March, 2010

Mar 10

Advice for Design Students Part 1: Passion

The Highway by Clint Bush

© 2008 Clint Bush

I found my self giving advice a couple times recently to students either recently graduated or still attending design school, and I have to say I don’t really know the point when I went from insecure frosh to someone giving out advice. Truthfully I don’t know if I’m 100% confident about what I do now. Actually I don’t know if I ever will be. Maybe that’s what drives me to keep getting better and perfecting my craft.

It brings up an interesting question on what is a professional? Let’s face it, we all step out of school clueless. Academia has prepared us to take tests, recite useless information, and get high praise for something gone right or gentle criticism for something gone wrong. None of this, or at least very little of it actually exists in the real work environment.

In the real world, a professional designer is faced with hovering clients, ever changing scopes of work, and deadlines that make you want to run for southern Mexico, tequila in hand. Somehow though, as a professional you wade those murky waters, holding your sanity as high above the water as you can. Day after day, week after week, month after month. But do we run for the border? Do we pull our hair out and turn to a life of crime. Well some might, but the majority of us don’t. We even go so far to say we like it. Hell we LOVE IT!

What is it then? I’ll tell you what I think (as if I hadn’t been doing that already). It’s because we DO LOVE IT. It’s our passion, our life’s work. Maybe it’s been said before, but I like to say “I don’t want my work to be my life, but I want my life to be part of my work.” Design is a part of me. I find myself always scouring my surroundings looking at other design. I drive my wife crazy sometimes because I’ll look really close to menu boards and signage in restaurants or stores just to see how well it was put together. I’m constantly taking pictures of signage and other things I find interesting. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a KFC sign, or the Sistine Chapel.

My point is that for you folks that are just entering the field or about to enter the field, prepare yourself as much as possible. Spend time looking at everything you can. Examine design. Make it part of your life. Read, look, learn, and repeat. Passion transcends fads, technology, recessions. Passion drives us when nothing else can. Passion can make you successful, but you have to feed it. You have to give it what it wants. Otherwise it will wither and subside. So FEED YOUR PASSION, and your passion will feed you.

Mar 10

Tempeh, Sriracha, on a Bun, OH MY…

Tomatoes by Clint Bush

© 2010 Clint Bush

I just discovered my new favorite sandwich. Inspired by Jeffrey Saad’s (of The Next Food Network Star) recipe for Harissa Steak Sandwich, I decided to make a vegetarian version. The only differences were I substituted tempeh for steak, Sriracha for Harissa, and sandwich thins for rolls. The rest of the sandwich consisted of a spicy mint, garlic, and sun-dried tomato infused mayo, salad greens w/arugula, and sliced tomato. The mayo was amazing especially in conjunction with the spicy nutty flavor of the tempeh which I rubbed with a little Sriracha and toasted to bring out the nuttiness even more.

The outcome was outstanding. The best part is that it cost me less than $3 for the ingredients (broken down by serving) and took me about 20min to put together.

Mar 10

National Day of Unplugging…

Lamp by Clint Bush

© 2008 Clint Bush

So this weekend is the first National Day of Unplugging. A novel idea, but one that I would like to try once a month. There are days I find myself plugged in for 12 hours or more between the computer, the ipod, and the TV. If you throw in the cell phone, then we’re talking all but the hours that I sleep.

It’s not that I’m against technology in any way. Hell I’m a web designer for Pete’s sake. It’s just that I don’t want to be connected all the time. I love the outdoors. I love quiet moments. I love hearing the birds outside. I love playing board games.

Anyways the idea was created by a New York Jewish group called the Rebooters. The overall guidelines are:

1. Avoid technology.
2. Connect with loved ones.
3. Nurture your health.
4. Get outside.
5. Avoid commerce.
6. Light candles.
7. Drink wine.
8. Eat bread.
9. Find silence.
10. Give back.


Mar 10

Reflecting on looking ahead

Butterfly photo by Clint Bush

©2008 Clint Bush

I sometimes have an issue with the “there and then” philosophy over the “here and now”. I do agree having a plan to work towards not only gives us goals, but hope for something rewarding in the end. However, I strongly believe it’s not just the reward at the end, but rather the journey that teaches us. Buddhists believe you must be in the present to be truly spiritual. If we’re always focused on the end result, we miss the details in life, and remember details are not always bad. The way a butterfly gets carried in a breeze. The way the grass smells after it’s been cut. The way rain sounds on a window. The intricate patterns of a snowflake. The precious giggle of your partner or child. These moments are just as precious as the reward in the end. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the end result, and we want to skip ahead. Then, like reading the end of book first, you miss the context that makes the award truly rewarding.

Mar 10

Hello spring, we’ve missed you.

Sunrise Alexandria, VA

Off our balcony looking towards DC.© 2010 Clint Bush

It’s about 20 min to 7 this morning, and I’m sitting at my laptop trying to to finish up a project that I’ve been working on. I tried doing yoga this morning, but all I want to do is listen to the birds sing and smell the spring air. It’s absolutely beautiful outside although it’s still dark. The air is crisp, there’s a chorus of bird calls mixed with light sounds of a city awakening—delivery trucks making their rounds, occassional chatter of early risers, red eye flights coming in at DCA. The washington area is waking up, and I woke up just a few moments before to catch it’s awakening. The sun has not poked his head out yet, but its energy already fills the eastern sky spilling orange hues onto the capitol and washington monument and mixing with the dark blue sky creating an delicate wash of impressionistic colors. Slowly the sky turns light, slowly the sounds increase in volume and complexity, slowly things come into consciousness. It’s truly amazing.