little stories everywhere…

i promised myself when i joined the gym  i would certainly not be one of those irritating  converts who talk all the time about it.   pretty sure we’ve all suffered tales of triathlons or trx classes thrust upon our polite but uninterested ears.  and here i am about to launch into another gym story.  but i promise, it’s not to boast how devout i am, because i seriously am not.  my daughter bribed me today to go, and i clearly am not above a bribe.   plus i’m slightly more inclined than usual since the 38-year-old husband of a friend suffered a big stroke on monday.   so i went.

because this whole gym thing is new, i’m not all that organized about the stuff it requires yet.  like packing running shoes in my gym bag to go. when i arrived there today, i had a hopeful moment discovering i’d left them on the bedroom floor 10 miles away.  but it faded  rapidly when i texted my gym savvy daughter  and she assured me i wouldn’t look totally geeky on the treadmill in yoga pants and  pretty street shoes.   so i headed upstairs feeling suspiciously like i’d been duped for a greater good.

now i know that no one really gives a rip about a 50 something woman’s non-gym shoes and i know i shouldn’t either.   but its hard not to feel conspicuous in black lace ballet flats  in a universe of spandex, sports bras and cross trainers.  i don’t normally like to draw too much attention to myself, but i wanted very much to stand atop something and shout outloud the entire story of my inappropriate footwear so no one would think i did it on purpose.   but as it was, no one noticed anyhow.

storiesbecause all around, within the ipods and tv shows, on the slick motivational fitness posters,  and behind the eyes of each person, other little stories were floating about everywhere.

i’m still in the throes of researching my visual identity and design project.  it’s been a challenge of knowledge, technology and skill but i’m enchanted by the creative and learning process. yesterday i learned that the enchanted feeling of the ‘chase’ is actually an extended dopamine high. and following the chase or completion of a project, serotonin kicks in with feelings of satisfaction.  i find that an amazing explanation of creative process, one i’ve been through many, many times.

but that aside,  great logo design and visual identity is a smart, simple mix of  communication and art.  visual language, so to speak.  and there are some universal principles of it, like memorabilty,  readability, transferability, printability and longevity of design.  that’s a lot to keep in mind when scratching out a concept on paper or a computer.

the idea i  liked best describing a great logo concept is ‘a logo with a soul’.  that makes sense – we like people with soul,  art and music with soul and organizations with soul.  i’m not sure exactly what soul is, but i  recognize it instantly.  and i have a feeling it’s found in our stories,  a coming together of experience, authenticity and openness. or that might just be my definition today because i’m also thinking about how its fragile things, like stories and thought, that last.  it’s kind of cool to look at the world as being made up of little stories of soul.

so here are some logo examples  i came across that i think have soul,  they tell their story in one quick memorable glance.  sadly,  unlike my black lace ballet flats at the gym.:)


inspiration 1they say lightening never strikes the same place twice, but thank heavens inspiration does. after plunging into the sorrows and frustration of my technical and artistic incompetence this weekend, i woke this morning in a warm buzz of renewed enthusiasm, confidence and inspiration.   or maybe renewed stupidity.   sleep is a wonderful thing.  so is distancing yourself from a frustrating project or problem.

i don’t really understand  inspiration, but enjoy it like those first few sips of wine.  you know,  those intoxicating first moments when everything seems possible, everything seems clear again.    it’s been suggested that inspiration visits in the form of a muse or outside influence but i think it’s more likely related to brain chemicals,  consistent hard work and ideas we’ve subconsciously stored.

i’ve never, not even once, created or imagined something without the effort of research, brainstorming and a lot of trial and error.  i have however, once inspired, thrown myself into a project fueled by passion obsession alone.   but the cost of that is high.  i’m learning  inspiration and motivation can be more or less sustainable resources  if they stem from a balanced life.  i think the ‘tortured artist’ is an unnecessary and destructive myth.   it doesn’t have to be that way.

i read an awesome article this morning about inspiration and how it works.  don’t let the pink and white girly-ness of the webpage put you off,  it was sourced originally from the new york times and worth a read.

i’m off now to sign up for a real membership at the good life today.  first time i’ve joined a gym in 30 years and i’m kind of pumped.  and when i come home,  i’m going to bust out my visual identity/graphic design project again and give it another whirl.  🙂

still my fave philosopher…

i can hang multiple pictures on a wall, level, without using a level or measuring tape.  i  can hand mix paint colours to match almost anything. i can pull together a room or an event,  write poetry and pen scriptly letters.  i can also remix ideas and play with words.  and somehow, i naively thought i could translate those skills into something like the new visual identity of the danish string quartet  i was talking about last week.  what ever was i thinking?

this weekend, i’ve practically  blinded myself on my hp mini – imagining a corporate entity in need of revamping,  and researching the how to’s of  graphic design and visual identity.  that part came pretty easy.  but i can not for the life of me, draw a straight line, measure accurately,  execute a proportional logo drawing, or  get the friggin computer to do what i want.

graphic design is hard.   my  ‘hey, i could do that!’ enthusiasm has slammed against my cut and paste computer skills,  drawing ability and distaste for  precision.   i think it’s time to nix this project and move on to something different   …but what instead?…   so  i’m seeking solace and inspiration this afternoon in the immortal words of my favourite philosopher.

suess 2


dog nosei stuck my nose yesterday into the very complex world of graphic design, trying to prepare for my second portfolio project.    i googled ‘graphic design 101’ and was almost overcome by the scope of information.  i’m seeing  it’s one thing to recognize good design, another to understand and create it.   i continue to be amazed that every facet of life and knowledge is a little universe of its own.  the more i think i know,  the more i realize how little i know.    that i suppose, is the beauty and danger of  knowledge.

so today i’m stumped.  but rather than sit here musing,  nose stuck in a knot hole, here’s some awesome dog pics instead.  hope you have a very happy weekend!


beautiful branding…

spent more than a few hours this week on a free trial at the good life and will grudgingly admit i’m beginning to understand the buzz about fitness.   it simply feeeels good.   i’m not about to convert mind you –  i’m still recovering from my religious conversion 3 decades ago, but going to the gym does add another interesting element to life.   like the inability to sit down comfortably for two days after a one hour spin class…

but that aside, i’m about to begin my second admissions project for the visual design program.  i’ve been thinking lately about branding and visual identity and have been inspired by the new corporate identity of the danish string quartet.  take a scan down their amazing linear story board  below.  i love the polished graphics –  they’re clean and contemporary while hanging on to the rich, historical feel of classical music. i  also love how the visual elements of string instruments have been incorporated into their recognizable number 4 logo.

so  for my next admissions project  i’m going to do a little research on the elements of good graphic design, branding and visual identity, brush up on my limited photoshop skills and give a whirl at creating an imaginary corporate identity.  let the fun begin.

danish quartet