Print Sample Packs

It’s all about that print!

Things have been pretty quiet here on the blog lately, but I haven’t forgotten about you don’t worry! πŸ˜‰ I’ve been working on a bunch of different things both for the blog, for me professionally, and for Pink Glasses. Let me catch you up.

So the first big thing I’ve been working on is for here on the blog. I’ve been collecting various print sample kits from online printers to discuss and review for you here. Where to get things printed is always something new designers ask. Who’s reputable? Who’s products look the best? Who has the best price? It’s easy to walk into a local printer and ask to look over some of their samples, feel their papers in various weights, and really check out the quality of their products. When you use an online printer though, it may not seem as easy to do that. The solution many companies are offering designers is a sample kit. These sample kits are different for each company, different items, different shipping, different information, and different printing methods. It’s a great way to test out various online companies though, you can see how long your oder takes to ship, how long it takes to be delivered to you, and what kind of packaging it shows up in. The samples are also helpful as a designer to get you thinking past the pixel. Sometimes designers, especially new designers, get so caught up in what they are making on-screen that they forget to design with the final product in mind. You miss out on an opportunity to take your design to the next level or to make it really stand out as something different and eye-catching if you aren’t making use of the mediums available.

As a designer these samples are also handy to show clients to help them understand what different paperweights feel like and what different finishes look like on paper. It can be quite helpful in guiding the client through the production process too. Maybe the client doesn’t really understand what the benefit could be of using UV Gloss coat or how much class a heavier paper can bring to their product and these sample packs are a great way to show them what those things look and feel like.

So I’ve collected up sample kits from some of the most well-known names in online printing. I’m going to be sharing photos of each item in the sample pack, or at least most of them, and giving you my thoughts as a designer and print enthusiast. I didn’t track how long the items took from when I placed the order until when they arrived, I do wish I had thought to do that. I do know which arrived first and which arrived last though. (Well short of the last two sample packs which I just ordered tonight. My mailman probably hates me!) I recently bought a new iPhone 6 Plus that I’m using to take all the product photos, and although I’m no photographer, I must say I LOVE the camera on this phone.

Print Sample Packs

All of the print sample packs taking over my desk!

The first up will be 48hourprint.com, they had the quickest shipping for me. I’m really excited to share everything with you, but I’ll keep each review to a separate post.  I’ve already taken the photos for this post, I just have to assemble them all and get them on here. It won’t be another two months though, I promise! =)

So that’s what’s coming for the blog! In other news, I’ve been working on projects and updating the portfolio here on the PGP website. My personal branding has been updated a bit and I’ve added new portfolio pages for the following projects:
Essential Bodywork & Wellness Studio Branding
Hozier Album and Tour Campaign
Descriptive Typography – A Brainstorming Project

All three of these were projects that I started in school and revisited to clean up a bit this past year. I recently completed a logo project for a mayoral candidate’s campaign in the small Ohio town of Gibsonburg, Ohio. I should be getting that up on the website portfolio soon. I’ve also been working with the creative team for an apparel company, Straylia, based here in the US. They are a really fun company working to inspire the masses to be unique and adventurous.  I’m helping them to bring some new design ideas of theirs to life. They’ve got some great stuff going on over on their web store already though, if you’re interested hop on over the check them out!

Lastly, I’ve been working hard to update my pdf and physical portfolios for the Rachel Massie corporate brand.  I still have lots more I would like to do, but I will say that doing work for myself is always so much harder than for clients. There are so many options and routes I could take for my own pieces, especially for my personal branding. I think those pieces will always be evolving. I love the look of letterpress business cards, and that’s what I’ve designed for myself right now but it isn’t exactly an economical production choice. Letterpress is a drool-worthy craft that takes skill and practice to hone and it’s worth every penny, but I might be giving some DIY design methods a try to fulfill my artisan card carving on a more realistic budget. I’m sure you’ll see a post on that in the future as well. =)

Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to read the PGP blog! I hope you’re enjoying my posts. If you are, don’t forget to give the post a like and subscribe if you haven’t already! There are lots of exciting things to come here and I can’t wait to share them all with you.

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Pink Glasses Productions Graphic Design Idols Interview with Roberto Blake

Graphic Design Idols, Interview with Roberto Blake

I’m excited to share my very first (of hopefully many) Design Idol’s interview with Graphic Designer and Digital Artist, Roberto Blake of RobertoBlake.com. I first encountered Roberto on his YouTube Channel where he puts out a lot of great videos on design and entrepreneurship. He also regularly writes for a variety of design publications including:
       CreativePro.com
       PrintMagazine.com
       HowDesign.com
       InDesignSecrets.com

He is a guest or contributing writer for both:
       CreativeNerds.co.uk
       DesignJuices.co.uk

Roberto’s article for HowDesign, 5 Reasons Why You Need a Design Blog was one of the things that inspired me to create this blog in the first place, so I’m very honored for the chance to interview him for it not even 3 months later. So let’s get to it!

Pink Glasses Productions Graphic Design Idols Interview with Roberto Blake

Pink Glasses Productions Graphic Design Idols Interview with Roberto Blake

You wear a lot of different hats, from freelance Graphic Designer, YouTuber, to contributing writing to several different design-based publications. How has working in so many different roles effected your “elevator speech” and how do you describe yourself now?

I describe myself as a storyteller and brand developer. It’s the realization that I’ve always been interesting in telling stories in anyway I can, whether with my drawings, my photography, writing or making videos, and I’ve spent my entire life exploring all of them.

What made you want to learn about and work in the design industry originally? Is art something you’ve always loved and had an interest in, or was there something in particular that helped you realize that interest?

I decide to become a designer because it was a skill set I already had and enjoyed. Originally I wanted to go into animation and possibly film, but I felt I wasn’t talented enough and didn’t have the resources to pursue it, and design was something I was already making money at while being a viable career. I still think it was the right choice but I honestly wish it had been based purely on pragmatism rather than fear. This may be why I am so passionate about helping designers and other creatives be more confident in their abilities.

Once you realized that the design industry was something you wanted to be a part of, how did you make that happen?

It was a matter of execution and commitment. I went to school for graphic design, had been a web designer already since I was 14 started getting paid for it around 15, built a solid body of work and before I even graduated I was offered my first job. Execution is what stops most people from achieving their goals. If you want something and you work at it every single day for years if that is what it takes, eventually you have results. It may not be exactly the result you were looking for but you have something to show for it. I can’t count the unintended but tremendous results that just being engaged in YouTube and social media have brought me. I now have built plans around some of those results and the doors are still open to opportunities I can’t anticipate.

What was your first “real” job in the design industry?

I know what you mean by “real” job, but I really don’t like that phrasing or the thinking. Any job that pays you is a “real job” and there is a stigma around freelancing that their shouldn’t be since regular steady employment for a single individual or entity is truthfully a very modern concept. It was something throughout human history only the minority of people had. Most people have always been vendors or work for hire throughout history and it still amazes me that we forget that. In the United States it’s predicted that by 2020 over 45% of our workforce will be freelancers or self employed.But to answer your question, it was working as an In-House Web Designer at an IT company.

Which job had the most influence on your skill as a designer? Was there a certain position that taught you the most or allowed you to really explore and grow your skills?

I think my experience working for an ad agency played a big role in how I approach my work today.

How did you know when it was time to make the jump from traditional employment to working for yourself full-time?

I think I knew that I was going to have to do this eventually from a very young age. I won’t go into details but a traumatic event usually wakes people up and makes them realize that the world is not going to wait for when they are ready. I took a much harder look at my hour-glass, and that is all there is to it.

I love how you talk about leaving a legacy. What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be having a positive influence on creative culture, and to have made the creative services industry more accessible for a broader range of people. I feel that I can educate, encourage, enable, empower and set a good example for creatives, whether they be designers, artists, photographers, youtubers or what have you. I feel my content, my body of work, my social media engagement and the products that I’m working on putting out will help me accomplish this, as well as the community I’m developing through YouTube and social media and the “Create Awesome” philosophy and culture. That is my legacy.

What do you think is the most challenging part of our jobs as a graphic designer?

For me its time management. I am great at “time utilization” I get more done in a day than some people do over the course of two weeks. I just don’t feel I’m efficient enough sometimes. I’ve got plenty of room to grow in this area.

What do you think is the most important skill/trait for a successful graphic designer to have?

It may sound clichΓ©, but communication. I can teach someone Photoshop, I can teach them design principles, and in truth they don’t need a ton of “artistic ability” to be a good or great designer if I can teach them “design thinking”; and while you can teach creativity you can stimulate it or inspire it. What is very difficult to teach, is how to be a good listener and how to concisely get an idea across, and pull something out of your head and articulate it well or demonstrate it in a way most people can grasp. At the end of the day that is what designers have to do.

Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?

I wouldn’t say there is a favorite. Each project has its own experiences attached to it and there is also the experience and relationship with the client. If I were going to choose out of personal work I’d say maybe my YouTube channel because of the value it lets me create for other people and the relationships I have built as a result of it.

What do you think it means to be a “Design Idol?”

I’m not sure, and I don’t necessarily agree with that phasing. I think if you’re good at anything you have a responsibility to enable, encourage and educate others and set a good example for them.

What are you working on right now? Are there any big projects you have in the works or lined up you’d like to talk about?

There are few big ones, I can’t talk about so I will talk about big projects for where I am taking my own brand and the YouTube channel. I’m moving into Phase VI which is product development. It’s great creating value for people through YouTube videos and articles, but I want and need to go deeper and give people something they truly execute on from start to finish. I’m working with HOW Design University, Udemy and Skillshare to develop some E-courses that will accomplish this. I’m also working on my first paid video guide that will be a direct download people can purchase.

*Roberto is also a big Game of Thrones fans, you can find several videos on his channels talking about the series. If you’ve read many of the blog posts here you know I never miss a chance to geek out a bit so I had to ask him at least one question related to the show. *

Finally, what do you think will happen when Daenerys Targaryen finally reaches Westeros?

She’ll probably have to fight the armies of the dead along side people she thought were here enemies, and she will probably save them, but might die a martyr doing so…I hope not but that is my best guess.

I want to say thank you to Roberto once again for taking the time to do this interview. Be sure to check him out on his YouTube channel and on his website!

I hope you enjoyed the first edition of my Design Idols Interview series and I hope to be bringing more of them to you in the future. Let me know what you thought in the comments below and don’t forget to like and subscribe so you never miss a post! Thanks for reading the Pink Glasses Productions Blog!

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A Series of Small Things…

So after my last post about I decided to work on a series of interviews with various folks in the design industry. I don’t plan these to be scheduled on a regular basis just yet, it takes some time to set up interviewees and arrange things, but I am excited to get this started. I have the first interview in the works already and it’s going to be with Design Idol Graphic Designer Roberto Blake. I spent some time reading various interviews with designers and have a few questions you’ll see me asking each design idol. I’m going to try to interview people from various areas of the design industry to help us gain and learn from different perspectives. I’ll be reaching back into my networking bag for interview candidates as well as reaching out to brand new contacts.

Let me know in the comments section below if there is anyone you’d like to see a Design Idol Interview with here on the blog!

That hasn’t been the only thing going on here at Pink Glasses Productions either. If you read the blog via WordPress or email subscription you may not have noticed yet, but I’ve officially got the blog up on our custom .com domain! I know this probably doesn’t seem too exciting for most, but it feels like a big step in establishing the blog and Pink Glasses website here on the web!! I’m also a Google verified business now too. That doesn’t really mean much, other than you can find me in a local business search now, but again, it’s just another small thing making me feel more “official.”

Small Things - Pink Glasses Productions Blog

I’ve also made a few other visual changes to the home page. I traded out the social feeds for some more round flat icons that link you to Facebook and Twitter. I’m really loving the flat icon look and I feel like it makes the home page fit together a bit better. I kept the feeds in the side bar on the rest of the pages though.

Finally, I’m working on a magazine cover to go with the magazine article I did recently to complete the campaign. I’m really excited about the minimal feel I’ve got going on with it. I have always struggled with designing in a minimalistic fashion so I really wanted to challenge myself with this cover to do it successfully. I love it so far. My husband calls it “hipster feeling.” Psshh, whatever that means. πŸ˜‰ I’m still playing with a bit of the text but I plan on making a post outlining my workflow on this piece once it’s completed.

Is there a particular design style or trend you’ve attempted to work with and struggled? What really helped you break through that challenge and complete the project successfully? This time I just exposed myself to an abundance of other magazine covers and made a Pinterest board with them. I pinned all styles, just any magazine cover or layout that really caught my eye and that I liked. It really helped me develop a clear vision for this project.

Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to read the PGP blog! I hope you’re enjoying my posts. If you are, don’t forget to give the post a like and subscribe if you haven’t already.
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Graphic Design Idols Pink Glasses Productions Blog Post

Design Idols

I’ve been trying to expose myself to a wider variety of successful designers lately. I’ve already talked a bit here on the blog about what types of media I consume and how much of it. If you’ve been reading the blog, you probably know that I listen to several design related podcasts and I read and subscribe to quite a lot of blogs and vlogs from designers in various stages of their careers and with various success rates. I’ve recently subscribed to Roberto Blake’s YouTube channel and have been watching some of his advice videos while I work. I’ve watched several of his videos, and if you aren’t familiar with him you should definitely check him out, but last night I watched one video in particular that got me thinking. Roberto’s video, “5 Things You Don’t Learn in Graphic Design School” has many great points, but at about the 11 minute mark is what really hit home for me. He says that school only gives you the basic skills to eventually become a successful graphic designer, but you also have to know that “You don’t become a successful graphic designer without understanding who is already successful as a graphic designer.” He then goes on to list several very successful designers whom we should be familiar with.

If you’re interested, check out the video below!

Some of the designers he mentioned I was familiar with, and some I was not so I set out to familiarize myself with them, subscribe to their email lists, and follow them on their social media. Today I was checking out David Airey’s website and he’s got a whole page dedicated to advice for design students. I’m not a “student” in the traditional sense anymore, but I am at the beginning of my career and if you’re like me and like to soak up any and all advice from those more experienced than you, then you may want to click over and check out his links there (after you’re done reading this blog post of course). One of the articles references a video from another successful designer I had not been familiar with before, Michael Wolf, who talks about creativity. The video is short, around 12 minutes, but he gives such great insights I wanted to share it with you as well. Check it out below. I love how he talks about his 3 muscles that he’s developed over time, what they mean, and how they help him. I’m going to be following him and learning more about his work as well.

So thinking about these “big hitters” in the design world got me thinking, who are your design “idols?” Do you take the time to follow any big names in the design industry? Who are your favorites?

Graphic Design Idols Pink Glasses Productions Blog Post

There have been a few designers I’ve followed for some time, like Jacob Cass, but many of these big names I’ve only started to follow in the more recent months after graduating last fall. I’m in the process of redoing my portfolio projects and I want to surround myself with art and work of those who are currently successful so I can push myself and my work further. My hope is that by doing so, when I make my next career move it will be out of production art and into a more fulfilling design role either as an in-house designer or for a creative agency of some kind. I’ve got my eye on a few local companies, but that’s another post.

If you’re interested in checking out some of the folks I’m following lately, you’re in luck! I’ve compiled a little list (not in any particular order) below for you complete with links to their websites. Enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading the Pink Glasses Productions Blog and be sure to like, comment, and subscribe if you enjoyed my post!
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Black and White Pink Glasses Productions Logo

Changes to the Website.

There is lots going on here right now!!

I’m finally getting around to working on the website again. I added the new magazine spread to the page and made some changes to the and pages. I also have changed how quite a few things display here on the website. You’ll see I have a new affinity for circles. =)

I really like how the home page is shaping up! What do you think?

Pink Glasses Productions Home Page Changes Screen Shot

Home Page Changes

Pink Glasses Productions Portfolio Work Page Changes Screen Shot

Portfolio Work Page Changes

I’ll be updating a few other files here soon, like my rΓ©sumΓ©, along with more project that will be added to the portfolio. I’ve been “under construction” here for far too long.

I’d love to hear if you have any thoughts or suggestions about the changes going on here at Pink Glasses Productions in the comments below. Thanks!

Rachel

Organic Nutrition Feature Article Spread 1, Pink Glasses Productions

New Month and New Adventures!

Well as you may have noticed, I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with the 30 Day Blog Challenge last month. I had started a post wrapping up all the final posts I missed, but sometimes it’s best just to let a project go and move on. I had a lot of fun with the posts I completed though and I may pickup another blogging challenge again later in the year.

There’s been a lot of good stuff going on here at Pink Glasses Productions though! I’ve finalized the magazine spread I’ve been working on for my portfolio. FINALLY! =) Have you ever had a project you’ve been slowly working on for a long time? It feels SO good to wrap it up! I still want to create a cover page for the magazine to really make the project feel like a complete campaign for my portfolio, but that will come. I’ve started on it but I put it “away” for a little while because I wasn’t very inspired or happy with where I was going with it. Sometimes I do my best work when I have different things to work on. I like to put things back on the shelf for a bit and work on something else, it gets my creative juices flowing and often when I go back to that project with fresh eyes I’ll have some great ideas for it. Anyway, here’s the final mock-up of the magazine spread. =)

Organic Nutrition Feature Article Spread 1, Pink Glasses Productions

Organic Nutrition Feature Article Spread 1

Feature Photo: Amee Farm Organic Kale, Photo Credit Heather Platt of Three More Big Bites

Organic Nutrition Feature Article Spread 1, Pink Glasses Productions

Organic Nutrition Feature Article Spread 2

I also did something out of character for me this week. I submitted work for a logo contest. Before you write me an angry comment letting me know I’m devaluing myself as a designer as well as the design industry by doing work for free, let me say, I agree with you, normally. Normally I only work for free if I’m donating services to a charity, because, well I agree that it devalues your work as a designer and the design industry as a whole. But in this case I made an exception. The logo was for a tiny quadcopter start-up company out of Australia, and the winner gets one of their custom portable quad frames (and guess whose husband REALLY enjoys building quads and has been following this company for a while). =)

I had fun with this logo and did it pretty quickly, in just a few hours, since it was work for free and all. I used this opportunity to try a few different styles that I had never worked with before. I’m pretty happy with what came out of it though. I gave them 4 different options to choose from and offered to customize the fonts and colors if any of them were picked as the winner. Submissions were due on the 31st at midnight so I’m guessing they will announce the winner within the next week. They had a few other good options as well so we will see what they choose. Either way, it was a fun little project to add to my portfolio.

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As always I’ve got a list of projects to be working on so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of my work soon! Until then, I’d love to hear what you think of these projects! Thoughts, constructive suggestions? Beefs? Whatever it is, let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the blog while you’re here! Thanks for taking the time to read the Pink Glasses Productions blog!!

Rachel

Contest Winner!!

Just a quick tidbit I’m excited about and wanted to share with you all!

Back in February I entered a contest on the Just Creative Blog from Jacob Cass to win a year subscription to PixelKit. Today I got notification that I won! I’m so excited about this! I can’t wait to my subscription to become active and to start utilizing the assets available there! =)

PixelKit Winner

Thanks PixelKit!

Rachel

#hashtag The Social Media Trend

Do you #hashtag? Exploring the different daily social media hashtags.

#hashtag The Social Media Trend

Let’s Talk About Daily Hashtags!


Let’s talk about social media hashtags! They’ve taken pretty much all forms of social media by storm. At first, people I knew seemed to think only those who “spent their whole life online” used them or that only “kids” on twitter used them. Then gradually they started infiltrating to Instagram, Tumblr, and even Facebook. Now we see them everywhere, sometimes too much…

It’s been great for marketing, but even more so it has brought people from all areas of the world and the internet together to discuss certain topics. Hashtags create clickable links to groups of every post on that platform with that hashtag. So if you’re talking about brand/company you can add a hashtag with the company name and your post will be included with others talking about that same thing. Pretty neat.

Marketing and public feedback is only one use for them though. Hashtags have given way to themed posts for each day of the week across pretty much all the social media platforms. I like a good themed post every now and again, so I started researching different tags for each day of the week, and I found quiet a variety.

Here is a collection of what seems to be the most popular daily hashtags:

Monday:
#MCM or #ManCrushMonday
#MusicMonday
#MondayFunday
#MondayBlogs
#MountainMonday
#MeowMonday
#ManicMonday (your crazy post-weekend work/school schedule)
#ManicureMonday
#MondayBlues

Tuesday:
#TransformationTuesday or #TT
#TipTuesday
#TravelTuesday
#TuesdayBoozeDay
#TuesdayBluesday
#TuesdayTreat
#TakeMeBackTuesday

Wednesday:
#WineWednesday
#WebDesignWednesday
#WellnessWednesday
#WisdomWednesday or #WednesdayWisdom or #WisdomWed
#WomanCrushWednesday
#HumpDay
#WorkFromHomeWednesday
#WorkSpaceWednesday
#Women2Follow
#WayBackWednesday or #WBW
#WaterfallWednesday
#HealthyHumpDay
#WoofWednesday

Thursday:
#TBT or #ThrowbackThursday
#ThirstyThursday (drinking on Thursday)
#TypographyThursday
#Thursdate (for midweek dates)
#ThursdayFunDay
#ThankfulThursday

Friday:
#FF or #FollowFriday
#FBF or #FlashbackFriday
#GoodNewsFridays
#ShabbatShalom (for the weekly Jewish observance of Shabbat)
#FridayFunday
#FridayReads
#FridayNight

Saturday:
#Caturday
#SocialSaturday
#SexySaturday
#SaturdaySwag or #SaturdayShenanigans
#SaturdayNight

Sunday:
#SS or #SelfieSunday
#SundayFunday
#SinDay
#SameSexSunday (for recommending people in the LGBT community)
#ScienceSunday

I gathered these from lots of different sources across the web. Different ones are more popular on different platforms. Pretty much anything that sounds catchy with a day of the week is put together.

Do you use daily themed hashtags like these? Do you have a favorite that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments! I think #ScienceSunday, #Caterday, and any hashtag that goes with food are probably my favorites. =)

As always, thanks for reading the Pink Glasses Productions blog and please take a moment to like, comment, and subscribe so you never miss a post!
Rachel

Why I’m Excited that the U.S. Wants to Inspire More STEM Careers.

You’re probably wondering why a graphic designer is excited and blogging about a push for STEM careers. Why Rachel, you may ask, you’re an artist, why would you be excited about inspiring STEM careers? And for that matter, you may be wondering what ARE STEM careers, even?

STEM careers are careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields. Professions such as bio-engineers, scientists, computer science professionals, astronauts, analysts, robotics engineers , and pretty much all flavors of engineers are all traditional STEM career fields (among many more areas).

So why am I, a graphic designer, so excited about the U.S. trying to inspire more young people into STEM fields? Creative and artistic folks are usually pretty far away from these types of fields right? Well, they used to be, but I don’t think that’s accurate anymore. I’ve always loved science. I think it’s super cool and it inspires me in a ton of different ways. If you don’t, I think you should. πŸ˜‰ I might be a bit biased in that opinion though. Hank Green is pretty spot on with why it’s just so awesome.

I pretty much just love science. Look at all the cool things it gives us and does for us?! Once you watch that music video, it will probably be stuck in your head all day. (Ok, that might not be true for everyone haha, but it is for me!) First and foremost that’s why I’m excited to see more encouragement for STEM careers; more highly trained and passionate people working in these areas means more neat things the U.S. can develop and the better off our lifestyle as well as our society will be. In all seriousness, Hank’s song makes some great points about that. Encouraging other people to become innovators in science, technology, engineering, and math allows me to worry about learning the new technology that comes out and how it can be utilized in design. Innovations in STEM areas make my life and my job easier.

Are you familiar with Hank Green? If you’ve spent much time on YouTube you probably are. He has a variety of Channels he creates content for including Vlogbrothers, SciShow, and has most recently become a spokesperson for Emerson’s awesome We ❀ Stem campaign. They even have a national TV commercial featuring Hank and part of his song I’ve seen play during several of my favorite TV shows. He puts out lots of great content on a variety of topics so if you’re into YouTube videos, I highly suggest checking these channels and the Emerson campaign out.

Recently I’ve been seeing this excitement and push to interest people in STEM careers all over the internet. I mentioned before that I consume a LOT of media in a pretty large variety of forms. I’ve been a fan of Hank and other science content for a while, but I’m seeing more and more of it leaking into more of mainstream content. I saw the Emerson commercial at least a handful of times on TV in the past week. Then earlier this week I was reading through the various blogs I follow here on wordpress, and one of my favorites is the TED blog. Wednesday they featured a post about Scientists getting the LEGO treatment. Hop on over there and check it out. As if Legos aren’t cool enough, science Legos to promote diversity and STEM careers pretty much made me drool. I won’t lie, I pretty much geeked out and sent my husband the link to let him know I MUST own these little guys at some point. =)

TED blog - Scientists get the LEGO treatment

TED blog – Scientists get the LEGO treatment

After I got done indulging my geekiness though, I was inspired to both learn more and write about how cool STEM careers are, and why there is this push to encourage people to head into these types of careers. So I took a few days and did some searching around the web for some information about all this, and I got even more excited about the movement. Here are some of the things I found that were most exciting to me.

I never thought that the skills I learned as a graphic designer could in any way extend into STEM areas, until I sat down to write this blog post. I was researching careers that fell within the category of STEM fields and found this Mashable article 10 Awesome STEM Jobs. 3 of the folks in these job have similar educational backgrounds to mine. 3D modeling/animation, HTML and web coding, and journalism/social media/project management backgrounds are all areas my design education has touched on and can be STEM careers certain applications. Let me expand on that a bit further.

The areas that are encompassed within STEM fields is growing, and fast. As technology continues to grow at an exponential rate, the reach of these fields will only expand. Right now, that can extend into areas of web design when you’re working with coding. Pretty much all designers coming out of 4-year degree programs now study at least basic web code. =D Alright, well web design isn’t traditionally considered a STEM field, usually that falls closer to those obtaining Computer Science Degrees, but the paths are beginning to overlap a bit. I know that’s a bit of a stretch, most graphic design degrees don’t touch on more than basic HTML, CSS, and maybe a little bit of JavaScript and such. Think though, about taking that basic coding knowledge, pairing it with continual education in more advanced web code, and there are a variety of ways we can apply this knowledge in the workforce that will bring us into some job descriptions that do fall within STEM fields.

This can also include those of us in the design field who are trained in 3D modeling and 3D animation. With the advancement of things like 3D printing, VR (virtual reality), as well as video games and 3D animation the ability to model, design, and realistically move objects in a 3D environment can be very sought after skills. When these skills are applied in areas such as VR and product design (especially in the area of 3D printing) the jobs can definitely fall under the scope of STEM careers. I know not all designers get training in the 3D environment, but with my first degree in Visual Communications I was lucky enough to, even if it was only a few basic courses. Again just like web coding, it lays the foundation to be paired with continuing education and applied in so many ways within the workforce.

I just think that’s pretty cool. It’s probably unlikely that I will end up in any of these exciting STEM careers, but I have a new appreciation about how fast the fields are expanding. “Technology is pervasive in almost every aspect of daily life, and as the workplace changes, STEM knowledge and skills grow in importance for a variety of workers (not just for mathematicians and scientists).” Stem Career

That is also part of the problem for the U.S. as a nation though. “In 2009, U.S. scientists fielded nearly 29 percent of research papers in the most influential journals, compared with 40 percent in 1981. The STEM crisis is causing a reduction in research, which restricts growth,” according to The National Math and Science Initiative. They also report that in “2009, for the first time, over half of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies because STEM shortcomings are forcing a hold on innovation.” That’s pretty alarming to me. I’ve always been taught that the U.S. is a leader in innovation, research, and development in these areas, and we’re losing our edge. That edge is one of the things that has allowed us to be a global superpower, and I have to wonder what effect losing that edge might have?

Once I sat down and thought about those facts though, I wasn’t surprised at all that our nation is steadily producing less competitive people in these fields. I thought about the people I’ve known in my lifetime, the people I went to elementary school and high school with. The people whose posts I see in my social media feeds everyday, and even the comments I see on various posts across the web from the U.S. as a whole. How many of them really show a solid understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math principles? Do I know anyone who has gone into and become successful in these areas? How often do I see comments from people in other countries joking about this lack of basic understanding that people in the U.S. seem to have? It seems like I see the jokes all the time, and the people I know who have successfully made careers in these fields are few and far between. Granted my area of the country is not that densely populated, the schools I went to were all considered very small in comparison to many areas of the country, so the range of people I went to school with and have known is not nearly as large as someone in a large metro area. Even still, this lack of interest and basic knowledge in these areas is pretty alarming, and I don’t think that’s limited to just my small area.

The Stem Career website claims that, “Not enough young people are being educating or inspired about interest in STEM. β€œThe education in American junior high schools, in particular, seems to be a black hole that is sapping the interest of young people, particularly young women, when it comes to the sciences”.” Even the TED blog about the Legos I posted above states that STEM areas are “… a place where students in the United States are lagging behind.” Is this true? How do our students stack up against those from other countries? The National Math and Science Initiative says that 26 other industrialized nations had high school students that performed better in math than those in the U.S. in 2012 and that 19 of those nations performed better than our students in science that year. For a nation that’s been known as a leader in STEM careers before, that’s pretty sad and alarming.

It seems to be all too common for young people to lose interest in these vital areas. It certainly was the case for me. In my specific case, through most of elementary school I really wanted to be scientist, most likely a marine biologist, but science of any kind really interested me. I remember other students telling me that “wasn’t a girl job” or that I “wouldn’t be good enough or smart enough” to do a job like that. No one wanted to be a “Nerd,” it wasn’t cool to like to learn these “hard” things. My own family was always super supportive of anything I wanted to do, but sometimes as a kid you just don’t want to be that different from everyone else. Don’t worry though, once I reached adulthood, I learned to fully embrace everything different. It’s something that makes me so successful as a creative person. =D

I must not have been the only girl told things like that though, because the Stem Career website also says that, “Stereotypes about women’s abilities and their role in the family often keep women from pursuing math and science careers.” Girls Who Code, (a program that helps young girls learn the art of coding and computer science) says that, “In middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science.” “Women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but hold just 25% of the jobs in technical or computing fields” and that sadly, “in a room full of 25 engineers, only 3 will be women.” I only know one woman from school who went on to become any kind of scientist or engineer. Those kinds of statistics are really alarming to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not terribly upset that I didn’t follow through with my childhood dream of working in a science related field. The adult me knows that I thrive and am most happy working as a creative, but I can’t help but wonder what might have been different had I not been discouraged and lost the confidence in my ability in those fields. I lost interest in all science and math related things until my late 20’s. I would hate for other young girls to lose that love for learning, the ambition for doing things that are considered “hard,” and that natural curiosity we have as young children though. As an adult I have a new appreciation for that unrestrained curiosity and it upsets me to think of children losing that, especially young girls. So many adults I know lost that curiosity long ago. There is so much to learn in this world, why should we ever lose the desire to learn, to understand, to appreciate, and to better our world through the mastery of these areas?

So for all of these reasons, I’m really excited to see our nation pushing to inspire children and young adults to take interest and hopefully pursue education in these fields. I think it’s important for our country’s success, and I think it’s important for each and every person to have a love for learning and understanding the world around them. I may be an artist and a creative, but I fully support and encourage this push towards STEM careers. I know the people and children of this nation are some of the most capable and intelligent in the world. It’s time we nurture that and show it.

If you read all of this slightly different post, I’m pretty impressed and you get a big virtual high-five! =) You can find all the links I used in the post below. I promise most of my blogs won’t be such a stretch from more traditional design and art related topics, but every once in a while, I’ll probably indulge and go full “geek” on you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Are you as excited to encourage younger generations to love STEM careers too? Do you completely disagree and think it’s a waste? Did you have a similar experience to mine as a child or was yours the opposite? Did this post completely bore you and it was just TLTR (too long to read)? Whatever your thoughts share them below in the comment section! Hopefully you enjoy my posts and you’ll like and subscribe so you never miss one.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read the Pink Glasses blog!

Rachel

Links
Hank Green I love Science (Clean Version)
Hank Green I Love Science Emerson I ❀ STEM Commercial
10 Amazing Jobs You Could Land With the Right STEM Education – Mashable Article
Stem Career Website Information and facts were adopted from Preparing Students for STEM Careers by Angela Traurig and Rich Feller
TED Blog – STEM inspired Legos
Girls Who Code
National Math and Science Initiative
Emerson We ❀ STEM Campaign

My Second Watercolor

6 Hours with Adobe Support and Dabbling in Watercolor Painting.

It’s been fairly quiet here on the Pink Glasses blog. What have I been up to? Well I had a minor outpatient surgery last week, a LEEP procedure. You probably don’t know what that is, so I’ll give you the quick version without getting into the TMI area. I’ve been having abnormal pap smears off and on for about 11 years indicating that I’m at risk for cervical cancer. Yikes, right? That C-word is a pretty heavy one isn’t it? Don’t be too concerned though, my doctor and I have watched these closely and have done multiple biopsies over the years to track the cellular changes. My last biopsy in January showed changes that moved me from the “low risk” category to the “high risk” category, so in a preventative measure, we decided to go in and attempt to remove these bad cells. Then they send out all the removed tissue to the lab to be evaluated to check it out further and see if we have taken enough out to reduce the risk. I’ll go back in a few weeks for results and a follow-up. As far as surgeries go, it was pretty quick but I’ve had to take it easy a bit while I recover.

So, what have I been doing with this down time? Surely not blogging! πŸ˜‰ I did sit down to blog Sunday, but obviously I didn’t accomplish that. I did, however, spend about 6 hours becoming good friends with a representative from Adobe chat support instead. Let me tell you, that was stressful, but Adobe’s chat support is one of the best support desk’s I think I’ve ever encountered. Back in January I upgraded from CS6 to the Creative Cloud. It’s always exciting to get the latest and greatest right? I’ve done a handful of updates since the initial download and they have all been super quick and painless. Friday morning I hopped on my computer to pay a bill, noticed I had 3 updates for CC, so I go ahead and click update all, and go on with my business. I was online for a while, so I just assumed that these updates would also be super quick and would have been completed by the time I was done, so I didn’t check, and just shut my Macbook so it would sleep. So fast forward to Sunday night when I open up the Macbook ready to write a blog. Over the weekend the battery died, but hey, that happens when you don’t plug things in. I plugged it in and let it boot up, and then I notice that the Creative Cloud app still says I have 3 updates. Funny, I thought I did those. I click on over and see that the Dreamweaver update is only 75% complete and two others are waiting. I watched it for a bit and noticed nothing changed, and my heart sank. The whole app was froze. I couldn’t stop the download, I couldn’t do anything. At this point I knew I was in trouble. I logged out, and logged back in, and then it did not show ANY of my apps that I had installed. Opened Illustrator thinking opening one of the apps might fix things. Nope. I decided to uninstall the Creative Cloud desktop app and try to reinstall it thinking that might help. I let the uninstaller run for two hours, and nothing was happening. I went to the Adobe website and it still showed my subscription, so I tried to download an app, to see what would happen, and it took me to the purchase plan page. I pretty much had a little panic attack at this point, but once I calmed down, I got in touch with Adobe’s chat support and they were wonderful. We had to completely remove all Adobe products from my Macbook and do a clean install, but that was probably for the better, I still had CS5.5 and CS6 on there just taking up space.

I probably have a weird emotional attachment to my programs haha. I always say I’ll delete the old one once I’m sure the new one works without issue, and then never go back to delete it telling myself it’s a back-up in case something happens. I know, that’s not healthy for my hard drive, but hey I had plenty of space still so what’s the big deal right? My husband is a computer electronics technician, I should, and do, know better. I have many bad technology habits he likes to shake his finger at me for, but we won’t get into that today. =) Well, now at least I have everything working correctly again, have learned to babysit my CC updates, and my hard drive has a bit more breathing room.

I’ve also taken up a new hobby! My start in the creative field did not come from an interest in the Fine Arts. I actually have very limited experience in physical art. I jumped right into digital art after watching an “ex” go to school for website design and realizing I had a better eye for design than he did. Not having a fine art background has presented itself with challenges along the way, like learning about sketching and shading, but I’ve been able to learn and adapt alright. Now that I’m finished with both degree’s though, I’m inspired to explore the fine arts a bit more. I know that these skills will help my design abilities. I still have a long way to go with sketching and drawing, but I’ve been so inspired by the look of watercolor art lately that I’ve wanted to try my hand at it. If I get decent at it, I’d like to incorporate parts of my paintings into my designs, but one thing at a time. After my surgery while I was still nice a numb, my wonderful husband took me to Michael’s to pick out some beginner watercolor supplies. I didn’t want to buy anything too expensive because I didn’t know if I would enjoy painting or not, but I grabbed some watercolor paper, brushes, and tubes of paint and was ready to go for under $15.

My First Watercolor Supplies

My First Watercolor Supplies – Tubes of Watercolor Paint, Brushes, a Pallet, and Paper.

I’ve done two paintings so far, neither of which are great but I am learning lots. For instance, that I shouldn’t have bought the cheapest paper. I bought the lightest weight and thus cheapest paper, I think it’s 90 or 98 lbs. which is the minimum I read online that is recommended for watercolor.  I should have spent a little extra and gone for the nice thick stuff though, once this stuff gets wet, no amount of tape is keeping it from becoming wavy. At least I bought a small pack, only 10 sheets, so next time I can upgrade. I’ve also learned that cheap brushes shed, a lot. You’ll notice that in both the backgrounds there are lots of brush hairs. I could have picked them out, but I’m pretty unimpressed with them, so I just didn’t bother.

Remember I said my sketching skills still leave much to be desired, and I only spent a few minutes sketching, I just was too excited to get down to painting. My first attempt was a hummingbird. I didn’t plan this painting at all, so after I was finished with the bird, I attempted some sort of flower. I didn’t sketch that, I just messed around and tried something. The bird came out, alright I guess. Not very watercolor-y though, too much paint, not enough water. I got a bit better with the flower. The background just failed miserably though.

my first watercolor

My First Watercolor – Hummingbird, flower, and a really bad background.

I didn’t have nearly enough water down for the yellow in the background, and far too much down for the blue.

After this I went to YouTube and watched some people paint, talk about techniques for beginners, and watch someone draw a Peony. The next day, I took another stab at it. I can see some improvement, but the background still failed miserably and I think I’m still a bit heavy with the paint in my paint/water mixture. I’ve also learned that lots of people seem to prefer pans vs tubes. I wasn’t sure what to buy, and stood in the aisle at Michael’s for a good 15 minutes debating. I’m finding the tubes to be a bit harder to mix than I anticipated. I’ll use up what I bought, but if I keep this hobby up, I think I’ll get pans next time. I also have not been pre-mixing my paint, which seems to be another beginner’s mistake. My flower didn’t turn out too badly, it definitely helped me to watch someone else sketch the Peony as well, but I’ve still got a long way to go before anything is frame worthy.

My Second Watercolor

Round Two – Peony

That wasn’t too bad at all, but then I added the background. Ah well, at least it’s fun and I’m learning!

Peony - My Second Watercolor 2

Round Two – Peony and another pretty bad background.

I think the last thing I’ve learned from these two attempts, is that I probably should put my work surface on a bit of an incline. For both of these, I worked completely flat, on the coffee table.

Thanks for taking the time to read the Pink Glasses blog! Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe if you enjoyed it (or even if you didn’t, I like constructive criticism too!)

Rachel