Please tell us a about your studio? Murmur Creative is basically a two man shop, it consists of me, the designer, and Daniel Gonzalez, a web programmer. We rent an office in the Olympic Mills Commerce Center in the Industrial South East, The building is great, and there are a ton of other design firms and creative professionals including Parliment, Wilderness, Fullblast Creative, Grow, Needmore, etc. The list goes on. The work we do ranges from websites and branding to signage and advertising. Our clients include: Laughing Planet Cafe, Ekistics Developments, CD Baby, Cherry Sprout Produce, Missing Link Toys, Blue Sky Gallery, The Bus Project, Tell-a-Guest Publishing, The Opposable Thumb, and Citizen Coffee. We also do freelance design for a number of the other larger firms in our building.
What projects are you working on? Currently I am designing the new Grand Central Bakery website for Fullblast Creative. We just finished up a website and ID for k4 Court, a real estate development on 30th and Killingsworth. www.k4court.com
What do you like best about running your own studio? What I like best about my position is the flexibility. I enjoy the convenience of being able to set my own hours. That said, I do have to be self-motivating so that the work gets finishedand my clients stay happy.
Please share with us how the PSU-GD program prepared you to work professionally? I could probably write a book about how PSU-GD prepared me for my career, but I will just say that I can't think of a class I took that was not critical to everything I have done in design so far. I also think I gained a lot of confidence from the professors who encouraged me and believed in me.
Please share with us how PSU-GD could improve? The thing that I felt the least prepared for when I started working was the business end of things. I can't totally blame PSU-GD for that since many of my professors encouraged me to do a business minor or at least to take a business class or two. This, at the time, was really intimidating to me so I never took their advice. Instead , I took a crash course once I started working and learned a lot of lessons the hard way. I guess the suggestion I'd make would be to incorporate more of the business skills into the design courses, or maybe just offer a business for designers class.
What additional advice would you offer current students? The most useful advise I ever got about working in the industry was never to say you can't do something or you don't know how; rather to say yes, and then either figure it out or find someone who can do it for you. In addition, a phrase that was coined a by one of the designers in our building is "You're not charging enough!". When bidding on projects, don't undersell yourself. Projects always take longer than you think, and the hours get eaten up by meetings, emails and research so mach sure you build in a cushion.
Is there a book you would recommend to current students?
Typography on the Web is basic and dull. A startup called Typekit will fix it. The brilliant Clea Ball, Art Department administrator extraodinaire has sent the GD program a link to aSlate article about web typography which begins by stating, "For typography geeks, the Web is a depressingly drab place. Just look around the page you're reading now: There are only a couple of fonts, Arial and Verdana, used to display most of the text. That would be fine, except that they're the same two fonts you find everywhere else on the Web...." To read the rest of the article follow the link above. Thanks Clea!
Brace yourselves for a wolf-like assault of information from Internetland ....
To offset the textures links in my last post, this week I'm posting up links about minimalism in web design. A quiet focus on minimalism has been around for a while now, but I've noticed that it's gaining a momentum. I think I like that?
Don't Make Me Think. No Really, Don't. Of the books you might pick up on the subject of web-building, Don't Make Me Think is an important one. It's about designing navigation from a user's perspective. In the following link, UX Booth has served up the book on a silver platter for you by boiling it down to the 10 most important take-aways.
...which leads me to my next thought....the single-page website.
There are many websites that are too big. Mine is one of them, probably yours too. The content is needlessly spread out over countless pages pages of mostly empty repetition. I'm a big fan of one-page website with lots of content. Could a contact form be tucked into a sliding panel by using something like the plugin listed above? Could there be multiple sliding panels, like a system of drawers? Maybe, maybe not. But it's something to think about. Info-chunks should fight for the right to be given their own page, and they should lose often.
The 2009 AIGA Conference takes place this October in Memphis, Tennessee. The theme this year is MAKE/THINK, and Portland State will be represented! Speakers and workshops will explore the dual role of the designer as makers of beautiful things and schemers of strategic concepts. There is one whole day devoted to students and education, and our very own Kate Bingaman-Burt will be speaking at the educaton day. Other speakers include Michael Beirut, Stefan G. Bucher, Carin Goldberg, Nick Law, Ethan Bodnar, and Daniel Eatock. (And so many more people, but you can look at the website to find more.)
We underwent much deliberation to decide how many students to send, and how much money to offer those students. Below you'll read MUCH information about our conclusion and learn how you can be one of those students.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS LIKE?
We're leaving it up to you. Tell us why you want to attend the conference. Show us why you want to attend the conference. Make a book, write a play, make a website, get a tattoo, launch a marketing campaign, write an essay, make a sculpture, start a band, start a studio. (Probably don't get a tattoo, though.) Prove to us that you deserve to go! The competition will be tough, as your peers are great makers and do-ers. But so are you, so give it a try. This is a chance to flex all those skills you've racked up in the last few years. Whatever format you choose, be sure to make it compelling, well-crafted, well-designed and interesting!
To clarify: When I say "we," I mean the independent panel of judges comprised of members of the Portland Graphic Design community. It won't be me, and it won't be the other AIGA PSU student officers. Heck, we're applying to go! The panel of judges may include professors, design professionals, graduates, unaffiliated students and other rad people. Students who submit applications will not be judges.
WHAT ABOUT MONEY?
AIGA PSU will fund the $350 conference fee. That is all we can do with
our current budget. Before you devote your summer to crafting a stellar
competition entry, please understand the total costs related to the
conference and know that you will be responsible for the costs outside
of the conference fee.
Total costs of the conference: $350 student conference fee (funded by AIGA PSU for the winning students) $400 (roughly) round-trip flight from Portland to Memphis (10% Discount from Northwest Airlines) $How much food you eat $The accommodations you work out ($139 per night discounted hotel for conference attendees) (surely can be shared with other students attending)
THE DETAILS IN A NUTSHELL, PLEASE
WHAT: You submit your entry to be considered for a scholarship to the 2009 AIGA Conference. The conference is October 8-11 in Memphis, Tennessee. HOW MUCH: If selected, you will have the $350 conference fee paid for by PSU AIGA HOW: In whatever format you wish. Make it good. WHEN: Submit by August 28. Judges will make their selections by September 3. WHERE: A secure drop-off will take place in the Art Annex. There will be a person there or a locked space so your fabulous stuff doesn't walk off. OFFICIAL STUFF: The judges will choose some runners-up in order to make sure we have students ready to go. We can't get a refund on students who are unable to attend at the last minute, but we can switch out the names of attendees.
Leave a comment! Shoot us an email! (email@example.com) Aaaand... just so you're not leaving this post bummed at the weird flashback 1990's design of the conference website, here's something infinitely more charming. It will leave a good taste in your mouth. (Why didn't they just base their whole identity around Clifton Burt's photograph,think-make-think?!)
The Portland Zine Symposium is just around the corner. It takes place July 24-26, Friday through Sunday, and it's happening at PSU. It's a free event with TONS of tablers. Zinesters near and far will be trading and selling their mini books.
(image: A submission to the symposium's call for art, drawn by our very own Rory Phillips.)
WE HAVE A TABLE.
Do you make little books? Do you want to? Have a zine you've been wanting to sell, to trade, to give away? Want to reprint that one you made years ago? Have a bunch of drawings in your sketchbook, want to xerox them, staple 'em together and call it a zine? Well, now is your chance.
The beauty of zines is that there are few, if any rules. In self-publishing something, you have the ultimate freedom to select your topic, format, binding, craziness, standardness, everything.
Any and all students in related to AIGA PSU are invited to display their wares at our table at the zine symposium. AIGA PSU will take a tiny cut (30%) to directly fund future group projects. We'll be selling our inaugural edition of Scout Books, and the zines YOU bring to the table. (Literally!) We do have to require that you only bring small self-published books and not crafts, as the organizers are (rightfully) cracking down on peeps who want to come bearing only crafts. This isn't a craft fair, it's a zine fair! If you have questions about which category your stuff falls into, ask us.
(image: the 2007 Portland Zine Symposium, image borrowed from flickr.)
We'll also be teaching a workshop to the general symposium public, offering some design tips on how to make zines look fabulous and jump off the shelf with awesome covers. (You guys are experts, but just to let you know. You can help with the workshop if you want!)
Want to participate but don't have any ideas? Check out these people. Their work might lend you some inspiration.
We're also looking for people to take a shift staffing the table. Interested in sitting around some rad people and talking to passers by about AIGA PSU and what we do? Our table will be nearby Kate's table and Pinball Publishing's table, so you'll have company if it's slow (which it won't be).
Sweet! Get in touch if you want to sell a zine. Get in touch if you want to staff the table. Thank you, we love you.