Meredith Design

I’m making the big switch to Blogger. Using google apps in so many other aspects of my digital life has led me to believe that Blogger will suit my purposes more than WordPress for the time being.

Check me out here from now on: http://meredithdesign.blogspot.com/

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll continue to follow me after the switch.

with love – M

I know I’m a little late to the party on helping to publicize this in my little corner of the web-verse, but I had to post something! It’s fantastical. Well, for something like me that is… someone who dreams of drawing every day. Actually I’d be glad to draw once a week right now. It’s hard when you have to do other things like eat and do things to make the money to buy things to eat.

ANYWAY, go check out Strip Search. I have been trolling the artist’s website and thus far, my favorite is Abby. But I’m still working my way through the episiodes. I’ll let you know when it’s all over who my favorite favorite is when it’s all over. Thus far, it seems like the contestants all admit that they got so much more out of it than just the prizes. That makes me happy. I think anytime you get passionate artists together, good things will happen. I hope that each of them keeps moving forward with that same twinkle in their eye as the first day of the search.

So what is Strip Search?! It’s a reality tv style web show put together by the Penny Arcade folks to find a web comic artist ready to take it to the next level by joining the PA team for a year and a bunch of money as a prize. They shall battle to the death with dinosaurs and go-karts! No not really. Maybe a little. But there will be tension! Heated moments of ferocious scribbling! And lots of closeup comments of all the artists about their feelings during the events. I like feelings. And scribbling. It’s been very inspiring for me thus far. I’m really glad they put something like this together. I’ve already drawn twice this week…might be a record for the last 6 months.

Just a little shout out to Abby. This does happen…I’ve yet to catch it on film. My dog thinks he’s a cat and I swear he stands next to my bed while I sleep…weighing his options. My money’s on him eating my boyfriend first. I give better cuddles.

With love- M

One day I was sitting in my cube, working on a project that had me stumped. I needed to have each data sheet look similar but somehow be easily identifiable as different. So I played with the colors on each sheet… but I just couldn’t get them to coordinate well. I went to my creative director and,  per usual, she had a wonderful solution. Use kuler.

What is kuler? “Adobe® Kuler® is a web-hosted application for generating color themes that can inspire any project. No matter what you’re creating, with Kuler you can experiment quickly with color variations and browse thousands of themes from the Kuler community.” In my terms, it’s a palette generator! Back before I got into designing on computers, I was drawing and coloring on paper. What I usually did first when starting a piece was make little circles of color on another piece of paper to test how they would look. Sometimes I would freestyle it. That didn’t usually work so well.

To my issue- why are palettes so important?! I’m sure there are folks out there that don’t need palettes or theme guides to help them see the colors work together well. Some folks are gifted. Others, like me, just have to practice and practice. Maybe some day I’ll be so practiced that I won’t need to make a palette beforehand. Unlikely. So for us normal folk we can use different methods and tools to help us select the best possible color choices. Maybe you’ve just created a logo in black and white and you need to find the right set of colors for the identity. But not only must you coordinate with the logo colors, you also have to think about the colors used in the website, company clothing or accessories. Not to mention conveying the right feeling or vibe via the colors. And so, I choose to make palettes or color themes in all of my projects now. It just seems silly not to when there are such nifty tools out there like kuler.

With love- M

This site might be old-hat for some but I only just learned of it this year. Thanks to my Creative Director at work, I now have a resource that I come back to time and again. I wanted to help support this wonderful site but sharing it.

So what is The Noun Project? “The Noun Project is building a global visual language that everyone can understand. We want to enable our users to visually communicate anything to anyone.”

From my experience, in a corporate setting we use these symbols in brochures and catalogs to help convey or reinforce an idea. Instead of bolding or headlining something you want to call out like ‘Fresh foods’, I might use a carrot symbol. Or instead of ‘weather resistant’ I might choose an umbrella. And it can get deeper than that, no doubt. I look forward to using more of these symbols, making smart selections for witty correlations.

Now I hope you all use this resource to help better your designs and communications. Some are free, some are not. Even if you’re not a designer, next time you think about using clip art, I hope you’ll decide to step outside the box.

They download as .svg so you’ll need a program capable of reading it and saving it as an .eps or .png. If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator, Gimp is a free open source program that does the job just fine.

 

 

 

Update 03/7/2013: Found a nice article about working from home that I found quite useful.

Najia Belly Dance Info Card r6a-1

Najia Belly Dance Info Card r6a-2

My first independent project in a while^^. I’ve been so busy with my corporate design job and new life with my significant other that I just haven’t had much time to do any side work. Certainly no time to seek it out. But I was lucky enough to have some work seek me out instead.

Najia is a marvelous belly dance performer and teacher. I’ve personally been a student for only a short 8 months but already I feel like I could take on the world.  So when she inquired about remaking her image and starting things off with a postcard to hand out at key places, I was more than happy to be a part of it. It was a fast project, completed over a weekend. There will likely be some revisions but Najia says she’s very pleased and is using me for a larger poster and also her business cards. If only I could find few more wonderful clients like her! I could think more seriously about leaving my corporate job behind.

Now onto what this post is really about: the challenge of working at home. One of the awesome things about working in the corporate world is the environment. My workplace is just that – a place that I work. I have a cube, my own iMac, a nice chair, desk, and so on. It’s not so different at home, physically. In fact, I’m more comfortable at home. So why is it so difficult sometimes to get work done at home? One word. Distraction.

In a good work environment, it works best for me if there’s a sort of hum in the background. I mean that both audibly and mentally. I know some folks around me listen to music to stay focused. Though I’ve done that in the past with more creative projects at school or home, it just doesn’t work for me in the office. Everyone around me is doing similar tasks, some talking here and there, nothing dramatic. That’s what helps me stay focused on each project. In any given day I might have 10 to 20 projects come across my desk. I can’t afford to lose focus.

So how can I build that efficient environment at home? Hopefully without losing the comfort of being home in the process. It’s been a real struggle for me lately because there are so many things I need to get done at home. Laundry, cleaning, dusting, cooking, grocery shopping, paper filing, receipt organizing, and on and on. Here’s where time management comes in.

I had gotten really good at time management in college. Unfortunately, things are different now. I have to relearn it all. For now, my best friend is my notepad and whiteboard. I shall have to be harder on myself. Set rules for the days when I’m making my own schedule and not bound to the corporate time table. Thankfully, the recent freelance project with Najia has really helped me start to re-evaluate things. Here’s to hoping I can keep up the momentum.

With love – M

 

 

It’s been a wild ride since landing back in the States. I had found a sort of equilibrium in Japan and, though I was happy to come home to the familiar things in my life, it seems like everything’s been moving at the speed of light since I came home. I still have blog posts to catch up on in my Japan blog from as far back as November 2011.

Things feel like they’re picking up now. Even though not everything is peachy-keen. A couple updates: Joel and I have been house shopping for a couple months. We found a 112 year old Victorian in good condition but it’s under negotiations with another buyer and the banks that own the 2 leans on the house. It’s a short sale and these ‘negotiations’ have been going on for 3 months now. So we’re looking at other houses on the market… but this little beauty still has our hearts. Things keep happening to prevent us from buying other houses we may be interested in, too. An example is that one house  that had sparked our attention was going to be pulled off the market within 48 hours from when we viewed it (the seller was paying 2 mortgages and had someone interested in renting the home at least).

Another update is that I landed a nice corporate freelance position that i genuinely enjoy. Unfortunately, the don’t have enough work to keep me at full time status on a regular basis. I was also very sick during summer and fall for a rough total of 5- 6 weeks. I’ve had bad vertigo problems ever since then. Supposedly it shouldn’t last more than a year or two.

Did I mention I gained a bunch of weight before I left Japan and turns out I ‘grew’ a gluten allergy? Crazy. It’s been a big adventure and I’ve definitely stepped up my game as a cook. Making everything from scratch gives me a deep appreciation for the art.

Besides all that madness, there’s been weddings and babies and deaths and moving. Like a roller coaster. But through it all, I’ve never stop creating. For the most part, it’s been via work with print design projects but I’ve managed to teach myself some bead weaving techniques and started some new ideas for my kanzashi. Being crafty with my hands is more soothing usually than drawing. I think because I don’t have to think quite so hard but I only just started. I wonder if, as I get more advanced with hand crafts, it will become like with my drawing stuffs where it can be easily overwhelming. I’d like to do a sketch a day but for now I’m satisfied with simply doing something creative each day, regardless of what format it’s in. Cooking counts!

Below is a picture of one of my more recent kanzashi (as of June haha recent…) and Joel with our dog Baku. Baku  has been another adventure. Some rough patches but he’s doing well enough now. Rescue dogs are usually a challenge in some way or another. He just happens to be 110 lbs of stubborn Akita blood in addition.

Here’s to wishing everyone a Happy New Year. May it bring you what you seek or at least help bring you clarity.

With love- M

IMG_0700 IMG_0881

Unfortunately, living happily also means I have less drive to draw… much less. However, I have a few things here that have been piling up. Now that the cold days are back again, maybe I’ll be more inclined to dabble again. Japan is just too engaging for me. So much to see and do.

I’d like to do a post about how Japan has effected my perception, artistically, and what it’s been like not being artsy on a regular basis. Torn is probably a good word for it. Anyways, here are some drawings.

With love – M

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