Random Thought for August 26, 2014 – On Creativity

I think a person’s creative mind can come up with perfect solutions to any problem. But then the conscious mind gets involved, puts in its 2 cents, and ends up making things difficult or turning them to rubbish.

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Random Thought for Wednesday, January 15, 2014

On decisions–
There’s an old saying– “It’s better to fail trying something than it is to succeed doing nothing.

It’s one thing to change a decision once it’s been put into action and its results can be evaluated. It’s another to constantly make second-guessing decisions without ever putting any of them in motion.

The former shows flexibility, strength of character and the potential for growth. The latter a paralyzing fear of the unknown.

Given those options. I’ll take the former any day.

Photoshop– you sure you’re doing that right?

I was walking around the mall this afternoon running a couple of errands before I start my new job on Monday, and I happened to come across a poster for the upcoming Scott Pilgrim movie. I thought it was pretty cool as a teaser type poster (I’ve always been partial to bass and drums). That is, until  I took a look at its feet:

What jumped out at me was how oddly angled and out of proportion (relative to the figure as a whole) the sneakers looked. And let’s not get into the shadow. For a second I thought the whole thing might have been an optical illusion created by overly baggy pants, but the jeans looked loose or relaxed, but definitely not baggy. I also looked Michael Cera up on IMDB, and found that the kid’s close to six feet, so not only did the shoes look like they had been replaced, but they were now tiny as well (I’m fairly confident in saying that, if anything, Mr. Cera would not want to be known as the guy with the tiny feet).

Just so things are in context, here’s an image of the whole poster. I took the liberty of really quickly drawing a rough “wireframe” of where I think the original feet were placed.

I’m hoping the reason such slipshod work was put out was because of time constraints. I’d hate to think this exemplifies the type of quality the studio’s marketing people (whether in-house or not) are putting out.

So, tell me– am I correct in my observation? Am I completely off-base here? I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this.

Craigslist ads– sniper rifle or drum of dynamite?

Craigslist ads are a pretty good value for the dollar, if you ask me. Where else do you have such a large place where you can put up an ad virtually anywhere in the world– for nothing.

That being said, these free ads can be a pain sometimes, because of this very public nature. It’s almost like those ads you see in laundromats, dorms, and other public spots where you just tear off a little strip with a phone number on it. Anybody can snag one, so for every legit inquiry, there’s probably at least 5 spammy ones tha come your way. And in this age of the Internet, those spammy ones can potentially steal personal information, not to mention zap time from following up on actual, bona fide potential clients.

You could also– quite reasonably– argue how it’s like whispering in the middle of  Grand Central– at rush hour. But we’ll leave that argument for another day and focus instead on their bang for the buck. After all, free stuff’s good. Right?
image courtesy of morguefile.com
Now, I’m not going to go into a whole thing on how to place these ads. What I want to focus on are the ways you can reply to these ads. When you place an ad on Craigslist you have the option of showing a link to (a) your actual email, (b) displaying an anonymized email link, or (c) hiding the email altogether. For the most part, the ads I see (and have placed myself) have an anonymized link, which forwards/redirects the message to your actual email inbox. This is supposed to protect you by keeping this bit of personal info– your email– off the ad and the intitial contact.

Is this a good way of doing things? Maybe

Recently, I’ve switched tactics and decided to hide the email address completely. Instead, at the very end of the listing, I give out my website address in the form of rafaelarmstrong [dot] com, and direct folks to use the contact form I have set up there.

This results in a couple of things. First, it weeds out the people who may just be replying to any and all posts that are remotely related to whatever project they may/may not have on deck by forcing them to physically type in the address in their browser, visit my site and navigate to the contact form– hopefully after checking out the samples I have online.

Secondly, the form itself has a captcha set up, which helps in reducing– if not outright eliminating– spam bots that would just troll Craigslist ads for email links.

Now, I’ll probably get less hits off that ad than if I just left the email address as a “reply to” (even if it’s anonymized), but the quality of replies is improved slightly. And, isn’t that what we ultimately are looking for?

What do you think? Am I on to something? Is it naive and foolish to even place ads on Craigslist? Leave me your thought and suggestions below.

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– for May 2

So much for the “every day” part. Although, I have been doing a fair amount of work these past couple of months, so it’s not like I’ve dropped designing and coming up with stuff altogether. Anyhow, I think I have a plan on how I’m going to get somewhat caught up fairly quickly. Here’s a start.

I was reading online today about two things that seemed to dovetail together in a funny way– to me, at least. First, the capping of the well out in the Gulf (BTW, if this isn’t the definition of cluster#$%&, then I don’t know what is. I’ll get off my eco-political soapbox now). Second, I read on a blog somewhere about a series of short videos made by the Old Spice Guy (OSG), some of which personally thanked celebs or “internet famous” folks. Both these things got me thinking about the long-running meme about Chuck Norris. And, being a fan of the show Deadliest Warrior, I started to wonder who’d win should Chuck and the OSG were to meet in a mano a mano.

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– for April 26-29

Perhaps I should rename this Create Something Every Day (sort of)

I started this series back in April, but we got some expected-yet-sudden business from a new client, which meant that some things got put on the back burner. At the time we were experiencing some unseasonably warm– almost schizophrenic weather in the NJ/NYC metro area, so that served as the “base” for these pieces. Rather than go through a multiple, elaborate unfolding, I give you the whole series– Seasons.

"summer" ©2010 rafael armstrong
fall ©2010 rafael armstrong
winter ©2010 rafael armstrong
spring ©2010 rafael armstrong

Now I’m closing in on getting April wrapped up, which makes me feel like I’m catching up.  Now, we have around 10 more pieces to go. Stay tuned, and thanks for dropping by and checking this project out.