Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Font Frenzy!!! Typeface Tournament 2013 - [Sweet-Sixteen]

Typeface Tournament Bracket 2013
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament picks back up tomorrow with some sweet-sixteen action.  It's very easy to get caught up in all the madness this time of year, but don't forget to check in on the 2013 Typeface Tournament and root for your favorite fonts as they battle for the top spot!  Results will be posted weekly.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Appetite for Production

Working from home everyday can be arduous at times, however the privilege of being your own boss and the reward of controlling your own destiny is well worth the exhausting work, day-in and day-out.  One of the most difficult aspects to overcome at the home office is finding ways to stay focused amidst the many distractions that will entice you all day.  From time-warping internet sites to derailing emails, your office can easily become haven for unfavorable habits and inconvenient pitfalls that will only result in failure. 

I recently received a Red Lemon Club newsletter from Alex Mathers regarding his personal tip for increasing productivity:  Creating lists of tasks both big and small and prioritizing said lists to get important things done first.  I was delighted in the fact that I have been doing this (making lists) for years - it is also exciting to know other professionals share in my fervor for prioritizing!  Aside from this, I got to thinking about the other little things I do to produce more efficient results and success in my own home studio.  So here's a list...why not?

1.  Make a list of things you want to complete the previous night: 
  • Prepping for the next day will eliminate mundane or unnecessary tasks from your list.  Also, don't waste precious time from your morning routine figuring out what you should be doing all day!
2.  Get in a morning routine that preps your for work:
  • Get up early, eat a good breakfast, get out of those sweat pants, take a shower, brush your teeth and get that coffee ready.  You have a busy day ahead of you...this will get you mentally prepared for it.
3.  Set up office hours and stick to them:
  • 7:00am-3:00pm, 8:00am-4:00pm, 9:00am-5:00pm, etc.  Figure out a schedule that suits your particular needs, and don't be afraid of "overtime" because it's inevitable.
4.  Take a lunch break:
  • Take 45 minutes to an hour every day to eat something healthy and recharge for the second half of your day.  Also, be sure to eat somewhere outside of the will help to get a change of atmosphere for a bit.
5.  Get some fresh air, take a walk:
  • Coupled with the previous tip, this brief interlude can become just the thing you need to reset and be more productive throughout the remainder of your day.
6.  Set aside specific times to check and follow-up on emails:
  • Believe it or not, inbox notifications can be one of the most distracting events on your desktop.  When they do happen, take a quick peek at the notification pop-up to decide if it is urgent.  If not, disregard it until "email time."   
7.  Accomplish at least one thing everyday:
  • Nothing is more rewarding than the feeling you get from getting things done.  Getting at least one important task completed a day will keep you motivated to continue pushing through the tough times when all else feels hopeless.       
8.  Spend time with your loved ones every day:
  • Things can get hectic at times and projects can easily take control over your free time when you work for yourself.  Always remember what is truly most important and keep that separate from the trivial.

Make sure to check out Red Lemon Club for tips, e-books, and other valuable resources for creative professionals.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Review: Glittering Images - A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars by Camille Paglia

Exercising my public option.
   After months of waiting, the hold I had placed on this book finally came up at my local library.  Initially Glittering Images by Camille Paglia piqued my curiosity with its subtitle: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars.  Since Star Wars is arguably the greatest modern epic saga (and my personal all-time favorite set of films) I was interested in Paglia's theory of how George Lucas stacked up to some of the most notable works/names in visual arts history.
   This book is a fast-paced survey; an excursion that takes the reader through many of the important eras of fine art.  The chapters, progressing towards present day,  each cover an artist and work of art that helped define its respective era in just a few short, and well researched pages thus making this book an overall leisure read.  I found myself reading a couple chapters at a time and letting the information marinate for a while - sometimes until the next day.  I even felt compelled to do some extra research on some of the outside works or events referenced within certain chapters as well.  The culmination is a climactic chapter, regarding the unprecedented genius vision of George Lucas that echos the very lightsaber battle scene it examines.  The entire body of the book is less than 200 pages, however it took me nearly three weeks to really enjoy and savor the finely rationed content.
   In the introduction of Glittering Images, the author states her intended purpose: "This book is an attempt to reach a general audience for whom art is not a daily presence.  [Paglia] has tried to chart the history and styles of Western art as succinctly and accessibly as possible" (xiv).  A noble cause, to say the least, to prove that art should be known and appreciated by everyone, "...not a luxury for any advanced civilization" (Paglia xviii).  In the most essential respects, this book will get people interested in art no matter what level of understanding one has of art history.  It is also guaranteed to generate interest in the reader to further research and discuss the topics presented, encouraging and re-establishing an inherent appreciation for visual arts...a gift that could inspire the next George Lucas, Jackson Pollock or Pablo Picasso to have the courage to challenge the norms and be a creative innovator.