Thursday, January 27, 2005

I crashed my stationary bike.

Yesterday, while exercising in the community fitness center, I crashed into my reclining bike. In a fit of madness brought on by the itchy sensation in my back from my shirt rubbing against my skin with each revolution, I attempted to shift my weight and succeeded in giving myself a goose-egg. I use that term because I hit it right smack dab on the patella, so it bruised like your head bruises. I also use it because, not unlike an egg, it will soon look like a mean, horrible person painted it for Easter. My skin is practically transparent. I don't have a prayer that the bruise will be. "Erica: Now in Amazing Technicolor!"

Hmmm, what else is going on in my life? Well, I'm liking this thing. I love Sabrina (the 1990s version of the movie) and the protagonist has a quote I find apropos here. "I think I've been taking pictures long before I had a camara." I feel like I've been running thoughts like these through my head for a long time, and now I have some place to channel them. Not earth-shattering stuff, but it's amusing and therapeutic, in a way. Yes, I will have a bruise on my knee for a few weeks to come, but at least I had a little fun with it.

Aside from klutzy threats to my physical well-being, I've been doing alright. The biggest challenge in my life right now is a work project. Now, I discovered a few years ago that I love publishing/graphic design work, but I have been a complete amateur since then. A couple of weeks ago, my boss realized she was not going to have the time/energy to do the yearly company catalog and she decided to delegate the job. It is the single largest marketing tool the company uses since homeschoolers like hard-copy catalogs and they like LOTS of information in them. So her design consultant came up with the front/back cover and a sample of a coordinating interior spread and then she handed me a 34-page assignment to do over three weeks.

And you're rolling your eyes over there. Honestly, it's a lot harder than it sounds. I had to keep the same number of pages as the previous year's catalog but add several new products. I had to include all the previous years information plus additonal pictures and text. I had to design all the pages from the sample spread but adapt it for pages in which it didn't work with the flow of information. I had to create good design and yet curb my revolutionary tendencies. It is, after all, stressed-out parents reading the catalog, not people who want to appreciate good design and maybe make a decision about which chisles to use to shape their child's mind. I was overwhelmed, but I told myself just to START.

Just now I got a couple of emails from boss. I sent her an almost-final PDF version of the document and she replied saying that she was glancing over it, but she needed a break from her non-stop day and she was going to tackle critiquing/proofing later. The second email was sent close on the heels of the first. The subject said: "this can't wait" and the inside simply said "I love, love, LOVE what you've done to the order form!!"

It's perhaps the least flexible page of the entire catalog. It's a form! You can't have a lot of fun with it or no one will be able to understand it, much less fill it out. But she loved the little touches - the fonts, the placement of the text, the way I tried to make the design show you what was important about the form and what was auxiliary. Probably she also liked the kick-butt gradient effect I created with the company name and logo. That simple praise from her (someone who is very sweet but also honest with her praise) made all the difference. Almost Final #14.pdf ? BRING IT!

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