Posts tagged graphic design
Moving from maker to mentor — with Jessica Barry

“A VP at SAA said they had a recruiting position available and wanted me to interview. I remember my first inclination was —absolutely not. I'm a designer, not a recruiter. This is what I went to school for.  

I went back after the interview (that I thought did not go well) and talked with my friends and said if I take this, this is the end of my design career... my design skills are going to die... but my friends kept saying 'just try it.'"

 

JESSICA BARRY, President & Owner, The Modern College of Design  

Jessica wanted to be a designer — a really good designer. And, like anyone with the talent and tenacity to fulfill that kind of dream, she went to art school, learned from great mentors, honed her craft, and eventually became that really good designer.

But what if there's more than that... more than just being a good designer? What if the dream was merely a stepping stone to something else despite the design skills she worked so hard to cultivate?  

Jessica recounts her journey from attending the small upstart School of Advertising Art in Kettering, Ohio, to the unheard of act of buying — fully purchasing — the same school she once attended. The move from maker to mentor wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't her expected career path. Jessica talks about weighing her new opportunities and rethinking what a career can look like if you take it one step at a time.

At the time of this recording, Jessica and her staff were preparing to officially open their doors to the new Modern College of Design — expanded and rebranded in time for the 2018-19 class. She talks about the risk and reward of these ambitious changes and the big, hairy, audacious goals she has for the school in the not-so-distant future.   

 

The Modern College of Design

 

Advantages of going small & going home — with Katie & Josh Emrich
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“I feel I've found this calling working with small businesses and I don't feel like I have to make excuses for not having these big clients. I've worked with big companies and I've just found it to be a soul-swallowing process because they are so risk adverse, so many people have to sign off on the work, and you're so far removed from the decision-makers.”

JOSH EMRICH, Emrich Office

 

“Design becomes other things. It's not just on a computer or on a piece of paper. It's how you see the world.”

KATIE EMRICH, Emrich Office

 

 

 

Emrich Office is perhaps best summarized as the artistic vision of Josh and Katie Emrich that is made full with their four kids and one rather spectacular basement studio in Indianapolis. It's also a long way from Colorado and the design mountains Josh was trying to scale just a handful of years ago. But as Josh explains, summits can look awfully good from the ground, but from the summit, base camp has a genuine appeal, too.

Josh and Katie share their journey of slogging through a recession-era climate in attempt to go big,  and keep the gears cranking. What they ultimately found was a greater reward in embracing the appeal of small — both with regard to their business size and those of family-owned businesses that comprise their client list.   

We learn that behind a great designer is... another great designer. And that's what makes this duo work so well in running a successful design business and designing a deliberate way of life for their not-so-small family.

Insight, wisdom and lessons learned abound in this third installment of our "Indy or Bust" series featuring Indiana-based creatives. 

The power in pursuing small things — with INCH x INCH
 
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“We didn't set out to create a business. It was more about how can we create something cool and possibly do a little good in the world.”

DREW HILL, co-founder, Inch x Inch

 

"It sounded just ridiculous enough for us to get really excited about it." 

BOB EWING, co-founder, Inch x Inch

When two longtime friends and artists decide to finally collaborate, naturally they land on... one-inch buttons?

As quirky as it sounds, Drew Hill and Bob Ewing gravitated to this tiny canvas with much a bigger purpose in mind. What if they could get other artists to submit designs? What if by buying a series of rad buttons from Inch x Inch, patrons would also be supporting arts education (which is continuously in danger) and fuel a future generation of artists? What if their own idea about collaboration turned into an organization that was fully reliant on collaboration and committed partners?

Drew and Bob talk about the importance of side projects, how theirs came about and ensuring it wasn't all about them, and how something as ridiculously inconsequential as one-inch buttons is actually making a tangible difference.  

inchxinch.org

Adopting new ways to live & work — with Ben & Beth Stafford
 

“There's much to be said about investing more in people than your business; and one may directly influence the other.”

BEN STAFFORD, Foxmeadow Creative

“It's something really important to us that we prioritize, family time and work time, and that's helped us keep our sanity. We don't work all hours of the night and day, we want to make sure we have time to spend as a family outside of work.”

BETH STAFFORD, Foxmeadow Creative

 

A move. A pivot. A layoff.  And a whole lot of pursuit into the unknown.

For many of us, this kind of change, disruption and lack of clarity can be unnerving. For Ben and Beth, they are choosing to see an alternative plan for how best to approach work and the art of living a purposeful life.  

Becoming familiar with their story, one could easily be reminded of the lyrics to Divine Intervention, the opening track to Matthew Sweet's classic 1991 album, Girlfriend.

I don't know where
I'm gonna live
Don't know if I'll find a place
I'd have to think about it some
And that I do not wish to face
I guess that I'm counting on his
Divine intervention.

Hopeful, heartbreaking, funny, honest and real— these are perhaps the best ways in which to illustrate a conversation with two big-hearted creatives that are pursuing a path less traveled with no regrets. 

Foxmeadow Creative

Ben Illustrated (illustration website)

Ben Stafford: How to Become an Expert (Making Midwest Fest)

It’s never too late to pen a new script — with Bill Lilly

I thought because of the skill that I had, I should make big bucks. When I turned it down (the White House job), the pay was equal to a truck driver's union-skilled job” 

BILL LILLY, International Senior Master Penman, nonagenarian and retiree

You might not know it from his gregarious laugh and unimposing stature that measures closer to five-foot tall rather than six, but Bill Lilly is a legendary character who pens legendary characters. He is regarded as the world’s foremost Master Penman — a title he’s held for the better part of three decades. Bill’s story is one of his incredible talent in scriptwriting and flourishing with a steady hand, and how his love of script has led to genuine surprises and unforeseen stardom. 

At a youthful 90 years old, Bill sits down with us in his humble in-home studio and weaves tales about serving in WWII, leaving college to improve his script, turning down a job at the White House, plowing through a career he never really enjoyed, and how he ended up becoming a world sensation long after his retirement from International Harvester. For the past 25 years, Bill has been showcasing his work while also giving private lessons to both young designers and hobbyists who desire to learn his technique and who actively seek him out from all over the world.  

Bill's story is a testament to finding one’s joy, honing a hobby into something more, and never abandoning that passion from within. His rise to unlikely fame reveals a remarkable journey that has spanned nearly 70 years in the making. 

Running from boredom (part 2) — with Andy Pizza

Until you see someone like you thriving, you don't think you can.”

ANDY J. MILLER (aka Andy J. Pizza / Dr. Pizza) illustrator, instructor, speaker, and chief motivator of the Creative Pep Talk podcast.

In this episode, we continue the conversation we started with Andy and explore the importance of transitions and transformations; work vs. play and open vs. closed mode; the brilliance found in side projects; the need for space to actually be creative; and why calling yourself a “commercial artist” is more of a badge of honor and not some misguided notion of selling out.

Andy also talks about why he’s not romantic about the podcast format, and the reasons for that point of view, in spite of hosting his own wildly successful podcast.    

You can check out Andy’s illustration work on his site andy-j-miller.com and listen to his podcast at Creative Pep Talk.

Taking a leap of faith for the good of others — with John McCollum
 

“Early on, I acknowledged ‘I don't know what I’m doing’ and that was one of those things that was really helpful. I didn’t get the big picture of what this would become, so I was able to learn piece by piece. 

I didn’t have any illusion that I had anything I could bring to the table that would help these people other than money — and I didn’t have much of that." 

JOHN McCOLLUM, Executive Director, Asia’s Hope

 

John will jokingly refer to his decision to close down his design agency to take on the leadership role for a nonprofit organization that helps orphaned kids in Asia as taking the down escalator in terms of wealth, influence and success in business. Admittedly, it’s not a conscious decision that many of us would choose to make — John included. But what John discovered, first through adoption, and then by recognizing those who would never have that chance, led him on a journey half-way around the world to bring hope to some of the world’s most vulnerable children at risk of sexual and economic exploitation. 

John’s story is about listening, feeling, and acknowledging that call on his life — and then having the faith to step out and actually do something about it.   

www.asiashope.org