Monday, February 23, 2009

What you miss when you are late for everything

My friend Brad introduced me to Regina Spektor in the fall of 2007. I have since acquired every one of her albums and memorized the lyrics to nearly every song. I absolutely love her. She's become one of my favorite musical artists. I got on wikipedia tonight because Brad told me a very touching story about her song "Sampson" a while back and I wanted to see if I could find more background. I didn't, but I did discover that she opened for The Strokes during their 2003-2004 Room on Fire tour along with the Kings of Leon...... um wait, I went to that concert!
Yeah, I went and I was incredibly late. I saw the end of Kings of Leon, literally their last two songs. As they were the second opening act, I clearly missed Regina Spektor. I could have been enjoying her songs for at least three years before hand. The Strokes were by the way, an impressive live act, lots of energy. I remember Jules leaning over the railing seperating the crowd from the stage and falling in, on accident, head first right in the middle of a song. He continued to sing and didn't miss a single word all the way to recovering his composure on the other side of the railing. Very entertaining and one of my fondest live music memories.
Anyway, this disapointment may seem trivial, oh wow so you didn't hear a singer when you could have big deal, but it is a big deal to me. Music is a very important part of my life and the writing of various artists have made huge footprints on who I am and helped me acquire new perspectives. Realizing what I missed out on Regina simply because I am not punctual has made me realize I should put a little more effort into moving a little quicker when getting out of the house. Honestly, I am rarely on time for anything. Who knows what else I have missed. From this day forward I will have slightly more motivation to be punctual.

*Brad's music myspace is kind of a joke to him. He never logs in or updates and the recordings do not do his guitar skills justice. This guy is the most amazing guitar player-for-hobby I have ever heard. He's also very artistically inclined for visual media and a lot of fun.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

When Arrows Don't Penetrate, Cupid Grabs the Pistol

This is obviously not an official Outkast video but I love this song and really love Andre 3000. Listen to it and enjoy your V-Day, be it with a significant other, friend, family member, or yourself :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reviews on professional printers

For the first five years I did design work I never had to deal with a printer or the technical side and requirements of my files. That was the early years back when it was a hobby, before graphic design became my major and before I got paid more than $75 for an ad. Looking back my first experience with a printer was unbelievable. King Kopy in Noman, Oklahoma is amazing. They are friendly and helpful, even when the store front is crowded and busy. Their prices are extremely affordable and my fliers came out perfect. Absolutely no complaints. If you're in the area, I highly recommend them. These files aren't that old actually but I had very little art education and absolutely no design education so of course I'm looking at them now and seeing all my design flaws. BUT when I printed them, the print quality was terrific and that's what this entry is about.

Moving on to the next company I used, Next Day Fliers, it's far from a happy ending. I first ordered business cards for Marion Kay, full color front, black and white back, UV coated, and Rima, full color front and back, also UV coated. These cards looked amazing and you couldn't beat the price **I'd like to interject, because a friend of mine was disappointed in the timeliness she received from another printer, when they say "press ready files the next day" that means the job starts the next day. It does not mean they'll be shipped the next day**. The cutting was great, colors were dead on. My boss liked them so much I a made a 3rd design for all the people who work at her salon. At this point I actually had formal design education under my belt and I know how to create press ready files on my own. I also know to do test prints at home and I know the difference between mustard yellow and a subtle cream. What I didn't know is not all printers care about you, your design or your colors. They care about getting the order out quick and making money. The cards came back in 8 different variations of mustard yellow. They were so hideous. When I called about the colors being so far off I was passed through 3 people over the course of a week. I finally dealt with a very pushy guy who was incredibly condescending. He said he looked at the file and the print sample and said the colors were the same. He mocked me and asked if I understood the difference between RGB and CMYK, if I'd ever used a color index, and refused to give me more than a discount of 40% on my next order. I was so flustered you can't even imagine. For those of you who don't know me personally, I am a pleasant person but when it comes to taking care of business, I always take care of business. I learned from my grandmother, a fantastically strong woman, who knew how to tell a sales person what she was going to pay and walk away with free gifts. The fact that I couldn't get a free re-print out of this guy says that he is really good at his job and that Next Day Fliers has experienced this situation with other customers many times before me. Now, a printer should be allowed some margin of error. Their colors can't be perfect 100% of the time but the color variation in this order was unacceptable. If a company can't take responsibility for such a terrible job, the savings is not worth taking the chance. Sadly, my boss chose to go a head and take the 40% off and reprint with white backgrounds (which she prefers anyway because her design taste is pretty conservative). I vowed to never use them again and I hope you spread the word.
*I'm going to scan and post a document with the failed print job and what the colors should have been at another time*
When it came time to re-order Marion's cards we went with Jak Prints, efficient, environmentally friendly and they offer a hard copy proof. Rima was very enthusiastic about printing green and we were pleased with the final result. Absolutely no complaints on my part! The prices are competitive but a little higher than what Rima wanted to pay for her cards. So she chose a company she had experience with in college, PK Graphics. I thought she knew from the Next Day Fliers fail that it's worth paying a little extra to ensure you'll get exactly what you want. I guess not. The colors are very vivid, although the black ink looks slightly smudged. That however is not the fault that pushed me over the edge. *Again another scanned image to come* It was the atrocious cutting. In an order of 5000, almost all the edges of at least one side were frayed. For about 1/4 of the cards on another side you can see colors that are distinctly from another design order. The cut is made past my safety lines and you see lime green and sky blue.
If Jak Prints is in your budget, I highly recommend them. Not only will you be satisfied, you will be making less of an impact on our planet :-) If they aren't within your budget here are some tips to get a satisfactory print job from another company:
  • Always use a color index when you design
  • Pre-print from home and/or the office
  • Get a hard copy proof
  • Educate your self on the company's policies and disclaimers
  • Once you find a company you're satisfied with, hold on to them like gold. Become a loyal customer. Refer friends, colleagues, competitors, anyone and everyone. When your printer does mess up, and they probably will, you can use your loyal customer status as leverage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where have all the real fashion designers gone?

I am so very annoyed with women's fashion right now. I'd like to see more originality and less recycling of the biggest-mistakes-in-the-industry (Marc Jacobs, Why!?!?). I'm going back to my high school mentality of wearing absolutely anything I feel like, but this time I'll do it right :-) (No more pencil thin eyebrows, men's pants that sag in the butt or ill-fitting thrift store find- I own a sewing machine now)
If you like the current trends, more power to you but it's not my taste. What is my taste? It's very eclectic and hard to describe. Sometimes I feel like dressing up but most of the time I dress down. I love hip hop culture and I like almost everything at the Giant Peach.
But actually I've tightened up my budget to save for next year aka my final senior year aka the busiest and most expensive year of my adult life up until now. So I can't shop for clothes for a very long time. That's alright, I think I have enough to re-dress every hipster in Norman. (yes, those are photos of three closets I use. What you don't see in the first closet are 3 drawers on either side of the doors and clothes on both poles pushed back.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentines Cards

Valentines Day is coming up. One of my favorite hobbies is making greeting cards. I think it's more personal and a lot less stressful than shopping for something that says what you want to say, exactly the way you want it. I actually screen printed my Valentines a few months ago so I don't have anything new of my own work to show you. However, if you're not so crafty yourself check out these cards from Felix Populi (Brini Maxwell/Ben Sander). I think the design concept of "Don't let Love get away" is really cute and there is also a T-shirt available in that design.

In other news this semester I'm taking a drawing class. I definitely don't have a strength in drawing, or at least I'm not confident in it. I don't ever show people my sketch books. Actually, I never keep them. I fill them up and throw them away. I've been forcing myself to sit down and draw more often the past year but I know I need to be pushed more. When I met my drawing instructor I knew right away I was going to hate her in a really good way. She's a short, systematic, strict Asian lady. She makes us do specific drawing exercises every class period for 30 minutes. This is part of a participation grade. We spend the next 3 hours on an in-class assignment. Then she assigns homework to be turned in at the beginning of the next class.
The first in-class assignment was a still life of white styrofoam geometric shapes. Big surprise. I've been given this assignment so many times I can't count. Well I'm very self conscious in school so I like to camp out in the back and not interact with the other students. I don't like to feel discouraged or intimidated at school and art majors tend to be so arrogant. Once the instructor makes her way to me she just stands behind me, watching me work for a few minutes. Finally she says, "How do you feel?" WTF I'm thinking, well I felt ok until you asked me that. What am I doing wrong?? She starts talking about shading all the objects at once instead of working from piece to piece and how to blur things gradually the further they are in the background. Well, duh. I know this but I'm just not that great ok lady? First assignment, give me a break!
Then she surprises me, "I'm telling you this because you are obviously at a different skill level than the rest of the class and I see I'm going to need to challenge you."
Um, what? She left me slightly confused. I get up to get a drink of water and walk the hallway for a few minutes and finally get a glimpse at my classmates work. I don't think it's that different than mine, but when I walk back in the classroom, get a second look and finally get in front of my work I am quite surprised. I am actually at a different skill level than the rest of these students. That is not to say I'm great, just better than I thought. I know that I can definitely improve this semester and I need to get more comfortable with my work SO I've decided to post everything I do in drawing class. This is a big step for me guys so be kind :-)