“This American Life host and producer Ira Glass is among our era’s most beloved storytellers. In this wonderful short motion graphics piece, filmmaker David Shiyang Liu has captured Glass’s now-legendary interview on the art of storytelling in beautifully minimalist and elegant kinetic typography.”-Maria Popova on Brain Pickings
When I called up my dad this past August to tell him I was considering leaving my job he said (after an eternal silence)
Are you crazy?
Erin, do you know what’s happening to the economy right now? It’s headed for the shitter. You have a well paying job.
You have healthcare.
And the list went on. Valid points, all of them. I take it all in, and what he says scares me. All I can respond with is
Yea I get it, but I’m not happy.
In more words or less.
So I wanted to leave my full time job, but why? I had been there for almost three years and learned more than I’d ever hoped to. Worked with incredible, talented people who taught me just about everything I knew.
But I felt stagnant. I wanted to learn as much about myself and the people I designed things for as I possibly could. I wanted to be just like my design idols: Jason Santa Maria, Brian Hoff, Yaron Schoen, Kelli Anderson, and so many more. I read their blogs and became inspired by their work every day. The design community collectively reinvigorated a love for learning in me.
At the same time, I was head over heels about anything James Altucher had to say on his blog. The first post I read, 33 Unusual Tips to Being a Better Writer, was a link that someone had tweeted. His no-bullshit writing style resonated with me and I immediately jumped to another post after finishing, this time How to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE PLANET in 4 Easy Steps. In the article he says
My ONLY Three Goals in Life
A) I want to be happy.
B) I want to eradicate unhappiness in my life.
C) I want every day to be as smooth as possible. No hassles.
That was it, be happy. It’s easy to forget that being happy is a legitimate goal, maybe even the ultimate goal.
I think the most you can hope for at the end of life is that your hair is messed, you’re out of breath and you didn’t throw up.
This is only a small part of the story! I hope to keep writing about the ups and downs I’ve had since making the switch, and to shed any light I can on the topic of freelancing.
Brian Hoff’s article Understanding Inspiration resonated with me.
“Also, having recently redesigned this blog, I can relate to playing the role of a “recorder.” The color palette was inspired by a book cover I came across while browsing a bookstore in Princeton, New Jersey, while the cross-hatching–acting as shading running along the sides– was inspired by my neighbors old little white fence that is half hanging over into my side (the way the fencing weaved and intertwined). The subtle grey texture was inspired by a newspaper feel to put focus back on my content and purpose of this site: to read. A majority of what inspired this redesign was drawn by offline inspiration.”
He notes that many designers first stop for “inspiration” is to hit the vast array of online galleries showcasing pretty sites. I have to admit, that’s exactly what I do. But after reading his article, I’m trying to bring myself back to when I last felt truly inspired – which was not online at a gallery showcase. When I say inspired, I mean *seriously* compelled to do something. Compelled to write, draw, paint, or produce. It’s been a long time. I tell a lot of people that I’m not creative, I just make stuff pretty.
Deep down, I’m unhappy with describing myself as such a person. Making things pretty can be hugely satisfying, but in the end pretty fades (just like old ladies) and content becomes more important. A great concept, a creative concept, something that can only come from real-life inspiration… something that wasn’t mimicked but produced from scratch. That should be what I’m aiming for, first and foremost.
His article makes reference to a few designers and their own “real life” inspiration. Among them, was the small web design agency Carsonified. This agency has a website that I’ve been ogling for 6 months now (though I can’t remember how I first came across it) and I was excited to see that they had written an article about the process of redesigning their site about a year ago. This designer must have gone through 20+ iterations of the site until they got to the final design. Ultimately, the guy was inspired by a Gap Outfitters sale poster as he was jogging, and Carsonified as we know it today was born that night.
Everything about that story is so contrary to how I have been thinking about my own design process. For me, inspiration comes at my desk on the computer, and my goal is to make the first attempt the only attempt, and refine from there.
I’ve noticed lately that looking at my computer screen for more than a few hours at a time actually makes me feel resentful toward it. Because we live in Blacksburg, not quite the bustling hub of city inspiration, I need to make sure I get out more and travel. I was never big on traveling because I constantly feared getting lost. Lately though, getting lost is sounding more like an adventure and less like something that will lead to my ultimate demise. (Another fantastic article by Crush Lovely on getting lost)