All Things Great and Small

A lot of us who are in a position where self-promotion is part of our business’s success find ourselves highlighting the greatest fruits of our labors—those that get the most recognition and accolades—what many in the world of graphics call the “WOW!” piece. But there are often projects that one rarely speaks of until something comes along and reminds what a special place that small and/or almost forgotten piece may have held in time.

Last month, as many of us here in the States were celebrating the great eclipse, which I also celebrated with great excitement, a beautiful soul crossed over into realms many of us have yet to see. The notorious Reverend Bill Barnes took his last breaths just as the moon began to pass in front of the sun. While I didn’t know him extremely well, his mark upon my hometown is beyond my comprehension. He was a tireless advocate for the poor and those who are hardest hit by circumstances that can break the spirit and will to remain in the light.

I met Rev. Barnes through his daughter, Amy, who has been dear friend for decades. While I had seen and heard glimmers and whispers of what a special man her father is/was, little did I know the scope of the legacy he would leave on this earth or the breadth of his acts of kindness. I may never know. All I can say is when he came to me in need of a book cover design, he was gracious and kind every step of the way and I always felt lifted up in his presence. He had a great impression on many who encountered him.

That cover design project took little of my time but I was so grateful to have been involved in the telling of his life’s great work. To Love a City, may not be a New York Times best seller but it tells of his great love for the people and places of our community. He personified the premise that even small acts of kindness can change the word. All of his small acts added up to a rather large life of humble generosity. What a gift to have been even a small part of this cog (what Rev. Barnes referred to as a Child of God) of life and inspiration. He showed many of us the best ways we could truly open our hearts and “love a city” by loving all of its citizens.

I've learned that people's greatest qualities are rarely seen fully by any one person. This gentle man, Reverend Bill Barnes, wanted a book cover with a simple snap shot of some of the citizens he loved working with. It was an honor to be a small "cog" in his inspiring life's story.

I've learned that people's greatest qualities are rarely seen fully by any one person. This gentle man, Reverend Bill Barnes, wanted a book cover with a simple snap shot of some of the citizens he loved working with. It was an honor to be a small "cog" in his inspiring life's story.

The Evolution of a "Slash" Career

I recently read an article from Forbes about millennials who have "slash" careers. While I'm not a card-carrying millennial, I certainly resonated with the article. It states how valuable someone who says things like “I’m a lawyer/writer," or "I work in marketing; I’m also a professional actor," or "I’m in tech, and I have photography business on the side," can actually be an asset to their employer (or in my case, clients), contrary to what some traditionalists may think. The article is a great read as it offers what I consider to be a new wave of the future that many creative types have long embraced, whether millenials or otherwise.

As a teaser, here are some of the reasons those with "slash careers" are such a valuable resource:

1. They are motivated and take initiative.

2. They have a diverse skill-set.

3. They are creatively fulfilled..... Their creativity spills out into your company.

Those that personally work with me soon find out how highly motivated I am to not only do my very best for each and every client and their customers, but also to live a life that makes a difference in the world. Much of the time, I do this alongside my treasured client(s). Other times, it's outside of the office walls of Studio Haus.

In addition to design and illustration work, I also practice and teach yoga. I'm an avid hiker and admitted nature geek. I love to read and hear live music. It's refreshing to find that many of my clients manage multiple interests as well and we support each others pursuits with heart-felt encouragement. All of this "extra-curricular" activity we embrace as individuals combines to make better team members and fellow earthly beings. And the benefits of all of these interests and pursuits we have within and outside of our primary career help to fulfill our collaborative endeavors in more meaningful ways.

I've been at this design thing for quite a while and it continues to amaze me how each and every project taken on has a completely fresh new feel to it and how enjoyable that process of discovering and uncovering its unique gems is. The pursuits of a creative career coupled with the ethics of business truly thrive when met with all the different perspectives that result from the collaboration on a project. It is a welcomed and valued opportunity every single time. Sharing the results of this process with the community it is offered to carries great responsibility that I'm proud to be a part of. It all comes down to mutual respect, honest communication and quality connection. I'm so very grateful for the opportunities to share these things we love to do.


Save the Date for Upcoming Fall Festivities

Creating branding has always been a large part of my business history. I have gravitated to that creative process from the very first logo project assigned in college. We didn't call it branding back then; it was just logo design. Over the years though, many of my logo clients have come back time and time again to build on their logo's brand recognition.

After building the recognition of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival's brand over the years, my wonderful clients came back to me for the development of the Memphis Japan Festival's branding that they will begin to manage this fall.

Since these two festivals are being managed by the same group, we decided it would make sense to give the Memphis Japan Festival a uniquely recognizable look while also having some graphic affiliation with the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. Nashville's festival is held in the spring and the latter will take place in the fall. The colors and blossoms of Nashville's springtime festival didn't apply. Hence more fall-like colors and flora. The letting and compositions did make sense though.

We are so happy to display the fruits (or shall I say the Japanese Maple leaves?) of our labors with this new logo and the upcoming promotional materials that are to showcase this new direction.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 24th from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 at the Memphis Botanic Garden. We'd certainly appreciate your support in attendance. And we sure do love what we do together as a team!


Change of Scenery

As this month's blog is posting, I'm on a creative retreat to tap into and foster more creativity in my work and thus my life. My business is called Studio Haus for a reason: my work spills out into every area of the world where I reside. Sometimes though, I need to break free from my walls and oftentimes it involves having nature all around me. However, for this retreat to happen, I gave myself a self-imposed deadline that "I couldn't go outside and play" until I redesigned my web site.

As you may notice, graphic development of just about any kind is a welcome experience professionally for me, so my portfolio of work can seem all over the place. The fact of the matter is that I still do a lot of the same kinds of projects I've always done: logos, books, ads, brochures/catalogs/other print, and, of course, full-on marketing campaigns including signage. The thing I've always done behind the scenes though has been art and illustration. I began sharing my work publicly after realizing how much volume I had in drawers that wasn't seeing the light of day. It was then that I decided it was time to start making more art again and marketing it. However, my site didn't leave a good first impression after trying to fit this "new" element of illustration into my portfolio. Let's just say the procrastination set in.

Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work.

After almost two years of trying to make the previous web site design work and getting a metaphorical jolt (again) from a single Chuck Close quote ("Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work."), I decided to go much simpler. I decided to stop trying to make something that wasn't working well into something that was easier, cleaner and more enjoyable to maintain and update. While doing these things for clients is always the objective, I'd let the attention to detail for my own marketing plan slip. So I decided to implement and prioritize my own professional deadline while maintaining my obligations to clients. That metaphorical jolt turned into a kick in the butt.

Welcome to my new web site. I can honestly say it was a joy to create. Because a web site is constantly evolving, I know I will still be finessing things along the way. In the meantime, please peruse, share, critique and hopefully enjoy.

This career I've been fostering along with my incredible roster of clients has been one I've loved from the get-go and sharing it with others is an honor. Now I'm off to work! Yay!