Category Archives: Uncategorized

How To> Iterate and Choose

Since it’s been a short while since I’ve made any new developments on my business card design, I thought I’d pick up the project again with the approach of the new year being a great deadline.

After posting some sketches of ideas I had for a logo, (check here,) I got a lot of great feedback from friends and family; but also it was very varied input on which was the best approach. Feeling stumped, I decided to follow my own advice and move forward in another part of the challenge: the over all design of the card. I was doubly motivated when I found this free Skillshare class.

Almost like magic, my brain made some decisions about the logos I had produced and I jumped back into the boat to finish streamlining logos. I have it down to two winning ideas shown below. Ignore the layout (my name is simply a place holder,) and focus on the logos.

2 logos to choose from

Deciding between 1 and 2.

Stay tuned for drafts of the full card layout to see which one I’ve chosen!

How To> Be: A Millennial

With the economy and world the way it is, there’s been a lot of chatter about what it means to be a Millennial. But it rarely seems to come from anyone in this said generation. Let’s start with some delineation: what does it mean to be a “Millennial”?

The ever truthful and occasionally reliable Wikiepedia claims that, “Milliennials, or the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth years from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.” This is a self-admittedly broad definition connecting mostly to a fuzzy time frame; also, not what all the buzz is about.

Many of the articles discuss our* generation being labeled as “lazy” or “entitled,” while others acknowledge the complexity of the time. The debate seems to stem from everywhere, and unsurprisingly friends and family from many different generations bring it up often. Disregarding labels, every generation feels the need to prove itself worthy to the generation prior one way or another. Why? Because we tend to expect only what has already been seen, and thus new roles are always the most challenging to foresee.

My favorite example that comes to mind from a previous era is the now renowned F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  The nouveau riche and opportunities for reinvention were looked down upon by old money, aka, the previous generation. Gatsby was a metaphor for anyone who took the system by the reins and exploited it’s weaknesses, aka, the prohibition etc. Again, those with ties to inherited or traditionally earned wealth peered down their long noses, almost egging motivated characters to show off their wealth via opulence. This is just one of many themes that identify the conflict between the “new” and the “old,” and though completely different from today, bear a striking resemblance to some of the patterns to what I experience and witness.

So as I delve deeper into generational themes for my up coming novel, I thought I would write my own reply to the looming accusations that we are lazy or entitled**:

Many of our parents came from nothing, which motivated them to work hard to climb upwards and become something. And since many (again, this is a generalization, I think immigrating families all have some version of this experience in any time period,) of our parents have raised us without that need. Instead they have instilled a drive within us to find a career that “makes us happy.” This is a much broader goal than “earn money,” and in a way could be considered entitled thinking as we [thought we would] have the luxury of time and support to help us find this path. In the end, we are not lazy though. We graduated college expecting a degree in something, -anything-, and believed that would be enough to get us a decent job. For many of my friends (and myself) at least, when our first choice career did not come easily, we were ready to settle for anything that would allow us to be independent WHILE following our dreams.

Though I can’t speak for everyone, I know of so many examples of friends who are working 2-3 jobs to pay for rent just to move out of their parents’ homes and aim for independence. In most cases, at least one of the jobs taken is an unpaid internship or other low-wrung stepping stone to our dream careers. But even surviving on this combination can be a challenge. Please understand, no one lives at home because it is their first choice. No one, (except possibly in extremely rare cases,) loves living at home with their families; if you are living with your parents, I bet you are doing whatever you can to move out, no matter how much you love them.

If any one of us started off feeling entitled, the majority of us found out quickly this would not be true after receiving our degrees. Instead, we are anything but lazy as the numbers for highly educated people take lower and lower paying jobs. Lines for separating these generations aside, I am deeply curious about what great expectations the next generation will face, how they will be mislabeled, and how they will fight back. Good luck Generation Z!

*I consider myself a Millennial and loosely am speaking from that perspective, thus I am choosing to use the royal “we” in this context.

**I lump these two together because they often land on the same line when one searches (as I have) for “Millennial” on Google.

Extra Reading: F Scott’s own interpretation of his generation, very interesting:

How To> Design a Logo, via Iteration

Branding is key, and having a strong logo makes sure your audience knows which door to open to find yours. With this value in mind, I am starting with designing a logo for my business card. By beginning with this, I can spend the week refining the image while I continue to develop the other aspects of the project- since most of them are much more cut-and-dry.

pencil sketches of first draft logos


Here are nine very casually sketched logos, using my initials (AMW and AW). From personal and external feedback, so far I am leaning towards a second generation of 2 main concepts evolving.  Specifically, combining D and E, as well as creating H on with typed text and possibly having more than one line of text per stroke.

Here is where you come in: what are your thoughts on the above 9 logos? Leave  your feedback in the comments and stay tuned for tomorrow’s turns.

How To> Design, Make, and Print a Business Card

As a creative with a perfectionist complex, I both know and fear the importance of a well designed business card. After all, it is a small memento you leave like breadcrumbs in the world around you, hoping they will lead the right connections directly to you.  Though I have the ideas, skills, and need to create an updated business card for my blossoming brand, I have been mortified that whatever I create will not be good enough. [This leaves me using a template-made card I created over 5 years ago.]

Therefore, I am using this blog to teach myself and others how to make a business card. That is where you come in: you, the internet community, are endlessly wise and filled with particular skill-sets and particular opinions. For each day of the next week to come, I will write about and work on one more step of the creation of my personal business card, and ask for your help, through feedback in the comments below, along the way.

So let’s get started! Since today is Sunday, it’s a good day to design my game plan for the week ahead. The following are a few ideas of elements I want to focus on divided up into 5 categories.

  1. The logo
  2. The terminology of my branding (contact info, title, etc.)
  3. The color scheme
  4. Placement and composition
  5. Final editing, proofing/polishing.

What do you think? Is there any part of the business card creation process I’ve missed? Do you have any websites or ideas of where one might start along this process? Tomorrow to start, I am plan to sketch out 6 potential logos and ask you the reader to vote on a favorite.

Stay tuned and feel free to bug me about how far along I am in this process. Let’s all learn together!

How To> Organize: Lay It All Out There

The first step to any organizational process is to know your materials. Our minds are amazing organs, but they estimate based on our previous experience, regardless of the reality. I am always surprised to see the difference between what I expect to see, and what the content reveals after all the pieces have been played.

Whether you are working with physical/e-files, bookmarks, business cards, boardgames, or your aunt’s collection of tiny frog-related tchotchke; you will have no idea what categories or larger groupings to create if you haven’t documented the material to be organized. Taking an inventory might sound potentially boring, but this is the first opportunity to turn the process into  a game.

There are an infinite amount of ways to lay out/inventory your stock. In fact, I might even call this “info graphic brainstorming” time. To help develop my sense of style, I have decided to organize my wardrobe. I could lay out all my clothes and work with arranging them in physical piles, but where would the fun be in that? I love to draw, and have always thought fashion illustration was cool; how about I try to do crude line art of my clothes?

My first round attempt.

My first round attempt.

I have started with my shirts, (the most popular/trending content,) and have since gotten about 25 on one page. I will continue to post progress with other tips about how to get yourself organized, so stay connected!

How To> Use Perspective To: Approach Challenges

I often find myself looking so closely at dilemmas, they become walls that block my view of everything else. Studying it searching for a weakness or simply a way around the block consumes me while I forget that most problems are just pieces of larger ideas and objectives.

Taking a step back can feel like reverse-progress, but pulling back can enhance how you look at an obstacle. The next time you find yourself frozen in action, consider heating up your momentum with the following tips.

  1. Re-examine another issue to fix. Averting your attention to a different (but ideally related) problem will give you more peace of mind, show you a new tool to defeat the wall, or may even show you an error you can fix to change the whole foundation of the situation.
  2. Remember why you started. Your motivation is your energy bar: the more real the need for you to pass through, the harder you will work to find a way.
  3. Find an easy  task to relax with. Small but helpful tidbits can be extremely satisfying as well as boost your confidence. You just organized all of your receipts, you can now organize the world!

In the end, the smaller the wall, the easier it is to kick over.

How To> Understand Disclaimers

When was the last time “I didn’t know ____,” actually got you off the hook? Perhaps rules of conduct in a learning environmnet could be one example, except that we are expected to learn the rules before beginning; and, not knowing the rules will not remove any ramifications that may be incurred.

In the modern day age of everyone suing everyone, ignorance of the law only becomes useful when one can show knowledgeable negligence on the behalf of the rule-maker (or company that set out the rules.) After all, you can only be held accountable for what you had access to know in the first place, right?

Even though this does make perfect sense, to lessen the whip-lash of consumers who might manipulatively use the “ignorance” claim, many companies make customers sign off that they have read the rules of engagement (you know, a disclaimer.)  ALivingHowTo’s Legal Consultant explains, “This is called a “contract of adhesion,” and actually inhabits some shaded areas in liability to law because there is no recourse to make amendments to the contract.” So, if I want to play, I have no choice but to accept terms I had no hand in creating and probably do not fully understand.

In the end, though it be tedious and confusing, and additionally impossible to alter from the start, wading through legal documentation before entering into a contract is vital to survival and success in this world. From stopping a subscription from renewing, or your arrest record that indicates you are not allowed to purchase amo as  a felon; ignorance to the law is unfortunately not a valid defense.

At least companies are equally legally bound to share as much information as they have with their market. In the spirit of legal integrity to you the reader, I have created a disclaimer you can find here. Please agree to the terms listed before continuing on to more How-Tos.


How To> Anticipate the Next Workout

Certain songs just galvanize even the shyest of dancers to tap out a rhythm. Maybe it blasted on a friend’s car radio, or you overheard it at the gym: but now that song is stuck in your head and it pains you to admit you want to hear it again. These songs not only put in you in a good mood, but also drive you to move. What if these powers of catchy up-beat rays could be focused when you needed it most, like during a run for example?

After learning Macarena-esque arm movements to Gangam Style in a spin class, I knew I had to put it on my cardio playlist on Spotify. Apps like Spotify and Rdio make locating and organizing songs extremely easy. The next day, I had Psy stuck in my head and could not wait to move freely to the beat while on my run. And when I did hear it pop up, I was that much happier to run harder.

Try spending a little extra time working a playlist with songs you love, or just new songs you have been waiting to hear. Remind yourself that these songs are only treats for when you are working out. Not only does this delay over-play sickness, but you can use down time to find new music to add. Try a new Pandora station, or Shazam-ing that song in the background of So You Think You Can Dance.

Since smartphones make it so easy, you can even take a resting break during your workout to remove a song you discover doesn’t quite fit. In the end, the bigger and badder your playlist, the faster and happier you’ll be to get back out there again.