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Around The Office


Last weekend my fellow Inker Ben and I traveled to Chicago for the HOW Design Live Conference. Thousands of designers, freelancers, and in-house managers came together to learn and be inspired — by each other and the many speakers working in the design industry. There were sessions about technique, new technology, brainstorming, staying creative, and how to make your in-house design more desirable. After four days you leave feeling energized, full of ideas, and ready to create!

We got the inside scoop on Martha Stewart Living’s ipad apps and digital magazine, which made me want to run out and buy an ipad just to use them! We learned creative ideas for brainstorming from the folks at Disney. We heard about various exercises to get the creative juices flowing for yourself or your design team. We learned the difference between Lettering and Type design from Jessica Hische (check out her wonderful blog the Daily Drop Cap). And finally, we got to see products and work from loads of vendors including stock photography, paper samples, t-shirt designers, t-shirt printers, and letterpress studios. Even Adobe was there showing off their new suite of software.

As you can see from the collection of swag above, French Paper was there, generously giving away examples of their lovely paper. The line for their booth was humongous, and the guys were feverishly running around trying to keep up with the demand. They ran out of stuff before lunch on the second day, and there is good reason too. Check out the Sample Room, a blog displaying various artists’ work using French Paper. With their long history of eco friendly paper making and wonderful color selection, I definitely know what I am using for my next non-tshirt project.

When we weren’t in sessions, Ben and I were sharing all our experiences over delicious lunches around town. Chicago continues to creep-up my favorite cities list by offering so many delicious food options. My new favorite is Chicago style hotdogs… if only I could get them at east coast ballparks! I will be dreaming of those dogs, as I create new artwork and design templates for you this fall. In the meantime, share some of your inspiring blogs, artists, and design with us in the comments!

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Photo Credit: SplitGear.com

I had no idea how much technology goes into the making of a custom t-shirt until I talked to our software engineers about a conference they attended last week. Apparently, our technology teams maintain over 30 applications that do everything from generating price quotes in the online Design Lab to notifying customers when their order has been delivered. These applications are written in Ruby on Rails, and every year, our software engineers attend RailsConf, a conference for people who use this web development framework. While they were learning about cutting edge technologies and meeting and collaborating with other Rails developers from around the world, I was catching up on reality TV… But anyway.

CustomInk was well represented at the conference and we also organized and sponsored the RailsConf 5k, which attracted 139 runners and walkers to our course along the Baltimore Inner Harbor. 13 teams competed for bragging rights as the Fastest Rails Dev Team, and Team Higher Ed finished in first with 11 points. Team CustomInk was not far behind, finishing second with 27 points (woot, woot!), and led by Stafford B. and Anuradha M., as well as John H., who was the top individual finisher with a time of 16:21! (He’s the one already in the lead at the starting line on the far right in the above photo).

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2011 RailsConf 5k and we look forward to seeing you again next year! And by “we,” I mean our tech teams because you all know I don’t run… Read more –>

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Oprah T-Shirts Outside Harpo Studios

As you know, in the wake of family reunion t-shirt season, we commissioned a family reunion survey of 1,000 Americans to ask all kinds of related questions. The majority of survey participants chose Oprah as the celebrity who would most fit in at their family reunion. And it’s certainly timely since her last show aired this week. We have a die-hard Oprah fan on our team, Lori M., who got to attend this last show, and she wanted to share her story with you: Read more –>

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Bike to Work Day

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections cordially invited those in the area to commute to work via bicycle on May 20th. Actually, it’s a standing invitation and Inkers often accept and bike to work rather than put another car on the road. However, May 20th is the official Bike to Work Day in the area and thousands of area commuters hit the pavement on two wheels instead of four. According to organizers, there were 9,000 bicycles on Washington-area roads last year! (I’ll let you know the total for this year, but I counted 4 on my way in!)

CustomInk has a room deemed the Bike Rack (clever!) where Inkers can store their bicycles and other gear – plus, it’s complete with air freshener, cleaning wipes and Gatorade! And this isn’t just for Bike to Work day; it’s every day. Today, though, we had 5 Inkers bike to work. Check them out sporting their matching bicycling t-shirts:

Bike To Work Day T-Shirts

Woohoo! Do you bike to work?

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Sure I like nursery rhymes as much as the next person, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a real, live goose… mother. We call her Gertie the Goose. Read more –>

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