Well, it’s taken a year, but I’m back at it. Restarting my Creative Workshop Challenge on number 3, “Time Machine”. I don’t know why I got hung up on this one, but I did. I recently picked up a couple books that has resparked my desire to push forward with graphic design. The first was a book called “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” which so far seems to be a collection of ideas from Daniel Pink, Keirsey, and Steve Martin…I was familiar with the first two, but after a couple different people mentioned it, I also picked up Steve Martin’s, “Born Standing Up” which is somewhat fascinating, with the overarching thesis being simply this: hustle. So, enough excuses, it’s time to get busy.
Challenge number three is this:
Select a print ad from before 1980 that you admire, then redesign it in a contemporary style as a full-page color ad.
I found some old Kodak ads that sparked my interest and went after a minimalist design. A little rusty, but glad to be back at it.
PS: just a reminder that if you’re viewing with an RSS feeder, the image won’t show unless you visit the site
So, version 1.2 is a success! I’ve been meaning to post about it for a while, but we had friends in for a weekend and I didn’t get around to working on it and then…well, life happens. I also thought it would be more useful if I could wait until it was in use for a while before posting. The stability issues are all but gone. I’m not enough of a physics buff to understand exactly the reasoning, but it seems that if the base is slightly wider than the top it makes a HUGE difference. I did encounter some problems during the construction- the biggest being the plywood’s tendency to chip. From what I’ve read a better blade could help that issue and also putting down painters tape on the cut lines. I should have done a bit more research before starting in, but…I’m still refining the design and the methods, so I’m not afraid to make a few mistakes along the way.
I bought a Kreg-Rip to help with cutting down the plywood to more workable pieces. I am really happy with the way it worked…not perfect, but for $34 it’s hard to complain. Moving forward the next design is going to simplify the leg design a bit and I’m going to focus more on the finish work with the introduction of a router to smooth the edges.
So, here are the designs I’ve been working on over the past few days. Version 1.1 is the same basic design as the first one, except that it’s an inch and a half wider and the legs are flush with the top. It’s an improvement, but after looking at it for a couple days I decided that it’s not a big enough modification to actually change the stability issue. For version 1.2, I redesigned the legs using a stool from Kulla Design as inspiration (pictured on the right). I remembered back to the use of plywood to build furniture by Eames, and that allowed to think a little “bigger”. I think angling the legs out should give it the stability I’m looking for and only marginally sacrifice strength to get it.
I’m a little concerned about making it look good, especially with the top of the legs being exposed, but I think with the right finish we can make it work. The other concern is that there are a lot less straight/perpendicular lines in this design. So, I’ll have to rely more on my trusty jigsaw that I had originally intended. (or maybe visit my dad’s workshop to use his bandsaw)
Anxious to get a few free moments in the garage to make the next prototype. Maybe I need a 3d printer so I can test my theories…
PS to my RSS readers: The featured (top) image doesn’t show in the feed, so to understand what I’m talking about you’ll have to go to my site
Over the weekend I completed my first true wood-working project – a custom designed step stool. Overall it went pretty well, took about an hour start to finish, and the stool came out exactly like I envisioned. The problem though is that the design itself is flawed…it’s just not stable. Because the legs are 1/2″ inset from the top and are perfectly vertical, it has a tendency to tip if you stand on the edge or shift your weight just so. No stool is completely free from tipping, but this design is beyond the threshold of what I consider acceptable. So…back to the drawing board…or in this case Sketchup.
As for some finer details of the construction, I used a circular saw for the long, straight cuts and then a jigsaw for the cut out in the legs, andthe handle. I didn’t have a jigsaw prior to this, so I went to the local big box home center and bought a Black & Decker . I was a bit hesitant about getting a cheapie, but the reviews were good and without knowing how serious I am about this new hobby I didn’t want to break the bank. So far so good.
One tip that I learned afterwords in regards to my technique is what they call “plunging” the jigsaw. I historically have just drilled holes in the corner of whatever I was cutting then dropped the blade in the hole and started from there. I didn’t really like the results of that method and googled from jigsaw tips and found this video. I’ll keep it in mind for the next time around.
This is the design of my very first wood-working project (picture above). With Jen and I being little people, we tend to rely pretty heavily on step stools strategically placed around the house. We have about 9 or so of these nice wood ones that we use pretty exclusively. They’re the right height, pretty portable, and strong enough that we don’t feel in danger. Unfortunately, after a year or so they start to get loose and eventually collapse. With each costing $25-30, replacing them gets old quick. So, I put my engineering skills to work and designed something that I thought would be simple to make and hopefully fix some of the weaknesses of the other design. For example, the previous stools had 24 joints, my design has 8. In the old design only 4 of the 24 used screws. With my design, all 8 use screws.
Speaking of screws…I discovered this little magic tool called a Kreg Jig. I actually discovered it a few years ago while I was at my brother-in-law’s house. It was laying on his bench and when I asked about it, I remember him saying something like “it’s the greatest thing ever”. Fast forward a few years and I’m hearing the same thing from other sources, namely Ana White, Young House Love, and Family Handyman. So…I bought the Kreg Jig Jr to start.
Ok. So..here we go…my first wood working project. Who’s excited?
Well it’s been 9 months so I guess I’m a bit overdue to post. I do plan to continue and even finish the Creative Workshop Challenge at some point, but it’s on hold for the moment. Here’s why:
My life is cyclical. By that I mean, I have about 6 interest/hobbies and my time and attention to each of them isn’t equally spread throughout the year. Instead it’s hyper concentrated. I spend about 1-2 months on one topic, completely obsess over it, learn everything I can before eventually getting burnt out and then move onto the next one. I’m not sure if this is a normal or healthy behavior or not, but it’s my reality and I’m embracing it.
And while I’m talking about embracing reality…
It’s no secret I’m an introvert. I tend to keep my mouth shut around other people and speak when I feel I have enough wisdom and thought on the topic to present an interesting response. Unfortunately often conversation carries faster than I am able to conjure up anything, so I’m left silent for extended periods of time. Which causes people to think that I’m shy or worse, judgmental.
I’m the same way on the internet. I tend to stay quiet. I don’t like to stir the pot unless my thoughts are thoroughly developed and usually I don’t say anything. Which is OK I guess.
But the truth is, I tend to not like people like me.
I tend to like the people who present themselves as they are. Hiding behind silence, only to turn around and speak against/for something in private is simply called “passive aggressive” and really, does anyone find that attractive in a friend?
So…I’m going to try harder to be more honest, more open, and possibly open myself to some of the things I’ve been harboring for a while. That sounds more maniacal than it actually is.
Regardless, here’s to opening a new chapter of the blog…
Whew…a 90 minute project turned into 2 weeks.
CHALLENGE #2 – Design a typeface using items in the world around you
There were a number of ways this could be tackled…you could use an item to manipulate into type or just try to capture items that look like type…just no actual type or items meant to be type. Let me tell ya, K’s are not easy to find. In hindsight I would have gone for the manipulation route, but this challenge isn’t about doing what’s easy, it’s about learning and I definitely did that.
If you haven’t read my previous post, go ahead and do that and catch up to speed. Basically I’m working through the book Creative Workshop and this is my very first post in a series of 80.
here. we. go.
“…design a logo for yourself that is clearly informed by your brainstorming.” [paraphrased]
Since I’ve already developed my ‘brand’ pretty well, I decided to take a crack at Jen’s. She has been in need of a header for her website for some time, so I took it a step further and added the little tagline for it. It’s simple, very font/text based, but it works. Jen isn’t much for pink and frilly things, but she is feminine, so the softer blue color & scripted font I think fits her personality.
But enough about me, what do you think?
If you haven’t ever completed the StrengthsFinder test, I suggest you drop whatever you’re doing, go buy the book and take the test. You’ll be amazed at what you learn. One of my strengths is the “maximizer”…here’s an excerpt about what that means:
Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s, fascinate you. Like a diver after pearls, you search them out, watching for the telltale signs of a strength. A glimpse of untutored excellence, rapid learning, a skill mastered without recourse to steps—all these are clues that a strength may be in play. And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence. You polish the pearl until it shines.
It’s taken quite a few years to understand and accept that I need to work from my strengths and not focus so much on my weaknesses. It’s taken even longer to realize that graphic design is a skill I deeply want to master. Today though, I’m making steps to that end.
I’m beginning the “Creative Workshop Challenge”. I bought this book, the Creative Workshop which contains 80 challenges that promise to sharpen and strengthen my design skills. I’m going to go through one by one, complete the challenge and then post the results here. It’s that simple. (Think Julie & Julia, only without the amazing food or Oscar award winning actors)
Will I crash & burn? Will I make it to the end? Will I die from creative block? We shall soon find out.
As you can probably guess by the post title & image, I recently had a run in with The Accidental Creative, a book by Todd Henry. I actually haven’t yet read the book, but over the past few days I’ve been listening to the podcasts while driving to and from work. The tagline of the book is “How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice”. Since I haven’t yet read it, I can’t speak to the content, but hearing Todd Henry talk and interview a few guests, I’m coming to a pretty clear understanding of the principle, which is basically “exercise your mind, constantly”.
That seems simple, but the truth is that many of us go through life, just trying to keep our heads above water, not really thinking creatively about creative problems. However, I’ve found that just simply breaking myself of the daily habits, [not listening to the radio, not watching as much TV] and instead getting creative [reading inspirational books, creating websites, designing print items] my mind is much more spry…and this is just after a few days!
Anyway, I’m trying to keep my posts short. So, I’ll just recommend that you go check out the podcasts or maybe pick up the book.
If you’re a creative or wish to be, it just might be the catalyst for change you need!