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  • Writer's pictureJen Schmaltz

A Whole Lotta Thankful!

I'm hopping on the season of gratitude bandwagon and taking stock of the great stuff in my little designer life. Clarification! Designer meaning one who designs stuff, not as in a fancy-schmancy-too-cool-for-you individual. I'm never, evahhh too cool. (But don't tell anyone!) And I'm certainly not too fancy to stop and reflect on the simple pleasures that make one's life full.

It's no secret I'm tickled pink to be a designer. But, no matter how much you love your work, the daily machinations can wear down even the perkiest of peeps.

For me the ultimate remedy: a moment of gratitude. Any time of day, any time of year, I can look around me and easily spot evidence of the bounty and beauty, small or big that surrounds me.

As they say... simple pleasures. Here a few... well five... that keep me humming along.

1. My Pantone® deck

While I do love my pinks, when driving the brand bus it is super fun to try on colours like hats for a new client. From Aubergine to Zinc... when I fan out the deck to start the colour selection process, it is a total kid in a candy store feeling. And while I might end up with a palette of grey tones, ecru and warm black it is the same rewarding result: a beautiful and on-brand colour palette.

So Thankful: For the opportunity to drive the brand bus for clients and watch a living breathing brand emerge from the ether. So feakin' cool!

2. My [now vintage] art school "metal straight edge"

That is art school code for ruler. First, I love that I still have it. It is a symbol of sorts that sums up my journey from a big canvas to a tightly controlled and strategically gridded page. Man do I love a good grid.

Not exactly what my painting prof thought of as a strength ;(

But, as my Pop would say, there is no wasted time in learning. So painting nudes and ideating large abstract works definitely taught me that I veered toward the micro, craved order, loved the little details and ultimately was happiest in the advertising arts stream!

So Thankful: for the time spent learning all the tools of the graphic arts trade, but having the fine art training to fuel abstract thinking a big picture ideation.

3. My coffee

Quite simply, coffee is a gift. This may sound like a stretch, but that black cuppa delish is for me absolute luxury... and pure ritual.

When I brew that first cup before hunkering down in my design lair for the day, it is the ritual, the smell and the experience that remind me I am one lucky gal. Lucky to be doing what I love, sipping a steaming cup of coffee and making magic at my laptop.

Love. Love. Love!

So Grateful: That my work provides sustenance to my family and fuel for my soul. Not a day goes by – even the ones where I've ordered the wrong paper, or an ad campaign hits the pooper – that I'm not grateful to do the work I do.

4. My Dictionary/Thesaurus

On-line... of course these days. Is pretty much my get-outta-stuck-ace-up-the-sleeve-BFF. Not all designers are copywriters – but kick-ass copy to support strong visuals has always been my JAM. My grade one journals do not lie, I was a born story-teller.

It certainly didn't hurt that my mom was a teacher who liked to craft a good Haiku for kicks and my Dad was a cryptic crossword addict. (Thanks Mom & Pop!)

So Pleased: To be a word nerd. Who knew all that dictionary reading in grade nine, instead of going to school dances would pay off BIG someday?!

5. My Family

So cliché. But there it is.

Even on days when you want to ship them all off on a 30-day cruise and eat cheese and GF crackers and watch any darn thing you want on Netflix every night (by your own darn self) you still embrace them when they enter the front door with laptop bag and backpack in tow at the end of the day. Of course I'm grateful for my family.

They are my people. They are my heart.

And the real reason I work my little heart out for my clients.

To be an example to my daughter, who at eight already dreams of one day operating her own Art Gallery, and to be a true partner to my husband who participates in more branding and design discussions than any human should ever have to... that's the stuff!

So Grateful: That being a solopreneur compliments and strengthens my family life.

So yes, life is good when you do what you love.

It's not always easy. But it is... good.

Then again, l don't think life is supposed to be easy. What fun would that be?! Instead, we can work to create ease, make and take time to appreciate the small moments and strive to forge pathways to follow our passions.

And that right there is a whole lot to be extremely grateful for!

{that and Pantone 205, Polka Dot Pink - wink, wink!}

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