I took a quick little trip out to San Diego / La Jolla area with Paul. Using my childhood memories (and some internet sleuthing) we found some great stuff to do and places to eat.
Coffee at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters: A short walk from the hotel, I got to enjoy a tasty “extra-small” 8oz latte. They have a La Marzocco Strada, full size roaster, and a four-barrel sample roaster in the little fishbowl. The poor Roastmaster probably gets waved at all day — I waved; I admit it. Touted on Yelp as the only third-wave option in San Diego, I have to say it’s a must see if you want the best in town.
Brunch at Cottage: Off of Prospect in the shopping/dining district in La Jolla, this was a breath of fresh air. Truly delicious food with great staff and a nice patio. Many places in La Jolla are pretty pretentious, but Cottage was very welcoming. Paul ate every last bite of his Carne Asada Eggs Benedict, while I enjoyed the amazing Stuffed French Toast (mascarpone cheese and strawberries — yum). Oh yeah, and the mimosas!
We had fun in the sun (despite each of us getting slightly sunburnt) as well as some time to relax at my favorite spots: La Jolla Cove and the Hotel Del Coronado.
La Jolla Cove: I love the cove because it’s a nature preserve as well as one of the beaches my family used to frequent when we lived in San Diego. There are so many gorgeous fish, bat rays, and sea lions swimming just feet from you in the water. While crowded on the weekends, we went on a Monday and got to enjoy it without the usual throngs of beach-goers.
Hotel Del Coronado: Vintage and beautiful, the Hotel Del is a must-see when I head to the area. I still have family that live on the island and I must confess my jealousy. This island town manages to be picturesque and affluent while retaining a quaint and casual quality.
When I was looking for a new place to live at the beginning of the year I needed something to make me stand out from the crowd of applicants. I had a very specific set of criteria for my new home, which many people thought I wouldn’t be able to find:
Free-standing home small enough for 1 person (and my small dog)
Fenced-in and private backyard
Professional and nice landlord
I know it’s a tall order, but I found it and was offered the place within 48 hours of viewing. Want to know how I did it? I created a tenant resume and brought it to the viewing.
WHAT’S A TENANT RESUME?
Good question! I didn’t know what it was either until I came across a very obscure comment on one of the many home design blogs I frequently read. The commenter had said that she got her first choice flat in London by creating a resume to give to the landlord before being asked to fill out an application. Brilliant!
WHAT DOES A TENANT RESUME INCLUDE?
My tenant resume was easy to put together in 15 minutes. I took my current resume format (the one I use for job interviews) and swapped out some of the information. My tenant resume sections include:
Employment — detailing only my current job, volunteer work and freelance clients.
Finances — my net income (to show that I can afford the rent) and a note that I also keep a savings account. Don’t include how much you have in your savings account, but just note that you have one.
Tenant Experience — the cross-streets of my previous rentals as well as whether they were private landlords or a rental company.
Education — what degree I have and honors received in college
Habits and Personality — What I’m like. What my dog is like. How I view my role as a renter. This really adds some character to the application process and gives the owner an idea of who you are and what to expect.
References — available upon request. I always brought a second sheet with personal, professional, and previous-landlord references in case I really wanted to seal the deal on the house.
You don’t have to be overly-specific. The idea is to answer all the questions that would be asked on one of those boring applications, but add a little character. This shows that you’re prepared and serious about getting the property, but makes you memorable.
DOES IT WORK?
After submitting my resume at a few houses I was interested in, I received offers to sign a lease at each property within 48 hours. One landlord even said my resume was impressive and the reason the scales tipped in my favor when she weighed me against another prospect. Since February I have been living in my favorite of all the properties. It has met all of the criteria on my list — and more!
It just goes to show that a little extra effort can make all the difference.
Yesterday @austinmiles posted the following on the #PHXDC group Facebook page:
I have a theory that every designer has at some point designed a logo with a box as the main element, and has done a design for either church or porn. I have done the first two but passed on the third several times.
Austin’s post inspired me to ask people where they draw the line when it comes to clients in various creative professions. I spoke with Isaac Fainkujen, a tattoo artist based in Tempe (he also travels worldwide for clients) about what jobs he won’t take. He told me that any art that was sacrilegious or racist was on his do-not-ink list.
Others I know have actually worked contract (or even salary) in the design and development sector of the pornographic industry. One developer explained that while he disagreed with it, and used some rather colorful language to describe the women, he would do whatever paid the bills.
I have never been approached by potential clients who ask upfront for something I consider inappropriate. Nevertheless, I have some strong opinions about design jobs I wouldn’t take based on my personal convictions:
Any bigoted work This includes anything hostile to those of differing race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, homelessness, various medical/behavioral/addictive disorders, and religion.
Anything in the pornographic industry This includes strip clubs. Regardless of religious beliefs, which is why many people assume I wouldn’t take these clients, you can objectively look at the statistics. The majority of women in these industries are there against their will… and I don’t support sex trafficking.
Any company that abuses/mistreats their employees/customers This includes companies that underpay, use sweatshops, illegal/unethical business methods, or intimidate/harm employees, customers, or the population at large. I have turned down jobs in the past when I realized how employees were seemingly “held hostage” at their cubicles, or that the sales staff was stealing ideas or plagiarizing copy. Sadly, this is one of the more difficult issues to notice before signing a contract.
I’m sure there are more to add to my list, as I haven’t actually dealt with many unethical clients. But what about you? Where do you draw the line?
*NOTE* I had a request to share the statistics regarding women in pornography against their wills. The reference comes from a book titled Captured by a Better Vision and the specific reference comes from chapter 1, page 28. The book says that half of 854 prostitutes who were polled said that they had been videotaped while they were being trafficked. That comes from an article in Christianity Magazine by Martin Saunders titled Gagged and Bound.
If you’re currently in design school (or a recent graduate) you might be looking for internship opportunities. Once you’ve found the studio, agency or non-profit your heart desires, you’ve got to figure out how to stand out among a sea of applicants. Here’s a list of tips to get your foot in the door the right way:
HAVE A HANDSOME RESUME, BUT DON’T CALL YOURSELF HANDSOME Whether you’re looking to land in print or web, your resume says a lot about you. Keep it short and easy to understand. And when you list your special skills, don’t call yourself handsome… yes, I’ve actually seen that on a resume.
*Pro-tip: Don’t ever send your resume as a Microsoft Word document (I have also seen this happen). It should be a PDF. Always a PDF.
FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS Whether you’re filling out a questionnaire or completing an HTML/CSS test, pay attention to the details. Though it might only take you a few minutes, misspellings or using the wrong color show that you can’t follow direction — or that you’re not detail oriented. In an industry where one letter can make a big difference, it’s imperative that you check and double check your work.
DON’T FORGET YOUR PORTFOLIO Believe it or not, I’ve seen people apply for design positions and not send in examples of their work. If you’re applying for a visual job or one that involves code, you have to show what you can do. Send the url of your portfolio site (check that all your links work!) or even a nicely laid out PDF will do if it’s strictly a design position you’re going after.
*Pro-tip: If you’re looking to code, make sure to give links to live sites you’ve created. Interviewers want more than pretty screenshots; they want to see your work in person.
DON’T OVER-DESIGN You might be tempted to stand out from the crowd in various ways, but be shrewd with your choices. Now is not the time to show off all 15 free typefaces you’ve just downloaded. Keep your wits about you and make sure it’s your design fundamentals that shine through. Have readable typography, user-friendly navigation and nice photos of your work.
From the distinct set pieces to dialogue, you know when you’re watching a Wes Anderson film. By analyzing his work process, you can apply some of the principles he uses to define your own style.
KNOW WHAT FASCINATES YOU Anderson’s films often use bright colors, dysfunctional families, dry humor, fantastical storylines and themes of personal discovery. This isn’t because he’s trying to be trendy — he began employing these elements since before they were “cool” — it’s because he genuinely finds joy in these things. When you focus on the things that fascinate you, you’re much more inclined to work passionately on your projects. What are the things that you journal about? The things that keep you up at night?
WORK WITH PEOPLE YOU LIKE AND TRUST There’s a reason Anderson works with many of the same actors, writers and crew members.
He likes them and trusts their professional opinions.
He even involves his family in aspects of his work. His son created the animal illustrations used on the luggage in The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson’s brother illustrated the cover for the Criterion Collection edition of Rushmore, as well as many illustrations featured in The Royal Tenenbaums.
Anderson doesn’t close himself off like a hermit, instead, he works with people he enjoys and remains aware of their abilities. Maybe we could take a page from his book and look at the talents of those around us. Can one of your developers pen like Hemingway? Then have her write your company’s blog posts!
BE AN AUTEUR Anderson is involved in nearly all aspects of his productions. He never devalues the work of his collaborators, but he makes sure that his vision is never lost.
Personally, this is the reason I began to really respect Anderson’s style. He has his hands in the areas of costumes, sets, props, typography, writing and cinematography, but he doesn’t micromanage. Anderson’s goal isn’t to be right or be in control, it’s to create a masterful manifestation of the big idea. He realizes that in order to reach his goal he needs to be present and active, offering constructive advice and handing it off to capable people.
"WHAT THE CUSS DO I DO NOW?" Pay attention to what gets you excited. Work with people you trust. Stay focused on the big idea, rather than your own success.
I frequent these sites to stay updated and find helpful information regarding home trends, print and web design, and online marketing, writing and blogging. See if any of these sites below strike your fancy!
Contemporist: Extravagant and modern architecture, lighting and furniture design. I love to look at all of these gorgeous homes and dream of creating the perfect space for myself and my family someday.
Apartment Therapy: Small space living, home trends and the Small Cool Contest! Do you live in a closet? Do you want to find ways to reuse home goods or be more sustainable? Apartment Therapy has great content on the main site, but also has sister sites with awesome content (The Ktchn, Unplggd, re-nest)
Design Sponge: Inspiration for bringing old pieces back to life and trying new home trends. Design Sponge offers affordable ways to stay updated with a ton of DIY projects, as well as tutorials for building anything from terrariums to bed frames.
Swiss Miss: Tina Roth Eisenberg and all of her amazing design finds. I love reading this blog! Always updated with the most fun, adorable, and hilarious design goods, it’s a great read. The tricky part is that anything Tina features on her site gets sold out too quickly! :)
The Dieline: The largest source of packaging design items. The Dieline features everything from vintage packaging and giveaways to rebrands and exceptional student work. With packaging from many industries, you’re sure to see some interesting materials and concepts.
Core77: Packaging and industrial design items for the hardcore. This site is very content heavy. Be ready for job postings, competitions, new design concepts and materials and a million other things.
Brand New: A critical look at the most recent rebrands. Excellently written, this division of Under Consideration usually offers an inside look at the ideology behind the redesigns.
Copyblogger: Copywriting, marketing and blogging. Generally short articles that get to the heart of the issues they address.
Church Marketing Sucks: For anyone in Christian church marketing. Find out what other churches are doing globally and the solutions they’ve found the various marketing and design issues.
For Print Only: For the print-lovers among us. Letterpress, books and business cards galore! It’s more than just pretty pictures. These blog posts get down the nitty gritty details behind the made items. How many weeks did it take? What was the cost? How exactly was it printed?
Smashing Magazine: Web trends, standards and freebies until your head explodes. This is one of the most famous online guides for web and app designers. If you haven’t heard of Smashing, you’d better start reading! Right now!
Web Designer Depot: Web trends, standards and freebies until your head explodes again. As a part of the Smashing Network, you know they’re legit. Check out their tweets of the week and all their fantastic tutorials.
Unbeige: Global design and art world news. More news than anything, this sites is a great source of local headlines in the design world, job opportunities, AIGA Chapter news/events, and great interviews.
The Fox is Black: Home to the Desktop Wallpaper Project and many lustworthy design items. I frequently try to update my various screens with the DWP’s gorgeous guest artwork.
Feel free to comment if you think of some other great resources I might have forgotten.
As a designer I find it very easy to try a new brand of wine, milk, shampoo, or any other product on the basis of looks alone. Not to be completely superficial, but sometimes I randomly buy different brands of products on the basis of their packaging if I don’t already have brand loyalty… and I stick with my favorites if I find them to be stellar performers.
For instance, I think Charmin brand is the best for the bathroom, so that never changes (too much information?) But when it comes to delicious buttery goodness, I still haven’t decided on Land O’Lakes or Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter.
What about your buying habits? Take a look around your house and ask yourself why you buy the brands sitting in your fridge or closet.
When I try something and I’m merely satisfied with the product, I will intentionally buy something different to test my palate. What’s the point of sticking with bread or beer that doesn’t get you excited?
Currently, one of my “test items” is wine. I once heard someone say that when a vineyard invests in a great looking label, it’s usually because the wine is crap. I’m not so sure about that philosophy, and will continue to try different wines by the label until I find one that looks just as great as it tastes.