About Clove Orange

Design is really cool. It can solve abstract problems and hardcore, tangible, down-in-the-dirt problems. It can open minds, disseminate ideas, inspire, delight, educate, and even save a life or save the world. It can, really. This is why I like what I do. That and when the perfect visual solution appears on the screen as if it were always there (like the statues in Michelangelo’s marble blocks), looking simple, effortless and ready to go (and never betraying all the hard work that went into its conception and birth).

Clove Orange is just me (and the goats). Except when it’s a big project or exceptionally code-y. Luckily, I have lots of talented friends who step in and work magic. It’s purposely small, purposely as simple as possible and aspiring to be simpler every day. I create stunning, compelling design and design/marketing strategy of all sorts for stunning, compelling people of all sorts.

To be honest with you, I like researching, conceptualizing, problem-solving and designing. I’m not thrilled about paperwork and the minutiae of running a business. I know a lot about it — I’ve been doing it and helping other people do it for a lot of years. I can write a very complicated, many many page design proposal or contract, I can invoice up a storm. But if I get to choose what I work on, and that’s the whole premise of working for yourself, I’m going to streamline the bejesus out of that stuff. Let’s not waste time and money and brain cells on the businessy or busyness stuff. Let’s do the minimum on that front and get going with the good stuff!

So, design. I care deeply about the details, about typography, about color, about your end-users and audiences, about appropriateness and that the design and/or strategy solutions are a perfect fit for the problems, challenges or aspirations at hand. I also care about doing things sustainably and will help you go as far that way as is practical for your circumstances.

I don’t take jobs that aren’t a good fit, as that’s not good for anyone involved. This could be dictated by the size of the engagement, timeframe constraints, even content, ideology or personalities. That’s not to say that I’m a snob or close-minded or have an overarching political agenda that makes me all difficult to deal with. I like to think it’s the opposite. I just don’t like to work with assholes. And, oddly, they always hate working with me.

About Annie

[The Short Version]
Designer, strategist, art director, thinker, writer, streamliner, coder, photographer, petter of dogs and cats. Curious, driven, eccentric, compassionate, knowledgeable, pragmatic, fun. Experienced with diverse clients and industries, professional for 15 years. Science plus art, simplicity from complexity, humaneness and care, sustainability and systems, doing the right thing (and the thing right) even if it’s way the hell outside the box. I love design solutions to all kinds of problems — business, social, sustainability, even personal. I love making things that are appropriate, useful, effective and beautiful. And, even if I get stressed out and tend to forget it, at the end of the day, now is superior to before or after and joy is the aim.

[The Long Version]
Perhaps I’ve been a designer all my life. When I was a toddler, I loved to take all of the shoes from both parents’ closets and arrange them in a meandering lines on the carpet. Kindergarten saw me chastised for coloring outside the lines. Through grade school I took every art class I could and made many strange little books — stories, pictures, photographs, etchings, whatever struck me. In high school and college, I devoted myself to publishing a very eclectic zine called Tear Down the Sky. This was by no means a design beauty — in fact, quite the opposite — rather embarrassing now. But it was a stomping ground, a sandbox, a place where I learned about how to make content and to express it, and to mass produce it (well, if mass is 500 copies).

While I have never been known for my math skills, I’ve always been drawn to discovering systems, understanding and streamlining them. Patterns, taxonomies, which of these things is not like the others (and what is useful about that?). Amongst other things, design is about organizing the world in a clear way so that others can use and understand it. It’s finding Occam’s Razor in a pile of crazy content or a jumble of visual ideas. Some of the most impressive (and useful) design out there communicates very complex ideas in very concise terms, making it simple and understandable. Making this sort of thing happen, is what makes designing rewarding for me.

I sauntered off to various colleges, universities and art schools for several years. Got a degree in art history (with a focus on medieval, 19th century medieval revival and design) Bought Aldus Personal Press for my Mac Classic. Took a class in Photoshop (2.0!) and eventually PageMaker. Later Quark. Stopped taking classes, started learning by doing.

So, now, I’ve been a professional designer for 15 years, or in other words, I’ve been getting paid for designing for 15 years. Before that, I did it for free. During that time, I’ve managed to maintain a fairly unconventional “career”, in that I’ve interpolated working for myself into multifarious stints working for design firms and in-house design concerns. (I’ve also, apparently, interpolated the use of ostentatiously multi-syllabic words into otherwise friendly prose.) I’ve been around the block in a really diverse number of design neighborhoods. The beginning of my work-life skewed corporate (one has less of a choice at the beginning, if one doesn’t have one’s head about one), I worked in-house at a huge bank for six months, designing the forgettable signs that stand guard over tellers, tri-fold brochures and other such corporate ephemera. I worked in-house at Ernst & Young, designing proposals and presentations. I spent time on the premises of countless law firms, wealth management establishments, consulting companies and the like. Eventually, I wised up and started working at more design firms and ad agencies for my on-site gigs: Philip Johnson Associates, tfa/LeoBurnett, Clarke Goward, and a whole mess more, all over the greater Boston area. Then, I took what I thought would be my dream job, designing at WGBH public television. There were aspects of it that were pretty awesome — working with Edward Gorey’s art to create press kits for Mystery! and getting intimate with Masterpiece Theatre video packaging (and, of course, Arthur). But I did eventually move on. I redesigned and then art directed a regional lifestyle magazine for a few years. I did quite a few massive book design projects with Partners In Health (this is the work that I’m most proud of — these people are heroes of mine). I’ve worked off and on with a small branding and design firm in Boston as a designer, strategist and all around right-hand-man-woman.

I’ve designed brands and visual identity systems, websites and other things on screens, wraps for trucks, books, posters, magazines, flyers, brochures, annual reports, packaging, direct mail, promotional materials of every sort and stripe, just about anything else that can be printed, and the interior of one yoga studio.

I’ve had work published in a couple books, and I’ve won a few design awards, I belong to AIGA. None of that is terribly important though. Cred, sure. But what’s important is what I’m doing now, or potentially doing very soon, once you get in touch. (Was that last bit corny and salesy? Sorry. At least I didn’t use a smiley emoticon) That’s working with fired-up, progressive, respectful people with Big Ideas that need embodying in clear, beautiful communications. It can be a logo, a website, or a truck. It doesn’t really matter — as long its the appropriate medium for the message, and that message is well-put.

Besides designing, I like building cameras out of unlikely objects, and have done a bunch of alternative process photography over the past five years or so. I go through serial phases of obsessions with art and craft forms as well as weird topics of research. I can crochet but not knit. I’ve got screenplays on the back burner and not much in the oven. Also, my dog is wicked awesome.

About the Goats

Tiny Flying Goats is my zine. You can read why it’s a zine (and not a blog, which, I guess, it kinda obviously is) here. The thing with goats is the following:

One day, a long time ago, I was having a daydream. I hallucinated that there were tiny goats flying around my office, with binder clip wings, and that they were very knowing. They were in charge.

Ever since that day, I’ve considered imaginary goats to be my boss. They’re fairly hands off. They stay out of the day-to-day running of the business. I don’t even know their names. There’s the large (for being tiny) orange goat. He lives on my bulletin board and keeps and eye on me when I’m at my desk. There’s a grey goat, who’s more kindly looking than the orange one and lives a top the door frame. Two very very tiny brown goats live on a picture frame containing an excellent example of letterpress printing, over on the bookcase. Somehow, using binder clips, rubber bands and nylon fishing line, they have the ability to fly around. I always fear they will swarm me if I misbehave, though it hasn’t happened yet.

They disapprove of low-self-esteem, letting oneself be walked upon, pandering, dishonesty, indecisiveness and general unmindfulness. They enjoy watching me scribble furiously on the whiteboard and drink too much coffee. They’ve not said what they think about the eclectic music selection in the office.

Also, my board of directors is a five-headed pink terry-cloth bunny.