Quick post on a side project of mine in the SF Ferry Building – QR code links, resources, wayfinding, maps, apps and more for the tech-savvy tourist set on San Francisco’s Embarcadero.
Two thirds wrapped on 2011. Hello September. What projects have you all been sitting on for the last few months? Waiting for free time to present itself. Passively hoping priorities might shift in a good way.
I’ve got 3-4. All really good or cool or potentially rewarding in some way. Waiting for some scrap of attention.
Some recent snaps from projects in San Francisco. And a big bit of bearish street art from Market and 6th at the gateway to SoMA. Happy summertime from the Phase Collective.
Well, they’d really be dead if I never posted them. Here’s some stuff I’ve (Gabe) worked on recently, either for pitches or early-round creative presos. All killed for various reasons, but all projects that I thought were headed somewhere cool. Such is advertising though. And this is why I only ever really count on my side projects to keep me creatively charged.
So we can all look back on the trends of the 80s, 90s, maybe the 00s a bit, although that’s trickier. We can all see what design styles ruled the decade – what was contemporary. So then we should also be able to take a step back from the right-now, from what’s contemporary today, right? We can see what we (graphic designers, art directors, interactive creatives, animators etc.) are working on this week, or this month, and we *should* be able to recognize the aspects of our creative work that are lining up to fall into that category of ‘contemporary’. Do we want our stuff to look and feel like everything else that everybody else is working on this week, or this month, or this year?
The problem is that ‘contemporary’ and ‘trendy’ are constantly blurring together. They’re really one and the same. When our deadline is tight, or our clients are unimaginative, or we’re too buried in work to apply our own imaginative abilities… we fall back on what’s cool right now, and we contribute to the larger body of ‘contemporary’ work that we’ll all look back on in 5-10 years and be embarrassed to have been a part of.
Wouldn’t it be great to create, sell-through, and champion creative work that breaks the contemporary trends that surround us? What are the barriers, project to project (because they’re always different), that keep us from doing the unique and imaginative creative work that we know we’re capable of producing?
This weekend, I’ll be blasting out some design comps that will, I absolutely guarantee, be trendy and cool, but unimaginative. I will have to rush my work, and I will fall back on established and expected solutions. I’d like to apologize in advance for my contribution to the cheesy design trends of the early 2000-and-teens. I’ll blow it all out and work some fresh magic the next time, I promise.
Something I did on the side a few years back… and have just rediscovered in my old files. This was meant for the walls of my daughter’s preschool, but it never saw the light of day – don’t quite remember why. Grab the PDF here.
Designers that really break out from the mainstream – from the worlds of average or pretty good – they all seem to have a moment, or a project, or an idea that propels them. How many designers slowly and quietly build up to greatness? Or to notoriety? How many designers roll casually into a position of prestige – with access to the best professional and creative opportunities? No, they bust out with something striking, and they figure out how to get it in front of people. The name gets around, and the creative gets around, and a heavyweight is born. It almost seems like we could craft that trajectory for ourselves, with just a bit of self-promotional savvy. And a bit of that striking creativity.
It doesn’t have to be a high profile project for a high profile client. Although that helps. You know the power of a mass audience. Greatness in front of 10 million people will get you farther than greatness in front of 10 people. Then again, the larger the project, the more likely your creative work will be part of a collaborative and diluted effort – less yours, less genuine. So then the mid-range project, the freelance project, the pro-bono project; these are the projects where it’s most likely to happen.
I don’t even want to touch the design annuals issue, but exposure in any form, especially exposure to your peers, can help you on your way. Do clients really read those magazines? Do they really look for firms in the Print Regional Design Annual? Print would say they do, but ehhhh…here I go, touching the design annuals issue. Like everything else these days though, organic growth/viral exposure are where it’s at. Because they’re genuine. Recommended and approved by people you (may or may not) know.
The question is, are you and I rolling through our creative careers being nothing more than good (maybe really good?), but anonymous? I think we are. It’s one of those enjoying-the-ride vs. captaining-the-spaceship sorts of things.
Just posted a couple sets of iPhone wallpapers, including some stuff from the never-published Phase04 Habitat PDF mag. Also threw in some Midei City stuff, and some work from my in-progress side project called ‘Upload’. Head over to the link below for downloads, and enjoy:
And shoot us an email if you have some freebies that you’d like to share.