Too many ideas, too little time.

photography, Real life

Sometimes you have wonderful ideas and jump on them right away. Then you remember you have to do other things with your time and that new idea or project falls to the way side. After a while you totally forget about the idea and have had many more since.

Looking over old files on my creativity hard drive I see how my design sensibilities have changed; my personality very little. I also come across files from a time in my life where I had less going on so had more time and jumped on my ideas a little more.

One of my favourite old projects which has been sidelined for years is “We Spoilt It” a photographic book containing wonderfully beautiful and breathtaking images. The catch, there is something ugly and man-made in the frame wrecking a perfectly good photo. I think I took about three images. I think about it regularly though. I found the first of the images in amongst my old files and think: too many projects, too little time.

we-spoilt-it

Evolution of avatars

Branding, photography, Real life

View from right to left.

Seeing how my own internet avatar has not only changed because of my change in personal branding but also with age I ponder.

As a child the only people who had these types of images of themselves were actors, scientists, authors or CEOs. These were people who relied on their face for work or their authority.

Ever since social media, everyone now has an avatar. They might change them frequently for personal profiles but if you looked at their career based image you will see a professional, hopefully. Now these people are not actors or authors. In the most case, they are just everyday people, like me. Yet here they are with professional head shots. I am a graphic designer who never would have had this type of image of myself in the past. There would never have been a need.

Now I see that over the years this image of me has transformed and evolved. In the past on the internet we all wanted a bit of anonymity. I hid behind a random image. That image evolved as my design sensibilities and personal branding grew. Then after some time it was perfectly normal to have a photo of myself on the internet. I took a self portrait of myself, feeling vulnerable. I liked how the picture turned out. I was having a good hair day. Then this image becomes my avatar, an image of myself that others then identify with. Even as my hair grew long and I grew older, this image was the image that represented me.

Once I was no longer in my early twenties I knew I needed to update that image. I was no longer a university student working the musical festivals circuit. I am now a grown up with a career trying to reinforce my professional image as a freelancer. I need people to take me seriously. I wore a nice shirt on a good hair day and took yet another self-portrait. This time there was no vulnerability, I knew my skills and now needed an image that showed I the professional that I am. I remember that day telling my mum about how I have now officially grown older on the internet.

Continuing on with professional development and branding changes, and the need for a more personal, warm photo. The same image from last year is now zoomed in. It is encased in a diamond, the main if only element of my personal branding. When all the other avatars are in boxes or circles I am still trying to be outside the box.

Losing the em-dash

Help, Typography

More and more on the Internet the em-dash (—) is disappearing. This is probably because of a few reasons.

  • Lack of knowledge of when to use them
  • How difficult it is to actually add one
  • Webpages not automatically turning “- -” into an em-dash like Microsoft Word auto-correct
  • How hard they are to find in other software packages
  • Laziness and/or ignorance

In order to add the em-dash to this post I Google-searched “em-dash” and copied and pasted it. Easy. I have a shortcut on my Wacom Tablet that works with InDesign to put the em-dash in—instead of avoiding the long maze through the menu.

em-dash

InDesign menu to find an em-dash

 

When I started to notice the rise in “- -” formatting on the Internet I was a little sad because the formatting is wrong. Then I realised that it has shown up in more and more places on the Internet and was now approaching critical mass. I have seen this misuse on blogs about writing blogs.

em-dash-article

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-write-blog-post-simple-formula-ht

 

The “- -” has not only taken over the Internet. I’ve seen it in printed brochures and *gasp* a printed book.

Since it was little effort to place the actual em-dash, and as a typesetter I do this regularly, I do get upset seeing this wrong formatting. I understand it takes a moment and breaks your flow but before publishing, it is always wise to edit and proof your work and this is where a find and replace will pick up this mistake. And yes, it is a mistake.

The “- -” symbol actually does mean something. It is a “decrement operator“.

Remember, there are no spaces on either side of an em-dash. For more advice about proper em-dash usage see Grammar Girl’s article: When to Use—and Not Use—an Em-Dash.

NB: WordPress automatically converts the double hyphen to an em-dash so I have intentionally placed a space between the two while formatting this page.