Amy Nicole Schwartz: Making Great Work & Building Community

I was first introduced to Amy Nicole Schwartz and her work in a shotgun approach, along with a couple thousand designers attending the AIGA Conference in New Orleans in October. She was one of seven contestants in Command X, AIGA’s own reality game show that plays out during the conference. The contestants are given design assignments each day to complete and then present the next day. They are judged by an esteemed panel onstage, but the audience ultimately gets the final vote, eliminating contestants each round. Schwartz’s quick wit, great design solutions, and seemingly boundless energy helped her survive, and ultimately, snag the coveted title. I was impressed by the way she composed herself throughout the competition, and even moreso when I learned that she is creative director at Cards Against Humanity (CAH), one of my all-time favorite games. Read rest here.

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Michael Bierut: Design is a Sacred Calling

Michael Bierut’s How to Use Graphic Design to … (Harper Collins) is a compilation of a remarkable 35 year career in graphic design. Bierut has been a partner at Pentagram New York for 25 years, and before that he worked for the famed Massimo and Lella Vignelli, at Vignelli Associates. He is a past president of AIGA and he cofounded Design Observer. He says, “It was curiosity that led me to join Jessica Helfand, Rick Poynor, and the late Bill Drenttel in creating Design Observer. Writing about design was a way for me to think about the work we designers do, why we do it, and the effect it has on the world.”

In fact, his book, takes a deep look at his design journey and his life. Bierut’s frank commentary on what it takes to become a good designer is honest, compelling, and humbling as he shares his insights and his work, including his beloved collection of sketchbooks (more than 200 to date). There are more than 36 projects featured from start to finish that span his career and speak to the remarkable influence his work has had in the world.

TCG: What skills do you believe are most pivotal to graphic designers today? 

Michael Bierut: I’ll just assume you know all the necessary software programs. The most important trait is curiosity. Can you get interested in the subject matter behind what you’re designing? Can that interest sustain you over the course of the project? Most importantly, can you tap into your enthusiasm as you search for design solutions?

Read rest of the interview here.

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5 Ways to Pay It Forward this Holiday Season

In the spirit of holiday giving, we asked several creatives to tell us how they give back to causes they are passionate about. Whether it’s donating money, time, or belongings, every little bit matters to those who are in need. We hope their stories inspire you to pay it forward this holiday season and all year long.

Create Art for a Cause

Salli S. Swindell has taken part in an annual event for the past 15 years called the Christmas Stocking Competition, which is held at The Grey Colt in Hudson, Ohio. The event rallies artists, crafters, and DIY’ers to create a handmade stocking using any medium or materials. The stockings are revealed at a preview party in the shop, and then on display in the window the following week. “People buy raffle tickets to win a stocking and the proceeds are all donated to a local cause,” Swindell says.

About 60 stockings are submitted each year garnering an average of $6,000. “The preview party is such a fun and festive event. It’s amazing how creative people get with their stocking entries. Over the years I’ve seen carved wooden stockings, garlands made of clay stockings, every kind of fabric and stitching, and even an evening gown in the shape of a stocking! Many of us here in town start thinking about our concept in the summer. It’s a super cool event that connects the community in a creative way and helps a local cause.”

Read the full article here.

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Sketch a Doodle Do

Artist Gemma Correll‘s quirky worldview is captured in the pages of the thousands of sketchbooks she has always kept close at hand. A lifelong doodler, her sketches and musings have led to a successful career as an illustrator and cartoonist.

In grammar school, her teachers couldn’t stop her. “In school, teachers would give me old notebooks books to draw in to prevent me from doodling all over my classwork. At home, I filled old notebooks with stories and comics and illustrated diaries,” she says. The childhood habit became her life’s work, bringing smiles and inspiration to thousands.

Her work is narrative based, using humor and clever wordplay. An astute observer of the world around her, her doodle books for art book publisher Walter Foster include techniques and prompts to guide users. Ostensibly, the subject matter of her doodle books are about cats, dogs, book worms, foodies, fashionistas, and tree huggers—things dear to her.  Her pugs, Bella and Mr. Pickles, both are featured prominently in her doodle books and Daily Diaries. Read the rest of the article here.

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