Happy Spring!

Just a quick break from the madness of the day to wish everyone a happy spring! Technically, spring begins at the end of March, but here in Southern CT, it doesn't feel much like Spring 'till late April/early May. Anyway, the past few days here have been gorgeous: 70+ degrees, bright sun shining, flowers in bloom... With the exception of my allergies, I love this time of year!

So take a moment out of your busy lives to stop and enjoy your surroundings. Whether you're in Florida or Maine, California or Kansas (Hi Jennie!), Spring only comes once a year. Enjoy!


Bon Appetit?

I am not a big fast food connoissuer--every once in a while it's ok, but for the most part it just sits in my stomach, and I end up regretting it for days on end (not to mention that it's pretty gross to think that most fast food meals are the caloric equivilant of a full day's worth of meals).

Which is why when I stumbled across this, it makes me sooooo glad I don't indulge more often. Talk about false advertising!

I love the disclaimer at the top: "Nothing was tampered with, run over by a car, or anything of the sort." Cause all that Arby's Beef and Cheddar... thing looks like it needs is some cleverly placed photoshop tire tracks, and you'd never know the difference.


Best. Horoscope. Ever.

Alright, I'll admit, I'm not big on the horoscopes. Unless it's really really good. Then I take it word for word. Because, come on, who doesn't want to win the lottery and go shoe shopping on an unlimited budget and have George Clooney wait on you hand and foot and... Oh. Sorry. I got away from myself for a second. But seriously, on the rare occasions that I do read my horoscope, and it's really good, of course I want it to be true.

Which is why when I read this, my first thought is it absolutely must be true. Because who would toy with me like this:

May is a fabulous month for you. Your designs garner hefty praise and you gain respect among your peers. Clients are openly requesting you for their projects. Co-workers are seeking your opinions and asking for your advice. There's even talk about you becoming 'Employee of the Month.' And if all that isn't enough, you also correctly pick the winner of American Idol.

OK, I don't watch American Idol, but I can tell you from this week's press that the winner won't be Sangiya. But come on, hefty praise and gaining respect among my peers? Clients are openly requesting moi?! Employee of the month??! This better be correct!!

Then, I looked at the source: a stock image company. Hmmm... I wonder if all the horoscopes are good, just so you'll feel great and buy some photos. I checked out a couple of others, and some of them are borderline depressing (Leo: your personality needs to be recharged--Ouch).

Oh well, for what it's worth, I'm putting in Employee of the Month effort and hours. I can only hope that all my hard work pays off with this kind of outcome.

Here's the rest of Jupiter Image's Design Horoscope's. But click with caution, especially if you're Leo.

PS. Another reason to take this with a grain of salt: my Lucky Image Number brings up a pretty cheesy stock photo.

Fling a ding ding

My new favorite font, ladies and gentlemen, is Fling:

It's such a pretty font. I've been using it for a while now, but it really stood out to me last year when Martha Stewart's new Blueprint magazine came out. Yep, the logo for the magazine is Fling.

I love the playfulness of each individual character. It's definitely a girlie font, which I think I knew all along, but definitely found out for sure when I tried to apply it to a more masculine logo I'm working on.

I'm looking out my window now, at the daffodils in the sun, the trees in bloom, and spring in the air; and that's what I picture with this font, the perfect Spring day.

Hope you're enjoying your perfect Spring day!


Pantone Ugly Bright Yellow

This afternoon, I was dropping my daughter and her friends off at the movies, when the three girls struck up an interesting conversation. Across the street from the theater, there's a Planet Fitness building. I don't know if you've ever seen one of these gyms, but the whole exterior of the building is--no joke--bright yellow. Really, really bright.

The girls attacked immediately: "That is the ugliest color ever." "Eew. The colors don't even match. Who uses that bright yellow with that color purple?" "Why on earth would you paint your building that color?"

And thus begins our lesson today in branding. While I'm not advocating that color (It's pretty atrocious, but you can't miss it!), Planet Fitness gets an A for effort with the idea of setting themselves apart from the competition. Right down the street from the Fairfield Planet Fitness is a Fitness Edge. Fitness Edge has their standard sign outside, and they're located in a plain brick building. Nothing fancy, nothing to set themselves apart. It's just a way of making themselves stand out as a gym, making themselves more memorable, I explained. You see that color yellow, and you begin to associate it with the gym.

Of course, being preteens, they didn't quite get it. "It's still ugly," they collectively said.

Noone's saying it's pretty, I started... then I realized what I was doing. To me, I was trying to teach them a little lesson about marketing and branding. To them, I was defending what I believe was Pantone Ugly Bright Yellow.

Never mind, girls, never mind.


Cancel or Allow?

A little over a month ago, Mattio bought a new PC. It was time, his old one was pretty old in Computer Years--at least 7 years old. He really debated on buying a new one; a couple of years ago he was at a job where they used Macs, and he pretty much converted. Being a web developer, though, it's always good to have both platforms in the house; and he works on a PC at his current job, so it made sense.

But when he got the computer, it took a while for him to set it up. Being a devout Mac user, I snickered and joked about the current Apple campaign, Mac vs. PC. There was one commercial in particular that seemed to address the whole PC set-up issue. It certainly is nowhere near the plug it in and go functionality of the Mac.

Then came the Cancel or Allow messages--seriously, just like in the commercials. We'll be working side by side at night, and out of the blue he'll turn and say, "Cancel or allow, Tracie... cancel or allow."

And just last night, he came to bed muttering about Bill Gates and Microsoft; I won't repeat what he said, but let's just say it wasn't good. At all. He brought his iBook into bed, and just for fun, we watched a couple of the new Mac vs. PC commercials; the new one with the broken down PCs on the cart is hysterical. And from past experience, probably true.


Doing what I love, and loving what I do

This week has been a crazy week for me... lots of work coming in (trust me, I'm not complaining). And this upcoming week is only going to get even more nuts: with a couple of logos and websites on my plate, it's going to be a design-heavy week.

Truth be told, I was kind of stressing about this workload. But now that I've sat back and thought about it, I'm actually pretty excited: I got into graphic design because I love what I do. But I've learned in the past 2 years that running your own business doesn't always mean you get to do what you love all the time; there's invoices to send, emails to answer, meetings to attend... not to mention always trying to stay ahead of the curve and keep new business coming in (or, as Mattio likes to put it: keep food on the table).

But this upcoming week I've got some pretty cool projects that I'm really excited to be working on. And I get to spend my week doing what I love. That's not a reason to stress, that's a reason to celebrate.

Hmmm... I might just have to squeeze in some quality shoe shopping time :)

Enjoy the weekend!


Ugly Rubber Sandals

I always thought of myself as pretty ad-savvy, I could get how advertisers are aiming younger and younger all the time.

Then my oldest daughter turned 12.

It started out simple enough, shopping at Abercrombie. All the clothes we bought had the moose logo emblazened on it somewhere. As the year progressed, everything became a brand name: her jacket isn't a jacket, or even a fleece, it's her North Face. Her boots are not boots, they're Uggs. Her friends don't have cell phones, they have Razrs. I finally got why advertisers are sprinting toward the tween market: these kids are no joke, they really know their stuff.

However, now my youngest, at three years old, has gotten in on the action. She just got a pair of Crocs for Easter (trust me, she really, really, really wanted them--looks like she picked up my shoe fetish!). The thing is, they're not really Crocs--they're Croc knock-offs (because $30 for a pair of rubber shoes she's just going to grow out of in a couple of months is a little exessive). But she calls them Crocs, and we tell her no different. But Croc is the name brand--what do you call the shoe that isn't a Croc: ugly rubber sandal?

She's even gone so far as to tell me that she doesn't need a radio anymore, she's ready for an ipod.

Did I mention she's three?

The funny thing is, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how brands have an impact on the products they represent. My mother doesn't refer to tissues as tissues, to her they are Kleenex. And I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have not made photocopies, rather they've Xeroxed something. We no longer record our favorite TV shows, we TiVo them. Q-Tips, Google, Blackberry... the list goes on and on.

I'm guilty of it: Google to me is not just a great search engine, but a noun, verb, sometimes even an adjective. I FedEx packages via UPS and DHL. And yes, I do own a pair of ugly rubber sandals I use for gardening.


well written... revealed!

A while back (OK, February), I had posted about this really cool font I had found, and how I was trying to apply it to the logo I was designing at that time... Well last week I met with Wendy, from well written, and we finalized her logo:

I'm so happy she ended up going with this one--I think it really is my favorite. This, along with quite a few others, was entered into Logo Lounge's contest for their 4th book... I'll keep you posted with the outcome. As an old pal used to say: Fingers firmly crossed.

In other news, I have to apologize quickly for not keeping up with the posting. It's been a pretty crazy time here, and as a result (among other things), I've been pretty run down at the end of the day. I'm going to do my best to post more frequently, and keep it interesting!

Ta ta for now...


Opening Day!

I looooooove me some baseball. I get all warm and fuzzy when March Madness rolls around, only because I know that baseball season is not far off. And finally, it's here.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to go to Yankee's Opening Day. I am a die-hard Yankee's fan, but I've never actually been to an opening day, so it was a treat. Even more so was that it was an AWESOME game; I had such a good time. I love the energy and excitement of taking the 4 train up to the Bronx; walking down the stairs from the platform, somebody pointed out Mayor Bloomberg was right behind us. The madness of trying to get into the stadium at the same time as about 50,000 other people, the trek aaaallllll the way up to our seats (and the great view--don't knock the nosebleeds 'til you've tried 'em), and the post-game congestion--I'll take it any day. Corey Lidle's wife and son threw out the first pitches--I bawled. A-Rod missed an easy pop-up--I booed. The Giambino steps up to the plate and hits a homerun, giving the Yanks the lead in the first inning--I screamed my little head off. Hearing the first few notes of "Enter Sandman," and seeing that bullpen door open to reveal one of the greatest closers in the history of the game still gives me goosebumps. Especially cool? Seeing the cranes working on the new stadium.

I was about 8 years old when I went to my first Yankee game; back in the days of Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph and Dave Winfield. My grandfather had managed to get seats about 10 rows back from home plate; it was myself, my grandfather and my father. At first, I had no idea what to expect, I sat watching the first couple of innings intently. But by the 4th inning, I was screaming with the best of them. I remember quite a few people turning around, commenting to my father that I really must have been enjoying the game. I think both my father and my grandfather were proud.

Yeah, baby! Baseball is back!!!