• September 28

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    ADCD FAC at Wall Street On Demand

    FACs are open studio tours held the last Friday of the month. Co-hosted by AIGA CO and Art Directors Club of Denver, these unique events offer a chance to see different working environments and network with a variety of creative individuals. FACs are free and open to the design community.

    About Wall Street on Demand: Wall Street On Demand is a 245-person company specializing in the aggregation of data feeds and the design, development and managed solutions for many top financial services and media companies. For 15 years, we’ve delivered innovative, high quality products to help our clients and their customers visualize, manipulate and understand complex financial information. Our clients depend on our broad and deep knowledge of financial design and our innovative techniques to help data tell a story. Wall Street On Demand’s 20-person design team is focused solely on the visualization and presentation of financial information.

    When: Friday, September 28
    Where: 5718 Central Ave Boulder, CO 80301
    Info: ADCD

  • Why Next, Why Denver, Why now?

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    Jason Otero, principal at Art & Anthropology and comrade to The Denver Egotist, shares his thinking on the AIGA Design Conference coming very soon to a city near you.

    When I was initially informed that the AIGA’s conference theme was to be framed around the concept of “Next” I immediately drew parallels to the pioneer legacy that makes up much of Denver’s history.

    I imagined the context of the families who traversed the plains of middle America through the late 1800’s to seek new possibilities and the promises of brighter futures. That mythology is still a large part of the mystique of the west, and is the reason why many of my friends and peers speak so romantically of visiting this region.

    As a designer, I have found that this area is home to an incredible entrepreneurial energy, that when matched with strong creative vision yields remarkable results (ie. Chipotle, Quizno’s, Crocs, MapQwest – all Colorado-based companies). In the last 10 years, Denver as a city, has embarked on numerous cultural, social, economic and urban planning initiatives that will position it as a city that truly embraces the word Next in a confident, almost defiant tone as if to say, “What else you got.” Denver is actively positioning itself as the creative capital of the west and I can think of no better place in America to be engaged and challenged in the discipline of design.

    Consider the addition of the expanded Denver Art Museum by Libeskind, the new Museum of Contemporary Art by David Adjaye, the transfer of the National Design Archive, and the construction of the Clifford Still Museum as a statement of Denver’s commitment to actively engaging its citizens in a discourse of art and culture. Additionally, Denver embodies a growing multi-cultural audience that will redefine the design landscape for audience and designers alike.

    In short…

    The decision to bring the AIGA conference to Denver in 2007 was relevant in many ways but under the theme of Next is especially poignant because it serves as a metaphor for what I feel is the trajectory of design for the next 30 years; increasingly entrepreneurial, community oriented, decentralized and sunny.

    Need more convincing to get a ticket? Behold the list of speakers who will be there preaching the gospel.

  • You've Been Warned List

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    A really smart idea was sitting in our inbox this morning sent from one of our loyal readers. It made us happy to know there aren’t just brainless vagrants reading the filth we write.

    Without further ado, we present the finest reader contribution thus far. Hosted right here in this very spot, we’re beginning Denver’s “You’ve Been Warned” list.

    What’s that, you ask? It’s the place where all those living in past or present agency hell can anonymously (or publicly) wave a red flag to the rest of the city to steer their careers around Denver’s soul-sucking black holes of so-called creativity.

    Consider the contribution of your pain-soaked insights below as part of your civic duty to the creatively-inclined who share this city with you.

  • Advice - On Office Romance

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    Dear Speedball,

    I started seeing an intern in my office. Without going into too much detail, I will say that the relationship got very serious, very fast—then got very ugly even faster. I’ve overheard her telling my boss (V.P. of Account Services) that I was, well, “unsatisfying” in bed.

    She’s young and treats the office like it’s a high school, over-dramatizing everything, spreading rumors, and basically gossiping all day long—mostly about me.

    Please, get me out of this mess with my career intact,

    Duane

    Dear Duane,
    My father rarely gave me good advice (or told me he loved me, or helped me pay for college), but he did once give me a little nugget that I’ve tried to adhere to: “Son,” he said, “Never dip your pen in the company ink.”

    Coming from the generation of disposable pens, it took me years to figure out what he was talking about. The fact that he was actually inside of his secretary when he said it further confused me. Regardless, I finally figured out what he was saying and have abided by his wisdom religiously for the last 4 months.

    Since you now find yourself with company ink still dripping from your pen, this advice comes a little late. Perhaps it will be helpful in the future. As for now, let’s try to disarm the ticking time bomb you’ve created.

    Don’t sweat this too much, you’re not new to this challenge. Whether you’re selling unneeded and/or overpriced products to teenagers, or simply poking a design intern in the parking lot, all challenges in the marketing business are basically the same: Positioning.

    That said, you’re late to market on this one since she’s already kicked off an early PR blitz. It’s time to get to work.

    Step one. Execute Operation Donut box.

    If there’s an uncontested rule in business it’s that nobody outside of senior management turns down free donuts (except the germ-freak copywriter). Donuts are the peace-pipe of the cubicle world. Your intern is now your box of donuts—available for everyone to enjoy and benefit from.

    First, head over to your favorite junior account guy, who everyone is somewhat surprised to find out is straight, and tell him the main reason you and the intern stopped seeing each other is because she was always talking about him. An account guy trying to convince the world he’s not gay is like money in the bank for someone looking to pass off a liability like your intern.

    Next, cruise over to HR. Let the woman who manages this area of the company know that you need to get into the office supply room to get a toner cartridge, but it sounds like the intern is in there having sex with someone (don’t worry, she’s probably already doing the account guy). Giving the middle-aged lady in HR some office drama to get worked up about is like throwing a steak to a lion.

    Step two. Execute Operation Sympathy.

    Your Account VP has been in the same situation you’re in and will see through the infantile tactics used in Operation Donut Box, you’ll need a more sophisticated weapon to use against his well-fortified defense system. Cancer is just that weapon.

    Let him know you were just diagnosed with testicular cancer. Tell him you’re committed to the company more than ever since it’s the only thing you really have left to live for as the love of your life, the intern, left you after you were no longer able to satisfy her sexually.

    Duane, the good news is that you don’t need to worry about your career. If every guy who banged an intern ruined their career, where would our industry be today?

    Denver, I’m here to help,

    Speedball

    Need advice? You can contact Speedball at speedball@theegotist.com, or follow him on Twitter: @spdbll.

  • September 28

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    Art Institute – Quarterly Portfolio Show

    Come review portfolios and meet graduates from all of our programs.

    When: Friday, September 21, 10 AM – 1 PM
    Where: Korbel Ballrooms, Colorado Convention Center 700 14th Street, Denver – enter on the Stout Street side, in Lobby D, for easiest access
    Info: Contact Andrea Impastato at aimpastato[at]aii.edu

  • September 20

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    NDAC Management & Integration Pod – Analyzing Booze

    Inspire creativity through the use of distilled spirits

    When: Thursday, September 20th, “Happy Hour” 4:30 until the fat lady sings
    Where: Funky Buddha (Mid-town) – 776 Lincoln St.
    Info: NDAC

  • September 18

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    BuzZ : Independent Designer Roundtable – Selling Ideas to Clients

    Check link below for information.

    When: Tuesday, Sep 18, 2007, 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM
    Where: FLUID Coffee Bar, 501 E 19th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
    Info: AIGA

  • Creative Crackdown, Cactus TV

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    The third individual submission in our new running series is up for your honest feedback. Once again, our friends from Tequila, TBWA\Chiat\Day’s in-house interactive shop, will be joining us to give their take on the work (with more heavy hitters to come from other shops around the country soon). Here’s the set-up for this new spot from Cactus.

    Cactus Marketing Communications has just launched its first television spot in a new wave of off-beat commercials for the youth tobacco prevention campaign, Own Your C (Own Your Choices).

    Rather than focus solely on the topic of tobacco, the innovative campaign empowers Colorado youth to make educated choices and encourages them to own the consequences of those choices, good and bad.

    With the tagline, “Make your own choices,” the spot reminds the audience that if you aren’t strong and resolute, someone else may make your choices for you. The spot drives viewers to visit ownyourC.com, an evolving, interactive website that serves as a forum for teens to exercise their choices.

  • September 14

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    The ADCD Annual Awards Show

    The judges have selected an outstanding body of work – work that deserves to be noticed. RSVP today.

    When: Friday, September 14
    Where: The Brown Palace Hotel, Grand Ballroom and Promenade, 321 17th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202
    Info: ADCD

    Paper 101 For Students – Preparing For the Working World

    Paper 101 For Students by xpedx will teach graduating design students about paper properties, finishes and how to specify paper.

    When: Friday, September 14, 2007, 9:00 am to 11:00 am
    Where: Xpedx, 3900 Lima Street, Denver, CO 80230
    Info: AIGA

    Illustrator Rafa Jenn – Art Opening

    As you all know, the artist RAFA JENN will be showing his new body of work (including 50 new drawings) this Friday here at the Engine. If you don’t know… well, get in the know son!

    When: Friday, September 14, 2007, 8:00 -12:00 PM
    Where: JoyEngine, 2037 13th Street, Boulder 80302
    Info: JoyEngine

  • Wearing Freelance Pants By Eric Kiker

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    A lot of people have been asking us what it takes to make it as a successful freelancer in this city. So we asked one of the top freelance writers in Denver to tell us what he’s done to carve out such an enviable position. Here’s what he told us.

    They say some advice isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, and this thing’s virtual, so be careful.

    I started freelancing right out of college, quite by accident. A friend had a friend whose rich dad had set him up in business, he manufactured rifle safes, and his safes were so much burlier than the competition’s, yours truly wrote a brochure, in which yours truly also decided to include a big old comparison chart, right there where everybody could see all the damn…comparisons…were backwards. I hadn’t proofread it. So my client refused to pay me.

    Rule #1 – hire a proofreader
    Rule #2 – learn about Small Claims Court (after all, he looked at it before it went to the printer too)

    With my first, albeit temporarily delayed check for $300 in the bank, I decided, “This freelance writing stuff is for me.” I needed to promote myself, so I put together a simple letter and sent it to a bunch of agencies. I positioned myself as an overflow guy, didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes, just offered help on an as-needed basis. I followed up a few days later with a call to each agency. And got work.

    Rule #3 – decide how you want to position yourself
    Rule #4 – don’t expect your brilliant promo piece to make the phone ring all by itself – these people are busy

    Rule #3, in my possibly worthless virtual opinion, is continually ignored by creatives looking for freelance work (or full time jobs for that matter). You must approach yourself as a product for sale. Write yourself a brief if you have to. Figure out where you fit in. “I’m the best designer you’ve ever seen, plus I’ve got a sweet haircut” may be a position, but it’s not necessarily a successful one. Your demonstration of the fact that you understand this business starts with how you promote yourself.

    My overflow positioning strategy wasn’t glamorous, but it was accurate at that time in my career, and it got me into a lot of doors. Which got me busy enough to learn more rules about freelancing.

    Rule #5 – there’s no traffic person to berate you into meeting the deadline
    Rule #6 – agencies hate hearing, “I need more time” even more than their clients
    Rule #7 – billing sucks
    Rule #8 – know how to respond to the internally-created question, “Hey, where’s my check?”

    Numbers 5 and 6 are a team. So are 7 and 8. As for deadlines, if you’re disciplined, or can learn to be, you’ll make a great freelancer. If not, it’s certain doom. Don’t even try. Go work for an agency, or better yet, on the client side. Otherwise, don’t ask for more time. Figure out how long it’s going to take, agree to a deadline and stick with it. You’ll get a reputation for being a pro. Okay sometimes you can ask to stretch 5:00 pm to 8:00 am. But if they say “no,” you’d better just get on your little horsey.

    Then there’s the money. Very appealing stuff. When you freelance, you cut out the middle man. You get the retail price. No one’s marking up your hopefully on-time talent. But you’ve got to be on the financial ball, bill early, bill often is the mantra. And yes, sometimes, you’ll have to ask your clients, respectfully please, to pay you. But unless you get involved with certain dubious characters, I can offer a relatively high amount of assurance that you will get paid. I’ve only been stiffed twice, each time it was by some dolt starting a business and promising, “If you give me a deal now, there’ll be a lot more work once I’m able to move this operation out of the back seat of my car.”

    Rule #9 – don’t work for people who say, “If you give me a deal now, there’ll be a lot more work once I’m able to move this operation out of the back seat of my car.”

    Okay, that’s it for today. I’ve got to go do some billing.

    Next time, if there is a next time, once you get work, how do you charge?

    Later,
    E. Kiker

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