Decorative image. Thin-lined doodle of a stick figure with a square body, narrowed eyes, and hair that is vaguely suggestive of flames Speculative creativity for sale or rent Decorative image. Thin-lined doodle of a four-pronged starburst
Samantha Biddlecom. decorative graphic depicted as a handwritten sign hanging from two strings, one of which is shorter and knotted

CONTACT INFORMATION
chatterboxes: (206) 552-0638
shy folks: info@samanthabiddlecom.com

From silent obscurity, I emerge

January 8, 2014

So remember what I said about Squarespace, um, over a year ago? Turns out that was a bad idea for my website. I tried to redesign while learinging the system, and it's just...it was throwing good time after bad. I'm just going to stick with plain hosting that I'm used to, and spend my time learning more about jquery and less and all kinds of delightful code advancements that I've missed during the past year of personal development. Which has gone quite well! Also, I posted a few blog posts that I never made live, over on their platform, and I've copied them below.

I'm working through The Artist's Way and through a combination of therapy, joining a coworking group, and family living rearrangements, I'm feeling more confident and competent and far less anxious and depressed--which is something I've struggled with for years. I'm excited. 2013 was a good year, and I think 2014 will be, too.

I decided that Squarespace, while a great idea, just won't work well for me and my target clients. There's too much investment in the specific structure in their system, which is unnecessarily complicated for microbusiness. Also, I think that with jquery, I can create what I want on a smaller scale, and potentially offer hosting and CMS services to my clients. I'm excited. So, I'm back on a regular webhost. I'm participating in a local art walk where our coworking group is showcasing some of the members' businesses, so I needed my site back up and running now. I'm also going to do a 3 Minute Design sample at the art walk, so hopefully that will be an effective way to showcase my abilities.

I am in love with LessCSS

January 7, 2014

It is magical. Where has it been?

Alexis Sellier, you are a treasure. If you are ever in West Seattle, I will buy you something from Bakery Nouveau.

This is exactly the functionality I have been crying for. Ok, complaining and pining for. Ranting dramatically to friends and family.

I can use variables in CSS now! O frabjous day! I am off to code!

Design and Redesign

Octover 14, 2013

I feel like it's time to refresh things around my website and business card design. I've learned things about design, usability, and myself and my goals over the past few years that I want to implement.

I spent so much time on my previous design, but once it was up, I never seemed to devote the time it really needed to stay current, or to even add all the details that I wanted to originally. I allowed client work and personal responsibilities kept me from spending the effort on my own business materials. Really, how can I expect potential clients to choose to spend the time and money on well designed materials if I don't do so myself?

Having oneself as a client can be a difficult undertaking for anyone, and maybe in the future I'll choose to outsource the work and see what it's like sitting on the other side of the table. For now, though, I think it's important for me to go through this process myself, once again, and maybe even as a repetitive renewal every few years. I am eager to get started.

Future plans for my website

August 13, 2012

Since Squarespace has updated their platform, I'm leaning far more seriously to using their content management system for my own website. Some of the templates are very similar to what I'm using here, and now that I can fully customize the HTML along with the CSS, I feel far more comfortable using it for my own website. The balance of control and convenience that I've been searching for has been elusive, but I think with this will finally work.

I'll be revising my process and services pages, continuing work on my own branding, and moving my website structure over to Squarespace for the rest of the summer into fall.

Personal note: I'm also dealing with the eternal struggle of all working parents: trying to find affordable childcare that works for my family. Both of those should keep me well occupied until cold weather shows up in Seattle.

Musings and updates

May 7, 2012

The past two months have been filled with project planning, being mommy, rearranging my work schedule, personal health issues, and trying to stay creatively motivated. I've designed a few things for myself, but have only finished one. (A custom inspector's stamp which I'm quite happy with.)

It's beyond time for me to post more work samples and sketches for discussion, and I've been checking out Squarespace.com for blog development. Their design interface still feels a bit like...wearing mittens...when compared to writing my own code, but the tradeoff for the back-end dev is quite large. I'll probably only have the blog and projects pages there and integrate my existing site links into it. As long as I can maintain my design.

On that note, actually, I'm not sure if I shouldn't consider not maintaining my current design. I can probably create a stronger brand for myself than I could two years ago when I started this, and I can certainly keep the existing colors, doodles, and feel with a different layout and slightly modified elements. I just need to make sure I'm doing that for the right reasons and not throwing myself into this project because it's more interesting than other, more urgent things. Time for a pros/cons list, coffee, and staring out a window.

Is it time for Spring yet?

March 12, 2012

So... despite the very serious capslock and emoticons I girded my loins with in February, I have not entirely finished that list of tasks I outlined in my last post. I decided the exercises were a lower priority, and instead of scanning my new sketches, I've been working on my pricing/services page content. The business card design I mentioned is finished, too.

Also, please take note of the soft buttery yellow now featured on my website. I dearly hope those words don't come back to bite me, because I'd hate to have to lose the yellow entirely.

So almost everything is done. Just scans and a new post about them and that list is done. I have officially combined the periodically updated sections! Whenever I have new sketches, concepts, or doodles to share, they'll appear here along with everything else, which makes much more sense than the previous arrangement. When I created the site two years ago, I wasn't sure what I would put on the home page, and honestly I wasn't too confident about blogging. I worried about talking about non-design related topics too much and overshadowing work updates or my thoughts on design/art/etc. Now, I'm really embracing the idea of transparency with my ideas, and I'm more certain about my ability to stay on topic.

Behold, all the previous "Scribbles" posts have been incorporated here chronologically. The most recent post there was from November 2011, which just reinforces my confidence in this decision.

I think that future posts containing scans/concepts/comps will have a note of that in the title. Eventually when I get more of a back-end content management set up (which, surprisingly, has been less necessary than I was concerned it would be, so that's taken a back burner.) I'll have fancy things like tags and sub-navigation. That's for later, though. A list works for now.

Speaking of the CMS setup being on the back burner, the fluidity of workflow priorities is something that I never felt I could follow when I was a student or employee. Now that I'm running the show, boy do I understand why it can change so quickly. There's room for exploration there, but I've got things to do besides chatter today.

To Do List?

February 21, 2012

I know February is the shortest month, but this is just crazy. I keep crossing things off my Projects and Next Actions list like a good little follower of the Getting Things Done method, and they keep filling back up.

And I STILL haven't found the time to combine the blog and scribbles sections on here, or figure out a better background color. This yellow is supposed to be a soft, creamy yellow. On some monitors, and my phone, it shows up as...bright and horrible. It's everything that is wrong with yellow. But I just loooooooooove the combination of brown and yellow when it works right. It's so warm and comfortable. *Dramatic sigh* It's a designer's curse, having favorite colors that are hard to realize properly in RGB. (Let alone all the different screens.) But there are worse problems to have.

Ok, my Projects list has "exercises from CCD meeting" and "organize notes from pricing/artist market books." Those are the next things I'm going to do. Then "scan new sketches" and "combine blog & scribbles sections." I will have these finished by Friday! I WILL. O_O

Then there's a business card design (not mine! yay! that's done!) and a pricing/services structure to add to my website by the first of March.

And my daughter turns 2 next Sunday, so there will have to be two days off for preparation and clean-up of *Toddler Party 2012*. Cupcakes, sprinkles, finger-painting, and way too many cartoons feature prominently in our plans.

Hello February!

February 9, 2012

I have been SO BUSY. So, so busy. Networking, designing signs, getting new business cards printed, going to a business coach, and then this week, helping my crazy family with their crazy things.

I'm feeling pretty confident and active lately. Next project is another birthday card, and then a business card for my brother-in-law.

I also found an inexpensive art studio class that meets on a weeknight, so I'm going to start attending that, because I've really been enjoying watercolors and sketching again lately. It feels like spring!

Snow Day

January 18, 2012

The city of Seattle is shut down with what is apparently the worst snowstorm here since the 1980's. It also seems to be quite a surprise since we just had a fairly decent snow and ice storm (for around here anyway) a few years ago. So, once again I'm home with everyone. This week certainly isn't making it easy to get back into a routine.

Of course, neither is my wearing yoga pants and slippers. My daughter wants to make cinnamon rolls for dinner. It's hard to be a responsible parent when their suggestions sound like such fabulous ideas.

Back in the saddle

January 16, 2012

First day back after Christmas cookies with a toddler, finding a tree, decorating the tree, wrapping presents, hanging lights, taking down lights, taking down the tree, unwrapping presents, eating and drinking too much, then flying to Denver to do it all over again on New Years with the in-laws.

I feel like I'm on vacation right now.

So, predictably, after my last post, I decided that actually, it made far more sense to focus on personal tasks until right now, and didn't pursue any clients or work on my website. I think that was a good call, despite my worries in November, because I feel recharged. The sudden snow here in Seattle that's shut down the town is actually helping quite a bit. My husband and I have straightened our office and we're both working from home today, which is always more productive when you have company.

Lots of plans for the new year, but none are too ambitious, and I'm pretty much following the same path I laid out already. I feel comfortable and hopeful. Next projects: a calendar and a birthday card.

November Slump

November 28, 2011

Last week was entirely devoted to THANKSGIVING. (Yes, the bold is necessary.) It was an enjoyable but stressful change in routine, as holidays always are. Cooking, messes, friends over, family drama, all the warm fuzzy things one expects. I think that's what got me last year. I've got to battle the urge to set my business aside when there are do many other personal things to do now. Just because I can doesn't mean I should. I still want to continue designing for myself and search for clients.

Today is my first day out on my own again, and after a very slow start and resentful run this morning (My mind: "I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this....") I'm settled at the library with my coffee. Which I forgot to put cream in. I also have to leave in an hour and a half to do a favor for my sister-in-law, so I'm having trouble feeling it this morning. I'm excited about tomorrow, though. I'm going to get some Photoshop comps of my business card done this week and combine my blog posts into the "scribbles" section.

Every time I start a post, I debate the wisdom of combining personal thoughts with business related thoughts, but I always seem to sway to the side of disclosure. When anyone who's interested can find out any personal information they want about me, it seems to make more sense to just talk about everything that is important to me in a wholistic way. If I tried to strictly separate the professional and personal spheres of my life I would give a disjointed impression of myself to anyone who is interested. I think this is a reasonable solution to the whole "reputation management" issue.

I also hope this will...humanize me a little to anyone I start a professional relationship with. That's not to say I'm planning on squeeing about puppies at any given moment (that's for Facebook!) but when I discuss my professional goals and opinions, they're necessarily affected by my personal life.

Bloginations

November 17, 2011

I've been dealing with family stuff this week, but I'm back out today, and I'm sketching designs for my business card, and additional little doodles to add to the website--like the figure in the header, the doodles in the footer, etc. That's the style I'm going to go for, because I do that all the time anyway--it's really a good snapshot of me and how I work.

I've also decided once and for all that I really need to create my own small CMS rather than use Wordpress or Joomla. Wordpress is kind of a hassle for what I want to do--I really want more direct control. Joomla is the same way, but it requires more complicated setup before I have to mess with the interface that separates me from the code. Useful information for future clients who might have regular updates or product catalogs they'll need to manage, but for my website, both solutions just add more work. I'm already comfortable with the code, so I don't need all of the bells and whistles.

ASP.net and Javascript it is! My husband tells me he can help me get something working in an evening, so we'll try to find the time to do that before Thanksgiving. After that I'll combine these posts into the "scribbles" section and do a little rearranging around here. Having two sections that are regularly updated with posts is ineffecient, I think. Time to sketch and think.

Scribbles: Creative Fuel sketches

November 8, 2011

After I completed the wedding invitation but before I started working on the water purification company website, I had some downtime. I've got a few books that have exercises to stretch your creative muscles, or to break through mental blocks, and i took a cue from them. I decided to give myself some time and shape constraints and see what I could do.

For example, for 3 minutes, I tried to illustrate the concept of "light." Then I moved on to letters, numbers, and basic symbolic shapes like a stick figure or a sun, breaking down their structure and rearranging it in as many different ways as I could think of. Moving quickly while working within those constraints was quite refreshing, because it reminded me of drawing exercises from a few college classes. I think the work I did on the Aqua Systems website was better for my having taken the time to work on this.

While working on this, I mixed in some quick figure sketches of my daughter playing. That was time limited, too, because toddlers never stay in one place for long.

sketch: warm up page which basically functioned as a brain sketch of symbols illustrating light and glass sketches illustrating density sketches relating to the concept of safety sketches with only the parts of a stick figure, one circle and five lines sketches with only 4 straight lines sketches with a few different numbers of lines and curves: parts of a sun and flower symbol sketches made with the parts of a basic house line drawing and basic smiley face figure sketches and brainstorming sketches made with only 3 lines, or 3 curves, based on the letter A sketches with 3 lines or 3 curves, or a combination of the two toddler figure sketches toddler figure sketches toddler figure sketches toddler figure sketches

Concepts: Aqua Systems sketches

November 7, 2011

These are idea sketches for a website design I did some subcontracting work for this summer. This project was particularly challenging because the client was in a sort of franchise structure within a parent company, so the design process had many layers of approval and ideas. Ultimately, my design didn't end up as the final product, but I'm happy with the work I did get done. I've got a working draft of the website that I'll put up in the projects in the future.

sketch: colored pencil, home page option sketch: colored pencil, home page option sketch: colored pencil, home page option sketch: colored pencil, home page option sketch: colored pencil, products page option sketch: colored pencil, experimental page idea to illustrate the company's key benefit to customers in a visually interesting way, incorporating social media

New pictures!

November 7, 2011

Some website updates today in the projects and scribbles [ETA: LINK REMOVED, PAGE NO LONGER EXISTS] sections, and I'm considering a new website structure. At least, I'm considering combining my "life" and "scribbles" pages into one blog, under the name "scribbles." That way I'd only update in one place, and end (or begin, or occasionally replace) these introspective posts with some new sketches or thoughts about new projects. That would probably suit my original goal the best, and that way I might actually be able to get Wordpress to work as a blog solution, and not have to setup a CMS for my small website.

The blog portion is really the only reason I need one. Adding work sample images to the site isn't a big deal, and I oculd easily work that into the internal workflow process I have once I'm wrapping up a project.

I've got some sketches to scan and upload, which will either happen tonight or tomorrow, and then I'm going to start on my new business card and flyer design. In preparation for that, I've gone through my own client interview process, and I found the questions surprisingly challenging. Coming up with adjectives and verbs that apply to your business, listing your strenghts and weaknesses, and coming up with your key benefit statement requires a decent amount of certainty in your own goals. Writing out all that information is also a committment on its own.

Overall, I feel really good about the direction I'm heading. Applying my skills to my own business is having the effect I hoped it would have: it's building my confidence because I can see the benefit from both sides, and it's helping me refine my client process. ... That reminds me, I need to add a page to the site that discusses my process--at least the initial meeting. How This Works, maybe, which could include process and pricing info. Actually, maybe those should be two pages.

Anyway, I'm thinking and I'm excited. Good sign.

Putting my own house in order.

November 3, 2011

It's been almost a year since I did any significant editing of this website, mostly because there are always personal obligations that can draw me away from my own ambitions if I let them. I'm working on getting myself to stop doing that. Even though I've had a few design and SEO projects over the past year, I've always jumped into them, finished them, and jumped right back out because there's something "more pressing" going on. I can't let myself do that.

I'm very fortunate that my husband's income can support us while I work on my business and am the primary care giver for our daughter. BUT, compared to a website, which even for me, is still an abstract concept that's out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind, it's so much easier to do other tasks that are right in front of me, or even better, for another person. When I work on a project for a client, I've got deadlines that mean something to another person as well as me, and my toddler (not to mention the laundry and dishes she generates) has a very insistent physical presence that creates its own urgency. Yes, she can play by herself for half an hour, or my sister-in-law can babysit for a morning, but knowing that and peeling a 2 year old off your leg are two different things.

So, I've taken the path of least resistance, and done work that has fallen into my lap, and been ~Mommy~. And it's not good for me, because I feel creatively stifled and frustrated, and I've got no one to blame but myself, because I've got all kinds of possibilities right there if I just grab them. I've read productivity books, I've read productivity blogs, I've researched and reorganized, but when it comes down to it, I have to prioritize my own business's needs as highly as I prioritize a client's.

I also missed a few opportunities to blog about work as I was doing it, which was one of my original goals. Typing out my thought processes for the Cascade Dizziness and Balance logo that I created this summer, or talking about the experience of working on an SEO project as a sub-contractor for New Example Internet Consulting while not being able to touch the website's design, no matter how much I wanted to, would have been good for me.

I'm taking up the reins again. I did research on potential advertising venues, on business directories, and resources for women entrepreneurs. I started a wordpress blog: http://samanthabiddlecom.wordpress.com - LINK REMOVED [ETA: I've decided Wordpress doesn't work for me, even in the short term, so I'm going to start fiddling with an open source content management system for myself. The two blog posts I made are available below.] which is much faster to update than a static webpage that doesn't have a content management system. (Nope, haven't set that up for myself yet. Again: so much easier to take care of other people.) I'll be integrating that with my website, and working on back-end technomagery over the next few months. I've considered registering a name for my business, and whether the payoff in professional polish would counterbalance the loss of the personal touch of using my name only. I'm going to think more carefully about general pricing, so I can quote specific package prices instead of estimating on the fly. I'm going to take the time to design my own business cards, flyers, and other promotional materials.

If I want other people to respect my work, I need to respect it myself. Go team!

Archetypes

briefly posted with Wordpress

I'm not sure whether this will be a useful exercise or not, since in the article I found the advice in is really more geared toward businesses that consist of more than one person, but it's an interesting way to get my creative juices flowing.

First, A List Apart suggests setting clear goals for your project, and then once it's organized, developing a personality for the company/client to keep the design and message cohesive. If there's anything I feel comfortable with right now, it's organizing, so I'll focus on the first and final steps. (I can organize myself right into a procrastinating corner. "What, find a client? Oh, no, I can't possibly do that yet! Why, my blog isn't properly integrated into my website, which needs to be updated with recent projects, and while I'm at it I should resize those images so they load faster...and I don't like this temporary business card design I threw together, it's really too generic...and before I start contacting people I should compile a list of potential local clients, directories, classifieds and associations...")

So, clear goals:
I want to _____________________
because __________________________
so that _________________________________.

Well, isn't that straightforward? Um. Ok, let's see. Brainstorming time. Well, I'm good at working with small clients, and I also enjoy it. I'm friendly and trustworthy, and I come across as conscientious. I'm comfortable educating and reassuring clients, and showing them reliable resources to back up my assertions. I want to make interesting products. That's vague. I want to create media. I love absorbing art from all different media, and I like to draw inspiration from that to create something with a specific purpose. I like making books and websites, I love doodling logos. I want to create a quality design that will help clients draw in/amuse/inform customers. I want to be satisfied that I have done a good day's work when turn off my computer or close my sketchbook. I want to join the local business network that is so strong in the Seattle area and offer affordable service to tiny businesses. Mom & Pop places that are behind the times, other new businesses started by other frazzled young moms, scruffy little places who are making an effort to bring in more money--these would be my ideal clients. Businesses that are starting out, just holding their head above water and trucking along, or people taking risks can't afford thousands of dollars for a logo, so I won't charge that. Mom & Pops that are still operating like they were 30 years ago don't know what a good deal is when it comes to web design/dev/hosting. My son says I need a blog, but why?, etc.

I already am reliable. I already love designing. I want to put that to use.

So how does that hash out in that concise sentence above, Sam?

I want to find small local businesses who need a reliable designer who can create decent products on a small budget and educate them about media topics they are unfamiliar with. Because I am good at that and want to put it to use. So that I can use my skills to make a contribution to society that I'm proud of and have a positive influence on my local economy.

Still too long-winded.

I want to provide well designed print or web media to small local businesses who require reliability and a trustworthy educator about the media design/production process, because that would allow me to make a positive contribution to my local economy, thus deepening my connection with my neighborhood and region while providing me a strong sense of entrepreneurial independence and job satisfaction.

Not bad, but it sounds like bullshit, even though it's sincere. That's the worst of both worlds when that happens. That's always my problem: being concise without sounding like a bland example from a business coaching pamphlet or ME LIKE MAKE PRETTY SO PEOPLE BUY YOUR STUFF. YOU PAY ME FOR THIS, YES?

Why is it so difficult for me to find the middle ground between CAVEMAN and windbag? Well, it's good enough for now. Let's move on to the archetypes. Maybe that will help.

Exploring the Possibilities

A List Apart lists archetypes...posited, is the best word?... by Dr. Carol S. Pearson.

The A List Apart article does suggest that an examination of a few key people on the client side and identifying a general archetype for them, then comparing those with the goal sentence created earlier in the process, which is a reasonable possibility. I can't be sure I can provide a reliable self-examination, but I'll try. I googled "12 archetypes" and found descriptions for the list. (http://www.herowithin.com/system.htm) Now to see if I can distinguish between my business/entrepreneurial self and my private/home self, and if I should, or have to, or if I'm actually different from my business if I'm my entire staff. ... Oooh, this website discusses the archetypes in terms of individuals and organizations. That's useful.

OK, going through the list:

Innocent:

First impression of the description: it doesn't sound like me. Naturally idealistic, optimistic, and hopeful... most fulfilled when their lives are based on their deeply held values and beliefs. ... make sure they're not in denial about real problems...or too loyal when loyalty is not deserved. Photos of Elmo and Dorothy Gale in the header.

Not me at all. Also doesn't match my goals. NEXT!

Everyperson:

Let's check out the pictures here...Wendy's, GAP, and Jimmy Carter? Uh... neutral? ... Seems bland to me at first glance. I hope this isn't me.

fulfilled by helping others belong...Naturally empathetic, unpretentious, and resilient...can motivate others to try hard... fostering real camaraderie...

Aw. Now I kind of wish I was that nice, but nope, not me. Well, I'm unpretentious, I think, but overall that's not me. I'm more reserved, and in a disorganized group I'm either a quiet observer or another voice in the chorus of chatter. NEXT!

Hero:

Can't squash my mental image of Tarzan and firefighters. Tarzan dressed in a fireman's coat. Shirtless firefighters swinging through the jungle. Too flippant? ... too flippant. Moving on to the picture examples...YAY! Wonder Woman! I wanted to be Wonder Woman for Halloween SO BAD when I was 8, but my mom said it was too cold and she wasn't going to make me a flag bathing suit, and I was a fat kid so none of the store-bought ones would fit. I ended up dressing up in the same dress I wore to my aunt's wedding with a plastic crown and wand. :C Moving on...OOOH! Kerri Strug on a Wheaties box! I was 12 in 1996, and I was made of envy...

Oh, that's why I was flippant. This is definitely not me, but it's who I wanted to be when I was little. Let's explore the description.

...determined, achievement-oriented, and focused...usually excited and challenged by the opportunity to prevail against the odds...organizations normally are very successful at producing consistent results...need to be careful about seeing others as enemies...rushing to action instead of thinking things through.

I can be focused, but I'm usually intimidated/resolute in the face of bad odds. Consistency? I tend to be more of a product of my environment, combined with stubbornness. Definitely no problem with seeing others as enemies or rushing to action. I always want to be the one who succeeds through "discipline and focus," but I'm usually the one who succeeds by blind luck, inspiration, frustration, bitching at my family about my problems, and working my butt off right before the deadline. Food for thought. NEXT!

Caregiver:

I know for certain that given only the lists, this is the one that my family and friends would most likely pick for me. I love babies and puppies, and I make sure people get things done, meet deadlines, make appointments, pay bills, eat their vegetables, take their naps, do their homework, take out the trash...

Well, I really am a caregiver, and this is close to my goal sentence, since it seems to relate to being reliable and educating clients who might be intimidated by unfamiliar technology.

I'm one of nature's big sisters. I've been maternal since preschool.

But interestingly, I fight it, when I'm thinking ideally. I want to be Wonder Woman, but really, I'm just Woman. Let's see if the photos and descriptions hold this hypothesis up.

Wow. I think Mother Theresa and the Virgin Mary are a bit... grandiose for any corporate description, herowithin.com. But I see the point. Campbell's and Allstate? Much more reasonable. Also, a woman's hand holding a baby's hand in the background. Ted Kennedy is the only man's face here, but at least a man was included.

most fulfilled when they can make a difference for someone else...compassionate, nurturing, and dedicated...enjoy demonstrating their supportiveness and can motivate others to provide better service...usually excited and challenged by responding to needs...organizations are most successful at providing consistent, high-quality service or care; creating stable and nurturing environments; and advocating for others...need to watch their tendencies toward martyrdom and enabling others and to burn themselves out while always putting others first.

Siiiiigh. Ok, ok, this is mostly me. I do like providing consistent high-quality service, and educating clients, and I feel more fulfilled when I have a task that will solve a problem for someone else.

So, here's an interesting question, why do I tend to feel that is a weakness? Odd. Maybe it's something to do with archetypal feminine power vs. masculine power, and how traditionally feminine roles are softer, weaker, nicer, retiring, behind the scenes.

Then there's martyrdom and burnout. Guilty of that, too. Ok, one down. NEXT!

Explorer:

My thoughts: Indiana Jones, Johnny Appleseed, astronauts. Not me, I'm a scaredy cat. Maybe mental explorers like Einstein? Not me, I'm not brilliant with new ideas. I'm good at synthesizing and combining old ones in new ways, though. Or I'd like to be.

Photos: Amelia Earhart! <3 REI...oh, there's Indiana Jones!...rock-climbing lady...Jeep... yep, I was about right.

...seek out new approaches and perspectives...independent, authentic, and curious...follow unique paths and motivate others to explore...challenged by the opportunity to blaze a new trail...staying with current trends, encouraging individual initiative, providing others with the opportunity to learn and grow...avoid being unwilling to settle down or commit to a course of action; forgetting to coordinate with others; and overlooking the needs of others.

Nope, not me, but it does describe some of my close friends and the traits that I love about them, along with the traits that drive me INSANE. I admire the Explorer, but no envy as with the Hero. I'm happy to be a hanger-on of the cool kids. These are definitely the cool kids. Not me. NEXT!

Lover:

My thoughts: Christopher Walken on SNL in a smoking jacket mispronouncing champagne.

Examples: ... HAHAHAHA! Ok, that's the best. Bill Clinton with a sultry squint. Whooo ok. A rose. Calvin Klein. Oh, Julia Child. <3 Ok, I do love her. How could you not?

most fulfilled by building relationships...appreciative, passionate, and committed...creating consensus and motivating others to see and utilize their own special gifts...building real partnerships among employees and clients...harmonious ways of working together...careful about cliquishness, emotional intrigue...

Not me. NEXT!

Revolutionary:

My thoughts: Che t-shirts.

Examples given: Yep, Che. Harley, Apple, American Revolution.

...most fulfilled when they can change something they feel needs to be changed...new, cutting-edge...challenging the status quo....successful at developing truly radical ideas, products, and services...careful about coming across as reckless...

Nope. NEXT.

Creator:

Now this has possibility. I do love to create things. I like to shape the world. I would endlessly make and destroy abstract creations with play-doh when I was little.

CRAYOLA CRAYONS and NICOLA TESLA and LEONARDO.

I wish I was that cool.

...fulfilled by seeing new ideas take shape. Naturally expressive, original, and imaginative, they enjoy demonstrating their inventiveness...excited and challenged by opportunities to express themselves...developing distinctive, original products and services and/or innovating new solutions or expressive means...overloading themselves with new projects and a tendency toward perfectionism...

The subtypes include artisan and builder/designer, both of which really speak to me. This is probably my secondary characteristic. It's closer to my professional side than my personal side. Although, this is the side of myself that I feel less confident about. I think this is just the side of myself that needs more exercise. I would like for this archetype to be me. :) NEXT!

Magician:

My thoughts: What?

Oh... M.C. Escher and Dr. MLK, Jr. Well, there ya go. Makes sense.

...intuitive, insightful, and inspiring...appreciate multiple perspectives...serve as catalysts...

Inspiring, extraordinary, shining stars. Not me, and that's not just the lack of self-confidence referenced earlier talking. I'm much quieter, closer to the average. I would prefer to stand out in another way. Next!

Ruler:

I've been reading A Song of Ice and Fire lately, so all I can think about is a medieval fantasy setting. Oh, here we go. Elizabeth I, Hilary Clinton, Eisenhower, makes sense.

Not even going to bother. I'm bossy by nature, and I do make order out of chaos, but I don't exactly like being in charge of people and it doesn't relate directly to the goal sentence above. NEXT!

Sage:

My thoughts: A wise old woman, a professor, a teacher, a library full of books. Photo examples here: Oprah, Einstein, the Discovery Channel, Oxford. A grab bag, but I see where it's going. Maybe once I have more experience?

...fulfilled by finding the answers to great questions...thinking things through...motivate others to seek the truth...significant expertise; gathering and analyzing information...contributing knowledge...

Yeah, this is an archetype I respect, but not me. At least yet. NEXT!

Jester:

I thought of a court jester (influence of the fantasy novels with this name) and, honestly, my husband because he's such a goofball. I understand and appreciate this one: Chaplin, Geico, Richard Pryor...oh, the Joker...that's interesting...A subversive side to this archetype? Not me though. I need to keep the entertainment and work separate. Well, I'm not all frowns and silence when I'm working, and I am entertained by work quite often, but if I'm goofing around, I'm not getting anything done. NOT me.

Conclusions

So I am a Caregiver and Creator, contrasted with the Hero, and enjoy associating with the Explorer. Revisiting the goal sentence:

I want to find small local businesses who need a reliable designer who can create decent products on a small budget and educate them about media topics they are unfamiliar with. Because I am good at that and want to put it to use. So that I can use my skills to make a contribution to society that I'm proud of and have a positive influence on my local economy.

Still too long-winded.

I want to provide well designed print or web media to small local businesses who require reliability and a trustworthy educator about the new media design/production process, because that would allow me to make a positive contribution to my local economy, thus deepening my connection with my neighborhood and region while providing me a strong sense of entrepreneurial independence and job satisfaction.

It sounds like my instincts were right at first, and my own personality and strengths are really what I'm selling. Only took me 2500 words to say it! Gotta work on being more concise, but a brainstorming session about this was useful for me. I think I need some offline time thinking about how this will affect the design of my own materials.

Regular updates or bust

briefly posted with Wordpress

After nearly a year without a website update, it seems I need to actually set up some sort of content management system in order to make regular updates a manageable thing. Perhaps Wordpress will stick, I don't know. If not, there's a few other options that take more time to setup but allow more control. Joomla is next.

I also need to adhere to a schedule with this just like anything else, but that's a separate issue. I can blame any number of things for my lack of diligence, but really, it's just my lack of diligence about this. I've prioritized other things, and now I'm going to prioritize this. Regularly working is the only way to get better, so that's what I'm going to do.

Concepts: Biddlecom Wedding invitation sketches

November 11, 2010

Brainstorming for a wedding invitation/save-the-date postcard and informational website design. The young couple share an eclectic artistic sensibility and want to reflect each of their unique styles and interests in their wedding design. The use of natural and mechanical elements, a variety of textures and shapes, and references to their hippie-geek-philosopher identities are central elements included in the celebration of their union. That they are celebrating "something that already exists" is very important to the couple.

wedding brainstorming: grayscale sketch, rough drawing of gears and bouquet of flowers, layout arrangement ideas, sweeping loose shapes and small compact shapes wedding brainstorming: grayscale sketch, rough drawing of flowers, soft rounded edges, potential use of origami structures suggested in flowers wedding brainstorming: grayscale sketch, 8 potential postcard layouts using elements from general sketches within this series wedding brainstorming: grayscale sketch, rough drawing of soft flowers and structure, use of sharp angles and curves, potentially suggesting sculpted flowers rather than natural

Scribbles and Halloween Costumes

November 8, 2010

For the past month or so, I've been wrapped up in family responsibilities and personal projects, but I've been staying on top of my need for a creative outlet. I used a sewing machine! I also gave myself needle calluses sewing shiny braid, buttons, and chains onto a very large coat. I also sketched out some invitation design ideas, which are going to be the beginning of my scribbles page. COMING SOON! :O ETA: scribbles page is currently available

I'm excited about this idea, because it will encourage me to regularly share fresh work and display ideas that I'm proud of but aren't necessarily completed. My theory is that it will help potential clients get a feel for my workflow and thought processes in the middle of projects. In my experience, the small business owners I'll be reaching out to tend to want to make sure they really understand where their money is going, because their budget is important. Graphic design work is often a black box to someone who works in a completely different field, or who has a very different creative process. Showing my work in progress will help them decide whether or not they like my work, we'll be a good fit, and what exactly they're paying for.

Regular updates should keep my website alive, with new work and new ideas. It should encourage me to change the site when it needs it, rather than treat it like a static medium. Websites are like haircuts; they need to be re-stlyed once in a while. It's easy to forget that, no matter how many times you read it on AListApart or Smashing Magazine.

Two birds with one stone: additional information for customers, productivity tool for me.

I need to make scans before the scribbles page is created, and I've got a very insistent little girl drawing me away from my keyboard at the moment. Edits TBA.

Introductions and such.

September 23, 2010

So this is me. I make stuff. I prefer when it's pretty, but whatever is appropriate for the occasion. If you're looking for samples of my work and information about the services I offer, please see the projects and resumé pages. [ETA: resume link removed, page replaced with process page.]

The plan for this website is obviously to display my work and have a spot to send all the potential clients who, in theory, will eventually be beating down my door. I'm also going to blog about the work I'm doing; I'll talk about the technical challenges I face, the personal design and art projects I undertake, and occasional snippets of my life.

Real original, I know. ;) But really, I hope the blog section will serve as a good record for myself about the art and design slice of my interests and the beginning of this business. It'll be a place for the occasional brain dump rather than something that will draw in readers.

Projects I'm working on right now include restoration of some family photos, this website, and invitations and a website for a friend's wedding.

Please bear with the unfinished sections and occasional changes and updates, as I'm just getting this venture off the ground. If you like what you see and you're interested in any of the services I have to offer, feel free to send me an email and we can talk. :)

Decorative image. Circular gradient.