Recently, in my search for a new job, I was contacted by a company that shall remain nameless, but shares their name with a popular Battlestar villain.

I exchanged several e-mails with the person who posted the job and set up a time last Thursday to talk on the phone.  We talked, and of course, the usual questions were asked. “Are you good at ( insert Adobe Product here)?” “What do you want to do with your life?” et cetera, et cetera.

We talked about how I worked with the U-Haul Web Team on a variety of projects, and then he asked about banners.

Now I want you to think for a second, have you EVER seen a web banner for U-Haul? That’s right, you haven’t, because they don’t exist.  U-Haul’s branding mainly dictates that they operate on a name basis, basically like how we refer to every adhesive strip as a band-aid. It’s worked very well for them (well, not well enough, seeing they laid off a ton of people last year), but you get my point.

I went through school for  5 years, and have been in the industry for 3. I know how to make a banner, it’s just I’ve never had a client rely on one, or have a need to create one.

Fast forward to today. I haven’t heard from them since the phone call, so I shot an e-mail.  Here’s the response.

“I think they were looking for a more web graphics work examples.  (multiple examples of banner, landers)   Ideally they’d like an agency graphics person who has worked on several accounts across several verticals.”

Basically, someone with my talents & experience isn’t desired because I didn’t have any examples of banners and landing pages, which is absolutely bizarre, and makes me think that it’s quite possible that this HR person didn’t even forward my portfolio along, which is a huge bummer.

And this makes me think, should HR people really be in charge of hiring creatives? In my experience, the majority of them don’t really know anything about our skills, and just look for keywords & certain graphics. Am I wrong in thinking this?

Let me know.

What to do without a job?

February 25, 2010

So once again, I’ve fallen victim to the economy, this time, I lost my excellent job as Art Director at Cutters Gloves, which (arguably) sells some of the best sports gloves to the NFL, MLB, PGA, among others.

I had a fun time, despite a few roadblocks, and I was able to walk away with some great work and experiences, which will be displayed on my new portfolio in about a week.

Last time I found myself without a job, quite frankly, I was a miserable S.O.B., which wasn’t really the best thing to do. But I’ve learned, and one thing I want to do is to give anyone who reads this some tips with how to cope with job loss.

First off, don’t let it get you down. Nothing, and I mean, NOTHING is accomplished by sitting back and feeling horrible about yourself. I did that, and all I did was get fat & pale.

Secondly, If you’re a designer, you’re technically not out of work. You can freelance, which means that you’re self-employed.  Go out there, promote yourself, contact your contacts, and get some work. Rework some old projects, re-launch a portfolio, make yourself known.

Third, help out the community, be part of the community. I’ve continued my PHXDW efforts by joining up with Sprawl & their projects, including Rapid Rebrand, which is a project designed to group-design amazing non-profits. I won’t get paid, but I will have the experience and the great feeling of helping out a great cause. Also, it doesn’t hurt to join up with your local AIGA, or go to Happy Hours/Meetups with local firms. Meeting people can be a great experience.

Fourth, remember to have fun, whichever way it is, from playing video games, to reading, to creating art/design, do something to let go, at least once a day. You can’t spend every minute applying for a job, take it a day at a time, & if bills become daunting, Starbucks is always hiring.

And always remember to have hope. Things will get better, you just have to go for it.

ss

Last week, I decided to try  an “experiment”, or at least that was the official name. The truth was that I needed to get away from everything.  Recently, I have been living without things in my life that I have deemed as distracting, such as Video Gaming & Television. I had found that it had helped, I was feeling more productive, I started digging into my library of books (reading through Neuromancer, on my great friend Debbie Millman’s suggestion).

However, I still had one big distraction, and that was Twitter. The super amazing instantaneous “look at MEEEE” web application. As of this point, I have an almost 1:1 ratio with followers/followed,  and I have around 4773 tweets.

And most of those are probably funny, interesting, or just bizarre posts. However, in the past 3 months, all that I can remember is tired rants about how I’m unemployed/depressed/problems. And Phoenix Design Week, but that week was absolutely magical, but that is for another post.

Back on track, I find that Twitter is very accessible & thus, very easy to write on. However, it’s too accessible. It’s way too easy to post your emotions quickly, without thought.

One of my amazing friends, a designer named Sean Rice made a good point to me that I was being even more negative than normal, and that I shouldn’t be spreading those feelings around.

And he was right.

So, I took a break. No writing for a week, and I barely lurked, mainly to see if any of the firms I watch in Phoenix had posted any job information. And it felt great. Like a breath of fresh air, I instantly felt re-energized. I had time again, and I even pumped out some changes on my website (added a lovely font by the way), and even scored some Freelance work.

But most importantly, I felt much better about myself, and I realized that we attach ourselves to these web applications like Facebook & Twitter in the same way that a Drug Addict LOVES their poison of choice.  It’s a terrible addiction, just like Television, World of Warcraft,  Starbucks.

But I can’t put my dislike of Twitter entirely on the premise of that I needed to get away for my own health. A little over a month ago, I secured a small contract job working with a company performing social media work, and while I cannot disclose their clients nor will I disclose them, I will say that the job put a vile taste in my mouth in terms of what Twitter is and represents.

A while ago, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails said in an interview that

“Twitter doesn’t give a shit, they just want numbers.”

which is exactly true, and my experiences in doing Social Media Advertising have solidified that. If you look back at my previous post, I make the mention that

Over the past few months, I have truly seen what social media can do. Twitter is faster than the news, everyone and my mother is connected on Facebook, Myspace has morphed from a pedo-playground into a free hosting service for music, Youtube, Vimeo & Hulu all provide entertainment/news/opinions.
And to me, a brand can reach out and “touch” their audience.

and the job that I performed was basically for “the numbers”, which was a big letdown for me. I used to have faith in Twitter, I was there with my green avatar for Iran, I supported Phoenix Design Week to a point where my friends and family were pissed off at me for being so into it, and I have made numerous connections to people over the service.

But now I look at Twitter, and all I see is a version of spam that I cannot turn off. A ton of people on twitter are either selling something, posting garbage, or wanting attention for their blogs.

Please do not think I’m being a negative nancy here. Twitter has done some great things, for example, Phoenix Design Week would not have happened if it was not for James Archer tweeting Mark Dudlik’s amazing letter about Phoenix and how there is no design scene (read it here). Also,  I have met some incredible people that I now consider to be friends.

And it’s because of the possibility of great things that I have decided to remain on Twitter, however, from this point on, I won’t be writing too much. Like I said earlier, it is a huge time-waster, and I could be wasting my time re-working designs and working on one of my three different design projects. Of course, I’ll reply to questions & observations, but for the most part, I am done.

Phoenix Design Week

October 20, 2009

PHX Design Week 09

I’ve been asked to write something about Phoenix Design Week, and the reason why I have taken forever is because I didn’t know what to say about it.

I know now. Phoenix Design Week has helped me become a better designer, by showing me a community of talented people, who have become great colleagues, and some have become friends, and has helped me reconnect to what I really loved about design.

When I was done with college, I was mentally drained, so I took a sabbatical from performing design work. That lasted a few months, and I had some small time jobs, working with print, and learning about the industry, and then I got my job at U-Haul, performing web design on a national scale. While the jobs were good, in some aspects, it wasn’t mentally stimulating. I had lost that passion that I had throughout school.
Then came a fateful night, I had heard about the AIGA showing off the Milton Glaser movie at ASU, and I had found out some people with a thing called “Phoenix Design Week” were going. So I decided to climb out of my shell and go. I met Mark Dudlik, Sunny Thaper, and Andrew Courdek, and had an amazing night, filled with sarcasm, hilarity, beer drinking, and most importantly, I found people who were passionate about design.
Needless to say, I signed up to help with PHXDW, and soon found myself elevated from being part of the volunteer crew to a member of the Promotions team, coming up with promotion ideas, drinking coffee, and taking on the role of Poster Czar, overseeing over 120 entries to the Phoenix Design Week Poster Contest, which has been deemed as a smash success for the movement.
And it was in that Poster Contest that I regained my passion, and spent 5 days constructing, shooting, and assembling my poster.

Phoenix Design Week Submission "Phoenix Design is Natural"

Phoenix Design Week Submission "Phoenix Design is Natural"

Unlike the majority of the work that was created for the poster contest, mine utilized the elements around my home. A specific type of stone, twigs, and hard desert grass all came together, and building it, and seeing the results was cathartic. It made me feel alive, and I wanted to design again, and I mean actually design, not just layout, but create functional art.

So, in that respect, Phoenix Design Week has re-awakened my desire to design and by extension, my soul. Since then, I have created an identity for myself, redid my portfolio, and I am pursuing some very exciting prospects for work.

Also, being Interviewed by the Arizona AIGA, Spicywebdesigners.com, and being showcased at Phoenix Design Week helps.

Things are looking brighter. And if you’re in Arizona, and a designer, and if you have no plans this weekend, please, I urge you to go. You will meet an amazing group of people, and if you’re lucky, like me, you’ll be inspired. http://phxdw.com/register

Recent Developments

October 6, 2009

So tomorrow, things will change for me.

I start doing contract work for the illustrious Branding Strategy firm, Heasley & Partners. I will be doing social media work, as my work with promoting Phoenix Design Week, and my past with AIGA helped get me this position with them.

“But it’s not a design job! You wanted a design job!”. True, I do and still want a design job, and seeing that this is contract, I will still be looking. But this provides 2 things.

  • 1: It’s work.
  • and

  • 2: It’s something different and therefore, very interesting.
  • Over the past few months, I have truly seen what social media can do. Twitter is faster than the news, everyone and my mother is connected on Facebook, Myspace has morphed from a pedo-playground into a free hosting service for music, Youtube, Vimeo & Hulu all provide entertainment/news/opinions.
    And to me, a brand can reach out and “touch” their audience.

    Right now, I have a feeling that some people are going to call me a hypocrite, because I vehemently defend print media. As Sagmeister says, “print is like the electric guitar”, in the sense that despite the fact that we have keyboards & synths, there is still interest in using an obviously limited instrument, and what can be done with the guitar has only gotten more amazing as time goes on.

    So there, not a hypocrite.

    I believe this gives me the opportunity to create unexpected promotions, and keep them on the right track with current ones.

    It’s been a rough road, so this looks promising.

    As for other developments, this week, I will do a case study on myself, and my current re-branding strategy. I believe that the old identity that I have used for 4 years has finally ran it’s course, and I have re-worked a new identity. I just need to prepare some collateral for it, and of course, finish the new website.

    And of course, I will write about my first day.

    Today, I had an interview, which is somewhat of a rare thing these days. But, I bailed. For good reasons. Read on.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    So, my previous post,  regarding what I’ve been doing the past 2 months, mentioned that I would talk about the difficulties that I have been facing so far while being unemployed, including not being contacted by potential employers, even for a “thank you, but…” letter,  the term “Agency Experience”, and others.

    Today, I will talk about the subject of “Agency Experience”, which is an excuse that I have recieved several times over the past 2 months while looking for work.

    Read the rest of this entry »