Cherry

She lost him. She stopped as soon as she could to catch her breath. The platform was empty, save for one man, standing by himself wearing a low, soft felt hat with a curled brim and the crown creased lengthwise. He looked at her. Cheater. Quickly, she darted her eyes toward the staircase. She half expected him to come up, but he didn’t.

Instead he played chess and she was alone at last. Cherry slid down onto the cold, non-foliated metamorphic rock commonly used for sculpture and as a building material. Her hand searched for a mushy, ham and cheese sandwich. Eat? The odd man turned and walked toward her using a device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a metal rod. It was his first. She didn’t understand the significance of the red and white peppermint patty stripes though. A big chunk of sandwich wedged in her throat.

There is no resting place in Paradise, Chona. Just the constant chase of Dreams and Toys. Whatever then. I don’t need the job anyway. They need themselves and that will never change. I reached into the fridge, the bright neon light glaring in my face. What’s it going to be tonight? 3% milk bought one week ago, or taro cream buns from yesterday? Her black, acid wash cut-offs were riding up her legs, a product of skipping two workouts over the weekend he supposed. Cherry didn’t want any of it. She slammed the fridge door for Each Other and climbed onto the kitchen island marble.

Boom, boom, boom.

Silence filled the entire apartment.

Dang it, he’s here.

She didn’t even have time to prepare.

Some empty containers of Nanö fell onto the floor. Cherry didn’t wait. Nothing. Then, suddenly again –

Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom!

She didn’t have time to leave.

Outside the window, the landscape was lavender purple.

The air inside her apartment was as cold as stone.

Cherry remembered the Toys in her closet. There was probably enough in there to pay him off. Jared didn’t take cheap toys as a barter. He was looking for some form of permanent reimbursement. She wanted to try to run away. Running to her room, she pulled her closet doors open and found him. A retro blue Ty bear stuffie, sewn together with black thread. His beady eyes were made of wind-blown agate, a mystical find these days in Chon.

Wasn’t it ridiculous to think gems held power these days? Jared was specifically looking to enhance his perception and analytical abilities. The agate eyes on Cherry’s Toy could heal the  anger inside and create a sense of security and blankets, much needed bling required at Life Space.

“Cherry!!!” Jared started, “Open the frigging door! NOW!” She grabbed Blueberry, stuffing it into her shirt, which had a hidden metric built-in. The bear quickly disappeared and she yanked the entranceway agape.

“Where is it?!?” Jared stumbled inside, her apartment was already in shreds. Cherry had old jars of Dream everywhere. But they were empty too. Users. “How fast can you put together a cheat sheet?” Jared stopped and looked at Cherry. They both began to laugh hysterically. She blinked her eyes. One by one, the jars started to break up into small parts, a result of impact and decay. She checked out the window. The purple haze was gone and replaced with a mauve checkerboard.

In the next moment memory, everything sat still and Jared was suddenly a statue, his eyes staring blankly at Cherry’s gaze. It was only going to last another 30 minutes, she thought. She moved taking a short time – the journey was going to be fast and furious. She ran back to her window and stuck her head outside. It was wet and sticky and humid. Further out she could see the retro blue Ty melding into life. Tiny pink flecks, stars, were also starting to become actual fact.

That was on her right brain. Her left was angry, used and taken for granted. She didn’t know how to fix him. It was probably going to be impossible. So why not just skip living and buy some cigarettes?

 

9 – Coming Down

I’m so tired, Daisy thought. You’re always tired, retorted Cherry. She was just sitting there, twiddling her thumbs, looking at her green shoes. She turned her head right, was there something there? She suddenly felt uncomfortable. Someone was watching them. They didn’t know who.

It’s time to pack, dear. The routine was the same every June. Alice from Wonderland would arrive to take Daisy home. Daisy couldn’t do it without help. It was a sad time for her. She was remembering the death of her mom, those last few cigarettes she had outside with her dad, in the snow. She was really angry Being because of Ben. He ruined her life, led her astray. She was an addict when she was with him.

Forget thinking about it, darling. Alice stroked Cherry’s hair, handing her a cheese and ham biscuit. This is ridiculous. I’m practically choking on this bread, it’s getting lodged in my throat! I can’t take it anymore! By then, their tears were flowing, ruining everything including a pink dress and a gigantic muumuu.

All of the pupils present today were busy writing down their answers. Not me. I’m just going to sit it. Read his brain. Oh shit, he’s looking. The girls looked away, frantically grabbing their miniature Navajo backpacks, matching, gifts from the Philippines and their Auntie Stella.

Daisy? Can you contribute something to this discussion we’re having? Her teacher was frustrated, but tried his best to be kind and patient. Daisy twitched her mouth. No, I don’t think I can. They could feel every single eye in the room blink. Then, 999,999 heads turned to look at her. What were they expecting? She wasn’t going to put on a show. And especially not in this muumuu. Do you have anything to say, young miss? Neither had enough bitcoins to argue. Clearing her throat, Miss Daisy stood up. Cherry budged in front, knocking her sister to the floor. I bought these with my own cash! Dreams, actually. It was Toys clearly. Can any one of you in the room debate that? We highly think naught. And with haste, they flipped their skirts and left the room.

Flying through the wind, Cherry grabbed her big sister’s hand. They were going to be just fine.

5 Influential Marketing Personalities

Hi everyone! Without further ado…

We crowdsource (ideas). It’s our membership and contribution to the digital landscape. Wikipedia says –

Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods and services, including ideas and finances, from a large, relatively open and often rapidly-evolving group of internet users; it divides work between participants to achieve a cumulative result. The word crowdsourcing itself is a portmanteau of crowd and outsourcing, and was coined in 2005.[1][2][3][4] As a mode of sourcing, crowdsourcing existed prior to the digital age (i.e. “offline“).[5]

Crowdsourcing is a great way to develop content and topics for your target audience. I put together a listicle based on a few influential marketing personalities I admire. In my opinion, they provide some answers (to my design life) and a unique perspective. I hope  they can help you in any way, shape or form.

Also, here they are in a creative digital collage. Does it make you crave mangoes or money?

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1

 

Chris Do, Matthew Encina & the team at Blind

It started with advice from my brother. He goes, check out the vlog by The Futur. This happened right when I started at VanWhistle Media. I was looking for a way to feel inspired. These guys helped me identify high-end pricing techniques and I designed my website portfolio around a couple of videos they put out with creative director of Vrontikis Design Office, Petrula Vrontikis. I’m drawn to these guys for simple reasons – energy and passion.

2

Seth Godin

It started with an interview. Chris Do and Seth Godin, together, hashing out topics like, What is school for? Watch it on YouTube – Seth Godin—Make Something Everyday (Best Hour You’ll Spend Today). This was the first time I felt inspired to write continuously and I tried out (half of) his challenge by posting 50 blog posts, once a day. I didn’t quite make it to 50, but the point of the matter is, I identified with Godin’s creative process. He also coined the phrase Make Change Happen, a slogan I adopted for my artistic identity BLOX.

3

Barney the Business Guy

Just a straight-up, no fluff business guy, I follow Barney Cohen on Instagram. I can’t remember how our paths crossed, but he offers a refreshing, business-minded approach to life’s common obstacles. Coming from a corporate background, I identify with his mentality, clear reasoning and straightforward delivery. He has 50 years of experience in business, so his acumen is spot-on. You can check him out on Twitter as well.

4

Neil Patel

Shoot, I almost forgot! Neil is probably the most humourous, dramatic, yet to-the-point marketing entrepreneur I have come across to date. He helps me understand the importance of brand development and every time I come across his feed, I’m pretty sure we’re thinking the same thing. Quid pro quo at it’s finest, Neil can help you develop metrics that work and he will provide all the necessary reasonings behind it. On top of everything, he’s an excellent copywriter.

5

The Rock

To think mainstream is to truly understand the relationship between popularity and accessibility. The Rock shows us that fame can be your next door neighbour, unpretentious and welcoming. In the pursuit of greatness, his face and voice puts a sticker on my blank page. Everyone loves stickers. Not everything has to be complicated. Sometimes you are just a do-gooder with a gigantic heart. The Rock shares these emotions with me and his 154M followers.

What do you admire? Who inspires you to do better? Whether it be music or satirical retorts, we have something in common!

 

Consonance

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Hi everyone!

We do what we do! But without our mind getting in the way?

I sometimes find myself questioning my work. I ask myself – is it too ‘complicated’ for the ‘average’? Does it come off as ‘fluffy’ or ‘dense’? These words mean too many things, but we get used to one meaning, and that is not right.

And when our minds enter ‘the complex’, we should stop and perform self-talk. People avoid self-talk for fear that it gives others the impression that we’re ‘crazy’. I mean, my mouth moves when I’m thinking too hard! So what! Okay, it might just look ‘odd’. But nowadays, self-talk should be used as a positive, gentle form of therapy to get us back on track to believing in the idea of original intention. Google explores this concept readily, when it comes to understanding how people surf the internet. That being said, why is it today, that we feel an attachment to guilt, pity or shame when it comes to feeling a different way about something? Well, it could be ‘different’ things – an idea of interdependence, requirement or necessity.

When I came across the word consonance, I felt blessed and it quickly resonated with my current circumstance, because it challenges the notion of sleep (figure it out). Like take a break here and there, not everyone hates you, if anything shout it off the tallest rooftop – you are loved everywhere! Just go in with that attitude anyway, smile until it hurts. Find the humour in everything and go ‘nuts’, it’s not going to kill you to have fun! Here’s a bit on consonance as it relates to working and the whole job interview process thingamajigger.

Scott Olster, Ideas Editor at LinkedIn, wrote a brief article around “the idea of business trends, perspectives, and hot topics you need to know to work smarter”. He says –

Success can easily end up feeling hollow when it’s defined and measured by other people’s standards. For our work to have lasting personal value, author Laura Gassner Otting writes that we need to focus on developing what she refers to as consonance.

Laura is a writer for Harvard Business Review and she defines consonance as –

“Consonance is not just purpose writ large (and lofty). It’s your purpose, freely and clearly defined by you, and put into action through awareness of and alignment with your life’s plan. Consonance is when what you do matches who you are (or who you want to be).”

As I enter the interview zone, I will remember alignment with your life’s plans as another tip that will help me remember why this is taking so long. I’m dying here guys!

Hello. Thank you for the opportunity, now I have something to say…

Do you relate to this? What is the interview process like for you? Easy? Intense? How do you prepare?

Blogging Graphic Design Process

Hi everyone!

Using simple applications to turn out wicked images is fun. Sort of like the gamification of graphic design (what blogging is like to me). Gaming is portable these days, right? Here’s an interesting article on the history of gaming, maybe you can check for me!

The History Of Gaming: An Evolving Community by Riad Chikhani

Back to the matter at hand…

Here are 3 versions of an image I developed for a post (Start). I’ll try to share my process with you (unedited) about how it came together in a time frame of about 15 minutes.

Step 1 – Select a major topic from blog content. (the plague)

Step 2 – Decide if primary message will focus on an image or text. (text)

Step 3 – Decide on a colour palette. (complementary colours blue and orange)

Step 4 – For this image, I decided on text, so the next step was to figure out wording. Wording should be based on the blog’s content, and is usually more effective if it provides the viewer with a direct parallel or bold contrast to the primary message. (the plague)

Step 5 – Pair text with secondary element – image or text. For example, the post’s title is ‘Start’, so I looked for an image of a ‘start button’. (image)

Step 6 – Publish the featured image. Go back to the website to see if it’s effective. In most cases, the image will be cropped, so you may have to edit to ensure the desired elements you want to showcase show up in the frame. (edit to fix)

Step 7 – For this image, I didn’t like the way it was cropped. So, I asked myself – to add or remove? In this case, I decided to add another element in the centre area where visual weight was lacking. (edit for composition)

Step 8 – Again, return to your website and check to see if the image is effective. Still in this case, there was a lack of balance in the top left side corner. I decided to add a pop of colour to provide an additional element of contrast. (edit for graphic design elements)

Step 9 – Check the image on your website. If it works, you will be aesthetically pleased with its presentation or you have found a balance between image – text – colour. (satisfaction)

Step 10 – Double-check to see if there were any cropping issues, spelling or grammar mistakes. Ensure each element of the design is balanced and harmonious. And, you’re finished! (completion)

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What’s your graphic design process like? Do you create your own images for your blog? If you could write 10 steps to finalizing an image for a post, what would it entail?

Meaningfulness

Editing could quite possibly be the treachery of writing! Overly edited content may tell readers, “This is not false.” On the other side, the raw construction of content is meaningful, but we should argue that the deliberate deconstruction of content to reveal a greater point of view (proper editing) more readily achieves the goals of an SEO/l or a communications strategy – to uphold popularity, relevance, authority and credibility and to distribute a message that is transparent, accurate and responsible.

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This piece is inspired by a very popular surrealist painting, Ceci n’est pas une pipe by René Magritte. Ironically, my image overloads the viewer with elaborate messages (a commentary on keywords perhaps), whereas Magritte’s painting is a basic review of signified and signifier. Here’s some additional information taken from Wikipedia

The Treachery of Images (French: La Trahison des images) is a 1929 painting by surrealist painter René Magritte.

The painting shows a pipe. Below it, Magritte painted, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe“, French for “This is not a pipe”.

The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe”, I’d have been lying! (Magritte)

Do you enjoy the process of editing? How do you know when to stop and is this action directly related to the meaningfulness of a  message, because content becomes inherently closer to ‘an answer’ or ‘a reality’? Which one for you?

Katie

She loved the red glitter on her eyes. It was so thick and opaque. Looking into the mirror, she had to tippy-toe onto her Dr. Martens to see the details. It gave her a buzz – the satisfaction of seeing colour on her face. Kate patted down her hair, trying to ignore the grays.

There was a lot now. They came in from nowhere. Probably due to stress. Her mom-in-law. Lack of inspiration or something like that. Katie inhaled a deep breath while admiring herself. One more time, she thought. And then, she turned to exit the restroom.

Her dress was red too. Strolling through the children’s department, Katie saw something green. It was fabulous! Hyper-fantastic and surreal. She had to run towards it. A supreme, three-piece, pastel green, polyester suit. It was a suit of dreams.

Flared pants, minuscule vest, oddly-sized plastic buttons, and a blazer. The blazer. The lapels and the boning. That feeling she got when fresh clothes actually existed was drugs. Not street drugs, but visceral happiness-coated candy love.

Lime green market baskets. Apple-scented Jolly Ranchers. That sort of thing. Why in the world would you even need drugs, if you could find clothes like these? She didn’t know. It blew her mind. As she took the leisure suit to the till to pay, she was anxious, but she still smiled.

She opened her Celine wallet, removing the VISA card – personal purchase – she thought. I’m gonna make this work! Smiling and not evaluating an inch of the sales associate’s grin, Katie took the handles of her JC Penney bag and walked out. Into the world.

***The stores that have given me a sense of fashionable purpose growing up were JC Penney, Fairweather, Smart Set, Dalmys, Le Château, Mariposa, Jacobs, Westbeach, Au Coton, Aritzia, Nike, Winners, Eaton’s and Hudson’s Bay. Most have come and gone. Based on this subset, the champions have focused on a specified niche market, continual dedication through brand evolution and reduced pricing.

CONCLUSION

Time changes everything. How do we keep up (trend)? Stay relevant (worth)? Do you remember your favorite stores and brands? Are they still around? Have they become more or less ubiquitous over time? Why are the champions still in ‘power’ and how do you think they got there?