I’d done outside of school. This showed that I was a self-starter and able to handle real world deadlines.
2. My design teacher provided me with a solid recommendation. Having a teacher vouch for you is invaluable!
3. I showed a willingness to do whatever was asked of me. Initial tasks included spray painting shoes in the parking lot, filing invoices and designing CD labels. These small assignments built up a level of trust and led to much bigger projects.
4. Even though I was in school, I had a blog that I updated five days a week and the agency I interviewed at was very savvy with social media.
Though your question wasn’t about interning, finding internships while still in school can help you build a relationship with agencies (that may need freelance help later on) and add solid work to your portfolio.
Attempt to build a reputation working full-time with at least one agency before branching out on your own. Learning how to work with varied teams of people, responding to feedback (both positive and negative), learning how to build presentations, picking up new creative tips from fellow designers, mastering the art of multitasking and making friends in the industry will all help you once you decide to take your career into your own hands. Also, I really do feel that being surrounded by creatives who are more advanced than you early on helps to push your boundaries and essentially ‘get better faster.’ Working at an agency when you’re starting out can also help in the portfolio department and can be a stepping stone to bigger things.
Once I’d built a reputation at one ad agency, I was able to successfully interview at placement agencies (in Portland, I highly recommend Aquent and in New York, I work with 24 Seven) where agents were able to pitch my work for other positions.
As a new freelancer, having an agent to assist with lining up interviews while vouching for the quality your work is hugely beneficial. They have the connections directly with top agencies — and they are the first people that get called when help is needed. Recommendations are very important — agencies don’t want to waste their money. They want to have someone who’s reliable the minute they show up. If you make a great impression and have solid work, agents want to place you. After all, they get a commission and the more you work, the more they earn.
What’s that old advice? That the first year of running your own business is the hardest? I’d have to wholeheartedly agree. Since you’re just starting out, the fear of the unknown can get the best of you. And, it’s really hard to know how to budget when you have no idea how much you’ll earn. Since I wasn’t sure what to expect, I felt like I couldn’t stop working…because what if I did and it all came to an end? During that first year, I found most of my jobs on my own. They came in through recommendations from previous clients, interviews and a few lucky breaks. I constantly refined my portfolio, fired off emails, went out to events and lunches with people in the industry and most importantly, never gave up. Before I knew it, I’d freelanced at five agencies in that year and doubled the projects in my portfolio.
Even though the first year was a struggle at times, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If I’d spent that year sitting at the same desk every day at the same agency, I wouldn’t have made as many connections or become as rounded as a designer. Working in completely different atmospheres with a variety of teams gave me a better perspective of the design world and what was expected of me. In the process, I concepted the direction of an entire ad campaign from scratch, designed a book in a week, assisted with building graphics for every team store in the NBA, revamped corporate guides, and, well…did production work for months on end. Though I learned something valuable from every experience, not every job was brimming with fun and excitement. But, that learning in varied situations, surrounded by a variety of personalities and deadlines (that ranged from extremely fair to you can’t really be serious) all prepared me for whatever may be just around the corner. Freelancing tends to push you outside of your comfort zone and forces you to have a can-do attitude.
Looking back, I would say that I became a valuable freelancer within six months. Every agency I worked at did things slightly differently and it took me awhile to get well-rounded enough that I could bounce from working on an intensely creative assignment to building production files. And, different agencies focus on different niches — for instance, I designed a website at one, created retail signage at another and worked on 100+ page catalogs at yet another. But sometimes, gaining the skill set needed for the wide variety of jobs that you’ll encounter isn’t the hardest part — adjusting to completely new environments and expectations is. There are always going to be times where you’re scared to death or wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. Yet somehow, you always get through it.
The reasons for going freelance vary for each designer but almost all freelancers relish the freedom of choice. It’s up to you to decide who you want to work with and how much you want to work. The variety of clients, both big and small can be another appealing factor. And, there’s the opportunity to travel — I’ve packed along my laptop and worked in multiple locales with total ease. Also, there’s a chance to learn how to wear many hats instead of doing the same job every day. And finally, perhaps best of all, there’s no limit on how much you can earn. It’s completely up to you to decide how hard you want to work and what to charge. Though freelancing isn’t for everyone, I’ve found the experience to be highly exciting and rewarding. Perhaps you will, too.
Cool grays, icy metallics and striking beauties. Perfect for winter. View the full Fashion Notebook set on Flickr.
To me, style and organization are interrelated. I don’t know about you, but I find that when my clothing is organized, easy to access and whittled down to what’s most loved, getting dressed and pulling together a look becomes so much more enjoyable. Getting dressed should be an adventure — never a battle!
Though I rely on solid, tried and true basics for most days, I always try to dress things up with great accessories. A simple t-shirt and black skinny jeans can be elevated with a unique pair of shoes, a well constructed jacket and a favorite bag.
When I am investing in my wardrobe, I tend to buy shoes, jackets and bags. My theory is that I can use them every single day and get a better cost per wear. For instance, I would never buy yellow jeans because they’d be so recognizable that I wouldn’t want to wear them more than once a week. But yellow shoes? I could wear the yellow shoes on a daily basis and add a pop of color to any outfit, no matter how casual.
One of my biggest pet peeves is having to buy the same item over and over again because it was poorly made and wore out. Give some thought to what you use the most and buy the best you can afford whether it’s a white t-shirt or a black cardigan.
Back to the topic of organization. I have a strange closet set-up. When I moved into my house over a year ago, I had no closet space (typical of most older homes) but oddly enough, a ridiculously huge bathroom with an abundance of empty space. My two oversized IKEA wardrobes were a perfect match for the wall space but the tops were cluttered with a mish-mash of irregular-sized shoe boxes. Over the weekend, I picked up a bunch of Kassett boxes which now hold everything from shoe bags to hats and spare purses to childhood costumes. They add that look of polished uniformity that random shoe boxes just can’t equal!
Another thing that my closet was sorely lacking were nice quality hangers. At almost 30, it was time for me to trade in cheapo plastic hangers for sturdy, beautifully minimal Erling steel hangers. They make every piece of clothing feel worthy of display!
Everyone has their own method for organization but arranging clothing by color works well for me. I have two IKEA wardrobes that hold all of my clothing. The first consists of all coats, skirts and dresses while the second is all shirts and sweaters (above).
Of course, I have a sizable amount of black clothing (as you can probably tell from my outfit posts). Looking up, there are still some lingering plastic hangers that will eventually be replaced. And, though I recycled a number of shoe boxes, I kept a handful of the Dries ones, tucked away at the very end.
This is the ‘other side’ of my closet, half of which is stuffed with jackets and blazers. Dresses are at the very end, mostly in black. I keep items that are more costume-related and not for every day wear (including fancy dresses and lederhosen) tucked away in the spare closet in my office (also organized by color).
A true Virgo doesn’t stop at just organizing their clothes. My tights (above) and socks (not shown) are both sorted by color and stored in clear plastic trays that I found at Target.
Every mouse needs a place to rest their ears. And, a full length mirror to check out their daily costume. This is the wall next to my IKEA wardrobes.
The jewelry that I reach for most is stored in a plastic container on my windowsill that I found at Target.
Longer necklaces have began to take over the door knob to my office. Some day, I’ll come up with a better solution. Until then, I like the decoration!
I’m a big fan of treating my favorite clothing and accessories like art. If you have something that’s beautiful, let it sit out and become a decoration instead of lurking in a dark closet. I have a love of shoes so I have my favorite pairs organized by color on a book shelf in my office. It’s nice to see them every day and a way to remind myself of what I already own so I can rotate them instead of lazily reaching for the same tired pair of black boots. Since I have fairly small feet, the sale racks and Ebay have been incredibly generous over the years! Fashion may change but well made, unique shoes never go out of style.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my mini sartorial journey and in the process, discovered your own passion to get organized. Show your closet some love and appreciation and return, your personal style will shine through!