Debbie Millman and the envelopes I sent my cousin 15 years ago.

Debbie Millman JUST spoke at Pratt tonight for an AIGA lecture. She was talking about failures. The kinds that you have to deal with in life, and how they got her to where she is today. For my non-designy friends, she is an artist/writer/designer/educator and host of Design Matters. She is also… amazing.

At the beginning, she said when she was 8, she predicted her entire life in a drawing. I laughed. She showed it, it was her, walking down a New York City street with cabs, and two discernable items: a Lays potato chip truck and a bank. I laughed, along with a whole bunch of other people when she said “yep, this pretty much sums up my life.”

Circa 1996, HAC and I used to send each other letters in the mail. There were several letters per week. They were always elaborately decorated and the letters were full of pre-teen bull shit. I have an entire shoebox at my parent’s house devoted to letters from her. We don’t send letters in the mail quite so often now, but we do talk on gchat an awful lot and often our conversations are something like this:

HAC: I hate my job.

Me: I don’t have a job, but I loathe my decision to go to graduate school for graphic design.

The conversations usually evolve from one of us having a bad day and then we voice our concerns that we went into the wrong professions. We torment ourselves with questions like why did we do this to ourselves? etc…

The other week HAC sent me this photo via text:

envelopes from 1996

Those are hand drawn, Crayola markered in envelopes that I decorated in 1996. The accompanying message with the photo was “you are in the right profession, girl.”

Pattern? Graphic marks? Bold colors? I sure was a fuckload more adventurous in my design choices in the 90s. I wish I could tap into my pre-teen self sometimes (uh, no I don’t).. And did I predict my own future? Well, I guess I did. I’m just glad HAC sent a photo of tricked out envelopes and not these shoebox shoes I insisted on making for a good part of 1995.

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