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My Brain is in Dallas: and I can't make it come back.
It's been along time since I sat down to add a blog post, and even longer since I've had something I want to write down. It's been non-stop since Easter: school, looking for apartments in Dallas, interviews, family visiting, more school. But since my senior show on Sunday, I've done my best to slow my life down. And maybe I've done too well. There's barely a month left of school, I can count the remaining projects on one hand, and I want to do none of it.

On the cusp of moving states and starting a host of new adventures, my brain is whirling with the excitement of new possibilities. My brain is in Dallas, but I'm still in Ruston.

I think it's normal to feel like this. I've self-diagnosed a sickness called senioritis. But it feels abnormal for me not to be trying. You can scroll down to my very first blog post to see proof. I can't not care, and yet right now I most certainly can. It's causing a sort of dissonance inside of me.

And here's the thing. Both feelings/thoughts are entirely me. But they can't cohabitate in my skull, one has to be quelled. And this is a time when I'll choose truth over feelings. This is a time when I know I need to finish strong. This is a time when I need to force myself to care again.
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I Should be More Scared of Using Color
Some of my teachers might smile when they read the title because it's absolutely true. I am prone to color in my designs. I loved my color theory class, and learned just enough about color there to be dangerous. But picking out colors for projects is hard, and though I knew a little, I still found myself searching through color palettes through Adobe, or using an online generator. Then one day, I stumbled across a YouTube video by The Futur Academy, that changed the way I thought about picking colors. Thanks to Greg Gunn, I'll never use a color palette generator again. Below I'm going to walk you through the process step by step, but you can also check out the video here.

01: Follow the line.
From wherever you start in the color picker, whether in Illustrator or Photoshop, imagine a curved line that goes from top to bottom of the picker.
If the color you choose is closer to the left side, just reflect the line to move from the left to the right. It's easiest to start from either of the top corners. Once you have that first color, and keeping that imaginary curve in mind, pick your next colors by adjusting the hue slider.
Pick as many colors as you want, just follow the line.
02: Make adjustments.
Once you have all your colors, grab your selection tool and select a section from all of your colors.
Pull up your hue and saturation levels. In Photoshop the hot keys are Cmd+u (mac) and Ctrl+u (pc). Now, adjust the hue and saturation however you want. There's no right way to do this, so just play around until you see something that you like. This'll take some practice to develop your color intuition.
Once you're happy with what you have select another section from your original colors. And pull up hue and saturation again.
Adjust the values differently this time so you get a wide variety.
For this color palette, I want to stay pretty vibrant and saturated, but keep in mind for a successful color palette you need a wide variety of value, hue, and saturation. These colors make my heart sing.
03: We're not done yet.
All of these colors together look a little bit of a mess. But there's gold in here we have to dig just a little deeper. I'm going to stick to combining just three colors for this example, but if you dare try more.
The real genius to choosing colors this way is the shear unexpectedness of the color combinations that arise. Again, it might take practice to develop your color intuition. But if you want to create color palettes that'll make your clients ooh and aah, it's worth it.
I could do this all day.
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Drawing the Stress Away
I've recently been totally captivated by Giorgia Lupi's work. Her detailed illustrative approach to data collection and visualization is uniquely human. And that's actually what she's dubbed herself, "a data humanist." The way Lupi uses this hands on approach to understand the data more fully, is definitely apparent in her most notable project and book, Dear Data. Here, Lupi and a friend collected detailed data on themselves and sent a post card to each other each week visualizing and interpreting the data they collected. The end results were so beautiful and intuitive that they ended up as a special collection in the Modern Museum of Art in New York.

It seemed Lupi strted a revolution with these small sketches; an outlet for a new kind of data and a way to understand the data on a different level. It was kind of incredible to me that the data she collected was on herself. I wonder what she learned about herself? I wonder if she knows herself better? I wonder if I can sift through my own emotions in this kind of way? I wonder if I can know myself better?
I'm stressed. I've already cried once this morning. Above are a few reasons why. That's a lot. For me. I felt totally overwhelmed, but I wondered if I could do something similar to put my stressors into perspective. Could I categorize and quantify my feelings? Data is alive, and so am I. Data is constant and strong, and I wanted to feel that way.
It took me about 10 min. But in 10 min it went from a scrambled mess to what you see above. It's a graph of some sort. A map of where I feel I am right now. But it's a map, with road ways, road signs, and laws that I have to follow. And that gives me peace. It reminds me that I can look ahead. That the world will (I hope) still be spinning in two months. It gives me hope that life goes beyond what I can see now. That in six months, I'll be a new city, in a new apartment, with a new job, and a new scrambled list of worries.
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Throwing My Computer in the Trash:
and other ways I'm learning to make work
I'm learning more and more that the time I spend with ye olde pencil and paper, sketching and mapping out a project, has a direct correlation to the projects success. Given the wealth of testing I've done to see if this hypothesis will become a scientific law—all of two projects—I think it's safe to assume you can hand over the nobel prize now. Below are some of my attempts to make the letter A in the most anti-digital ways I could think of; paint, water, and paper.
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I Can't Not Care: an ode to the div block
This is some text inside of a div block. And I'm really thankful for that.

In the mornings, I open up my computer, hit ctrl + N, and stare at the blank page. I can see my reflection in the screen, staring back at me. I'm making myself nervous, so I make a text box and watch the cursor blink. But none of this happens to me in webflow. I'll drag a text block onto the screen and immediately, "This is some text inside of a div block." It struck me the other day as I was working on this site, what a relief it is that each text block already has content. It doesn't matter what it says, the fact that the text obscures my reflection off the screen is a comfort. It's a comfort to have the emptiness filled, and not by me.

This is a weird phenomenon to admit as a designer. Creating content is what we do. Filling voids with, text, texture, line, and color, is why they pay us the big $. And yet, here I am, staring at my own reflection in my screen, my last year at college. A time when I thought I'd feel the most capable, the most confident.

A few weeks ago, the studio on the second floor of hale hall was a flurry of activity, as we all rushed around to get ready for a gallery reception that would be the culmination of a 10 week project to design a hotel and restaurant. It included dozens of artifacts and many sleepless nights. Amidst the hubbub, a classmate asked how I was designing my creative brief. I told them I was just going to pick a plain typeface, 9pts, normal margins, and print it out in black ink on a 8.5"x 11": nothing fancy. Then I smiled wryly and said,  "I hate designing things." They laughed, probably because in that moment they felt the same way. But I began to wonder if my sentiment transcended that moment. Why did I say that?

I've realized in myself over the past few months, that I am enslaved by a fear of ineptitude. That over the last year, I've built such a towering view of the quality of work I want to produce, I'll always fail my own standards. My work will never be good enough for me. I want everything I do, to be such a statement—such a testament to what I can accomplish, and how my work can impact people. I can't not care. I can't not care that I do well in school. I can't not care that some people might not like my work, or think my project was the best. I can't not care that I feel awkward at social media, when I know it's the best way to garner opportunities. I just can't not care. I'm the newbie at the interview telling you my greatest weakness is that I care too much.

Help me learn to care less. To care less about how my work is received. To care less about my grades. To care less about instagram followers. To care less about myself. To let myself be free to fail. To let myself be free to make things without fears. To write without perfection, and draw with a shaky hand.
In class yesterday, we were tasked to make self portraits by manipulating a picture with a scanner. I had a vision of what I wanted mine to look like. Something edgy, and provocative, maybe something you'd see on the photography page on Behance. Then a classmate I was sharing the scanner with ripped theirs in half, and began to tape the picture back together in weird ways. It was such a small gesture, but the freedom they had to try something weird and new, was undaunted and unafraid.
I ripped mine in half too.