Friday, February 29, 2008

Hallmark Creative Summer Internship Deadline-March 17th!

Submit your portfolio today on our website.

Since this is technically the Hallmark Creative Careers Recruiting Blog...

I thought I should let you know that a new recruiting video has been in the works and is now complete. Soon to be shown at a school near you. I was lucky enough to be videoed for it, so I've been invited to the first showing. Hopefully I didn't end up on the cutting room floor... (Don't worry. I won't let my 15 minutes go to my head.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chip Kidd

Clue: 19 across, A number of people. Ten letters.

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Chip Kidd, his book designs, anecdotes and humorous voice impressions entertained a large audience at Hallmark this afternoon. I made sure to get there early and ended up in the second row with an ideal vantage point of the images he put up on the big screen.

He started off telling us his most asked question when he gets up in front of groups like this. What is it that most inquiring minds ask of Chip Kidd, the rock-star of book jacket design, writer, graphic novel enthusiast and little-known band member? Inquiring minds like you maybe... a college student standing looking out at the world wondering where you'll end up, how far your portfolio will get you.

What should I do to be a good designer, what advice would you give to someone like me in school, getting ready to look for a job?
Chip (can I call him Chip? Mr. Kidd?) said that there are 2 things that designers must teach themselves: to write and to do crossword puzzles. Because if you think about it, letterforms are the beginning of all design. You put these 26 different shapes together in different ways, and you are able to convey a message.

Clue: 19 across, A number of people. Ten letters.

A __ E __ __ __ E __ I A

Though he's perceived as someone who can design whatever he wants and the clients immediately love it, everyone claps and sings, confetti is tossed in the air and balloons fall from the sky... Chip says that is not the way it works. Concepts are often shut down by either an editor or an author and his first idea is not always chosen.

Chip's presentation was captivating and thought-provoking (thank goodness for the thesaurus widget... inspiring... interesting...) and if you live in the Kansas City area, he will be at Unity Temple on the Plaza tonight at 7:00 p.m. I definitely recommend you go. (But you must not let him or anyone else know that you now have the answer to 19 across. That would just be rude.)

Clue: 19 across, A NUMBer of people. Ten letters.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Chip Kidd + Hallmark = Lucky Me

Chip Kidd is here tomorrow. I'll have a full report in the afternoon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Trend Week : Day 5

Being green is becoming quite the trend. But our speaker today for Trend Week started his project without even thinking about the environmental benefits.

Chad Pregracke grew up on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities. (I'm from Iowa so that's why I chose to say he's from the Quad Cities and not the more specific East Moline, Illinois.) As a high school student and an off-again-on-again college student , Chad worked on the river and loathed all the garbage he saw. Not just Coke cans and grocery sacks, but bigger things like tires. Refrigerators. Tractors. Oil drums.

Over the course of a decade, Chad and his non-profit organization, Living Lands and Waters, have cleared away over 4 million pounds of garbage from America's rivers. As I sat and listened and laughed at energetic, spastic Chad tell his story I could see how his enthusiasm for the project has caught on. Not only caught on, but changed lives and more importantly the environment.

Sure, being green can be trendy... but it is also a passion.

Please click this ----> CBS News Video <---- to watch and learn about Chad and his focus. Meet the personality we had the pleasure of listening to and watching this morning for the final day of Trend Week.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Trend Week : Day 4

This is going to have to be quick because I have a full afternoon of meetings/brainstorming/launch kick-off/one-on-one with my manager...

Can't believe it's day 4 of Trend Week already. Today's speaker was Issa (can't help myself saying "the artist formerly known as" Jane Siberry.) She talked about her life, read her poetry and sang one of her songs. She spoke about accountability in everything you do. Also making sure that you are projecting the kind of energy that you want others to receive.

What really makes Issa different though is that she gives her music away for free... using what she calls "self-determined" pricing. This month she started offering "creative currency" as a payment option: in exchange for a download, you can choose to do a good deed— Earth-friendly deed, Elder-friendly deed or other— and her site will automatically post your choice for others to ponder.

I checked out her website when I got back to my desk and found that parts of it weren't fully up and running. But her writing is there under the journal tab and worth a look. Also be sure to visit the Sheeba webstore.

(from Sheeba webstore)
What is a Sheeba Spirit Store?
"This store model is based on the belief that:
People are good.
In trust, our best comes forward full force.
To treat others as we would like to be treaded is generous, not selfish.
Good living can still come from not trying to control things; in trusting in a wider sense of transactions.
We are "a part" more than "apart."

Things to ponder, not too long though, life is out there waiting.
The most important thing is that the music flow out to where it could bring enjoyment.
And THAT is the best thing you could give back to me.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

eye candy from shopscad

One last, but certainlynot least, tidbit from my SCAD trip: shopscad

A bit of background from the shopscad website:

"ShopSCAD is a unique gallery store that exclusively features the artwork and designs of students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The development of a more informal gallery space and retail store was the conception of SCAD President Paula Wallace. Her idea was placed in the hands of Managing Director Amy Zurcher (B.A. fashion design and merchandising, marketing alumna, Ball State University) and SCAD alumna Katie Runnels (M.F.A. painting, 2003) who put their backgrounds together for the creation of shopSCAD."

Many thanks to Amy and Kyle, who allowed me to snap some pics of their amazing space to share with my readers (oh, and friends, you can browse the inspiring product offering online, and purchase what you love online too)! Check it out:

Trend Week : Day 3

You know that little thing that Bank of America does called "keep the change?" They transfer the left over some odd cents from each purchase on your debit card into your savings account. Or maybe you are one of the many people who have recently returned to leisurely biking due to the comeback of a simpler bike, a "coasting" bike. Because, let's be honest, not everyone wants to be Lance Armstrong.

Well if so, you are enjoying innovations from a consulting firm called IDEO. Today for Trend Week, Managing Partner and co-Chief Creative Officer of IDEO, Jane Fulton Suri spoke to a packed house.

What I took away most was the importance of empathy in design. Definitely key when designing product for Hallmark, but empathy is vital in the design of anything that needs to connect with a user/consumer/observer/etc. I am now going to once again steal copy, this time from the email sent out about our speaker today:

Jane Fulton Suri places special emphasis on the contribution of human insight, creative practice and design thinking as they relate both to IDEO's work and to client organizations worldwide. Jane has worked on multidisciplinary teams designing web services, electric vehicles, medical products, digital cameras, and environments for specific clients. As one of IDEO's global leaders, Jane plays a prominent role in teaching and adapting methods for use in innovation workshops. She has introduced terms like "empathic connection" - human centered design - and teaches her approach to observational research.

Jane is the author of Thoughtless Acts
, a picture book of empathic observations that invites readers to look more closely at interactions in the everyday world - a first step in design thinking.

Check out IDEO's website... there's a wealth of information there about their approach to problem solving and also a boatload of past projects, articles written about them, and a client list that will blow your mind.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Trend Week : Day 2

Um, wow.

Denyse Schmidt was here this morning and spoke to a large group of us eager Hallmarkers. For all you RISD students out there, she is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and (after a few other careers) is now an über quilter. Enjoy the eye candy and check out her site!

Trend Week is Here!

Every year our trends department here at Hallmark sets up a week's worth of daily, hour long presentations to keep Hallmarkers in tune with societal shifts that shape consumers’ attitudes, perceptions and behaviors. <-- I stole that last part from our intranet site. I can't come up with words like "societal" on my own, folks.

Whenever I explain something like the trends department, Trend Week or anything about my job here at Hallmark, it's hard not to come off as though I'm bragging. Sometimes I even feel like I'm describing my favorite summer camp. But no, this is where I work, and I get paid to come here every day. Sweet deal if you ask me.

Trend Week is one of my favorite perks (besides the nap room, of course) of working here. But I feel as though it's something that I could tell you about and then I'd have to end it with, "I guess you had to be there." It's an inspiring, informative experience that, as an employee of Hallmark, you don't want to miss.

Monday morning's presentation was given by our trends guru, Marita Wesely-Clough. One of the trends she talked about was a dichotomy in today’s consumer. For example, a consumer can be both a luxury shopper and a value shopper. People can be consumers of content and creators of content.

What's also cool is that at the end of the presentation we get information about the emerging and evolving trends, a list of interesting websites for 2008 and a very thorough book list. I'd love to share more with you, but I'm pretty sure all of Marita's hard work is to be kept within the walls of Hallmark. I guess you had to be there... (you should probably come and work here.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

crazy travel schedule = hard to blog x LOTS to share = long post (or a couple of mid-sized ones)

I'll keep the writing to a minimum -- a big step for me!

First and foremost, beautiful Savannah scenery from my trip to Savannah College of Art and Design fondly known to most as SCAD. This beautiful "campus" is located, well, throughout all of the historic district of Savannah, GA, so, it's not really a "campus" in the traditional sense. Very cool story how it all came to be, to learn more, check out these history tidbits.

Some eye candy for you (man do I miss the beautiful weather in the South):

The graphic design building, one of the first buildings that SCAD bought to restore and start the college.

Architectural color-so many unique and bold buildings!

Any literature buffs out there? I loved this book

Bill, my travel companion to SCAD and a studio manager in Animation here at Hallmark, enjoys blacksmithing -- he was impressed!

The Gryphon Tea Room on campus -- wish I had interior photos of the bright orange furniture -- so cool!

Love this

Shady front porches on which to drink sweet Southern tea all summer long...ah how I long for summer...

Yet another example of this old city's architectural charms

Well, there you have it -- the city was inspiring to me -- I felt so fortunate to be there for almost a week.

It wasn't just the city either... it was the many unique people I met within Savannah and within SCAD that really made my visit inspiring, memorable, and certainly worthwhile. Well, that and I stayed in a haunted hotel. Makes for a unique visit...

Monday, February 11, 2008



Randomly last week I sat down on my sofa, turned on my TV and started searching through the guide of shows. Just my luck, a documentary on the Sundance Channel featuring fashion designer Marc Jacobs was just starting. I sat mesmerized and completely glued to my television for the full 75 minutes it aired. It was a look into Jacobs' genius at his own American label as well as his art direction at the French fashion house of Louis Vuitton.

Please, set your DVR... or dust off a VHS and learn how to program the timer on your VCR... whatever it takes. This is one creative jolt you won't want to miss.

It airs again Monday, February 18th at noon and Thursday, February 28th at 10 AM. Click the link for more information and to see a clip.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bess! I feel so bad!

You are the newest author or cre-a-tiv-i-ty, a friend of mine, and someone I work with (and travel with!) and I totally forgot that today was your birthday!

Wow. Some friend I am. I know it doesn't mean as much now that you have had to remind me, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY BESS!

Bess = Guest Blogger

Hello to all the readers of Erin's great recruiting blog. I'm going to pop in randomly and dust a few tidbits of knowledge, random thoughts, mindless what-nots and whatever else I feel like sprinkling over here at cre•a•tiv•i•ty.

First and foremost, let me introduce myself. My name is Bess and I have been a greetings designer at Hallmark since October of 2004. I received my BFA in graphic design from Iowa State University and studied abroad in Rome while I was a student there.

In my free time I enjoy long walks on the beach... ha ha. Not really. Well, a beach does sound pretty good right now. I have traveled with Erin from time to time, Iowa State University, the AIGA conference in Denver, and most recently to John Brown University. Recruiting trips, while a ton of work, are really rewarding as well. Hopefully I will have more opportunities to do that in the future. (*Ahem, Erin.)

So that's that. I'll try and spice things up a bit when I post. And I'll try to be pretty regular about it... because I welcome any opportunity to do things a bit off task. (This is work related though, right!?) And a big PS- it's my BIRTHDAY today!


Some inspiration & wisdom from the halls of JBU....

"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his head is a craftsman. He who works with his his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." -St. Francis of Assisi

"Without aesthetic, design is either the humdrum repetition of familiar cliches or a wild scramble for novelty. Without aesthetic, the computer is but a mindless machine, producing effects without substance. Form without relevant content, or content without meaningful form." -Paul Rand

"Computers are to design as microwaves are to cooking." -Milton Glaser

"There is nothing worse than a brilliant image in a fuzzy concept." -Ansel Adams

And finally...

Hallmark on Campus! John Brown University

Art Building entryway overlooking gallery

Art Building Gallery (great exhibit choice, Joel!)

Professor Neal Ward shaping the minds of young web design talent

Bess and I with some of our rad student hosts and Professor Ward

Bess and I rockin' out our new JBU diggs-thanks Todd, et. al!

Our parting dinner at Pollards-such a beautiful frosty day, wonderful food, and a great parting meal with our friends at JBU. See you all in April!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Creative take on fast food in America

Cold weather cre-a-tiv-i-ty...

...or rather, the lack thereof. All of this snow is doing a number on my skin, my hair, and my creative brain cells.

I was shoveling several inches of snow (and ice) off of my driveway last night, trying not to drop the shovel with my frozen fingers, and it hit me: I need some warm weather inspiration. So, I did a little "online visualization"--a kind of "I wish pixels could be teleportation devices" research that I often do when the chilly weather gets me down. Here's a look:

Ahhhhhh.....I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, the ocean breeze, the cabana-boy bringing me another fruity drink. I was almost there...but then I remembered:

this is what my driveway looks like. Lots of shoveling to do, so I'd better get back to it. Guess we can all dream!