How Does One Person Do All This?
So far we’ve met Cat as world traveler and designer, a child star in the Wizard of OZ, and a crusader in the logo wars which got her into blogging. Now as promised . . . Cat meets the Queen and takes over the world (so to speak.).
Cat, how did you get your first client?
Basically what happened is I had gone to uni to study to be a portrait artist. (Check out her gallery.)
Life intervened so I switched to mudlogging, then became a draftsman. After that, with my geology background I got a job in an oil company as a geotech. As art is more my nature, I gravitated towards graphics and ended up as a graphic specialist (not graphic artist at first, I fixed computers, but the skill set was second nature). After a detour to France for two years, I ended up in Brunei Darussalam, where, as a favour for a friend, I designed a package for a Halal toothpaste product.
This was not what I considered my Ã¢â¬Ëfirst clientÃ¢â¬â¢ though. What I did was create the Halal toothpaste package into a slide show just for fun. When I had a dinner party we all wandered around and in a response to Ã¢â¬Ëwhat are you up toÃ¢â¬â¢ I showed the slide show. One of the guests knew the manager of the British Council so I took over as their designer. From there I became the designer for the British High Commission, so when the Queen of England came to Brunei for her State Visit I was made Queen’s designer.
How big is your enterprise now?
Learning a few lessons along the way (IÃ¢â¬â¢m not one for office politics), IÃ¢â¬â¢ve gone from a downtown office loaded with employees to working with various designers, programmers, copywriters and marketers around the internet. Right now my team (www.fastcoconut.com) is spread out from the US, Australia, France, with myself in Thailand. With Creative Latitude, we work with team members from the UK and Canada. NO!SPEC included members from all around the world.
And now that IÃ¢â¬â¢m getting to the point of retirement, IÃ¢â¬â¢m getting away from the actual work of design and am now spending most of my time on pro bono work. Hence NO!SPEC, Creative Latitude and Proscodi. And one more on the way
All of those organizations, whew! What are they and what is your part in them?
IÃ¢â¬â¢m the project manager and one of the founding members. The chaps call me the cat with the whip.
Creative Latitude is about promotion and education. Nope, we’re not talkin’ readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic. We seek to find ways to educate people about the creative process and the business value we, and our particular discipline, offer. Creativity, whether visual or the written word, affects people. It influences their thinking. Savvy enterprises understand this and use it. Creative Latitude is a place for sharp business people to find collaborators for their projects and learn about various trade practices, ethics and processes.
For those imaginative souls who are called ‘creatives’, this site provides a place for you to promote your practice. You’ll also find a network of like-minded friends from all over this spinning rock we call Earth. Read through the articles, check the resources, look over others’ sites and get inspired. If you have news about your practice, join us and post your stuff. We’d love you to join our party!
For NO!SPEC , again, IÃ¢â¬â¢m project manager. I had a very hard working team who were incredible at putting it together. NO!Spec is an effort to educate Visual Communication Designers and those who use their services on the damaging effects caused by spec work and spec-based design contests, a group of designers from all over the globe banned together, fueled by passion and a lot of caffeine, to bring NO!SPEC to the public Ã¢â¬Â¦
For Proscodi, IÃ¢â¬â¢m the first president. We have a way to go. What is the Proscodi all about?
A group of graphic designers recently began serious discussion about the increasing number of problems developing within the graphic design industry. Some of the issues raised could be attributed to simple industry competition, but others seemed to not only be threatening the livelihood of design professionals, but are also compromising the value of our services. The discussion resulted in the formation of a grass roots organisation supporting the ethics of our business, but focused on clients: Proscodi, the Professional Society of Communication Design.
Next, find out what Cat does when she’s not doing all of the above. As you might suspect, it’s plenty.
–ME “Liz” Strauss