i’ll be co-working at kleverdog in chinatown all week. eating lots of raspberries we picked last week on our excursion up to yucaipa! and this saturday is the LA printer’s fair at the international printing museum in carson. come down & get your annual fix of wood and letterpress type!
i’m jumping back into co-working with a jelly meetup at kleverdog. so far it’s just a few people, but the space is fantastic and very comfy–and so close to my house, right in chinatown. sign up for one of the meetups through jelly to try it out. now if i could only figure out how to walk here with my laptop, my lunch and my bag o’ tricks.
Thanks Getting: how to ask for a testimonial from Dyana Valentine on Vimeo. one of the great things that can happen during co-working: one person asks a question, another person has a great idea for an answer, and a third person [me] is there to hold the camera! read dyana’s entire post, thanks-getting, for creativefreelancerblog.com!
this is a little bit typography & a little bit holiday. designworklife.com is working out gift guides for 2010, and i really loved this typography-themed selection, including yarn-wrapped letters, the OMFG journal, a very affordable letterpress print, and even a letterpress t-shirt.
[image: living with lindsay]
a little bit holiday & a little bit diy. despite a lack of religion, i do like the hanging of decorative wreaths during the holidays. i’ve tried like the dickens [well, not the dickens] to get this succulent wreath to work, but it doesn’t look anything like the ones you can buy. i might try making something interesting out of the eucalyptus & peruvian pepper in the park, but if you’ve got crafting on the brain for unexpected holiday ornaments with a handmade touch, re-nest.com offers: craft with what you already have: 10 diy wreaths.
a little bit design industry & a little bit typography, and a LOT of good old émigré! i don’t know about you, but i’ve still got a collection of the free quarterlies they sent out in the 90s that i treasured from the moment of arrival, so cool & so fun. i’m interested to take an hour or a week looking through this one. take a nice preview here: emigre 70: the look back issue.
i really liked this one from logodesignlove.com: building your design business: promotion, and not because i’ve done almost everything on their suggested actions list, either. the giving aspect is what i see in my favorite companies, partners & colleagues, and it’s what i look for in collaborators. promotion isn’t about banging people over the head [i’ll try to remember this in my daily tweets & facebook bombardments], it’s about being cool.
another greatly supportive piece from designspongeonline.com: biz ladies: establishing relationships with advisors. it’s so important to have mentors and trusted confidants you can bounce ideas off and get advice. if you haven’t cultivated a circle for yourself, they’ll show you how to get started.
let’s get realistic here, it’s the holiday season, and i’ve already started hearing about the difficulties with work-life balance, and it only gets harder this time of year. freelancefolder.com wants to help: six dilemmas that freelancers face over the holidays.
wine: is this design or wine or beyond design & wine? sf moma has this amazing show through april, and fastco design wrote up a preview: how wine became a billion dollar high-brow hobby. i’m definitely going to have to make a beeline for it on my next trip up north.
food: anchovy haters, step aside! when i saw this recipe i fell in love. i can picture what it tastes like, and i’m going to make it with my last slice of puff pastry in the freezer: pissaladières [onion & anchovy tarts].
los angeles: it’s a little bit food, a little bit los angeles, and mostly the first in a series about seasonal eating for laist.com: seasonal eats: persimmons.
fashion: do i write about fashion? no! but i aspire to some of it, and when i read some good, applicable stuff, i want to share it. nubby twiglet just fine-tuned her closet in this extremely virgo way i totally get on an astrological level. it’s sensible, utilitarian, and she has amazing shoes!
doyald young talks about and demonstrates drawing type.
remember that design your own type contest by design sponge? it’s time to vote for your favorites! right now, today!
if you need a primer or reminder on how to combine type styles, check out smashing magazine’s: best practices for combining type
imprint takes a look at sign painters, a new documentary from faythe levine and sam macon on the timeless art of hand-painted signs. so much hand-lettered goodness in there!
speaking of diy projects, have you ever considered making your own wrapping paper? i often use plain brown paper anyway, but this design sponge post made me think i should dress it up a bit. diy project: handmade gift wrap.
the latest report on co-working talks about mixing things up by hitting the road: creative co-working: take it on the road!
how about a contest that breaks all the rules and awards the worst logo ever? i think this is hilarious: how low can your logo?
more on color by jude stewart: the wonderful color wheel, part 3
stunning packaging for jeremy wine co. by 6 west design. not only is it dually typographic, it’s a diecut wrap label that uses the negative space to create the letterform. excellent work!
the coming of thanksgiving heralds the onslaught of how to posts on choosing the perfect wine. you know what it comes down to? you can drink anything you want. but if you want to sort some of this out, here are a grip of posts that will lead you down myriad trails, at least there’s wine at the end of each one: sparkling wine & champagne, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, zinfandel, pinot noir, a selection of reds that go well with thanksgiving fare. also, the huffington post has an opinion. and if you’re not into wine, there’s artisanal cider.
but there are other things you can do besides drink for the holidays [you can always have an apple]. you could participate in machine project’s pop up pie shop in which you may purchase a pie kit and know you’re not only getting a complete kit for baking your thanksgiving pie—you’re also funding the los angeles food bank. why? because machine is awesome!
but look, if you insist on drinking AND fundraising for good causes, and you feel i glossed over beer, take this: harvest beer festival at the echo & echoplex this weekend, benefiting 826LA. bam!
on the more foodie end of the spectrum, i am loving this salad of fall flavors from hot knives: hot rad winter salad.
if you’ve been hitting up the farmer’s market and creating original concoctions at home, write them up and submit them to epicurious’ farm-fresh recipe contest!
and it’s not that i want to end this post on a dark, gothy note or anything, but i found this feature from los angeles magazine totally fascinating: the end. death in LA can be an odd undertaking. trust me on that one.
[image: stuart silverstein]
a few weeks ago, at the end of my 4th of july wrap-up i mentioned that i was starting a new work schedule involving co-working with a group of designers. from the minute we all got on board, we were excited about coming into a social workspace where we could maintain our independence as self-employed designers, but still get the support of working with other creatives. it’s been 3 weeks since my first day and it’s been a very welcome shake-up to my routine.
thanks to our awesome friend, spencer cross, who started the kernspiracy listserv for designers to connect, share advice & referrals, review software & hardware, and generally discuss our industry, i met all these great designers through ongoing comments on this list and was familiar with them for years before we decided to work together. 2 designers from this group, stuart silverstein of fetch! creative and ben thompson of studiofluid have taken on a partnership to combine and multiply the efficacy of their services in e-commerce design and branding. they got an office space that had plenty more room than they needed, so they decided to ask a few design colleagues if we’d like to set up a co-working arrangement, whereby we rent desks and access to office services, bring our own workstations, and work together. at first i thought i don’t really need to do this, i have an office at home, but the more beth goldfarb and i talked about it, the more we thought it could be a great thing to help us get on track with everything we wanted to implement from the creative freelancer conference, help each other, network more regularly, and add a social aspect to our work we hadn’t had before. so, we decided to do it on a part time schedule. stuart & ben filled the other part time slots with melanie orndorff and dave waite for a really well balanced set of expertise in the room.
what’s it like?
we all have a basic schedule, but on any given day you could be working alone [though stuart and ben are usually in the office] or with 2 other people. when someone has a technical question, just shout it out and you’ll probably get it solved in a few minutes. if someone wants feedback on an upcoming project, there are usually a few people to ask about composition, usability & first impressions. we started out having lunch as a group on fridays, but we’re already talking about doing much more.
at least once a week, in the middle of a conversation, someone will say “that gives me a great idea!” and run off to write it down. someone else will need to partner with a compliment to their skill set and pair off to work together. or sometimes, one person is busy and checks with the group to see if anyone can take on extra work. i’m also surprised with how self-directed we are. we take breaks to talk, but we also have hours of headphone-fueled clicking & typing where we’re all cranking out work. it’s a really great environment of creative support with fantastic people.
also, there are dogs. dog-friendly office!
there are ways to make this happen in your own group as well. while i think it would be really cool if design firms or often-partnered vendors made room for a few extra desks and offered them up to independent designers, if an arrangement like that is hard to come by, there are ways to do it yourself. you can always put out feelers in your network for like-minded designers and sign on with a co-working space like blankspaces and arrange to meet there on the same days and work together. if you’re more into a collaborative startup environment, idyllic nerd commune might be more your thing. and hey, if you don’t need office equipment and are happy in a coffee shop with wifi, maybe see about one with a bigger table in the back and take a group mobile day.
however you might want to work it, with freelancing and small businesses on the rise in the current economy, i think picking your co-workers for a more supportive & collaborative environment is a great way to work. for me, the perk is that this is on a part-time schedule, where i still get the refuge of the home office for the more quiet, more intense, more cats & pajamas days i still need.
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to celebrate the fourth of july this year, i put on one of a few outlandish red, white & blue combos and put together some food to grill at a friend’s house. i am so used to my arsenal of funny clothes that i didn’t bother with a full-body shot, but i did take a self-portrait at some point during the day. my red pants are represented by reflections on the white walls.
after obligatory grilling, we headed over to machine project for their 2nd annual porch of july spectacular. i mean, look at these ladies, who wouldn’t want to sing folk songs of american history with them?
[image: machine project]
we sang all manner of folk songs happy and sad. it’s amazing to think about how many years we have been singing about injustice, slavery, war, and crimes against nature with so much hope for change. to be singing the same songs so many years later and see so little evidence of progress is discouraging. i suppose evolution happens too slowly to observe, in any case. we did a lot of new [to me] favorites, like tree of the valley, oh healing river, and rare bog, rattlin bog, and revisited ones i grew up with, like the answer is blowin in the wind, when the saints go marching in, and this land is your land. i can muster up some spirit for some of them, but man, when they mention “the gulf stream waters” as part of the america we get to revere and share, my friend and i stopped in our tracks. hippie kid moment: um, america, what ARE you doing to this great land, anyway?
laura steenberge took a few breaks to mention how awesome and powerful it is to sing heartily with other people, and i totally agree. it was really fun to belt out songs about protest and fellowship with my friends & neighbors.
after that, we took a quick walk down to echo park lake where the usual suspects were lighting fireworks. my main worry in all this is about the ducks, but it looks like they manage to take refuge on the island. then we headed home to where kitty kazoo was hiding from the perceived warfare under the covers of our bed [motor & ray are relatively unphased by fireworks].
today is a whole new story. i have taken a desk in a co-working arrangement at fetch creative with some other awesome designers, and today was our first day working together. i am already so excited about this decision, because while i love working at home on my own, if i can get a chance to work in a group space with talented, driven, like-minded people, i’m thrilled. i’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, but for today it was great to pull up a chair, get away from my ordinary distractions and take in-person chat breaks instead of facebook or twitter breaks. a big yes to co-working!