aaron irizarry

Bridging The Gap

This weekend I finally got the chance to fly to Temecula, California and meet/hang out with Aaron Irizarry and Garth Humbert. While out there I was able to attend the 2nd ever Collekt meetup and finally meet, in person, a few others I have been connecting with lately on tinychat. Getting to meet everyone in person really solidified my reasoning for starting Chat Creative. The desire these other creatives had to interact with one another was amazing, so much to the extent that our friend Nicho drove two hours to be there.

On top of all the great connections I made, I was able to find time to relax with Garth and his family. We took a trip down to Coronado Island by San Diego on Saturday afternoon. Getting to smell the ocean air and feel the cool breeze as we walked the beach was a real mind-clearer. To top it off, after the beach we went and visited Temecula Wine Country for a little wine tasting and dinner. Here are a few photos I took while down there. You can see more over on my flickr page.

Coronado Typography

Temecula Collekt Meetup

First time to eat In-N-Out

Thanks again to everyone that came out to the Collekt meetup. I am so pumped for what the future holds for Chat Creative, and all the connections we are making right now. This is just the beginning of a new generation of designers working with/for each other, not against.

Seven Eight Nine

Without further ado I'm pleased to announce the first ever tinychat design panel. I've been working out the details over the last few weeks and finally got word back from everyone on the panel, so I decided now is the time to let you all know.

I'm really excited about this, as it's different from other "design chats" in that we will actually be live via tinychat and will be able to answer your questions.

However, this is the first time I've done something like this, so I'm not expecting it to go perfect. But that's what living is all about, getting our hands dirty and learning by experience. So over the next few weeks we will be working out the details and getting everything in order. As of right now I'm not sure where we will be hosting the site. My initial thought was to embed it on my site, but there's also talk about creating a new site branded just for this event. I really like the way Mashable has set up the lounge on their website.

I hope you will join us and get even more excited about it than we are. Joining myself on the panel will be:

Confirmed: Aaron Irizarry - thisisaaronslife.com Chad Engle - fuelyourapps.com Chris Spooner - blog.spoongraphics.co.uk David Perel - from-the-couch.com Graham Smith - imjustcreative.com

Tentative: Adelle Charles - fuelyourcreativity.com Liam McKay - wefunction.com

Please use the hashtag #TCDP when tweeting about this event.

sharing with you

Last week I posted a few lessons I've learned along the way that I wanted to share with you. And in return I asked for you to respond with your own lessons in life, design or faith that you've learned to share with all of us. Now I know this isn't the "end-all-be-all" list of lessons to share with each other, but I'm reminded by what someone smarter than me once said; "you have to start somewhere."

My hopes are that you find something today that will inspire you and help you push past whatever problem you're facing. To encourage you to open up your life and let others help you out. And in the end to help others out the same way.

Aaron Irizarry

- @aaroni268

  1. Slow Down - Life can get pretty hectic pretty quick, especially as a designer with deadlines and fast paced work environments. We have to slow down take a deep breath and regain our focus. Creativity or anything for that matter can really suffer if we don't take the time re-group. Ferris Bueller said it best "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
  2. No matter how frustrating/end of the world/impossible it gets… stay cool.. It will probably be just fine. Many times I have looked back on frustrating situations, and bad days at work where I lost it.... or thought the apocalypse was happening, only to realize that everything cleared up, all the work got done, no zombies came and ravaged the office. In these times it is good to note that keeping a cool head can save a lot of frustration, or embarrassment as well as keep from putting strain on professional relationships.
  3. Don't worry about what others do… get it done and do it right, don't allow others to help you fail. A lot of times when part of a project doesn't get done , or "the powers that be" are laying into the dev team it is easy to point the finger at others for things not getting done. This doesn't bode well in management's eyes. Take responsibility, Don't let others lead you to fail.

Darcy Murphy

- @mrDarcyMurphy

  1. Be happy. Seek out happiness before anything else.
  2. Be afraid, and face life anyways. You’ll enjoy it more.
  3. Listen. Be quiet, don’t judge, simply absorb.
  4. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  5. Spend all day thinking about things you need to share.

Kenroy George

- @kengeo

  1. Never underestimate people.
  2. Always speak up.
  3. Do good and it will return to you.
  4. Live your own life and not the one other would like you to.

Khayyam Wakil

- @iamkhayyam

  1. Accountability. There's no one to blame and when it comes down to it, you're the only one that is responsible. Don't point fingers, if you have to, point it at yourself.
  2. Wisdom is what happens when you don't get what you want.
  3. Clients usually pick the worst designs, make sure that one is still pretty
  4. Know what you're worth and charge accordingly.
  5. Learn to say "no". A very empowering word with clients
  6. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Find the best and let them do the rest.
  7. Keep track of all your working hours as a freelancer. The hours you put in aren't all billable hours, so use your data to help estimate jobs, projects etc. Invaluable need for any designer really.
  8. Lists:
    • get that crap out of your head
    • visually see what's required to be done
    • it's nice to check things off, feels good
    • make room for the creativity to flow
  9. Speaking of flow... just roll with it. Everything unfolds exactly the way it's supposed to. Program crashed and you lost the file?! There was a reason. Look beyond what you can control and just accept it was randomly on purpose. You might not know why in the moment, but you will... eventually
  10. Every problem is just a solution waiting to be found. Perspective makes all the difference.

Lauren Krause

- @creativecurio

  1. Have to give a big speech or design the hugest project you’ve ever faced? Remember that people want you to succeed. Sometimes that realization is the confidence boost you need to get through it.
  2. If you’re going through a seemingly impossible time, think back to another time that also seemed impossible. How does it look now? That’s how this situation will be, given some time.
  3. Life, including design, is an art. Science is an art, too. In other words, no one has all the answers; we’re all just making the decisions that seem best to us with the information and experience we have at the moment.
  4. Learn what your strengths are and grow them. The Strengths Finder test is a great resource for this if you’re a little lost.
  5. Be aware of yourself—your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, abilities, passions, strengths.
  6. But remember, most of the time, it’s not about you.
  7. Understanding where someone is coming from (especially when they don’t make sense) is the first step in removing him/her as a threat. We are almost always afraid of what we don’t understand.
  8. At the heart of anger is fear.
  9. Life is so much more enjoyable when you’re driven by love rather than fear.
  10. Being constantly busy—particularly with meaningless "stuff"—is often a cover-up for fear and a lack of direction and passion.

Mirko Humbert

- @mirkohumbert

  1. Failure can be funny if you got a sense of humour, don't be afraid.
  2. Being stressed on things you have no control on is just stupid, relax.
  3. People don't give a shit about you, they're too busy with themselves. Try to find a common ground if you want to communicate with people or they won't pay attention to you.
  4. Don't give up, you may not get what you want but at least you'll get something.
  5. Your friends are not perfect, you aren't either. Be cool to them.
  6. Don't watch tv, it sucks. Go out and meet people.
  7. Your parents washed your ass for years, it's not a big deal to visit them and be nice to them sometimes.
  8. Do stupid things, you'll have something to talk about later.
  9. Everything will be fine, don't worry.

R.A. Porter

- @coyotesqrl

  1. No matter how much they cost, if you wear polished shoes to an interview it reflects well on you.
  2. When in doubt, the answer is always 7. Unless it's a multiple choice exam. Then it's 'D'.
  3. Aloe goes on the *outside*.

Rhonda Michelle Steward

- @rhondamichelle

  1. Angry people need more love than happy people
  2. Being the first to set the tone goes a long way
  3. When your dogs want to go outside go with them
  4. Your kids choose you
  5. Relocating spiders can change your entire relationship with them
  6. Knowing where the main water valve in your home is helpful, no...make that essential
  7. The real reason{s} for knowing someone may not be known for many, many years
  8. Cell phones can still work after a dunk {or 2} if you dry them out on your car dashboard
  9. Hot cocoa will always rock
  10. So do grown up versions of mac & cheese
  11. No matter what goes wrong at a wedding you’re still married at the end of the day
  12. There will always be someone who thinks you’re a design wizard and someone who thinks you’re “on your way” - at the same time, of course
  13. The mantra “profit over preference” can focus a design decision with a commercial client

Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Meet Aaron Irizarry

Aaron Irizarry Interview I first stumbled upon, no pun intended, Aaron Irizarry a few months ago when I read his article "Blessed are the flexible". As I continued to read his blog I found myself thinking his words where exactly what I had been thinking. Aaron has a very genuine writing style that is easy to read and full of personal experience and compassion. Getting to know and talk with Aaron over these past couple of months have been great. He was even featured in my "Branded Designers" post. We both seem to share a common desire in that we both love design but we want to do more than just use our talents for our own personal gain.

So when I started talking with Chuck Westbrook a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he was also talking with Aaron, and thought it would be a good idea for us, Aaron and I, to do some collaborative work. Well you can look forward to that in the near future, but until then I wanted to do a personal interview with Aaron so you too could get to know him. I have divided the interview into three topic; Life, Design and Faith. I chose to go this route because I wanted to do this interview in a unique way that also tied in to what my site is all about.


1. To start things off, tell us a bit about yourself. Anything at all.

I am a simple man trying to make my way in the universe (quote from Jango Fett in Star Wars - Attack of the clones)

2. Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10, 15 years?

With grey hair ( I have two daughters)...

Really though I hope to still be an active part of the design community, more on my terms... I have a personal goal to teach or speak at conferences or something along those lines eventually. I really admire Jeffery Zeldman and others who have a wealth of knowledge and experience and gives back to the design community through speaking. Or just running a design firm or art gallery somewhere along the coast, or back east( New England area).

You never know though... it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

3. At the end of your life what do you hope to be remembered for?

Someone who was passionate about what he believed in, and what he loved. Someone who invested in those around him and left things better than he found them.


1. When did you first become cognizant of the fact that design is something you wanted to pursue as a career?

Well I always loved being creative... and it took on different forms of expression. While I was in a band (Point of Recognition) I started trying to make shirts and stickers, and the next thing you know I was hooked and i guess the rest is history.

2. In your own words what would you say are the fundamental elements of design and how do you apply them to your own work?

Not really sure... I know there are answers in a book somewhere, or that you learn in a classroom. I would say that for me personally the most fundamental element of design or creativity is vision. The ability to look at something or hear about it and envision in in a creative form. To hear someone's vision for a product, or something they are passionate about and see the creative expression... to conceptualize it and help them achieve it.

Be flexible, think openly, take risks, and be open to criticism (constructive or otherwise).

I totally just rambled on... but keeping those concepts in mind when designing for work, or just because i have an idea, serve as a good foundation for design, and then add technique, skill, and the desire to make cool stuff, and i am usually heading in the right direction.

wow hope that answers the question... i really rambled there for a minute.... I guess that is the whole reaching my mid 30's thing.

3. Paper or digital? In your opinion which will outlast the other?

Digital will continue to become more practical, and efficient as technology advances, and paper will become a novelty / collectors item. With that said paper doesn't need to be charged, and can't crash or have compatibility issues.

And even though i am not very good at drawing there is a lot to be said for unplugging, sitting down with a pad of paper and either writing out your thoughts or sketching a creative vision. It can be refreshing and i definitely recommend it.


1. Did you grow up in a church?

Yup and hated it. I got to see all the behind the scenes stuff that made me want nothing to do with God or the people who followed him. I was to young to realize that is usually what happens when people lose focus of what a relationship with God was really supposed to be, if you read the bible so much of who Jesus is described as is pretty opposite of what the church is doing today.

I am not the poster boy for modern "Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists" I am not a republican ( I don't think Jesus was either), i dont pretend to be something I am not, I am not perfect, I listen to good music, and I don't judge people, I do have firm beliefs... but it is not my job to change people... that is what God does, but it is my job to represent God, and His love for others by how I live (not just what i say) and interact with others. I believe that Mark Driscol said it best when he said to "Contest and Contextualize" Which means I contest for my beliefs, and don't compromise them, but i do contextualize them and make them real and relevant to others, not by pounding them with rules and a fake do gooder attitudes, but by being an open and honest person and hopefully dispeling the lame stereotypes that we have earned for ourselves as "christians" that often get in the way of people truly experiencing who God is.

I know this... I believe in God, and do my best to live for him openly and honestly, but definitely not perfectly, and hopefully I can contribute something positive to others. Wether they share my beliefs or not. It is the whole "Loving people without an agenda" concept where I have love and respect for all people because they are worth it, not just to get them to believe what I do.

2. When did you realize a relationship with Jesus was more important than any religion?

When I had tried everything on my own ( a whole separate story on it's own), and was still empty inside I knew there was something more... I knew God was real.... but i had so many questions that weren't answered. So i started search for the answers, and the more i tried to disprove, the more it became real to me.

3. As a family man, how would you describe the difference between your relationship with God now as opposed to when you were single?

I have been married for 12 years. It has not always been easy but it has really taught me about living selflessly, and putting other people before me. I have two daughters and an amazing wife who definitely keep me in line ( I really need it sometimes). I consider myself blessed. Other than that i was only a Christian for about a year or two before i got married so i cat compare to much.

Thanks again Aaron for taking the time to share with me and all my readers. And if you would like more info on Aarron, here are some links:

Website - This Is Aaron's Life Portfolio - Aaron's Portfolio Twitter - @aaroni268 Linked in - Aaron Irizarry

3 sexy journal designs

In light of my recent contest to win a set of FIELD NOTES notebooks, see here, I've been inspired to pick up my journal once again and keep daily notes. Everything from simple to-do lists about work that needs to get done, to doodling, all the way to my next great idea that will change the world forever. So when I got word this morning from friend and fellow twitterer, Aaron Irizarry, about the "Design and designers you love" writing contest going on over at Designer-Daily I thought I'd show you my list of the top three sexiest journals you need to own.

Moleskin Journal

"The Legendary Notebook"

First off we have the classic Moleskin journal. This finely crafted beauty is one of the top selling journals worldwide. It's sleek, simple design is what first lured me in, as it has it's own gravitational force. But you can't judge this journal by it's cover alone, no you must own one to unveil the real beauty inside. The moleskin will always hold a special place on my bookshelf. And the best part about them is they are offered in a wide variety of styles, to suit anyone's wants or needs.

I have personally owned a few Moleskin journals over the years and they never let me down. Their durability and sleek design make it easy for me to carry them along with me wherever I go. The solid hardcover puts me at ease when it's squashed by tons of books or when my dogs try to get a hold of it. And the pages are of such fine quality that it makes me nervous to jot something down. I know that must sound weird, and maybe it's my OCD showing, but I'd rather preserve the beauty of it's blank pages than scribble something of no use. But that's what a journal is for, to get those thoughts, sometimes useless, out of our heads and on to the paper so we can get onto more productive thoughts. And the Moleskin let's you do this with ease and beauty.

Field Notes Journal

"I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now."

As the official quote for Field Notes journals you can rest assured that they aren't skimping on their quality. These little guys remind me of what an archeologist or detective from the mid 20th century might have used. They sport a very simple design and a rugged three-staple saddle-stitch binding. Not to mention that they are all made here in the U.S.A.. When you order off their website they are prompt to get your order out as soon as possible. (I received mine in less than a week.) And when it arrives in the mail in it's beautiful cardboard envelope you can find the following goods awaiting you:

  • Three 48-page memo books.
  • Each 3-1/2″ wide by 5-1/2″ tall.
  • Perfect 1-pica-graphed paper.
  • Pencil, Bic Clic Pen & other goodies.

Update: Since writing this post a month ago I have grown to love and adore my simple little Field Notes. They travel with me wherever I go, riding in my back pocket, just waiting until I get a new idea that I need to write down. And when I'm at work they sit patiently in front of me, waiting for the right time when I'll take a break from my computer, and commit to using pen and paper for a few moments. They hold up extremely well and the graph paper makes it great to keep lists and other to-do items. So far I'm still on the first of three notebooks, but I'm already excited about ordering more.

Rhodia Journal

"The French Orange (& Black) Notebooks with a Cult Following"

I must be honest, I've never actually owned a Rhodia journal, at least not yet. But just look at them. The iconic cover with it's boldface font and two fir trees screams "BUY ME!" to any self-respecting designer. Each notebook is filled with 80 sheets of 80 g acid-free white vellum paper. And the unique scored cover allows you to neatly fold your pages over the back. If you have ever used one of these before I'd love to hear your personal feedback on them.

Well there you have it. That's my list and I'm sticking to it. But please, if you know of any other great journals out there that you like I'd love to hear about them. Surely this isn't the end-all-be-all list of sexy journals. Or is it?