Well hey guys. It’s nice to be back here! I feel for the past couple months I’ve been writing down ideas and dreams and have been having this kind of whirlwind thing happening to my life that I haven’t been able to share here. Not for lack of wanting, but for lack of feeling entirely motivated when I did have some time to sit down and relax. You know me and Netflix. Netflix won over all that spare time. I can feel some things in my life starting to settle down, the weather has finally started to warm up, and I can just generally feel good change happening all around. This past winter had it’s fair share of hard times, so I’m going to indulge in all the happy newness that’s been going on.
While I’ve been away from here for the most part, I’ve been thinking about this space more than ever before. I’ve sensed this change coming for quite some time, and I’m hoping that I can start to make a little sense of where I’m hoping these new changes will pop up in this space. The biggest change is that I want to earnestly embrace transparency and authenticity around my creative life. This concept is kind of the driving force behind where I want to head here, so I thought I’d take some time to explain what I think transparency and authenticity has to do with the creative process.
A couple months ago I listened to the first Businessology podcast (thank you Angel for the recommendation!). At first listen I was all ‘yes, yes yes!’ inside my head and I couldn’t stop nodding at my computer screen. Thank goodness the cube walls are high at work! What was kind of a smaller part of this episode, but was something that struck me so hard, was Dan Mall‘s thoughts on transparency. He embraces it completely in his design process. By being open about all that is going on throughout the process publicly, he’s able to reflect, rethink, test, and get a much better result for his clients due to this openness. By being open, he is connecting with his audience at a much deeper level as well. We’re all curious people aren’t we? I know one of my favorite things to do is to either watch designers and artists work, or read/listen to how they go about doing what they do. I personally learn so much from how other creatives work — and not as much from just looking at their end result, be it beautiful. While I’ve always been open here about my creative process, I don’t think that I’ve been doing a good enough or thorough enough job at being completely transparent. How many times have I said: “hey guys, look at this moodboard for this client I’m not going to mention the name of—keep stopping by to find out more about the project!” Not in those words exactly, but what I’ve been sharing has usually been past-tense and beyond the point where any thoughtful changes could be made. I want to invite you in to my process at a deeper level. My goal for Pinegate Road from now on is to be better at opening up and being transparent about what I’m doing, and how I’m going about it. I want to be transparent about my journey so that we can inspire and influence eachother. To be completely transparent, there is an element of vulnerability that you have to be comfortable with. Being transparent can be messy, it opens your flaws and shows them to the world, and it puts your hopes and dreams alongside your fears for everyone to see. The post I shared about my faith was the absolute first time that I’ve ever had fear of rejection from this online space. I’d never opened up about any of that, and after I hit publish my heart was racing. I think this is where the good stuff lies. It lies in that area where things are a little scary, a little unknown, but where they’re worth pursuing and pushing forward with. I don’t have nearly anything figured out, and I’m thinking that with this vow to transparency, I might be on the right track to possibly getting closer. I’m hoping that by being transparent about my life and creative journey that this becomes a space where we can all connect and help each other out on our creative paths.
Related to transparency, but not quite the same thing, is authenticity. How do you even start with that? It’s my belief that authenticity shows your true self, whether or not you’re being transparent about your process. There are some designers who may not believe in being open about their process, and that is totally ok! That’s being authentic to who they are — authenticity inherently comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s my hope that some of these new changes happening will start to reveal my more authentic self. I’m hoping to personally learn more about my authentic self. This move towards transparency and authenticity is something that I’ve been feeling for quite some time, and it feels so good to be able to put my hands to the keyboard and just type-vomit this all out. Type-vomit, that’s a thing, yeah? While I certainly like to put finished work out in to the world, it’s definitely part of my authentic self to be awkwardly open, and I want to start being a little more of that on here.
Since starting my job, I’ve had this weird pressure to keep things a secret. Most of the design work I’m doing belongs to American Greetings, and honestly, I’m not sure what I’m allowed to share. I’m learning a ton at work, but for now I need to keep a lot of that private because it’s just not my place to open up about it. I’m hoping that as I move forward with freelance clients, they will be open to this idea of transparency just as much as I am and embrace it as a worthwhile part of the process. I can promise that I’ll be sharing snippets of work on my instagram, and that I’ll be posting the over-arching life lessons here.
In the spirit of this post, I want to share something that I’m in the midst of right this very moment. Pinegate Road is getting a facelift. I’ve known that this space — that I coded in super weird ways from my very limited knowledge in CSS and HTML — was just not where I ideally wanted it to be as a professional designer. I’m working with Katelyn as a consultant and web developer and with Katie as an editor and copywriter to bring this space into it’s next phase of life. Pinegate Road has become something more than an outlet for testing color palettes and fashion trends. It’s become my entity as a creative individual. I want both the blog and the studio to live in one space and really let those who come to visit tell the story of what Pinegate Road is and how they might be able to join the creative journey. Right now, the ‘studio’ is my student portfolio that hasn’t been updated in well over a year — yikes! I’m sharing this with you now, but I’m barely in to creating a rough framework for the new site. Here’s where I’m hoping this transparency can help us all. Do you mind sharing any resources, or stories for building studio/blog sites? Are there any that you know of that you believe do an amazing job? I’m in the research phase, and I really want to do this right. I’ve never invested into my business before, so this is a scary and big step for me — but I’ve never been more ready! I’m hoping with the sharing, comes the learning for all those that care to scroll through whatever comments might be left. I’ve been collecting some web designs that I’m liking the look of over here, but in all, I’m pretty scattered. When it’s your personal project, don’t you have that ‘It must be all the things!’ mentality? Hah. I’m my own worst client, I swear.
Cheers to transparency and being all of our own most authentic selves!