A reminder of everything you touch

catalog 62 cover

At work, we have a wall of all the catalogs our company has put out in the past 36 years. We’ve been shifting them around on the walls so that we can put up the latest. As always, the new location has caused everyone to look at them with fresh eyes.

“I can’t believe we put that on the cover!”

“We sent that to 100,000 people?!?”


Our main catalog designer, Scott, went through them with me pointing out his personal choices for highs and lows. Then, he turned to me and said, “You know, it’s not every job that leaves a record of everything you do.”

That really made me pause and think of all the work I do that leaves no discernable footprint on the world. Tweets and emails that fade moments after they’re sent. Meaningful conversations that disappear.

Do you have a trophy case for your work? I think this is especially important if your work doesn’t leave a discernable remnant. Authors can point to a row of books and toys designers have shelves of toys. What can you point to?

While the number of followers you have or mentions you get might be impressive, I think physical objects that represent accomplishments are important. Reminders of past achievements can really motivate you to keep going.

The other side of this is also important. If someone has done something for you, did you send them a thank you? Is there a way to give them something small to remember you by?

Maybe, even give someone an award!

(If you’re interested in hearing about the particular catalog in this blog post, we recorded a podcast about it.)





6 responses

  1. I make quilts. Most I give to people I know, and some are given to people I don’t know. Once they leave me, I don’t get to control what happens to them. I expect some are no longer available to be seen and touched. But most, I think, continue. And some, I think, will continue longer after I’m gone.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I am on Twitter as @zoomar, but that’s mostly random nonsense. I’m going to try and post here again. I’ve just been rethinking what it should be. I think I want to change the focus form creativity to being more about the relationship between art/creativity/business and marketing. I was thinking I’d start something new. Then, this morning it struck me I should just add to this unwieldy beast of a blog that has been through three platform changes. Thank you so much for the compliment!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Artists (whatever that means) struggle with how to put their art into the public sphere. That’s the business/marketing part. They don’t struggle as much, perhaps, with why. Should they? We as humans have a need to express ourselves, to be seen and heard, to be validated. Fear keeps a lot of people from sharing. Sharing makes us vulnerable. I’m not afraid. I share my work, I share my thoughts. Some people like it, some don’t. That’s their issue, not mine. But even so, not everything I do, think, or make needs to be out in public. So as artists, sometimes the issue isn’t how to make things public, but why. How do we know what *should* go out and what maybe is just as well to keep for our own enjoyment.

        Just some thoughts, to consider as you please.


  2. Having a physical record of our work is so much more visceral than just seeing things online or saved as a photograph. I struggle with the keep/don’t keep thought as I am also into extreme simplification and minimalistic living. Knowing the quilts that I have made and gifted or sold are being used is definitely the sweet spot of satisfaction for me.


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