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Coping Under Pressure

Posted on July 24, 2009

We?ve all had days like this: everything that can possibly go wrong, has gone wrong. And then some. The new, big and important customer has been amazing to work with, adding project after project after project and is keeping everyone busy and happy. But?they expect all of the additional work to be done within the original budget. And then that newish monitor (only 1.5 years old) just up and dies on you. Do you repair it or replace it, repair it or replace it? Or just make due with the smaller but still decent monitor that wasn?t being use anyway. And then there?s the computer that seems be possessed. Some days it?s fine and other days, well, it seems that it rather not be working and continues to freeze. 3, 4, 5 times a day. Add to that the normal stresses of life, family, pets, friends, finances, and on and on and on. It?s enough to send you over the edge, down the river, to the ocean and onto a small raft that will take you out to sea and away from everything and everyone.

It really is amazing how much we can take and still keep going. I believe that we are given only as much as we can handle and just when you think you?ve reached your breaking point, you find just a little bit of strength left (it?s usually hiding in your pinky toe) that pulls you through. The trick is taking that last bit of strength and using it to your advantage. While freaking out and running around like a mad-woman with her head cut off does provide amusement for the office staff, it really doesn?t do much to help you or improve the situation. Instead, I suggest trying one (or all) of these 5 tips.

  1. Find a solution. It?s so easy to get wrapped up in what is going wrong that you lose site of what the problem is. Instead of focusing on the problem, placing blame or pushing the issue under the rug, focus on finding a solution.
  2. Make a list! If you are overwhelmed by all of the work that needs to be done, all of the places the kids need to be, or all of the chores that need to be done at home or in the garden, start out by SITTING DOWN, writing a list and prioritizing. You?ll probably find out that you can handle everything that you have going on. Chances are everything will look less intimating on paper.
  3. Enlist the help of others. And listen to their advice! It?s easy to miss the solution to a problem because you are too close to see it. Take a deep breath, step back, ask for help, make a decision and move forward.
  4. Talk, talk talk. There?s nothing wrong with over communicating, it helps not only you, but anyone else you are working with if everything has a complete understanding of what is going on and what is expected. And if questions, concerns or issues come up later (such as, who ate the last piece of chocolate?), ask! You?ll only add more stress to your life if you don?t know the answers.
  5. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Need I say more?

One final note, everyone has stress to deal with. Be kind to those around you, they could be dealing with something just as bad. Or worse. Showing just a little bit of kindness and sympathy will make their day, and yours, that much brighter.

If you are looking for a team that has the creativity to tackle the task at hand (even under pressure) we?re the team for you. Visit our web site to learn more about what we do, and how we can help you.

Critiques – a Learning (and Growing) Experience

Posted on July 17, 2009

I LOVE DESIGNING. It?s my passion, part of who I am. I put my heart and soul into everything I create. Yes it?s true, I?m kind of a design geek. But hey, I?m OK with that.

One of the many, MANY processes graphic designers go through is group critiques. During school, at work, in online communities. After you have put in countless hours, worked your butt off, and probably had one-too-many cups of coffee, you have to face the firing squad. And let me tell you, they are NOT AFRAID to tell you what they think.

Often times you?ll leave a critique with some helpful pointers, things that you didn?t see because you?re too close to the project. Suggestions that you know won?t work, but you try it anyway to make the powers-that-be happy. And even some ideas that you don?t think will work, but surprise, surprise, they do!
Every once in a blue moon you?ll leave a critique with grin on your face, a hop in your step and your head held high. Everyone LOVED your ideas and no one suggested any changes. They were PERFECT!!! Granted, this doesn?t happen often, but it?s something that every designer strives for.

And then there?s the dreaded critiques where no one likes your work. You slaved away for hours, put your blood sweat and tears into it, and what did that get you? Silence and empty stares as your peers attempt to figure out how to let you know what they think, without tearing your apart. It?s every designer?s nightmare and something that we ALL go through.

How we deal with it says a lot about who we are, both as a designer and as a person. We could hold a grudge, convince ourselves that our work is FANTASTIC, that the other designers wouldn?t know great work if it hit them in the face. Or we can suck it up and admit that we are not perfect. Everyone say it with me now: ?I AM NOT PERFECT?!

The truth is, a negative reaction only hurts ourself. It stops us from hearing what other designers (and customers for that matter) have to say about our work. It stops us from growing and improving as a designer. It stop us from communicating with our peers. And sometimes it can even stop us from trying.

In the real world we don?t always produce great work the first time around. Sometimes we have off days. Sometimes we just aren?t connecting with the project. Sometimes one designer can spend 30 minutes on a logo and come up with something brilliant while another designer slaves away for hours and comes up with squat. As frustrating as it is, that?s just the way creativity works.

Nobody likes to hear anything negative about their work, but I honestly think that 9 times out of 10 we knew deep down that it was not as good as it could be. Of course that doesn?t make the criticism any easier to take. But I think that some of the best work comes out of our biggest struggles. And we grow the most when we struggle. So instead of reacting negatively, we need to take that energy, turn it around and use it to our advantage. Easier said than done, I know. But if you really focus on using that energy to keep going, to keep improving, the next time around you just might have one of those PERFECT critiques.

Do you need a design team that is passionate about everything they do? A team WILL NOT GIVE UP until you are happy? Contact us or visit us at to learn how we can HELP YOU!

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Four-Legged Office Friends

Posted on July 9, 2009

This is a post about the furry creatures known as pets, and not that human co-worker who likes to walk around on all fours and drink from the toilet (I?m not naming any names). I am lucky enough to work in an office where animals are not only NOT forbidden, but are actually welcomed. We?re even encouraged to bring in our own furry family members on occasion! You?re probably wondering what this has to do with design, so pay attention because eventually I?ll make my point.

First off, we have the office feline named Apache. He is the kindest thing to ever force himself into your arms. He does it in a nice way, but he needs attention when he needs it and doesn?t take ?no? or ?stop that? or ?get off me? for an answer. Apache has his claws but rarely uses them (which is more I can say for some people). He can often be found squeaking at nature by the window or taking a cat-nap on my desk (the place he was exiled to since licking himself one too many times in front of one that shall remain nameless).


The second addition to the Moxie team is Buster, the most docile chocolate lab I?ve ever met. He likes to greet me each morning by giving me a hug (yes, I hoist all 70lbs of him onto my lap for our snuggle) and then digging through my garbage. Buster can often be found lying in the middle of the place where everyone walks. No, not off in his bed or sneakily on the couch. He prefers to lie, often on his back (create your own visual) in the highest traffic area of the office. His greatest energy-exhausting moves of the day happen when there?s a knock on the door. The office goes from pin-drop silence to ?RAWWW!! RAW RAW RAW!!!? where we all then proceed to pull our hearts from our throats. Otherwise, you?d barely know Buster was here.


Now why, you might ask, would it matter at all to have furry friends in the work place? Well, some people may not like animals or may have an allergy, so the office pet wouldn?t work out for them. Thank goodness no one in this office falls into either of these categories. Since welcoming both Apache and Buster, office moral has improved (but mostly, I think it might just be for me). It gives a reason to take a moment or three from a stressful project or design block to love on the closest furry creature, bringing a pure joy that only pets can provide. It also allows an outlet for those of us who are crazy hugging fiends (and by ?us? I do NOT mean me). So what if Apache has death-breath from his snaggle tooth and Buster ?supposedly? has bouts of stinky gas. They?re like family to me. (Oh, did I mention the breath doesn?t bother me and I?ve never smelled the gas? That could have something to do with it.)

At Moxie, we like to think of many of our customers as friends, some even like family. We not only want to create great work for them, but also want to know how they are doing and support the work they do. It is important to build a strong relationship with people so they know you have their back, and they have your?s, especially in times likes these. We?ve welcomed two very special animals and countless clients into our lives? and there is always room for one more?YOU!

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? Post written by Cristy Wiza.

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