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HOW-TO: employing plain language as a UX professional AND as a small business owner

I read a great piece on Medium by Rachael Renk called Using Plain Language in UX Writing. In it, she makes a pitch for using plain English in UX work and making strong writing skills a priority for UX designers. The primary example she gives is microcopy on a website you’re building — and that’s hugely important; it can make or break whether someone interact with the content. But it also got me thinking about all of the other ways that I apply that same spirit of saying exactly what I mean across my business — from those UX components to correspondence with design clients to selling retail products.

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BEHIND-THE-SCENES: commissioning a fanny pack for/from myself

My favorite fanny pack came from my football team. I love it a lot, but it’s been through …some stuff. Some drinking stuff.

I went in search of a replacement and I knew I wanted a few things:
• a long strap so I can also wear it over my shoulder
• a galaxy print
• blank spaces for my fave pins
• pockets
• any other interesting element, but not pizza or donuts — I love both of those things, but they don’t go with every crop top and/or bar, ya know?

Then Printful released a fanny pack. Printful is my drop-shipping company, which means I design stuff in the correct dimension and then set up print files. When you place an order on my website, it goes straight to them and they print/ship it.

Their pack had an XL strap option, internal pockets, and an all-over print, so we were good to go. I went through a series of drafts on this bad boy.

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BEHIND THE SCENES: Activist Commission for Pride

Quick content warning: this post touches on homophobia and includes images of some homophobic slurs.

Scott Whalen and I went to college together, so when he asked me – over cocktails and Ru Paul’s Drag Race – about an idea he had for some shirts, I was totally game.

The idea was to reclaim slurs that had been used against him and other queer folks in a series of t-shirts. He told me that, as a cis white dude, he felt he had the privilege to make the more provocative statements and, thus, a responsibility.

During our initial concept conversation, we discussed a simple sans serif block letter, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how we might better convey the idea that these were being employed by someone at Scott, not just employed by Scott. He asked for something that was bold and aggressive, and something active vs passive.

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HOW-TO: Brainstorm the Perfect Custom Gift

Something I’ve really loved working on for the last few months is custom gifts. I’ve done a couple for other folks to give, but I’ve also made quite a few super different gifts that I got to give myself! When your options aren’t limited to stuff someone’s already manufactured, thinking up gifts is kind of fun. So I wanted to share my process with you. My questions and tips will help, whether you’re making something yourself, commissioning an artist, or just coming up with some new google terms to search.

The secret to giving a good gift is to ask yourself a few questions about your giftee — and then extrapolate. The first thing I think of is always relevant but boring, but a creative pivot will take you from a serviceable gift to a really thoughtful one.

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TOOL: Creative Market brushes

I’m a Creative Market Affiliate. I buy nearly all of my procreate brushes from them and they’re a central part of my process. I wanted to share a couple of my faves with you this week!

Full disclosure: my affiliation earns me a small commission at no extra cost to you, but I will never share a product here that I don’t genuinely love.

I use the Gouache brushes very, very often — they’re the central element of the Sects Sell series’ retro vibe and a really nice option for a fade effect. The neon brushes are really fun and easy to employ to really beautiful effect. The sparkle and glitter textures are the same way — a good quick addition to a mock-up. Finally, the paint brush set is a simple, workhorse set, that does exactly what it says it does. Check them out below!

Powered by Creative Market

What brushes did I miss out on? What kinds of effects do you need help making? What other kinds of tools would you like to see in this series? Let me know in the comments!

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SERIES: Sects Sell — : Zendik Farm

Launched in January 2019, Sects Sell is my weekly opportunity to explore a cult and experiment with a mid-century-ish, retro style of advertisement. New pieces are posted every Friday on this page and on Instagram – follow this and other work at @bridgetmakesstuff.

When I was 13, and newly allowed to go places with my, friends by myself, two places I went often were Georgetown and White Flint Mall. When I was reading through the cult list I made with my roommate, I thought Zendik Farm would be an easy one. I’ll just draw a stop bitching start a cult bumper sticker! But obviously I started working and Hannah started reading me blogs from ex-members, so I decided to take the bumper stickers that were aggressively sold/panhandled on the streets of Georgetown and combine them with another primary influence: Limited Too

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