May 29, 2023

Special Delivery

When my wife and I decided to start trying for a child, I had an idea for an announcement based on her most common delivery order. In late December we found out she was pregnant so I mocked it up and sat on it. Today she finally got the go ahead to post on social media so I get to post here as well.

May 5, 2023


The Encyclawpedia Dictatia has won an Honorable Mention from The Awwwards. This is the first step towards a possible Site of the Day Honor.

May 5, 2023

The Milken Cookies

While driving through the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles I noticed a school on my GPS called "The Milken Community School." Without any knowledge of the school I immediately imagined a new mascot for them, "The Milken Cookies." With the help of Midjourney, I designed their new mascot in the style of an NFL team logo. You can see the results below.

April 11, 2023

The Encyclawpedia Dictatia

I had an idea 2 to 3 years ago about doing an illustrated series of cat dictators. Well, I think deep down I know I'm not an illustrator and kept putting it off. Son when I started playing around with Midjourney it hit me that it would be the perfect tool to finally make it. I partnered up with Anaiis Rabiela, a super talented student from the class I taught at book180, and we set out to make a full website for it. While I used Midjourney, she turned to ChatGPT to spit out baseline encyclopedia entries for each. After all, her focus should be on adding tone and jokes vs. being an academic writer.

It was a fun exercise to see what we could make and how fast we could make it with these new tools. For comparison, my children's book took 5 months. I think where this will make the biggest difference for now is with social. Not being limited to what we can shoot in the agency's closet will be a huge creative boon for those who learn to use these tools. You can see the full project here.

April 6, 2023

Forced Freelance Help

I've been laid off three times in my 10 year career and as a result have spent more time freelancing then I have working full-time. I remember the feeling of shock upon learning that I was being thrown into freelance before I was personally ready for it. With all the layoffs happening, I wanted to help other people in a way that I wish I had been helped so I went to LinkedIn to let people know I was available if needed. Apparently it resonated.

March 18, 2023

Puerto Vallarta

I shot this photo in Puerto Vallarta last year and it had been sitting in my Downloads folder since we got back. I knew I wanted to do something with it, but no idea what. So I started playing with the colors which I think gave me 80's vibes so I tried to make a modern 80's throwback. For some reason purples, pinks, magenta and neon outlines say 80's to me.

March 18, 2023

Bias in AI

I was playing around with the new version of Midjourney the other day and I noticed something interesting. If you didn't specify race, it would feedback stereotypes for certain prompts. For example, I had it imagine 40 iterations of what a creative director for an ad agency in NYC. It gave me 40 white men. I repeated this with a more general request for a portrait of a doctor and again, all white men.

The first thing people will (and did say) in the comments was that it was reflective of the industry. Which can be partially true, I won't dispute that the industry is heavily white/male, but there are a few problems with that. The first is that a simple google search for the same prompt brings up plenty of diverse results of all races and sexes. So the results are out there to scrape from. And secondly that when you do a prompt for Midjourney it spits out 4 images at a time. There is no reason it should spit out 4 similar looking people. Hell you get more diverse results when you do a general prompt for a cat.

The problem with and has been with AI is that it indirectly reflects the bias (or laziness) of its creators (see the problem automated driving cars have with recognizing dark skinned people). I don't know if the Midjourney creators have a bias, but I do suspect they were lazy with the images they used to train the platform. They probably weren't thinking about what they were doing and this was the result.

Some people tried to argue that all you had to do was to change the prompt to add "randomize" or "diverse" to get the desired results, but this actually reinforces my point. How many people will actually do that (if they even know you can) and not just go with the first thing that's spit back to them? When race and gender aren't specified, white/male (or whatever stereotype for a profession) shouldn't just be the default.

Anyway, I posted my findings to LinkedIn and it resonated with some people. Cindy Gallup even reposted it twice on her timeline (yes, THE Cindy Gallup).

February 25, 2023

Black Coffee Creative

My friend Brittaney is a freelance writer for non-profits and needed a rebranding so I offered to develop a new logo for her. Her company is called "Black Coffee Creative" so I knew I needed to at minimum work in something coffee related for the mark. I ultimately settled on two coffee beans forming the shape of a heart to tie back to her desire to make the world a better place, it's a labor of love for her.

As for the font, I wanted something that felt bold, like black coffee. It needed personality and not something generic like a geometric san serif. The final touch was replacing the o in coffee with one of the beans to reinforce that design element. I also advised her on redesigning her website which she custom built on Squarespace.

The below is where we netted out. You can see her full website here.

February 15, 2023

Industry Tax

I spend a decent amount of time thinking about how we can make the advertising industry more accessible to people of all walks of life. Maybe it's my background in sociology, but it's become increasingly clear to me that the root of the problem is access. We work in an industry where to have the best shot at getting hired, you have to go to an expensive portfolio school.

That said, I don't regret going to Creative Circus. But opting not to go to ad school makes the path significantly harder. From networking to acquiring the skills you need and putting together a book that will get you hired, school just makes it easier by 1000%. While some people will opt not to go by choice, many others who'd like to go can't because the schools are just too expensive and being burdened for 20-30 years with student loans is not a great option.

To that end, I came up with a possible solution to level the playing field and wrote about it on LinkedIn. It's gotten almost 20k views at this point so the idea seems to resonate at least a little bit.

January 31, 2023

Money on the Table

I got annoyed with a post I saw on LinkedIn yesterday looking for a CD/ACD who was willing to work for $67/hour, an absurd rate considering the amount of work they probably wanted.

But despite that, I knew someone out there was going to try to take that gig not realizing it, so I decided to share some mental notes I had about pay ranges for full-time and freelance creatives in NY, LA and SF. Apparently it struck a chord because in under 24 hours I hit 50k views and 430+ likes.

January 24, 2023

General Update

If it seems like I've mostly only been messing around on LinkedIn, well that's kind of accurate. But only kind of. Since late November I've been teaching a Campaigns class over at book180, an online ad school. That combined with Meta letting go a significant number of its contingent workers has left me with more time on my hands. I've been using the extra time really help out my class however I can including lots of 1-on-1's with individuals and teams to make sure they have all the support they need.

However! Class ends a week from today, so either I'll book some more work or I'll start messing around with some design projects. We'll see what happens.