Spending Time Doing Work for… Nothing?

Whenever I can, I love to draw my own letters/words/titles for projects. It’s the best way to make the graphic identity of an event entirely unique to its own. So that’s what I did when I first started working on the graphic identity for MOCA’s Lunar New Year Family Festival.

This is a photo of the inked version of the title I had created:



It’s usually quite a process – draw the piece, ink it up, throw it into Illustrator, vectorize it and clean it up. I’m a lot better at doing this now so it doesn’t take me as long as it used to, but it still takes time and love.

After getting it to look how I wanted it to, I checked back at my notes for this project and the email I had been sent about the details. I had missed the word Family in the title. It didn’t seem like too much work at first to draw the word and add it in somehow.


After spending some more time on that, I realized it wasn’t going to work, as shown in this messy attempt to reorganize and piece together the words:

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 6.09.10 PM

It was so sad to know that I had spent so much time on trying to draw the title, when I still had to design the rest of the flyer…

So I searched the web for a font that I thought would look nice (Eldwin):

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 5.50.18 PM

After sending in my first draft, one of the comments I got back told me to experiment with another font that was a bit easier to read. While this made me a bit sad since I had purchased the font, it made sense to change it since it was in script, and for this being a Family Festival, it needed to be kid-friendly (a quality I also lacked with my first attempt at this project). Then I thought about the title I had originally drawn and that was definitely not as readable to most.

So here’s the title I ended up with after a bit more searching:

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 5.50.33 PM

The typeface is called Superclarendon. It’s not a typeface that I would usually gravitate towards, but I actually really like it now. It pulls together the entire flyer pretty well (which I will share later) and it is very easy to read.

I guess the point of this post is to remind myself to:

  • Always read and re-read every detail about a project carefully
  • Don’t spend too much time worrying about the text of a project if it is not the primary focus

So now the title that I had drawn is going into the vault of drawings/designs that are unwanted/unused. Along with a lot of other elements that I had tried to do with this project…

But nonetheless, I’m excited for Lunar New Year and for my final design to be shared with the MOCA’s community!


The Pressure to Create

I feel the happiest when I have a project that I’m continuously working on and I feel the most accomplished when what I’ve completed has had an impact on someone else as well as my personal growth. I’ve been lucky enough to have had creative opportunities through connections and people who have recognized the value in my work. And I’m incredibly thankful to have grown from these experiences. These projects are done during my free time and I find myself devoting full-energy into its completion. That’s how I know I’m passionate about the things that I do.

Between projects though, I sometimes struggle with pushing myself to produce new work, build new skills, or just to maintain productivity. I felt the most pressure from art classes in high school and college when students were required to produce a certain amount of artwork without any given requirements. For some, it’s really easy to create a new sketchbook entry everyday while others pick up a pencil and struggle with blank pages staring back at them (this is me). Sometimes, I’m in the mindset of always wanting to produce finished, shareable work that I stop myself from even starting something if I know it won’t go anywhere. I forget that ideas may start small and develop beautifully over time.

It’s not easy to be continuously inspired, but it is easy to continuously appreciate. I’m the type of person to come across a hand-drawn chalk sign on the side of the street and stop just to stare at it for a bit, not necessarily to read its content (unless it involves a deal on food), but to look at the way that it was drawn and to pick up hints as to how I could recreate my own. And then I would take a picture and add it to a folder on my phone of random signs, patterns, and designs that have struck a chord in my heart in some way.

Scroll through your Instagram feed, Pinterest, or whatever your favorite platform is, and soak up as much as you want. Expose yourself to everything you can and open your mind to learning new things. Ease the pressure to produce and let that motivation grow naturally on its own.

Just Be Your Own Idol

I recently finished reading the book #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. I definitely developed a new girl crush and found a new source of inspiration for kicking ass at life. There were so many mini-lessons that I took away – from the mantra, money looks better in your back than on your feet to helpful tips on what not to do when writing cover letters.

It made me confront little things that I was doing or thinking that was unnecessary to a healthy and happy mindset. The quote above was probably the most relatable. Sophia Amoruso became as successful as she is now in the least traditional way you would think of, and she maintains her success as well as NastyGal’s, by continuing to push for her uniqueness as a woman.

I don’t think I’m the only one that get’s easily caught up with what others are doing with their lives. It’s so easy nowadays to scroll through Instagram, see what we perceive as ‘perfect lives’ from others’ posts, and feel like you’re missing out on something. The Fear of Missing Out – it’s real. There are times where I’ve stalked lifestyle bloggers, designers, and mutual friends with this sort of obsessive quality, thinking that if I do this or that, I could be a little more like them. Then I think, why am I wasting my time doing this?

When it comes to artists that I’ve admired, I’ve been pretty heavy-handed in taking elements from their work to influence my own. It took me a while to understand  that it’s one thing to be ‘inspired’ by someone and it’s another to straight up copy, thinking that you’re only trying to emulate them. The line is hard to draw when it comes to originality. Imitation is not the highest form of flattery.

I’m still trying to strengthen my own skills and become a person that I’m proud of, but I’m definitely focusing my energy on myself. Nowadays, I spend time looking at other work to get a sense of how they do things or discover new ways of thinking to help develop my own ideas (and I have  a lot of those). There are so many young creatives out there that I find so cool and I admire endlessly. I want to use their careers as motivation to strengthen and empower my own, as well as others.