On people who ignore your invitation for coffee

They probably haven’t had to build networks outside of their home town, school and family who have connected them to opportunities.

They probably haven’t tried to branch out of a skill set or industry they already are connected in.

They probably don’t understand that even if they can’t do something like hire you, that just spending some time over a coffee, perhaps sharing a suggested connection or some insight, is so incredibly helpful too.

They probably don’t understand that taking the coffee invitation is a clear sign that generosity is a part of their character, and ultimately someone you’ll always hope to do a good turn.

They probably aren’t worth worrying about.

Being ignored sucks, but chasing people who lack empathy and generosity is even worse.

How do I know this? Because I have lovely, privileged, smart and powerful friends who I watch ignore invitations because they don’t get it, and have never needed to get it. I hope they will get it one day, and I hope, in the meantime, whoever is sending those invitations is moving right along without losing too much sleep.

The online shopping experience – is it really better?

I think I kind of just accepted that online shopping is convenient because that’s what we’re told.

Except I’ve recently moved offices and am no longer in a convenient location with the florist for the last minute present, or the dry cleaner for the drop off and pick up between the car park and office. And now I’m finding I have to find ways to get these services in ways that are out of hours and to sacrifice major chunks of weekend time to go somewhere, rather than just 5 minutes in the work day.

And online seems the perfect solution – except it isn’t.

In the first scenario of physically going to the shop, yes I am limited by time and location, but I get what I see, I get it right then and there, and I don’t have to fill out forms. I just exchange some money. It’s so simple. A 15 minute transaction.

But online – my god, it’s never simple! You have to find the item that kind of resembles what you probably would have asked for in real life, and agonise over the photos so you get something you’ll actually like when you see it in real life. And then you have to fill out at least 2 forms of payment details and delivery details. And then you have to work out your availability to accept the delivery (typically in business hours) and have to hold out for enjoying the item you have already paid for. For convenience, there seems to be an awful lot of pre-planning required, hard decision making, form filling-out, and waiting…

Is online shopping really that good? Or is it just the line we’ve been told? Is the truth that online shopping fixes overhead costs for businesses, but for customers, it doesn’t fix much at all?

This isn’t one of those posts where I have the answers. This is just a question that I am asking. And I think it raises some valid points about customer experience when online shopping isn’t really that convenient, and yet it seems to be the model so much is based on for ‘great customer experiences’. Not to say that shopping in physical spaces is the answer either. I just don’t think we’ve found the answer yet, and think this is a ripe space for some constructive dissatisfaction.

Studio Assessment 2

The next assessment for Studio built on a new set of skills, mostly on things like composition, framing and cropping. Here is my submission:

Sarah Miller 101357451 Assessment 2

Typography action in 1900-1910

Onto a new assignment for typography, and this time it’s to make an informative poster about typography in a certain period. I was allocated 1900-1910 and although at first I was a little dismayed with the Art Nouveau stuff I was finding, I soon stumbled onto some very interesting work that caught my eye.

What’s in a Student Pilot’s Bag?

I got curious and thought it might be interesting to share what’s in a student pilot’s bag. Here is what I found in my better-half’s bag (with his permission!), and at first glance it seems like a very normal bag. A water bottle, a pencil case, some books – nothing too interesting.

But I do like this particular contraption. As far as I can tell, it’s called a kneeboard. It straps to the pilot’s leg, so they have a little surface to work from.

Maps, pens and measuring tools all fit on the knee board. That big elastic strap can wrap around the pilot’s leg.

And here’s a map all marked up for a navigation flight. He uses sharpies and nail polish remover to mark up the laminated maps.

And on the side of the bag is a compartment for the headphones – very important tools for flying planes!

I love a good sticky beak into a bag.

Typography Assessment 2

In this assessment, we needed to design an A3 poster for a quote within design constraints. My constraints were 1 typeface, but unlimited sizes and colours. I actually found the unlimited bit to be harder, because I find creativity from problem solving (i.e. I’ve only got one thing to work with, so how do I make it look good). I also totally didn’t connect with the quote, so this was an interesting exercise in producing something I’m not particularly inspired by.

Here is the poster:

And here is the design process documentation we also need to prepare:

The pace of these courses in scary fast, but the fact that I’m actually making stuff is really exciting. Fingers crossed this project turns out ok, because although I did this individually, this particular assessment is marked as a group with 2 other classmates who had the same quote but different design constraints. I really enjoyed working with others, Google Hangouts helped, and it was cool to be learning online but really get the classroom experience.


I started carrying a notebook around 4 or so years ago. It’s the catchall for ideas, packing lists, sketches, quotes, books I’ve read… everything and anything really.

The best feeling is finishing a notebook – the absolute best feeling! I stick a label and number on it, and add it to my pile.

It makes me smile so much to remember all the little sketches and designs I have done over the years, and the dreaming about being a designer, but feeling like it wasn’t really meant to be because… well… I don’t know why. Because now I’m studying design and the sketchbooks are filling up faster than ever and I am just in heaven.

So if you are dreaming of doing something – please do it. Who cares about making careers of it, or being any good at it. Just marinate in the gloriousness of pursuing it.

Brown Paper Bags

Life hack!

For some reason I tend to gather little piles of rubbish in places where a bin just doesn’t fit, and it drives us crazy! Tissues next to the bed… paper bits on the desk… pencil shavings next to my makeup… Gah!

So here’s where a $2 bunch of brown paper bags makes an awesome little hack. Just roll down the top a few times and shape the bag so it sits upright. And there you have it – a little collection of messes that can easily be whisked away and replaced with a new bag. Ok, it might not be super attractive, but way better than tissues lying around, right?

Lubalin – inspiration for a quote

So in this current assignment, I am producing an A3 poster for a quote, using 1 typeface, unlimited sizes and unlimited colours. We need to submit as a group, and will get an overall group mark.

I’ve got to say – Google hangouts are awesome!

We have decided to use Future as a theme font for our group, and because I’m restricted to 1 typeface, that’s me done.

Onto finding inspiration for how I’ll set this thing out. The quote is be Herb Lubalin, and here is some of his work:

Sources are here, here & here.

Lubalin really likes his big ‘O’s to be round, and in the top example, he’s really playing with that space. The Avant Garde example is another example of fully justified text becoming the whole graphic. And in the third example, it’s a really nice bit of hierarchy between the title and the credits.

All of this got me thinking and sketching and trying lay outs for the quote.

And this is where I’ve got to so far:

It’s not great – but I’ve put it in for some feedback and will hopefully be able to develop my idea further.

update – the verdict is in, and the feedback is this is a big stinking pile of 💩 . Back to the drawing board!

Sketching a quote

New typography assignment is hot off the press and I’ve got some thinking to do. I need to stylise this quote:

You can do a good ad without good
typography, but you can’t do a great ad
without good typography.
Herb Lubalin

And I can do it with only 1 typeface, but unlimited point sizes and unlimited colours.

Turns out Herb Lubalin is quite the giant in graphic design. His typography is iconic.

There’s a fabulous article with a Lubalin biographer over at Print.

Also, this vimeo, talks a little about Lubalin and how his work can be used as inspiration for modern designers.

I found a little inspiration in the vimeo with a poster by Lubalin. All one typeface, 2 colours, 2 sizes. And some really fun work with the interaction of the letters.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.38.25 PM

So that’s what I’ve found so far that’s got my mind wandering… perhaps the quote can be split between colours? There are a lot of words, so it makes sense to manipulate the text to look like an attractive block. Off to do some sketching…

Currently listening to: The Stuyvesants (I am so late to this party!)