So many things have been happening over the course of the past few months that I really haven’t had a chance to update this blog, or really do much beyond the few giant design projects that have sucked up all of my time. But in the meantime there have been a lot of positive changes in my life, a lot of late nights, and a handful of big investments that are beginning to pave the future for myself and my design
Within the next month, I will be relaunching AntAesthetic with a new mission, a new focus, a new design, and a lot of exciting new services. I am still employed as a graphic/web designer with a great company, but this is a side-venture and a reimagining of the initial intentions of AntAesthetic — a literal return to the meaning of the name “AntAesthetic.”
AntAesthetic was birthed in design school as my “company name” before I was ever employed as a graphic designer. It was more of a life philosophy, and combines my name (“Anthony”) with “Aesthetic” to create a mutated version of anaesthetic (meaning a numbing agent, or something devoid of sensation or feeling, etc.). It was this contradiction that I really liked, because while an anaesthetic was the absence of inspiration, AntAesthetic was a bit like the cure for that absence. With it also came imagery of actual ants coming together and creating something interesting, and my first business card looked like a leaf, bringing thoughts of leaf-cutter ants.
Truth be told, I entered the graphic design industry because it was the most obvious choice for someone that wanted to create things for a living and use his creative perspective. Unfortunately, those “things” were often very limited to magazine ads, logos, websites, and business suites. The reality is that I have a broad interest in a lot of different media, a different vision for the path of my legacy and approach to design. I completely recognize that in ten years from now, I don’t want to be sitting in front of a computer all day moving shapes around on the screen or figuring out the bug in some code. I am pretty confident that my eyes will thank me for limiting my exposure to computers, no matter how much I enjoy working with them and love technology. I aspire to approach the world as more of an innovator and a maker. I see opportunities every day to create and improve and inject cleverness into things around me.
The other motivation is a realization that I have goals and needs that extend beyond the capability of what I’m currently doing right now. At the current rate, I will be paying off student loans through my 50s, and the thought of owning my own home one day often seems like a matter of major sacrifice in order to do so. I’m living comfortably, but I’m renting an apartment, driving a car that may only have a few more years in it, and can’t buy a plane ticket or really go anywhere out of the country anytime soon. My goal is to wipe out my debt in 5-10 years or less, get a house in the next five years, and enjoy my 30s without worrying so much about surprise bills or investments that might just derail my life entirely. I don’t think there should ever be any shame in confronting the fact that what you love to do needs to match up with making money. Money may not buy happiness, but it certainly buys you out of the slavery of debt.
I do eventually plan on writing a novel, too. 😉
I want to do so many things, and less and less of it is about graphic design the more I spend time thinking about it. Print is relatively dead, and the web changes so often that it’s a full-time job just keeping up with all of it. AntAesthetic may occasionally do those things, but that will no longer be the focus, particularly outside of my day job. I want to take my ideas from my piles of notebooks and start fleshing them out, change my bad habits, find more time, and begin producing the “stuff” that I was meant to produce. Art, design, decor, fashion, functional innovations; the whole gamut. I have invested a lot of time and money into materials and ideas that will convert AntAesthetic from a graphic designer’s portfolio to a legitimate design “company” that will stay fresh, interject new ideas into the marketplace, and offer fantastic new services and products on any whim. I’m in the process of setting up a new set of work habits, optimizing my ability to create, and heavily researching the marketplace.
What these things are will reveal themselves over time. Expect a strong eCommerce element to appear as part of AntAesthetic. Expect a clearer design approach and voice. Expect a lot of experiments, a lot of prototypes and projects, and a lot of reckless abandon. Expect a lot more physical items, a lot more personality, and a lot more things that are more relevant to a broader audience. Obviously, I’ll still also be voicing my opinion on movies and games, but that won’t be the whole focus of the site/blog.
More details to come.