Home sweet home

Sorry for the blogging hiatus - I have been visiting my family in Saskatchewan!
Stories and photos to come...

12 paradoxes of graphic design

Brilliant words of advice of Adrian Shaughnessy, via Tobias Bergdahl:
  1. There's no such thing as bad clients. Only bad designers.
  2. The best way to become a better graphic designer is to become a client.
  3. If we want to educate our clients about design, we must first educate our self about our clients.
  4. If we want to make money as a graphic designer, we must concentrate on the work, not the money.
  5. For graphic designers, processing verbal skills is as important as processing good visual skills.
  6. Most ideas fail, not because they are bad ideas, but because they are badly presented.
  7. Designers who use the argument "I know best because I am a professional" are usually unprofessional designers.
  8. We often imagine that all the good projects go to other people. Not so. In fact, nearly all jobs start off as neither good nor bad.
  9. The best way to self-promote is to avoid talking about yourself.
  10. A designer's brain is capable of much more than making things look pretty.
  11. If we believe in nothing, then our clients will have no reason to believe in us.
  12. Designers often image that they need to be embedded with the clients, but there are advantages in being an outsider.

Child at heart

A few wonderful (and discounted) treasures found at BMV Books yesterday:


What a busy week! Here are few teasers of what I've been up to lately. Have a great weekend!

Born This Way review

When I first heard Lady Gaga's new track Born This Way on February 11, I was pleasantly surprised. It was catchy, memorable - the type of song that you find yourself belting out in the shower. And the song's message was, well, very positive: your are perfect just the way you are. Everyone likes to hear that, right? In a time when bullying and teen suicide is on the rise, Gaga's song fit right in (alongside Dan Savage's inspiring and hugely successful It Gets Better project). I won't lie - her message got to me.

Immediately, the media slammed her on two accounts. For one, she was accused of being a profiteer. Her song, which is blatantly pro-gay ("No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life. I'm on the right track baby, I was born to survive"), was seen to be exploiting a troubled demographic. And while the song was marketed as a "gay anthem" (Gaga's bff, Elton John, deemed it the new I Will Survive), Gaga received a lot of backlash from the gay community:
"I sort of liked Gaga more when she sang about dancing as opposed to trying to be the voice of a generation."
Secondly, Gaga was ripped to shreds for unoriginality. Immediately, the haters accused her of copying Madonna - in particular, her track "Express Yourself" (1989). Listen here for an overlay.

Despite all this, I was still on team Gaga. The haters are clearly trying to make Gaga a scapegoat, and discredit her success. In a recent 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, Gaga said candidly,
"[people] want to see me fail. They want to see me fall on stage. They want to see me vomiting out of a nightclub ... Isn't that the age we live in? That we want to see people who have it all lose it all?"
And when it comes down to it, when is the last time you heard a song on the radio was pro-gay? I will also add that Born This Way is the fastest selling single in iTunes history, meaning that it's on a lot of iPods out there, and her pro-gay message is making its way into the public discourse. How can this be bad?

And as far as the originality claims, come on… have you listened to the radio lately? Everyone is copying everyone. (Have you heard this mashup of Katy Perry vs. Kei$ha? Or this comparison of Beyonce vs. Kelly Clarkson? It's the same song!) Some would say it is a symptom of postmodernism, others would say it's just formulaic pop music. Whatever. Artists draw influences from everywhere, and this a-okay with me. My favourite response from the internets (re: the Madonna flavour of the song) was that listening to Born This Way was "like being reacquainted with an old friend" - I can't agree more.

After seeing this explanation of the video, I feel as if I have little more to add to the discussion.
Yes, it's a little bizarre. Yes, it's a little disturbing. Yes, there is a bit too much dancing in underwear. But overall, I think it's an provoking piece of art. It's not my favourite video in her oeuvre - I think there were some missed creative opportunities. But every moment is deliberate, and as a whole, offers a unique, uncompromising vision.

Gaga has proved once again that she will not be defined simply as a pop star. She is an artist. She entertains. She provokes. She inspires. And she succeeds on all three accounts.

This video of last night's performance in Toronto, with 10 year old Maria Aragon, proves the point.


“Decide who you are, decide what you want to do, and then do it, because it is surely possible.”

-Lettering artist Doyald Young, 1926-2011

In like a lamb, out like a lion?

Happy March 1! Sunny with a high of 1°C.
Spring is so close, I can taste it.