TypeTalk: How Good Typography Can Help Your Job Search

MARCH 5, 2015 | CreativePro

Interview by Ilene Strizver
(kHyal + Karl’s collaborative answers were written and edited by Free Range Copy.)

Karl Heine, principal and solutionist of creativeplacement with offices in CT and NY, knows what it takes for creatives to nab that perfect job. After all, he has been placing creative talent for over 25 years, with many extremely satisfied clients and employers. Karl often lectures designers and students on how to best present themselves and their work to prospective employers or clients to get noticed amidst a sea of potential candidates, and hopefully get that job. One important element that most employers are looking at is a candidate’s typography skills. kHyal is a creative director, strategist and writer who partners with Karl in life and work—including museum, conference and design school workshops, lectures on business practices and marketing for creative professionals, as well as portfolio and resume reviews. We spoke with both Karl and kHyal about this very important topic.

Karl and kHyal. ©Photo by Mark Mann.

Q. How important is good typography for creatives when looking for a job?

A. Graphic Design has become an increasingly overcrowded industry. And, in the US, still does not require certification of any kind. While untrained, or under-trained, designers are able to find full- and part-time jobs, and freelance projects, the top tier opportunities still require a high level of talent, skill and knowledge in all aspects of design, and very heavily in typography. Design professionals hiring within agencies and in-house corporate design departments meticulously review all materials from prospective candidates, starting with typography. Many design firm owners and creative directors pride themselves on being typographically savvy, and if they see the incorrect use of type, spacing and style, it can determine whether if they will go to the next step of viewing a portfolio or website.

Q. How important is the type and design of one’s resume? Any tips?  

A. Type and design excellence on a resume are critical. They are key to having a hiring manager look at your portfolio and consider an in-person interview. Creative directors often won’t consider a candidate if they see typographic or design errors on a resume. And, most won’t take the time to tell you. Using an easy-to-read, professional typeface with a clean layout is fundamental—as is keeping all relevant information within the top third of the page, knowing that most resume views are in the 10 to 15 second range.

People take resume advice from many sources. In the case of graphic design, it’s important to understand what design professionals look for, which is very specific to the industry. This means a general expert on resume writing may suggest the exact opposite of what’s needed for a design career job, which can result in resumes that are poorly executed using incorrect terminology, inappropriate formatting, template-like design and a system typeface exported to a PDF from a Word document. This is the kiss of death for designers.

Simple yet impactful, this resume catches the eye with an opening quotation that is relevant to this person’s area of experience. Generous white space helps draw attention to the content.

A pop of color combined with a strong type treatment make this resume a standout.

Naming your resume is of the same importance as naming your client files. For instance, you would never name a project file “Branding Manual” without specifying the client name and other organizational information. Naming your resume “resume” usually results in that file ending up in the trashcan, or being overwritten with someone else’s file that has made a similar file-naming mistake. Remember, that there are often dozens, or even hundreds of applicants for most publicized opportunities. Your resume and how the file is named need to be professional and distinguishable.

An example of best practices for resume file naming would be: LastName_FirstName_Resume_Year. Using underscores provides clarity and the least possibility for file corruption. When it comes to email addresses, it’s best to have your first and last name connected to either your website, or a user-friendly/most accepted portal like Gmail. Many companies organize their prospects by name and by email. If you make up an unrelated pseudonym like graffitidznr237@gmail.com, no one will remember it or find you. It is much better to identify yourself clearly with an email that makes sense, like: sammy@sammyhendicks.com or hello@sammyhendricks.com. We advise against using initials with birthdates or any other extraneous information in your email address.

Q. What about typography in a portfolio—does a potential employer really have time to notice these details?

A. All portfolios and related marketing materials should be consistent and use excellent typography. Portfolio pieces should be annotated with short descriptions, using type that isn’t too large or distracting so that it detracts from the actual work. Minimal, understated design is always the best answer when it comes to portfolios, so the actual work remains the focal point.

Most potential employers want to see examples of design work. At first they will spend a short time to review the level of talent and appropriateness of work for the position. If the typography and other elements take their focus away, a designer might lose out entirely. This includes things like not putting all of your contact information on every page with a logo.

Q. What about business cards, emails, and follow up letters—are they necessary?

A. Business cards are your in-person greeting and introduction. You only have one first impression, and as a designer you have the opportunity to showcase your work in a compact form. If you make it special, it also provides a chance to talk about process. This is a major opportunity to strike up a conversation with a potential employer or client, and it allows the receiving party a look into how you present and think.

This should not be a time for making excuses for a card you created but don’t believe in. We have actually heard things like: “Here’s my card, I printed it out at home with what I had for copy paper and my scissors were a little off, sorry.” It’s better not to hand someone a card, than to give him or her something that doesn’t prove that you have professional skills. With specialty printing getting better and less expensive every day, including digital printing and quick turn around times—it’s well worth the investment.

Left: A clever concept (the corner appears burned off) that plays off of the unusual company name makes for an unforgettable business card.
Right: The most important information stands out amidst the highly decorative background pattern.

Left: This letterpress business card uses type to create a textural pattern of information.
Right: The beautiful curves of an oversized g is the focal point of this card, enhanced by the dimension of letterpress printing.

Left: A clever dye cut and a textured stock highlight the focus of this studio.
Right: A gold foil embossed turkey steals the show in this quirky card.

Left: An inventive and memorable business card treatment that harks back to pre-digital age designers’ tools.
Right: A whimsical typographic logo catches the eye, as it sits atop a simple text treatment.

After the meet and greet, it’s imperative to send a thank you email right away. That means the same day, not two or three days later. This level of follow up is expected. Additionally, it’s even better to also send a “Thank You” card or letter in the mail. A very small percentage of people do this, so it truly makes you stand out. The card should be handmade, not a store-bought version, which provides yet another opportunity to show off your work. Take the time to be inventive.

Q. Do good typography skills give potential candidates an edge or advantage?

A. Great typography goes a long way, and provides a huge advantage over other candidates vying for design jobs. We have seen many skilled designers take this one step further and create their own typeface, then apply it to a personal project or license it for sale.

Q. What have you heard from potential employees in this regard?

A. We have seen many occurrences where designers working under a well-known typographer during an internship have radically improved their understanding of typography and design, and changed the course of their future careers.

Q. What should you do if you think your typography skills aren’t up to the same level as your design?

A. This is a common problem that can typically be remedied with additional typography training and outside classes geared toward raising the level of typographic awareness and skill. It’s mostly an issue of time and how it applies to growth, and to a lesser degree natural talent and aptitude. Learning and development in this area takes practice, trial and error, and the ability to break old habits. We believe that learning is a life-long process and that designers at all levels should strive to learn and improve their skills constantly. There are countless ways to do that through traditional classes, workshops, talks, books, and online courses.

Q. Any final words or suggestions?

A. In a time where there are more graduates in graphic design than there are jobs, it’s important to learn as much as you can, and constantly improve on those skills with practice and additional learning. Since your resume is often the first introduction to a potential employer and is primarily type-based, understanding best practices is key.

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Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator specializing in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography Workshops internationally. For more information on attending one or bringing it to your company, organization, or school, go to her site, call The Type Studio at 203-227-5929, or email Ilene at info@thetypestudio.com. Sign up for her free e‑newsletter, All Things Typographic, at www.thetypestudio.com.

See the original article on CreativePro here.

MegaGlam Fashion featured in Examiner article on Freestyle Fashion Conference NYC

MARCH 30, 2014 | Examiner

Thanks to Alina Braverman, NY Social Media Examiner, for including our MegaGlam Space Age Yeti jacket in her article on the Freestyle Fashion Conference.

kHyal featured in New York Social Media Examiner

Read the full article here.


Mastering The Art of Business on The Internet at The Hygienic

DECEMBER  2013 | New London Patch

Mastering The Art of Business on The Internet at The Hygienic
Posted by  (Editor)

The Artist Academy @ Hygienic wraps up the first session of its eight-workshop series with web design, which aims to teach artists how to create an Internet presence.

kHyal and Karl

Artist Academy @ Hygienic is wrapping up the first session of the eight-workshop program that will commence in May 2014. The first session was sold out and the last workshop is coming up on December 17, called Web Design, An Internet Presence. Artists can continue to check Hygienic Art’s website for information on this workshop and future workshops happening in 2014; registration for the next three workshops will begin in December.

Web Design, An Internet Presence is led by kHyal & Karl Heine, a creative duo that have become successful designers, entrepreneurs and educators. Since they met in 2007, kHyal and Karl founded PUSH Workshops, a hybrid design education model the duo created to inspire, educate and inform creative professionals at all levels. They have lectured and given workshops together on branding, marketing and social media strategies for creative professionals at The School of Visual Arts, Fashion Institute of Technology, Advertising Women of New York Annual Career Conference, Creative Circus and more!

kHyal is a professional artist, Head fiZzicist at fiZz Agency, and Chief Imaginator at MegaGlam. She has been using technology in her art and work since the early 80s. Over the past two decades, kHyal cofounded a consumer software publishing company, an interactive agency and software development firm, and has held the position of Creative Director at top digital agencies and tech companies.

Karl Heine is the principal of creativeplacement, LLC a talent recruitment firm dedicated to fulltime and project-based placements in the design industries. Heine has more than 25 years in the field of creative professional recruitment and the development of all levels of talent for major brands, agencies, design firms, corporate communications and companies. Heine has remained hands-on as a creative professional throughout his career, winning numerous awards from design institutions and industry associations.

Web Design, An Internet Presence is a workshop that was formed to address the issues that face artists daily on the Internet. While this workshop isn’t building a website for the artist, it will supply many necessary resources and information on how to go about building a visible and successful website. Once artists have a clear idea of how to arrange a website and platforms to use to make the process easy kHyal & Karl Heine will segue into online marketing; which of course involves all social media platforms. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms properly will immensely boost a website’s traffic along with using blogs and website forums. Artists will learn that spending the time marketing a website is just as important as creating an aesthetically pleasing website. A website with zero traffic is not useful; kHyal & Karl have direct experience with website and design and getting traffic to a website.

Funding for the program was made available by Citizens Bank and WTNH News 8 when they named Hygienic Art, Inc. as the second 2013 Champion in Action® in the category of arts and culture. Hygienic Art is receiving funding, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its work in cultural development, economic development and serving artists in the region. “The launch of the Artist Academy is an tremendous example of how the Champions in Action program can help a nonprofit organization grow its community impact and bring innovative ideas to life,” said Lisa Maass, SVP, Corporate Banking, Citizens Bank, Connecticut.  “Hygienic Art has found a creative way to empower local artists with the training they need to become successful small business owners.”

All spaces are currently booked for the first three workshops. Artists can visit www.hygienic.org in the upcoming weeks to learn more about workshops happening in 2014. Artists can also contact the project coordinator at: hygacademy@gmail.com to be added to a wait list to learn about future workshops.

Hygienic program adds business savvy to the palette

OCTOBER 26, 2013 | The Day

The Day logo

Hygienic program adds business savvy to the palette
By Kristina Dorsey

It’s called “art,” but being a financially successful painter or sculptor also requires something beyond artistic talent: business savvy. Local artists searching for entrepreneurial information and direction have a fresh place to find it: Hygienic Art’s newly created Artist Academy @ Hygienic. The academy is a series of two-hour workshops covering everything from branding to marketing to grant writing to financial management. Leading the sessions will be artists who have flourished by using business skills and entrepreneurial habits, according to academy project coordinator Jess Brey. Jane Pollak, who is leading Tuesday’s session on “Business Development: 10 Essential Skills to Thrive,” was an egg artist who ended up selling pieces to the likes of Steve Jobs. Rich Hollant, who heads up the Nov. 19 “Marketing 101 for Artist” session, developed brand and new project launches for corporations from Motorola to Travelers before founding co:lab, which deals with brand strategy and design. Hygienic Director of Development Joseph Celli says that the most successful artists have traditionally been those who create great work and have a handle on the business end of things. “One of the things that’s kind of unique about artists as professionals is that 98 percent of the artists in America do not have a manager or gallery representation. So, in a sense, they’re doing it all,” he says. “What I mean by that is, not only are they conceptualizing the work and creating the work, but then they have to go out and sell the work, market the work, promote the work, negotiate a contract once they have a buyer, or a performer is meeting with a venue. Then they’ve got special kinds of tax reporting artists do. So, in many ways, they’re small businesses. They’re entrepreneurs.”

And they are business people, even if they don’t want to be. Brey says that, in a February focus group that Celli headed up, one artist spoke about not wanting to become an entrepreneur but preferring to focus on the art and hiring someone to handle the business side. But that, of course, requires money. Celli noted, too, that, when an artist hires someone, they still need to manage that person. Things have been known to go awry when, for instance, rock musicians turn over all their finances to someone else and don’t pay attention – only to learn five years down the road that they’ve been fleeced. In any case, Brey says that bringing in artists to talk to these local folks — in relatable, interactive sessions — should help them see they can handle the business side. Artists Academy @ Hygienic is funded by the Citizens Bank Champion in Action Grant. The award is from Citizens Bank and WTNH News 8, and the Hygienic grant was the second they gave this year in the category of arts and culture. Citizens Band President Ned Handy said in a statement, “This award will help the Hygienic to grow its after-school programs and stimulate small businesses in the region by educating artists in core aspects of small arts enterprises.” The third session in the opening trio of Artist Academy @ Hygienic workshops is “Web Design, an Internet Presence” on Dec. 17. It will be led by designers kHyal and Karl Heine. 


Coworking and the Creative Corridor

June 2013 | Coworking and the Creative Corridor

SoNo Spaces featured in CT co-working article.

fiZz is a partner in SoNo Spaces with creativeplacement and created the branding, website and copy. We also wrote the section about SS spaces in this article, which can be found in full on the SoNo Spaces website.

See the full post from Connecticut Creatives here.

Conn Creatives SoNo Spaces

A Better World by Design: Interview with kHyal + Karl Heine

SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 | A Better World by Design

Expo Spotlight: Meet kHyal and Karl Heine
by Beth Soucy

This Sunday the 30th is the Better World by Design Expo. We here at ABWxD cannot wait to see all of the amazing projects students and professionals are working on that apply design thinking to better the world. kHyal and Karl have presented at the Expo every year since 2010 and we are happy to welcome them back this year! Learn more about their work and their involvement in ABWxD below.

kHyal LeeK arl BWxD 2012
kHyal, Karl Heine and Lee Moody at ABWxD 2010

What is your connection to A Better World by Design?

We’ve been attending ABWxD since 2009, when our good friend Lee Moody of Mohawk Fine Papers turned us on to it. In 2010, we created the custom journals given to all attendees and speakers, and Karl and I were both chosen to exhibit our personal work at the art exhibit during the Gala held at The Steelyard. We’ve both been recycling, retrofitting, repurposing and upcycling since we were kids — and our work automatically incorporates the tenets of the conference. In 2011, we created custom journals for the speakers and the store. This year, we’re proud to be bronze sponsors and to create the branded ABWxD journals again. I was also honored to work with Tino Chow at Teespring to design the ABWxD “Better Future” T-shirt.

Karl and I both already had strong ties to RISD before hearing about ABWxD. My brother is a RISD alum, and although I studied art and design in Boston, the time I spent visiting him at RISD was memorable and influenced my work in ways I am still thankful for. Karl’s core company, creativeplacement, has been helping young design professionals find meaningful work for over 25 years. Karl has worked with the career development office at RISD for over 20 years, spoken at the Chace Center and other venues, and participated in portfolio reviews for many years. Since 2007, I have joined him. Our participation and support of ABWxD is a natural extension of our design beliefs and our enthusiasm for helping talented young creatives.

What will you be presenting at the 2012 Better World Expo?

For the third year, Karl will be exhibiting under his DesignerJournals brand, a company he founded to produce sustainable notebooks with all the characteristics he believes a journal for professional creatives should possess. That they should be high quality, natural materials, recycled and recyclable, and filled with unlined paper that won’t bleed when you draw or write on it with a Sharpie.

I’ll be exhibiting under my brand, MegaGlam, the illustration/character design/fashion/public art arm of my communications firm, fiZz. My product line combines those things in unique, colorful ways with an earth-friendly bent of recycled, upcycled and recyclable components.

BWxD Expo 2012BWxD Expo 2012BWxD Expo 2012

What is your business?

Karl’s core business is creativeplacement, a recruitment firm specializing in placing top creative talent in advertising agencies, design firms, corporations and companies. He founded DesignerJournals in 2009 out of a personal need to create a product he wanted to use, and that he thought other design professionals would appreciate. Karl also has a lighting design company, recently rebranded as “FreshBeam.” He was asked to exhibit his upcycled found object lamps in the 2010 ABWxD Expo Lounge.

My core business is fiZz. A full service boutique marketing and communication design firm. MegaGlam is the illustration/character design/fashion/public art arm of fiZz. It’s the art, design and fashion microgroove blend.

Together, Karl and I also founded PUSH workshops, providing design education opportunities to creative professionals at all stages in their careers. We have also produced a mobile version called PUSH Design Camp on Block Island. Karl and I are often hired to concept and produce creative events to boost economic development or to market other company’s creative services. Our work often merges the fine art and design worlds with commerce initiatives.

How do you use design to bring about a better world?

Design thinking permeates our lives in every way we problem solve and innovate. It fuels our entrepreneurial spirits and is the driving force behind the way we live, from developing sustainable products and services, to redesigning our home with vintage architectural salvage including steel cabinets from the 1940s, kitchen counters made of 1920s bowling alley wood removed from an old firehouse, and recycled shredded denim jeans for insulation. We live a fully encapsulated design life and keep the idea of sustainability in the forefront of our actions.

We are thankful to have worked with ABWxD design thinkers Andy Cutler, Tino Chow, Gabriela Baiter, Issac Blankensmith, Andreas Nicholas, Leah Chung, Hannah Bebbington and Katharine Li.


GraphicDesign.com Gathering in NYC

On Monday July 9th GraphicDesign.com had a gathering in New York City. We would like to thank all those who attended. It was fantastic to meet some of our writers, advisory board and partners in person. The evening took place at the Liberty NYC where everyone enjoyed (well I hope they did!) wine, beer and food! It was great to see everyone chatting to each other and in some cases make new acquaintances/friends.

Hopefully we will be able to do it again soon but this time with EVERYONE who is part of the GraphicDesign.com team.

GraphicDesign.comm NYC meeting July 2012
Karl Heine, Rodney Durso, kHyal and Ilene Strizver

See the full story here.

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