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Location. Location. Location.

Recently a job applicant came in for an interview. The usual small talk. The review of the portfolio. The questions from both sides. The promise to consider the situation and to get back to each other.

The portfolio was okay. It was not outstanding. But the work was decent. Showed potential. Some pieces were really good. Others okay. Some seemed to be fillers and a good edit would have been helpful. There was good attitude and personality in the work. Plus the applicant had the verbal communication skills that so often seem to be lacking. I’ll take that over any high-polished portfolio.

With certainty the applicant went through similar motions about the pros and cons of a potential employer.

While not looking to hire, I considered to make an offer. However, I didn’t have to. We didn’t even have a conversation about it. The deal-breaker was location. The applicant, fully intending to move to Los Angeles, did not feel comfortable in the city, reconsidered options, changed plans and took a job on the east coast.

While I believe that the “location issue” could have been researched prior to applying for a job, i still think it was the right move by the applicant and I applaud the decision. After all, starting a new job is hard — why not do it in a location and environment one feels most comfortable in.

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ARCHIVE ID 2371 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Jul.18.2005 BY Peter Scherrer
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
szkat’s comment is:

i've finally realized the value of interviewing the company as much as they're interviewing you... it matters so much how comfortable you are with your surroundings. i'm learning the hard way that i not only prefer an urban setting and larger design teams - i'm learning that i actually produce more and better in that setting.

On Jul.18.2005 at 08:30 PM
Eric Benson’s comment is:

I really think location is key in every job. I've had a great job in a city and state I really didn't like. But despite the design challenges on the job, I didn't enjoy my time there. I was weighed down by the negatives of the location. What I've learned from this is (1) find a place that you want to live and feel comfortable living there (2) determine what opportunities exist for you there and select the one that fits you. Despite valuing location, I think the latter concept of "finding a place that fits you" is equally as important. I refuse to work for some places due to disagreements on philosophy and clients, so finding a place that allows me to not feel burdened with guilt for going against my ethics and provides a comfortable, and friendly atmosphere while allowing me a chance for upward mobility is key. That being said, after I get my MFA, I'm probably going to go teach...

On Jul.18.2005 at 09:15 PM
Armin’s comment is:

I recently reviewed someone's porftolio, s/he had amazing work and all that s/he needed was being in the right place at the right time. When I asked if s/he was interested in working in New York, s/he replied "Sure, anywhere… here, there, I'm looking all around." I thought, "Oh well, youth these days", I couldn't picture myself just seeing where a job would take me.

Other than Atlanta, both of our (Bryony and I's) major moves have revolved around location. When Bryony finished Portfolio Center and the economy finished marchFIRST we knew we wanted to get out of Atlanta but weren't sure exactly where. On our list were places like San Fransisco (too far and too expensive), Seattle (too far and too hippie), New York (too expensive and too not-just-yet) and finally Chicago, which we had never visited. We took a trip to Chicago during September (the very best time to visit!) and I managed to fold a few interviews in there. We literally fell in love with the city and decided that Chicago was the location for us. After that, it was only a matter of finding a good place to work. For our latest move, we knew where we wanted to be and, again, it was only a matter of finding a good place to work, which we did. But location determined the decision.

Of course, "location" implies many, many things like lifestyle, cost, weather, closeness to friends and family, etc. If you can't be OK with all of that, it's hard to be happy or efficient at work; dreading the commute, not being able to afford housing or simply not liking the city you are in will not make a paying job bearable and you are just doing a disservice to yourself and the employer.

"Location" is really the only word that can be repeated three times and hold enough meaning and importance each time.

On Jul.18.2005 at 09:29 PM
Tan’s comment is:

I just recently changed jobs, again. I was very fortunate in my transition — I had two offers from separate companies that were equally attractive. But one of the companies was located in Palo Alto, which meant a move for me and my family to one of the most expensive real estate areas in the country — if not the most expensive. That meant a cost-of-living index increase of almost 100%, which is mostly attributed to a real estate increase, but also includes a state income tax and higher property tax. The new company's offer was higher than what I was making, but there was no way that it would compensate fully for the unreasonable increase.

At the end, I chose company B, and to stay in a city where the cost of living was more proportionate to my salary. Location is everything.

Sorry about the tangent, but I caught an NPR report the other day, which focused on the absolutely insane real estate market in California, specifically in LA county — where the average single-family home is $487,000, which reflects a housing cost increase of 118% in the last three years alone. And the market shows absolutely no sign of slowing down or reversing.

I can't understand how people can afford to relocate to the SF or LA area. The average household income in LA county is still around $55,000 — yet people somehow can afford matchbox houses that are worth half-a-million dollars. Even the bay area city with the highest median income ($200K), Atherton, is vastly disproportionate to the median housing cost ($1.25-$3+ million) in the area.

Something just doesn't add up.

On Jul.18.2005 at 11:55 PM
luke’s comment is:

Excellent post!

Right now I'm in a big dilemma. I studied and worked during the last three years in NYC (dream city for some designers). I'm working for an European company but I don't really enjoy living here because this city is complicated when you have a family. Yes, I'm married and I have beautiful baby.

Recently I receive a job offer to work for a design company located in Ohio (same position, better company).

I know that I will have more time for my family and also my quality of life will improve (nature, space for living, car, save money, etc), but I'm not really sure if this is a really smart move for my career. What are the pros and cons of this extreme locations?

Will I continue growing professionally in Ohio?

Any advice will be helpful, please be honest.

Thanks.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:09 AM
andrea’s comment is:

Luke I don't see it like a dilemma...

life is not about work, work is only a part of it.

btw, would you prefer to be 'designer 12432' in Manhattan or the best designer in town, where your town is a tropical paradise like Seychelles?

So think about 'the place', think about where would you prefer to child to grow up, and keep in mind that Ohio will make you grow professionally as NY, or Mauna Kea. NY is sooo cool, but a lot of things are more important than coolness in your portfolio (and in your life too).

Most important thing, when you get sick of Ohio, relocate again, wherever your heart brings you in that moment....

keep me updated,

>Andrea

On Jul.19.2005 at 04:21 AM
Andy Malhan’s comment is:

Location is tops and not only in the nationwide context, but also within the smaller context of a city.

I've not seriously entertained moving out of New Delhi (yet), but within the city have shifted office 6 times in the last 9 years (the early years were VERY transient in nature) and for the last 6 years have had the luxury of being able to walk to office in under 5 minutes.

The benefits of working close to home are tremendous. First off, is the obvious - the cost of renting an office is basically the sum of your rent and your monthly commuting expenses. By taking an office close to home my commuting expenses drop to essentially zero, and I have the benefit of being able to get both more space and nicer space than I would otherwise be able to afford.

By reducing my commuting time to (practically) zero, I also am able to suck a lot more mileage out of the day than I would otherwise.

Typically, I have breakfast with the family and am at work by 8:30am. I run home for lunch with my parents and 2-year old daughter at 1:00pm, and am back at work at 1:30. I then work through till 6:30 at which time I head home for a cup of tea with my wife who would have returned from work. By 7 we're done with tea and are up to date one another's days.

By now I've put in 9.5 hours at work, have spent a little time at home, and have the flexibility to call it a day or head back to office without thinking twice about it. I often head back for a couple of hours and get back home by 9:30 for dinner, at which time there is STILL the possibility, if the workload is particularly hairy, of sticking in a couple of hours at work.

I can, and regularly do, put in 14 or 15 hours at office while still being able to eat three meals at home with my family, and enjoy a quiet cup of tea with my wife.

Location, location, location.

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:21 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

I agree with Andrea & Andy.

I live in semi-rural North Wales, UK. The quality of life, where my wife & I want to raise our kids, & cost of living were big issues.

Another one for me was (lack of) confidence. I did graphic design on the side for a few years in Tucson, AZ, but I had no real business experience. When we decided to move to the UK & do it full time, the idea of trying to make it in a city with established studios & big companies & designers that were younger & better educated than me was terrifying.

For a small (but growing) fish a small pond seems a lot more comfortable than trying to swim with the sharks in the ocean. The food isn't as plentiful, but it is there when you learn where to look, and it is in sizes that are a lot easier for this little fish to swallow.

On Jul.19.2005 at 06:59 AM
jo’s comment is:

Ugh, yes, location is everything.

I graduated last year, and my location was determined by my husband's need to finish one more year of school at UMBC here on the outskirts of Baltimore. We got a cheap apartment, and I got a job, in Gaithersburg, a one-hour commute away (two hours one-way by public transportation).

The job was great, the pay decent, the people wonderful, and I got to work from home one day a week to offset my travel. Then Stephen graduated, and we weren't as bound to this location as we had been all this last year. I got a job offer with another company. It would have been a slight raise in pay while working for a good company in Baltimore.

Yet, even with the excitement of a new opportunity and the ugliness of my ongoing commute (and the fact that the commute wouldn't change very much with this new job), I discovered that I didn't want to change location.

Why? Because the people at my job are great, I get a lot more responsibility at this small non-profit than I would elsewhere, and that work-from-home day sure is nice. Location is so much more than a geographical space--it's a social, mental, emotional, economic space too, and that's why it's so important.

I still commute for two hours each day, and have serious envy for those who can walk to work. It is my hope that I can still keep my (now beloved) location and, as Andy does, get a job that's so close my home that it cuts my commute time and costs down to zero. (Andy, I'm seriously green to the gills with envy.)

On Jul.19.2005 at 10:11 AM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

Commute time is a killer.

I've moved to Charlotte from Seattle. Charlotte is a car town, meaning that I have to break down and buy a car, pay for insurance, get tags, etc. It's just one more thing to deal with. I envy those living in NY, Chicago, SF, Seattle, and other cities with fantastic public transportation. You've got it good.

But for all the envy I have, the cost of living in Charlotte can't compare to Seattle; at the end of the day it probably balances out cost wise.

On Jul.19.2005 at 10:20 AM
Kyle Hildebrant’s comment is:

Speaking of location, does anyone have anything to say regarding Portland? We are considering re-locating our firm to the area.

On Jul.19.2005 at 11:55 AM
r agrayspace’s comment is:

I equally agree with the prior posts that location is such a huge factor is satisfaction with life and career equally.

I went to design school in Tempe, AZ and immediately upon graduation moved to Seattle. Gawd I love that town. Seattle had a huge positive impact on my quality of life. It also proved to be the smart move career wise and it has such a deep design community that I was able to make frequent and worth while employment jumps that allowed me to move up the food chain faster.

Now that I have followed my wife to Raleigh North Carolina, so she can attend graduate design school at NCSU, I find that the smaller design community feels a little constricting and that my accellerated progress is slowing down. Thankfully I found a good job but I feel that I have less options to move around and find the PERFECT job. That is what a great location offers me.

So when she graduates we are probably looking to dive into a deeper puddle. Cities on our list are Chicago, New York (obviously), Philadelphia, Minneapolis.

I would love to get some Speak Up insight into what cities offer deep design communities along side the killer urban setting.

On Jul.19.2005 at 11:58 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

JT

You do mean Charlotte N.C. Rick Flair Country.

Hey, say Hello to my old PAL Brady Bone.

One of Speak Up's Finest. Whatever happened to Bad to the Bone ?

DM

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:21 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Kyle — I assume you mean Portland, Oregon, not Maine.

Portland's cool. Very liberal, small-town feel, but still has the cosmopolitan culture of a bigger city. Great restaurants, decent museums, a million things to do outdoors. Real estate value is a bit high, but nowhere near Seattle or San Francisco levels. The standard of living is very high.

The business climate there is still a little depressed though. For the last five years or so, Portland and Seattle have been neck and neck for the highest unemployment rates in a major metropolitan city in the US. Corporations and businesses in the Portland area still haven't fully recovered. So don't depend on a windfall for business development locally if you move there, that's all.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:22 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

We just got a great new creative director to come to our growing and overly busy agency from NYC--where he'd lived for 7 years. I was afraid that he'd freak out and think that St. Louis was a doofus place filled with bumpkins. But not surprisingly, he's loved it thus far. And what's not to love? You can own a normal sized dog. Have a closet. Park without getting a $150 ticket. Things are easy here, you focus on living rather than on surviving. Which is important.

I'd hate to leave St. Louis. I've got a life here, and while some schmo out east or out west may deride it as being "uncool" or dismiss it as "fly-over country," it doesn't matter because for me its priceless.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:37 PM
Kelly Munson’s comment is:

I've only worked in one city in my young design career - Minneapolis - and it seems to me to be the perfect blend of big city and small town. The work is good (Target is our bread and butter) but there is also a thriving art and theater scene that feeds our souls.

The midwestern work ethic makes for long weeks and short careers, but despite the 7 or so months of snow and cold, we somehow manage to eek out some halfway decent work.

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:15 PM
Luke’s comment is:

I would like to know more about Cincinnati, Ohio.

Any experience around there?

What about the design community?

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:47 PM
Kyle Hildebrant’s comment is:

Tan:

This seemes to be a common view. What I need to do is to try to get ahold of others in the area who own/manage a firm similar to ours.

We are located in Phoenix, AZ now, and this heat (and lack of culture) is just killing me/us. Its not a bad city -- especially for business development -- but its a new, young city. That coupled with the EXTREME heat seems to have negative effect on my creativity. But then there is the winter time, a whole different story.

Ohh, and real estate, we are second in line with California now, its just crazy out here. An older crappy house is $300 grand, easy.

On Jul.19.2005 at 03:55 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Kyle — real estate in Portland is no cheaper. It's probably a little higher.

You should ping the AIGA president in Portland, and ask him/her to refer you to a local firm similar in size to yours.

Sandstrom is usually pretty good about helping out with information. You might want to try them as well — email Rick Braithwaithe, who's one of the partners. Rick's a good guy, and is also deeply involved with the APDF (Association of Professional Design Firm), an AIGA-affiliated organization for design firm owners.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

On Jul.19.2005 at 04:21 PM
Kyle Hildebrant’s comment is:

Tan --

I actually already started conversation with the AIGA up there. That was my first action. I will drop Rick a line, though.

It would be a while in the future befor we move -- most likely 5 or so years. But as you could imagine/know moving is hard enough, but moving your business, people and family to a new area is quite a process.

Thanks for the insight.

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:31 PM
graham’s comment is:

i'm worried. i don't know about my life. who am i? should i shouldn't i? who can tell me? will anyone tell me? what should i do? what do you do? is what you do what i should do? will you tell me what you did and then leave me all alone with just another choice? i don't know. i don't know. i'm lonely but there are people who depend on me. what if i die? will i die? i'm lonely. please help me.

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:49 PM
Kyle Hildebrant’s comment is:

Doing ok, Graham?

Drop me a line if you need to chat. ;-)

On Jul.19.2005 at 09:25 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

will i die?

’fraid so, Graham. You’re divine but that doesn’t mean immortal. I hope to be very, very old when your sad demise comes, however.

On Jul.19.2005 at 09:28 PM
Andrew Twigg’s comment is:

I'm in the midst of a 'location situation' myself right now. I'm planning on applying to grad school soon, but my partner James will be finishing up his graduate education just a few months before I will potentially start mine.

So, we're looking at the cities where my potential schools are located: Bloomfield Hills, MI; New Haven, CT; Providence, RI; Baltimore, MD... and the option of staying in Chicago. Our location situation is compounded by the fact that James will be getting his first job in his new field and needs to be in a location where he can get off to the right start.

In the meantime, I need to be carefully looking at schools and making certain that the place I choose will also work out for him... if I get into the school of my choice. We'll be making grad school/city visits together... and I have to hope that my preferred school is in a location which will work for James.

On Jul.19.2005 at 11:53 PM
Rob’s comment is:

Nice conversation...having only worked in cities my whole career, and currently living with family in downtown Baltimore (a quite lovely but now expenisve city, Andrew and James). I used to walk to work which was the best and have done the commute to DC (crosswords, good books and a laptop help) for several years as well.

And now, I'm at a bit of a crossroads as many companies that I'd want to work for have moved out to the 'burbs and others are in Philly, New York or DC. The question of commuting doesn't worry me so much, but I do think its important that every part of your day is something you can work with (comfortable and appealing). If you dread the 'drive' to work, would you really be in the right frame of mind for doing your best once you get there? I know that my mood can really dictate what kind of day I'm going to have and I think from a productivity standpoint, the happier the person the better the work. So, at least for me, if I do have to commute, the ability to use public transportation is a must. That always gives me more productive time than driving anyway, and one can get work done on a train.

On Jul.20.2005 at 06:14 AM
Christine’s comment is:

I am considering a move from Vancouver to Montreal in the next few years. I'm interested in the city for the culture, the vibrancy of the city and the cost of living, but I only have a vague idea of the work environment. Also, my French is definitely at the intermediate level. Converse in French, yes, work in French, no. (Not yet anyway.)

If anyone has particular insight on the work climate in the city for both graphic and interactive design, I'd love to hear their thoughts.

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:30 PM
Sonyl’s comment is:

I made my "location location location" decision with a few strange factors. I was moving away from Iowa : no real desire to stay there. Minneapolis was too cold and my siblings live in Chicago and I was afraid I'd feel stifled. I briefly considered San Francisco but rejected it for an odd reason : I'm terrified of driving over large bridges over water. I debated strongly between NYC and LA, and eventually settled on LA because of the weather and the fact that my best friend and a couple other friends are here.

Now, as I look for a new job where I'm not treated as expendable, I wonder if I made the right choice. Many firms whose work I admire are based in SF, Chicago, and/or NYC. Worse yet, I have yet to establish any design peers in LA so knowledge of what firms are like on the inside is slim.

Any advice?

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:34 PM
ps’s comment is:

Worse yet, I have yet to establish any design peers in LA so knowledge of what firms are like on the inside is slim.

LA has probably one of the best AIGA chapters. join and you'll meet your peers. or start by visiting their website

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:58 PM
Christopher Simmons’s comment is:

For me, location is one of the most important factors when considering a job. First of al, what are you going to do with yourself when you're not working? Good food, good weather, good art, good music, good views, a good sports team, etc. etc. are all critical to quality of life, as are an agreeable political climate, a diverse and educated populace, and of course affordability.

As for the time you do spend working, certain cities are just more design friendly than others. They have more active professional communities, a more receptive client base and more creative support (writers, photographers, printers, etc.).

San Francisco is clearly once such city —´┐Żand may well be the next design capital of the United States. Yes, the cost of living (especially housing) is outrageous, but I think people realize they're not buying a house so much as they are securing a foothold in the cradle of innovation.

On Jul.20.2005 at 03:14 PM
Lea Ann’s comment is:

How much does perception of a particular city play a role in choosing where to live and work as a designer? I've lived and worked in NYC my whole life and will be moving to LA this year. Some of my NY clients think of LA strictly as an entertainment town, not realizing that it's also the home of Charles and Ray Eames, Margo Chase, Adams Morioka, and many other talented designers and firms. Any LA designers encountered this perception from clients outside of LA? If so, how do you handle it?

On Jul.21.2005 at 09:18 AM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Lea Ann—

think of LA strictly as an entertainment town, not realizing that it's also the home of Charles and Ray Eames, Margo Chase, Adams Morioka

Charles and Ray are dead and Margo, Sean, and Noreen do a lot of entertainment work so you may not have chosen the best examples.

On Jul.21.2005 at 09:02 PM
Stuart McCoy’s comment is:

"I've moved to Charlotte from Seattle. Charlotte is a car town, meaning that I have to break down and buy a car, pay for insurance, get tags, etc. It's just one more thing to deal with. I envy those living in NY, Chicago, SF, Seattle, and other cities with fantastic public transportation. You've got it good."

Yes and no. I just got a job at a small design firm in Cambridge, MA. The office is a couple blocks from the Porter Square red line stop and commuter rail line that happens to run through Waltham, MA where I live (well, the Waltham commuter rail line stop is a quarter mile or so away actually). When you consider the schedules for these trains and the fact that to use the red line I'd have to take a bus (same stop as the Waltham commuter rail line) to Central Square in Cambridge than take the red line a couple stops to Porter Square. It sounds great until you do it and find out you spend a couple hours on public transportation every day and have to walk the extra distance to and from the commuter rail line stops. This is not going to be a very fun mode of transportation in the winter, when it rains, and when it gets to be 90+ degrees with high humidity. Public transportation is only useful if you live and work within a couple block of the stops and in Boston, this means you have to live in town or pretty damn close. I live inside 128 and it's still a major inconvenience. When I go to games at Fenway Park, I drive to Watertown Square and park near the 57 bus line to Kenmore Square and walk the couple blocks to (along with 30,000 or so other people) to the park. The point is, public transportation isn't nearly as convenient as some make it out to be.

On Jul.21.2005 at 09:50 PM
matilda’s comment is:

Hi Christine,

To answer your questions about Montreal: Montreal is a great city to live in, however, finding a good job can be difficult, even if you're perfectly bilingual. The market for what graphic designers produce (corporate materials, web, advertising, publishing) is kind of small for many reasons: there's not much publishing happening (French books mostly get published in France and are more expensive because the market is small if you compare it to the worldwide English market), most Canadian/international corporate HQs have moved to Toronto or elsewhere (hence the dearth of corporate work). And thanks to Gov. Ahnold, fewer Hollywood movies get filmed here.

The rents and real estate aren't as cheap as they used to be, but it's cheaper than in most N.American cities. It worries me when I hear that some people refer to the economy as having the trajectory of a dead cat (ie: even a dead cat will bounce up a little as it hits rock bottom) -- not the least the cruelty of the metaphor.

But the language issue isn't huge so long as you really want to learn how to speak French and get friendly with French culture.

But don't let me discourage you -- I just left Mtl in January (where I was born, went to design school, and worked for a really good corporate firm) for Princeton, NJ. I miss lots of things about Montreal, but after 31 years there, I was ready to leave. It's a wonderful place, very vibrant (in the summer only!), and interesting.

And as for my 2 cents on location: I lived and worked my whole life in one place until last January, but uprooting myself has been good for my creativity. Nothing changing one's surroundings and having to adapt to a (slightly) new way of life to make the brain flow (slightly) differently.

On Jul.22.2005 at 03:49 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

The point is, public transportation isn't nearly as convenient as some make it out to be.

GOOD PT is. You just described bad PT. ;o)

On Jul.22.2005 at 04:40 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

I’m following Jason to North Carolina in a couple of weeks (I’m going to be teaching at East Carolina University in Greenville*) and had been thinking about starting a thread with a question. But as long as this one is related:

Does where you live effect the way you design? Of course a designer in D.C. has more opportunities to do government work and one in L.A. is more likely to do show biz stuff but beyond the client base: Is there anything in your (changed) surroundings that has changed the nature of your work?

*not to be confused with Greenville SC, home of Bob Jones University or Greensboro NC, famous in the past as a center for Klan activity (although I think the Chamber of Commerce chooses not to emphasize that in their literature.)

On Jul.22.2005 at 06:34 PM
Forrest’s comment is:

I really appreciate Rob's comments; thanks for that insight. Looking at how your daily commute affects your attitude going into work is something I've never thought of. Even more so as graphic designers where we do work that we (hopefully) love and are passionate about. The personal and creative investment that our job requires can't afford to be blunted by an hour-long drive in traffic every morning and afternoon. Thinking about those kinds of implications is really important, I think.

I'm fresh out of school and my wife and I are hoping to make the move from Raleigh, North Carolina to DC. Just looking at housing costs has left our heads spinning. Everyone tells me that "you can do good work anywhere" but finding a great fit for me has meant looking strictly in bigger cities. My wife and I both love the urban setting but the cost of living just blows my mind. From what I can see, though, it's worth it to work in a place that really fits. I, for one, am really excited about living in a place that has public transportation (although that seems pretty expensive too...).

On Jul.25.2005 at 12:11 AM
Alex’s comment is:

Luke:

Cincinnati is an interesting town, but definitely in the midwest. There is a pretty good design community built around UC:DAAP (where I went to school) program and also the Art Institute of Ohio (which I have no real knowledge of). The Art Director's Club of Cincinnati might also be a useful resource.

On Jul.25.2005 at 09:08 PM
graham’s comment is:

gunnar: Does where you live effect the way you design?

that depends on where one thinks one lives. some think they live in a little room, others think they live on a planet. some live in their heads. some live surrounded by imposed borders, others put them there themselves. then there are those who are living in the present, or from moment to moment . . . or are living (to paraphrase the HIrst book title) the rest of their lives everywhere, with everyone, one to one, aways, forever, now .

On Jul.26.2005 at 04:31 AM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Graham—Does where one lives affect where one thinks one lives?

On Jul.28.2005 at 02:59 PM
graham’s comment is:

gunnar: Does where one lives affect where one thinks one lives?

i think so.

or

see Heidegger's 'Being and Time'.

On Jul.28.2005 at 05:18 PM
Laura’s comment is:

Christine:

While I can't really help you with Montreal, I was wondering if you could share your experience living/designing in Vancouver.

On Jul.29.2005 at 02:10 PM
Christine’s comment is:

Thanks very much for your insight Matilda. For the moment the move is just an idea that might happen a year or so down the road. I'm pretty committed to improving my french (my partner is French) but having just graduated a year ago, I'm not quite comfortable enough in my design skills and experience to make a move to a place where communication is strained at all. At this point, I may need as many options as possible open to me.

Which brings me to your question Laura. I'm pretty new to the design industry, so I can't speak from a wealth of experience - I have spent the last five years here and four of those were spent on my undergrad degree. But here goes...

From what I can tell there seems to be plenty of work here. A year after graduation, most of my graduating class is working in their field at small studios or as in-house designers. The city is very relaxed and casual, and to some degree this is reflected in the work I see coming out of local firms. That is, fashion is not a priority in this yoga-granola town, and in the same way firms are more corporate and conservative in their style. This is not a bad thing at all depending on the type of work you're looking for.

In terms of living, this city draws people from all over the world for it's quality of life and weather. The winters are grey and very very rainy, but if you live here for awhile, you don't notice the rain anymore. (Those who continue to be bothered by it usually leave after two years.) The summers, on the other hand, are like a dream. Hot (but not too hot), sunny, green and with flowers everywhere. There are three local mountains for skiing and great views and Whistler just a two hour drive away. For the hikers, mountain climbers, pot-smokers, outdoorsy-types and bikers, you really can't beat this city. There is not a huge nightlife but an incredible amount of amazing restaurants. Property will cost you an arm and your first born child. But the view... oh, the view!

I hope this helps.

On Aug.10.2005 at 04:17 PM
Wonder’s comment is:

I was turned off by my first visit to San Francisco. The abundance of garbage and poverty caught me off-guard coming from Minneapolis. Though I've heard mention of both of those issues, I always held a mental image of a clean, progressive, beautiful city. It's amazing outside the city limits, and full of non-work related activities. But, does the quality of the design industry make up for those downfalls? I was only in town for a day, so I certainly didn't see the full culture of the city. Because of my visit and my impressions, I'm considering the East Coast. Feel free to prove me wrong and convince me otherwise. I insist.

On Sep.18.2005 at 01:09 PM
feelicks sockwl jr’s comment is:

I was lured to SF by her beauty (stayed for a year), and later divorced her due to her lazy drug culture and rampant prostition, which, if you live anywhere near the Tenderloin becomes unbearable. I must say from a work perspective nothing comes close to NYC. Not even debatable, unless, say, youre latched onto Steve Job's meaty titty.

On Sep.18.2005 at 03:59 PM
tom’s comment is:

this is a great thread! i have been contemplating a location switch for a few months. the problem is that i have a fantastic job and a nice lifestyle....however, i am debating about moving for grad school. i am looking at UWash and a few others, but the thought of quitting and moving is somewhat daunting. any suggestions??

by the way, i am located in bright and sunny Dallas...

On Sep.19.2005 at 01:47 PM