Harder done than said, rather than “easier said than done”…
There was theory at the ninth CreativeMornings event in Chicago, but it wasn’t left idly alone. In his presentation at architectural design firm Gensler’s contemporary space, Graphic Designer, Art Director, and Illustrator Mike McQuade not only talked the talk, he made the talk—that is, he demonstrated again and again of theory applied. Obsessing, hard work, and reflecting were not just anthems: they are rigorous habits which he religiously practices. And like previous CreativeMornings speaker Jay Ryan of screenprint shop The Bird Machine, McQuade not only showed the final result but also shared some of the steps he took in achieving that desired outcome. Here are some of McQuade’s thoughts to provoke you to move and materialize:
This echoes what author Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” McQuade reminds us that talent, precious as it is, is never enough. Talent may be a given, but it must be re-earned, every time.
Ignoring what’s out there, beyond one’s discipline, limits you to one lens of a world endowed with so many dimensions. McQuade strongly encourages wanderlust. One example: a vintage sign influenced how he redesigned the cover of his illustrated map of Chicago for Herb Lester Associates. Furthermore, in contrast to his former work schedule, McQuade’s work-in-progress schedule, with time assigned to “Personal Work & Learning”, is now bent on accommodating creative exploration and diversifying it.
During his CreativeMornings presentation in New York, Graphic Designer and Author Michael Beirut said, in relation to clients, “Only good work leads to doing more good work.” McQuade shares the belief that honest work bears glorious fruit. At a larger level, he speaks to Cartoonist and Author Hugh MacLeod’s realization: “It's something that gets clearer to me as I get older—that all good things feed on other good things, and feed them back.”
Get your work out of yourself and out there into the world, to be potentially cherished, critiqued and forwarded. As McQuade concluded: keep doing the work, keep up the humility, keep encouraging the possibility of piquing someone’s discovery of what you love to do. When you make, opportunities can then be made.
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Considering his seize-it-and-mean-it attitude, I feel that McQuade would don this gracefully blunt t-shirt by wordboner.
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Big thanks: to Gensler, for hosting, and Artisan Talent for sponsoring Chicago CreativeMornings #9; to organizer Mig Reyes, videographer Craig Shimala, photographer Chris Gallevo for their great work on making CreativeMornings happen in Chicago.
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See my Flickr Set of Chicago CreativeMornings #9 with Mike McQuade.
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Typeface of quotes is called Massive designed by Shawn Hazen, who also makes awesome typographic illustrations for series Creative Roles.
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Read CreativeMornings-related posts:
- Chicago CreativeMornings #7: Knoed Creative,
married and fearless
- Chicago CreativeMornings #6 with Scott Thomas,
who seeks simple solutions to complex problems
- Chicago CreativeMornings #5 with Jay Ryan
of Screenprint Shop, The Bird Machine
- “Make or else”: Chicago CreativeMornings
with Jake Nickell of Threadless
- Thinker-Makers Unite: Chicago CreativeMornings
with Digital Kitchen
- “It’s simple until you make it complicated”: CreativeMornings
in Chicago with Jason Fried of 37signals
- Design Conference Reworked and Reloaded: CreativeMorning
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