Tag Archives: portfolio

Spec Work Sites and the Golden Ratio

logoidolThe graphic design market is gaining momentum via social media and blogs. It seems the current way to introduce myself into it is to chime in about spec work online — or as I call it, the logo contest model — as used on sites like CrowdSpring and 99Designs, as opposed to RFQ sites like Elance and Guru. So here goes.

The first thing I’ve decided is not to lose sleep over the existence of such sites, or bother with movements that protest them. They serve a niche, and as a businessman who likes the Golden Rule, I know there are expenses I’ll have for which I’ll wish there was a crowdsourcing portal, so I can compare bids. Like the TV commercial says, “When ______s compete, you win.”

“Yeah,” you might say, “but spec work is wrong.” It depends.   Continue reading


R.I.P., 2000-2008

tombstoneWhen a woman miscarries, they sometimes give the mother-to-have-been a funeral for the fetus. Amputees often have ceremonies for their dead limb. Is it possible that I need a parting ceremony for a period of my life? Eight productive years spent languishing? Am I in a grieving period for the prime of my career?

The period in question started in the year 2000, at a company that was just getting the idea to circle the wagons. The eight or nine small-town newspapers in Westchester and Rockland Counties, NY, bought throughout the 20th century by Gannett (of USA Today fame), were now one regional entity: The Journal News. A year later, they hired me for the art unit in their marketing department.

Till then, what I’d been doing for a living, clients would call temping, but we temps always call agency freelancing. It was one such assignment that The Journal News made permanent. I’d hopscotch between Westchester, NY and Fairfield, CT, meeting new people in different shops, seeing and comparing different workflows, and overhearing the button-down communication of scrappy small companies.

Gannett was by far the biggest corporation I had ever worked for. And knowing full well what a hoary tradition a newspaper is necessarily saddled with, I took my cubicle with trepidation, suspecting that I was now a cog in a monstrously vast gearbox.   Continue reading

Light at the End of the Cubicle Tunnel

Take this job and blog it.

“Are you alright?”

That was the question from my supervisor, as I felt his hand on my shoulder. Clearly, a concern for my welfare.

The day before, he had also caught me with my eyes closed. Oh, okay, sleeping. Microsleeping. The day before, there was a progress bar making its pokey way toward the finish line. One of these operations I don’t want to disturb, out of a decades-old fear of a crash, which I justify today by maintaining the fastest tasking, for people or computers, is unitasking. So my eyes close briefly.

But today, I was looking at a printout of something I’d just finished designing. I was sitting up, and my chin was resting on my chest. I had worked through my lunch to get this design through, and was having blood sugar issues, which I had much worse four years and 40 pounds ago. I would have startled myself awake in a few seconds, had my supervisor not come along.

Continue reading