Digital addiction: cigarettes, food, sex, and selfies.

digital_addiction So. I love my iPhone.

At a seminar earlier this year, Interactive pioneer Todd Purgason said there’s never been a great creative tool for self-expression. It’s true. You can take photos. Film videos and create art.

The iPhone is also addicting. It’s like a window into another reality where you can leave your current existence.

Yesterday my history-obsessed daughter and I were discussing the origins of the term alpha and omega. Quickly at a stop light I googled omega to see what latin letter it stood for. Thank you iPhone, instant knowledge. Instant gratification.

Yet, when my husband is driving it’s too easy for me to get on my iPhone and miss the opportunity to talk to him.

Why do I keep feeling a need to go back to my iPhone?

It's all about dopamine. Dopamine controls the pleasure systems of the brain and motivates you to seek out pleasures  food, sex and drugs. So when you get a response to a text, it's a shot of dopamine. When you find an answer you Googled, it's a shot of dopamine. And our body always wants more. More. More.

Up next:

A 12-step program for iPhone addicition.



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Happy creating!



Why words + visuals rule.

It's funny. As a writer, I am often the biggest proponent of visuals in web content. Clients ususally pay attention to the homepage but then after that, sometimes visuals get forgotten. But when text and visuals are paired together, they create a stronger message.

And if you have a lot to say, nothing is more intimidating than an entire page of text. Visuals help break up text into chunckable pieces that are easier to retain. 



You bet.

Writing is design.

You really can't do one without the other.

Update: Original source for stats for infographic. But the 60,000 stat has been proven bogus. Apparently my sketchnote has travelled around the Internet.


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Happy creating!


Adobe Voice: Great for telling stories, not so great for sharing stories.

adobevoice Adobe released a new story telling app for the iPad called Adobe Voice. It’s a simple and really fun way to make voice-driven explainer videos.

You begin by recording a short audio recording. (Don’t worry, there’s a magic automatic make your voice sound better element included.) You can then add royalty free icons, photos or text—or you can upload photos from your iPad. You have a choice of 30 or so themes with set fonts and transitions and a limited selection of background music.

Here's a short video I created with Adobe Voice:

Simplicity = success. You’re only limited to a choice of 5 different layout per slide. While it would be nice to be able to tinker a bit more, the strength of Adobe Voice is in its simplicity. The average person will be able to create a nice looking video without knowledge of typography or design. There are even prompts that ask you about your story if you don’t know how to proceed. Yes, you can do a lot more with programs like iMovie, but Adobe Voice lets you create a beautiful piece in minutes.

Sharing is caring. To share your Adobe Voice video you have to upload it to Adobe’s servers requiring you to create an Adobe Cloud account. From there you can share on Facebook, Twitter or use an embed code. While the player page is beautiful, it gives you no indication of how many views. or where the video has been shared. I would really like to be able to save the videos onto a device (useful for kid’s homework) or to be able to upload to YouTube, to be able to leverage the searchability of the Internet’s second largest search engine.

Rating: Creative: Excellent Social: Fail


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Happy creating!


Sketchnotes from Social Media Marketing Worlds #smmw14

So I attended the big social media fest once again—Social Media Marketing World 2014 #smmw14. It's held here in San Diego so it is silly not to go. Some interesting takeaways

  • Always maintain your own piece of the web
  • Your email list can be your most profitable channel

I had great success with visuals standing out in Twitter feeds building on success from last year. Next year that strategy will be flooded. And when it came to sketchnoting, using a much fatter brush for font emphasis is a quicker way to go rather than block letters.

Here is the entire collection:

The Top Gun Guide for Social Media Mavericks: #smmw14

So Social Media Marketing World is blowing into town this week! Beginning with an opening event at the USS Midway Museum. Did you know that the movie Top Gun, that 80s tribute to naval aviation starring Mr. Cruise, was filmed right here in San Diego.

As a matter of fact, you should get in the mood by having lunch at the Kansas City BBQ, the scene where Maverick and Goose are out with their family and hot naval instructor PHd girl friend. The Kansas City BBQ is located within a short walk of the Midway.

So I'll see you there tonight.

But anyway, on to the Top Gun Guide for Social Media Mavericks.







The creative tribes gather at CuriousitY19: The AIGA San Diego Y Design Conference

It was another two days of creativity and community at the Y Design Conference. My two favorite speakers were our local heroes. Architect Rob Quigley spoke ever so eloquently about keeping true to original intent whille designing the new Central Library. And Ron Miriello shared his take on life/design/life with the enthusiasm of a beginner tempered with the wisdom that only comes with experience. There is always the reacurring theme of become your own client and create your own projects.

Copy + Cocktails Vol. 1

Copy + Cocktails was a roaring success with quite a few freelance San Diego copywriters coming out. Some people I had met online before and not in person. We had a great time comparing notes, sharing comma trauma stories and swapping strategies. After putting in a long day, it's hard to get out and meet new people. But it is SO worth it. It really wasn't until I started freelancing and didn't have the built in consistancy of a creative department that I understood the value of building community. It's about meeting new people, encouraging serendipity and promoting the collision of new ideas.

There will definitely be a Vol. 2 in the not too distant future.


Copy + Cocktails: A gathering for copywriters

I was talking to a fellow copywriter on Twitter and we missed each other at the San Diego Ad Club's Mingle Bells for the the second year in a row. So I decided to organize a copywriter meetup and invite every writer I know that I've never met. Sometimes it gets lonely hanging with art directors and designers all the time as a freelance copywriter. copyandcocktailsposter

Copy + Cocktails Facebook group

Copy + Cocktails event

How a copywriter spends their time.

I presented to copywriting class at The Art Institute-San Diego and shared this slide (a creative way to emphasize the importance of planning and the creative brief.) WhatACopywriterDoes_1

Then I realized I was only focusing on the creative process. There is a lot else I do, I spend so little time actually writing. When you perform a craft for a living, there is a whole lot of business around the craft.


A digital detox in the desert.

Cosmos - Digital Landscape Painting Once you get outside of the city, the stars shine crazy bright.

I've been camping in the Anza-Borrego desert since I was 12 years old or so. Now that I have kids of my own who inherited my tiny bladder, I have to wake them up to go to the bathroom every night. (Definitely no fun when it's raining or 34 degrees outside.) But when when we open the tent flap and peer up, we are greeted by the most amazing spectacle of stars. At 2 am, all of the campfires have been put out and there are no lights to compete with the galaxies overhead.

One evening my son Robert asked me, "Mommy, are those stars there all the time?"

"Yes, they are," I answered. "We just turn on so many lights, we drown out the stars."

These days, a lot of people are detached from the night sky. We don't just hang out on the front porch like people did 50 years ago. With TV and air conditioning, we stay indoors. And we miss spectacular sights like this.

The desert has become a wonderful refuge, not just for its natural beauty, but for also what's not available. There’s no Internet connection and no phone reception. No YouTube, Hulu or TV to distract us. At night, we sit in chairs around the campfire and make s'mores. (I'm always the first to fall asleep.) And in the mornings, I read in the tent with the kids before venturing out for hot chocolate.

Isn’t it funny, I have to leave home to spend time with my kids?

It’s so easy to get distracted around the house. The laundry. The Internet. The bills. I’m looking forward to another desert trip over New Year's.

I hope between the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you have time to sit with your loved ones and do absolutely nothing together. Just take the phones and put them in a basket in another room, even if it’s for an hour after dinner.

May your holidays be merry. May they be bright. May they be unplugged.



P.S. How I remember the difference between desert and dessert. You only want one desert, that's one s. Who doesn't want two desserts? That's a double s.