August 16, 2010
My husband shows me these pictures weeks ago and I have had them open in my browser as a form of inspiration for the past few weeks. Every morning I sit down and open the website and just leave that tab there. Every so often I got through my open browser tabs to see what I can close and there they are.. I look through the images and get re-upped for another few hours of work.
Here are only a few of my favorite. They are the some of the oldest and probably the only color photos taken during the depression. The thing that strikes me about them is their ability to make that era feel more real. Obviously growing up in the decade I did, color photos had already infiltrated culture and I grew up feeling like a color photo = real life and black and white was just history. These color photos truly bring to life the age of the depression. The other amazing thing about these photos were the quality of the images captured! I just love the art in the photography.. They aren’t portraits and they are more than photojournalism.. they are real emotion in art!
These are just a few of my favorites. I actually had a really hard time picking the ones to post here because so many of them are amazing!! Head over here to see all of the rest of the images, let it inspire you!
August 13, 2010
Woah, this has been the shortest summer of my life! I wish I was able to blog about it and really chornicle this experience, but it was such a ride that if I tried to stop and get off I probably would have lost a limb or something. So our BSC Photo & Design is at the point in our lives where we need to move forward or bust (I choose ‘move forward’ for the record. Our designs and our web work has been so well received that a friend tells a friend and it turns into a seriously sustainable and happy ecosystem of clientele. Our motto is to always try and go above and beyond and make our clients happier than they ever thought they could be with our work, and this business model is proven to be very kind to us.
So here we are, with loads of work and a team of four and half. A half? How can I have a half of person? Well, I count any contractors as a half because they are just a per-job team member which means they aren’t entirely full on members. We need to grow, and fast!
In my mind, the first step in growing this graphic design, marketing, and web development business is to separate from our photography and really stand alone. Sure, photography melds into graphic design really well, and we will likely still include photography packages with some of our marketing and design packages, but overall, this end of our business needs a little umph. The first thing that has to go is the name. I just started getting comfortable with BSC Photo & Design, but comfort breeds fatigue, and I don’t want that. We need to keep our creative side fresh, and I think our name needs to communicate that.
BSC Photo will always remain BSC Photo. We are quickly garnering a name for ourselves in the wedding industry as well as fashion and product photography and to change that now would suicide, not to mention unnecessary.
Lots of people ask me where the name BSC Photo & Design came from and it’s not really en exciting story. When my husband and I met, and before we were actually married, Matt owned his own tractor trailer truck. Yep, Matt was a truck driver, traveling the states and living mostly out of his truck. It was his break from the art and creative world and his chance to get away and just work for money and get out there. His trucking company was called Branscombe Supply Company, a company name that has been in his family for a long time. Matt’s grandfather was actaully in the “logistics” business and owned Branscombe Supply Company back in the 50′s and when Matt officially owned his own truck, he took on that name.
yes, this is the actual truck.
We finally decided it was time to call the truck driving quits and choose a career that he was more passionate about. The choice was pretty simple seeing as he attended art school and basically sculpted his life around doing photography and design. We also knew that it would be great if we could work for ourselves and there was no better time to try it than now.
The business licenses for the trucking company were all Branscombe Supply Company, and with the help of our accountants, we were able to kind of add photography to that while we just tested the waters. Because we were operating under what was essentially a dual business license, we decided it would be easiest to just call the photography company BSC (Branscombe Supply Company) rather than file more paper work.
Months later we officially sold the truck and closed the trucking business and went full force into photography, then following design and web.
So here we are.. again, move forward or bust!
I have some company names in the working, but little time to actually work on them.. So don’t be surprised if you come back here and see an entirely different look and a new name. We will keep the domain forever, because BSC Photo will always be around.. Just keep an eye out, because we have some great things in the works, and we are dying to get them out to the public!!!
coming up next.. vacation in pictures! matt and I went on a quick vacation to south carolina – it probably wasn’t the best idea though.
July 17, 2010
I really do enjoy being the idea person behind a new business. A lot of our clients are up and coming businesses, generally owned by one or two people, and really trying to get the most out of their money. Our clients are the people who really want to make their business work for them and they understand the value of certain things and understand where to save and where to splurge money. As a design firm, generally we get hired to design identities, stationary, advertisements, and apparel to help market their brand.
As creative individuals, we do so much more than that. Because we get overly involved in a company when we create a design or brand, we end up with all of these ideas bouncing around in our heads that could help the business owners really market their business and get their products or services out to the masses. Clearly there are professional consultants in the industry that get paid big money to do what I am talking about, and I am not knocking them, but they are definitely not a necessary part of starting a business if you have someone with ideas on board.
Generally when a client hires me to design a website, I include in our price a 2 day crash course on how to use social media to get your brand recognized. The reality is, the entire time I am designing their website, I am talking with the client about these things. So while they end up with a 2 day crash coarse, they get months of my “valuable” consultation for free as well.
I am not trying to toot my own horn… Well, I guess I am! But I am trying to say that if you have the ideas, share them! Don’t hold out waiting for your client to pay you for them. Don’t try to up sell them on buying you to give them ideas.. While it seems like a good idea at the begining (don’t think I didn’t consider adding ‘marketing consultant’ to my list of services) it really isn’t because if you do favors for people like this, and it does really come naturally to you, then you will generate more good will than you know what to do with.
Like with any business, the happier the customer is at the end of the process, the better.
Oh, and don’t forget.. You are a designer, NOT a consultant.. while you do have good ideas, you probably aren’t at the level of some of the good consulting firms anyways.. So share your gift of ideas to your clients, they will thank you for it!
July 13, 2010
I never thought I would be the type of person to go to “networking” events. I had tried the chamber of commerce and the BNA but they just seemed too… sales pitchy. I was definitely determined to not really have a great time at this thing from the begining. I envisioned many “online professionals” with zero real world business knowledge and loads of ways to turn you into a real live “guru”
This was not the case. I could talk your ear off all day about these events I attended, but the basic concept was to bring people of all types together who may or may not have previously connected online. The idea is to create communities and bring people together to build the economy and small business environment, and i totally dig it. If you want to learn a LOT more, you can checkout their website or head over twitter and search #swCT.
So the first day I went alone because Matt had a photoshoot to do in New Haven. It’s a good thing I went alone because Matt would have been bored out of his mind. The entire meeting involved business owners and developers. I met some insanely talented coders there that really put me to shame. I was, however, the only designer there which actually turned the group on their heads a little. The focus of that group was to connect start up companies with developers, but they completely forgot an integral part of starting a business – GRAPHIC DESIGN! Luckily I was there to point out the err of their ways (sarcasm). So we spoke about geek stuff and design stuff tossed with a little info on our photography business and I think I got some new team members out of the group!
Today was a different kind of day. There were members for all types of organizations there to meet, mingle, and listen to the wrap up about googleHaven. Honestly, I didn’t even know what google fiber was before this *bad geek lindsay BAD BAD*
So here are the pictures from the day.. Feel free to embed them on your pages if you are also writing about Social Web CT (please attribute if you can).
Want to see the ENTIRE set of 71 pictures from the event?? Check out the flickr page! and checkout more of Matt’s photography at bscphoto.com and on facebook
July 5, 2010
The fourth of July means more than just celebrating our independence. Its about celebrating and enjoying family and neighbors. Out of all of the holidays in the summer, this one is where more neighbors come together and enjoy the company of each other. All over facebook and twitter I was reading about people having picnics with neighbors and roasting marshmallows and standing in the street lighting fireworks.
We spend our holiday weekend mostly working. We spent about 50% of the daylight time in the house working really hard at meeting deadlines and fixing bugs in existing projects. The other half was trying to get our dogs exercised and tired. (a tired dog is an easier to deal with dog) At night we went to fireworks. Our town’s fireworks were last weekend, so this weekend was really low key. We didn’t go to a different town each night. Instead we stayed in and worked and enjoyed a little down time on Friday and Saturday and then tonight we were asked by the owners of Pyro FX to head over to the New Haven fireworks to take some pictures that they can use for their website and other portfolios.
New Haven’s fireworks had a precarious year this year! They almost didn’t happen because the town did not have the budget to do them. They usually shoot them off of a barge at Long Warf and people stand all around the warf (including in the street on a bridge that connects New Haven to East Haven) which costs a load of money in police and traffic control. This year they had it at a state park called East Rock park.
East Rock park is funny because most people didn’t even know what it was and where it was, even people like me who have lived in this area for our whole lives. We all eventually found it and once Matt and I got up there we were so psyched that we found this little gem. We drove a windy road all the way to the top and found this awesome monument to take pictures in front of for the display and parked ourselves right there. The pictures, as always, are amazing (THANKS MATT) and the work we did over the weekend is not nearly as exciting but will be equally as amazing.
So there you have it.. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
June 16, 2010
I have been asked this question a few times and have seen the same question posted even more times on various forums and discussion boards.
When can you actually call yourself a professional?
This question is generally easily answered by those who attended college and received a degree. You have officially entered the work force as a professional when you obtain your degree, it is from there where you start to shape the direction of your career.
But what about the people who did not attend or finish college. In the design world, there are many top notch designers who are most definitely professionals who do not have that definite milestone of obtaining a degree and graduating.
There are two basic types of designers whom I have met that did not attend a university or secondary education institution that ended up in the design field.
One type is the person who was almost pushed into the industry and caught the bug and decided to run with it. These people usually work in some type of office related capacity at their jobs and end up working closely with an in house design firm or have proven themselves creative and end up with some design overflow work. These people generally start at the bottom rung of an in house design team or even the bottom rung of an independent design firm. They spend time learning from seasoned professionals while getting a hands on experience.
The other is a person who just knew ended up doing design one way or another and is entirely self taught. This individual generally ended up here because they had a passion for creating. These people do tend to fall into sub categories though. Because they have never worked with other designers and did not experience a class room, they have never experienced work critique and thus loose out on a major aspect of design – the viewer feedback. Some self taught designers can be phenomenal and have a nice balance of natural talent and educated skill to create awesome solutions to an otherwise bland design project. The others end up in the hole of the individual. They design for what they feel looks good and never make it out of their own personal likes and dislikes. They also generally do not take honest criticism well or just never seek it out.
So in looking at all of the different ways that people end up in the design world, you can see why it is so difficult to pin point the time in someone’s career where they can call their self a professional. My personal opinion as to what makes someone a professional designer as opposed to a hobbyist or “mac rat” hinges on the following criteria.
The graphic designer must have a solid understanding of typography. They do not have to be typographical geniuses, but they need to understand the importance of choosing a font, the details in adjusting type in a text area, and terms used in the industry.
A grasp of color theory and color psychology is also a must if the individual is designing logos. You can not possibly say that your logos are of a professional value if you do not even understand what your color choices are communicating to the viewer. Creating a specific color palette for a project is a job in itself and requires a good deal of knowledge in order to make an educated and informed decision.
Keeping yourself on top of current trends and markets is yet another way you can gauge a professional designer. Not all designs require going with the trends, but being aware of current trends and why they are what they are means that you can make decisions based on your target audience as they are now as opposed to how they were the last time you looked. This definitely does not mean churning out piece by piece of trendy design.
Another quality of a professional designer that I find separates them from the amateur is the paperwork. I’m not saying that having a book keeping system, a nicely designed contracts and invoices makes you a professional, but you rarely meet a professional who does not have these things. This part of being a professional has absolutely nothing to do with design but everything to do with presenting yourself to your client as a professional in your industry. If you are working with businesses as a freelancer, you must deal with these businesses professionally. Creating a solid contract drawn up by a lawyer and making sure that you always have a contract in place before working is a good indicator that the designer is a professional. Being able to bill accordingly, answer client questions easily about billing, and manage your time are all aspects of presenting yourself professionally to a client and your peers.
And finally – seek out and accept other professional’s critique of your work. While I absolutely do not recommend you basing your skill set on the opinions of other designers, I do suggest that you take to heart things that are said to you by other professional designers. If you seek critique of some of what you consider your best projects, you will only grow as a designer and learn more about your personal style and your individual short comings. Be careful with this one, as people on the internet can come off extremely harsh, so do not let it stifle you. Instead, go into getting a designer’s opinion with an open mind and ready to give a reason for your design and get a response as to why that reason is bogus. Take the time to learn from everyone who offers their opinions and take a honest look at your own skill. If many designers tell you that your font choice seems forced or not thought out, or the color choice is jarring, then you should reconsider spending more time on those specific aspects and come back for more feedback when you feel you have improved.
To me, the most professional designer knows that they have never stopped learning and that there are a million things to draw inspiration from. They are open minded and creative but also detail oriented and good business managers. I guess what I seem to be saying is, a good designer is a little bit of everything, and you should strive to get yourself to the top of every point made on this list and always stop to take a good, honest look at yourself.
June 13, 2010
If you didn’t get to read my first article about initiating change, check it out here. Otherwise, just continue reading.
So once you have figured out the problem that you need to solve (in this case, the lack of quality design and art in the world) you need to come up with a solution. In the last article I spoke about how the frustrations of graphic designers are compounded with the influx of “mac rat” designers. I also strongly stand behind the fact that the reason people are willing to hire inferior graphic designers is because they do not know what good design is or what it does.
The solution to this problem is to educate, educate, educate. Raising money is not the only way to support a cause, and raising awareness of a cause is almost as important as raising donation money. The goal is to soak the people in your community in the basking glow of great art and design, and in doing so you are educating the public. You don’t have to stand on the street corner shouting about a what makes a good logo, and you definitely do not have to preach to people, but you do have to educate.
How do you show people quality design? In my opinion, through art and experience. If you can pull together a group of like minded and creative people in your area you have already won half the battle. The other half is figuring out a way to engage your community. Sometimes the plan will fall right in your lap and other times it will take a lot of work to pull off, in either case, it works.
How do you organize an event that will make an impact? Well, that depends on your community. Some of the best and easiest ways to hold and event is to piggy back on another event. Most of the time organizations do not have a budget for design but would never turn away free help. If there is an organization that you stand behind, contact them and see what you can do in order to help. Let’s say, for instance, you fully support the Human Society and they are holding a massive dog adoption event in a city near you. This is your time to shine as a creative artist. Contact them and tell them what you do and what your plans are. Let them know that you would like to raise awareness for their organization as well as raising awareness for art and design. Submit your portfolio and possibly even an example of a piece of work that you would like for them to use.
The great thing about creating socially responsible design is that even if the organization you pitch it to does not use it, it is still an exception piece of art that can evoke the feeling you intended. With a creative poster that expresses your connection with animal rights, you can communicate a message of social responsibility with or without an organization to pair it to. Pairing with a non profit organization not a nessecary step.
You can also hold your own events, rallies, or galleries. Pick a cause and rally for it, you don’t need to have a non profit to back you, just get some information out to the public in the form of great brochures, posters, or pamphlets. Put together a gallery of great pieces of art and design in a place where people will see it regularly. Find out if an owner of any public building will allow you to display your team’s work. Pick a cause to back with your design and you can make an even larger impact.
My point is, surround your community with art and design, and the industry as a whole will benefit. These are the reasons why places like Portland and NYC have such a great community of designers and artists. These people put their effort not just in making money, but initiating change. There is no reason why Portland is one of the best cities to be an artist except for the community of artists that exist there. Generate your own community and start to pull local people together.
And guess what? In doing this, you are going to make some amazing connections and generate interest for your services. You will not only be educating local businesses on design and art, but you will be putting the word out there about your business, i say this from experience.
My point – get off your butt and do something!
June 8, 2010
Right now my life is surrounded with different projects just waiting to have some hands on them bringing them into completion. My post was a sneak peak one of the projects floating around in my head. That project, Creatives for a Cause, is going to be big and requires a lot of hands on time with me and the people I put together to get it started. I love the idea (which I will flesh out for you shortly) and am very excited about being a founding member.
Aside from my own little not for profit venture, I am working with some other major non profit organizations to put together the fashion show event that I have mentioned earlier as well. The brain child of me and a few salon friends is turning into a really exciting project that again, will take quite a bit of man power to pull off.
Oh, did I mention that Matt wants to write/photograph a book? Yep! I am really proud of him for taking on a task such as that, and I think it would be amazing for him to be able to use his creative talents in a non-commercial, entirely art related way. I can’t really tell you the concept because we need to make the book first, but I can tell you it will basically be about art, photography, and design. We are currently looking for an agent to manage and represent the book, so if you know anyone, send them here!
Hmm, what else? Oh yea, there are the paid and commercial projects. These projects are the bread and butter of our business and we would not be here without them. Obviously some are better and more interesting than others, but we love all of them because without those, we could not do the more “creative and artistic” projects that we are planning for the future. Most of our commercial projects are logo designs, identity packages, and websites. The website design is the area of our services that takes the most work and man power because not only do we have to come up with a perfectly branded and user friendly design, but then we have to code and customize it. A lot of times it ends up being more work than anticipated, but that’s because I am a perfectionist. I love the clients who give me a soft deadline but then let me pick away at added features at my leisure. Obviously this really benefits the clients because I am just adding stuff that I think will be useful or fun just because I want to, and not because I am looking to tack on added hours to a bill (we don’t do that here at BSC Design).
Anyways, that’s the deal now! I wish I had some pictures and artwork to share with you, but because of the nature of the work, it is all highly top secret. I don’t really even have any good photos to share of my daily like because, well, my life as been glued to this computer with little to no possibility of me even TRYING to look good.
On the bright side, with all of these new projects and connections, the future of this blog looks to be a bright and shiny one. I will be attending a lot of exciting events, planning one of them, and meeting more and more exciting people, so this blog can only get more interesting. I will do my best to write as often as I can, and the more interest and interaction I get from you, the readers, the more I will write.
Have a good one!
May 30, 2010
I have been hearing this question so much lately. Maybe it’s because people are getting so sick of the state of the nation as a whole, maybe it’s because I have my ear to the ground more. No matter what the reason, I would like to answer this question publicly.
I don’t have any misconceptions about my little blog here. I know a I have a solid small group of regular readers and a bunch of passers by, so I know that this is not a nation-wide platform. I also know that if I can give a few people ideas on how to initiate change and get inspiration to do so, this post will have served it’s purpose.
Basically, I hear designers all the time complaining about what we like to call “mac rats” These mac rats, bottom feeders, and $50 logo designers are the bane of a lot of designers’ existence. Although these types of designers really chap my hide, they do not infuriate me like they do other designers, they do still drive me almost to the point of insanity. Why? because these home-made designers who are good with a computer and own the Adobe Creative Suite are the reason that the average Joe’s perception of design is dumbed down.
So many designers complain that small businesses are turning to their neighbor’s kid down the street to is “pretty artistic” or the major corporations who hire the in house secretary to start designing brochures because “she’s good with word and has an extensive clipart gallery”. All of these things are clearly in the vein of saving money. If you think about it logically, why would you spend more for the exact same service?
This is where you, as a designer, start screaming in your head about “It’s not the same! My logo design is more money because you get a high quality design…(blah)(blah)” Well, save your breath, I know that argument and have said it myself over and over again but guess what, this holds no water when you are talking to someone who does not see good design. We are talking about people who are surrounded daily with seeing more and more crap design. Ah ha! There is the real problem!
Did I just say that the problem was the client not seeing good design? Are you telling me that you are going to show them good design in your portfolio? Well, again, save it. You can not just show someone a portfolio of great work and tell them that it is good design because we all know that really good design has to speak to you. When our clients are deaf to design, how do we get them to listen?
People in general are becoming deaf to quality design because there is so much stuff out there posing as good design that people have a hard time understand what separates one from the other. There are loads of $50 logo companies out there boasting top notch designers with quality outcomes and guess what, at first look, that is what you see. I mean, look at places like crowspring or just google “affordable logo design” and you will see that a lot of the sites out there are actually nicely designed, look professional, and show the best work on the front page.
These websites, while definitely feeding the problem, are not the actual problem. The real problem, as I stated before, is that people are blind, deaf, or indifferent to good design. Next time you are out in your town, head to your green (or strip mall) and have a look. Look at what you are surrounded by. Crappy logos, advertisements, and branding that range from a small mom and pop store to the major corporations. When people see design, most of the time they are told whether or not it is good. When they see a major corporation’s design projects they instantly assume that it must be good because big corporations have the money to pay the professionals.
Now, after you have a look at all of the advertisements and design elements that you are surrounded by, have a look and see what type of art you see (if any). Do you have a community or artists? Do you see any good design or art in your community at all? If you expect your clients to know and understand what quality design is, where do you expect them to get that information from?
So you can probably see where I can getting at with the solution. My solution is grass roots all the way. You might be shooting for that national campaign with a company that already told you that they have their secretary on the brochure making case, but if all of us start making a difference in our own communities, there will be a national difference made!
stay tuned for part 2
p.s. wanna know what Creatives for a Cause is? Stay tuned for that as well!
May 21, 2010
Here are some pictures of our work, it’s nothing new, but photographing and posting it just seems to give the work we have done new life. Yes, you can absolutely get a solid idea of the designs we create by looking at the illustrated file of the work, but there is nothing better than looking at the tactile pieces that are a product of our work. We love the stuff that we do and when the physical products make it to our office and then out into the world, it feels like you are letting our babies out into the world.
So again, here are some pictures of some of our favorite projects.