Notes from another intern

My oldest, the teenager, has really gotten into photography this past year. Last night I saw this photo that she took, and I thought it's a good indication of her style and sense of humor (not that she likes to trap animals in glass bottles, but...)

I think she's got a pretty good eye, especially considering that she just picked up a camera less than 6 months ago. If she lets me, I'll have to post more of her work. In the meantime, enjoy "Silly elephant got himself stuck."


Notes from the intern

What up traciedesigns readers???! It's the intern here, reporting for duty.

I'm hanging in the office all week--with the exception of when I'm in SCHOOL (Holla! Who's a big girl now??). The boss thought it'd be a good idea for me to write this week, seeing as how she's juggling work and me (what-EVER, bosslady. Whatever).

Anywho, we got a fab new sofa last week--it rocks! The best thing, though, is that instead of a coffee table, the bosses opted for an ottoman. Which is by far my favoritest piece of furniture. Like, ever. I'm constantly coming up with new ways to sit on it. See?

Man! I'm so glad they didn't get a coffee table!

K, it's almost dinner time--and you guys KNOW how I get when I'm hungry. It's enough to make the bosslady want to hide under... well, the new ottoman.


Yummy type

Whilst standing in line at Starbucks this AM, I noticed this fine specimen of type:

I've never heard of the Zac Brown band, but I think I'm going to give a listen. Because, yes, dear readers, I do judge a CD by it's cover.

Sidenote: While in line, I thought to myself, do people really buy CDs anymore? They can't possibly, right? I mean, I haven't bought a CD in... well, I can't even remember, so naturally it was eons ago. But really--are people buying CDs?

Then the chick in line in front of me bought a CD.

Question answered.


...But does it look expensive?

Yesterday I got a phone call from a company that had interviewed me a few weeks back. The conversation went something like this:

Them: "We had talked to some other designers, and the last one we hired to do the logo--for $300--didn't work out. So now we'd like to hire you!"

Me: "..."

I'm a big believer in you get what you pay for. Don't get me wrong, I love me some bargains (hello, my whole office is furnished by Ikea, thankyouverymuch), but at the end of the day, a $300 logo is going to look like, well, a $300 logo (just like my desk is just some fancy particle board my husband put together).

I charge more than $300 for logos, because I invest a lot of time into creating them. I research, I sketch, I play with fonts, I purchase fonts. I research some more.

I like to take a page in Illustrator--the program I use for creating logos--and just digitally vomit every idea I have. It usually ends up looking something like this (designed for a totally different client):

This is just one of two pages for this client, actually.

I type out the company name over, and over, and over. And then again. I play with the shapes of letters, the space in between letters, icons, artwork. Sometimes the ideas flow out, and it's like the dam wall broke, and there they are, all over the paper/my screen. Sometimes the ideas take longer. While I wait for the ideas, I sketch. And I type. And I play. And I research some more.

Because of this--all of this--I charge more than $300 for logos. And maybe I'm biased, but I think it's worth it.



New work!

Just launched: objectsblog.com. You guys remember the logo from a few weeks back, right?

Client, friend, and world traveler Pamela Peterson lets you in on her journeys; whether it's multitasking in Italy, or a Paris flea market. Truth be told, Pam has been sending me "sample" blog entries--stuff she intended on writing about--throughout the entire design process, and let me tell you. If the blog continues in the same tradition of the samples she sent, it will quickly be one of my faves. Check out Objects, and be sure to say hi to Pam while you're there.

Also, many, many, many thanks to friend and Wordpress genius Dave Cushman, of Form: Substance for the development. Dave came through in an eleventh hour emergency, and came through he did. Lots of gold stars for that one.

Enjoy Objects, you guys--I'm so psyched that it's launched!


You win, type

Normally I'm not one to celebrate anything Microsoft. So when IE9 was launched this week, my reaction was probably something along the lines of, whoop-de-doo. I mean, really.


This version of Internet Explorer supports the Web Open Font Format. Basically, it supports pretty fonts on the web. Like, not just Times and Arial, but cool stuff like, Hellenic Wide (drool). And Chunk (yum). And Coquette (swoon).

So to showcase that support, Brooklyn-based designer Jason Santa Maria was asked to help.

Ladies, and gentlemen, meet the Lost World's Fairs.

Designed with fun and typography in mind, these sites are not only awesome, but the text is... well, text. Not imagery. Friends, that is effing cool.

Read more about the story behind the Lost World's Fairs here.


Type Monday

Looking for new fonts is my second favorite thing to do, ever (second only to buying new shoes, DUH). So new logo projects mean that I'm scouring the font shops, looking for the perfect, shiny new font.

So guess who has a new logo project?

And guess who found the prettiest, shiniest, newest font EVER? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Brownstone:

After immediately falling in love, I looked to see who was the brilliant designer behind this gorgeousness. Surprise, surprise, it's Alejandro Paul--one of my favorites.

Yummy, yummy, yummy.


Friday LOLs

Baby carrots. Have you not seen this? Because it's baby carrots. And it's a riot.

Baby carrots (like, the mini, 2 bites and your done carrots) are being marketed like junk food. Extreme graphics, sex, loud music, and of course, a great sense of humor, are making baby carrots the go-to snack.

Baby carrots ("Eat 'em like junk food"), people.

Love it.

PS You can even follow them on Twitter (of course you can! They're baby carrots!).


I'm like, a winner

Some days, life is great. Others? Well, other days you have a crap night's sleep, which results in tiredness and crankiness most the day. Other days you have a raging headache and Advil is taking it's sweet ole' time working. Other days can leave you tired, stressed, and broken.

I thought today was one of those "other" days.

Then I got the mail.

American Graphic Design Awards in the H O U S E ! That's right, if anything wakes me up, takes my headache away, and calms me down, it's winning an award (or 2).

I'm so happy (and awake, and feeling good, and not stressed) to announce that 2 of my logos just picked up 2010 American Graphic Design Awards. Holla!

First up, Objects (which, if you're keeping track, has already won a CT Art Director's Club Award of Excellence):

And the Hey Fairfield logo won as well!

I'm so psyched--this has made my day--no wait, my week!


Paint swatch awesome for your feet

Oh Converse, how I heart you.

Chuck Taylor and I have had a thing going for quite some time. Plaid, flannel, velvet, or just plain black canvas (the current pick); Chuck Taylor All Stars have been in my life for years and years and years. We love them so much that it's become back to school tradition for the children all to get a new pair of Chucks in September. I love the teenager's pick:

But when buying them, I came across these (PRODUCT) RED paint swatch shoes that I love, love, love:

The hi-tops also come in red, and the lo-tops come in green. It's hard to find a pair of Converse that I don't like; but these? These are pretty awesome.


Un-Labor Day

This weekend, like the rest of the country, Mattio and I celebrated working by taking time off. It was wonderful.

Friday night we celebrated by going out to dinner (and cocktails) with friends we don't see nearly as often as I would like. Saturday night brought dinner (and more cocktails!) with friends that I'm glad we get to see as often as we do. Sunday afternoon brought an last-minute dinner invitation from another set of friends. And yes, there were cocktails.

Because both we both work from home, it's really, really hard to take time off--if only because the computer is always there. We live in a digital society where 9-5--in our case--isn't the norm. We put in our daily hours, but more often than not, after the kids are in bed, there's another couple of hours spent working. And very rarely does a weekend go by without us putting in a little more time at "the office." It doesn't really interrupt our lives too much (Saturday nights--remember, we have kids--and Sunday mornings are great times to knock out a few things)--but it's there, the work on the weekends.

We're both very fortunate in that we enjoy what we do for a living, so working "after hours" doesn't really bring too many complaints. But sometimes, you need to step away. Sometimes, you have to take the weekend off. Sometimes, you have to un-labor.

And that's just what we did this weekend. And it felt good.


Friday LOLs

There's a horse in the Apple Store: Frank Chimero's hysterical take on... well, a small pony in an Apple store. And like, nobody's noticing it:

I think, “Why?” What is the villain here that blinds all of these people to this situation? Am I nuts for thinking this is exceptional? Does anyone else see this? Did I accidentally drop acid and not realize? I must take a photo. I must verify later, when I’m not potentially tripping balls.

I think, “Would they notice if it were a tiger?” Or a lamb? Or an anaconda? What would it take to shake the haze from around their eyes? A sale sign? A new iPod Touch? Would they notice a new iPod Touch?

Are they just divinely focused? Are they meditating in a retail environment? Are they distracted by something shiny? There is so much shiny in the Apple Store. Is it enough to distract everyone from the little tiny horse that is at the Genius Bar?

Happy Friday, friends--and happy long weekend!


5 years old

It's been a busy week here at traciedesigns HQ: all interns headed back to school today, so this week was crazy with back to school shopping for the right shoes, clothes, and--oh yes--school supplies. Routine has finally come back into our lives, and we are embracing it fully.

But the other big thing about this week is that it is my 5 year anniversary. Five years ago this week, I left the comfort of a full-time job, a steady paycheck, an office with other people in it; and started my freelance career.

In the 5 years I have been on my own, I have:

--found some pretty cool new friends and clients;

--worked on projects the I might not have had the opportunity to, had I stayed working for someone else;

--won some pretty cool awards working on those projects;

--did I mention meet some pretty cool new friends and clients?

--had another baby

--worked in my dining room, my bedroom, back to the dining room, my parent's house, back to my bedroom, and finally (finally!), after 5 years, just last week I got my own office;

--had 2 different computers;

--never once stolen office supplies from myself;

--had 3 different interns (alright, full disclosure: there's a bit of nepotism going on here at traciedesigns. I don't know if you noticed, but I only hire my children as interns);

--the cool friends and clients (hey, they're worth mentioning a bunch, since they're the reason I'm still doing this flying solo thing)

I'm so happy to be doing what I love to do, work with people I love to work with. Here's to 5 more years of awesomeness!