And now for something totally different
I'm taking a break from all the sheep talk today for fear of boring my readers!
You can’t do what I do in my professional life nor have done in the past (as a marketing person for a yarn company) without being sensitive to current fashion, color and print trends, and media frenzy. I know that this is who I am and probably will be for a long time. (I haven’t had an official full-time job working for a “real company” for six years now - where did the time go?) I am obsessed with type styles, labels and advertising design – all the things that go along with marketing a product. I look at books with a different eye than most (I assume). I examine the lay-outs, the book design, the illustrations, and the type choices.
I’m pretty sure that you think I am bordering on the insane. How can this woman living on a farm amongst the chickens, the sheep, the coyotes, and the trees give a hoot about type, color, and more. God knows she can barely get to a nice store without spending a fortune on gas. Well, you might be correct but hear me out.
It amazes me how many ugly packaged products there are in this world of ours. Take a little walk down the grocery store aisle and do a little market research – it’s where I do lots of mine. Big companies just don’t get it. They aren’t thinking about how the packaging of a product can sway someone to buy their product over a competitor’s. Most of them need to open their eyes and try a little harder. They should hire a designer with a little style and have them transform their hum-drum product into something appealing and pretty that I would want to buy.
As a designer, because I look at everything I see everyday with a critical eye, I know what I like. This is my own personal opinion and you may not agree with me. When I design sweaters, especially my colorwork sweaters, I usually start with a plain piece of graph paper and plot out my own little patterns that I then turn into a swatch. I pick out the colors and the yarn, knit it up and hope an editor somewhere might like what I did enough to buy a design. Last fall I made this swatch – I call it an “undulating dot” motif. I thought it was nice and organic and took my knitting out of the angular look that is so easy to keep doing to death.
About a month later, I saw an ad in a decorating magazine for a box of Kleenex tissues. I looked at the ad, remembered my swatch, and remarked to myself – isn’t it amazing how patterns and trends go around and around? Patterns seem to come out of the air as I am designing and then I'll see a very similar thing done by someone else a couple months later. It's really a job to be original - especially now with all the information being thrown at us constantly.
In January, my sister and I were in a Rite Aid drugstore in NH and what did I find but these totally groovy, oval tissue boxes. I bought both of these and then remembered my swatch and the ad. I was totally overjoyed with my $2 purchase. First of all – I actually liked the patterns on the boxes – they would fit into my home and were nice to look at as opposed to most tissue boxes. I think the “ugly tissue box” syndrome is why there are so many crazy crochet patterns out there for “tissue box covers.” I should have bought more of these pretty things – considering its cold season and we do run through them like crazy.
Maybe big companies are catching on and will begin making better looking and labeled products that I will want to buy. I’ll only hope and pray.