On my first day at Old Hat, Zac told me that I should always have a notepad with me. I am sure I have gone through a lot of legal pads of paper during the past three years—most the time they just list the projects that are being worked on so I can report it to the Client Reps every morning. During this meeting, and the other meetings I take my notepad to, i often doodle on the margins. 

I always doodled on the side of notes in college to pass the time in class—I am not a good artist, but I can draw a pretty good stick figure gal or guy, if I do say so myself.

This week, I read this article about how doolding helps improve your memory, helps the brain remaine active and express emotions. 

I am not sure how much doodling helps me with all that stuff, but I am going to keep doodling anyways. Here are some of my random doodles!

 

Recently I’ve been asked by a few clients if we can do certain print projects. The answer has always been yes. With our top notch design team, we can design pretty much anything! While I enjoy getting to work on the traditional print projects we do like schedule posters, schedule cards, magnets, brochures, tickets and game programs, it’s also fun to get to work on some of the more unique projects that come our way. Here’s a few examples of some of the different kinds of projects we've been able to work on:

We created a seat tarp for the University of Delaware to use in an endzone of their basketball arena that still allowed space for the band.

We took the Junior Iron Dukes logo we created for the Duke Kids Club and applied it to a t-shirt design.

We created truck wraps for App State to use on a variety of vehicles.

We created branded XBox and iPhone skins for UCO to use as giveaway items.

  

We designed a version of Duquesne's mascot to use as a cut out for fans to take their picture as the mascot.

We created a variety of banners for the University of Utah to use around campus.

 

Last week, Dustin and I took our second trip of the year to the University of Utah for a video and photo shoot.  This time, we were capturing footage of basketball and gymnastics.  This was my first gymnastics shoot, and as expected, I was super excited to be back in a gym.  

The gymnastics world is extremely small, and it turned out, I already knew a few people in the Utah gymnastics family.  I even caught up with an old teammate of mine from home.  She is a former Ute herself and was in town to do makeup for the girls.  Also, my old athletic trainer at Illinois State is now the Utah gymnastics trainer.  It was neat to catch up with everyone.

It was also great to see our on campus designer, Douglas and see how well he is doing working at the U.

As always, thank you to the Utah marketing staff for organizing the shoot and another great trip to the SLC.

Checkout a few photos! 

 Men's Basketball green screen video


Men's Basketball action photos


The team gathering around to see their work


My new tall friend...only a few inches difference


More video in different settings


Gymnastics photos


Gymnastics green screen video


My old teammate Nina!

I recently ran across this great site that I'd never heard about before - openculture.com. Maybe I've been hiding under a rock, or maybe my taste for what is "great" just isn't what it used to be. I've heard that your preference for the taste of foods changes about every seven years, so maybe that's the case for your taste in other areas too. Anyway, I digress...

So this site really has no content of its own, it's just a landing page to find a plethora of other content. I stumbled across an archive of 170,000 Great Depression era photos from Yale and an equally impressive photo library of the automotive industry's history, put together by Stanford. If you're part of my generation (Generation X) or before, you realize this is something that couldn't have been shared with the public even 25 years ago. Artifacts that could only be viewed by some can now be seen by the world. That's what is great about the digital age - being able to share history and culture with everyone (or at least everyone with internet access).

But as I think about how great the digital age is, it also makes me wonder how future generations will not only view, but create, art. Paper books, painted canvases, photography and other artwork created by hand- will it exist in 100 years? What I like about artwork (paintings in particular) is being able to view an actual canvas and see the bright blobs of paint and brush strokes created by the artist. You just don't get that with digital artwork. I'd hate to think that at some point, digital will replace the physical. And if it does, how do you authenticate a piece of art? What makes it unique and original?

 

Fortunately, people still appreciate having things to hold and feel and view on display in a museum, and probably will for at least my lifetime. IKEA recently created the bookbook, which is a hilarious take on the over-digitalization going on these days. Sometimes simplest is best.

 

Happy Kickoff to College Football!! We have been posting this years football posters all week on twitter, but I'd like to take this time to thow it back to past years football posters! Check out some of the old posters we have done in the past! Good luck to everyone this weekend!

College football kicks off this week. Though one FCS game was played last weekend, the bulk of the opening week action takes place Thursday through Labor Day. Two of our clients kick things off tonight with Georgia State hosting Abilene Christian. A big one between two clients happens Thursday night with South Carolina hosting Texas A&M. The one I looking forward to the most is Saturday night in Arlington with the defending champion Florida State Seminoles battling the Oklahoma State Cowboys. My wife surprised me with tickets a few weeks back and I'm pumped. It's my first time to see a Noles' game in person, for a team that I've followed since high school. It will also be my first ever event at AT&T Stadium. Who knows, maybe I'll be one of many fans FSU fans that make two trips to Dallas this season: one to start and one to finish with the national championship game also to be played at "JerryWorld" on January 12. We're also going to check out ESPN's College Gameday on Saturday morning in downtown Fort Worth at Sundance Square. It should be a great way to kickoff the first week of college football.

You may have seen several of the Old Hat-designed football posters in the last few days via our social media. Here there are in one big gulp.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

  

 

Good Monday morning folks! Man, is that not a SWEET title graphic?

Okay, so it's somewhat obvious that I'm NOT a graphic designer. BUT, I do work with a few of them here at the Hat, and I gotta tell ya, they've been bustin' it out this summer.

In my last blog I talked about the amount of work we've done over just the last year, and went on about how we're the experts in our field. Rest assured, none of that has changed, but it's been on my mind for a while to figure out what it is that makes some of our work better than other work. Oh sure, we can't always do the very absolute best project ever created in the history of mankind, but that's at least what we're shooting for. So why isn't everything the best?

Over my 8+ years of working at Old Hat, there have been a couple times that a client has mentioned they didn't feel they were getting the same level of design as other clients; that perhaps, because a client is a big-time university, they might be getting our best possible work while others are getting the run-of-the-mill stuff. Now I know design is very subjective, and unless you have The Design Spectrometer 400TL, it's really hard to gauge the level of design you're getting from a designer. That's why we always scan and document the results for each design using the DS400. By doing so, we can ensure that each poster gets equal amounts of athletic aptitude, branding recallability, design and structural interface integrity, and love. Yeah, you know what, I made that part up about the DS400. I thought we had started doing that but apparently not.

Okay, so seriously... why is it that some work is better? I've gotta say, I think these two graphs tell the story. Before you get upset and send me hate emails, know that I realize clients don't actually perceive things the way that I have them in the first graph. This is a dramatization intended to make a point. Or maybe some clients and others not familiar with the creative process actually DO think this is the best method. In that case, I would ask that you study the second graph.

Here's a quick breakdown of the graph below:

- The level of quality goes from low to high as the client provides input. Simple graph: more input equals better quality, regardless of how much or what type of input a client gives (content or design related). This is what I would call the "perceived" best design practice. And just to be absolutely clear, this is wrong.

 

The graph below is what I'm calling the actual best design practice. And here's a brief explanation:

- Quality goes up as input is received, similar to the first graph, up to a certain point. The point at which the quality starts to take a downturn is generally when clients move across that imaginary border I'd call the design line. In this graph, that's represented by the Ideal Input line. Providing all the pieces to the puzzle is great, but as the experts, we then have to take those pieces and put it together in a way that screams AWESOME!!

- The Quality level is represented by the upside-down U (downward parabola for you math folks), because having little or no info is probably not going to lead to a great result. In the same way, having too much information or design direction (after you get past that design line) is not going to lead to a great result either.

So what's the ideal amount of input? Honestly, it will probably vary from project to project and client to client. As a general rule, when we have as much content and direction necessary to effectively communicate your message, combined with the freedom to creatively enhance that message. That, my friend, is the ideal amount of input.

 

 

I’m supposed to write a blog today. Once again, I’ve known about it for a few days and once again, I don’t have anything work related to really write about. So here is a list of random things I have thought/worried about since the last time we talked. 

 

1. Oh crap. I’ve got a blog to write.

 

2. What am I going to write about?

 

3. Why not just make a random list of things?

 

4. Ok, that sounds good. How about…

 

5. Though I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I’m lucky to be where I’m at in life. I’m reminded of this fact everyday because on my way to work I pass by the homeless shelter. Everyday I see people without jobs, without money, without a car, possibly without family to love them and probably very little hope. Thankfully, I have all those. 

 

6. I haven’t talked to my mom and dad in a while. I should probably call them. I wonder why they never call me?

 

7. I need to improved my attitude. 

 

8. My wife starts her new teaching job in Moore this year.

 

9. Moore gets hit by tornadoes a lot. I’m worried about her safety now.

 

10. My kids start back to school soon. That’s good cause they’re driving us crazy. They need to get back in to a routine.

 

11. I took my son to the doctor yesterday and found out he’s going to need to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. I know it’s no big deal but it still worries me. That’s probably gonna cost a lot of money. It’s supposed to take a week to recover which means I’m going to miss some work.

 

12. I need to be more active. I read a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that said adults who sat for more than 11 hours a day had a 40% increase risk of dying within 3 years, from any cause, compared with those who sat for less than 4 hours a day. I’m not really sure what that actually means. All I know is that I do sit a lot.


13. I also read a study that said 90% of studies are complete BS.


14. Actually, I didn’t. I made that up.


15. I’m getting fatter $1.08 at a time. Thanks McDonalds.


16. I’m getting old. My back hurts everyday. I don’t do anything for my back to hurt this bad. Maybe it’s because I don’t do anything that my back hurts?


17. I need to be more motivated to change my lifestyle.


18. Our offices are situated right next to some train tracks. Whenever the train speeds by I think about how screwed we’d all be if it were to derail and come tumbling towards our building. 


19. Speaking of trains, sometimes when I drive across the train tracks, I think what if that time traveling train from Back to the Future III came bursting into this dimension and crashed right into me? 


20. Well, there’s plenty more on my mind but I really need to get back to work so here’s a picture of my kids and a link to one of my favorite songs these days.


Ghostland Observatory - Midnight Voyage

 

We are in the beginning of busy season here at Old Hat. We’ve got over 175 print jobs going on right now, which can be completely overwhelming if you let it be. However, this will be my 4th busy season, so I think I’m pretty prepared at this point. I’ve had a different number of designers each year, so each year has been a bit different. This year, we’ve got some experienced designers on staff, so I know that this busy season will be busy, but go smoothly. 

Every year I try to take a “Treat Yo Self” trip in August. Last year I went to Colorado to visit friends, and this past weekend I flew to Nashville for a bachlorette party. You may think, “Hey Tricia, the title of this post is ‘A weekend away is refreshing’ and you went to a bachlorette party? Did you even relax?” Which I’d reply, “YEP! Exactly what I needed!”

You see, reader, I spent a weekend with some of my closest friends that i’ve known since kindergarden. We spent the weekend catching up, enjoying some drinks, dancing, and we even got to paint the Nashville Skyline (photo above, yes I added a Moose, cause WHY NOT?!). Yeah, they asked about work, but other then that, I didn’t think about how busy we are and how the next 4 months of my life is going to be hectic and stressful. The more I mentioned my job, the more “dang, your job seems so fun” and “the work environment at your office seems awesome”. 

Which made me take a step back and consider how great it is to work at a place where I can wear athletic shorts and t-shirts, and enjoy a beer on a friday afternoon with some pretty incredible people. This weekend helped me focus on how grateful I should be that I have a job that I love, I get to work with some super great people who care about me, and that at the end of the day, it is a job, so its going to be stressful. 

I encourage everyone to spend one 3 day weekend with friends every year, where you don’t check work email, but rather take time to look at the bigger picture and realize how grateful you should be for the blessings in your life. 

I don't want to overstate the difficulty or importance of my job but man, art is hard.

Sure, I'm not slaving away in the hot summer sun working construction. Nor am I tasked with making decisions that will ultimately affect the lives of others. Once, I came home and told my wife what a hard day I'd had and without missing a beat my daughter asked "Why? Did someone try to kill you?". Well, no. Not exactly. It's not "hard" in that sense. I mean, there are varying degrees of difficulty right?

I'm lucky enough to work in an air conditioned office, sit in a comfortable chair and be surrounded by a fun and creatively stimulating environment. However, this job, at times, can be mentally exhausting. 

Everyday I'm asked to created something new. Something that up until I start working on it, has never existed… ever.  Often times, it's something I've never even thought about. And the thing is, these things have to be created out of thin air, on the spot. Every time I sit down to design something, my goal is to come up with something better than whatever it was I did last time.

BUT, art is a purely subjective form of expression...

Even though art is subjective, there are a hand full of rules designers try to stick to. You know that old saying "You need to know the rules before you go and break them"? Yeah, that applies here. But because of its subjectivity, what looks good, what "pops" or what looks cool to one person may not look cut it for another. The problem is, not everyone understands art or design. They don't understand "the rules", the thought and considerations that go into a design. They don't understand why certain decisions were made or why things need look the way they do. This can make things very difficult. Things get compounded when you introduce more people into the equation, each with their own idea about what good art/design is and how to achieve it… and somehow, I have to figure out a way to please everybody all while trying to break as few design rules as possible and that, my friends, is why ART IS HARD...

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