Our weekly blog, written by FH staff, features our reflections about a variety of personal and industry-related points of view.
Staff Blog Archive: September 2011
Sept. 28, 2011
By Wesleigh Mowry, Graphic Designer
It happens to everyone. One minute you’re working diligently at your computer – typing, researching, editing or whatever it is that you do at work – but then you click to save or open something and out of nowhere comes that sinister little rainbow wheel. It spins and spins nonchalantly while you are forced to sit and wait until it’s finished, anxiously watching the clock. After an eternity-long 30 seconds passes, your file is finally ready and you’re already contemplating whether an upgrade to the newest, fastest operating system is worth the money, all because of that annoying little wait cursor.
Wait cursors are the bane of existence for computer users everywhere. For Mac people it’s the spinning rainbow wheel (sometimes lovingly referred to as the “beach ball of death”), for Windows users it’s the eternally flipping hourglass. As Americans we have become a society that thrives on multitasking, and waiting for the computer to finish its action and that dreaded cursor to go away throws a wrench in our productivity. We’re literally forced to sit and wait instead of juggling 15 things at a time.
According to the book How to Learn a Language, people spend nearly 45 minutes a day wasting time. Whether it’s standing in line at the bank, sitting in traffic or waiting for our computers to load, we’re loosing precious minutes. Minutes that we’re anxious to get back. Right now, Amazon.com has more than 52,000 books for sale about time management – and that’s just the paperback section, not to mention hardbacks, audio books and e-books! And have you noticed how many commercials there are stressing that certain smart phones can make calls and surf the internet simultaneously? We’re getting to the point that not only are we using gadgets to multitask, but we’re expecting the gadgets themselves to multitask.
Multitasking is a great way to effectively manage your time at work, but sometimes the best way to boost your productivity is to take a break. It sounds counterintuitive, but giving yourself a moment to breathe and refocus can help you stay on track and do better-quality work.
So next time you’re feverishly working and get stuck watching a spinning rainbow wheel, use the opportunity stop rushing for 30 seconds and take a deep breath. You’ll be glad that you did.
Sept 21, 2011
By Michael Iles, Senior Graphic Designer
I moonlight as an instructor at Columbus State Community College in the Digital Design and Graphics Department and fall quarter starts tomorrow. What happened to summer?! Anyway, I’ll be teaching “Intro to Computer Design” Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings for the next 11 weeks. I enjoy the beginner classes because the students are usually excited and full of questions about the creative field.
I try to give advice during my classes to help students move forward, so I thought that it would be a good idea to consolidate it all in one place. Most of the advice below is about landing an internship or that elusive first job.
- Check out the job postings at the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts website. It posts internships and jobs in the creative industry near Columbus and surrounding areas.
- Request informational interviews with creative directors, marketing directors, etc. Tell them you are a student (or recent grad) and would like 15 to 30 minutes of their time to review your portfolio and ask some questions about the industry. I had an informational interview with the owner of an ad agency during my senior year of college. He gave me some feedback about my portfolio and then we played ping-pong in the basement. I really wanted to work there because I love ping-pong, but he didn’t have any openings. He did connect me with a couple of his peers and one of them hired me for my first official job.
- Set up a LinkedIn account. It’s a great way to network on a professional level. Connect with your instructors and request recommendations. Make a point to connect via LinkedIn with anyone you come into contact with in the creative field. For instance, if you schedule an informational interview with a creative director at an agency, send them a request to connect after you meet. It will remind them who you are and expand your network. And make sure that you have contact with someone before randomly requesting to connect with him or her
- Learn Web design. Every single design job posting I see these days wants applicants to at least be familiar with Dreamweaver. Take any and every Web class available, even if you don’t have the time or energy — You won’t regret it.
- Try to build your portfolio as much as you can. Make up your own “projects,” do work for nonprofits, design a logo for your friend’s mom’s small business, etc. Get some work in your portfolio that isn’t “student” work.
- Create an online portfolio. If you don’t know how to build a website from scratch use WordPress, carbonmade.com or something else. People are busy and you need to be able to provide a link to your portfolio (or at least a portion of it).
- Don’t be shy. If you apply for an internship somewhere, follow up with a phone call. Ask to speak to the hiring manager and if you get his/her voicemail, leave a message but don’t request a call back. State your name, the reason for your call and then tell them that you will call back the next week. You have got to be aggressive if you want something and do not give up. I called my current boss (Doug Frazier) every other week to check on the opening that I had applied to for three or four months before I got an interview. He wasn’t in a rush to fill the job, but when he finally did start interviewing I was fresh in his mind because I kept bugging him!
Everyone has his or her own unique stories about internships and first jobs. Feel free to add any advice to my list in the comment section below.
Now I’m off to class!
September 14, 2011
By Doug Frazier, Chief Creative Officer
We all know that the world is becoming an increasingly smaller place, but I am frequently amazed at how interconnected everything is in my life and here at our firm.
I have been excited to see my daughter’s passion for volleyball grow. It’s been a fun activity for our family, and it has also helped me more deeply immerse myself in the volleyball industry as we represent Sports Imports, the leading supplier of volleyball net systems. We’ve worked with Sports Imports for years, but most recently launched its new equipment for sand (beach) volleyball as the sport emerges. Who knew that we would be discussing “sand selection” for the best competitive sand courts?
Who knew that days later, I would be discussing the very same topic of “sand selection” related to oil and gas extraction with the Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program. This organization supports Ohio’s oil and gas industry which could potentially create a huge economic boost for Ohio from drilling in the Utica shale formation.
Economic impact in that area of the state is also the goal of Fairfield 33 Corridor, our client that is helping to attract business to the beautiful Hocking Valley. And, both of these issues have a direct impact on Fairfield Medical Center, another client that is working hard to support economic and human-service needs in this same region.
FMC is a key to economic success as a major employer and economic development partner. It is also aggressively engaged in a number of human-service issues ranging from reducing illicit drug use to addressing the challenges of obesity. FMC will also support a new central Ohio hand-washing awareness program with the Ohio Hospital Association (Isn’t soap made from petroleum, too?). And, speaking of community health, our client Pfizer supports a range of health-issue awareness initiatives from smoking cessation to immunization programming.
Immunizations brings to mind the term “inoculants” — agricultural products made by our client ABM — to prevent disease and to help grow better crops in Ohio and throughout the world. And, support for Ohio’s crop commodities is our focal point as we counsel the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association and the Ohio Soybean Council in their work to support farmers and Ohio’s economy (And, let’s not forget that crops will grow in sand and are planted by tractors that use gas and oil).
Everything truly is interconnected. I chuckled to myself Saturday on a family drive as we passed miles and miles of Southeast Ohio corn and soybean fields — Yep, we were traveling to a volleyball tournament.