Friday, June 10, 2011

No thank you please

Recently, I turned down a gig. It was a difficult move for me to do. As a freelancer, choosing to do so in a time of recession all along while building a clientèle was a BOLD move. The signs were all there. When your little voice inside is screaming, that's a pretty big sign right there. I don't like it when clients give me carte blanche. That means coming up with at least 8, 574 visual suggestions. That's a lot of ideas, a lot of time, a lot of frustration and oh yes...very little money. Equally challenging is a client who refuses to take no for an answer. Trust me Mr. Potential Client, your novel War and Peace will not fit in a one inch by one inch ad. Another sign a gig can lead to a disaster: no deadline. Ok, that's just crazy. Anyone who has dealt with visual-individuals know how our creativity kicks in the minute our proscuitto is oh so close to that due date. My «21 gun salute» warning sign went off when the client told me to set his project in Times Roman and that it would look good. Instantly, I turned into De Niro: You talkin' to me? YOU talkin' to ME? Of course, I did origami with my tongue and chose not to say anything right then. I knew it was over.
Here is my advice on this matter: do not let time go by act NAO. You know you're heading for trouble let's just break-up and say good-bye. In my case, the client needed someone more «technical» if you catch my drift. Ideally, suggesting the client another graphic designer is a great gesture. Don't forget to part ways in a polite matter. Do not confuse politeness for weakness. A little class goes a long way.
Thank you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hello Kitty, YOU ROCK!

Hello Kitty made her 1st appearance as a decoration on a vinyl coin purse produced in Japan in 1974 by the company Sanrio. According to her website biography, Kitty's full name is Kitty White and she resides in London. She is good at making cookies, and she collects cute small things like candy, stars and goldfish. I'll admit it, I think she is pretty fabulous, hopelessly adorable and has incredible style. Last Sunday, I attended Japantown's Cherry Blossom Festival Parade here in San Francisco. Parades are fun but this one was meaningful. I wanted to go specifically to leave a contribution for the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. I had no idea Hello Kitty herself was going to make an appearance in the parade. I was thrilled when she rode by in a red convertible. For a second, I felt like a giggly 8 yo and could not resist screaming «Hello Kitty - YOU ROCK!» that's when she turned around to where I was standing and actually flashed me a peace sign ! (see photo). I love Japan, and although I have never visited that beautiful cherry blossom country, it's close to my heart. Here's to Hello Kitty and everything wonderful about Japan. Hoping for a speedy recovery and my prayers go out for the families of victims of the devastating tsunami and earthquake.
You can make a donation at this website:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Making a Clipper-colorful difference

I don't know about the rest of you, but using my CLIPPER card instead of the colorful monthly MUNI transfers, was a difficult pill to swallow. Design wise: what design? Where's the attention to detail? The well balanced composition? The (gulp) font? Avant-Garde in 2011? I don't think so. Decided it was up to me to make this daily item more to my taste. After all, I'm paying for it. I have seldom purchased anything that was colorless. Even my monthly Burgermeister hamburger is prettier to look at than a CLIPPER card. And if, I should loose it one day, I hope it falls into the hands of a person who could really use some color and «happy» fonts that day. Would YOU like to have a personalized-decoupaged CLIPPER card from Mrs Claypool?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

« MultiSLACKER »

MultiSLACKER is one who is engaged to multi projects, all of which are: behind schedule, out of scope, and/or over budget. Yup - - that is what I have been going through for couple of weeks. Ok, ok... for a couple of MONTHS. My list of to-dos is on its way of becoming a paperback. That's what happens when you live in San Francisco. EVERYTHING is inspiring, EVERYONE is fascinating. Everyday I click on my blog and get: stage fright. Find something eXtRaordinary to blog about. Background soundtrack of crickets on a summer night. Result: Um, yeah, I must go re-arrange my sock drawer by color right now. I will blog later...
Here is the background music I was listening to when I wrote this. It's pretty, it's French, it's about a musician who has stage fright. Enjoy! The background font of the illustration is in University Roman...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From Thriftown to Japantown

Finally! I remembered to take a «before» picture of a piece before decoupaging it. I picked up this little wooden shelving unit at Thriftown (in The Mission) a little while back for 1.99$. Must of been a nano jewelry armoire in a previous life. Both drawers were missing but it was still in pretty good condition. Painted it black. Bought a small paper sample in Japantown. Cut a few shapes, applied several coats of mod podge and voilĂ ! I give you my new ink cartridge dispenser! This is what I do between design gigs. (Please click on photo to enlarge)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rebranding the right way

After yesterday's rant about GAP's logo gone wrong, today I needed to show an example of rebranding...gone good! Andronico's is my local supermarket. I was never a fan of their original logo (on the left) but was pleased to notice their new version. The new logo is both minimalist and elegant and has an overall upscale look. It displays the content artistically. Colorful and youthful icon with a timeless choice of font. C'est tout!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Amnesia Branding or the old vs the who?

It is one thing to refresh one's branding, it's another to changing it to the point of not recognizing it anymore. I was astounded to find that the beloved GAP logo had gone through a serious change. What's left of the old logo is the «spirit» of the blue rectangle, placed on the top right hand corner - ready to be exited in the next revamping. Just like me, GAP is getting older and is accepting to age with difficulty. But, I am not ready to give up on my personality in order to keeping up appearances. Neither should GAP. The new logo is sporting an American Apparel outfit (Helvetica, on white background). Actually, American Apparel, Crate&Barrel, and now GAP are now wearing all the same outfit. What was wrong with the previous (sniff) logo? From easily recognizable to «have we met before?». Is it a coincidence that the «new» logo came to life after Don Fisher's passing? I think not. A logo's soul is its font. And now, GAP has lost its soul...and a few sales for I would rather shop somewhere else.