Guest Post / Kelsey Cronkhite from Pinegate Road

design inspiration from pinegate road Well hello there friends of Bryna! I'm Kelsey from Pinegate Road and I'm thrilled to fill in a bit while Bryna is out and about to share a little inspiration with you today.

As a graphic designer I'm constantly looking for new ways to integrate elements of design with each other. Here I've sourced some pretty unique and intriguing ways some other designers have integrated people with design elements. Aren't they clever? There is something so powerful that comes with the use of humanity in design, and I think that these works, while all different, capture that power in a great way.

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Color Study / 5

This promotional poster for TWA captures the energy and excitement of New York City perfectly. I want a giant poster of this on my wall, and now I am also remembering how much I miss that beloved city. It is one of my first loves in this world.

Posting is a little light this week as I'm working on a deadline and going on a mini vacation, but I've got lots in store for you next week when life is (sort of) back to normal.


An Interview with the Folks of Slight Insulting Chicago Posters

downtown chicago view If you live in Chicago, you know that it's a city defined by its neighborhoods; each one has their own personality. And while each one has its merits, there seems to be a lot of room for poking fun at them too. That's where the folks of Slightly Insulting Chicago come in: Lauren, RC and Jeni have just the right chemistry together to concoct posters combining gorgeous and playful typography with some witty, lighthearted humor. I was immediately enamored with their work, and was lucky enough to chat with them about it this week. It was only fitting that we take a photo high up on top of a building, overlooking all the neighborhoods of this town!

How did the idea of Slightly Insulting posters begin?

It really start out of a random conversation. We were talking about Logan Square one day and RC made a funny comment about it, and Jeni decided to make a type poster out of it. And then we just thought it would be fun to try and come up with sayings for other neighborhoods. Then came the blog, we had a few followers, and then one day WGN (a local news channel) tweeted our blog and it really blew up from there.

uptown and south loop slightly insulting chicagoWhat kinds of projects were you working on prior to Slightly Insulting Posters?

Last November our friend Dave grew a mustache and it wasn't well received. We decided it would be fun to create a blog encouraging him to keep it. Out of that "Save Dave's 'Stache" was born. In the end, Dave shaved, but before he did we gathered photos from all over the states (and Africa!) of his friends, family and coworkers urging him to keep the mustache. That was our first group Tumblr project. RC has a website where he graphs what is and isn't cool and the three of us regularly discuss the coolness of various topics.

What is your favorite poster so far?

Lauren: My favorite is Uptown. It was fun to mix 1920s and psych ward inspiration into the design. Also, I shop at the Target in Uptown. This poster could not be closer to the truth.

RC: The Loop. Not only is it where the bulk of Chicagoans work, it's the beating heart of this city and where tourists from the suburbs and beyond walk with little regard for those around them. What an interesting and occasionally frustrating mix. The poster captures those feelings in a beautiful way.

Jeni: Pilsen. Moustaches make everything look cooler, except for people (that does not include our friend Dave. Dave looks rad with a mustache).

Describe your relationship with Chicago.

Lauren: My relationship with Chicago is a semi-new one. I moved here from Kansas a little over a year ago, and I now reside in Lincoln Park. I had little time between graduation and starting a new job in a new city, so figuring out where to live was based off of others' perceptions of each neighborhood online. I love living and working in Chicago, it's such a fun place to be!

RC: I few up on a farm in Idaho. I feel in love with a Chicagoan in New York. I moved here, married her and made a family. This is the city I've chosen, and I love calling it home. I will argue it's the best in the US and plan on never leaving it. You will have to pry my hands off of an L station turnstile before I move to Naperville (a Chicago suburb).

Jeni: I moved here from Milwaukee a year ago for the obvious awesomeness of this great city. Starting off living in Wrigleyville, I instantly knew I could not live in that neighborhood any longer than I had to and escaped to the Ukrainian Village. Even though online dating in the city has been a complete fail, I'm totally in love with Chicago.

slightly insulting chicago creators


Each of Chicago's neighborhoods seem to be widely known for something. In what way (if any) have your personal experiences influenced what you say about each neighborhood?

Our own personal experiences seem to affect what the posters say in different ways. We seem to have the hardest time insulting our own neighborhoods, and it's probably because we are too close with the area to make a joke that generalizes the entire neighborhood. On the other hand, we all work in the Loop, and seemed to settle on that line pretty quickly because it's a shared frustration that we all have going to and from work. Why do tourists walk six wide down Michigan Avenue?! Much like Lauren's search to find a new place to live, our posters are very "perception based". We try to listen to what others say about their own neighborhoods in order to come up with a slightly insulting poster that holds the best balance of humor and truth.

When you're not working on new insults, how do you spend your time?

We all work together in advertising, and happen to sit within 10 feet of each other. Jeni and Lauren are art directors and RC is the copywriter (or "word boy" as we like to call him.) So most of the time we're doing "real work". Lauren got dubbed as a "yoga addict" the other day, so that's what she does with her time not spent in front of a screen. RC has a three-year-old he chases around the city on various adventures. Jeni is often trying to figure out what to have for dinner and hiccuping. We also enjoy getting on the roofs of buildings.


What are you most passionate about?

Lauren: I'm most passionate about constantly creating. I'm always drawing or doodling or in the process of making something. And while some might call me insane, this is the only thing that keeps me sane.

RC: I'm passionate about not letting my creativity go to waste; it's a gift from God and it's my responsibility to use it, whether by writing, drawing graphs, making others laugh or taking my son on fun city adventures. And I want to visit all 50 states (I'm at 34) and climb on top of as many Chicago skyscrapers as possible. The city's skyline is even more breathtaking from the roof of a 40 story building.

Jeni: When I'm not at work working, I'm probably at my kitchen table or a Starbucks designing something, anything. Being an art director is much more than a career, it is a complete lifestyle, it takes over, and I couldn't be happier. But I also fancy architecture (which makes living in Chicago a dream) and interior design, and suffer from a slight shopping addiction.

Can you tell us which neighborhood you're looking to slightly insult next?

Roscoe Village, Ravenswood, Hegewisch and a number of South Side neighborhoods.

You can purchase their prints here, or follow their Tumblr here.

On Learning Patience

Let's talk about a little thing called patience. I really have none of it, if we're going to be honest with ourselves. But I'm starting to realize how important it is in order to accomplish all the things I'm passionate about.

Flashback. When I graduated from college in 2009, things were pretty bleak in the job market. I spent that whole summer frantically looking for jobs, knowing it was tough out there, but still somehow optimistic that I'd find something in the field of my dreams (graphic design). I moved to Chicago and ended up landing a part time job at a non-profit and an internship around the same time to hold me over until I found something full time. But my sense of ambition felt totally shot for a while. It was exhausting writing cover letter after cover letter and getting nothing but radio silence. Not even a rejection letter! What felt the worst was that I wasn't creating anything new. I had this impression that I had to be working for someone in order to be creating work of value. Then one day I got so sick of writing cover letters that I just started designing. I had no direction and I didn't really know what it would lead to but I did it anyway. I designed and redesigned my portfolio and resume about a million times. It brought back that same sense of happiness I had always felt while in school when I was learning what I loved. This was the start of a completely new journey of learning, but this time around I had to teach myself. It took a lot more time, but the payoff has been so, so, worth it.

I recently landed the freelance gig of my dreams working as the creative director for a magazine. Ultimately, it happened because of the relationships I maintained from that internship I did three years ago and my incessant need to redesign my portfolio. Throughout those three years I spent a lot of time wondering if it was ever going to pay off and comparing myself to others who seemed to be moving past me career-wise. There were a lot of times I wanted to give up and go down a different path, because it just didn't seem to be happening soon enough. Now I see what a huge waste of energy that was. I still have a long way to go before I'm ready to become a full time freelancer, but I finally feel like I'm headed in the right direction.

It happens at different times for everyone. I'm glad it is taking me a while to get where I want to be, because the whole process has forced me to really evaluate my life. It's ok to take your time. What I thought I wanted when I graduated and what I want now are completely different things that I might not have learned had I gotten a full time job right out of college.

So please, learn patience. Understand that you will probably have to do uninspiring work, and for free before you get to do what you really love. There is a lot of sacrifice involved. It's incredibly hard to envision a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's there. Any step you take to perfect your craft will lead you in the right direction, even if it doesn't seem like it.


Come Together

Aren't these collages rad?? When I was in high school, I was totally obsessed with making them. I would  collage all my binders, and even made one for the inside of my locker (that one took a while). Some people looked at me like I was crazy (and I was, a little) and some would compliment, but either way they often started a conversation. That is the thing that makes art in any form so great. And now looking

back, they're a great way to spark your imagination, you can put images together that don't have obvious connections and give them a whole new meaning. There is always potential for something unexpected to emerge. Now I've got all kinds of ideas for new projects!

Image Sources: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4