Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Caught, Can We Get a Witness?

I had an appointment the other day that was a no-show. I take it as a bit of a slight, a sign of lack of respect... They called to apologize (kinda) much later after we were suppose to meet, but after I called to see where they might be. I was not happy about this. Even worse though, the meeting was at 4:00 and I often knock off at 4 to hang with the kids/cut the grass/maybe help with dinner.... I take an average of a 4-5 hour break and come back to work for 3-4 hours in the evening. So blowing me off on my down time, it was bad enough the meeting was scheduled during my downtown, sheesh.

I run along the lines of some old school business philosophies. I have learned from the best. I always write people letters, thank you notes, follow ups. I am professional, I try and explain things as clearly as I can, get it all in writing and I do my best to show up on time for meetings. Occasionally, I may be a few minutes late and I feel pretty embarrassed when I can't make it at the set time. My time is valuable so I try not to waste others.

I wonder, as technology advances and as business gets less and less formal, where do the old time practices, respects and standards of operations end up? Do they disappear completely? Do people have formal business meetings over their cell phone or tweat, twitterize or twext each other? As meetings have moved from the conference room to the coffee shop, has this trend weakened the connections and partnerships people make...?

I would much rather meet someone face-to-face if I am going to do business with them. But I have, a few times over the last year or so, successfully completed some design projects where I have never met the client face-to-face. I know this is common with freelance illustrators and writers, but I have a bit of a hard time with it. Talking to someone in person gives you a better feel for them and this is especially valuable when meeting first time clients.

I may be at the end of a dying breed of business folk trying to hold on to some old school practices, but I have found them to work. I think people can appreciate the professionalism (especially from a creative type- some people think we are wacko), and I am going to keep meeting you in person. We'll talk about the next project, we'll chat about our kids, common interests (hockey, rock, RZA, etc.)... and we'll shake hands. Go ahead and twit, tweet or tweather me, I'll call you back and we can set up a time to meet. In person.

Photos: kid shot photograph of lawn about to get schooled, old schooled... and Bobby Digital, he'll always meet you on time, and kick your azz!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One of My Submarines


Back in 1984 when Apple revolutionized the world of personal computing with the Macintosh computer I was graduating from Tonawanda High School. I took several art and design classes from my favorite teacher William DeGlopper including photography, graphic design, illustration, plus a printing course (in shop class, no lie) but no computers. I continued my path as a designer enrolling into Buffalo State College the same year and ran through their design program-- with some journalism tossed in. The closest I came to a computer was word processing at the The Record, the school paper. When I first came into touch with a computer that could be used as a design tool, the decade was coming to a close as the 90s began.

The first Mac I actually used to design was a bit more advanced version that the one here (SE-30)... barely... It was this same size. And though I didn't carry it around in a little sack riding in my bike's basket, I did carry it around from my job to my house. It seems funny to lug this big box around, but this little machine was actually pretty compact for it's day and age. It is interesting how computers went from this, to bigger desktops and back to a small size in its life cycle of 25 years so far.

I have a couple of these little Mac SE-30s boxes and I love the information, instructions and photos in the manual. Last year I posted a piece about the the fonts that came pre-loaded (er, I mean you had to load them yourself from a small floppy disk) on this machine and another one about using the state-of-the-art MacPaint.... this time I chose to show you the 'lifestyle' photography from the original Mac manual.

The images are pretty humorous in their authentic '80s office style and preppy, white guy-ness. The shot with the guy in his office late at night with his sweater around his neck is priceless. It's marketing like this-- with its uber-80s geek-ness-- that kept the rock poster designers from using computers... and probably it's list price of $4,400 ($4,900 with hard drive). Think about what sort of computer you can get today for four grand!

Quick note on the carrying case: "... Your Macintosh will fit under the seat in most commercial airplanes. and in the overhead compartment of others.." Try carrying this thing onto a plane today, let alone getting in UNDER the seat!

A little tickle to get it started, adjust the brightness and you are computing!

Why is this man's collar down? You can tell by the look on this guys face he is crunching numbers. Internet porn had yet to be invented but the calculator watch had.

The ease-of-use. Big desk, littel computer: a couple dudes working in their law office or someplace businessy like that.

The sexy. After hours '80s dude chillin', catching some UV rays California-stylee.

The traveling computer: Packing it up to go... city awaits in the distance.

Bicycle Race. ... and then going, with the little mac riding up front in the basket. Jealous guys looks on from shadows.

Hello, aren't I beige. Love me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


T-Shirt Of The Week #13: PRINT Magazine
Yellow and red art on black tee

This is my weekly feature on a favorite t-shirt that I own, number thirteen. This one tells the story about being a graphic artist. Four of the little artist dude in the circles are stressing out: scratching his head, sitting and worrying, crying his eyes out and placing a gun to his head surrounded by crumpled paper- bad ideas, perhaps? The fifth dude is jumping for joy and tossing money... Is this not the true tale of the artist?... 80% struggle, pain, suffering, 10% satisfaction.

This was a free shirt I got when I renewing a subscription to PRINT magazine ages ago. The artist is none other than Mr. Chris Ware, creator of the amazing ACME Novelty Library comic book series**. I always loved the tale it tells without words- it is open to interpretation don't cha know.... I have felt like this guy for most of last week and I am waiting for the 'jumping in the air with money' day... will it be tomorrow..? I am hoping.

** Thanks to Paulk in hotlanta for filling in the artist for me... I knew the work, but didn't know his name... so stoopeed of me.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Go To Work (but not on a Saturday!?!??!)

I often take Saturday & Sundays off from the biz-ness and it seems to work well. I mentioned several posts ago how I dislike working on the weekends and avoid it whenever possible. Since most of my work-time is spend working on proposals and finding the work, I sometimes will sneak some creative in here and there to satisfy that need. But it has to be fun stuff- rock posters, CD art, etc.

When I was in college and had a restaurant job I spend all weekends working. It wasn't too bad except the dreaded late nite Sat & the early Sunday morning combo. To make matters worse, the time between those 2 shifts was not spent sleeping- as you may imagine. But getting up Sunday morning to work? I guess I could get up early these days and put some hours in before the girls awake...? I guess I am more of a nite owl and would rather put the hours in late if needed.

As we are well into our 9th year as our own thing- OtherWisz Creative- working the odd hours seem less and less a necessity. Though I feel like I still have to work like crazy to keep the ship afloat, I guess I don't really have to as much these days. We have the staff to do the work and as long as I keep it coming in, manage it, and come up with the concepts (w/ J. of course) I guess I can keep it to standard biz hours- 9-5pm. I think creative folks usually would frown on that and would rather work the crazy hours.

I am interested in what you folks out there are doing, especially the creative types...? What sort of work schedule do you keep you writers, musicains (see Willie above), artists, graphic folks, photogs, etc? Let me know- comment.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Wanna Be Your Dog

Corporate Challenge T-shirt Design Vote!

Every year we design t-shirts for some of our clients that are in the Chase Corporate Challenge which is a Delaware Park road race taking place this Thursday (June 4th) which raises money for not-for-profits. It is a fun event where corporate Buffalo lets down their hair, runs/walks a race around the park and then parties. And, no, the OtherWisz team of highly athletic workers is not involved as participants this year.... but once again we have designed special race tees for some of our clients. This year we did designs for two: Fisher's Friends Dog Day Care and Kenmore Development.

The KD tee wasn't designed in-time to get entered in the yearly t-shirt design contest, but the Fisher's Friends tee was. You as the voters can catapult our t-shirt design to victory by voting online. So do it, please. Go to here and vote by choosing the 'It's all fun and games until someone gets a cone' t-shirt.

The concept was brought to us by the client and our crack team of dog-loving designers came up with this illustration and a design that worked out just super. If you like this witty t-shirt enough, they are for sale at Fisher's Friends in Eggertsville, view website here for directions.