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Tag "work"

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Considering how much of my life is spent at work, it’s kind of funny that I’ve never done a post about what my office looks like. Whenever I’m invited by other sites to share my workspace, I feel a little bit disingenuous sending in pictures of my desks at the house and (former) apartment. I mean, truthfully: The “office” at the house has become Evan’s music studio, and we don’t even pretend to call anything at the current apartment an office, unless you’re counting the sofa, which is where I do all of my blogging. No, my work happens in an office-office, one with bad industrial carpeting and a dropped acoustic ceiling and fluorescent lights and all of the other stuff nobody is particular interested in looking at pictures of.

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Last summer, after 15 years spent working in the same spot in the same building (with most of the same awesome people), the entire art department was moved up one floor. Same building, same corner, but 20 feet higher. Aside from the joy that came from sifting through 15 years of accumulated junk and throwing away 75% of it, I decided to commit myself to turning my new workspace into a place I like to walk into every day.

I don’t have an office with walls. All of the designers in my department sit in a big, open room—that was our choice. We like to be able to talk, and we like to have tons of light. The light, of course, is the best thing about this office—it’s a landmarked building (one of the original art deco Rockefeller Center structures, completed in 1939), and that includes the enormous, steel-framed windows. Windows that open, mind you, though I don’t necessary recommend doing that on a windy day when you’re 14 flights up!

Anyway, because I work in an open room with other people (and other people’s stuff), It’s a little tricky to take pictures that show all of my space. I promise I do actually have a computer and a chair and a phone…and a very full inbox.

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I don’t think there’s any way to fight generic office blah other than with bright colors and things that make you happy every time you look at them. “Elegance” is tough to pull off in this kind of environment, and I don’t even bother trying.

Over in this corner, I have an Alexander Girard PLYprint (these were issued by Columbia Forest Products in 2009, and sadly discontinued very sooner after), a bent-plywood “Clouds” clock from my own K IS FOR BLACK shop, a bootleg Andy Warhol poster (more on that in a minute), a letter A print from Ferm Living, and a vintage bus roll that I found at Three Potato Four.

So yeah, the Andy Warhol poster! Hah. If you read Scandinavian design blogs and frequent Swedish real estate websites, then you know that these Warhol posters—part of a series of reprints from a 1968 exhibit at Moderna Museet—are apparently issued to all Swedes along with their birth certificates. In the US, however, it’s next to impossible to get your mitts on one! I had dreams of buying one when I was in Stockholm, but the closest I was able to get to Moderna Museet was taking a longing photo from a window in a building next door.

So I decided to be a loser jerk and make my own. The real thing wouldn’t have fit in this spot anyway, and since the sentiment is pretty much the most perfect thing to be on a book cover designer’s wall, it had to happen. I knew what font they used for the poster, so…OK I’M ASHAMED. A little. But it’s not like I’m going to sell them (and no, I won’t send you the digital file), and if I ever do have the opportunity to buy a real, full-size one from Moderna Museet, I definitely will. Then I’ll hang that one in in my house, and keep the bootleg miniature at work.

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This part of my desk is usually completely covered with book cover comps, but I had to move them all out of frame since they’re for titles that haven’t been approved yet. The work you see there is what became the hand-lettering for this book (just approved yesterday, yay!). My vintage Snoopy came from Three Potato Four, and the snake mug…

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I LOVE MY SNAKE MUG!!! If you’re a fan of Craig Ferguson (and you should be), then you know Craigy is never without his trusty rattlesnake mug. I bought mine on eBay, and it’s identical to Craig’s—with the exception of the gold tooth, of course, which is a Late Late Show props department customization. (Weirdly enough, the snake mug sold by the CBS store is clearly not the same one Craig uses, which confuses me—but I’ll drop this subject now since I suspect it’s not very interesting to anyone but me…)

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Photo by Ali Goldstein/NBC

In case you ever wondered if 30 Rock was filmed on location, the answer is…actually, I have no idea (Update: It’s not—thanks, Bethany!), but if it’s shot on a sound stage, someone did an amazing job with it. Every time they showed Liz Lemon’s office, I had to smile at the 1930s radiator covers—the same ones are in every office throughout all of the old Rockefeller Center buildings. Same old windows, too.

I put those raindrops on my filing cabinet a few years ago, and they still make me happy. They’re just cut out of white paper with adhesive on the back, nothing fancy. The chair is an Arne Jacobsen Series 7 in a discontinued, terrifying shade of acid green that I love. I found it in the hallway in a storage pile during a company-wide office cleanout years ago, and I grabbed it. It still belongs to the company, of course, but I like having it in my area. The cute raindrop pillow and the triangle wall stickers are from Ferm Living.

I suspect I may be the only person working here with their own rug. It’s the same Nate Burkus Arrowhead rug (discontinued, alas) that I have in my dressing room, but in a smaller size. I would’ve gone bigger, but then my rolling chair would be getting caught on it. Office carpet is almost always a depressing thing, so it’s nice to have a tiny corner of happy floor covering to take the edge off. The bird hanging in the window is an Icelandic Krummi (raven) coat hanger designed by Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir.

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of this view! My window overlooks 6th Avenue, and I’ve been documenting what I see out there during every season for the past 16 years. Here’s a compilation of some from 2013…

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BOOKS! I can’t keep every book I’ve designed, obviously, but I hang on to the ones that are in series—multiple titles by the same author—since I often need to refer back to them later. (If you’re interested in seeing some of the covers I’ve worked on, I have a portfolio site.) Speaking of which, I have strict rules about books at this point. I don’t take ANYTHING home with me from work unless I really, really want to read it. I’ve already read most of what I worked on when it was in the manuscript stage, and if I start taking home every book that catches my eye (and there really are books EVERYWHERE when you work at a publishing company—it’s amazing), there will be no more room for people or dogs in my house. I cracked down about 10 years ago, and I’m glad. I love love love books, and (contrary to the Warhol quote) I really do love to read a whole lot, but there are limits.

And on that note, it’s FRIDAY, and I’m outta here! Have a great weekend!

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Generally speaking, the time span between when I decide I might want to do something and the time when I actually do something is pretty long. I first started thinking about listing some designs on Society6 a couple of years ago, but after a disappointing experience with one of their iPhone cases, I shelved the thought for a while. I took my time buying numerous prints from other artists, checking out the textiles, and even ordering a new (and greatly improved) iPhone case back in July. I’ve been really impressed by the quality of everything I’ve seen, so after a lot of hesitation, I finally gave myself permission to go ahead and list a few things.

I am very pleased to announce my new little shop, K is for Black!

There are a number of Giclée prints for sale (which, according to Society6’s specs, are printed on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks), as well as stretched canvases, iPhone cases, tote bags (!!!) and throw pillows. Woo hoo! Not every design is available in every format, because some stuff just doesn’t lend itself to certain applications. Eventually I’ll add some mugs and hoodies, too.

I have to admit that this is all very self-serving: I’m really just making the things that I want to own. You just get to the point where you accept that if you want a throw pillow that says “vile” on it, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands. I wanted one, so I made one. Done! It’s fun being your own client sometimes.

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I suffer from what I like to call “LOOK AT ME, DON’T LOOK AT ME” syndrome. I want attention (hello, internet), but once I get it I want everyone to stop looking at me. Or at least only look at me in really good lighting. Now, thanks to the magic of on-demand printing, I can let a tote bag tell the world to simultaneously leave me alone but stop ignoring me. How fun!!!

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Victoria said she wanted a print with the word “focus” on it, so I designed one for her. (Yes, I’ll consider requests!) I have an annoying habit of putting the suffix “-ish” on everything I’m unsure about (6:00-ish, casual-ish, cold-ish, Jewish…you get the idea), so that got the poster treatment, too. That one is going up in the stairwell of my apartment.

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Oh, and you can have stuff framed! I haven’t seen the frames in person, but after reading a few reviews (like this very thorough one), I’m going to go ahead and give them a shot. I’ll let you know how it goes.

There is always going to be some concern on my part about having another company handle virtually every aspect of the production and shipping of my designs, but if I’m being honest with myself, I know I can’t handle that side of things. As much as I want to be the person who screen prints, sews and ships my own pillows, I am not that person. Maybe someday I will be, but for now I’m really excited and happy to be putting some stuff out there and making it possible to share it with other people.

I hope you see something you like! New designs will be added frequently, so please do check back. Yay!

K is for Black

It’s been so long since I’ve made a mix tape to share! I’m super-busy at work these days (OK, I know, when am I not busy…but it’s definitely better than the alternative), and I’ve been in all-headphones-all-the-time mode. I work in a big open space with a bunch of other designers, and as much as I love them, sometimes I really just need to tune everything out.

So here’s what I’m listening to today! Music that makes me want to GET. IT. DONE. It’s a fun mix, for sure, and every bit as suitable for listening to while speed-cleaning the house as it is for designing book covers to.

Previous Mixes:
+ Summertime Jams
+ Friendship Bracelets
+ Teen Goth Nite

You can find and follow me on 8tracks as doorsixteen.