Archives for August 2011

Wednesday Webs 8-31-11

Minds are like parachutes -  they only function when open. - Thomas Dewar


“Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open.”
—Thomas Dewar

“Creativity is like a muscle. You have to exercise it to develop it,
and you have to flex it to maintain it.”
—Common Knowledge 

I agree with both of the above. That’s why I’m curious how creatives stretch their thinking? How do they stay motivated and inspired?

Some establish a daily regiment that evolves into highly acclaimed art forms, as did Jessica Hische with her Daily Drop Cap. Others quietly step away from their normal working medium and pick up another, like, say, photography.

I’m interested in the quiet photography. I’d like to improve my skills so I’ve been contemplating a 365 Photo Challenge for 2012. Not only is this an opportunity for practice, but also an exercise in discipline—something many creatives are often lacking (especially me).

Here are some interesting links on Photo Challenges:

  • Photojojo: I remember reading this years ago when 365 Challenges first became popular. I thought people’s projects were fascinating then. Still do now.
  • Digital Photography School: I subscribe to this e-newsletter and always learn something new. Here, they’re offering weekly themes, which maybe they’ll update soon for 2012.
  • FLICKR Group—100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories: This one will force you away from the computer and back in touch with real people!
  • ITunes 365 Remember Your Year: This is actually an app for your iPhone. Makes for easy posting and, goodness, we always have our phones with us, don’t we?
  • The Arrow of Time: This one isn’t a 365 Challenge, but a photographer’s site I’ve been fascinated with for the past 6-7 years. Simply beautiful.

So what do you think?

Projects like this are more fun (and motivational) when done together with someone else. Anyone care to join me? Go ahead, get that camera or phone out. Plan now for 2012!

And if you’re already doing a photo challenge, please share. We’d love to see!

Shame, Shame, Logo Garden

Shutterstock image

The Logo Garden affair is the buzz going around these days.

It’s not a good buzz.

Logo Garden, in its effort to offer “do-it-yourself logos for entrepreneurs,” has apparently copied work created by other designers. It then resells it without the designers’ permission, all for its own profit. And because Logo Garden is a logo warehouse, meaning it resells each icon over and over, it’s reselling these stolen logos to multiples of unsuspecting consumers who think they’re getting a great deal for only $79.

Of course, designers are upset. Big name logo designers like Rock Paper Ink, Prejean Creative and Jeff Fisher LogoMotives have had thousands of logos stolen and they’re taking legal action against Logo Garden owner John Williams. AIGA (formerly an acronym for the American Institute of Graphic Arts), has posted action alerts and other helpful advice for designers here and here.

But what about consumers? Shouldn’t they be upset as well?

You bet they should and here’s why.

When an entrepreneur hires a professional to design his logo, he’s paying for a unique representation of his business. The designer can only do this through extensive interview, research and creative process, all of which the entrepreneur wisely pays for. But not only is he paying for this service, he’s also buying ownership rights to the logo—solely and completely, as his own personal icon. A logo is intellectual property and copyright laws protect this ownership.

When an entrepreneur brands his company, acquiring a logo is only one part of the process. The entrepreneur must then promote that logo and secure it in the minds of his market. He must build a reputation that positively associates the logo to his business. This is branding and it takes great time and effort.

So what happens when a schmuck like John Williams and his Logo Garden comes along?

When Williams steals a designer’s logo, he’s also stealing the intellectual property of the entrepreneur who hired that designer. And when Williams resells that stolen logo, he’s completely destroying the branding work the entrepreneur did to market his business.

Then there’s the unknowing consumer who purchases one of these 10,000 logos supposedly created by John Williams and “his hand-picked team of world-class logo designers.” (Be real, how could anyone and his team create 10,000 original, well-thought and designed logos?)

I’m going to credit these $79 tightwad consumers and say they were unknowing of Logo Garden’s unethical behavior. I’m also going to say they’re unknowing of successful marketing. Obviously, none of them believes their business qualifies for a professional, unique identity.

Anyway, these Logo Garden consumers are possibly setting themselves up for legal action. The great bargain they thought they were getting could very well be the intellectual property of another owner. They may find themselves forced to give it up. Suddenly, that $79 is not such a bargain after all.

Here’s something to think about:

If you’re a professional, you have to look professional. If you have a quality product, you must have a quality look.

Beware of logo warehouses. Don’t shop at Logo Garden.

Shame on you, Logo Garden!


Eating Chocolate in the Middle of the Day

Chris Kirsch quilter extraordinaire

Remember the quilt photography I posted a few months back? Well, I’m so excited to pull back the curtains and announce…drumroll, please… Chris Kirsch’s new website!

Building Chris’ site has been so fun. When I mentioned to Chris how much I’ve enjoyed the creative change of pace, she said “It’s like eating chocolate in the middle of the day!”

What a fitting comparison, particularly for me.

I imagine making chocolate is a lot of work, since it’s so good and all. This website’s been hard work too, particularly for Chris, who was willing to step beyond her computer comfort zone and learn more. She wanted a site she could manage herself. Since she was already blogging, we chose to go with WordPress as our content managing system (CMS). Even though Chris’ site looks and acts like a website, it’s really a WordPress blog.

And now, besides being a talented quilter and teacher, Chris has become a geeky nerd. She’s learned html and the inner workings of her website, and she’s caught on so well. Boy, is she smart!

So, check it out. And if you’re looking for a great quilting workshop presentation or class, email Chris. You too will be enjoying chocolate in the middle of the day.

Do you need a website you can manage yourself? Afraid you’re not techie enough? WordPress makes it easy and I can help you learn. Contact me for an on-sight or over-the-phone tutorial.

Wednesday Webs 8-24-11

homegrown canned peaches

So, my posts probably seem a little food-obsessed lately, yes? August is such a food month for my household, what with our garden in full production and all. Plus, we’re busy preserving all this natural goodness for wintertime delights. Oh, we’re going to eat well!

So, yes. I’m a little food-obsessed. And here are a few internet sites to feed that obsession:

How about you? What are your favorite food sites?


A Photo I Really Like

solitary window

A couple weeks ago I took pictures of my client’s office for a promotional brochure. She is partner in an area law firm and her office is located in what’s possibly a century-old building.

I wasn’t planning to use this image in her brochure. But I really like it. As an admirer of old architecture, I like that they’ve never replaced the long-standing, arched window. I also like the setting. It’s located at the end of a hallway and it offers a calm, peaceful refuge.

In retrospect, the setting relates to my client’s description of the work they do. They help the community’s people in their time of need. They prevent small problems from becoming big problems. And they’ve been expertly doing so for 88 years.

Maybe I should use this photo.