GFDA (This website contains strong language!) is an online merchant that provides advice and inspiration to people in creative fields around the globe. Their work has been featured in Business Insider, Fast Company, and several other major design publications in the US and Canada. I have written copy for their website, campaigns, and products.
Click on the images in this gallery for more work.
Inspiration is a contagion; it grows bigger and stronger every time it changes hands. It’s simultaneously service provided and payment rendered. It reciprocates as it spreads. Our heroes inspire us, and we inspire each other. We pass this inspiration on to you, and you give it out to the world. In doing so, you return it to where it came from. This is our business, and business is good.
Life is a series of opportunities, some large, some small, but all with consequences that spread far beyond what an individual can realize in a given moment. The chances to make life better are precious and fleeting. It’s fortunate, then, that such opportunities abound. They are infinite. There’s a voice inside you that reminds you of those opportunities every hour of every day. We’ve made it our mission to be the voice outside of you that harmonizes with the one inside of you. That’s the opportunity that we refuse to miss.
Your goals are our goals. Your fight is our fight.
You want to run faster? To push harder? We’re right behind you, screaming the F-word. We cheer when you win because we know that if we do our job right, you’ll be there to cheer for someone else. We cheer when you falter too, because we have faltered so often ourselves—we know that failure requires more fortitude than success. Your fortitude is our inspiration. You’re the reason we do what we do; if you weren’t out there busting your ass, we wouldn’t be here busting ours.
The Donut Project
The Donut Project was a regional design blog created by alumni of Kent's VCD Department. I was invited to be a guest contributor in Spring of 2012.
The immediacy, accessibility, and deliberateness of Walt Whitman’s poetry is something that anyone who designs communication could look to for inspiration.
Since his first publication at age 12 Whitman was fascinated with the material transformation of ideas into the permanent manifestation of printed type. He designed the original editions of Leaves of Grass himself, and, legend has it, he even did some of the typesetting to save money.
More important than controlling the way the pages looked, Whitman designed a reading experience that encapsulates the commonalities of what it feels like to be a human being. Song of Myself is not a superfluous expression of artistic ideals, but a driving, poignant conversation between the universals, “I” and “You.” It's relevant and personal to the reader, even after 160 years.
Often designers are orchestrating a conversation of sorts with users through the mediums of product, environment, and interface. There is something to learn from Whitman’s ability to inspire, motivate, and affect with simple, timeless language always aimed directly at the core of his powerful message.
Peg Leg Sam’s face is so ripe with age and experience that it threatens to burst open and run soul everywhere. Every line on his brow is a map of the railroads he traveled. Every word past his lips echoes a chorus of gray haired spirits laughing under shade trees in eternity. The leg he lost: his sacrifice for finding the truth. Does he tell lies? Is he coarse? Is he uneducated? Has he been a scoundrel? The answer to all of those questions is an unapologetic yes. Sam doesn’t fear hell because he has endured hardships on earth, and has seen others endure, and has received only hardships as a heritage; yet he and his inherently possess the grace to laugh loudly, love others, and enjoy what simple pleasure can be had by their humble means.
I’ve read the celebrated work of sages of many colors, lands, and eras; and I see the same timeless truth in the heart of Peg Leg Sam. He represents a way of being that endures the universal struggle of life while embracing its imposition, this is the true foundation of benevolence. Sam isn’t refined or scholarly, he is real and he doesn’t need anyone’s help. Just give him a quarter.
You make pretty and sophisticated printed materials and build websites. You sell things to people. You curate the visual language of your society. Why should you find inspiration in the story of this man’s life? You are a communicator and the world you live in grows more artificial by the second. If you ever manage to find a voice that rings with a fraction of the realness as his, you may never need inspiring again.