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“We have become creatures that construct tools, artefacts and machines. We’ve always been augmented by our instruments, our technologies. Technology is what constructs our humanity; the trajectory of technology is what has propelled human developments. I’ve never seen the body as purely biological, so to consider technology as a kind of alien other that happens upon us at the end of the millennium is rather simplistic.”

—Stelarc (Australian performance artist), interview with Joanna Zylinska, ca. 2000

How to turn an old iPhone into a media center.

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I just wrapped up a small side project at work where I wanted to explore how to give an old phone new life. LPK is generous enough to provide phones to all of us, but I wondered what happened to the old ones when we go through the inevitable annual iPhone update. With a help from our product design team member Eric Sillies, and their very cool 3D printer, I came up with a product and solution to recycle the old, outdated phones into media centers.

Continue reading “How to turn an old iPhone into a media center.”

How To Create a Surface Design Motif with Adobe Capture

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I’m a really big Adobe CC nerd and I’ve been doing a lot of work lately digitizing motifs for pattern and surface design, and discovered a super quick way of translating IRL sketches into quick cleanable vector art for Illustrator. If you’re curious, a creator of surface design and a fan of Creative Cloud, read on!

This is also part one in a series I’m writing for a quick lunchtime tutorial I put together for LPK. Part two is here.

I would also highly suggest watching Wayne’s World and drinking this as you create your artwork.

Apothic Dark 2013 Red Blend









STEP 1: Make your art!

motif creation

I’ve been really into memphis style art and zodiac symbols so I’m doing a simple toss of some of some icons and wavy lines. My medium of choice is usually a sharpie, but you can use any style marker. The main goal here is to make a simple geo that’s fully filled in, in order to quickly translate to vector art.

STEP 2: Make sure you have Adobe Capture downloaded. This is that app that we’ll be using to essentially ‘scan’ this artwork.

adobe capture surface design

STEP 3: Give that thumb a workout and tap that app. Sign in and you should see a screen that looks something like this. Make sure you you have SHAPES selected on the toolbar.

adobe capture surface design

STEP 4: Now we’re going to create our new library of shapes. Adobe Capture is really nimble and great to use for a ton of things. You can create brushes, color palettes, and even patterns, which I’ll probably explore in future tutorials. But for now click the drop down menu in the center of the screen.

adobe capture surface design

Then the + sign on the next screen.

adobe capture surface design

And create a new library.

adobe capture library surface design

I named mine “Zodiac”. V. creative.

STEP: 5 You now will have an empty library called ‘Zodiac’ that looks like this:

adobe capture shapes surface design

Press the green circle with the + inside.

adobe capture surface design

And hover over the artwork you just created with your sharpie so you can frame up a beautiful picture.

STEP 6: You’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:

adobe capture surface design

Here’s the magic part. Adobe Capture is using your camera to pick up on those black shapes against the white paper and is choosing, in the green ink, what shapes to pick up to vectorize. You can use the slider to increase and decrease the amount of detail the app picks up.

Press the green capture button at the bottom and you’ll be taken to the next screen.


adobe capture vector surface design

This screen is demo-ing in black what will be vector shapes in Illustrator. Here you can use your thumb to deselect elements by sliding it over the screen where you don’t want the black ink to be.

Photo May 17, 18 02 56

Everything selected in black will be vectorized. You can also choose ‘SELECT’ at the bottom of the screen if you messed up, and re-blacken the part of the art you accidentally deselected.

Click NEXT at the top right of the screen.

STEP 8: The next screen is where you name your master shape. I named this shape ‘STARTER SIGNS’.

Photo May 17, 18 03 40

You could go through and photograph and save every motif individually if this suits an extreme need for organization you have, but when we bring this into illustrator we’ll be expanding the artwork anyway, so there’s no need to have individual shapes just yet.

Click ‘SAVE SHAPE’ in blue at the bottom.

STEP 9: Yay! You now have your first Adobe Capture shape library and your first set of instantly vectorized motifs!

 Photo May 17, 18 03 50

STEP 10: Open Illustrator. To find your new shape library click on this icon in the right toolbar menu. Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.00.52 AM This is where all of your libraries live. Click and the following menu appears:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.01.48 AM

To find your new shapes library click the dropdown menu arrow and you’ll see a big list unravel of all of the libraries you’ve ever made.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.03.11 AM

After I click ‘ZODIAC’ I get the following screen:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.04.09 AM

STEP 11: Open a new blank document. Click, hold and drag your elements onto the empty artboard, and Voila!

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.06.17 AM

Ungroup and now you have a whole set up motifs to pick up and use in your surface design!

You are now ready to make these artwork elements into a simple toss to then put onto fabric. So exciting! It’s pretty amazing how Adobe has evolved their mobile capacities to be able to translate artwork on the fly. It’s saved me a ton of time within my workflow.

If you’re interested in learning how to make these into a tossed pattern to send to Spoonflower to be printed onto fabric see part two of this tutorial series here.

How to Create a Simple Pattern in Illustrator for a Spoonflower Test Swatch

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There are tons of ways to create swatches and print fabric, but this tutorial is going to use the super-easy online service Spoonflower in combination with Adobe Illustrator. Spoonflower is a great and simple way to create an easy test swatch.

Spoonflower is an online platform that makes it easy to upload a custom design, and create your own fabric to then be printed digitally onto yardage that you can use for prototypes or even small-batch manufacturing. They’ve even started offering custom wallpaper and gift wrap printing. I built my entire college thesis using their fabric printing, and it turned out amazing.

spoonflower printed shirt
An actual thing I turned in as a requirement to graduate from college.
spoonflower close up
In case you’re wondering I totally got an A.

They have a really great selection of fabric offerings, which we will get into later, and the quality of the color is pretty great. On my StartupBus journey last year I even got to peek into their offices in Durham, North Carolina.

If anyone from Spoonflower is reading this, I swear I’m not stalking you! I’m just a huge fan! <3


INGREDIENTS: Adobe Illustrator + Motifs created in this tutorial + Spoonflower Account

STEP 1: Grab the artwork you created in the last tutorial. You can grab it as-is or if you’re like me and a fan of more structured hard-graphic lines, you’ll want to clean it up a bit and experiment with color.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.33.20 AM

I cleaned up the curves and lines here and added with some gradients.

STEP 2: Make that artwork into a perfect square.

I made my document 5.5″x 5.5″ for simplicity sake. It looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.00.21 AM

STEP 3: Choose file >> Export and choose .tif in the Format dropdown menu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.06.42 AM

Make sure you have ‘Use Artboards’ checked and click Export. TIFF is a somewhat lossless file type, and Spoonflower allows you to upload this format, which is awesome. It’ll keep our artwork looking crisp and our colors clean.

On the next screen make sure you have these exact settings.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.06.54 AM

Spoonflower recommends uploading at 150dpi which is perfect as we’re printing onto fabric and the ink bleeds just a slight amount and masks any pixellation we may have.

STEP 4: Navigate yourself across the wide internet to If you haven’t yet now would be a good time to create an account. To start the fabric creation process hover over ‘CREATE’.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.02.19 AM









And choose fabric:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.04.08 AM

STEP 5: Upload your file, confirm that Spoonflower is printing your artwork and not an illegal print of someone’s cool artwork you stole from DeviantArt.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.07.41 AM

Then click ‘Upload File’.

STEP 6: The next screen is the best screen. This is where you control what your artwork is going to look like in full-repeat on fabric. It’s pretty amazing that Spoonflower has figured out a way to do this in your browser.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.17.21 AM

This area is very essential and powerful, and controls how your artwork is being tiled. Play around and choose which works best. I’m liking the Half-Drop.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.20.31 AM

You can also scale and save a layout of your artwork in this section:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.31.03 AM

STEP 7: Once you’re done editing your artwork it’s time to choose your fabric.

Spoonflower has a lot of awesome fabrics to choose and they give out a sample pack for $1.

I’m a big fan of their silk crepe de chine, and use that as my go-to, unless I’m doing upholstery, and then their twill is my favorite. I eventually see this print going onto a pillow so I’m going to go with the twill. A test swatch is an 8″x8″ square and will be perfect for me to check color and see if I want to order a larger quantity eventually.

STEP 8: Click ‘Add to Cart’.

You’re done! You have created your first Spoonflower test swatch! You can now continue to browse Spoonflower or check out! Their turnaround time is pretty quick and I’ve gotten most of my test swatches in a week or a week and a half’s time. The color can be kind of hit-or-miss and luckily I am #blessed with access to Pantone books, which help nail color. If you’re super concerned with color they have a map available here to order so you can be more precise in your selections.

Hopefully this was helpful and that everyone can now become the fabric designer they always dreamed they could be! Printing a test swatch is always a great idea before printing off a huge run of fabric.

If you have any questions, give me a holler in the comments.

Cincinnati’s First ArtsWave Hackathon: A Survivor’s Story

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The energy summoned to build something like the Tidal Art X Hackathon was worth every cease and desist letter they received for unauthorized use of Jay Z’s logo. The event, a collaboration between Cincinnati’s ArtsWave organization and Cintrifuse, an entrepreneurial engine of local start-up connection, was amazing. I got a hot tip from a co-worker at LPK about the event, and my gross urge for participation in creative competitive events led me to sign up immediately. I’ve been to hackathons in the past, especially when I was living in Brooklyn, and a lot of them can be hit or miss depending on the overarching goal of the session.

There is always a mixture of ambition, competition, and maybe a little bit of stress swirling at the beginning of these events, and I don’t think anything draws more passion out of an audience than helping connect people to the arts. There’s something in our gut that, even if we don’t particularly think of ourselves as creative, needs to nurture the innate desire to connect to movements larger than ourselves. If we’re in the age of the Internet of Things, this was definitely the Internet of Art event.

A quick google search of “internet art gif” reveals this is probably what the internet of art looks like.

Before going to the hackathon I was pretty dead-set on helping with a project connected to the CAC. I definitely use their new lobby/restaurant space as my own private co-working space on the weekends so I figured it was time to give back. I wasn’t particularly picky about the details of the project, I just knew the CAC is easily my favorite arts organization in Cincinnati. They are the largest and most visible arm of the worldwide contemporary art movement we have locally, and the building itself is a Zaha Hadid design. I’ve had a lot of important moments inside that building from seeing some of my favorite artists perform, to exposure to exhibitions that changed my perspective on art at a very young age. 

contemporary arts center
The Contemporary Arts Center in beautiful downtown Cincinnati.

The CAC’s challenge to the teams was to build an application that follows artists after they debut or have a show here, and allows venues to publicize their event calendars. Cincinnati is fertile ground for artists workshopping and premiering ideas, and sometimes that gets lost in the noise of the quickly moving art world. I attribute this to our low rents, and relatively low bar to entry. When owning a gallery is essentially owning a room, painting it white, and inviting people to hang stuff in it, it’s definitely easiest to do in cost-effective locations. I seriously don’t think Cincinnati publicizes this enough. Cincinnati will probably be one of the last major cities that people can own or rent property for a reasonable price, and reasonable rent is always great for artists.


They very first time a team comes together at a hackathon is the most awkward fifteen minutes anyone could put themselves through. As someone who is painfully self aware, cycling through team members and talking to strangers immediately about goals and ideas, sizing up what kind of team member they will be is some of the grossest stress, mostly because you’re thinking the entire time, “I volunteered for this event. I’m choosing to do this. Why am I doing this to myself?” The first ten minutes of one of these events is the prime time to select or ditch a team in a manner of moments. It’s not about being rude, it’s about strategy. It’s almost like speed-dating mixed with a bit of a job fair. I was dead-set on the CAC project, so I dug in and watched my team swell and momentarily deflate around me.

My very effective strategy when I’m looking for fellow team members at any competitive event.

We ended up with eight people total. Two marketers, one UX designer, one copywriter, two back end developers, one community-engager and me a designer and novice front-end developer. Immediately we pulled out a white-board and got to work with a sharpie.

I’m a builder so of course I’m already in my head thinking about what colors and fonts the application is going to have while I smile listening to someone talk about ‘content-engagement’ and ‘user-incentives’. Which are all very important of course. There was a lot of swirl, but after deciding on a name, things magically fell into place, and Cusp came to life. 

Me when someone’s like, “You should definitely read this white-paper!”

The rest of the weekend we focused on designing and building a story around our app, an online destination for emerging artists, local venues, and patrons of the arts. We wanted to make something that would give power to the artist to build a profile and allow the user or the ‘patron’ to follow their movements after they debut on an interactive map, eventually building out a venue profile that museums and galleries could use to publicize events or even discover and then book new artists.

There’s a lot of mystery and probable intentional opacity in the art world, and that’s what we wanted to address for this application. The art community in Cincinnati has a lot of moving pieces. Lots of independent artists, lots of smaller forward-thinking galleries, a healthy DIY community, and even whole neighborhoods dedicated to the arts (Brighton/Pendleton/etc.), but none of it seems connected. Cusp could be that melting pot. It could function as not only an arts-community calendar, but a way to track the artist that moved you at that tiny gallery in the Pendleton Arts Center last Final Friday. Cusp could be the bread-crumb trail leading a patron back to work that touched them, and ultimately driving more engagement in the arts community locally.

My favorite power couple and what contemporary art probably looks like to most people.

It was a challenging idea, and definitely something that was ambitious to create in two days. We were able to build out the back-end databases, design a functioning prototype, and even build out a pretty solid brand identity. Not without its hiccups, though.

Hackathons are nuts mostly because you pack in almost a years worth of team-dynamics and personality learnings in two days that most teams do over the course of years. You butt heads, you make mistakes, you experience the troughs of sorrow, and the peaks of triumph. You’re basically a founder of a small company for two days. It’s exhausting, but at least there is usually free food.

There is like a ten minute period in every hackathon that feels like this.

In the end we were able to present a pretty solid idea. We didn’t win, but team Cusp lives on. A few of the team members still get together weekly to see what we can build, and the back-end dev, Bobby, and I just finished planning out our Github-workflow, and even have a temporary landing page up on our Cusp domain.

The true beauty and purpose of a hackathon usually isn’t the free iPad you win if you come out on top, but the amount you learn in such a short amount of time. Not only do you have a opportunity to rapidly learn new technical skills, or prototyping practices, you get a rare chance pull back the curtain on the processes of your peers. “Oh so you stick that line of code there to make that hover state happen, cool.”, “Wait what was that tool you just used in Illustrator?” This is how best practices are born and shared.

You also get the chance to quickly try on new personalities or skills. One of our back-end devs became our pitch man, and watching his story evolve was pretty magical. It’s these moments of quick decision and iteration that draws out surprising things in people, no matter what you began the hackathon as. There really are no rules or right ways to do something. It’s just quickly finding that idea or thing that sticks in your gut and building something beautiful from there.

artswave hackathon
Team Cusp forever!

Adobe vs Kaledo vs Ned Graphics vs Etc. : The Great Technical Debate & Showdown in Textile Software

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“If you want to do the job correctly, you have to have the right tools,” was a mantra of my grandfather, who was a jewelry designer and gemologist for close to 50 years of his life.

I’ve always taken this to heart in my own design practice, as I 100% believe a good grasp on the technicalities of your medium/tool/softeware/etc will not only determine how polished your final design looks, but also how quickly you can execute it. Fabric design has always called for a general knowledge with a wide range of traditional artistic tools, but, as with everything else, fabric design for manufacturing has gone digital, and what’s followed is kind of a total mess.

Warning: this blog post is totally geared towards a super niche audience, and will get super technical, but if you’ve ever been curious about the tools and software used to design fabric for mass production, read on! For those who do not care about this and are abandoning me now (suggested), here is a cute otter and kitten gif. I will leave you with this, and thank you for stopping by.


Anyway, for the rest of you…

Lately, I’ve had a few clients ask me some questions about the textile design process and the software specific to fabric and surface design. They’re curious about workflows, and speed, and which tools do what work faster. I actually have some real opinions on this, as it’s pretty much affected my whole career.  I’m definitely still (probably?) in the more formative years in my career in fashion textiles and soft goods, but seven years in I’m beginning to notice some shifts and evolutions within the industry, especially with how things get made and get done.

So far I’ve experienced workflows in three different programs: NedGraphics, Kaledo, and Adobe Creative Suite. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, and I for sure have a very opinionated take on this, having seen the back and front ends of a lot of these means of production. I’ve worked in all three. I was trained in Kaledo’s headquarters in Midtown in New York. I worked extremely briefly at NedGrahpics’ main office. And I’ve been working in Adobe since I was about thirteen. I really have reached peak levels of nerdiness about this that I never thought possible.

Okayyy, here we go.


NedGraphics is a CAD software system billed for creating prints, woven textiles, and knitted textiles. Ned breaks itself into things it calls “modules”. Each module acts like it’s own independent program that does a very specific part of the surface design process. Some parts of the software do specific knits, some do screen printed fabrics, some even project your artwork onto a 3D garment or furniture. It has about fifteen of these modules, all operating independently of each other.

The UI is a bit clunky. It lays way far outside what I would consider standard for image editors or other modern CAD softwares for print design, and it’s especially strange to me that the softwares have been pieced and parted out across all of these different interfaces. It definitely feels the most niche, and old-industry.

The print interface of NedGraphics

NedGraphics is bitmap based, meaning that the artwork you produce inside of it is pixel-based so you build your artwork in tiny little squares. This gets important later because it directly affects how artwork is scaled, and the size of what you’re designing for becomes the most important thing.

It has tools that help you manage assets accross all manners of textile design, like saving individual motifs, and saving color palettes. But what I think is especially valuable about programs like NedGraphics is how detailed you can get spec-wise for production. These programs are awesome for weave and knit production work. Like feeding-information-to-a-digital-loom or knitting machine type of production work. You can basically program your artwork to be produced en masse in this software, which is super specialized. It’s great if you want to make sure you’re controlling all aspects of your production line, or if you’re the actual means of your production. Like I imagine this type of software is necessary or awesome for factories.

Basically in these softwares you can build artwork that directly controls these machines.

Imagine getting one of your fingers caught in these bad boys.

The level of detail you can get in the production control is pretty nuts, but honestly a lot of modern production basically boils down to showing a picture to a factory attached to a physical fabric sample and asking, “Soooo, can you like make this for me?”

And they’ll be like “Yeah dawg,” or “Nah, son” depending on their capabilities. But, at least in my opinion, these kinds of heavy lifting softwares are usually super underutilized in a design studio unless you’re the one literally programming the loom.

NedGraphics was overall my least favorite thing to design in as a user. For what I was doing, it just felt clunky and unintuitive. There was a lot of bloat and not a lot of function or quick processing for what I needed to create at the end of the day. Their main market and user-base seems to be in the carpeting, housing, and car textile industry, and working accross so many different modules to produce one piece of artwork really interrupted my workflow. The software itself is a hulk and you can barely run more than one module at once. I can do so much more in Adobe, so much quicker, while also producing a better quality product, but that’s for later in this post.



Oh Kaledo. I have a super soft spot in my heart for Kaledo, and like I said I was super lucky enough to have my old workplace sponsor my training at their headquarters. Maybe it’s because I thought my instructor was amazing and told me about her friend that financed her house in New Jersey by designing tacky Christmas sweaters, or how she let us have long lunches in Bryant Park where I would sit in the grass, read American Savage, and watch some weird dude take photos of some lady’s feet.

But I think it had something to do with the UI. I used to joke that Kaledo was Microsoft Paint on steroids, which, if you think about it, if it’s a bitmap-based image creation software, it probably is. I worked mainly in it’s 3 different modules – Weave, Print, and Knit.

Kaledo Weave

These are seriously a joy to work in. If you’re a big Adobe person, these will feel the most familiar to you. Kaledo Weave is amazing. You can basically build the physics and properties of the fabric fiber inside the program, and it will do it’s best to render it based on weight and properties. You can control the weight, color, size, fuzziness, etc. It’s pretty amazing. With weave you’re literally building just that, a weave. I used it mostly for designing plaids and yarn dyes. Kaledo is also great for controlling how the fabric is produced. Each sample you create also automatically generates it’s own color-coded peg-board, which is an awesome bit of information to send to the factory if you’re quality-obsessed, which you definitely should be.

My very first plaid ever created in Kaledo Weave.


Kaledo Knit is also pretty amazing. Imagine having a paint brush, but instead of painting with paint, you painted with little loops of yarn. You can literally paint sweaters. It’s insanely fun. You can even stamp images into the program to make what it would look like as a sweater.

I chose in my very serious company-sponsored training to make a Drake sweater which has yet to be produced anywhere, but if you’re into it, get at me in my contact form.


It’s crazy versatile, and also produces data after the fact that helps the vendor program their machine to actually produce the garment.

Kaledo Print was awesome, and was super quick with cleaning and producing artwork for repeat. But, I have to say, this was definitely the most unnecessary program to me. The best part about it was definitely how screen separation for screen printing was an easy step, but it wasn’t anything Photoshop can’t do quickly as well. It’s also awesome to see things in live-repeat. In Kaledo print you can actually pull motiffs onto a print and see where and how the print will lie as a big design. It’s crazy awesome, but again, nothing you can’t do quickly in Illustrator or Photoshop. Print is like the loweest hanging fruit of textile and fabric design. You don’t necessarily have to program a giant machine to create or manufacture the fabric. It’s mostly either digital printing or screen printing, which is still fairly easy to do. The thing that I totally miss about Kaledo Print, though, is it’s recolor function where you could pick a certain color palette and with one button, randomize those colors to switch inside of the artwork, and produce like 10 different colorways of one design in like 2 minutes. That’s awesome and everyday I pray for Adobe to add a tool like that to illustrator. The live color comes close, but doesn’t come close.

The design re-color UI in Kaledo.


Adobe Creative Suite

So all of this said about 50% of my time has always been spent creating fabrics for print, and I thought it was kind of weird to be working in this giant monolithic software where we weren’t even utilizing most of their functions. I honestly barely ever got to touch the Knit module in Kaledo because the sweater team had their own process that worked really well for them when it got to production. But to be frank, most of what I was doing in Kaledo I could deliver in Photoshop and Illustrator in half the time it took me to build in Kaledo, except when we were building yarn dyes or jacquards for the shirting department.

Creating fabric for print requires a lot of artwork creation and manipulation, and there’s nothing that beats creating and iterating digital artwork in Adobe Suite. The pen tool in both programs is like a a miracle in itself. Brushes are painstakingly developed to model real artistic tools, while in Kaledo they mostly felt like super pixelated haphazard creations. Scaling individual pieces of artwork in Kaledo or Ned also felt like the worst thing ever. In Photoshop it can be kind of a nightmare too, but nothing beats a fluid, beautiful Illustrator vector.

Adobe has better software support as well. They’re gigantic with offices in most major cities, and their data collection on all of us guinea pig users likely feeds really useful direction in R&D for the UI and future tools. There’s also a community built around showing tips and tricks to each other. A quick google search of Adobe tutorials returns like 10 million times more results than one for Kaledo or NedGraphics. The open support of the community of users really significantly speeds up work, as there’s always some new function to learn.

It’s so crazy to think of how powerful Adobe is for how little it costs. It’s like industry standard accross so many creative industries from fashion design, photography, web design and even game design. One person could use photoshop one way their entire life and never even realize it could be used for this entirely different function.

You can even turn a beautiful model into an even more beautiful piece of pizza in photoshop.

I totally sound like an Adobe shill, but I promise I still pay like $50 a month for it, which is very sad. But if Adobe would like to sponsor me in any way, I’m totally down to be a cheerleader for Creative Cloud.


Anyway, those are my opinions. So you can totally disagree in the comments if you want, but if you have any more quesitons from me about how to find these softwares or what is industy-standard or nerdy stuff like that get at me. I love answering questions like those.

At the end of the day it really is all about the quality of the execution, so I mean if you’re actually really good in Microsoft Paint, you could probably create some pretty awesome repeats in that and send it directly to Spoonflower. There really is no right answer for these things.

Anyway, happy designing!

I went to TedXUCincinnati and this is what I learned…

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I have an awesome job that sometimes sends me to really interesting things, and I had a chance to grab a couple of tickets to the local TedXUCincinnati event at the University of Cincinnati.

TED talks has basically replaced what Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul used to do for me.


I was super late to the event because it’s Saturday and in honor of attending a college event I slept in like I too was in college, but I was able to get there in time to see five of the ten speakers- Sean Connell, David Coleman, Puneet Sharma, James Barnet, Reuben Moreland, Christina Brown, and Rajiv Satyal.

I hadn’t been back to UC in a while and the event was being held in the Patricia Corbett Theater, where as a teen I once performed Fiddler on the Roof. During a live performance I knocked over a glass candle during the dinner scene and it shattered all over the ground. It was really great and not at all traumatizing to be back at CCM again.

I’ve been deeply introspective about things since moving back to the Midwest from Brooklyn and pivoting my career into design agency work. The sometimes unnerving quiet of not having roommates has also given me a lot of time for even more existential crises, and also a couch I don’t have to schedule time to sit on for date nights.

A few of the speakers really touched on some things in a way that actually gave me goosebumps. These are the three ideas that I felt hit me in my gut.

      1. Go native. Moving has been a much bigger challenge than I thought it would be for me. I’m six months in and there’s still some basic discomfort that I thought should have faded by now, and I still feel very much out of place most of the time. It’s a strange feeling because I grew up here. I should be better at this. When I travel I am the complete opposite of how I feel at home here in Cincinnati. I seize moments. I take chances. I talk to everyone. I go out of my way to eat the weirdest stuff I can find. I think I truly am most comfortable when I am outside of my comfort zone. That’s where the growth is.In his talk Sean Connell spoke about how his gregariousness in travel directly impacted and helped his career in global market research for P&G, but it was his ability to shut up and listen to the people he met in his research that led to his biggest breakthroughs. There’s a certain finesse to dealing with life in an office, especially when it comes to breaking through a new culture as a new employee. I still have a ton to learn from my teammates and maybe a few trips to Skyline Chili might help ease some of the unease. I don’t know if I’ll ever not feel like an alien when I’m meeting a new co-worker’s baby, though.



    1. The world is really small. I was constantly reminded of this while I was living in New York. There’s nothing like running into the same person randomly in 3 separate neighborhoods in the same day in a city of 8 million people. Or finding out an entirely new friend to you, disconnected from anyone else you know met someone you went to college with in Turkey. Digging through your “related friends” on Facebook can be eerie, and also amazing. I would give almost anything to get a peek at a visual degree-of-seperation chart of every Facebook profile.

Puneet Sharma’s talk, out of anyone’s, was the one that stuck with me days later. He spoke mostly about globalization, but perfectly verbalized things I’ve mused about in my own unfocused thoughts. When most people talk about globlization they speak about how it’s affected jobs or economies, but Puneet spoke about how it’s starting to affect the way we think as citizens. The Swiss Economic Institute has it’s own Index of Globlization, and while the USA sits at a surprising 34th on that list while being called the world’s melting pot, it’s clear that things are changing. I truly and hopefully believe that the arbitrary borders we have now between nations will someday be textbook history, and I’m not alone. Millenials in the US in general have lost interest in nationalism, and weary of notions of American exceptionalism. The even-hand of the global market is slowly making equals of us all, and if business increasingly doesn’t care about borders, why should we?

I’m very lucky to work for a global design firm and interacting with our global offices is always exciting. And a lot of the design work I do is for countries I’ve never even been to yet. I recently worked on a pattern for a package that won in research in Western Europe and I’ve only been to Denmark once. The more I travel, the more I see we’re really all basically the same. The things that make me “American” are sometimes no different than what makes my old roommate “Danish”. We both like thick-cut bacon and going to music festivals. She just has better healthcare.

3. “What priveleges am I willing to give up for equality?” Christina Brown ended her speech on this note and it was almost haunting. It was a statement even the provost thought to repeat during her closing marks, adding that she isn’t scared that we’ve all been wringing our hands at the thought that this is the first generation post-boom years in the USA that will face the reality of living smaller than their parents. We’ll be okay. It was interesting hearing this sentiment being murmured in the Midwest, especially in Cincinnati. In New York this isn’t an abstract musing, this is a reality for most of the population. Finding a room to live in with a window to the outside is considered a blessing. I, even, with a privileged Midtown design job lived in a windowless room for a year because that’s the only thing I could afford at the time, but I am thankful for every moment of it. I think we should live with less. I believe we’re happier living with less. Most of the world lives with less.

No. I am not sorry for posting this.

How to harness your vanity and record yourself doing pattern work with quicktime. For cool OSX users.

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A question has recently come up at work about how better to capture the work that we do. I’m a designer at an agency where we are constantly trying to find new was of sharing work on our instagram or twitter.

Since I find a good use of my leisure time (it’s not) is writing nonsense blog posts on how to do stuff related to textiles and pattern, I knew a good/quick trick of capturing video content is using Quicktime to record yourself, as seen below.

record screen quicktime

Ah yes, so soothing, the zen state of moving around tiny points in illustrator, finally captured. See steps below to begin making your own dinking-around-in-illustrator movies!

  1. First open quicktime.
  2. Find the option in the menu that says:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.50.06 AM

File > New Screen Recording.

3. Click that and you’ll get a box that looks like this:

record screen quicktime

4. Press the screen recording button and you’ll get the following prompt:

record screen quicktime

This is so awesome and intuitive. Basically you can choose to record your whole screen or drag your mouse across the screen, and quicktime will only record that part of the screen. So you can totally be watching House of Cards in the background and no one has to know.

5. To stop recording just find the Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.18.03 AM button on your toolbar.

It’s that simple! Now you can take your video and splice it into your next tutorial on how to create pizza illustrations in vector!