I’m trying to get better at this. Showing lots of work. Lots of options. And leaving it up the client to decide. I’m trying to not do that. Because ultimately, I should be able to make the call. To focus the direction. To finalize the design as it should be. So it has the best chance of existing in the world and succeeding in whatever ways it needs to.
In the creative process, I’ve found myself, initially, working towards one good idea first. And then, being buoyed by having something, the freedom that follows is so liberating sometimes great can follow. The only time I’ve made something great this has happened.
Hot tip: if you’re running for president and are in need of a logo fast, and you want to be bold and direct, here’s what you should go with. Ready? Do you have a pen? Write this down: Motherfuckin’ Franklin Gothic Std Condensed. This as a type logo is all you will need now and ever again. How is it that none of the other 20+ presidential campaigns thought to go with such a powerful type choice? If you want strength, this is your font. If you want no-nonsense, this is your font. If you want to look like you didn’t really make a decision but still need to make a decision, this is your font. What colors should you use? Whatever, it doesn’t matter. These letters will speak true no matter what palette you conjure up.
My Twitter account is meant for a not-too-distant future where fascism is fully unleashed on the country through an unelected totalitarian government of Republican anti-democratic zealots who ruthlessly silence dissent in all forms by shutting down livelihoods in whatever cruel way they so callously see fit and they will have no trouble combing through my vitriolic Tweets that contain all my rage directed toward the shadow spineless conman who has no business negotiating with a tea cup in this now our current unraveling present. I want my Tweets to make very clear I want no part in their bleak future of power hungry white men who deem it their duty to silence citizens, disregard the environment, and divide via whatever wall they can find.
I’m a designer. I work on teams. With clients. With collaborators. Creating projects with people to bring something new and exciting into the world. Which I absolutely love doing. But to recharge, to get centered, to get grounded, to replenish the well, I need to be alone.
I’m an introvert, big time. Being around people, even people I love, can be exhausting. I used to be ashamed of needing to be alone in order to recover. But I’ve grown to accept it. And with acceptance of your very real personality traits, you can begin to use them to your advantage. Nowadays I actively seek out my alone time instead of bumping into it at the point of exhaustion. Which makes for better rejuvenation and leads to higher quality people time when it’s time for that.
I was introduced to IDLES via text from a good friend. It was the video for Danny Ndelko. On first listen I was all in. The music and the message. But I wasn’t sure if it was new music or if it was from the 70s. Maybe I’d been missing out all this time. But then I heard the same song on radio KEXP the following week. Then I knew, they were the next big punk rock thing. Exactly what I had been waiting for.
Their album Brutalism I love. And Joy as an Act of Resistance is an instant punk classic. Their videos online are powerful. The live performances at KEXP drew me in like no other. Again, the music and the message. I could feel the weight of all of it in what I was hearing through my speakers and seeing on my screens.
But no screen can compete with a dark, dank club and a couple hundred kids packed together, moving in unison.
They were my most-listened artist on Spotify last year. And watching those videos always gives me goosebumps. But nothing compares to the raw energy of their live show.
In a pit in downtown Kansas City, crushed Coors Light can in my back pocket, ramming into my crew of misfits who made the convoy down from Omaha, ramming into complete strangers, with spit and beer and sweat spraying wildly into the air, we moved to and fro, singing at the top of our lungs, our voices blending into the sound waves blasting from the stage, pummeling the crowd, making our hope real, bleeding our dreams into this reality we are now standing in together, in this short burst of life leading to exhaustion, each vocal and bass line and drum pound making it painfully obvious we made the right choice in taking 24 hours out of our busy schedules of work and family and community to drive 3 hours to a show that lasted for an hour and forty-five minutes because it just might be the closest thing to church I’d been to in decades.
And that is why you go to shows.
The brevity of our online world has whittled us down to a few words we use to describe ourselves. In the online world, it stands to reason, the words we use are what we project of ourselves into the digital. But not all of ourselves. Online I’m a designer, activist, collaborator, citizen. Offline I’m still those things, but there are other more important words I use when I think of what I am. And those real world titles I’ve come to protect from the noise of what happens online—son, brother, friend, neighbor, husband, father. Roles I’m incredibly proud of and put a lot of value, time, and effort into. I just don’t see the need to share them into the digital void. Which certainly doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Perhaps just the opposite.