Discover more from chaos theory
Why Are You Like This?
And other things I ask myself.
I never check my DM requests, because they always read something along the lines of:
(a.) “Hello Babe. we reach out to influencers who are due for a verification badge(blue tick ) do you need it done as a Public influencer or Entrepreneur?” attached to a bot profile with a liberally FaceApp-ed photo of a woman as its avi; or
(b.) a real person with an uneven follower-to-following ratio asking me: “how much for a logo?”; or
my personal favorite: (c.) a sexless loser chastising me over a piece I designed for Impact, calling me a “sheep” for giving a shit about social change.
But a few days ago I decided to click on my requests and opened a message that said: “How do I get to where you are and how can I make a name for myself?”
It stopped me. My primeval reaction was: “Huh? Wanting followers when you’re a designer? That seems misdirected. Why the need to be someone?”
Now more than ever, there is an urge in every one of us designers to be a content creator.
In a pre-social media planet, the only thing a graphic designer thought to do was, “I need to build a career that lasts in this field.” Today, it’s, “I need to be famous now; I need to scale my career up fast; I need to grow my audience now; I need to go viral ASAP.”
What a fucking nightmare! And what a pain to perpetrate upon oneself. Obvi, this all roots back to the social-media-fication of every industry on Earth (and TBH the inherent social media of it all), and graphic design has succumbed to its alchemic magnetism in the past years.
Every day, designers novice and expert alike take it upon themselves to get a social media following because they’ve been convinced that the higher your social media following gets, the better you are as a designer.
Hell to the nawwwww, to the nah, nah, naw. (If you got that reference, DM me. I have an engagement ring waiting for you.)
I can impart from personal experience that I feel the same way—that is: optimistic and proud—about my craft and skill as a designer now with my measly 12.2k followers as when I had 12. And I’m not bullshitting you.
Am I better designer between when I started my Instagram account and now? Hells yeah. I am miles and miles better (I didn’t even know what blending modes were when I started posting daily posters, now I’m out here putting 4 texture overlays and using displacement maps on a motherfucker!). But that’s not because I went from zero to twelve thousand; it’s because two and a half years have passed since then and I have spent those two and a half years experimenting, playing, flopping, and tumbling. Growing.
Correct: I would not be where I am today without social media. Correct: Social media has taken me places I never would have without it. But it isn’t as though I was sharing posters on the timeline and calling it a day and letting social media do its thing. That would be a reductive (not to mention dim) way of looking at it, and also, I simply don’t have the privilege (white, straight, and otherwise) to fail up. I had to prioritize, restructure, and remind myself constantly that the numbers on my Instagram Insights don’t reflect upon my skill as a designer and, more crucially, my worth as a human.
And even now that I have a submicrofollowing, I’m still reminding myself of that. Will I post a recap/compilation reel here and there to pacify the algorithm? Absolutely—but that’s not me knuckling under the weight of keeping up appearances on social; it’s something I like to call Just Good Businessmanship (Prioritize and restructure, I tell ‘ya!)
But back to you.
It’s good to have goals—I endorse them—but it’s also good to know where you want to go. At the risk of telling someone how to live their life, let me say this: You don’t need to have a certain amount of followers to think of yourself as a “good enough” designer. Pay no mind what your number your follower count says; if every day you’re learning a new trick on After Effects, or using a new brush on Procreate, or using new prompts on Photoshop AI’s Generative Fill (ha-ha), or WHATEVER, then you’re a good enough designer.
🧾 RANDOM INS AND OUTS LIST A FRIEND ASKED ME TO CREATE
Multiple streaming platforms
Colored ink (life in black and white is better than technicolor) (This sounds like a The xx lyric)
Having to charge phones (we should already have technology to have endless battery)
Having to check luggage (let’s just make bigger planes)
iOS Updates. Leave it alone.
Meat-only diet (what the fuck is fiber)
Eyeglasses that turn into sunglasses when hit with sunlight, but without the in-between opacity that makes you look like Howie Mendel
Free WiFi everywhere
Revenge without it being perceived as bitterness
Sharpay Evans Nights at the club
🧃 BIG THINGS COMING
Look, I’m not one to be, like, ~biG tHiNgS cOmInG! wAtCh ThIs SpAcE!~, but I don’t know how else to share that I in fact do have really cool client work coming up and I can’t hardly wait to share them with you. (For some reason it always comes off haughty and disingenuous to do this on Instagram story, but on here, it feels exactly as it is: just sincere updates from me.)
Glamorously for me, I’m under NDAs on a chunk of them so I can’t really say anything until the clients themselves decide to announce it on their end, so I’ll let you know when they do.
🍅 PERSONAL MOMENT OF THE MOMENT
My friend Jessica is jetting off to Europe this summer to study abroad and do as Europeans do. On the day before her flight, I called to check in and give her well wishes on her voyage, and we got to talking about my day.
INT. MY BEDROOM – DAY In the midst of California June Gloom, a FaceTime call between two friends (ME and FRIEND). FRIEND: What have you been up to today? ME, fiddling with whatever thingamabob is around me because I can't concentrate: I actually just got off my computer. I've been working on a lyric video for this French band all day. FRIEND, folding clothes, but could also easily be fiddling with whatever thingamabob is around her 'cause we're just like each other: Omg how cool! ME: YEAH! I did the artwork for the single for them, and they hit me up a week later to do the lyric video, too. I almost said no. FRIEND: How come? ME: Well I hadn't done a lyric video before, and it's so daunting because video and motion is never an easy feat. But then I told myself, "everything is daunting until you do it!" FRIEND: So true! You shouldn't be afraid. ME: Yeah, I shouldn't. You're right. FRIEND: And that's one of the things I learned from you actually. ME: Come again? FRIEND: Yeah, you told me that we wouldn't be presented with the opportunity of something if we weren't ready for it.
I was gooped, gagged, and ganoored. I don’t remember ever saying that to her, but it’s nice to know that amidst all the nonsensical gabbles and waffles I subject everyone I know to, something substantial actually comes through.
This is so very good for my fire sign placements’ individual complexes.
📰 A RECENT NOTE ON MY PHONE WITHOUT CONTEXT
something seraphic in my life are Jumping Jacks time. It is the time of day where I poise myself in a spacious room and do between 10-15 jumping jacks to realign my vertebrae (physically and figuratively alike). if you’re feeling 👎🏼 you should for sure try Jumping some Jacks
Dated June 6, 2023 at 21:37
🧂 TOP SPOTIFY TRACKS OF THE PAST FOUR WEEKS
Instead of mindfully and intentionally curating a list of recommended tunes, I decided to just let the rawness of my real-time Spotify statistics do it for me. (On a personal level, this is good for me, because I always resort to performing instead of just being normal. Here we are.)
AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar
Home To Another One – Madison Beer
Say Yes To Heaven – Lana Del Rey
Padam Padam – Kylie Minogue
Attention – Doja Cat
🥣 MONTHLY LIFE UPDATE IN 300 WORDS OR LESS
Happy Pride Month! June has been, in sum, fun. I went up to San Francisco for a long weekend to see friends from college before everyone scatters for the summer, and it was a time. I hadn’t been in San Francisco since August of last year, and I swear, every time I’m there, every fifteen seconds I tell someone: “I need to move to San Francisco immediately, I love it here.” Jury’s out on whether I actually make the permanent trek up there or not.
Talking of jury, I was summoned to perform my duty as an Am*r*can citizen and come to jury duty at 8 a.m. on a Monday, which, as you can guess, was very painful. To emblematize how the day went, here’s a screenshot of a text thread between myself and a friend as I sat in the overcrowded “jury lounge” waiting for my name to be called:
At the end of the day, my name wasn’t called on the intercom, which means I don’t have to go back to that place in another twelve months or so. Cheers to that.
Something else we can cheers to this month is that I made my way to Columbus, Ohio, which I can confirm is a real place. My bestie boo Matthew Miller (who is ten times the designer I am), not unlike the county hall, summoned me to his city to vibe and imbibe (James Junkspeak for shake ass and do the most), and I was more than eager to accept. I appreciate Matthew for showing me around, introducing me to his friends, and for making me eggs and avocado after I vibe and imbibed a little too hard the evening prior.
That weekend I learned that (1.) Columbus loves the gays, but also that (2.) I’m pretty sure I was the only Filipino person to be seen for miles (and miles and miles, probably.) Nonetheless, we rate this weekend a 10.
The last update I have is that I can finally share the artwork I made for L’Impératrice and Cuco’s new single, HEARTQUAKE! It released yesterday, so give it a listen if you love me.
Here’s a visualizer, by me, if you’re keen to watch that as well.
In the beginning of the year, I wrote on my notebook that I wanted to work more with musicians, and I absolutely love to see one of my manifestations metamorphozing into reality.
Something else I wrote on my notebook is that I want to work with LANY specifically. Still waiting on that call, Paul.
Megascope by David Jonathan Ross, Airstream by Nick’s Fonts, Falcon by unknown designer.
Good Glyphs – An eccentric typeface created by 32 designers. A certified crowd pleaser.
MANA – I usually am not partial to too-gimmicky websites, but this one just flicks my bean in a way I can’t ignore! Check it out.
Marine Buffard (@becomingamorningperson) – When I imagine my dream grain and disposition in life, Marine Buffard’s animations are what come to mind. Am I too much of a Leo for the life exemplified in her work? Yes. Can a man dream? Also yes.
Covid Photo Museum – An online museum of COVID-19 photography, if you want to be triggered of sequestering times or feel fortunate to be alive. Or both!
Before I let you go, please humor my poll below on what format you elect I take CHAOS THEORY.
Thanks for reading chaos theory! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.