This weekend: Portland. We’re on the return flight south after watching Pop-Up Magazine, walking around the Japanese Garden, and eating delirious amounts of food.
A good time was had by all. But what else happened this week?
First, I took a bite out of this enormous project at Sentry. I can’t talk about it yet but I feel like I’m making strides to understand the scope of this amorphous thing. Plus, there’s a few ideas I’ve had which makes it feel like my feet are back on solid earth. This, really, is the one thing I loathe about my work as a designer: the feeling of being lost in a project and trying to find the real, secret project hidden inside of the one that you’ve been given (there is always a secret project and it is always more important than the task at hand). Everything at the beginning of these kinds of projects feels so confusing and anxiety-ridden because you’re trying to fit a universe of information in your head, process it, then churn it into something that can be categorized, something that can be made uniform and coherent. And you’re trying to do all this work in your mind so that someone else doesn’t have to later.
Somewhat relatedly, I got some tough feedback this week. It was brutal and earnest and it went something like this…
You always think in lists! Everything is not a list! You write them all the time—you are Master of Lists. And this is holding you back from thinking about information properly. It’s like you’re trapped all alone on an island full of lists; you must leave them behind if you want to be a good designer.
And, well, woof. This was tough to hear but it’s absolutely true; I surround myself with lists, I think primarily one bullet point after another, and this prevents me from understanding how things work under the hood. I gotta think about ways to fix that.
I wonder how this hampers the way I write, too.
Secondly—dammit I’m making a list again huh?—during the evenings I’ve been working on this essay and I now have a first draft. It feels real good and so all I have to do is a few more rounds of copyediting, build the dang thing in the browser, then figure out the images for each slide.
Speaking of images, taking a lil photography research walk was by far the best part of our trip…
I’ve never worked on a photography project before and there’s so much to learn. As we were walking around the Japanese Garden I was trying to put my feet in the right place, figure out the right position of the shadows and the light, and—hopefully—trying to be more brave in general. Although, I assume to a seasoned eye the colors above are likely way off here, maybe things are a tad too dark, etc. But over the past few months I feel like I’ve made some visible progress.
1% every day, etc.
Anyway, I’m in the best phase of this side project now: the shape of it is complete and from here on out I just have to smooth every rough edge down. It’s editing endlessly; at the kitchen counter, in bed, whilst I’m in the shower. Every other moment is devoted to the whittling because it’s what separates a good project from a great one.
And when it comes to photography there is just. so. much. whittling to be done. Thankfully though this is the kind of work that I find the most fun.
Until next week,