2013-EmilySchwarting-Review

Oh, hey 2014.

What a crazy year, my friends. 2013 flew by, and I can’t believe what I crammed into a single year. Moving (and therefore lots of furniture investments), traveling, my first trip to Europe, the 5 year mark with my love, an awesome year of growth with my work… and, well. Photos tell it better. Most of these are my instagrams, but a few are stolen from good ol’ Brad.

NewYears-Disney-Magic-Kingdom-2013
I started off the New Year in Disney World this year. It was my first time there, so it was a super amazing experience to see all their New Year’s fireworks.


Feb-Tesla-2013
In February, Brad finally got his car he’d been on the waiting list for for about 18 months. It’s pretty much all I heard about for a year, so I’m glad the waiting stage is over! It is a beaut. As skeptical as I was, I was glad we don’t share finances (yet) and now that he drives us everywhere, I’m saving a ton on gas.


March-SXSW-2013
March: My first go-round at SXSWi. It was a blast, and great bonding with my coworkers (who at this point, I’d only been with for about 4 months). Next year I’ll definitely be more prepared in the shoe department.


April-30miles-2013
In April Brad and I rode in Ride for Heroes. We did the 35 mile route, and it was only a little tough (read: really tough). Of course, in our usual fashion, we fell off the cycling wagon afterward. Picking it back up this month! Also, it appears this is when I still had my iPhone 4S with the busted front facing camera. I was trying to do a selfie and accidentally got this shot of the riders in front of us. Oops!

April-Biking-2013
This was halfway into the ride. We were feelin’ it, for sure.

April-Vegas-2013
Another traveling win: Vegas in April. My bosses and I went for an interactive conference (Future Insights). First time in Vegas and it was all paid for? I’m in. It was so much fun, and the food… so fantastic.


May-OrangeBeach-2013
Annual Holt summer vacation to Orange Beach in May! A short, but fun getaway. I’m not too much of a beach person, but I do enjoy getting my annual dosage of Vitamin D.


June-FuzzyMuffins-2013
June marked the end of my Fuzzy Muffins project. We had a good, long 5 years together, but it was time to focus on design & illustration only. I meant to start a new personal project before the year’s end, but never found the time! Definitely a 2014 goal.

June-Paint-2013
Brad and I also signed a lease to our first single family home together this June. AND we ended up getting our keys a bit early! Move in date was set for July 1st, but early keys equals paint swatches. I can’t believe how much we did to make this house feel like a home… but I’m so glad we did.


emily-modern-living-room
Of course, July was our move in month, and I went nesting crazy.


Aug-Lakehouse-2013
A group of my good college designer buddies make a point to reunite once a year at a friend’s family lakehouse. August was year 3, I believe of the tradition! This place is the place I know I’ll look back on in my old age and have lots of warm, fuzzy memories of being young. I kind of have them already!

Aug-Seattle-2013
B and I have been talking about moving to Portland for a few years… but neither of us had every been. So in August, as a “it’s my birthday” trip we finally ventured to the Pacific Northwest! It was absolutely gorgeous, and everyone was super friendly, but in the end, we realized Portland wasn’t for us… at least not full time. I’m sure we’ll be back to visit before long though.


September marked 5 years for Brad and I. We celebrated by taking photos of grungy walls for our new house and eating delicious food. Completely low-key, but completely us.


Oct-Passport-2013
October… Oh, October. I finally got a passport. There’s a band called Snarky Puppy that B always travels with when they do their album recordings. He’s part of the core video team that puts together their DVDs. Well, it turns out this year’s album was happening in Holland. In the Netherlands. Very close to Amsterdam. I was planning on going whether he liked it or not.

Oct-Amsterdam-2013-2
Turns out there was an open spot on the video crew so guess what? I’m now a pro videographer (I’m not. I’m really not). But I did get to use a fancy camera and a jib and rock out behind the bassist/band leader through all 8 recording sessions. The whole experience was just amazing. The Dutch are a great people.

Oct-Amsterdam-2013
This was on one of our walks. Since we were there for work, I didn’t get the full Europe experience, but the adventuring we did within Utrecht, Netherlands was a perfect appetizer for what our big Europe trip will hold (future, future trip).


Nov-2013-PlantObsession
Once we got back home from Europe, we just nested. November was a nice breather. I also apparently have a plant obsession. It happens.


Dec-Decor-2013
Since it’s our first year in our big-kid home, I was SO excited about decorating for Christmas this December. We borrowed a tree from Brad’s folks, but it turns out it was like the width of our entire living room, so we ended up buying one. A pre-lit slim tree hit the spot. Thanks, Target. I also finally got to get a little white deer for our yard, which I’ve dreamed about ever since I was 10! Love those things. :) Putting up lights together went smoothly too, and felt so weirdly adult-y.

Dec-HolidayParty-2013
Then of course we had a work holiday party AND a personal “Thanksmas” pot-luck party with some of our friends. So much cheer and festivity. And a few drinks, of course… A super awesome month!


Now we’ll roll in the new year with another party, good friends, and some goals. So they’re online:

  • get back into working out regularly
  • blog about indsutry-related goodies more often
  • start a personal project (illustration related)
  • get out of credit card debt (isn’t this everyone’s goal?)
  • visit at least two new cities

How about you? What are your goals for 2014?

Severe Nesting Syndrome - Living Room

Severe Nesting Syndrome: Moving Yearly & Making a Home

I know I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I’ve developed a habit of moving once a year. In the past 6 years, I’ve lived in 5 homes/apartments. The longest I’ve ever stayed in a house was in college, with 4 other roommates and rent that was cheaper than my car payment.

Well, Brad and I moved again in August, and for the first time in… well, ever, we think this rental is the one that’s going to keep us for a few years. At least until we either A. move out of the state or B. buy a home in Texas. In every home, I’ve gotten a bit of the nesting bug. You know… bought some flowers, got a new piece of furniture, hung some artwork, etc. This time though, I diagnosed myself with SES, Severe Nesting Syndrome. I could only think about what rug I was going to get, how we were going to create overhead lighting in the lightless living room, decided on a couch for our sitting room, and how many plants were too many plants.

It got a little out of hand, but in just a month, I had our home feeling as homey as my budget allowed. There’s still quite a few things to do, but they’ll have to wait until I can afford them.

So without further adieu, some photos of our progress.

emily-modern-living-room
Living Room: This is hands down my favorite room. Between lounging on the couch on laptops and having friends over for Sunday Game of Thrones/Walking Dead/Newsroom watch parties, we spend most of our time here, so that’s a good thing.

Nearly all the artwork in our home is by family or friends, or the very least, by local artists. I was really excited to have a gallery wall that had meaning. On this one there’s a piece by my grandfather (whom I never met) from 1956, lots of pieces from friends, a bridesmaid gift that has a tear-jerking letter on the back, and of course, Brad’s photography.

IKEA-Expedit

LivingRoom-Detail

LivingRoom-Pano

Dining Room: On our to-do list is a larger table. You know, one you could actually seat 4 at, but preferably 6. This one is so tiny you can barely fit 4 plates on it, much less have elbow space. I’m holding out for something I really love (but can also afford), but I’m leaning towards adding some Eames dowel chairs to our chair collection.

Note: These photos have all been taken at different times, so in the photo below you can see I’ve added a Fiddle Leaf Fig to our family. His name is Pete.

DiningRoom-Fiddle-Leaf-Fig

SittingRoom-Pano

SittingRoom-Thrive-Couch

Extra Sitting + My Office: This was the room we couldn’t decide what to do with for a long time. We knew it had to serve as my office space (Brad has his own room for his office), but it’s a pretty high traffic area, so it had to serve another purpose as well. Cue, Thrive. I found this Nixon Chair and Tyler Loveseat and knew they had to be in our home.

I wasn’t too sure what to choose for a rug, and since I was low on funds by this point, I bought a cheap one from RugsUSA. Turns out it was a terrible idea because three months later, it looks pretty rough. We’ve since moved it outside on the back patio to make that feel more cozy when I’m out there with coffee & a laptop. We’ll replace it eventually but eating food and paying rent takes priority for now.

We hid the litterbox in the fireplace and put a small curtain rod in the opening to hide it. Since we live in Texas, we’ll never need the fireplace anyway. I definitely recommend going this route if you can’t figure out where to put the box. The only downside: I can’t do some cool collection of wood logs or something equally neat.

Designer-Office

Detail-Ampersand-Vingette

WestElm-Bedroom-Pano

The Bedroom: Not too much going on in here, but it’s cozy. Finally splurged on bedding (after having an IKEA duvet cover for a year) and got this set from West Elm. Rug from RugsUSA, crazy corner shelf from Overstock, headboard and bed frame from IKEA, and a knock off Nelson bench from Overstock. Bargains, bargains.

WestElm-Bedroom

Bedroom-WallShelf-Overstock

BackPatio-Cozy

Last but not least, The Backyard: This set-up was a major selling point for us on renting this house. I love having a covered patio. Now that the weather is finally cooling off, we’re spending a lot more time out here. Patio furniture is a mix of IKEA and Overstock (including hammock).

BackPatio-IKEA-Hammock

So that’s (part of) our house so far! It feels the most “us” out of all of them so far, and it’s been super nice having a space that’s just ours again.

So what do you think? What room in your house are you itching to update?

3-tools-for-designers-icebergs

3 Tools to Add to Your Designer’s Toolbox

Designers all have their own processes and tricks. Most of the time, we all use similar software to help us stay on track and organized. I’ve been lucky to test drive some really great new products the past couple months, so I thought I’d share:


  • Icebergs – Visual organization for creative minds
Icebergs is a website that’s kind of similar to Pinterest in the sense that you can create a “board” and gather inspiration. I know, I know… you’re thinking, “Why on earth would I want another place to gather inspiration?” What makes this app cool is the fact that you can upload and store your Illustrator, Indesign, & Photoshop files.

icebergs-screenshot

Essentially I can be rid of my thumbdrive and upload all my goodies for one project here, under the proper tab. You can add notes to images, create image groups within your project tab, etc. Projects are called icebergs, and all your “pinned” objects are known as icedrops. It’s kind of adorable, I won’t lie.

At the moment, it’s completely private, so unlike Pinterest, you don’t have to worry about all your goodies showing up on your friend’s feeds. The group behind Icebergs has plans to eventually add a collaborative element to the in-browser software, so I’m imagining I’ll eventually be able to invite a fellow designer to an “iceberg” if we’re collaborating on a project. It’s beta-mode only right now, so sign up for an invite! I do have a couple invites I can send to friends, so if you’re really interested, let me know in the comments!


Ever had to mockup a billboard so a client could see what it would look like in a real-life situation? How about photoshopping a brochure design onto a blank template so you could avoid the hassle of getting an entire piece in focus through photography? No more. LiveSurface Context is an image library that has templates of everything from billboards to bottles to bags.

LiveSurface Context Screenshot

What makes this plugin badass (truth), is that you can stay WITHIN illustrator to create your mockups. No more switching between vector & raster. You simply open up your design in Illustrator, open your Context plugin, and follow the simple dialogue for an output of your mockup. You can even edit the lighting. To be honest, I haven’t been able to play with this plugin a ton, so I’m not a master of it, but you can imagine how much time this would save if you were reworking your portfolio and wanted a crisp, clean in-context look at all your work.

LiveSurface-Context-Screenshot
Here’s a little smattering of some of the library.


  • Pop – Prototyping on paper

Pop is an iOS app (Android coming soon) that I recently learned about at the Future Insights conference in Vegas. If you’re into developing apps, you’ve had that moment where you drew out a wireframe on paper and thought, “Ugh, I wish I could just tap this drawing and have it react like the real app would.” Well, now you basically can.

POP screeshot

With Pop you can photograph your sketches and create working “links” to simulate your app navigation and flow before you get into the nitty gritty in-computer design process.


There’s constantly new awesome tools and apps coming out to help designers in their process, but these 3 are on my radar this month. What else have you guys found that’s helping make your design process easier? Let me know in the comments!

Leave a Comment

SXSWi-EmilySchwarting-Overview

SXSWi 2013 Experience

Note: I realize this post is incredibly late. I’ve been super busy the past month and haven’t had a chance to post. Apologies.

This year was my first year to go to SXSW Interactive. And boy, what a whirlwind it was. My bosses had warned my co-worker, Michael (another first timer), and I how exhausting it would all be, but man… I was SPENT.

The entire experience was truly awesome though. Friday night, the first night we were there, I kind of sat back and observed. I’m not the best networker in the world (understatement of the week), so when I’m at events where you’re surrounded by really intelligent, important folks in the industry, I like to spend a while taking notes on how others are approaching strangers and introducing themselves. Introvert central.

We did, however, get to tour the new digs of Edeleman’s Austin office. Such a great office space… and the tiny orderves didn’t hurt either. After that, I accompanied Michael and headed over to the strip of gay bars in Austin to go the the Big Gay Kickoff Party at Oilcan Harry’s. I’m pretty sure the drink I got was made of pure sugar. Then we headed on over to Dogwood on South Congress for the Edelman Nightcap party. So many parties. All the parties. I’m going to ahead and just mention the noteworthy ones.

One of the best mornings of the trip went down on Saturday morning. We had gotten a tip to follow Elon Musk on Twitter, and as it turns out, he was making a surprise visit to the new Tesla store in Austin. Enter: Speeding to The Domain to make sure we arrive in time. Less than 10 minutes upon arrival, up drives Elon Musk! If you don’t know who this guy is, he’s the founder of Tesla Motors (the first long range electric cars) and Space X (the first (and only) independent company to send a rocket that attached to the International Space Station). He was also a co-founder of Paypal before that. He’s my boyfriend’s hero, long story short.

He pulled up in what must’ve been an Austin owner’s Model S, did some Q&A with the crowd, and then (thanks to Michael’s shoving), I got to meet him and grab a photo with Elon Musk. Dudes. Big deal.

Emily-and-Elon-Musk-SXSWi

Emily-and-Elon-Musk-SXSWi

That night got a little ridiculous. Half of SXSWi is the parties and the drinks. So there were lots of drinks. And the same can be said for the next night. Sunday night ended with us stealing a Grumpy Cat poster… and it seemed like a great idea at the time. Throughout the rest of the week I ended up ditching my DSLR and sticking to an iPhone. It was just too bulky to carry around for 14 hours. If you’re considering bringing one next year, be warned. It gets tiring.

The-Crew-SXSWi
Hello-SXSWi

At some point, my co-worker ended up running into Macklemore shopping on South Congress. That area is amazing. So much to see and do! I’m not fully awake in this photo – everything had started to feel like a dream at this point.

Michael-Stancil-Emily-Schwarting-Macklemore

Since most of SXSW takes place smack in the middle of downtown Austin, I definitely recommend Franks Hot Dogs. I’ve known about this place for what seems like ages simply for their graphic design. Their murals are kind of well known on design blogs. But the food? Yeah, that’s good too.

Franks-SXSWi

Our last night in ATX we headed out to the GSD&M Industry Party. It did not disappoint. Food trucks, delicious drinks, a swimming pool sized ball pit, and the always-entertaining Reggie Watts.

SXSWi-GSDM-ReggieWatts

Anyway, a few tips and tricks I learned:

  • Don’t wear brand new boots to SXSWi. Your feet will hate you for it.
  • Only carry the bare minimum. I thought I could be all cool by bringing lots of “what if” items in my backpack… turns out I really didn’t need any of it and my shoulders hated me for it.
  • Bring a backpack, not a messenger bag. Weight distribution, y’all.
  • PHONE BATTERY PACKS. Seriously. At the very least, get one of the external battery chargers. Your phone will die. You are on it all day.
  • Take advantage of the open bars. You’re bound to make so many more friends that way.
  • It’s all about the parties. The true networking goes down when people are just hanging out in a non-learning environment.
  • Seriously, don’t wear new boots.
stitch-fix-review-hero

First Experience: Stitch Fix

When I started my new job at Buzzshift, I was immediately a bit envious of my co-workers and their subscriptions to Trunk Club and Frank & Oak. The concept: stylists mail you awesome clothes for you to try on, you mail back anything you don’t like. Genius. It’s like having a personal stylist and never having to go shopping with them. So when I found out about a woman’s version of this service called Stitch Fix through a designer I follow on Dribbble (I know, weird way to hear about things), I had to sign up.

I just got my first “Fix” in the mail and I love it! You get to fill out a kind of intense questionnaire that’s actually pretty fun. It asks you your sizes, your price points, what kind of styles you like, what you don’t like, and what you’re aspiring to achieve. Then you get to rate some groups of clothing to see what kind clothes you’re into, a la:

stitch-fix-review-style-survey

You get to style your Stitch Fix arrival date, and then it’s just a waiting game! I was SO excited to see this show up at work after a rather crazy and exhausting week at SXSWi (more on that later this week). I told my stylist I was looking to expand my top collection the most. I’m kind of between pant sizes at the moment (bootcamp is to blame, but that’s a great thing), so I don’t want to invest too much in bottoms. Here’s what I got.

stitch-fix-review-box

stitch-fix-review-Honey-Punch-Geo-print-dress
When I first opened this up, I was like. Oh my. That’s busy and loud. And then I tried it on. Oh, hi, love. It’s super duper cute, but just a size too big! You can’t tell in the photo, but the back drapes down a lot and the waist was too large. I’m definitely requesting this in a smaller size with my next Fix. And yes, there will be a next Fix. The neat thing about this service is they include little styling cards with each piece. They showed me how to dress this one up and down (leggings + cute flats + simple jewlery) and it gives you such a good idea of what you can pair it with in your existing wardrobe.


stitch-fix-review-angie-top

I was totally skeptical when I saw this in the box. Studs? Oh no. But then on… oh, yes. I decided to keep this piece. It’s so easy to style around! Also… most awkward photos ever. I’m no model, y’all.


stitch-fix-review-necklace-geranium
They include jewelry and other accessories in your box, too! I would have never chosen this out myself in the store, but I adored it on. It made me realize that maybe I can do giant statement necklaces after all! Unfortunately I’ll be sending this guy back, just because I couldn’t justify the price for this one piece. I love it, but don’t NEED this particular necklace. I’m sure there will be more.


stitch-fix-review-sweet-rain-blazer-peppermint-tank
These last two pieces are going back. The jacket was something I loved when I pulled it out of the box, but it just didn’t work on. I tried it on with some brighter tops underneath, but the material just wasn’t giving me enough structure. However, I do really, really want a blazer now. The tank was a cute print, but the flowy-ness of it just didn’t work of my body type. And I felt it was a little too short. But, super cute! Just not for my shape.


All in all, I am keeping 1 out of 5 pieces, and requesting another size for the dress (which I will totally buy). 2 out of 5 on my first Stitch Fix. Not too shabby!

As I continue to give feedback, I’ve heard the selection gets so much better. Makes sense, as your stylist gets to know you through trial and error. I can’t wait to see what I get next, and I think this service is so cool. It’s always been fun to open mail, but when the mail is a complete surprise and full of adorable clothes?! How can you go wrong?

Want to sign up or try out Stitch Fix?

If you sign-up, use this link! I won’t lie, I do get referral bucks. But I totally recommend this service. For reals, for reals.

Check it Out!
graphic design poster inspiration from help ink

Daily Inspirations: Help Ink

Earlier this week I discovered a really, really awesome website. Especially awesome if you’re a print junkie like me. It’s called Help Ink, and it’s magical. Basically, they invite really badass designers to create really badass prints. These then get turned into posters, notebooks, mounted prints, and notecards. You buy them, they give money to charity, and everyone rejoices.

When you make a purchase, you choose a cause. We’ll make a donation to a charity that is working to further the cause you chose.

The best part? The prints are seriously affordable. You can get a 12″ x 16″ poster for just $15! Check out some of my favorites below:

Graphic Design Inspiration: Brad Woodard Poster
Go and Do by Brad Woodard

Graphic Design Inspiration: Bobby McKenna Poster
Live Together by Bobby McKenna

Graphic Design Inspiration: John Choura Poster
Round and Round by John Choura

Which ones do you want the most?

Check Out Help Ink
how does your workspace affect creativity?

Workspace as Inspiration

I’ve recently realized that most of my friends are fellow designers or creatives (photographers, filmmakers, etc). I think it’s safe to say most creatives could relate, but the question is, why? I think as creatives we surround ourselves with people that are going to expand our aesthetic and further our work. We thrive on inspiration, whether it be from critiquing our pal’s new logo or just hanging out with folks that have impeccable taste in clothing.

So that got me thinking… how much does our work space affect our creativity? I’ve gone through quite a few in just a few years (I’ve been on a steady move-once-a-year trend for way too long), and I feel like my setup greatly impacts how much I enjoy working – and what kind of work I produce.


First Apartment, Workspace 1.0:

because my desk was tiny, i usually worked on my bed. not good for productivity.

My first apartment was a 400 sq ft. studio. It wasn’t that cute, but I had bookshelves galore and design books everywhere you looked. It was cramped and I didn’t have nearly enough room to draw my 150 thumbnails I needed to have for class, but I made it work. It definitely looked like a first apartment though. Mismatched furniture, very few photos or prints on the walls, and the oldest appliances ever. Appliances normally wouldn’t affect your workspace, but in a studio apartment… they do. I honestly don’t even have a good photo of my desk because it was the smallest desk of all time. I usually worked on my bed, which was great for productivity. But, it was home, and this is where my love for design blossomed. However, my design work was just as horrible and juvenile as my mismatched couch and coffee table.


Workspace 2.0:

how does workspace affect creativity?how does workspace affect creativity?

Office version two was in a massive 2 story home. I had 4 housemates and control over only my room’s decor. It was the ultimate college living situation, which basically just means the place was super mismatched and there were always dirty dishes in the sink. BUT, my room was my haven. And I worked in it constantly. This house marked the last two years of my design school schooling and this room was where I created my first completed portfolio (the same one that got me my first legit full time job).

The decor was a major improvement from the last office. As I learned more about design, my taste in furniture grew, and so did my resource library. One of the things I loved about this office was how much natural light poured in through my arched window. I wish I had a good photo of my actual desk, but somehow I managed to never photograph it. It’s safe to say some of my best work was created in this room – it felt homey, was full of warmth and natural light, and had more inspirational design books than I’d ever had before. The only problem? My bed was so accessible. Too accessible. It was a smidge too easy to take a design break and nap… which I honestly didn’t have time for in school.


Apartment Two, Workspace 3.0:

how does your workspace affect creativity?
third-apartment-workspace-3

Ah, my first real apartment, post graduation. I managed to book a great freelance gig a few months before my boyfriend and I moved here, so I could really furnish the place in the style that felt more like us, albeit the IKEA version of us. I loved this apartment. Brad and I had to share a workspace though (his standing desk is behind mine in the photos of my desk), and that both increased and hindered productivity. There was a lot of “hey, look at this random cat video I found!,” but it was also really nice to know there was another live human in the room working just as hard as I was. I did notice though, that I rarely touched my design resource books, since they were hanging out far away from my workspace. Dining room books? Okay, sure.

The only thing I hated about this workspace was the view. Oh, hello, corner. There was one small window in the office, but it was awkward to leave open since it faced the main walkway of the apartment complex. This meant little natural light, which sometimes drew me to laptop it up in the living room.

I did good work in this workspace, but honestly, it wasn’t the most inspired. I was glad to have prints on the walls, but I really needed more sunlight. And maybe a view to go with it.


Current Home, Workspace 4.0

how does workspace affect creativity?
how does workspace affect creativity?
how does workspace affect creativity?
how does workspace affect creativity?
Getting better & better! I’ve found I pull books off my shelf all the time for inspiration and resources. It’s nice to just spin my chair around and be all like, “Oh, hai, bookshelf!” Plus the shelf makes a great divider from my sleeping quarters, since I had to move my office back into the bedroom during this last move.

I upgraded my desk when we moved as well. From massive IKEA Galant (which got very messy, very quickly since I had so much space) to a Torino desk from CB2. It’s sleeker, sturdier, and is so much easier for me to keep clear of clutter. Any paperwork I think I’ll need access to in the next month, I can just stow away in the hidden compartment beneath the working surface. Plus it’s the perfect size for my computer monitor, keyboard, and sewing machine. No extra space, no missing space. I’m still in love with it, if you can’t tell. Can’t wait until I can afford to swank this desk up even more with a new 27″ iMac.

I have all the natural light I could need, but as always, there’s one problem. This is an old house. Like a built-in-1935 house. Which means horrible insulation. Which means, because I have all these windows, it is absolutely freezing in my room. Which means I spend most of my time snuggled up in a couple of blankets while working. And I have to admit, I kind of have a hate/love thing going on with being as secluded as I am. I’m on the opposite corner of the house than my roommates usually are when they’re working.

But all in all, this is my favorite set up so far. Everything I need to get work done is in a easy to reach space.


So what’s it all mean? Why’d I just ramble about my past workspaces for what seems like an eternity? Well, here’s a few points I gathered from this self-observation:

Natural light helps creativity... and happiness.
I still managed to produce good work when I was facing a corner, but I often found myself dreaming of my next office (I’m addicted to moving, apparently). If I was feeling particularly mopey, I’d just leave and go work at a bright, happy coffee shop.
Having a co-working space can increase productivity.
Granted, this is a case-by-case basis. If you require solitude to find your muse, this might not be for you. But I found I worked better when there was a sense of camaraderie in busting our butts to get work done. If you live alone, there are options out there for you. In Dallas, co-working spaces like Weld are popping up more and more. You pay for access to great working spaces where you are more than welcome to meet new friends and bounce ideas off of one another.
Have design resources nearby.
Books, prints, vinyl toys, objects that inspire you… Make your workspace your own. If you’re staring at nothing but your computer screen or your piece of paper, you’ll have a harder time thinking of good ideas. I know, I know, “But, Emily! The internet is right in front of you!” Well, padawan, sometimes you need to enjoy the tactile world. It’s still here and still loves you.
Allow yourself enough space to work, but not too much space.
If you have too much space, it’s easy for things to get messy. And for me, a messy desk equals a messy mind. I need focus. Keep only the things you need on your immediate work surface, and you’ll find you’re much more efficient.
If you like your office (and your chair), you'll like working in it.
This is a no brainer. If you like the space, you’ll want to be in it. This means you’re a lot less likely to pull a, “But, but… the couch is so comfortable!” Maybe it’s time you should get a more comfortable office chair. But not too comfortable… then you’ll just nap on the job.

So, what’s your workspace look like? Have any tips you’ve found useful for getting (& staying) inspired at your desk or in your office?

Daily Inspirations: Peaks by Matthew Smith

For me, a major part of keeping creativity is to consume creativity. As you can imagine, this means following a lot of designers, artists, photographers, and (although I’m notoriously bad at this) musicians. One of the designers I follow on dribbble is Matthew Smith. I’ve also started following his instagram.

Matthew has this awesome ongoing series on there that I cannot get enough of. He calls it “Peaks.” Take a look at some of my faves in the slider above.

I love projects that require you to view the world differently — especially if it’s calling for a more design-saavy eye. Finding simple geometry in your every day activities. I dig it.

bootcamp-equipment-cat

Bootcamp? No… really?

So here’s the deal. I’m not an athletic person… anymore. In high school I ran cross country and still don’t really understand how the scrawny twigs I called legs held me upright. Then I went to college. Specifically design school. And in case you were wondering, you don’t get up and walk around very much in design school. You sit. You sketch. You lay down. You draw. You sit at a computer and create vector shapes. You lay down in bed with a computer and set type. That’s your life for 4 years. At some point you might get up and get some food. Maybe you’ll fall asleep with your computer on your stomach in bed. But that’s about it.

So the point is. I’m not an athletic person… but it’s caught up to me. And I’ve finally gotten sick of it. So as of January 7th of this year, I’ve been going to… dun dun dun… bootcamp. I’d tried the whole Couch to 5k app, I’d tried the “Oh, I’ll just go cycling after work” routine and it just wasn’t workin’. I need a set time to be somewhere, and I need someone to yell what the heck I’m supposed to be forcing my body to do.

Enter: Google. Cue: Discovering Camp Gladiator, which takes place right across the street. Literally.

I was skeptical at first, but it’s now been 4 weeks and I’ve apparently signed up for 6 more months (what?!). All you need is a fitness mat, some dumbbells (I recently upgraded to 10 pounders!), and things to cover your feet with (these are called shoes). I’ve yet to do the same workout twice, and all of the trainers are insanely nice. My least favorite exercise so far is definitely reverse lunges. I’m just not coordinated enough and continually lose my balance. But hopefully that’ll get better in time.

So far I’ve lost 5 pounds and have a bit more energy after work. A lot of friends have been surprised I’m doing this, so I felt like it was worth explaining. Long story short, in 6 months, I will hopefully be fully capable of kicking your butt. Bring it.

newwebsite-pinata

Well, hello there!

A new year, a new look.

So, it might be a little late in January to be pulling the whole “new year” thing, but hey! It’s still January! A couple of friends of mine recently started blogging again, and inspired me to do the same. Since my last site wasn’t based on any kind of blog-friendly platform… hello new look!

While in the process of reworking the site, I decided to move away from having my last name in my URL. It’s hard to spell, it’s hard to remember, and it may not be around forever (aye, the woes of being a female creative). I’m now here, at emilyfightscrime.com, and my old website will forward you on. I’m now a design crime fighter.

I’ll be adding some new projects into the mix as soon as I can get them photographed, so if nothing else, the redesign has inspired me to update my portfolio! More interesting blogs coming soon, I promise.