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Well – I got it…

30 Aug

Now I’m just waiting for the actual offer to come through.  Guess I didn’t bomb the interview like I thought I did.  Mind you – there were 7 interviews plus a group portfolio review, so maybe, even though I forgot to say those things (look at previous post), it still must have shined through.  Now fingers crossed that the offer comes swiftly and is a good one.  🙂

So what have you all been up to lately?  Any cool projects you’re working on (either professionally or on the side)?

I had a neat opportunity yesterday to be a guest speaker/guest teacher for a design college here in Seattle.  Had a blast, as I typically do when I get the opportunity to work with students.  But it led me to think about a few things.  Continue reading

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Happy Friday everyone!

20 Jul

It’s been a busy month.  Launched some new apps this month, and saw the release of a few of the apps I worked on at Microsoft.  I feel very accomplished.  🙂  Have quite a few other apps (both mobile and tablet) in the works as well.  Some very exciting stuff!

Apps I’ve designed/developed and/or contributed to in the last 3 years:

1. Microsoft Tag for iPhone

2. Microsoft Tag for Android

3. Microsoft Tag for Windows Phone

4. Fresh Paint for windows 8 Tablet

5.  Bonus Apps for WinPhone

6.  Wi-Fi Calling App for WinPhone

7.  An IP Communications app soon to be released for iPhone

8.  An IP Communications app soon to be released for Android

9.  Same app but for WinPhone

Love designing for the tablets – you can do much richer interactions and really push innovation in new ways.  Metro and the new Windows design paradigms are a blast to create for as well.

Well – would love to hear what you all are working on these days.  What have you accomplished in the last month?

The passing of the torch… sorta

19 Aug

Today is going to be a very busy, very interesting day.  It’s 7am and I’m here sitting in my office looking over my calendar for the day.  It’s bursting at the seams.  I have 7 meetings today.  And although I’m sure they’ll be very interesting, they are not the reason my day will be so interesting.  Today, I will lose 2 of my coworkers.  These 2 people have been my friends and mentors.  They are still going to be at the company, but they are moving to a different department to work on a different set of projects and will be on the other side of campus.  One of those coworkers happens to also be my boss.  Although him and I don’t have a boss/employee relationship.  I wracked my brains to figure out what I could possibly give him to remember me by.  I ended up buying him a gift set of 3 of his favorite whiskeys.  I’m sure I looked like quite the Lush walking into work this morning.  How funny that is, as it’s so far from the truth.  I’m sad to see these two go.  They have given me guidance and advice, they’ve allowed me to come in and shut the door to vent about anything, they’ve given me the ability to laugh at my mistakes and they’ve pushed me to think differently or take a product to a whole new level.  They’ve trusted me when I didn’t even trust myself.  To Jason and Keri – I wish you the very best of luck at your new jobs.  You will be missed!

Come monday morning, I will be taking over my bosses place and be the leader of my team.  Part of me is very excited to be given the opportunity to step up the ladder a bit further, but there is also a part of me that is nervous.  I know I’m damn good at my job.  Graphic Design and UX Design is a passion.  That’s never been much of a worry for me, but leading people is a whole new ball of wax.  Not to mention, now I not only have to continue to do my job, but I also get to do his.  I’ve done management before, and found I was good at it.  I just hope I can still say that in a few weeks when I’m in the full swing of things.

So as I start a new journey into the world of management, I thought i’d share it with you all.  🙂

Happy Friday!!

Jen

 

Been a while.. thought i’d update

24 Jun

So here’s my update.  I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind of activity as of late.  I received an offer to be a judge for a pretty prestigious online design award group (http://www.webaward.org/).  It’s something I’ll do in my spare time and i’m pretty excited to do it.  A week after I accepted the position, I received an job offer from a Software/Computer Giant in Redmond, WA for a position that.. well… I just couldn’t refuse.  We’re talking DREAM job.  So I gave my two week notice to the ad agency where I worked and 3 weeks later – here I am.  So far – it’s been amazing.

We had a minor setback with Creative Fusion Pro.  We hired someone to work on it with us and they accidentally deleted some things in the server, namely a few databases.  Soooooo… we’re on it – learning a few new lessons as we go – but it’s been frustrating to have those kinds of set backs.  However, I CAN say that the set back had an alternate effect.  Because of it, we decided to take a look at the overall structure of the design and launch schedule.  Rather than trying to push everything out and then go back and fix as we originally intended, we’re going to fix the bugs and clean the slate.  In the long run – I think it will be better.  We’re going to launch the CMS system (for those curious – we’ll be using Expression Engine), and then we’ll be launching the stores (Multi Store Magento) etc etc… hey I can’t give away ALL our secrets 🙂

I hope everyone is doing well – for those of you who know me and talk to me on skype – send me a hi and hello!  It’s a bit uncomfortable starting a new job, you get a bit lonely at times for a friendly familiar face, so a hi and hello from a friend I recognize would be wonderful!

And to anyone else…. Hi and hello.. I look forward to getting to know you and discussing design, development, type, photography, art, theory… whatever our passions drive us to discuss in further detail.

– Jen Walter

Letter from the Boss

18 Feb

Found this today and felt it was worth repeating here as I’ve been here and TOTALLY understand:

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of
this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job, however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

Let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against
employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a Back Story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You’ve seen my big home at last year’s Christmas party. I’m sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don ‘t see is the BACK STORY :

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300
square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire studio apartment
was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into
building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount stores for clothing that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, would be able to afford the luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 am, mentally check
in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don’t. There is no “off”
button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and have a
weekend all to yourself. I do not have that freedom. I eat and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a one- year-old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that labor — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations… you never realize the Back Story and the sacrifices I’ve made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the
right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I’ve paid is
steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit. Let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and Use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers Compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the
guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over
2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single
mother at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next
welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (read: stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d
quit and wouldn’t work here. And why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don’t understand: To stimulate the economy, you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had government suddenly mandated that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it hiring more employees and generating substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t
fibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to
life, do you? Or, do you fibrillate his heart? Business is at the
heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of “change” you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It’s quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and
retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the
productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it will be my citizenship.

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy. It
will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this
country, steam-rolled the Constitution, and changed its landscape
forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired
with no employees to worry about.

Signed,

THE BOSS

Possible Design Trend for 2009?

2 Feb
)

My Building in Seattle 🙂

So I’m on my way into work this morning.  My commute consists of about an hour and 45 minutes of driving at the butt crack of dawn to get to downtown  Seattle by 7:15 am.  But honestly, I love it.  it gives me a chance to wake up, to listen to the radio and hear what’s goin on in the world, and to look at all the ads and billboards and things you see as you get into the big city.  As a designer, I can’t help but look at what forms of communication other designers are making public.  But this morning, was a bit unusual.  Seems just about everybody changed their ads this weekend.  And I’m seeing things up for the Seattle Home Show, for insurance agencies etc etc.  One common theme ?? You bet ya.  Old school.  A bit retro.  And definitely “Homey”.

Seattle Home Show Ad

Seattle Home Show Ad

Then on my radio station they were discussing how tame the superbowl has gotten.  Pregame shows, Half times, the commercials… Now let me add something – i didn’t watch any of it this year – was sicker than a dog.   So… based on my radio station, the superbowl has gone Disney.  They were saying it was a lack of general creativity. … but perhaps the graphic designers, and advertisers are on a different kick.  With the american economy doing what it’s doing, perhaps it’s trying to bring back a bit of nostalgia- the good ol days.  I will be paying close attention to whether this really becomes a trend.. I think it will be interesting

Corporate Graphic Design and Branding Inspiration

29 Jan
In this showcase, you’ll find a variety of unique and highly creative corporate designs. The aim here is to stimulate your creativity and inspire you to push your designs further and see the possibilities that lie within corporate branding.  It’s also to give some recognition to those graphic designers who aren’t in the lime light as much.
Business Card Designs by Rusadrianewald

Business Card Designs by Rusadrianewald

Corporate Identity Package by Dr Devil

Corporate Identity Package by Dr Devil

Corporate Branding Package by Majaero

Corporate Branding Package by Majaero

Corporate Identity Package by f3rk3s

Corporate Identity Package by f3rk3s

Corporate Identity Package by Majaero

Corporate Identity Package by Majaero

Corporate Business Card Design

Corporate Business Card Design

Film in the City Business Cards

Film in the City Business Cards