Smucker Up & Start A Podcast
This week on Overtime, you asked and I’m going to do it—I finally acknowledge Smucker’s unexpected new logo redesign. Plus, we talk about why building communities is so important right now and how to start making friends with your design peers.
Then, have you ever thought about starting a podcast? We answer all of your burning questions around what the heck you should even talk about, how you’re supposed to edit it, and why you should even start one in the first place. Get a little pep talk on creating some awesome content, because designers can be great podcasters too!
Thanks to our friends at Collective for sponsoring this episode — Collective is the first online back-office platform designed for self-employed people. They handle company formation, taxes, accounting, bookkeeping, compliance, and more. Check out their exclusive offer for the Dribbble community and get 2 months @50% off with the code DRIBBBLE10.
Links mentioned in this episode
Meg: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, it’s me, your host, Meg “There’s a Party Inside My Big Colon” Lewis, and hi! Oh, it’s happening again, another episode, another day, another week has passed. Ah, wow. Before I get a little too existential, welcome back to Overtime! As you know, this is Dribbble’s weekly podcast where I give you design things, and other things, and more things, and some other special things to make your very best additional things. This week on Overtime, you asked and I’m going to do it. I finally acknowledge that Smucker’s logo redesign, and, plus, why building communities is so important right now. And, should you start a podcast? What should you talk about on your podcast? How are you supposed to edit it? Doesn’t everybody have a podcast? Why should you have a podcast? Well, I’m going tell you why you should and give you a little pep talk on making some dank stuff. Maybe a podcast is a good idea after all. Let’s go!
I am super excited to tell you about Collective. Collective is on a mission to redefine the way businesses of one work. They’re the first online back office platform designed for freelancers like a me. Well, it’s not exactly just me because nearly 59 million people, which is like 36% of the workforce in the U.S., run their own solo business, so it’s time for a better platform to enable the largest group of entrepreneurs in this country to focus on their passion and not the paperwork. Collective handles company formation, taxes, accounting, and so much more. And as a freelancer myself, this platform really speaks to me, as finances are not something I love handling. It’s my least favorite part of my job. I cannot stress that enough. I hate it. So be sure to check out their exclusive offer for the Dribbble community: two months at 50% off with the code Dribbble10 so go to collective.com/dribble.com
Okay, J.M. Smucker Corporation, I see you, I saw that logo redesign you did. It’s beautiful, impeccable timing because they launched that logo redesign just moments after we published that episode a few weeks ago where I was talking about blands. And this is the most bland-y logo of all time because it’s a massive $7.8 billion food company that released a logo redesign that just says we’re a bespoke little jelly company. It just looks both bland and boring, and also a little dated.
Anyway, so I want to describe what the logo looks like. Let me just pop it up here. Okay, so the logo is just kind of an uppercase sort of sans serif job all on one line. It says the J.M. Smucker company or Co., and J.M. Smucker is bolder than the other letters. Classic. I’ve done this logo before. Definitely earlier on in my career where I was churning out so many logo designs every week. I was just a little factory, undercharging, so I had to have 16 clients at once. So, I definitely [remember] during that time making a lot of these because it was nice to just type out the name of the brand in a font, you’re like, “Oh, this looks pretty good as is. I’ll make some of the words bold so there’s hierarchy.” That’s what’s going on here with this logo.
Also, on top of those, the typed-out font – which also could be untrue. It might not be a font. Maybe they really customized every letter, I don’t know – but on top of the letters is a mark that consists of some abstract shapes. Let’s put it that way. It’s got a couple of them [which] look like the shape of strawberries, and then the rest of them look like the shape of leaves. So, one would assume – this is J.M. Smucker if you’re not familiar with that company, they make jams and jellies – so one might assume, “Okay, yep, fruit and fruit leaves, that speaks to the jellies and the jams. Yeah.” But J.M. Smucker says that they did this breed redesign in the first place because they’re more than jams and jellies and they want the world to know it, so they’ve moved into a place of abstraction in order to communicate that point. Yes, I see that. I see you, J.M. Smucker company. But if you look at the brand guidelines, they’ve also made this wonderful document, as designers often do in brand guidelines, where they point to each of the abstract shapes and they say what they symbolize. And it’s beautiful. And I want to start doing this because, as you know, if you’re familiar with my work and the cover art for this podcast, I use abstraction all the dang time. And it means nothing! It means nothing to me, but it doesn’t mean anything for an overall brand strategy. Like each shape does not represent something individually. But the J.M. Smucker company is definitely trying to pull that one off with these abstract shapes.
So, they point to the red one on the left and they say, “This one represents heritage. Our familiar strawberry is used to anchor the mark representing our foundation and reminding us where we started from. And then the strawberry shape on the right represents Spark, the spark of inspiration that signals our evolution, a pivot point, and a…” Oh my god, the font is so small, I’m so sorry. “…A Pivot Point, a conscious commitment to innovation, innovative, thinking…” I’m just butchering this. You get the point. And then the leaves symbolize, “Creativity, culture, and growth, the organic shapes on our welcoming culture, and our category leading creativity, their upward progression…” Oh, that’s good. “…symbolizes our limitless growth potential.” I love it! And I wonder… I think my hunch is probably correct, given my personal experience, that maybe the designer was like, “You could show an abstract, strawberry, awesome, leaves and leaves and leaves, I’ll arrange them in a visually pleasing manner,” And then J.M. Smucker was like, “We love that the leaves are pointing in an upward and forward manner. It really represents our limitless growth potential. Good job.” And the designer was like, “Oh, yes. Yes, I did do that on purpose.” Or maybe the brand design company, which is CBX, said, “We have to make some of these abstract shapes mean something in our deck to present to them. So yes. Forward upward motion there. Yeah, I see that. Let’s say that means limitless growth potential. You know, you never know.”
And I don’t want to assume anything about CBX, the brand design company that made this for them. I actually haven’t gone to their website. I don’t know their work. I’ve never heard of them. Wow, is that a burn? I don’t know. I’ve never heard of them. That is not an impressive thing for me to say, because I’m rarely paying attention to agencies, because I’ve never been involved in that world and I’ve never been a part of it. So, I often don’t know who people are and [who] agencies are, so that is not a knock on CBX. Because I’ve never heard of them. I’ve just never, ever – I never had the pleasure of hearing of CBX.
Anyway, so I have been in countless positions, designing brands for clients, especially larger corporations and companies where my little designer opinion doesn’t matter compared to their stakeholders. So, you’re meeting with them, you have great ideas, maybe they hire you and sell you on those great ideas and where they want the brand to go, and you’re perfect for it and it’s perfect for you and you’re so excited about it. And then you start designing and then you realize that they have to run it up the flagpole to the important stakeholders, and the stakeholders have a weird taste, and weird opinions, but their opinion matters more than anybody else’s, and they’re able to steer the company, and then the brand ends up going this direction that you were not sold upon at the beginning, and you’re not liking it, it’s not looking great. And then all of a sudden, your names tied to it. And oh no, yeah, I’ve been there a number of times. And I guess the argument there is that you have to be strong enough about your decisions and the brand strategy and where you want to take it that you don’t let them push you around. But I’m just one woman sometimes and it’s very easy to just push me around. Anyway, this is not a personal therapy session about me. So anyway, let’s move on. I feel like I’m really ripping this thing apart. It doesn’t need to be ripped apart, let’s just breeze on to the next topic.
All right, speaking of innovation, limitless growth, and looking forwards and upwards, let’s talk about something more positive during this historic, important time in human history that we happen to be involved in currently. And that’s community building. So, community building is a pretty large term. And maybe you’re like, “Eh, not interested in this subject.” But I think it is actually something that’s very important that we should all be paying attention to during this time, always, in general. But during this time, very important, and especially as designers and creative people, being a part of communities is extremely important. It’s how I, throughout my career, have gotten the majority of my work – through being involved in different communities and organizations, and getting work forwarded to me that way, and people passing work my way that are inside of that community as well.
So, communities: very important. And during the last few months, I have been a part of this community that—do you remember Ashley Ochiagha? Ashley is an interior designer, lifestyle designer, who was a guest on this podcast a few weeks ago. I’m trying to think when, maybe July. I don’t know. And Ashley has these monthly meetings that I’ve been going to on the 15th of every month called Let’s Check In. Ashley owns a brand called “Fancy Meeting You Here,” so those meetings are through that brand and on the 15th of every month, there’s a different theme. And these are just Zoom meetings. It’s a pretty smallish group, usually, I’d say 20 people or less every time. And there’s a theme every month, so the last thing we did was politics, before that there was an interior design one, a personal style one, which is why I had her actually on the podcast. The one she has this month is called “Taking Risks”, which is actually happening tomorrow on the 15th.
And so, these are absolutely fantastic, and I have loved every one of them. And they have been so important to me because they’re a smaller group, and Ashley caps it at a small number because we’re having really challenging conversations, especially the one about politics, my goodness, we’re having challenging conversations where we want to feel safe enough to all kind of express our opinion. And if you’re more introverted, and I think you might find that shocking, but for me, if I’m in a group of people where some people have really loud voices and they’re kind of talking a lot, I usually fall silent and I don’t say anything, I’m kind of the quiet person in the group if there are loud voices. But if a group doesn’t have any loud voices, then I usually try to make people feel more comfortable by providing one. Anyway, it’s one of the reasons why I host podcasts by myself.
So, they are fantastic, fantastic meetings. And it’s been such a great community because every month there are some recurring people, so I’m getting to know some people and none of them I knew except for Ashley before this. It’s been a really nice way to make new friends. And I think during this time, having silver linings or any kind of positive outcome is great, so if I can make some new friends during this time, wow, that’s really, actually quite spectacular.
So, there’s something beautiful about small group communities but then there’s also something really fantastic about giant communities too. If you want to start a Slack group, a Slack community or Discord group (I know that they’re not called groups on Discord. Discord server, I know what I’m doing. I’ve been on Discord once. Anyway, that’s somehow probably wrong. I’m very, I’m not very confident about my knowledge in Discord), I guess a Facebook group counts for this large groups of people. Those are also very beneficial, right? Because large groups help you gain more connections, more potential for friendship, more potential for opportunity and learning more things and having a diverse set of opinions coming through to the group in, influencing you in some way, right? So, large groups are just as important as small groups. And I definitely encourage you to find both types of groups.
Now, there are many advantages to these big groups and these big online communities, especially through chat platforms like Slack or Discord. And I will say that if you have been involved in these, you’ll probably know, especially if it’s groups of other designers and creatives, it’s a great way to get work. These people, if they work for a company that’s hiring, they will post the job link in there. And they’ll say, “let me know if you’re interested in the position.” And you can get a position that way a lot easier than just blindly applying on that company’s website. And I find as a freelancer, they’re constantly throwing work my way, because they’ll just be like, “Is anybody available? We need to hire for this thing really quickly,” or, “Hey, I’m a freelancer and I can’t really take this on because I don’t have time in my schedule right now. Is anybody else available?” I get a lot of a lot of work that way too. And it’s great.
So, you know, if you want to start a big community, it is a lot of work, because you get into the code of conduct thing, you have to moderate to a certain extent, you need admins and people looking out all the time, and this is intimidating. If you have a smaller group, it’s a little easier for you to control that yourself. But with bigger communities, you have to be ready. You have to be ready to do it right so that you can create a safe space for everybody involved in the group (and) in that community. Now, if you’re interested in starting communities, which I think, at the very least join some or join one, and let that be your thing, if you’re not totally ready to start one, but if you are interested in starting to community in some way, there’s a wonderful book that I have called Get Together: How to Build a Community with Your People. And this book is by people that are actually total experts in this. It’s a group called People in Company, which is a community strategy building company. So, the authors of the book are the three that own People in Company, [who are] Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, and Kai Elmer Sotto. And these three know what they’re talking about. They also have a podcast called Get Together, so if you’re really interested in building communities, whether it is online, or whether it’s eventually in person, listen to their podcast, get that book and learn from them, because they really know what they’re doing. And if you have a community in any regard, go to their website and find out more about them, because you can actually hire them to help you and to coach you and do it, whether you are a corporation and you’re trying to get closer to your community, or whether you’re a little individual person sitting at a desk somewhere. They will help you. I’m giggly, I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m apologizing. Now, this is getting out of hand. Let’s move on.
Okay, the last thing I want to talk to you about is silly because it’s what I’m doing currently. “Oh, what are you doing currently, Meg, besides knitting?” I’m not knitting. That’s… wow, okay. What am I doing right now? It’s podcasting. I’m making, currently, if you weren’t aware, I’m currently making a podcast. Right now. You’re hearing it being made. And that podcast is dialing right inside of your ears. Two holes, if you have two ears, two holes. Maybe you just have one earbud in, I don’t know what you’re doing, maybe you’re wearing a headset that is only feeding audio into one ear, and maybe you only have one ear.
Anyway, so, I’m currently making a podcast and I want to kind of talk because I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on, “How do you make the podcast? What is the production plan? How does it work behind the scenes making this podcast [and] your other podcast?” And so, I kind of want to give you a sales pitch on why I think you should also make a podcast. And I think whenever I say to you, “You should make a podcast,” I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Meg, everybody and their mother has a podcast. Everyone feels like they should have a podcast.” These are all things I thought before I had a podcast and now I have two. And that’s very common, because yes, a lot of people have podcasts. There are a lot of podcasts in this world, but hold on for a minute. You could say the same thing about – remember when everybody had a blog, you know everybody has an Instagram, we don’t go around saying, “I don’t know, what can I possibly add to the landscape that nobody has said already?” We tend to have that argument with podcasts, but not a lot of other things.
So, I think the important thing to know in this little pep talk that I want to give you about creating podcasts is you can exchange the word podcast for other things. So, if you want to start a Medium and write Medium articles, if you want to write a book, if you want to start an Instagram account or whatever, I think all of this advice goes for the same thing. You absolutely 100% have the capacity and ability to create a podcast or create content in any manner, whether it’s writing a book or whatever. You have the ability to make a podcast or whatever that is unlike what anybody else can do. You have the ability to talk about things, to offer advice, to have a voice that’s so unlike anybody else’s because you truly do have something to offer the world that nobody else can. And it’s all about figuring out what the heck that possibly is, right? And I think we’re always trying to do that. If we could figure that out, we could probably make a lot more money because that means that we can make an offering to people, to the world, that nobody else can, which inevitably means we don’t have competition. And it’s possible. You definitely, inside of your amazing brain, you look at the world in a way that nobody else does in some ways, we just have to figure out what that is, extracted from your brain, and put it out in the world, and offer it to them.
Now, podcasts, specifically, are great. I like them because they’re perfect for this time and you can make them from your home. You don’t have to go out, you don’t have to be unsafe, you can just stay at home all the time. It requires a surprisingly small amount of equipment. If you can just get yourself a decent microphone, it really helps. But you don’t technically even have to. As long as people are getting your voice into their ears, that’s all that matters, because all we need to do is extract what you have in your brain and get it into people’s brains. Right? So, I like podcasts because, yes, they are low overhead. You don’t have to buy a ton of equipment; you don’t have to have all of these fancy things. You don’t have to buy expensive software. It’s a very low overhead. So, it’s one of those things where the best equipment you can use is whatever equipment you already have, which I think is pretty great. Like, for my own podcast, where I don’t have an editor/professional person that edits my podcast, I had to figure out how to edit it myself because I didn’t have a bunch of money lying around to be able to pay an editor. So, I figured it out, I learned how to edit the podcast in GarageBand, and wow, GarageBand came with my computer. So, I use that. I’m currently recording this sound piece in GarageBand right now!
Now, on Overtime, we have a professional editor, and that’s why it sounds so nice. But with my other podcast, Sit There and Do Nothing, I don’t have an editor. I do it myself, I figured it out. It definitely would sound better if I had a professional working on it. But low overhead, right? I learned how to do it in GarageBand. And it came with my computer, and I use the best microphone I have, and it’s fine. It works. It gets the content into people’s brains and into their ears just like I need it to.
So, I think the important thing to remember is, as creatives, we have a problem solver brain. So, if you are intimidated by learning audio, don’t worry about it. You have a problem solver’s brain, you’ll figure it out. It’s not that hard. Just open up a new program, open up GarageBand, whatever, Adobe, what’s the Adobe one? Audition? Yeah. Open that one up, and just poke around, watch some videos, you’ll figure it out. This is what we live for as problem solvers. Yeah, you’ll figure it out. It’s not that hard. They look very intimidating, but it’s not that bad. It’s like Photoshop. You know, if you open up Photoshop as somebody who would never use Photoshop before, you get really intimidated by all the all the things that Photoshop does. But as a designer, you know that you only use, like, 5% of what Photoshop does. The same, I found, is true with this audio editing software. I only use a fraction of what they could do. And the rest is just intimidation tactics by big audio. I turned that into a political audio joke which is not funny. Okay, here she goes again.
But on the notion of what to make, what you’re talking about on your podcast, or if you’re writing a book, or whatever it is that you decide to do, what are you talking about [that’s] your thing? What is the thing that you have the unique power to say? Or do that nobody else does? And I think you have to ask yourself a few things: you know, what do you know that other people don’t know that other people would benefit from knowing? That’s the most basic question to ask yourself. But I also think podcasts and books are all about just sitting down and giving advice. No, sometimes they sare more. Sometimes it’s storytelling. Sometimes it’s inviting other people on. Sometimes it’s not about you at all. And great, because the same is true. Your brain is still capable of creating something to offer the world that nobody else can, right? So, even if it’s not all about advice – a piece of advice, that’s cool, you’re still capable of creating an experience or a product or a service or an offering that nobody else can.
So, it’s all about trying to figure out what that is and what you can offer, what your unique brain can offer. So, if you think about my other podcast, Sit There and Do Nothing, which is a comedy sort of mindfulness and meditation podcast, it’s not about advice. It’s not about me offering advice on how to be more mindful or how to meditate. No. It’s nothing like this podcast. But it is something that I realized that I could offer the world that nobody else can in the way that I realized that if I wanted to lead meditations or lead mindfulness exercises, I realized that I would never ever be able to be that serious for that long. It’s just not in my personality. I’m not interested in doing that.
So, I thought, “Wow, if I had to lead a meditation, it would be so silly. It would go in the strangest places.” And then I had that epiphany of like, “Wait a minute, why is nobody else doing this? Why is nobody else leading silly meditations? If the point is to get you feeling better than before you started listening to the meditation, then why can’t they be a little silly and lighthearted?” So, then I had that moment where I realized, “Oh, shoot, I can make something that’s so unique to my brain, in what I can offer to the world, in a way that only I can offer it. And I need to do that. The world deserves to have that.” So, it’s all about trying to figure out what you can offer the world that only you can offer in that way, right? Because of course, somebody else could come along and do a silly meditation or mindfulness audio thing in some capacity, everybody would, of course, it would never be the same as mine. Because I write all these episodes, I think of all of the weird scenarios that you get into to make yourself more relaxed. And that’s totally a reflection of my brain and not anybody else’s. I’ve promised you if you listen to it, you know, you definitely know. So, it’s a basic question of that: of even looking topically about what people want right now and thinking, “If I did this, how would I do it? Is there a way that my brain could approach the same thing in a way that’s really unique to me?” Ask yourself all these questions, of course, please do.
So, I think it’s important to also expand the content based on your own schedule, right? So, if you are in a specific place in your life, thinking about certain things topically, it’s totally fine to break those things down because the things, topically, that are going on in our joint schedules are so powerful. And that’s something we have in common. So, talking about, digesting those things, exploring those things, creating content around those things, is a great thing because it unifies us. And it allows us to explore something that we’re both experiencing together. So, thinking about this podcast, in particular, the way that this one works, because this podcast is a little bit more organized than my other podcast, because this podcast is topical, I try to not plan too far ahead. In fact, I usually decide what I want to talk about the day before I record, or maybe even the day right before I record. I think about the subjects I want to talk about, the topics I want to explore, and I kind of make myself an outline. Because as you know, this is not scripted, I’m sure you can tell that I don’t know what I’m about to say at any moment. But I do keep a doc open at all times that’s an outline of, “Okay, what are all the general points I want to make about podcasting so that I make sure I don’t get lost or go on a tangent?” I just have a bulleted sort of outline going [on] about all the topics that I’m going to address, talk about in each episode. And that works really well for me, because it keeps me on track. It helps me to stay organized. But it also allows me the freedom to go on small tangents, say what I want to say in the moment, that sort of thing. And I think if this whole podcast were scripted, that would be less fun for your ears to enjoy, right? Yes.
So, how do I pick the stories to cover every week? That is, I would say, the hardest part, because I like to keep things topical and moving, you know, with current times. But I also know that this is a very short podcast, and I only get to talk about each topic for 10 minutes or less. So, I try to make sure that I cover topics that I can talk about for 10 minutes comfortably. Now, some topics are way too big, and I can’t cover all the nuancites—nuancites? Is that a word? I don’t know. It is now. I can’t fit all of that in within 10 minutes appropriately, so I do not cover those stories.
Other Stories, it’s like, I don’t know how I am going to fill 10 minutes on that one. And I find a way sometimes, like the J.M. Smucker’s corporate logo. So, it’s all about what I can fit in in 10 minutes. And it’s also likek, some stories I’m just not interested in, so I don’t want to talk about them. Other ones, I’m like, “Oh, I could say some stuff about that.” So, it’s a personal thing. And I’m sure if you hosted a podcast, if it was a design news podcast where you’re covering topical design stuff, you’d choose completely different stories than I choose and that’s cool. That’s why there’s room for everybody. Because all of our brains are different. We approach the same things in a different way.
So, with this podcast in particular, I record it all and then I send it over to our editor, Jordan. Hi, Jordan. And Jordan edits it up, adds the music, makes it sound way better than I ever could, and that’s it. And then we publish it to the RSS feed, yada yada yada, it bings, it bangs, it booms onto the all the little podcasting platforms. It goes ding ding boop boop boop boop boop boop bap bap bap bap do bow bow. Yep, scat scataly doo tap do bat bow. Yeah. So, that’s generally the tech side of how that works out: the RSS feeds, mostly scatting really involved in the back end there, and that’s podcasting.
But I definitely encourage you to give it a try. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. I certainly did not know what I was doing when I started podcasting, which was only this year. So, I am still an amateur, for sure. And we’re learning, we learn as we go. The point is that you’re getting your brain into other people’s brains, and that makes their brain stronger, right? And if our brains could just take in more information from all different types of people with brains that are different from our own, that’s how we grow. That’s how we grow as a world, right? It’s exciting. It’s good. And you deserve to get your unique brain out into the world into other people’s brains. So, go do, go make. [It] doesn’t have to be broadcasted, just make something and get your brain out into the world, and go do it again. I believe in you.
That’s it for this episode of Overtime. I had a fantastic time. Might I say you are a delight to spend some time with, so thank you. You made me feel less lonely, that’s for sure. If you have time to go into Apple Podcasts and give this a review, oh my gosh, it would be so, so great. I would be very grateful. We don’t get that many reviews, and I’d just like some more, because it helps me to succeed in my career, [and] also helps the podcast, and it just really helps. It helps a lot of people, myself included, and I like it when people help me. So, it’d be great, you could be great, if you could help me. Anyway, if you want to continue the conversation on the internet, use #DribbbleOvertime, or of course, tweet or tag me, my handle is @yourbuddymeg. Okay. Bye, buddy. Hear me next week.