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Fitc lauren hom


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presented at FITC Toronto 2018
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Lauren Hom, Hom Sweet Hom

In early 2016, Lauren packed up her studio in New York City in pursuit of the ultimate form of inspiration: travel. After exploring the world for a year, she was surprised to discover that she didn’t feel more inspired than before. The truth is, she’d actually found more inspiration for her work in her normal, everyday life than in her epic world trip.

That’s not to say that travel can’t be wildly inspiring – it totally can be. But what if she told you that there’s just as much inspiration in fighting with your spouse as there is in traveling the world? Would you believe her if she told you that she’s gotten more inspiration from a night of drinking than a night of watching TED talks? What Lauren hopes to teach you today is that EVERY experience in your life can be used as inspiration. You are the secret source of inspiration you never even knew you had – you just need to know where to look.

To inspire the audience with stories of how I’ve turned mundane events into powerful creative projects & how they are more than capable of doing the same

Target Audience
Designers and entrepreneurs who want to get more eyes on their work & feel more creatively inspired

Five Things Audience Members Will Learn
Every experience is inspiration – even the bad stuff
There is magic in the mundane
Relatable ideas are shareable ideas
Use your skills to solve your problems & you’ll solve them for others too
The secret to creativity is simply paying attention

Published in: Design
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Fitc lauren hom

  1. 1. Google, Starbucks
  2. 2. • hallmark cards, blah blah blah • even though i’ve worked on a lot of big projects with big brands, most people don’t really know me for those projects and that’s not what i’m here to talk to you about today. • if ur familiar with my work, chances are you discovered me through one of my many passion projects over the years
  3. 3. or more recently, flour crowns
  4. 4. • My passion projects are without a doubt the reason I’m standing on this stage in front of you today. Passion projects have been the backbone of my entire creative business. When most of us hear the word passion project, we think of making something just for fun. While I definitely make my projects for fun, I also make them to use as my own secret marketing tool.
  5. 5. I know it almost sounds too good to be true, but passion projects not only keep me inspired and motivated, they actually get me paid. If you’re here at this conference, most likely that’s what you’re searching for too in your own work
  6. 6. and today I hope to show you that all it takes is a little passion and proactivity to start getting paid to do the work YOU want to do.
  7. 7. So I mentioned that I’ve lived in LA, NYC, and now Detroit, but for all of 2016 and about half of 2017 I was working, traveling, and living out of a backpack all around the world. After almost 7 years in New York City and two years of working from home, I packed up my studio and decided to pursue the ultimate source of inspiration that a twenty-something could want: travel. I had seen one too many inspirational travel quotes on Instagram, and I had heard from older friends and colleagues that travel was the surefire way to put my inspiration levels through the roof.
  8. 8. Here’s a super scientific chart i put together. I pictured my inspiration levels would look something like this:
  9. 9. • I pictured myself coming back from my trip, all enlightened and shit, feeling inspired to create my most brilliant work to date. 18 months and 21 countries later, after countless epic sunsets, dozens of new friends and a bunch of new adventures, I’m here to report that my creative inspiration levels actually looks more like this:
  10. 10. • While I thoroughly enjoyed my travels, I was surprised to discover that I’m really no more inspired than before. This made me realize that I’ve actually found more inspiration for my work in my normal, everyday life than in my trip around the world. That’s not to say that travel can't be wildly inspiring - it totally can be. But what if I told you that there’s just as much inspiration in fighting with your spouse as there is in traveling the world? Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve gotten more inspiration for my work from a night of drinking with my friends than a night of watching TED talks or scrolling through design blogs?
  11. 11. • What I hope to teach you today is that EVERY experience in your life can be used as inspiration - they’re all equally valuable. You are the secret source of inspiration you never even knew you had.
  12. 12. • We always look outward for inspiration, but when was the last time you looked inward? I can guarantee you that inspiration has been hiding right under your nose this whole time in the form of all of your inside jokes, habits, and hobbies. There is magic hidden in the mundane, boring bits of life that we usually don’t pay much attention to.
  13. 13. I’m going to share a few stories of how ordinary experiences have inspired projects that have led to some pretty extraordinary opportunities in my career, and how you can do the same with yours.
  14. 14. This is the story of how one bottle of wine changed the course of my career.
  15. 15. This is the story of how one bottle of wine changed the course of my career.
  16. 16. • drew inspiration from me and friends lives, practiced • didn’t have any experience • only took one type class, studied advertising because it seemed solid • fell in love with lettering and kept doing DD in spare time • used what I had in my dorm room: graph paper, sharpies, and photoshop • What happened next was pretty extraordinary: 50 K followers, book deal
  17. 17. • received email from Katherine • over the next 8 months, grew the blog to 40K followers and pitched a book
  18. 18. the week I received my diploma, I also signed a $25,000 book deal book now in stores
  19. 19. even stationery
  20. 20. circulated my work around the internet and got me hired for the same style for magazines
  21. 21. Even following this surprising success, I was only 22 years old and decided to spare my parents the heart attack and still got a full-time job as a junior art director at an advertising agency after I graduated. But I kept making Daily Dishonesty pieces because I genuinely enjoyed it. This, in turn, circulated my lettering work around the Internet and caught the eyes of brands and publications that wanted to hire me for lettering freelance projects. As the months went on, my honeymoon phase with my agency started wearing off and I started feeling drained by the long nights at the office working on banner ads.
  22. 22. At the same time, my lettering was getting better from doing more Daily Dishonesty pieces and in less than a year, I had enough clients, savings, and confidence to quit my job and pursue lettering full-time. It’s now been 4 years since I left my full-time job, and I haven’t looked back since. What began as an ordinary drunk joke between girlfriends turned into a project that changed the course of my entire career. •
  23. 23. • silly honest selves • great place to draw from because relatable • write down memorable bits don’t let anything slip • make a conscious effort to remember • don’t drink too much either
  24. 24. I think that’s what made Daily Dishonesty a success
  25. 25. became this complete stranger that people could somehow relate to
  26. 26. • “socialize” through computer screens as much as we do in person • we’re not the only ones who feel a certain way • If people can see a bit of themselves in the subject of your projects, they’re more likely to engage with your work and share with their friends.
  27. 27. • accidentally turned a break up into a $10,000. • hurt feelings. There were tears. There were unfollows. It sucked. • ex bf tears story at desk
  28. 28. no experience flasks selling, but you can google anything investment of 1 week time $250
  29. 29. up and running, sold out of all 100 products in my initial run
  30. 30. The day I launched Ex Boyfriend Tears, I made a post about it through the Daily Dishonesty blog to spread the word. I went back to work and didn’t check back on the post until later that day. I opened it up and saw 12,000 likes and reblogs! Turns out, John Green, the author of that teeny tiny book The Fault In Our Stars, had seen it and reposted it onto his blog. Also turns out, he’s got millions of followers. 
  31. 31. • If you give good things to the internet, it will give you many good things back. If you put crap and mean comments and hate into it, the internet will seek vengeance and make sure that you’re on Facebook every time your boss walks by. be good to mother internet and she will be good to you.
  32. 32. • no it wasn’t fun black hole of despair • brought out inner mean girl • sold over 600 • good to know others were going through it too • picked up on feeling turned it into • next slide for anyone who’s been through heartbreak or going thru
  33. 33. • you are not special • this is a good thing! • any shit that’s happening to you has probably happened to others too • know that you are not alone in your break up, depression, unemployment, divorce or any other negative things that may happen in life. • life is going to suck sometimes, but you can do something with that crap and use it to inspire creative work that others will be able to relate to. • just like the ‘omg me too!’ moments i was talking about a moment before. the same goes for ‘omg things suck for me too’
  34. 34. • when it comes to break ups • 100 different ways to say “I don’t like my ex boyfriend very much right now.” • heartbreak turned into a flask and $ • i don’t hope that heartbreak is in the future for any of you • next time someone hurts you, get creative GO FUCK YOURSELF • oh and my ex did find out and was not very happy lol
  35. 35. This is the story of how my hanger helped me expand my skills and business.
  36. 36. • normally not bothered by bad design, but was hungry • these gross signs aren’t making me want to eat at any of these places • you could do it better
  37. 37. • she was right • i’m a letterer • also had friends in the restaurant industry give away free food all the time • armed with this knowledge…
  38. 38. was born! • no experience, figured i could barter
  39. 39. • concept was simple • dumplings paid in dumplings
  40. 40. greek food, paid in greek food
  41. 41. • printed out fliers pitched myself nervously • after a few weeks, had a few that were game! • As soon as I started doing these chalkboard barters, the word spread
  42. 42. interviewed and featured on food and design websites
  43. 43. Over the next year, I practiced my chalk lettering and ate delicious free food at over 30 NYC eateries.
  44. 44. some restaurants asked me to do larger boards, so i just got larger meals. similar to the design industry, people in the restaurant industry are super tight and seem to all know each other, so this project spread quickly through word of mouth.
  45. 45. • I gained so much from the experience: • chalk portfolio, connections, weight
  46. 46. • I got good enough to start doing it professionally • allowed myself one barter per week to keep up with client work • in demand, people had no problem paying me paying me • started branching outside of restaurants - skills are applicable to more than one thing
  47. 47. • no experience cheeseburgers • working for brands like samuel adams, chobani, Microsoft
  48. 48. • no experience cheeseburgers • working for brands like samuel adams, chobani, Microsoft
  49. 49. • no experience cheeseburgers • working for brands like samuel adams, chobani, Microsoft • i always wanted to work with food brands, and the theme of this project helped to put my work out there.
  50. 50. • idea for WLFL came seamlessly because two favorite daily activities • separately boring activities, together perfect passion project • All I did was make a few observations in my life, connect the dots, and use my skills to turn it into a project.
  51. 51. • The moral of this story is that there is so much inspiration hidden in your daily life • certain activities as “potential inspiration” like museums • we forget to be on the lookout during regular stuff, like brunch • remember, everything is insp. • Keep your inspiration radar on at all times - u never know
  52. 52. • Before I started WLFL, I used to look at chalkboard lettering • WOW so cool I wish someone would pay me for that • i had no chalk lettering in my portfolio though • wouldn’t let someone cut your hair if they had no proof • instead of accepting, do something!
  53. 53. WLFL was a fun way for me to practice my skills and prove myself. A great way to kickstart your creativity is to examine your own wants and needs and figure out how to make it happen, basically taking yourself on as your own client.
  54. 54. When you get hired by a client, you're helping to solve their problems. Think about all of the skills you use daily to help clients reach their goals. Any creative skills you've ever put towards helping clients to sell more of their products, gain more influence, increase traffic to their websites, or break into a new market can be used to help YOU reach your personal goals.
  55. 55. Whether you want to find a new job, raise money, or learn a new skill, there's no problem too big or too small to solve for yourself. Your next big idea could be hidden in your everyday problems. Take your personal goals you want to reach and problems you want to solve, imagine it’s your creative brief, and then take yourself on as your own client.
  56. 56. • Your creativity is too valuable to be spent only helping others build their dream if you have dreams of your own. • how I came up with the idea for one of my latest personal projects • In 2016, my literary agent asked me if i had any more book ideas • pitched her cooking stuff
  57. 57. A great place to look for inspiration is in the things you’re obsessed - February 2017 browsing around the internet, saw music festival stuff popping up left and right - brain made flour crowns pun, and then i rolled with it
  58. 58. flower crown craze
  59. 59. • this may seem simple but i see this happen where people’s portfolios don’t reflect their actual interests and personalities • politics • yoga
  60. 60. cute but most strategic. silliest one yet • DD lettering • WLFL chalk lettering • using this to position myself to do food work and build an audience that knows me for food so i can publish a food book or cookbook someday
  61. 61. lots of people ask about my camera, photo studio, lighting and production
  62. 62. trash alley! use resources you have. don’t need to spend a lot to make a project. most of my projects cost less than a few hundred to make. DD was only $10.
  63. 63. 2 years ago, I posted something on insta that said Foods before dudes
  64. 64. and one of my followers commented “cuisine before peen”. I think I spit out my drink when I read it because it was so damn clever and made a mental note of it. My friends love it obviously, so we joked about it all the time after that. One day we were pondering life’s tough questions: whether phallic things have always been funny or not. like if cavemen looked at phallic rocks and laughed? I had wanted to start a food project for a while as you know, so something just clicked after this conversation.
  65. 65. a combination of two more of my favorite things - cooking and inappropriate humor does it have anything to do with lettering? no. does it make laugh and feel excited about working? hell yeah.
  66. 66. - showing your true, weird self attracts an audience who loves what you love and repels people who aren’t your ideal follower anyways. the internet is a big place. there is room for you and all of your weird. - making work that reflects the weird stuff my friends and i nerd out about has allowed me to find an audience who’s excited about the things that i’m excited about - it’s easier to make a lot of work when you’re enjoying that work. keeps me motivated to keep on creating. - i guess what I’m trying to say is
  67. 67. i hope that by putting myself out there, it gives others confidence to pursue that thing they’ve always wanted to do but maybe were a little afraid to try out.
  68. 68. • wrapped up in lettering • Just because I’m a letterer doesn’t mean I’m only allowed to do lettering. • got into design because i like making stuff you did too • get older, gets harder because we overthink • when was the last time you made something for fun?
  69. 69. crown from bali spent an hour in my room taking photos emo music same stuff i was doing in high school
  70. 70. myspace photos in my room minus bread
  71. 71. if you’re feeling stuck or lost, get back to what you love
  72. 72. now i draw letters for a living
  73. 73. • Keep making stuff. Make stuff that feels good to make, and don’t stop. This is the only way to keep getting better at your craft, and it’s going to take time. Make stuff that isn’t even related to your job. Any making of any kind is good for your creativity, which is good for your job. Photographing bread on my head has nothing to do with lettering, but it makes me happy to do. And when I’m happier, I’m a better letterer. Once you find inspiration for an idea, it may seem like a daunting task to actually bring it to life.
  74. 74. Once you find inspiration for an idea, it may seem like a daunting task to actually bring it to life. I’ve noticed is that the biggest roadblock to starting a personal project is usually…myself. I want to leave you with a few tips on how to make it happen. - sophie ben story
  75. 75. then you have time to start a project! You have time to make something! I’m not hating on all of the activities above (I love a good Instagram stalk and hey, if you pay attention it might inspire an idea), but what I’m trying to say is that you have more free time than you think you do. Starting a personal project is such a great investment of your time because it comes full-circle. The more you invest into your personal work, the more it will re-invest into your actual paid work. Trust me.
  76. 76. not hating on the above activities ( i love a good instagram stalk)
  77. 77. • One last bit • When it comes to creating work, mindset can play a big role. • Whether you think you can or can't, you are correct. • Blindly believe in yourself
  78. 78. Support yourself like you’d support a friend. You would never tell a friend, “Eh I don’t think you can do it. You’re not that talented.”, so why would you say it to yourself? I think about how blindly and enthusiastically I support the people I love, and I try to support myself in the same way.
  79. 79. The secret to creativity is simply paying attention to your experiences. Sometimes I think back to that night that Daily Dishonesty was born. I think about sitting in the kitchen with my roommate and wonder what would’ve happened if I had just laughed about our lies, polished off the last bits of wine and cheese, went to bed, and never thought twice about it again - as we do with lots of things in our lives. I would probably still be working in advertising. And I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now. And maybe that would be okay, but I’m glad there was something inside of me that night that grabbed onto that little ordinary moment.
  80. 80. So, from now on, I encourage you all to try this technique. be your own source of inspiration. Be your own muse. The best part of this technique is that you don’t have to do much except pay more attention to yourself. Study yourself more often. Be a detective in your own life. Constantly be in tune with your feelings and surroundings. Ordinary life can lead to extraordinary things if you just LOOK UP FROM YOUR PHONE
  81. 81. Ordinary life can lead to extraordinary things if you just LOOK UP FROM YOUR PHONE and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Let all of your experiences, not just the big, shiny, exciting, Instagram-worthy ones, - all of them - guide the way to new ideas. I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with, and where it’ll take you.