Monday, November 26, 2012

Adblock or "Why I am a hypocrite."



I love Adblock. If you don't know what AdBlock is, it's basically an add on that you download to your browser of choice (I prefer Chrome. Download Adblock for Chrome here. Also, if you aren't using Chrome as a browser it is pretty rad, get that here.) and it will block most banner, sidebar and pop up ads that you will encounter as you browse teh internetz. The only time that I have had issues with Adblock is when I am using a streaming video site like Hulu. Hulu's in video ads do not play well with Adblock, so you need to turn it off if you want to watch those streaming videos.

Honestly, it is now super odd to use someone else's computer, or even my phone and see all the ads that pop up. Even when I am streaming video on the Xbox, the ads baffle me. It's been a long time since I have seen the sidebar ads on Facebook, which I am thankful for. Not only are their algorithms for their product placement wacky and annoying, bu they are downright invasive.  So, I block them. Which makes me happy.

With all the advertising garbage happening in social media, I have decided to try and purge some of the excess. I'm even going as far as deleting my FB page due to their use of my information for advertising. They sell your information, and no matter what your privacy settings are, in your terms and conditions you have agreed for them to do that. You can't get around it, they own your information. Ick.

But, even in doing all these measures to purge excess advertising, I struggle with the notion that it is essential in my life. Why? Well, I'm a graphic designer and one of the biggest sectors for graphic design is advertising. One of the main jobs for a graphic designer is the proliferation of the idea that "this" product is desirable. It is my job to try to convince you that you need something you do not, or that the product you have is obsolete, or that this service will make you happy, etc, etc.

Granted not all products are bad. i am a strong proponent of shopping local, growing sustainably, promoting self expression, healthy living, you know, all that socialist hippie bullshit. But, I need to pay the bills just like any other American. This makes it really hard to justify my choice in occupation. I am trained to make things look desirable, and a lot of those things are not necessary, but they are prolific and the most available jobs right now.

As someone who has never been very brand loyal, I am hard to employ because I believe that we should have options and that maybe, even the product I am selling, should be weighed against other options. I suppose that comes off as passive, not willing to back up any brands, but I don't truly believe any one product is the best for everyone.

So, my struggle is this: How do I continue to be a graphic designer (which I really enjoy doing!) and not feel like I "sold my soul" to some sort of product I don't believe in?

I know there are jobs out there that promote the things that I care about, they just aren't very plentiful.

So, I wait and take the small jobs that i do enjoy working on, even if they are sporadic at best until I can reconcile how to use my design skills in the future.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Indecisive Designer

I have a problem. Everytime someone asks me what my favorite color, food, design style, music is, my answer is always a blank stare and something along the lines of, "Right now? Well..."

Am I afraid to commit to things? Yeah, sometimes. Do I enjoy lots of different things? Most definitely. Does this make me a terrible person to go shopping with? You bet it does. But it has also effect my design process as well. One week I will be in love with patterned backgrounds, the next, I love minimalism. This is both a curse and an attribute. Its a curse because I constantly want to change my personal website. I just recently launched my website www.achehorn.com. It's cute, but it never felt quite right. So I dug around, bookmarked a ton of sites I loves and realized that all the stuff I am digging right now is SUPER minimal. Doh!

So, I took a look at my site and decided to do an overhaul of the feeling. Cleaner, easier to navigate AND mobile friendly. So, I did a redesign (which I am hoping to launch in a week or so, WITH responsive design. 

This is something that I battle with constantly. Maybe it is the perfectionist in me, but I have found with the exercises that I have been doing over the past week or so, being indecisive has made my design better. It's made me test out possibilities that I may not have explored previously. Made me dig deeper into my image research and how things function.

While it can be frustrating at times for me to come up with a solution, I get the feeling that I am really developing my process to be more efficient. Which is a relief.