Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pssst...over here!

Hi there! Just a little reminder that I'm now blogging under my new project The Exceptional Creative (TEC). Subscribe to the RSS feed there to stay in the loop with tips for designers, working with clients and other designer/entrepreneur-centric content.
It's a must-read for any self-employed person in a service industry.

Things here will continue peter out as I move my design entrepreneur work to TEC and my studio work to clark-and-co.com. If you have questions about the move, or anything else for that matter, drop me a line and I can fill you in. Thanks!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Los Angeles Typography Artwork

This collection of type-oriented photography was taken while I was in LA last October. This piece is the second in a new little series I've been working on.
 Los Angeles Typography Wall Art / ©2011 Megan Clark

I'll be printing up this piece as a 24x24" gallery-wrapped canvas, for anyone interested in acquiring one of their own. Cost: $199. Inquire for purchase details.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mexican Typography Artwork

This collection of type-oriented photography was taken while I was sailing down the Mexican Riviera last March. I've been wanting to create a montage of these images for a while because they have so much color, real life grunge and meticulous hand-rendered type to offer.

The final product is vibrant and captivating.
(Well, it's captivating in the opinion of a type nerd, at least!)

Mexican Typography Wall Art / ©2011 Megan Clark

I'll be printing up this piece as a 24x24" gallery-wrapped canvas, for anyone interested in acquiring one of their own. Cost: $199. Inquire for purchase details.

I plan to following this up with other location-based, typographic imagery, creating a series of wall art. (Which I fully intend on littering my office space with, by the way. Hopefully my officemates love typography as much as I do!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

new name / new business-y stuff

Oh, change. It's exciting, always. But let's be honest: It also almost always looses it's charm before long. Once I incorporated the studio under a new name, I had to got to tackle the colossal chore of updating all of my business communication documents (that's just a fancy word for things like business cards, letterhead, invoices, envelopes and other business-y stuff). Let me tell you: a dirty chore it is.

Happily, I've waded all the way through and things are looking pretty darn bright from this side of the to-do list.

See those business cards? They're just one of the pieces I'm proud to unveil for Clark & Co. (You probably saw the website placeholder last week.)

Studio Olivine so kindly partnered with me to letterpress the cards; I can now turn my logo loose in the real world. Next time you see me, ask for one. Then, you can turn it into a keychain, necklace pendant, hang tag, gift tag, dog tag or any other kind of tag you'd like. It's ridiculous fun, right? (Read about the luxury and awesomeness of letterpress from some previous client work while you're here.)

Friends and clients, thanks for bearing with me through this transition. Even if we don't work together, I'm (sadly) certain you've been subject to a look and/or word that contained a tinge of my self-inflicted suffering. Being self-employed is hard work! Fortunately, it's also completely worth all the work that's hard. As for the work that's not hard....er....well....that's conversation's for another day.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Clark & Co.

The studio site placeholder's finally up, people. Hallelujah. Who remembers when I had a full portfolio site? Yeah, me either. That day will come. For now, I'm still working through the adrenaline rush of getting my new logo finalized. I'll be moving everything over to clark-and-co.com and theexceptionalcreative.com, but will be sure to announce it all here, too, so you can follow along if you'd like. Until then, let's not let summer run away from us. Go!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Exceptional Creative

Hello! It's been a long while since I've hung out here on the studiom blog, but it's for good reason. I've been pushing through a few new rhino-sized projects as referenced earlier. I'm thrilled to announce that one of them has launched. It's a website for entrepreneurial graphic designers looking to take their business to the next level. You can read all about it below.

It's official. We've launched.

The Exceptional Creative is built on the principle that success comes from being the exception to the rule. As creatives (designers, copywriters, art directors, photographers, etc), we are the subject of some less-than-savory stereotypes. Let’s face it. We have a reputation for being pretentious, flighty, fragile, stubborn, bitter, bohemian and totally self-absorbed. Insulted yet?

On the other side of those stereotypes lies limitless success. Exceptional Creatives make the most money, get the most interesting jobs, have a never ending stream of referrals and experience the most satisfaction in their work.

A revolution is underway, led by a new generation of creatives who are exceptions to the rule. If you’re serious about getting, doing and keeping exceptional work, please join us. Get on our website, check out the toolkit, and start thinking about what it means to rise above the status quo.

While you're there, be sure to grab our free download and start keeping your clients happy and organized today. If you decide you'd like to purchase the kit, move fast: the first 50 purchasers will get $20 off (use the code HELLOWORLD).

We're happy to have you!
Oh, and Twitter of course: @ExceptionalC

"The Exceptional Creative’s debut project is a downloadable kit, packed with business templates created specifically for graphic designers. With years of experience in exceeding her clients’ expectations when it comes to communication and professionalism, Clark’s toolkit provides designers with the same strong, effective communication and organizational tools she uses every day. Whether you’re a longtime freelancer or newly self-employed, you’ll find all the documents you need to implement a step-by-step professional workflow in A Toolkit for Designers, including contracts, questionnaires, invoices and and even a Client Contract, drafted by a business attorney. The all-in-one kit also includes a PDF guide with instructions, tips and tricks."
If you have any questions, suggestions or just plain 'ol thoughts about the new endeavor, please holler. I'd love to hear from you.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm in the thick of a studio re-brand, a rhino-sized personal project (or two or three or four) and what feels like a bazillion other exciting things with my clients, so until I can paddle my way up and resurface with the tide, I'm taking a blog break. You'll still hear from me now and again, but not with the rhythm you normally would. (If you can't bear the thought of my silence - ha - I will still be posting over at hi, friend.) As much as I have disdain for bloggers commenting on their post frequency or infrequency, tardiness and rational for that tardiness, I feel like 1) this little alert is owed to those reading and 2) I won't actually be able to free myself from the compulsion to post unless I make a statement here. Whew. So there it is.

My sincere apologies for those of you who, like me, hate this flavor of commentary.

Now it's over and you can move on with your day.

Oh, but one more thing. That's my new logo up there.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Restyle Resale + Ellington Handbags

A client of mine, Restyle Resale, is debuting a new brand and product line: Ellington Handbags.
Ellington creates super luxurious leather and fabric products and is based in Portland, OR. The brand being available at Restyle is something to be celebrated, and celebrate we will. The products are being released with a kick-start: A Handbag Giveaway! And not just one handbag, but three. Une, deux, trois!
I'm thrilled for both parties involved. It's going to be a great alliance. And I had a ton of fun working on the promotional design.

If you'd like to enter the giveaway (why wouldn't you!?), simply 'Like' Restyle on Facebook (click here to do that) and post a comment telling us all which Ellington bag is your favorite. The three winners will be announced Saturday, February 12th at 8pm at the shop in Albany. If you don't come for the handbags, come for the appetizers and martinis. Oh la la!

P.S. Ellington's recent branding was done by one of my favorite Portland agencies to work with: 14 Hands. Kudos to you, too!

P.P.S. Restyle is also carrying a selection of hi, friend products, now as well. If you live in the Albany area, pop in to skip the shipping.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Chair Pair | Sneak Peek of Chair #1

The opportunity to apply design to life is everywhere. Even in a chair. I have two old chairs that have been begging for new life. I've decided to turn them into siblings. Though the chair styles are different, we'll be redoing them using the same fabric, thus creating a chair pair. Today's post is a glimpse into the process of Chair #1.

Disclaimer: We are in no way, shape, form or stretch of the imagination, re-upholstery experts. What I'm showing you today is likely evidence of that fact (not that I would know how right or wrong we went about all of this), but hopefully that also makes it interesting.

Introducing Chair #1:
The project starts with a chair my parents purchased at an antique store in my dad's hometown, Emery, SD. I recently acquired it and decided it needed a major face-lift (Reason #1 - it's so not living up to it's potential wearing maroon. Reason #2 - I've been dreaming of a white house and the chair with it's grandma qualities simply didn't belong). 
And the ripping of fabric begins...
See, this is so grandma-esque.
Lots and lots of little bitty staples and nails. 
The guts revealed!
New Foam = New Life!
A DIY project isn't fun if it's not a mess.
My vision, becoming reality....
The fabric I chose came from Premier Prints 
It's from the Netherlands collection. 
I chose Cloud Linen. It is heavenly.
I worked, too (not just taking photos).
There will be a reveal of the final product, but only after I've documented the process behind Chair #2 as well. (Slotted for this weekend!) So stay tuned. And thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thank you, Simple Shoes!

Simple makes shoes for a happy planet. The team at Simple was kind enough to let me pick out a pair of my own before the holiday season as a thank you for all the work I did for the Identity Showdown.

I got my pair of black BRRogue boots in the mail late last week. They're comfy and chic, two qualities that don't usually get along.

Besides melding comfort and style, Simple is serious about playing nice with Mother Nature. Take just the specifications from my lovely new boots as an example:
  •  Women's BRRogue boot with eco-certified leather and suede uppers (BLC/ISO 14001 certification)
  • Nickel and lead free buckle detail
  • The "pedbed" (the cushiony and supportive stuff at the bottom of the shoe) is made of PU and latex foam for comfort
  • The sole of this shoe is biodegradable! The midsole is made of EVA with BIO-D and the outsole is made of 30% recycled rubber and 70% natural rubber with BIO-D. The BIO-D makes the EVA and rubber biodegrade in 20 years in a landfill or compost heap – not on your feet!
  • The foot form inserts are made of post consumer recycled paper
  • The shoebox is made of post-consumer recycled paper, soy based printing ink, natural latex and starch based glue

Wow, right? Simple makes shoes for a happy planet and a happy Megan. Thank you, Simple! Now, let's just get some of the other brands we love on Mother Nature's good side...

Sincerely and with happy feet,

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Lee's Week of Eats" Banners

A non-requested project is usually the most fun. This series of banners is for a dear albeit new friend, Leela Cyd. She's traveled the world, writes for The Kitchn and has some serious jazz moves. You can find ravings about her here and in our debut "Lee's Week of Eats" post. She's phenomenally talented and sweet as cupcake frosting, too. We at hi, friend decided to partner with Leela for a weekly menu plan via the blog. That decision flipped the "on" switch in my batty brain and I asked, "What can I design that would be the prefect compliment to this collaboration?" Little blog banners, of course! I tapped Leela on her virtual shoulder and said I wanted to whip something up for all of us to use in this new endeavor. She graciously gave me permission to yank her photo work off her site for my stealth project. And it's a good thing she did or these little strips of design would be lackluster, amen? Amen!

The banners were sized to fit each of our blogs widths perfectly and will provide some color and consistency to the weekly posts. What I've shown above is just a selection from the bunch. You'll have to tune in to the Menu Posts to catch them all.

"Mangia bene, vivi felice"
Eat well, live happily.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I spent the week writing proposals, tending to hi, friend and preparing for the super exciting launch of something super exciting that I can't quite reveal yet. All the while I was guzzling coffee, which I've just recently decided deserves a scoop of sugar and a splash of half-and-half. I've made it 27 years (the last 9 being a coffee-drinker) without that common pair of vices. I don't know what happened, but I've embraced them. At least through the weekend...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quote | Paul Arden

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Free Agent Formula Affiliate

Ah-hem...I've got an announcement to make!
Here are three of the requirements for becoming an affiliate:
  1. You own a copy of the Free Agent Formula and have personally experienced the program.
  2. You believe in the product and are passionate about sharing it with others.
  3. You either lead or belong to a community of people to which the Free Agent Formula would be relevant.
Check, check and check!

Let me elaborate:
  1. There are actually two copies of the FAF on my bookshelf at work. One I purchased over a year ago and the new, revised edition we used in Modern Entrepreneur.
  2. If I haven't talked to you about FAF, you are in the minority. I recommend it to every entrepreneur I encounter. I've added my official testimonial to my blog, but here it is again: "The Free Agent Formula has revolutionized the way I think about my business. It opened the entrepreneurial part of my brain to countless possibilities and consequently changed the direction of my career and life. I’ve always been fearful that I would make the wrong decisions in my business and end up doing something I don’t even like. Through the FAF, I’ve seen how focusing on even the simplest of ideas can be the key in making my business exactly what I’ve always wanted: satisfying, profitable and sustainable. Cheers to escaping the sorrowful fate of so many who work for themselves!" 
  3. Hello, fellow contract designers, copywriters, art directors, photographers and start-up clients! You are my community. 
If you've heard of FAF before or this time is the first, and your interest is piqued, give me a holler and I'll tell you all the more you'd like to know before you commit to buy your own kit and start your own entrepreneurial transformation. Trust me, if you work for yourself, this is the most relevant piece of literature you may ever find.

If you know all you need to know from me and just want to get on with it, click here to visit The Free Agent Formula.

Lan Su Chinese Garden | Free Admission

For eight days, Lan Su Chinese Garden here in Portland, OR is offering free admission in celebration of the new year. Granted, three of those eight days are over (the invitation is valid January 2-9), but you still have five to scoot down to Chinatown and enjoy the winter phase of the Chinese wonderland.

The guide they give you at the entrance, shown above, is beautifully designed and executed, but is only a hint of what's inside the garden walls. I thought of posting photos of the interior, but decided against it because A) I'd rather not spoil it for you and B) they'd really not do it justice. Below is a map to give you and idea of the layout (it takes up an full city block), but that's all you're getting.

This afternoon, after a full morning of bustling work, I met a friend at the Lan Su Chinese Garden Tea House for a cup of tea. (Who else but Becki from Shopping's My Cardio? It was her idea, and a brilliant one as per usual.) It was the most enjoyable, relaxing experience I've had in a long time. And yes, we did just come back from the holiday, but when you're self employed, holidays are always...interesting (in other words, the opposite of relaxing). If you go, be sure to study the pond for koi. They hibernate during the winter season (Brrrr...I wish I could, too!) and that means they're so still that they look frozen in time. Think of the work of the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia. On that note, venture out to take advantage of this special time at Lan Su Chinese Gardens, but watch out for the bitter cold. A cute hat and mittens should do the trick.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Design Entrepreneur. A book review.

 The Design Entrepreneur by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico

Truth be told, I haven't probed this publication yet. My dear sister-in-law gifted it to me for Christmas and the package yielded large eyes and a smile. Design. Entrepreneur. Two of my favorite words.

The book was published in 2008; I'm not sure how it's been overlooked in my quest for design literature. Happily, it's to be ignored no longer. The title's tagline is "Turning Graphic Design into Goods That Sell" and the back cover boasts this statement (also seen below): "Designers are used to working for clients, but there is nothing better than when the client is oneself. Graphic and product designers, who are skilled with the tools and masters of aesthetics, are now in the forefront of this growing entrepreneur movement." If that was true in 2008, it's only more true as we break into 2011.

I can't speak for all designers, but I know that I have an unrelenting desire to find myself at that forefront, the one that involves two of my favorite words: Design. Entrepreneur. Through the text, 50+ designers/studios are profiled, each study showcasing their commercial creations. The book is practically jumping off my desk, powered by inspiration. All the written words around these designers' energy and innovation seem to give it life, a vivacity I'm dying to lasso and convert into my flavor of fire. I've got a plan or two up my sleeve for 2011. At the moment the before-mentioned plans are simply burning a hole in my sweater. If you're a designer and you have some ideas about how to navigate through this uncharted territory, or don't have any ideas but would really like a few, join me in reading through these case studies. Then let's chat.