25 November 2008

holiday jpeg

So I wanted to see what I could do in terms of a holiday card-type of jpeg, in this lull between projects, and for the moment I'm really into trying to hone my grunge-look skills. Here's what I came up with; the tree is solely made up of type characters. And thanks to Brän/Fractal Eye for the use of their free "The King and Queen" font.

24 November 2008

graffiti animation

Just discovered this clip from the How magazine blog. It's totally amazing.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

21 November 2008

creative pause

I've just finished reading an article about different ways creative people find inspiration, a chance to block everything else out and focus on a specific problem or idea. From reading the comments, it seems most people find this in the shower (which is what the post was based on). But for me, my time in the shower provides a necessary respite from daily life and the creative problem-solving that runs in the back of my mind all day. And night, for that matter. But in the shower, it's probably one of the few times I can force myself to relax, breathe in the steam, clear my head. And not have to think about anything.

Even when I'm doing other things outside of my work hours, it seems I'll always have a "program" running in the back of my mind, wheels turning to work on whatever it is I'm designing during the day, to find more and better solutions. Honestly, I don't know what other designers do, but especially when I have the clock running on a project, I want to make the most of my time by actually working on something concrete, rather than sitting and thinking... or maybe that's my problem. Sitting and thinking is such an important part of the creative process, especially at the very beginning of a project – even before the pencil and paper come out. I shouldn't discount its importance as part of the billable process.

But maybe I enjoy this multi-tasking; maybe my mind works best on the creativity part of things when it's not in the forefront with all the accompanying pressure. Hmm. Well, at any rate, that seems to be how I work best. Some of my favorite ideas have come during the night, or in that magical time right before I slip into sleep. That's when things slow down enough and the restrictions loosen up in the mind, giving way for creative freedom that's hard to justify during the day. And hey, maybe that's why I love sleep so much!

20 November 2008


Hello, and welcome to my first official post for the oratia design blog. I set this up in order to share some of my struggles and triumphs in setting up a new freelance design business in a new country, since I have just recently moved here to London with my family.

I have been a self-employed print designer off and on for almost ten years now, and having also lived in mainland China and in Hong Kong, I can tell you that moving and having to start over each time doesn't get any easier the more you do it!

So we've been here for almost two months now, and what I've been able to do so far is to finish setting up a website, and send out a lo-res portfolio to several businesses in the hopes of getting some new work. But ah. No one seems to need a new freelancer on their payroll at the moment. I know it's not easy to break into a new place where no one's ever heard of you, and the economy isn't exactly helpful for new creatives at the moment – well, to be fair, it's not real helpful to anyone right now – but this is turning out to truly be an uphill battle.

The good news is that I've still got some projects going for a couple of existing clients in Hong Kong, so those are sustaining me (us) so far. And I may have a brand new client to do some work for that was based on a friend's recommendation. Yay for friends! That's always nice. They say networking is the best tool, and I couldn't agree more for my line of work, but it's not easy to network when you're almost starting over knowing no one. Oh, poor me, right? That's why it's so important for me to get myself, my business, out there and get known somehow. (And that trail of thought about how my business IS me is something I'll need to flesh out another time, because that's an interesting one...)

Anyway, all that to say welcome. Thanks for tuning in, and here's to the hope of some two-way communication in the future. And to more work for all of us.