IRL Epiphany

Happy Happy to those who celebrate today. No gifts from the three kings in my shoes this morning for me, unfortunately. This year, I think they showed up digitally:

I unexpectedly received an invitation from the Funsize crew late last year to appear on their podcast. Of all topics, to talk about that one post where I went all meta about design and Star Trek.

Check it out if you’d like. Sadly, they are not fellow Trekkies, which is totally understandable. At the very least, you might learn how I feel about Star Wars these days.

As for having any big epiphanies from doing a 100-day project, I can confidently say that I have none. The way I designed and scoped mine was such that I was doing little retrospectives along the way. The main intent was to get back into blogging and that’s why the posts ended up being the way they are. I didn’t set out to write about design, or the web, or identity. I definitely did not expect people to read it. But it’s safe to say I got my groove back and for that reason I am satisfied.

A corollary of that intent was to figure out if I was as comfortable today as I used to be with the level of personal information I put out there on the web, even if the content belongs to me. The answer is no, I am not. For example, I’m still not comfortable publishing the full details behind why I chose to completely stop blogging twelve years ago, but this project helped me move past the incident (because it’s now full of irony).

Being on one of my favorite podcasts was awesome, but my first reaction to listening to it was, “Oh no, people will find out how inarticulate I am in person.” My public speaking and interviewing skills are not what they used to be since I started working remotely. It makes total sense: as an INFJ whose English is her second language, it was something that I had to develop and consistently work on throughout my 20s. Like any other muscle, if it’s not worked on and kept strong, it atrophies and starts messing up adjacent stuff.

On the flipside, since people at work don’t hear my voice at all on most days, I could also reframe this as an impostor syndrome non-issue. “100 days of blogging has made me a better communicator.”

So if I had to pick one epiphany for today, this would be it. I’d love to spend this year working on getting my other groove back and showing off my new writing guns 💪. We designers (or ex-childhood-musicians and ex-childhood-ballet dancers, in my case–my gosh 😆) are always going to be perfectionists, right?

In the meantime, if you do stop by the podcast, you can hear my California Mexican accent and stammer through the roof.


“The Bauhaus was indeed a platform where all disciplines and possibilities could collide, a time and space for creative openness. The Bauhaus Block is the intent to intersect two distinct platforms such as the school’s and that of WordPress.”

Yes, that’s what the block does. No, it doesn’t do anything else. As frivolous as it may seem, I think these sorts of things are very valuable, because they help break the walls between design communities. The entire foundation of my design career was web community-based. When I was working in DC, I was part of this AIGA mentorship progrram, where I met Michael Bierut–and I didn’t know who he was. Or why he couldn’t shut up about this Massimo Vignelli guy. Then when I moved out to Austin and started working at IBM, got to study Paul Rand’s work for the first time, and things started to click in a way that no web design trends or even standards ever did. I didn’t realize how much of a Swiss poser I was because I didn’t even know what Swiss was. (I am no longer an active parishioner of Saint Helvetica).

The studio had hired people with a formal background to revive IBM’s design heritage, and I learned a lot from them. But it was no us-vs-them culture. Designing for the browser did not come naturally to a lot of them, and they didn’t know the web history and context around the way a lot of things were built, to so they were able to learn from me, too.

The first thing that came into my mind when I saw this block was the Mexican Centenario. Like the coin, the block is a commemorative experiment and celebration.

Centenarios mark something historic and feature the work of a significant artist or designer. They are made out of solid gold, but their value is limited to a few bucks. To use the coin as money would be missing the point.

The Bauhaus turned 100 years old this year. So go get a copy of the block, hold onto it, and just appreciate it, damnit.

Throwback Thursday: Speak Up Archive

With the main theme of this 100-day project being to rediscover blogging and the spirit of the “old internet,” I thought it would be interesting to start doing a weekly throwback Thursday.

Ten years ago, Speak Up, a prominent graphic design blog, decided to stop publishing. Bryony Gomez Palacio and Armin Vit chose to leave its archives up, leaving the design and web communities with a treasure trove of history and context.

“I started the blog on a whim as a place to vent some frustrations and as a place for the endangered breed of traditional graphic designers in a jungle of web designers and developers.”

You might wonder why I’m posting this, as I’m exactly the type of person the folks on there complain about. It’s just important to study this type of history.

We’re obviously still around and not going anywhere anytime soon. Read the archives for fun and as a lesson in the importance of continuous learning and evolution if you want to enjoy a long career as a designer.