Episode 440 is LIVE on May 31, 2023 at 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET / 6:30pm GMT / 8:30am in Hawaii
We are continuing with the Where are They Now series. This episode was supposed to happen on March 15th but I was hanging with my mom in the hospital that day.
I am super thankful for Bethany’s flexibility and everyone who understands why I took some time off. But I am back and happy once again to be learning from my friend Bethany Heck.
Bethany is someone who is an amazing analyzer of type and how it works. She has a designer for a dad (my professor, Ross Heck) and maybe she had some early lessons in typography.
Bethany has to be one of the people who has taught me the most. I learned about the using the Library of Congress images from her and about how the type rules we are taught in school are like guardrails when you are learning typography. But as we go further in our career we need to learn more and push outside of the safety bounds and explore.
What I love is that she is ok breaking the rules. I love how she has gotten me to look at type rules as guardrails to use while i am learning other parts of design, but it doesn’t mean never venture off the road and make some new adventures and paths.
Bethany is an excellent leader for the exploration and research of typography. How people have used it to play, to communicate better, and to push boundaries. I think about things she has taught me daily. I am super happy to welcome back Bethany! Heck Yeah!
I hope you will join us for this conversation. You can be part of the conversation live with us. Simply join the Creatives Ignite Family by giving me your email and get a reminder email 30 min before the show: https://creativesignite.com/signup You can also add it to your calendar so you don’t miss it. (Those links are in the emails). See you there, then you can type in the chat and ask questions live.
See you on Wed. May 31, 2023 at 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET / 7:30pm BST / 8:30am in Hawaii
- Bethany can you tell everybody a little background about you, who you are, where you are, and what you do?
- You were on the show back in 2016 & in 2013. How has life and business changed since last time we talked?
- What has been the biggest hurdle you had to get over in regards to your business?
- What is the biggest creative challenge you have overcome?
- Do you struggle with time management? Marketing yourself?
- How do you get your name out there? Agent? Groups? Conferences?
- How do you go about learning new skills? When is it important to sharpen skills you have already and what have you done to do that?
- Do you have any systems or processes that has helped you develop new skills? What types of business skills and creative skills have you had to learn?
- Looking back, have you found or realized a new superpower you weren’t aware of before?
- Do you ever deal with being overwhelmed? If so how have you dealt with that?
- How do you come up with new ideas?
- Do you have any creative outlets or non creative outlets that you do regularly to keep you balanced?
- Have you avoided burning out?
- Do you collaborate with others? What elements make up a perfect collaborative project for you?
- What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself in the last year, that has been most impactful to your life or freelance business?
- What’s one piece of advice you would tell your past self 10 years ago?
- What is next?
Connect with Bethany
My favorite way to talk about design on a formal level https://medium.com/s/about-face/structural-typography-26f00c19e2f0
Other links shared during the show
[00:00:00] diane: Hey everybody. Welcome to. I don’t know Why I said Hey. So funny. That was like, I always thought the lady was gonna come on or whatever, but she doesn’t come on anymore cause I turned her off. So here we’ll start again. Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Creatives Ignite. Last time I had Bethany Hacka on, well the first time I had Bethany Hack on was in 2013, which was 10 years ago.
[00:00:24] Bethany. Wow. Thank you for believing in me way long time ago. [00:00:30] And, um, To be able to come on this show. So then you came back on in 2016, I saw you speak at Creative South. You were literally standup comedian, funny. You, you don’t try to be, but you are hilarious. And she’s brilliant. I have learned so many things just from having conversations.
[00:00:50] The what Bethany did, how she’s, uh, used the Library of Congress, that was something that I didn’t know I could do. You taught me that. And then I started using that. Um, [00:01:00] and she just pushes the boundaries of type, which to me, her dad was my professor. I, I don’t know if he taught me typography, but you know, they’re all teaching typography.
[00:01:12] Typography and everything. So I have this imagination that, um, professor Heck, Ross Heck, her dad was always like teaching her about typography. And at that point when she got to college, she was like, I already knew everything, um, that they’re gonna teach you. And so then she was able to [00:01:30] push boundaries.
[00:01:30] But I really had, um, an idea and I think, I definitely think it was incorrect that there were certain rules. And then, so this is why to me, you are a huge influence on me and I think so many others, is that you were willing, cuz they taught us, as you probably know, you probably knew like when you were five, you’re like two, three typefaces max right?
[00:01:52] In a piece. Right. They, they, I mean your dad taught me that. And so, and I think that that was a guideline as we [00:02:00] were learning, right? But n the, so many of us never pushed past that learning stage. We thought that was like a end all be all. So Bethany, that was one thing that Bethany taught me. She’s like, why look?
[00:02:13] And she did so much research, looked at all this old design and was like, this stuff works. Let’s rethink some of these rules. And so it’s helped me to rethink some of the type rules. So it’s just two of the ways that I love Bethany, but I [00:02:30] hope that you guys enjoy this one. This is, uh, where are they now?
[00:02:34] So last we spoke was 2016, lots of change. You’ve moved around, you’ve, uh, changed companies. You, um, She re, she helped IBM get out of one typeface on their, uh, website. Right. Or there was, or their operating system in the thing. Um, I can’t remember what it was, but you were like, this isn’t working. You can’t use bold here.
[00:02:57] And it’s clickable and then it’s not clickable. So there’s [00:03:00] so much that she’s taught me also just in the way to look at UX in a, in a piece. So, Bethany, can you give them a little bit of an update on where you are physically and what you’re doing now, and maybe a little bit of the journey from 2016 on?
[00:03:16] Bethany Heck: Sure. Um, So in 2016 I was at Microsoft and I was, uh, in Seattle. Uh, and I am still in Seattle. I had a brief, uh, excursion down south to San Francisco, [00:03:30] uh, to lead design at Medium for a year, but didn’t really care for San Francisco a lot. And, and so very quickly found, found ways of getting back up here and, and have stayed foot Seattle feels like my my home away from home.
[00:03:42] Um, I really love it here. Um, and I am working, um, still in ux uh, working in design systems at, um, Smartsheet, which is like a, uh, program product management type of software like running like Trello board. It’s like a, a much [00:04:00] more robust version of, of software like Trello, Trello boards and spreadsheets and lets you like, make plans and see when things are off track and set up all these complicated automations.
[00:04:08] And so it’s this really like nitty gritty tool that people use to do their jobs, which is the kind of thing that I really like working on and in day jobs situations cuz it’s really cool to know that like, Have this, this sort of like weight behind your, what you’re doing is like, this is, this impacts somebody’s job and their livelihood.
[00:04:25] And so you have to make sure that you’re making the right decision. And I really like that sort of [00:04:30] responsibility. Yeah.
[00:04:31] diane: That’s awesome. And I, I think that some people, and we had talked about this when we talked back in March, I think, or maybe it was February when we met, but we talked about sometimes that pressure of having, I think of you as a, a woman leader in design in our field and especially in ux.
[00:04:52] And sometimes it is hard, whether you’re a woman or not. It’s, it just, it’s just hard to make those as a [00:05:00] creative saying, Hey, we need to make some of these changes. And that’s been like a role you’re like, you have worn with, um, Gusto, I think you don’t, I don’t think you, uh, are like, I’m putting this on. I’m going to do this for the good of everybody.
[00:05:16] I think you are doing it, but you’re like, you’re not going to let them beat you down just because it might be easier for them. You’re like, no, this is better for the people who are using it. Which I, I just love that, uh, [00:05:30] that’s just in your heart driven in and you’re like, we’re going to make this better.
[00:05:34] But I do think sometimes it can be hard to be that, always be like, uh, being the one that’s breaking the trails and leading, leading the, leading the path. Cuz there is sometimes can be resistance either against creatives or just, this is, they may think of this as like a, a new field, but although it’s not a new field, [00:06:00] we just have a name for it now, I think.
[00:06:03] Do you feel like there’s
[00:06:04] Bethany Heck: some resistance in Definitely. I think one of the things though that I would say that I’ve observed is that some of it is that companies are new to having big in-house design and whether that’s like all the different flavors of design, marketing, design, graphics design, um, and UX design.
[00:06:24] But, um, and so some of that is the, the, you know, like the sort of machines that designers are operating in [00:06:30] are a little bit less familiar with the practice of design, but I think designers are also a little bit unpracticed in working with other disciplines as well. Whether it’s again, the sort of like, uh, marketing, uh, side of things or with dealing with engineers.
[00:06:44] Like I, I’m dealing with a lot of my job or PMs. And so, um, what’s a PM project manager? Uh, a project manager. Okay. For program manager. Oh, it’s Mary Loaded acronym. Uh, and, and what that person in that role does at any given company is slightly [00:07:00] different. It’s, it’s usually the person who’s like wrangling, like, okay, design, here’s what you need to deliver and when and engineering can you get it done in time and sort of like, Managing the, the little
[00:07:10] diane: group of people is, what’s hard about that is that that is it that somebody doesn’t know, or their role is not defined, or your role is not as defined cuz it’s newer in these
[00:07:24] Bethany Heck: companies.
[00:07:27] I think that that’s, that’s it. Sometimes, a lot of times I think [00:07:30] designers come in and we’re very passionate. We care a lot about what we’re doing and we can like, sort of like come in a little too hot or sort of like come in with this perspective of like, I’m, I’m the only person here who can do this. I am the subject matter expert and so I’m telling you that this is the way that it should be.
[00:07:48] And when you have resistance and design is also unique, I would say, inside of companies in that everybody has an opinion about what, what you’re doing and how you do it. Nobody like is, is looking at the code that an engineer is building and thinking [00:08:00] like, I wouldn’t have formatted, you know, or I wouldn’t have, have written that code that way.
[00:08:04] Um, either don’t have visibility for it. Yeah. Or, or, or, yeah. But everybody has an opinion about design, and I think that that’s a growth lesson that the discipline as a whole is learning, is that, um, we, we are at both, it’s an advantage and disadvantage in that like everybody is potentially a stakeholder at and, and our environment.
[00:08:25] So, uh, for what we’re doing and everybody has an opinion, and we might sort of [00:08:30] like weigh the value of those opinions differently, but that doesn’t mean that we, like, we still have to sort of like navigate it. Um, just because you don’t think that the valid feedback doesn’t mean that the feedback doesn’t exist.
[00:08:39] Right. And I feel like we as a discipline are still like navigating how to operate in those spaces. And so I find a lot of times designers kind of get in this really bad head space where they’re just like, nobody’s listening to me. I don’t have the power design’s not respected at the company. And some of those things might be true.
[00:08:55] All of the things that are causing you to feel that way are real. Um, but I, [00:09:00] I have seen positive like developments when. The add, like there’s just more, like I, I find that when design like makes the attitude or, or sort of like takes the effort to sort of like, works very hard to contextualize what they’re showing within the framing that the person who’s going to be looking at the thing is.
[00:09:19] And so like, I know that this person cares a lot about this and so how do I take what I wanna do and frame it in a way that matches what they want and sort of like pitch in [00:09:30] that way. Um, I find that things get a lot smoother and it’s, and it’s always different and it’s different when you’re dealing with a bunch of people and all those things.
[00:09:38] But I do feel like growth is happening. Um, and you know, other people inside of companies are learning more about how to deal with designers. And designers are, are sort of building these muscles of like, okay, how do I like, relate what I’m doing? Instead of just sort of being like, yeah, I’m a design machine and I’m gonna make design.
[00:09:56] Um, like sort of like taking in that extra context [00:10:00] of, of the people that they’re working with and shaping what they’re doing around that.
[00:10:03] diane: I like it that you also are like, Hey, it’s the attitude of let’s come together instead of let’s fight against. Um, but there, so what makes y I say b m but it wasn’t ibm, it was Microsoft.
[00:10:16] That’s just like everything other than Apple, I guess is i b m for me in my brain. So my, for all different
[00:10:22] Bethany Heck: corporations of the same thing.
[00:10:24] diane: So, uh, so big company that ha is long, you know. Um, [00:10:30] but I think that they do appreciate design. And then you’ve worked for smaller companies that were more growing, um, not, and, and, uh, and other things in, in between.
[00:10:40] What, because if, if we are coming into a situation, whether it’s a freelancer working in a, um, a company or somebody going into a new job, say it was a new created role, what would be some things that would be. Help the team, um, or help [00:11:00] the project to go, what would be some key factors like to look for like, Hey, this is what we need to work on to make this a good team?
[00:11:08] Because you, you’ve led teams. I mean, this is not like just Bethany against the world. It’s you leading people and you getting them on board. And I, it sounds like that’s what’s been key is that you’re really serving the people that you’re the customers, you know, the customer’s customer, but also the people that are in the room.
[00:11:27] You’re giving them a voice as well. You’re [00:11:30] not just wiping them away and being like, I know what’s right. So what, what would make a great working environment for somebody? And, and I, you know, you can kind of look at this from what hasn’t worked maybe at some companies. And then what is working or what you think would work.
[00:11:49] Is that a question? I mean, that’s not on our sheet,
[00:11:51] Bethany Heck: but I think so. Okay. I see some questions in there. Okay. Um, So when I’m thinking about like, how do I set up, [00:12:00] how do I set up my team? Like regardless of like what the makeup is in terms of designers, cuz I’ve led graphic design teams inside of companies too.
[00:12:07] At Medium. I did both UX and graphic design. Um, so how do I, how do I set them up to have success? And from my lens, success is like, they’re able to solve problems with a, a degree of autonomy. Um, they feel like they are owning the work, um, and they are, they are growing like, personally in their skills versus, [00:12:30] you know, some, some ways of managing people is to sort of like, very much like say like, hi, I am interpreting the situation and this is like the, the sort of like endpoint that I think we need to reach to.
[00:12:42] And then you go execute on that. And I. I feel like that doesn’t leave enough op opportunity for learning and growth for the person. And it also doesn’t, it also is like very reliant on my lens and my perspective to sort of like that my version of what is the right solution is, right? So I [00:13:00] feel like my job is to know the landscape and the environment.
[00:13:04] So like who are the stakeholders? What are the things that they’re concerned about? Where are opportunities to sort of like latch onto things that are important to people and frame our work in the context of that. And so I want to like basically give like a packet like of, of this information, like as a sort of like general guide of like, you, I want you to go tackle this work.
[00:13:26] Here are the things that I know are like very important to some people. Here are the [00:13:30] triggers that I know. Like if we like, delve into this like, type of execution. Like if in graphic design it could be something as simple as like colors or, you know, certain aesthetic choices. Um, things that people really like or don’t like.
[00:13:41] Um, and then just, and, and let them go from there. Um, and so I feel like it’s, it’s, it’s my job to sort of like, spend time with cro, like everybody at the company, in addition to my team, like, understand what does my person need, um, in terms of [00:14:00] supporting guidance, uh, and freedom and space and meeting schedule and all these types of things to feel like they’re being successful.
[00:14:06] And then what do the people that we’re doing this work for, um, what do they care about? How can I learn about things that are happening with users or customers of the company? Um, that I can fold that information in. I, I see design as like a translation team. Like, I, I don’t all, I don’t see it as like design owns the, like, discipline of design.
[00:14:24] Because if you get too fixated on, like, my job is to own the pixels, then when those types of like [00:14:30] feedback come in where it’s just like we had to make the, we had to make the logo bigger. Um, we had to like switch out this photo, whatever it is, then you feel like you’ve sort of lost something. But if, I feel like if you have the, the perspective of like, it’s my job to come up with the, the, the solution that I feel is best based on all of this like, storm of information and I’m, I’m, I’m valuing it equally.
[00:14:52] I’m seeing it not as like it’s opposition, but more of like, okay, this person has the thought. Like, I don’t necessarily agree, but like, what is the best [00:15:00] path word now that I’ve received this information That if you get in that mindset, you can navigate a little bit easier. You can still feel like you’ve, like, been successful in the work.
[00:15:08] Because I, I do feel a lot of like people’s happiness in their job and seeing the design work as successful and not has to do with that like lens. It’s like if you, is your view of success that like the thing that I first like proposed, like went out like exactly as I designed it. Like that is a version of success that feels great when it happens, but it’s not usually realistic [00:15:30] because of that, that, that reality of like everybody, the company has an opinion.
[00:15:33] Um, and so if you’re reframing success and like we got something out. Here are the things that I like, learned and adjusted, like to get this thing out and here’s what I’m gonna try to do differently next time. Like that, that can also be like super gratifying and lead to great work.
[00:15:48] diane: Okay. I love that. So is that something that was modeled for you or is that something you had to, um, make that own path [00:16:00] way?
[00:16:01] Bethany Heck: Like it’s definitely from learning, learning the hard way. Yeah. Um, I’m a very opinionated person. Um, and so I had to learn the hard way, like coming in and being like, yes, I, I feel like I’m, I know a lot about this and I still struggle with that. There’s still times where somebody like shares a type opinion and they share it as fact.
[00:16:18] And I’m, it like is very triggering for me. I’m just like, look, you wanna talk about type, let’s go. Um, which I like, I brought my like,
[00:16:28] diane: right, I’m ready. [00:16:30] But, but, so I
[00:16:31] Bethany Heck: don’t like that about myself.
[00:16:32] diane: But, but there are lots of things that we are always working on that. We are bringing too. And depending on the day, depending on what happened at home, the dog could have gotten out and you had to scramble in the morning, you know, who knows?
[00:16:47] Um, but it is all that stuff we bring to those meetings and to the, to the, um, relationships that we have at work. But it’s about also knowing where we are not [00:17:00] perfect instead of, um, so that, that’s probably something that Hope, hope, hopefully has been modeled, at least with, with one example. Um, in your life, in your work life.
[00:17:11] I hope, you know, somebody that you either looked up to or you’ve, I mean, it could be somebody that’s not even a, wasn’t your direct report, but somebody that was like, wow, they’re really taking time to look at everybody’s whatever. Or they, they say that, Hey, they have a [00:17:30] problem with this, or, you know, sharing that.
[00:17:32] So I think you have done amazing in that way. All right. So, um, San Francisco was a short trip, um, came back to Seattle. You have this beautiful house and you get to work remote. So wor working remote was something you had done prior to Covid, right? This wasn’t, uh, new in working remote. How do you build that team?
[00:17:59] [00:18:00] Or, because there’s so many things when you are really trying to listen to other people in a meeting. Um, you’re taking in body language. You’re, and you are very receptive cuz I’ve been with you in person. Like you’re amazing and you can read on people. So is that ever something that, um, is hard to do in that remote setting?
[00:18:23] Because it does seem like you’re skilled at it. Um, maybe you don’t think [00:18:30] that, but I don’t know. Is that ever, like, is being in a remote organization. Does that make it harder or easier for you personally to make sure that everybody’s being heard and you’re listening and you’re able to redefine success?
[00:18:48] For me, yeah. I feel like
[00:18:48] Bethany Heck: it’s easier. There are certainly some context where being remote is, is more difficult. Like meetings in important meetings particularly where everybody wants to be like heard and sort of like get [00:19:00] the, get the chance to speak up. It’s hard to like sort of like, how do I make space for myself or for my teamwork or somebody else who I feel like has something valuable to say here.
[00:19:06] Um, the etiquette like can sort of like go a lot of ways, uh, with uh, zoom and zoom and other things. But in general I prefer remote, like drastically. I like using Slack. I grew up using a good messenger, very natural for me. Um, and I’m highly introverted. Um, and so doing, um, talking like a tech space [00:19:30] is, is much less stressful for me.
[00:19:32] Um, when there are things where it’s just like, Ooh, I have a strong, like, I strongly disagree with like, what’s happening here and I need to figure out like, what to say. Like having that like benefit of being async. Mm-hmm. And sort of like going up and taking a walk and, and figuring out like, okay, what’s the productive and like, you know, still get the intention across, but Megan with a little bit less of the, the, um, unproductive emotion.
[00:19:54] diane: Um, or that initial productive thing, right? Yeah. The React Yes. Reaction Mary. Yeah. That’s [00:20:00] super smart. I
[00:20:00] Bethany Heck: didn’t think about that. But, um, I do find that there, there are some things that like, were easier being in the same room, like when it comes to like, you know, brainstorming and doing like inspirational things.
[00:20:13] Like I have a huge book collection, which I can’t really share with people in the office and the way that I used to be able to do. Um, that kind of hands on show and tell, like everybody being in the same space and sort of looking through things and there’s, there’s ways that I found to do it. Like, you know, doing Zoom calls where we just, you [00:20:30] know, go through and talk about stuff and doing big figma boards where people, you know, sort of like group and paste in and sort of do quick share outs of things that they’re finding inspiring.
[00:20:39] Um, but yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s overall like it’s been a blessing. It’s, it’s always been the way that I’ve preferred to work. Um, and I’m, I’m really grateful that it’s become like an easier thing. It’s been much easier to find jobs that are, that are remote friendly post covid.
[00:20:56] diane: Yeah, for sure. Amen on that. Okay, so Jared had a [00:21:00] question earlier and he said he would love to hear about how or why, how slash why you moved from more traditional graphic design into ux, if that was the actual path you took.
[00:21:11] But it does sound like you’ve done UX and then you’ve gone back to managing some designers that are doing more traditional. Can you talk about just that. Why and how you moved. Uh, and Sure. Okay. So
[00:21:24] Bethany Heck: I, my like, initial interest in design book, like in high school, uh, before I went to [00:21:30] college was through web design actually.
[00:21:32] Um, I had access to things like Photoshop and Dream Weaver through my dad because he is a professor and had the tools on our, on our machines. Um, and so I got really into like anime and video games and I would make fan sites and build things and do horrible things in Photoshop with like Zelda art and, you know, just, that was how I taught myself my basic skills.
[00:21:54] Um, and so my framing like going into college was that like I wanted to be [00:22:00] less like a graphic designer, but more web design was what I was interested in. My dad very much did not want me to be a graphic designer. Um, he begged, he said, it’s very competitive. You’ll never make any money. He begged me not to do it.
[00:22:10] And so I actually started off in horticulture. Um, I almost
[00:22:14] diane: did horticulture, Bethany, I, that was my major cuz I liked to be outside more. Anyway, it didn’t, I didn’t do h obviously. Anyway, keep going. But you showed him, you made money as a cri I did.
[00:22:27] Bethany Heck: A designer, I did, I threatened to [00:22:30] go to full sale, uh, and do their web design program and he was like, if you’re gonna do design, you’re gonna do it here.
[00:22:35] Um, and so he finally acquiesced and, and gave me the sort of like thumbs up, uh, his blessing to, to try to get into the program.
[00:22:43] diane: You were way past me. I don’t remember when you graduated, but you were, I I graduated in 96. I should have graduated in 95, but I extended it out cuz I like football. Not that I extended it to watch more football.
[00:22:57] That’s not, that was just a benefit. Um, but [00:23:00] um, So I, when I was at Auburn, there wasn’t any I was doing, I was the only person using Macromedia director and I had this idea for this thing and they were like, well, you’re gonna have to teach yourself. And I’m so glad they did that because that’s how the real world is.
[00:23:15] We have to teach ourself everything all the time. So if you really wanna learn it, then it is really good. It, you had lots of time as a kid to play and to explore and make crazy Zelda things and things that you would cringe now maybe. But it was [00:23:30] about playing. It was, wasn’t so much about the tool, it was more about, Hey, there’s this playground.
[00:23:36] Um, so was there like a web design track at Auburn at that time? So you kind of made your own way that
[00:23:44] Bethany Heck: way as well? Yes, I was able to take some classes with way, um, wayI Wong. Um, Uh, on web design. Um, and that’s actually how the ingrain the web. I don’t know if anybody here ever visited the, the Grain when I was posting to that, but [00:24:00] that was how that project got started.
[00:24:02] Um, I’m, I still run into people who like do not know that I ran that website and are familiar with it, and they’ll be like, wait, what the, like you, you did that. Um, Chris Sours be, who runs Clem type Foundry, like, did not know that I ran that site and came up, came up at some point recently and he was like, I’ll do, how have I that’s cool you this long?
[00:24:19] And I didn’t know that. Um, but, um, yeah, so like learning like the roles around like these are the good, these are the good [00:24:30] typefaces. Like here’s what, you know, like the more traditional, and as you know, Auburn’s a fairly like formal, um, modernist driven, um, uh, graphic design program. And so that was a huge change for me, like used to being like defont.com and the sort of like, you know, what’s, what’s expressive?
[00:24:46] Like what feels like it has energy to it? Uh, and learning, you know, a much different way of, of setting type. And so I think that, that, taking the learnings from that, and then also sort of like never losing [00:25:00] my love for like, vintage and old things and, you know, things that did have different flavors of typography is sort of like what ended up shaping my perspective on typography in general.
[00:25:09] And I very much like still remember how frustrated I felt, um, in those early type classes of being so limited. Um, and sort of needing to type, put myself in the lens of like, okay, my teacher is expecting this and so I need to give them this to like be successful and to get through. But like, I hated, I, I, I, I hated being in design school.
[00:25:29] Um, [00:25:30] and I was kind of like at a point where I was just like, I’ve left horticulture, I’m into graphic design. Like maybe I’ve made a mistake. I, I don’t know, but I have to just like, I have to just see this through. It just felt like, well, you’ve, you’ve made the decision and, and go on. Um, and so a lot of the things that like.
[00:25:47] Me sort of processing, like how do I find the love in this is, has come out through hypo, but to get back on the, the like UX track, like the interest in web like sort of grew [00:26:00] into, into ux and I’ve, I’ve had jobs where graphic design and visual design has been more of a, a foundational part of the work.
[00:26:08] But the thing that I’ve learned about myself is that that feels like very much like a personal artistic expression for me. And I don’t like doing it for other people. Like I don’t love doing freelance. I like doing it for me, uh Right. In a way that I wanna do it. And so like I use things like the EPAs League and the font review journal and all these other types of tools as my outlet for that.
[00:26:28] So I can, when I’m doing [00:26:30] it, like I can maintain my love for it because I really found that trying to do it in the context of a job or for clients, like really kind of like suck the joy out of it for me. Well, and I think that that
[00:26:40] diane: is really important for us to know. Sometimes we don’t get that insight until we’ve already.
[00:26:46] The joys sucked out. Right. So I think that knowing that, because you have, you’ve, uh, the ethos league, I put the, um, link in that was, it started as your senior project. It grew and you’ve done other things with it, but it is [00:27:00] beautiful. You guys should check that one out. And then font review journal is something that’s happened since 2016.
[00:27:06] Right. So when did that Yeah, tell us a little bit about that. And if you wanna show us those images, you can, if, um, whatever you take the
[00:27:15] Bethany Heck: screen. Whenever. I gotta put, I, I think I, I have everything online machine, you know, so I could screen share if it’s, if it’s, if you want. And
[00:27:23] diane: typography, was that something that always kind of, um, [00:27:30] brought you joy or was that something that was, uh, was it, was it something that you came to love later, like as you were studying?
[00:27:44] In school with, do you feel like you always were attracted to type and more, or, I don’t know. I think
[00:27:52] Bethany Heck: even before school, I, I can’t illustrate and I’m not much of a photographer either. And so if I’m, I, I [00:28:00] love making things and you know, that the sort of like practice of that, but like, and so if I’m going to make anything of, of, of any interest, I have to figure out how to do it with words and through typography.
[00:28:10] Mm-hmm. And so the writing and the, um, and the practice of type has sort of like come through that and, and loving just some of the physi physical objects and the history of letter press, which is how Ingrained got started. Um, and sort of growing a collection in that and learning about type history and development through that has also been a part of that.
[00:28:28] And the, the sort of like interest [00:28:30] in, in type history and wood type has sort of led to projects like Job Clarendon, which is a typeface that I arc directed and made with, um, David, Jonathan Ross, who some of y’all might know. Um, this is the sort of research document that I put together as sort of the initial pitch to make that typeface with, um, with David.
[00:28:48] Um, I found, uh, examples of old Clarin’s, uh, condensed clarens are a genre of typeface that I have always loved, and I never, I didn’t feel like a lot of type designers were sort of translating them [00:29:00] successfully into digital typefaces and variable fonts felt like an interesting medium to try to explore that with because, um, with wood typefaces, you know, so many, um, a lot of a, a lot of it is that like, you know, these are the same general idea of font, but they’re probably like drafted by different draftsmen.
[00:29:20] Just sort of like going basing off of each other’s work and trying to figure out like, okay, how do I make like a slightly thinner or smaller or less bold? Or more condensed or wider version of [00:29:30] this same typeface. And so variable fonts like sit very naturally into that idea. Mm-hmm. And so, um, sort of like pulled out, you know, the things that that I found were interesting in, in historic examples, um, from, from from Claren dens.
[00:29:44] Like this is a, a wood to a block from my, um, from my collection. I have a, a whole alphabet of, of that, um, particular Clarendon. And so that became the sort of like guidepost for this work. Looking at other examples from other similar genres. These are some more from my [00:30:00] collection. This is, this is
[00:30:00] diane: you, um, printing these or looking at these and then analyzing them, right?
[00:30:05] Seeing what, yes. This isn’t like you’re going to the library and hunting out, um, what other people have said. This is, um, I mean maybe you did that as well, but, but some of this is just because you have studied so many. Older, um, pieces of design that have to do with type. This is some of the stuff that I just find super interesting and I love, [00:30:30] cuz you always teach me something new.
[00:30:32] Bethany Heck: Sure, yeah. I, I like, um, all of these are from like specimens that I’ve like found either online or a lot of these are from the letter form archive, um, where I, um, requested scans and yeah, just looking for trends like I, I made a note here of like a lot of clarens have this sort of like oval shape in their counter forms and I think that it takes it too much into like a modern dadone style for the typeface.
[00:30:56] Um, but then like too squared is also kind of like a little [00:31:00] stiff. Um, and so like trying to figure out like what the happy middle is there. Um, and just sort of like grouping and comparing, um, comparing typefaces. And if people don’t
[00:31:11] diane: know the letter form arc, it is, is it the letter form archive or letter form archive.
[00:31:17] Bethany Heck: org. I don’t know if it has, if, if it’s officially, I think it doesn’t have the, the, in the url. I
[00:31:23] diane: think it’s okay. Just letter from archives. Oh, Jared did it. Um, thank you. That’s what I thought it was, but I wasn’t sure. So I wanted to ask, but [00:31:30] they, they’ll do some things. Uh, I think they’re in San Francisco, right?
[00:31:34] The, the, yes. They’re based there, but they do online things too. So, I mean, I’ve gotten messages of, um, you know, online events that are from them, just so that people can, if they don’t know, this is a great asset. You, great resource. Okay, keep going. Sorry. So you’ve, you’ve found a lot of these, a lot of the, yes, go
[00:31:56] Bethany Heck: ahead.
[00:31:57] Um, [00:32:00] yeah, I can keep talking about job or I can switch over, if not review journal. I, you know, I’m, I’ve, I love everything, so I’m all over the place right
[00:32:06] diane: now. So, um, uh, Alan says he has the opposite problem. He’s not the best with type and he still struggles daily. So, but I think sometimes. You get better when you, like you were saying, Hey, this is something I’m working on.
[00:32:21] I’m gonna dive into this. Um, what would be something that you would tell somebody like Alan that, um, at the, [00:32:30] uh, is a way that they could explore more and, um, instead of just following the rules? Cuz I think, you know, a lot of these have been, were older things that were, that worked and it, it may break the rules we learned in school, which is some of the stuff that you taught me years and years ago.
[00:32:51] Um, but what would you tell somebody, like, how can they look at something like what you’re looking at and then, um, take [00:33:00] it to the next level of being improving?
[00:33:05] Bethany Heck: So I, I really like thinking about this problem because I find that like, typically design advice tends to fall into like, Well, if you are struggling with something or, or you really like somebody’s working and you’re trying to figure out how to develop your own style, you should start by mimicking other people.
[00:33:22] And I, I, I think that there’s a lot of value in that. I, uh, I, I know that there’s also some people who are like adamantly against that and think that like, it’s, [00:33:30] it, you know, there’s too much things that are just driven by new boards. Um, I have this thing that I wrote for Medium, um, uh, or I put on Medium a long time ago where I took some of the like typography driven typography, dge driven, uh, works that I really like.
[00:33:45] Um, and I tried to break them down and sort of explain like what I feel like from a structural standpoint or sort of, um, standing out to me about them that makes ’em effective. And so, like, um, talking about this poster from Jessica Spon, um, [00:34:00] looking at like, how. Um, you know, this, this large, um, sort of 3d, um, extended, uh, question mark.
[00:34:07] It like the lines that it forms like end up hitting a lot of the lines in the grid that’s type set underneath it. And I find that there’s, there’s details like that that we, a lot of times we just don’t see. We just see, like, we see like the, the big picture idea of like, oh yeah, 3D type. And then, you know, we’ve got a grid underneath and we just think like, oh yeah, okay.
[00:34:27] Uh, and then somebody puts like a big box of something up [00:34:30] here and they, they set a nice little guys down there and you get like, sort of the way there, but it’s like an iceberg, you know, you’re not really understanding like the, the full like weight of the decisions that led up into that, um, final result.
[00:34:41] And even like in, in a, a little bit looser, more expressive things, like looking at this poster from Eric, um, You know, just the way that, um, you know, figuring out like, okay, if I abstract this and look at it, like what, what, what sort of things am I seeing? And sort of seeing the rhythms and the shapes and the way that the, the [00:35:00] types sort of like fitting in, uh, to each other there and thinking about like, how can I sort of distill that down into a repeatable lesson for myself and a teacher?
[00:35:08] Is that
[00:35:08] diane: like an exercise you would do, you would find something out there and, and then abstract it with lines or, or shape? Yes. Oh, cool. That’s a great exercise and that’s we all can get, and it’s about like what is working, what isn’t working. Um, I think that that’s one of your superpowers and able to back [00:35:30] away and say, what is working?
[00:35:32] How can I incorporate this element into what I’m doing? But you have to be playing with it. You can’t just. Pop it out. You know, I, I think there’s something important about mimicking, uh, the masters. I don’t think we should just, that’s all we do is mimic people. Um, I think that, but that’s how we learn is we do have to, um, imitate to be able to understand, oh, this is how they got this.
[00:35:59] Right. [00:36:00]
[00:36:01] Bethany Heck: Yeah. I think like, my favorite, this, this close, this is another one from the same series by, um, by Jess Jessica. But this is like my favorite poster to talk about when it comes to just like, the difference in the way that we sort of like emotionally experience something for the first time versus like, it’s, it’s becomes very easy to miss the details.
[00:36:20] So like, I love this poster, this poster’s like my favorite thing, and it’s using a typeface called Maelstrom, which is by Chris, uh, sours be and at Clem. And [00:36:30] you know, you’ve got this huge typeface and it’s like creating this scaffolding in the middle of the page. And then you have the, the small type alongside of it.
[00:36:37] And, um, If you look at like, the usage of this typeface after this poster came out, like most people try to use it in the same way that this poster, so like I, I feel like in general, like people like see this, they’re like, oh, I love this, that typeface iss so cool. They set maelstrom really big and black and white.
[00:36:52] And they’re like, and they stack it like, so it’s like really tight and sort of like mimic the hair lines, um, between the slabs. And they’re like, done. I nailed it. I I, I [00:37:00] captured the essence of this poster. Um, but if you, like, if you break it down, and so I went through and like, this is what the, the, the font looks like.
[00:37:10] If you, if you set it and you left line it and then it’s like, okay, so let’s ride align it and let’s, uh, put that little tag in there and sort of like seeing where it’s at. And it’s just like, okay. But then if you like look and, and sort of like the end, so the blue is representing like her actual design.
[00:37:28] And the red is representing like what [00:37:30] that, what this like looks like when you just set it out of the box. Mm-hmm. You can, like, when you look at the overlay, you can see that like, she actually like modified the typeface a lot. She, she tucked in, um, uh, the, they are here to make room for this column. She removed the flags in a few places, including there.
[00:37:47] She’s tucked in the zero, so it lines up here, um, and sort of made sure that the lines, um, a alter out here, like lined up. Exactly. And, and it’s like this level of sort of like looking and [00:38:00] observing and studying the work that our peers do that I think is super valuable. And it’s something that, um, it, it’s always like interested and frustrated me about designers that like, this stuff is like the basics for like what we do.
[00:38:12] Like this stuff matters. And I feel like we, like, we look at like tiny JPEGs of things and we’re just like, oh yeah. And then we like copy it, like after that like blurred version of like not really even looking at it. Right. And we move on, right? And then we’re like really frustrated when people don’t take us seriously.
[00:38:27] It’s like we have to take the, like, I should be doing [00:38:30] this with like, anything that I look at and like, and I don’t do it either. Um, but I find that like when you’re really looking at like great work, you will find and learn things like this that make you appreciate it in a whole new way. Um, like I, I already loved that poster more than I could say.
[00:38:46] And now I love it even more because I’ve, I’ve taken the time to like break it down like this.
[00:38:51] diane: Yeah. And so you got some lots of people in the chat. So Matt says the power of great tight and why. And great design on an emotional [00:39:00] level, why I became a designer years ago. And then Jared said, love that point.
[00:39:03] Need to customize. Um, he says, what does joplan, what Joplan says default is dangerous. And then Paul says, super valuable to do that kind of detailed analysis and reconstruction, especially in type. Awesome. Um, and I just think that people are, when it is successful, we are just, um, we are devaluing the, we’re not looking at it like, oh, she probably adjusted [00:39:30] this, or How much goes into all those little nuances and just the, it’s a grid system, you know, they’re, she’s making, or whoever made this made a, um, you know, they had a structure to it.
[00:39:43] It was its own kind of structure. But I think that they’re, it’s, it’s really powerful. But maybe we do need to analyze that. We want to be taken seriously, but Right. Like you’re saying, we’re not doing it. Like we should. So we can’t give other people, um, a [00:40:00] hard time if they’re not doing it for us. So we have to lead by example.
[00:40:03] That’s again, why you’re great at doing this. Okay. So in, in, so this medium, you’ve, you said, you had told me one of the best, uh, ways for you or your favorite ways to talk about design was through, um, your articles on Medium. And so are you still writing on that
[00:40:24] Bethany Heck: platform? I haven’t written anything in a long time.
[00:40:27] I have things like various drafts of things [00:40:30] that I’ve poked at. Um, I, I really needed to break, um, from, from sort of writing and talking about it, um, all the time. And I’ve also gotten really deep into a, a very long-term project, which, which hopefully someday happens, where I’ve been doing research for a, um, a book about Cooper Black.
[00:40:47] Um, you,
[00:40:48] diane: you wanna talk? Go ahead and, uh, take us to Cooper Black and tell us about
[00:40:51] Bethany Heck: that one. Yes. So, um, I get a lot of times I’ve had people ask me about like, oh, when you do things for font review journal [00:41:00] or, or sort of like, write about type, like how do you sort of like keep track of, you know, where do you find your things and how do you keep track of them?
[00:41:06] And like, when I’m getting really into the weeds on something, I use this tool called, um, drop Mark. Um, and so it’s basically like a Pinterest and you can tag things and, um, this is the over 3,500 images that I have of in use examples of Cooper Black. Um, and then I can go in and tag things. So I can say like, oh, if there’s a particular designer, um, that used the typeface a lot that I find is notable like buddy [00:41:30] Esquire, um, I can come in and, and sort of like, if I’m diligent about tagging those things as I add them, then I can sort of filter out, um, when I know the decade of something, um, I can filter it.
[00:41:40] I have gone through discogs like decade by decade and found, um, hundreds and hundreds of, um, album covers, uh, that you and, um, A cassette art and various things that use, uh, Cooper Black and Conservative Group, them by decade. Um, so what is, I did this because I was really Disc cogs. I’m Disc [00:42:00] cogs is like a, it’s like a music database.
[00:42:02] It’s like, here, it’s like trying to like capture every, like, release of every piece of like music. That’s never happened. That’s like some big open source thing. See, you always, I’m a, I’m a amateur.
[00:42:15] diane: Okay. So, um, that’s really cool. Okay, so then this, how did you find Drop
[00:42:20] Bethany Heck: Mark? I started using it forever ago because I really wanted, I’ve always been obsessed with sort of like, Ooh, I like this thing and I wanna grab it.
[00:42:59] [00:43:00] Um, and um, so I was able to sort of directly ask for a few features like, oh, tagging and then like, I would really like it if people didn’t have to have an account and they could come in and like filter by those tags. Um, yeah. But this just as a
[00:43:13] diane: research project, this is huge help for you as you’re out there looking and I’m sure it’s sort of like Pinterest two where you can add your own photos in, but then you can also just pit, or it’s not a pin, but you would be, um, taking things from [00:43:30] somewhere else on the web it would go.
[00:43:32] Is that kind of how it works? Yes. Okay. So, but this would be amazing for doing research on this. So I would just love, this is just a Diane, uh, question. So say you’re starting, you’ve, you’ve collected all these things. When and how do you go in and start analyzing? Do you analyze it? Like, what does that look like in your brain?
[00:43:57] Like is it for [00:44:00] success, is it for, I don’t, I would just love to know your thought process. This’s probably longer question than we have, but
[00:44:07] Bethany Heck: that’s a good question. Um, I’m always just like, I, I’m trying to like it, like the process usually switches for me of like, okay, I’m just sort of like looking for like this thing.
[00:44:18] What is the thing that matches my thing? Right? Um, and sometimes, and a lot of times it means like looking for, like looking in ephemera section, uh, ephemera areas. Um, [00:44:30] Or sort, sort of like a, lemme find an example of, of something. So like, if I go into the ephemera tag, um, looking in, in like a sticker archive.
[00:44:40] Yeah. And, and, and sort of like, I can’t, I’m not looking for like Cooper Black stickers. I’m just like looking at the thing because I know that I’m gonna find Cooper Black in here somewhere. Right. Um, and so I’m, I like make little goals like that for myself of like, I’m gonna go down this rabbit hole today.
[00:44:56] Um, and then like, there’s usually like [00:45:00] things that sort of like pop up that’s like, okay, there’s, I, I like immediately know like, what I would wanna say about this. Or like, I’m seeing connections between something, um, that I found it over here and it relates to this thing over here. Or, um,
[00:45:15] diane: because do you have kind of a photographic memory where you’re able to be like, Ooh, this was like this.
[00:45:20] But you’re able to kind of see it in general, like overlooking the whole landscape and then you’re able to see patterns, multiple patterns.
[00:45:29] Bethany Heck: I [00:45:30] don’t think I’m a very visual thinker in general, but like when I do have a very good memory, and so like usually if I’ve seen something I can remember it. Um, and so if I do the work to sort of like when I find things sort of like do a little bit of work to sort of capture them in places like this, um, it’s easy for me to sort of like figure out where they are and recall them.
[00:45:47] Um, otherwise they’re, um, they can, they can sort of be lost because like it’s harder and it gets harder and harder to find things. Um, over time Google’s becoming less useful. Right. So
[00:45:57] diane: then, okay, so then you’re seeing these patterns. Are you physically [00:46:00] writing them down? Are you writing them down in another, um, like a notepad or some sort of document?
[00:46:06] Or are you just keeping them in your head?
[00:46:09] Bethany Heck: I use the, the notes app. Okay. Um, usually and so I’ll keep like runner running things or like I’ll, you know, do subheadings for like, write about this. Um, and, um, I
[00:46:21] diane: can’t wait to read. I hope this book comes someday. Um, Rhonda,
[00:46:26] Bethany Heck: the video game section, this is my favorite one.
[00:46:27] Oh. Oh, I had
[00:46:28] diane: cubert. [00:46:30] I didn’t even remember it was, um, uh, Cooper Black. Oh my gosh,
[00:46:39] Bethany Heck: these are great watching the video. They’re really fun. They’re not wor but these in instances where like, you don’t expect it. Um, it’s not like what you think of is, is really fun. And then thinking about like, okay, how did the usage of the, the typeface and who used the typeface and how change in the eighties and relate that to like the, [00:47:00] um, the change in in the political environment in the US in the eighties.
[00:47:04] And like, oh, everything became more corporatized and like, it became less about like corporate sort of subsumed the like aesthetic that was like in the sixties and seventies of, of like this, like, you know, this was the hip typeface and corporate corporations like Cooper Tires and, you know, um, you know, uh, a lot of, um, soda brands and McDonald’s and all that.
[00:47:23] Start using it. It’s in a lot of political posters in the eighties. Um, and then you start seeing it, you less, and the artistic media, you know, it [00:47:30] like drops dramatically in album covers and things because like they’re wanting to react against this thing that like they used to own. And, and, and you know, it’s sort of like it writes itself if you like, do the work to like see everything and sort of like have this like wealth of, of data and information to look at in mindset.
[00:47:44] diane: But that is, again, it’s looking at the, and knowing the history, knowing that whole landscape of the time. You can’t really just be pinpointed on one thing. You have to be able to come back and look at, Hey, what was happening? I love that you pull that, that in [00:48:00] and, and think about what, how things were changing.
[00:48:03] I mean, that’s Prince, uh, using it Wow. In 88. So, uh, Rhonda won to know. I didn’t even know that this album existed. I didn’t either. I look at that. I know, I guess Roger Nelson is his given name. Um, or maybe it, uh, anyway, I didn’t know that. That’s, um, this is great. But you have done a lot of research. At what point do you stop [00:48:30] doing the collection?
[00:48:32] And I mean, you’re, you’re putting down in notepad some of your, the patterns that you’re seeing and things that you’d like to say is that just the co you know, the collection happens as this, you spend more time in these pages and looking and analyzing.
[00:48:53] Bethany Heck: I find that like, the sort of like stopping point is like, it can be driven by a lot of things.
[00:48:57] Like sometimes when you’re working with somebody else, it’s like, okay, [00:49:00] we have a timeline, like we’ve gotta go. Um, sometimes it’s, it’s like I’m, I’m ready to stop sort of like being in this hunting mindset and more about like, okay, I wanna like, feel like I’m, can sort of like, put a bow on some of these things that I’ve found and draw connections and sort of like create the, the sort of like, what’s the narrative that I wanna find for this?
[00:49:18] Like particular. Um, aspect, and sometimes doing that writing like reveals things like, oh, I should look up things about like, and I’m still trying to track this down. Like, I wanna know like, why is it that like metal signage and vinyl signage, like [00:49:30] that became like, like Cooper Black became like, so like, it’s very different technology that’s the same like, general concept of like, they’re both like large format signages, but like, why did they like Cooper Black’s not a simple typeface?
[00:49:44] Like why did they feel like it was important to invest the time in those things? Um, and so there’s, there’s new avenues that sort of, like, you can make the initial observation, but then it’s like, okay, we’ll do this one where it’s like, make sense to go a level deeper and like, should I try to interview somebody?
[00:49:58] You know, like how, you know, like [00:50:00] what, where am I, how do I get the information and the resources to, to dive into this even, even deeper? Yeah. I mean,
[00:50:05] diane: how do, do you take it to that place of, Hey, I need to interview some sign shop owners from the eighties? I mean, is that. Is that a normal route you would take to see how they were making decisions for their business or, I,
[00:50:22] Bethany Heck: I’ve done it, but in the past, um, I haven’t gotten to that point with this project yet.
[00:50:27] Um, because very big and, and I’m still [00:50:30] like sailing out a bunch of things about it. But, um, for font review journal, yes. Like there have been times where it’s just like, I wanna know like a little something about this typeface and just trying to source somebody and or a few people and, and ask questions and see who says yes and, and gives you a, a response.
[00:50:46] That, that makes sense.
[00:50:47] diane: Okay. Two questions. Um, Rhonda said, can you put the album cover site, um, or can you spell Discogs? I have no idea. So I wrote that. I don’t know if that’s correct, but if you can tell me, I can [00:51:00] type it. I’m gonna, I’m gonna
[00:51:02] Bethany Heck: type it in to make sure that I know. Yeah. Disc
[00:51:05] diane: okays. Yes. Okay, great.
[00:51:08] Um, I’m gonna write it down so it’ll go in the links at the bottom on the notes, so if you are looking for it, we can, um, we’ll get it for you. I don’t remember if it was.org or.com, but good questions com. It’s okay. Great. And then, uh, Jaron, um, where do you find all these images and data? Are they from [00:51:30] all over or do you have a search process?
[00:51:32] Bethany Heck: Uh, They’re from all over. Um, so sometimes, um, Pinterest is a sort of entry point, um, gives, Pinterest is sort of like watching me, and so it sort of knows like the types of things that I’m interested in. Um, some of it’s on Instagram, uh, some of it’s on arena. If I wanna be in like a graphic design, say, uh, and seeing how graphic know what designers
[00:51:53] diane: arena is, see, you teach me all the stuff.
[00:51:55] I feel like the, I am like, granted, I can say this [00:52:00] and you aren’t gonna take offense to it because you grew up in Alabama, but sometimes I’m like, oh my gosh, it hadn’t gotten here. I live in Alabama. Okay, so what
[00:52:08] Bethany Heck: is Arena? Arena is like, PA Arena is, it’s r uh, a r e n a. And it’s like Pinterest for like, Gen Z graphic designer.
[00:52:19] Oh, that’s why. Cuz I’m in. It’s the, not it’s the, it’s the, it’s the des description I would use that doesn’t involve swear words, which, which is what I would normally describe it as. Um, but it’s That’s good. It’s cause my moms still hearing [00:52:30] in spirit. Exactly. Um, it is, but it’s mostly graphic designers on there.
[00:52:35] Um, and you can find all kinds of stuff
[00:52:38] diane: and, but you also, you like to go to, um, flea markets or antique places. Yes. These, it’s, this isn’t just like she’s hanging out on the internet, you know, she’s out there, um, finding some things just on your own. And it’s,
[00:52:56] Bethany Heck: if like, this one I found at a, at an antique store, um, a [00:53:00] few weekends ago, and like the signage and, and this one, um, those are all mine that I took.
[00:53:05] Um, yeah, I’m, I’m out looking at old things and weird things like constantly. And my favorite examples are the ones that I don’t find at graphic design sites. They’re things that I find where I’m just like, I wanna look at like rave, a rave poster, archive and see what I can find, because Rave is not the first genre of music that I would think of, that I would find Cooper Black.
[00:53:24] But I have found Cooper Black, uh, examples in that archive. Um, [00:53:30] and um, yeah, the sort of going into like a Flicker album where it’s like, oh, it’s about, you know, it’s, it’s like shirt tags or old t-shirts or, um, you know, uh, or, um, like there is, um, uh, do I have a good way of signing Murth? Um, I have, let me see, I have so many tags in here.
[00:53:54] Do I have a transportation? Not, um,
[00:53:59] diane: But [00:54:00] you’ve been able to make these tags, right? You just have to, you just go through. Yes. And when you see it, so if you wanted to add a transportation tag, you could add it to this auto one that’s next to the Diamond Cross Ranch or something. Right. You would just be able to click on it and add a tag
[00:54:16] Bethany Heck: to it.
[00:54:16] I guess this is it. So like I heard of this concept of like, jeepneys and, um, this is not the, this is not the gr the best picture because I probably just grabbed this to, so I would remember that it was called a jeepney, [00:54:30] but I was like, they, it’s like, um, uh, it’s something, um, in the Philippines that where, you know, they’re like, they’re tour bussy kind of thing.
[00:54:39] I apologize if I’m not, uh, describing this accurately. Oh, I did it because it’s, there’s this sign right here that has Cooper Black, but um, I, I saw these things and I was like, I know that they, somebody’s made some of these with Cooper Black on it. And so I went through, uh, all like various Getty stock image sites, sites took slicker albums, like whatever it is.
[00:54:58] And I finally found some [00:55:00] that had habits. And so it’s like low hits per, like, time spent in terms of like the number of things that you find. But it feels better when you do find them because you’re sort of like going on a hunch. Yeah.
[00:55:11] diane: my gosh, that’s great. You’ve given us so much. Dylan, um, Inguez said, thank you Bethany.
[00:55:15] You helped me be a better designer. Gotta run. And so he loved it today. I I just love that you are, I, I, I take pictures of a certain typeface because I, uh, I don’t like the typeface, [00:55:30] um, but. I, there is now this affinity towards that typeface and, um, it’s hobo is the one that I don’t, don’t like, but I kind of feel like, it’s like, now I’m kind of like me and hobo, you know, like it’s a, there, I feel like I have so many pictures on my phone of hobo being used because hobo was used a lot on a lot of things.
[00:55:53] Um, but it’s, uh, anyway, I just, I love how you think and we [00:56:00] didn’t get to any of the questions, but, okay. Let me, um, we, we, you answered a lot of great questions though. Is there anything else about the Cooper Project or about, um, the, um, the articles that you write or that is, that feeds something for you that you are, that it is definitely very separate, right?
[00:56:24] Um, you could keep it all in, but there is something that. Um, [00:56:30] makes you want to share this. So what is that, um, that draws you to share this and not just have these thoughts
[00:56:39] Bethany Heck: on your own? I think a lot of it’s just like growing up with, uh, a parent who was a teacher. Um, I wanted to be a professor when I graduated, and, um, I think if I had, if I, if I, if if like one or two things had gone differently for me in my life, I would’ve just like gone and gotten a master’s and then come back to Auburn and, and been a [00:57:00] different version of my dad.
[00:57:01] Um, and I just got, um, for better or for worse, got seen, um, very early and sort of had a lot of doors opened up to me through the work that I did as a student and, and soon after I left school and, um, got seen in a lot of places. And so, you know, sort of like the, the scope of my possibilities, uh, changed.
[00:57:19] And so I find that the, the writing and sharing, um, I hope that it’s sort of providing some of the value that I hoped that I would be able to provide as a teacher. Oh my gosh, I [00:57:30] very, and, and I mentioned it earlier, like I very much remember how much I was, how frustrated I was in the school. Um, feeling misunderstood, feeling like, um, you know, just sort of like not knowing how to process, um, what it was and wasn’t good, and like, when am I doing this just for the professor versus when is this like the right solution?
[00:57:51] And, and all those types of things. And sort of like struggling to understand the sort of formal decisions that I was sort of like being led to. [00:58:00] Um, and, and wanting to just, and also like being frustrated, like early on about, about people sort of like looking at me and sort of saying like, oh, well the work that she does is unconventional.
[00:58:11] And so it’s just like, that’s just her, that’s her thing. Nobody else should do this. This is bad practice. Um, she can get away with it because, you know, of whatever reason. But I’ve got, I, I hear that a lot. Um, and so, Some of it’s my, my own stubbornness of sort of being like, I don’t think it’s just me. I think that this is like something that other people can, can learn and [00:58:30] take in and use in their own way.
[00:58:31] Um, and just wanting, wanting to see the, the practice of graphic design grow in terms of how we like talk to others about our own work and about other work and sort of see a maturation of the discipline in that way.
[00:58:44] diane: Yeah, I love that. Well, and. I love that you share so easily and that you’re analyzed. You make me wanna be a better designer.
[00:58:53] And that’s why I love having you on because you’re just terrific at that. So, and you, you are, I would [00:59:00] love to work for you. I mean, I don’t wanna work, I mean, you know, I’m happy. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna get another job, but I’m just saying I think that you would be a great person. I, I asked you, did you have anybody that you, um, could mimic that, that did this to you, that taught you that?
[00:59:16] And I’m sure you know, there are people in your life that have done that at times or things that you’ve seen, but you’ve also really forged ahead in a new way for, in a way, um, a newly labeled discipline [00:59:30] of ux. And I think that, um, I’m really glad that you have gotten to do, you know, lead graphic design teams and lead the UX team.
[00:59:38] But I think you always have at the center, What is successful for the user and, and I and the people, how they’re reacting to it. Why were people using this? Why were people seeing this typeface in this way? And how do people see this typeface now? Um, and maybe that’s some of that conversation I need to have with myself about hobo.
[00:59:58] I kind of feel bad that I [01:00:00] don’t like hobo, I guess I just think it’s overused. Um, but I’ll think about it and then next time we can have a conversation about hobo maybe. Uh, but I wanted to make sure ho I’m, I mean, I don’t know, people may like hobo. I’m just, uh, burned hobo, but I have this weird relationship with hobo now.
[01:00:19] So thought reviewed journal is a way that you can connect with Bethany. EFAs league is, um, still a beautiful, beautiful site, and [01:00:30] her favorite way to talk about design on a formal level is this medium. Article and then her website is heck house.com. Bethany, what is one thing in 10 years? So since the first time you were on in 20, in 2013, which seems like not that long ago, but then it also seems like a long time ago.
[01:00:51] Um, what’s one thing that you’ve learned about yourself that has been most impactful for you in, in your career [01:01:00] as a designer or, and a,
[01:01:02] Bethany Heck: and a leader? I think that learning to get over, to get over myself in, in that way, I’m sort of like learning to embrace the, like, interpersonal aspects of work. Um, not just for myself and my, like my own work and sort of seeing my own work through to the finish line, but learning to do that for other people.
[01:01:24] Um, like that’s to me the biggest change from like when I started to, to when I finished. Um, [01:01:30] Just, um, yeah, like that. But back in 2013, I was in South Carolina working for a web design agency. Uh, and so my next job after that was moving to I b m and sort of like, that was my first time being in a really big pond.
[01:01:44] Uh, and getting to sort of like learn to navigate within the machinery of that. And I find that that’s like, that’s a way that I, that’s another like element that I really have enjoyed being in. Uh, and it was very unnatural for me at first being an introverted person, uh, [01:02:00] and dancing who’s the fiery with strung opinions about things and sort of figuring out like, how do I keep the good of that while expressing it in a, in a way that I hope is a lot more productive, um, and bringing other people along with me rather than feeling like, oh, it’s, it has to be, you know, like I have to be the person who’s sort of shouldering this and that.
[01:02:18] That’s not a healthy way to work.
[01:02:20] diane: But I think that that was, you know it when you were at Auburn or in school, a lot of times we feel like I just have to do it this way to either get the passing grade or because [01:02:30] it doesn’t rock the boat or, and a lot of people feel like that in the beginnings of their career and then they never kind of come out of that.
[01:02:35] So in a way, you now created a place where people can be safe to explore when they’re under you in, as you’re their boss or their leader, or the team leader or the project leader, whatever, like you, you’re doing more, you are mentoring others, even just by, I mean e even just through front reviewed journal, like they’re, it’s [01:03:00] helping us to move forward in our careers, but it’s also you’re creating a space that hopefully other people, cuz it’s not just the design, it’s the way you are.
[01:03:12] Ing being a manager or you know, like you’re thinking about how, because I know there, I mean, one job I left because the guy just took all the things that I was designing because our creative director was controlling what he was doing too much. And so he didn’t feel like he had any [01:03:30] power. And that’s kind of what it felt like maybe, um, when we’re stuck and we’re having to only meet the, what the teacher likes, right?
[01:03:38] I, some kids said to me this summer, or the beginning and last spring, and he was like, well, I don’t know, you know, well this is what I wanna do. And I’m like, well, you have to tell me about the customer so that I can know if it’s successful. It’s not if Diane likes it, you know, like, uh, just don’t use hobo.
[01:03:56] You know, if you wanna do something, I don’t. Right. Um, but I [01:04:00] think that it’s not that, that there are, you have to really think. And I think a lot of people think about design as just, oh, well, do you like it? And not, and I think you really have this really great package of that customer experience. And I think you do that as a manager.
[01:04:15] I think that that would be difficult in a remote setting. Um, but it sounds like you’re a great, a great team leader where you’re managing a Zoom meeting so that people get their voice cuz you didn’t feel like your voice was heard. [01:04:30] And I feel like you’re like an advocate for
[01:04:31] Bethany Heck: that. And I just think that’s great.
[01:04:35] It’s just hard. I can’t speak that, I can’t speak to whether or not I’m successful cuz I, I don’t, I, I don’t have any as a manager, but I can just speak to what my motivations are and what I’m trying to do. I hope that I’m
[01:04:44] diane: successful. Yeah. Well we’re always trying to improve, you know, and I, it, it stops when we stop trying to improve.
[01:04:52] I think that we’re, we’ve got everything. So I’m gonna rethink, hobo, and now I’ve got like all these things now to, [01:05:00] um, go in the arena. I put them in my show notes, discogs, and then, uh, I did know about letter form archive. Um, so I will put all of those show notes will be there. But a again, guys, go follow Bethany.
[01:05:14] Um, Jared says you’re super inspiring. Bethany. I’ve, Bethany, I’ve, I’ve, Bethany, I’ve Bethany been affected. He said, I’ve definitely been affected by your work. Thank you for sharing today. Call said great insights, great tips. Um, and I agree [01:05:30] Bethany, you just are a wealth of information and you just share so easy.
[01:05:34] I’m really glad you’re my friend and thank you for. Being willing to, um, swap our dates, which I think was really funny. It was oh 3 1 5. We still use the same numbers. It’s now oh 5 3 1, which I thought was kind of weird. But we end up being on the same number. I, I don’t know, three and five are two of my favorite numbers cuz I love the way they look together.
[01:05:57] They’re kind of, you know, so [01:06:00] like that’s always my favorite number. So you had my favorite numbers either in March or. If it was here. So Bethany, thank you. I can’t wait. Hopefully it won’t be 10 years. Um, since till I have you back on, but thank you. Thank you. And next week I believe we have Alicia Colo colon on and she is doing something new as well.
[01:06:23] She has also been through multiple, um, different jobs and um, done paper arts and [01:06:30] photography and project management. Um, and so we’ll hear from her next week. But Bethany, thank you so much. And if you’re listening on YouTube, you can give us a thumb. If you a thumb give us a thumb. I guess you could give us a thumb either way, but love a thumbs up and I love a comment.
[01:06:47] I do respond back to them. So, I really appreciate you Bethany, and I appreciate everybody who comes live. So thank you and Bethany. I will see you soon and next time you’re in Alabama, I would love [01:07:00] to pop up to Auburn and see you. So anyway, we will see you guys next. Sweet. Thank you
[01:07:06] Bethany Heck: all so much.