The Busy Creator Podcast with Prescott Perez-Fox - conversations on creative culture, workflow & productivity

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Practical Typographic Advice and Building an Education Business Alongside a Design Firm with Michael Stinson — The Busy Creator Podcast 97

Michael Stinson (@MWStinson) is a veteran designer, educator, and business owner. In addition to his work as a professor of graphic design, he also runs Ramp Creative, a branding studio in Los Angeles, as well as Type Ed, a dedicated typographic education business which helps creative pros return to form in the fields of typesetting and layout.

Together in this conversation we unravel some of today’s worst typographic habits, and how to overcome them, share a few tips that all creatives can use to improve their type usage, and discuss some processes for working with clients.

Catch up with Michael on his website, MichaelStinson.com, or through Type Ed.          

 

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Bandwidth for The Busy Creator Podcast is provided by Freedcamp, Group Efforts Made Effortless.

Freedcamp is best free online project management software available. By using the built-in functions and additional tools like time tracking, invoices, milestones, file storage, and more, teams can customise the software for the task at hand! The Busy Creator Podcast itself is managed and operated on Freedcamp. Get started for free on Freedcamp.com

Show Notes & Links

  • Michael is the first person from Los Angeles to join The Busy Creator Podcast
  • Ramp Creative handles a lot of variety — digital, print, mobile
  • Type Ed is an Education Organization, founded 2012
  • UI/UX design has eroded traditional type study
  • High School scribbles are largely typography
  • Michael was taught both ends of the type spectrum — hand lettering and typesetting (3 words or 300)

"I'm not training you to be designers; I'm training you to be Creative Directors some day."

—Michael Stinson

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  • Phonetics
  • Whiskey Labels, an underrated technical as well as artistic challenge

"Everyone likes to do logos but wordmarks are extremely challenging."

—Michael Stinson

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"Designers these days don't like process. They want to jump to making it look good."

—Michael Stinson

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"If you get your process in place, you can design anything."

—Michael Stinson

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  • Michael is a former Aerospace Engineer; Prescott studied Mechanical Engineering
  • Prescott — in spite of the hyphen in his last name — doesn’t like to use hyphens in his paragraph text

"Imagine if you're reading War & Peace in all caps — how far would you get?"

—Michael Stinson

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"The beauty of graphic design is that it works both sides of the brain."

—Michael Stinson

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"If you follow the right words the path will take you to the promised land of the visuals."

—Michael Stinson

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"You're an actor, you're a leader, you're an entrepreneur, you're a psychologist, you're a therapist ... all at the same time."

—Michael Stinson

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  • Building Brands, a Step-By-Step Guide for Creative Pros to Develop Strategy and Design Identity — original eBook by Prescott Perez-Fox
    Building Brands eBook cover

    Building Brands eBook

"You're not going to use a crescent wrench for a hammer. Right tool for the right job."

—Michael Stinson

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"Never stop noticing design."

—Michael Stinson

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  • The most stringest morning routine ever described on The Busy Creator Podcast was that of Michael Bierut
  • Reading in The Brain by Stanislas Dehaene on Amazon
    Reading in The Brain by Stanislas Dehaene
  • The Intellectual Devotional by David Kidder & Noah Oppenheim on Amazon and on Audible
    The Intellectual Devotional by David Kidder & Noah Oppenheim

"Type isn't all about the characters themselves, it's about the space they take up and the negative space that's left."

—Michael Stinson

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Tools

Techniques

  • Use Tables in InDesign for grid-based layouts (restaurant menus)
  • Build type hierarchy from the body copy up (subheads, etc.)
  • If you’re setting more than 35 words, don’t use All Caps, Italics, Centered
  • Don’t be afraid to use hyphens, but with discipline. (e.g., don’t use hyphens in the first line)
  • Don’t use more than 13 words on a line (left-aligned), or 7 words on a line (centered)
  • Aim for 50-70 characters per line (type size in points x 2 = measure width in picas)
  • Don’t build websites in Photoshop — it’s not made for layout

Habits

  • Keep the reader in your mind. Think of them first.
  • Always take clients through a verbal discovery phase first before visuals
  • Give your print partners multiple files — flattened, outlined, original files, native links, etc. — make their lives easier
  • Constantly observe and comment on design around you

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Get The Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture: Revive Your Mind by David Kidder & Noah Oppenheim as a free audiobook 
The Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture: Revive Your Mind by David Kidder & Noah Oppenheim on Audible

 

Direct download: TheBusyCreator_97_MichaelStinson.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Becoming a Multi-Faceted Creative, and The Movie-Making Process with Filmmaker & Podcaster David Power — The Busy Creator Podcast 96

David Power is a multi-purpose creative pro based in Brooklyn, NY. Since moving to New York, he’s worked in music recording & production, written several business books, penned screenplays, and helped write and perform in comedy films. His latest project is a podcast documentary of how a feature film is made.

Our conversation covers creative practices and routines, as well as the often-nebulous world of film & video, including how to collaborate on a script and using crowdfunding to launch projects at scale.

Catch up with David on his website, DavidPower.com, or through his show, SureFirePodcast.com

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Freedcamp, the finest free online project management software

Bandwidth for The Busy Creator Podcast is provided by Freedcamp, Group Efforts Made Effortless.

Freedcamp is best free online project management software available. By using the built-in functions and additional tools like time tracking, invoices, milestones, file storage, and more, teams can customise the software for the task at hand! The Busy Creator Podcast itself is managed and operated on Freedcamp. Get started for free on Freedcamp.com

Show Notes & Links

Tools

Techniques

  • Soften the corners of a room to dampen reverb/echo
  • Develop characters first, give them a voice and backstory, and then place them into a three-act structure. (Or not).
  • Collect all notes and ideas; save them for later and vetting each one before writing
  • Build a project management software workflow that actually reflects the way you work
  • Don’t store files in Slack; that’s not the place for permanent items
  • Use Plain Text formatting as a universal standard
  • Build a Hackintosh if you can’t afford a Mac Pro (which you probably can’t)

Habits

  • Cross-promote, tag, and share your social links with your collaboration partners
  • Exercise first thing in the morning
  • Meditate, eat, drink coffee before starting work
  • Use a floating lunch hour
  • Wake up without an alarm
  • Don’t actively seek out news (minus industry happenings)

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Get Finish the Script!: A College Screenwriting Course in Book Form by Scott King as a free audiobook 
Finish the Script!: A College Screenwriting Course in Book Form by Scott King on Audible

 

Direct download: TheBusyCreator_96_DavidPower.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Business Lessons for Creative Entrepreneurs & How to Launch an Online Community with Designer, Writer, and Podcaster Kathleen Shannon — The Busy Creator Podcast 95

Kathleen Shannon (@AndKathleen) is a graphic designer and brand strategist, and co-founder of Being Boss, a podcast and community for creative entrepreneurs. Kathleen began as a staff art director, but learned entrepreneurial habits working on her side projects and blogging. She's now seeking to become a media mogul and serve the creative community.

In this conversation, we discuss the origins of Being Boss, how Kathleen learned systematic behaviour and stays organised, and the common mindsets of creative entrepreneurs.

Catch up with Kathleen on the Being Boss website or that of her agency, Braid Creative.

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Subscribe to The Busy Creator Podcast on iTunes | on Google Play Music | on Android | on iHeart

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Freedcamp, the best free online project management software

Bandwidth for The Busy Creator Podcast is provided by Freedcamp, Group Efforts Made Effortless.

Freedcamp is best free online project management software available. By using the built-in functions and additional tools like time tracking, invoices, milestones, file storage, and more, teams can customise the software for the task at hand! The Busy Creator Podcast itself is managed and operated on Freedcamp. Get started for free on Freedcamp.com

Show Notes & Links

  • Prescott had a classmate named Kathleen, who went by Kate. Her mother, also Kathleen, went by Cassie.
  • Kathleen was almost named “Cinco”, born May 5
  • Prescott is born May 6, making the two both Tauruses
  • Kathleen describes herself as a “truth seeker & dream (job) chaser. Tea drinker & good food eater. Risk taker, magic maker & booty shaker.”
  • AndKathleen.com, Kathleen’s personal site and retired blog
  • “Creative Horcruxes”, websites and projects where we divide our passions, time, and attention
  • Kathleen co-owns Braid Creative with her sister Tara
  • Braid Creative is “Branding and business visioning agency for creative entrepreneurs”
  • The Being Boss podcast started in 2014 as a way for Kathleen to “grow the top of her funnel”
  • Emily Thompson (@EmilyM_Thompson), Kathleen’s partner in Being Boss
  • Prescott kept hearing about “your audience”, which sparked him to start The Busy Creator
  • Prescott admits that Being Boss is “ahead” of The Busy Creator in terms of spawning multiple forms (books, events, community classes, etc.)

"Show notes are a great way to increase search engine optimization."

—Kathleen Shannon

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  • The aim is transform Being Boss from a podcast into “multimedia conglomerate”
  • Chelsea Handler, Kathleen’s hero for hosting a tv show
  • Kathleen & Emily recently submitted a book for publishing (due out Spring 2018)
  • FreshBooks was a sponsor of Being Boss almost since the beginning, because they align
  • Being Boss Facebook Group, 17,000+ members strong, has grown almost beyond control

"How you feel at work affects how you feel at home, and vice versa."

—Kathleen Shannon

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"We didn't want to sully the waters with money."

—Kathleen Shannon

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"First, you have to be dedicated to your craft."

—Kathleen Shannon

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  • 10,000 hours
  • “Fit of Entrepreneurial Passion”, as described by Michael Gerber

"Nothing kills creativity like desperation."

—Kathleen Shannon

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"You can only connect the dots looking backwards."

—Steve Jobs

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"I didn't know this thing would need its own bank account one day!"

—Kathleen Shannon

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  • 7 People are involved with the production of Being Boss, including an editorial assistant and an audio editor
  • The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber on Amazon and on Audible
    The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

"Most people are still in their struggle. There's never a 'there'."

—Kathleen Shannon

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"Your goals mean shit if you feel like shit along the way."

—Kathleen Shannon

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Tools

Techniques

  • Ask your audience what they want, to create new content
  • Put in your 10,000 hours before becoming an entrepreneur; become a “confident expert”
  • Build a bridge before leaving your full-time job
  • Aim to replace your income before taking that last leap
  • Ask to be in client meetings; see the process up close
  • Share your process as you’re in it — publish along the way
  • Codify your methods, translate them to an e-course 
  • Find a “business bestie” and have “Skype dates”
  • Use your existing resources to bolster your side projects
  • Create an org. chart to plan future expansion, duties
  • Know every element of your business, and only outsource as needed
  • When overwhelmed, write top 3 items on a Post-It
  • Be a little more casual with your team when chatting on Slack

Habits

  • Drink Coffee and Tea every morning
  • Broadcast on Facebook Live a few times a week
  • Make decisions, whether they’re right or wrong
  • Respect your future self (through systems)
  • Have empathy for others and what they struggle with — it may be different from you
  • Put everything in Google Calendar
  • Work out first thing in the morning

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Direct download: TheBusyCreator_95_KathleenShannon.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 7:00am EST

B-SIDE: Planning A Modern WordPress Website, with guest Avery Swartz (@AverySwartz)

Avery Swartz (@AverySwartz) joins Prescott to discuss the possibilities for the next version of BusyCreator.com. Together, the two discuss the capabilities of WordPress, best practices which Prescott is adopting (and should start), and the shortcomings of WordPress themes and plugins.

Direct download: TheBusyCreator_94B_AverySwartz.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 2:07pm EST

Methods and Mindsets for Successful Web Design Projects with Agency Boss Ben Seigel — The Busy Creator Podcast 94

Ben Seigel (@versastudiollc) is a web designer and developer, and head of Versa Studio. In addition to managing projects and writing the necessary code for client sites, Ben has examined and written about the underlaying value of design, how small businesses and design agencies can work together toward successful ends.

In this conversation, we dig into content management systems on websites, discuss managing remote teams, remark on transitioning from a pure developer to a business owner, and share some common ailments of working with small businesses on their brand and web design projects.

Website Planning for Small Business

Grab Ben’s eBook, Website Planning for Small Business, and catch up with him via the website for Versa Studio.

 

Get The Episode

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Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe on Android Listen on iHeart Radio

Subscribe to The Busy Creator Podcast on iTunes | on Google Play Music | on Android | on iHeart

Sponsor

Freedcamp logo

Freedcamp, the best free online project management software

Bandwidth for The Busy Creator Podcast is provided by Freedcamp, Group Efforts Made Effortless.

Freedcamp is best free online project management software available. By using the built-in functions and additional tools like time tracking, invoices, milestones, file storage, and more, teams can customise the software for the task at hand! The Busy Creator Podcast itself is managed and operated on Freedcamp. Get started for free on Freedcamp.com

Show Notes & Links

"If someone wants to spend $20k on a project, but won't take 2 hours to read a plan ... they're not going to be a good client."

—Ben Seigel

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"You need a 'minimum viable brand' before any website."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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  • Prescott wants the “power of suggestion” as his business superpower. Ben prefers a version of ESP.
  • Request for Proposals (RFP)

"(an RFP) is a really great way to waste a whole bunch of peoples' time."

—Ben Seigel

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  • Brennan Dunn, Roadmapping
  • A “Warm RFP” has a higher chance to succeed

"You can read four proposals. You probably can't read 19."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"We're not built to sit all day. We're also not built to stand. We gotta move."

—Ben Seigel

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Tools

Techniques

  • If given the opportunity, build a new platform fresh without links to the past ten years of legacy code
  • Connect with people in person rather than social
  • Break a project into steps/phases, so you can learn about the client as you go
  • Build a “Helvetica-Vanilla” version of your website while you test-and-iterate on brand, content, visual styles
  • Counter an RFP with an honest, candid phone call or conversation
  • Ask about the competition for proposals/pitches/tenders
  • Review a project through a post-mortem
  • Auto-answer common email questions
  • Pomodoro Method

Habits

  • Create a “framework” for your projects; share it with clients and industry
  • Start projects with an “assembly line” for beginning a project
  • Call Templates “Starting Documents”
  • Be flexible on your standards and workflow
  • Save code snippets and text macros as you work on projects; you’ll likely need to use them again.
  • Always move during the day
  • Work toward your daily practices

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Direct download: TheBusyCreator_94_BenSeigel.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Exploring Business Issues Faced by Creative Pros with Author & Professor Douglas Davis — The Busy Creator Podcast 93

Douglas Davis (@DouglasQDavis) is a graphic designer, professor, consultant, and author of the new book Creative Strategy and the Business of Design. The book, which follows his recent talks and workshops, explores business issues that face creative professionals, especially those which may not even seem apparent.

In this conversation, we explore the business culture exposed creatives, the shortcomings of our design education system, and how Brooklyn is becoming the home for creative thought.

Check out Douglas’s book, Creative Strategy and the Business of Design, now available where fine books are sold.

Catch up with Douglas this October 26–28 at the Revolve Conference in Charleston, SC, and read his recent article in the European Business Review

Show Notes & Links

"Everyone has that story of when they were first taken advantage of."

—Douglas Davis

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"Design school doesn't teach business, and Business school doesn't teach how to inspire designers."

—Douglas Davis

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"Clients expect us to answer their problems with creativity that's on-brand, on-strategy, and on-message."

—Douglas Davis

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"Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan."

—Russian proverb (or maybe Tacitus c. 98 AD)

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"Do it right or do it thrice."

—Douglas Davis

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  • The in-house design team of yesteryear was almost like a Kinko’s

"Business is annexing design. Our design jobs are more important because of that."

—Douglas Davis

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"Design is the spoonful of sugar that makes marketing & business palatable to the public."

—Douglas Davis

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"'I love it' is not a compelling business rationale."

—Dr. Marjorie Kalter

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  • RIP Flash, Actionscript

"We're here to inject art into commerce."

—Tibor Kalman

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"It's almost a rite of passge to make every mistake in the book."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"Begin with the end in mind."

—adage

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"Think like they think to do what we do."

—Douglas Davis

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"The short hand comes later; first you have to use the long hand."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"I've seen ideas die on the table because creatives weren't able to set the context."

—Douglas Davis

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"Some people are better at other things than I am."

—Douglas Davis

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Tools

Techniques

  • Learn what keeps your client up at night so you can speak the same language
  • Divide a project into smaller pieces so your clients can see the process unfold
  • Consider how you “Frame” your solution. Often that’s the point of differentiation. 
  • Banish words like “right” or “wrong”, in favour of “it works” or “it doesn’t work”
  • Practice with co-workers to use better, more instructive language
  • Start with the story, then teach the lesson. This helps you write chapters in a book, for example.
  • Keep a desktop folder called “desktop dump” where pretty much everything goes.

Habits

  • Work to maximise the “trust in the room”
  • Take a moment at the beginning to write a “problem statement”
  • Add a physical activity to your routine, such as boxing
  • Take time to travel, perahps 2x per year

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Get Inside the Business of Graphic Design by Catharine Fishel as a free audiobook 
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Direct download: TheBusyCreator_93_DouglasDavis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Balancing a Design Practice and Co-Working Space in New York City, with Jessi Arrington & Creighton Mershon — The Busy Creator Podcast 92

Jessi Arrington (@JessiArrington) and Creighton Mershon (@Cr8tonMershon) are the founders of Workshop, a Brooklyn-based creative agency, as well as the proprietors of Small City, a new co-working space and home to dozens of independent creative pros.

Alongside their design practice, Jessi & Creighton have grown their co-working experience by taking on more responsibility across three different spaces in Brooklyn. In this conversation, we discuss the oddities and challenges of New York real estate, the financial and logistical efforts needed to run a co-working space anywhere, and a bit about balancing family life with all manner of creative and business tasks.

Catch up with Jessi & Creighton on their websites for Workshop and Small City.

Cover photo by Bekka Palmer

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Subscribe to The Busy Creator Podcast on iTunes | on Google Play Music | on Androidon iHeart

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Freedcamp, the best free online project management software

Bandwidth for The Busy Creator Podcast is provided by Freedcamp, Group Efforts Made Effortless.

Freedcamp is best free online project management software available. By using the built-in functions and additional tools like time tracking, invoices, milestones, file storage, and more, teams can customise the software for the task at hand! The Busy Creator Podcast itself is managed and operated on Freedcamp. Get started for free on Freedcamp.com

Show Notes & Links

  • In Fall 2007, Prescott ran the Philadelphia Marathon but also discovered that he didn’t know any peers in the design biz
  • Jessi and Prescott in Debbie Millman‘s class at SVA in Fall 2007
  • Jessi & Creighton met in the “New York Design Scene”
    Jessi & Prescott

    Jessi & Prescott, being young and wild

  • J&C have broadened the definitions of “Design”

"A shared word does not mean a shared definiton."

—Debbie Millman

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"Design is about intention. We're trying to live a designed life."

—Jessi Arrington

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  • Parsons, The New School for Design
  • Jessi & Creighton founded Workshop in 2005 (and married in 2006)
    Jessi & Creighton

    Jessi & Creighton recently celebrated their ten-year anniversary

  • Workshop now practices “in-person experience design”, which encompasses physical spaces, graphics, and time (how a person moves through a place)

"I like to think about our projects and ask 'What happens when we press play?'"

—Creighton Mershon

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"Nothing like your job to get in the way of your work."

—business adage

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"Keeping it small has been good for our business but bad for our personal lives."

—Jessi Arrington

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"Airbnb is a real estate play."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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  • DUMBO, Brooklyn (which used to be a very scrappy, creative ‘hood is now too expensive for upstarts like Workshop)
  • HOW Magazine
  • Different professions need different square feet per employee (call centers need 90; architects need 600)
  • Airbnb
  • One aspect of gentrification is desk workers replacing industrial workers
  • Coney Island, as far as you can go in Brooklyn
  • Popular Science magazine (and its predictions of the future)
  • Will self-driving cars transform commuting, and thereby the suburbs?
  • Sheepshead BayRidgewoodCastle Hill — New York City neighbourhoods outside of Manhattan
  • Jessi & Creighton sold their Brooklyn condo and bought a building in Louisville, KY as part of a future project and for the ability to live in multiple cities
  • Some folks are commuting to Small City from Manhattan and other parts of Brooklyn
  • Commuting is tolerable if you have a nice “work neighbourhood”
  • The Internet of Things
  • ACH
  • Carting Companies, independant, for-profit companies a commercial space must use to collect garbage
  • “Who’s dealing with the trash!”
  • Adobe MAX
  • Prescott’s family comes from the Recycling industry
  • P&L = Profit & Loss
  • WeWork
  • Will co-working spaces offer childcare and other services?

"Us being happy parents involves a certain amount of chaos."

—Jessi Arrington

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Tools

Techniques

  • Keep your company small enough so you don’t have huge overhead
  • Look for other ways to keep a network alive aside from conventional employees
  • Use co-working studiomates for accountability and courage
  • Find and reuse furniture or items, especially when found on the street or at flea market
  • Use your existing resources for client events and experiences (no rules against that)
  • Build a culture where people “take out their own recycling”
  • Work up little by little into bigger spaces, which in turn allow you to save more and more money for future use
  • Schedule a day each month to create the necessary invoices
  • Keep separate bank accounts for different areas of operation (client services vs. renting desks)

Habits

  • Work to improve stopping and documenting projects and process
  • Keep your company small if you’re not an effective or natural manager
  • Always consider the trash situation following an event!

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Direct download: TheBusyCreator_92_JessiArrington_CreightonMershon.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 9:39am EST

Joining an Established Agency to Build Workflow & Culture, with Nick Spriggs — The Busy Creator Podcast 91

Nick Spriggs (@ncsfoo) is a partner at Vector Media Group in New York City. Though he wasn’t one of the original founders, Nick’s role at Vector has been to grow the design and branding offerings to complement the development and marketing capabilities previously in place.

In this conversation, we discuss cultural differences among designers and developers, office rituals used at Vector, how to keep your remote colleagues in the daily mix, and best practices to keep an entire team communicating clearly and working productively.

Catch up with Nick on the website for Vector Media Group.

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Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe on Android Listen on iHeart Radio

Subscribe to The Busy Creator Podcast on iTunes | on Google Play Music | on Androidon iHeart

Sponsor

Freedcamp logo

Freedcamp, the best free online project management software

Bandwidth for The Busy Creator Podcast is provided by Freedcamp, Group Efforts Made Effortless.

Freedcamp is best free online project management software available. By using the built-in functions and additional tools like time tracking, invoices, milestones, file storage, and more, teams can customise the software for the task at hand! The Busy Creator Podcast itself is managed and operated on Freedcamp. Get started for free on Freedcamp.com

Show Notes & Links

"Somehow a year in New York turned into 14."

—Nick Spriggs

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  • Prescott ran afoul of the Visa situation when he graduated from a UK university
  • E-3 Visa for Australians, TN NAFTA for Canadians, et al.
  • Christina Canters, a past guest on The Busy Creator
  • The Museum of Mathematics
  • Vector’s output is mainly websites & apps
  • Their studio is rooted in branding, typography, traditional graphic design
  • Nick likes the term “Product Designer” in the rare cases when it actually applies (thought beyond the page or the pixel, to the inter-connected parts and a bit of the “how”)

"Clients sometimes don't understand what the term 'Design' means."

—Nick Spriggs

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  • The “explosion of explanation” can be exciting for a client
  • Designers are trained to observe, critique, discuss our work; clients, not so much
  • Vector was created around 2008 by Matt Weinberg & Lee Goldberg
  • Vector is staffed with “Creative Developers”, not just code monkeys
  • Nick was invited to join as a partner after working together as a collaborator previously
  • Vector [still] takes on pure development projects, as well as a few pure design projects. Most stuff is collaborative, though.

"You really have to be on your game when explaining something (to remote teammates.)"

—Nick Spriggs

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"A big part of building the business is just time management."

—Nick Spriggs

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Tools

Techniques

  • Keep clients excited & enthusiastic beyond the project itself (if they can’t stay energised, it’s hard for you).
  • Bring clients “in” to the process (wireframes, sketches, etc.)
  • Have clients describe “found objects” in early phases; let the client use their own language so we can use it later
  • Allow designers & developers to cross-involve each other
  • Learn to hold quick, informal meetings internally
  • Involve developers into design-led processes; they too can participate
  • Formalise kick-off meetings to involve the whole team, when possible
  • Use retainers with clients; set aside blocks of hours ahead of time to ease minds and control workflows
  • Schedule “reverse meetings”, time where you’re actually at your desk working and no one can distract you
  • Take a screenshot at a random time during the day; see what everyone in the shop is working on

Habits

  • Use collaboration to inspire ourselves
  • Observe the politics of your client’s company
  • Bring your remote employees to headquarters for occasional workshops/retreats
  • Explain with clarity when sharing with clients or remote colleagues
  • Hold daily Standups, even with remote staff (via video call)
  • Celebrate the project conclusion (close-out, hand-off, etc.); create office rituals around milestones along the way
  • Track your time internally — as individuals and as teams — for your own learnings, regardless of how you bill the client
  • Visit the quirky coffee shops in your neighbourhood
  • Take the time to walk home (even if it’s 1 hour or more)
  • Take a 10-15 minute walk when you feel “stuck” or distracted

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Direct download: TheBusyCreator_91_NickSpriggs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Building Community and Finding Personality Stengths as a Creative Introvert, with Designer Cat Rose — The Busy Creator Podcast 90

Cat Rose (@CreativeIntro) is an independent graphic designer and founder of The Creative Introvert, a website and community for creative professions who share introverted personality types.

In this conversation, we discuss the oddities of life as a freelance designer, the observed behaviour of creative pros and where they fall on the introverted/extroverted continuum, and the challenges of building online communities and creating compelling content.

 

SPONSOR

Building Brands eBook cover
This episode is sponsored by the new eBook Building Brands: A Practical Guide for Creative Pros to Develop Strategy and Design Identity.

Show Notes & Links

Tools

Techniques

  • Set a brief for yourself to make fine arts more of a "project"
  • Build lasting relationships as a freelancer, even with your last employer
  • Go minimal, if you can. Don't use a mouse and keyboard.
  • Learn quickly, trust that you can teach yourself new tools
  • Repurpose your content to serve different audiences (written vs. spoken vs. infographic)
  • Be careful when creating a community
  • Test and iterate, even on morning rituals
  • Replace "routine" with "rhythm"
  • Approach fearful projects in tiny increments (a six-second video vs. a feature film)

Habits

  • Use the software for its intended purpose!
  • Adapt to clients and their workflow
  • Compose your thoughts before filming/recording yourself; not everyone is an improviser.
  • Wake up 4:30-5:00am for early yoga, journaling, meditation
  • Do "the hardest thing" during coffee
Direct download: TheBusyCreator_90_CatRose.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Wearing Many Hats As a Designer for a Software Startup with Andrew Berkowitz???The Busy Creator Podcast 89

Andrew Berkowitz (@TheWitzCarlton) is the Head of Product for Tradeversity, a buying-and-selling platform for university students. After gaining experience in a large corporate setting, Andrew has jumped in to startup life, enjoying the struggles along the way.

In this conversation, Andrew shares some of the workflows required in a young, small, and nimble company, as well as his experiences testing personal productivity methods and morning routines.

Catch up with Andrew on his own show, The Global Startup Movement

 

Show Notes & Links

  • Andrew is “Head of Product” for Tradeversity
  • Early stage startups require the wearing of many hats 

"Design is the question of taking what's in the mind and manifesting them into reality."

—Andrew Berkowitz

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  • Tradeversity is exclusive to higher education students
  • Andrew graduated from Virginia Tech
  • .edu, .ac.uk — educational TLDs
  • Sharepoint, and other internal marketplaces within corporations are rather outdated 

"Product Design is more like being an inventor than a designer."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"The most important aspect of building a product is gaining empathy for users."

—Andrew Berkowitz

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  • Ideo
  • Design Thinking can mean different things
  • 5 elements of D-Thinking: gain empathy → define problem → ideation → prototype → test & iterate
  • Andrew worked at a large bank before joining a startup
  • Scrum Master (in Agile Project Management) 

"The speed at which a project is moving is directly proportional to the energy involved."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"Innovation comes from failure; Having the freedom to fail allows us to innovate."

—Andrew Berkowitz

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"The culture and the habits are more important than the tools."

—Andrew Berkowitz

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"The tool you use should reflect the system you've set up, and the mindset behind that."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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  • The 1800 Exercise
  • Tradeversity was launched from a content award — $20k and a year’s worth of office space
  • Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill on Amazon and on Audible
    Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Conspiracy, from the Latin conspiratare, meaning “to breathe the same air”
  • Virtually Reality, and opportunities for collaboration
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline on Amazon and on Audible
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

"A Virtual Reality device is an empathy machine."

—Andrew Berkowitz

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Tools

Techniques

  • Understand the emotions of your users. This will bring insight.
  • Employ Design Thinking; bring in real people and get your hands dirty
  • Experiment with “packaged services”
  • From a corporate setting, the thing you can learn most is working with diverse teams
  • The 1800 Exercise: describe how projects get done in the year 1800 (using only parchment & quill) 

Habits

  • Keep Trello tidy; not started → in-progress → done
  • Have regular Sprint-planning and Retrospective meetings
  • Wake up around 6:00am for yoga, weightlifting, or running
  • Feed your subsconscious mind until it takes over

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Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill on Audible

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Leave a comment below to participate in the conversation.

Direct download: TheBusyCreator_89_AndrewBerkowitz.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 7:00am EST