Creative Wavelength

Another portion of the way around the sun, and it’s time for another Creative Wavelength. Here are the projects and thought-pieces that have caught my eye lately in the world of art, design and creativity:

Jaime Molina sculpture 1

Jaime Molina sculpture 2
These mysterious wooden sculptures by Jaime Molina manage to be both whimsical and contemplative. I love them both the arboreal style and the use of nails.


Surreal painter combines portraits with landscapes

Surrealist painter Beau Bernier Frank creatively combines portraiture with landscapes, for a beautiful yet eerie result.



I love the textured and layered illustrations by SFF artist Galen Dara. She also sums up my views on this genre perfectly: “As a reader I value SF’s ability to be both delightful escapism and searing social commentary.”


Delicate paper cuts of endangered animals

Artist Patrick Cabral collaborated with the World Wide Fund for Nature to create these delicate paper cuts of endangered animal species. I’m always amazed at the mastery with intricate paper cutting like this – I would tear that so easily.


⇒ How’s this for merging the creative and analytical sides? Lego bricks that function as working circuit parts.

⇒ An important note for creative business owners everywhere: Don’t let gurus sell you on survivorship bias.

⇒ Two articles on value pricing: Why You Need to Price According to Value Not Time and Getting paid for what you know, not what you do.

The Slash Workers : The Future of Work is Independent.

Does Nothing Have a Color?

Have you found anything that wowed you lately? Share below!


8 Little-Known Design Facts

8 Little-Known Design Facts

You’d think, since graphic design is my profession and it was my official field of study in school, that I would be a master of design history.

But, strangely, while my coursework included more general art history, it did not include a history of design. And so I’ve had to learn and piece together that timeline on my own over the years. In doing so, I’ve come across a lot of interesting design facts. Some were surprising, some gave me a chuckle, and some were just fun to learn in the hopes of one day proving useful in trivia games. I thought I’d share a few of the standout ones here today:

  1. Movable type was actually invented around 1045 by a Chinese alchemist named Bi Sheng, who used first wood and then clay to make type. Johannes Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type, introducing it in 1439 and creating cast metal type.
  2. The term ‘graphic design’ was coined in 1922 by William Addison Dwiggins, an American illustrator, type designer, calligrapher, and book designer.
  3. The Pantone Matching System for color was invented in 1963 by Lawrence Herbert, who went to school for chemistry and biology.
  4. The idea for the first physical and pictorial message sent into space (1972) was a collaboration between astronomers Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, but the artwork itself was actually produced by Sagan’s wife, Linda, an artist and writer. It’s called the Pioneer Plaque.
  5. The original Macintosh icons (1980’s) were designed by a woman, Susan Kare. Many of those same visual metaphors are still in use today.
  6. The founders of Adobe (John Warnock and Chuck Geschke) named their company after a creek that ran behind Warnock’s house in Los Altos, California. The Adobe logo was designed by Warnock’s wife, Marva, a graphic designer.
  7. The world’s first website was launched in 1991. It wasn’t much to look at.
  8. No graphic designer had been awarded the National Medal of Arts until 2010, when it was presented to Milton Glaser.


Were you familiar with any of these already? Have you come across any other interesting design facts or tidbits? Do share!


creativity and time

On Creativity and Time in Design

“We explore promising avenues that, days later, become dead ends.
Sometimes, we solve a month’s problem in an hour.”
Cennydd Bowles

You many have noticed that I don’t charge by the hour or even list an hourly rate.

I prefer to work on a flat fee basis. I have a lot of reasons for this, not least being that it lets both parties know exactly how much money will be changing hands. No billing surprises tends to make clients happier, and hence me happier.

And of course there’s the argument that projects should be priced based on their value to a client, not on hours spent.

But there’s also another reason.

Trying to estimate total hours on a project is a crapshoot.

The plain truth is that sometimes even professionals don’t know precisely how long something will take. The perfect burst of creativity and inspiration may happen in the first 5 minutes, or 5 days from now, or 5 weeks. To be sure, there will be ideas coming up and concepts being worked at in the meantime. Expertise comes into play in knowing the difference between the throwaway concepts and the inspired ones, and recognizing when the latter happen. Maybe also a bit in maintaining a work environment conducive to letting those flashes happen, but creativity is not really a force that can be controlled. You can show up every day and do the work, but that only increases the likelihood of good ideas occurring, it doesn’t guarantee it.

I’ve been doing this long enough that I at least have a rough idea of how long something should take. I rarely take longer than the estimate. More often I stumble on that golden idea much more quickly. And to my mind, the years spent building up the expertise to recognize and build off of that idea should not be disregarded just because creative lightning hit in the first hour. A designer should not be penalized for doing a job really well just because it was also done quickly.

There is more value in design work than just the time it takes to create. Using flat fee pricing for projects ensures that both the designer and the project receive what they’re worth.

Whether you’re a freelancer yourself or someone who hires freelancers, which do you prefer: hourly or flat fee?


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About Amanda


Amanda Guerassio

From freelance designer to studio owner, I've been a self-employed, independent graphic designer for over a decade. I love helping people find the right visual voice for their businesses and projects. Let's talk!