Business Card Madness! Plus My Printing Go-To!


When it came to rebranding my own personal brand earlier this year, I wanted to make sure that I could produce some quality business cards. As the digital age progresses, the need for business cards seems arbitrary. You’d be surprised at how many workshops I’ll leave with a handful of business cards from fellow creatives. That being said, with a similar-formatted piece of print, you want something that stands out.

My brand mostly lives on a white canvass, but I wanted to design something that could also live on a black canvass. I wanted more room for various print projects, specifically my business cards!

When it came to designing my business card, I wanted it to be black and double-sided. The reason I think printing double-sided business cards is efficient is that you get more real-estate thus making your business card less cluttered, and two a business card means nothing to who you give it too if there’s nothing on the back. I’ve accidentally thrown away plenty of business cards because I simply thought it was blank paper in my bag… true story!



When I finished my cards, I wanted to find a good place to outsource my printing. After some research, I came across! Moo has plenty of affordable options for printing with different styles of paper to choose from. They have premium paper for all of their products which feel much more concrete than most business cards you see out there. I recommend looking through all of the other various products they offer! No, this post was not sponsored…. haha

Business cards seem to be dying, but I can assure you they are not. I wouldn’t ditch the business cards just this second, and take a look at some of your options that are out there!

Have a good one.

How To Travel The World On A Budget

IMG_2313 copy-01I think it’s crazy how little emphasis Western culture puts on travel, especially at a young age. We are expected to graduate high school and immediately follow suite by attending college without even taking a look at the world. I wouldn’t be anything like the person I am today if I hadn’t prioritized travel.

That being said, I am not a millionaire. I do not make a six figure salary. I have still managed to travel frequently. So far in 2016, I have been to Chicago, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and New York with a trip in the works this Winter. Today, I’m going to explain how I manage to travel within my means and how you can too!

skip the hotels, Book a hostel!

From what I have learned traveling near and far, hotels are one huge factor that can multiply the cost of your trip. After reading various travel blogs before traveling, I learned about how common the use of hostels are for people my age. Since I had my trip to Asia coming up, I wanted to stay in a hostel at home before I left the country.

My original idea of hostels consisted of jail-cell-like rooms infested with cockroaches and heathens that would result in having to sleep with one eye open. Completely not the case! The first hostel I stayed at was in Chicago, and it still goes down as one of my favorite trips to Chicago. Contrary to my previous bias on hostels, I was welcomed with a warm and friendly environment of people my age who just want to travel! If you’re curious about hostels in your area of interest, I recommend checking out!

Oh, did I mention the hostel I stayed at in Vietnam was seven bucks a night?! Yeah, check it out. 

pack snacks & A Refillable water bottle

When you’re on the go, it becomes increasingly tempting to stop at the nearest convenience store to grab a snack or bottle of water. Depending on where you’re traveling, that price can elevate quickly. You can battle this by packing snacks ahead of time! When I went to New York, I bought a box of Clif bars and kept them in my backpack so I could eat a smaller(cheaper) breakfast and resort to a Clif bar when I got hungry. I also managed to keep a water bottle on hand so I wasn’t throwing my money to fountain pops or tea-lattes in the cafes all over the city.

Keep in mind, not all places will have safe drinking water. i.e. Vietnam. 

meet with locals

When traveling, my favorite moments are never the museums I toured, the landmarks I paid to visit and spend hours waiting in line to see. My favorite moments are the experiences I shared with the people I met. Wondering how to meet people when traveling? One, staying in a hostel has that covered. Most hostels have a “common room” where all of the guests and hang out, play games, drink, watch tv and most importantly, socialize! Other ways to meet locals are to use those darned dating apps! I met some rad people through Tinder, and with a little bit of good judgement and caution, you can find your tribe while you’re away from home.

I put an emphasis on good judge of character and caution when meeting locals in unfamiliar areas. If using basic common sense and caution, you will be safe!

look for free things to do where you’re traveling

When traveling, I rarely will spend money on “attractions” in the city. The most expensive attraction I paid for in the last year of travel was riding the rollercoaster on the boardwalk at Coney Island. When traveling, you’d be surprised how many things you can do for free and still have a fulfilling trip. For instance, it costs $18 to take a ferry to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty in New York. You can take a ferry from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island for free which is a half an hour voyage each way and offers incredible views of the city and passes right by the Statue of Liberty!

track flights

This is a big one. It’s easy to just book your flights through one of the major airlines like United or Delta. If you’re not constantly looking for deals on flights, you’re going to be throwing a lot more money than expected into your travel cost. Flying affordable, smaller airlines will cut the cost of your flight by a fraction. Also, if you can, fly into larger cities and find other means of transportation back to your hometown. It would’ve cost me $200 if I flew directly from New York to Kalamazoo when I visited NYC this past Summer. Instead, I flew a budget airline from New York to Chicago and then took the Amtrak home which in total the flight and train ticket cost me $95 total! I recommend checking out to find deals on flights for your next adventure.

Research your destination’s average prices.

You can spend less money on your trips if you have a general idea of how much things will cost before you leave. Some places you travel may be more expensive than others. For example, I could grab a cup of coffee in Vietnam for 25 cents. That same cup of coffee would’ve cost me 5 bucks in New York. This is more important if you are doing multi-destination trips. When I was in Asia, things in Hong Kong were more expensive than things in Vietnam, so it’s best to do your research and plan accordingly.

in closing

The biggest piece of advice I can give in budget traveling is just taking the time to research what your trip will cost and start saving. We are conditioned to think that traveling far is something that requires thousands of dollars but depending on what’s important to you, the cutbacks you apply will make your next adventure seem much more attainable. Trust me, when you go abroad for the first time, you’ll get the travel bug and won’t want to stop your voyage. With that, have a good one.

If you have any questions about travel or travel topics you’d like me to cover, you can email me at or hit me up on twitter @claytongerard or Instagram @clayton_gerard




The Importance of Side Projects


When it comes to working with fellow creatives, one of the first questions I always ask is what you are doing besides your day job. As a creative, I am always curious to find out what my friends are developing. On my side of the fence, I am always working on a collection of projects to keep me busy from day to day. When I am asked to give advice to friends looking to excel in a creative field as a career, one of the first things I recommend is developing side projects.

I originally found the importance of side projects while watching a keynote by designer, Tina Roth Eisenberg where one of her main points in her talk was the importance of developing side projects. Tina went into depth of her own side projects she has developed while working as a full-time graphic designer. Some of these side projects include a photoblog of her 2 year old throwing tantrums, a temporary tattoo company, and an innovative to-do app. Above is an except from Chase Jarvis’ online talkshow where she touches on side-projects as well.

I found a rush of motivation and excitement overwhelm me when I was exposed to Tina’s mantra for the first time. This message has changed the whole way I go about my work and makes me excited every day to be doing what I do.

the rules are different in a side project

Tina says it perfectly where when you participate in your own side-projects, you have a different set of rules. When you view something as a side project, you are more willing to experiment and not look at is as a business venture. You don’t make decisions based off of money and are not afraid of failure because there’s nothing to fail!

Quote - Tina Roth Eisenberg

my side projects?

For me, I have my direct focus of work which is my business and graphic design. With that, I have a slew of projects that keep me busy when I have down time. They are various areas of work I have wanted to explore. When an idea for something pops into my brain, I pretty much run with it!

Marketing assistant

When I am not working with my personal clients, I am in the office at the performing arts venue acting as a marketing assistant. I obtained this position when I moved to kalamazoo and I have been incredibly grateful to have a career in the arts while I continue my studies. As I’ve written before, I grew up surrounded by the theatre but I was usually performing. Now, I get to work backstage and see all of the shows and performances come together which is really quite special to me.

8 Dock

Earlier this year, I set a goal to start my own shop but I had no idea where to go. After a while of researching I came across Society6 which ended being the perfect fit for my idea of a place to monetize some graphics I had created.

My Writing (This blog)

While I consider this forum one of my higher priorities on my list of endeavors, this still would fall under my side-project category as it is not the main thing I do. I’ve had a presence in cyberspace since 2012 writing about my adventures and design which has evolved over time. I currently write to create a discussion for people no matter what age about tackling their own creative goals and how the possibilities are endless if you keep an open mind.

It’s your turn

Now that I have presented the benefits of taking your ideas for your various creative projects, I recommend you start a plan of how to get the ball rolling. Big or small, you can take any idea you have and the moment you step on square one, you will be happy you did. Have a good one!

If you have any questions about starting your own business or tackling creative endeavors, you can email me at or hit me up on twitter @claytongerard or Instagram @clayton_gerard


Student Center #7: There Is No Correct Path In Education

Header Img-01-01-01I love the season that brings a new school year. The pace picks up as routines are established, leisure time dwindles and hard work is brought to the table. It’s like jumping into a cold pool when you are completely dreading it, but once you’re in and used to the temperature, it’s all good! That being said, I want to talk about something today on my blog that may seem to contradict this column completely, and it’s covering alternative forms of education.

My Path of education has changed

I like to keep a sense of transparency on this blog and the last few months have been a whirlwind for me involving a different plan for my education. I decided to transfer from my four-year institution and complete my education at a Community College. I will explain what made me choose to change my educational path and what led me to making that decision.

Story time: Why did I transfer schools?

Before I explain, I know what you’re thinking and no I didn’t fail out of school(Which is completely fine if you do!). I had been in a fantastic program within the four-year I attended the last year. My first semester was stellar. I loved all of my art professors and further felt certain I was in the right place.

The second semester at school I was faced with the first door closed in my face, a solid metal door. After applying to the art school, your declared major is listed as a general BFA in Art. You also have the opportunity to apply to the various programs in the art school that had different focuses(ex. Photography, Drawing, Sculpture, etc.) Of course, I chose the graphic design program, the most competitive in the school which only accepts 20 students each year. Unfortunately, I did not make it into the program. This program was three years which meant if I applied the following year, I would’ve been in school a total of six years before obtaining my bachelors in Graphic Design, and that’s if I got in the program.

With that in mind, and with my second semester being accompanied by some professors that made me question my field, I decided to not let other people dictate the choices of my future, and take full control of the steering wheel myself. That is how I ended up at a community college.

Everyone’s path is different

Something I want to stress on this blog, is that I am a firm believer in that we can create our own destiny. I feel in no way, shape or form defeated because I have decided to receive my education elsewhere. Yes, it was definitely something that left me shaken up and it can feel discouraging when you begin a new path that was not apart of your initial vision or 5 year plan.

With my decision to leave a four year institution to pursue a different kind of education, I spent a lot of time this Summer reflecting on all the various options we have when we graduate high school, and the most popular choice may not be the choice for everyone. I do not think everyone is cut out for college. I do not think anyone should be shamed for exiting college, transferring, or even failing out of school. Our success should not be measured by how quickly we are able to get through a four-year system that puts you in debt and measures education based on standardized testing.

explore alternative options

I think that what is not pressed at all in high school and I recommend more people do is research the alternatives to getting your bachelor’s degree. From traveling abroad it was very common to run into other recently graduated high schoolers who were taking a “gap year” to travel before deciding what they want to do with their life. I feel like for many people, we could benefit off of taking the time to go out and experience things because experience brings the most clarity in our minds and hearts. Ask yourself what kind of life you want to live! Do you want the white picket fence or are you fine living in shared housing? None are the correct way of living and when you break that stigma, the easier it will be to gain control on your dreams.

In Closing

For me personally, I am very comfortable on the current path I am on and still have the same long term goals in mind. Yes things have changed but I am embracing that change and am beginning to understand that our path to success may differ from our original vision. I recommend if you feel like you are in “the in-between” that you step back and start asking yourself what you really want out of life and is the current path you’re on really going to satisfy that desire. With that, whether you’re in the classroom or not, have a good one!


Blog Bytes: Editorial Schedules & Why You Need Them

PrintFrom my 4 years of experience in writing my own content, I have met hurdles that I know many of my fellow blogger friends have clashed with as well, and it is planning out what content you are going to post and when you’re going to post it. I found that keeping an editorial schedule creates way less of a headache trying to develop an idea for content the night before you plan on posting.

What is an editorial schedule

Editorial Schedules, also known as Editorial Calendars are used as a work board for planning out content for various all types of publications. Bloggers use them, magazines, newsletters, etc. Editorial Schedules are used to plan for your content in advance before going to the actual writing process. They are used for planning, brainstorming, editing, and eventually publishing in a timely manner.

Why do I use an editorial schedule

I find creating an editorial schedule helps me lay out what topics I want to cover in a month and how often I want to cover each topic. I used to keep mental note of all of the same system but without being able to visually see what my plan is for the month and be able to check off what I had done and see what I had coming up, I fell short of my posting expectations month by month. My editorial schedule changed that for me.

Why you should plan your content ahead

I think if you are publishing your own content on a platform, such as a blog and want to keep your content well thought out and consistent, an editorial calendar is exactly what you need. My process involves sitting down with a cup of coffee in the middle of the month to plan the month ahead.(Ex. mid-August for September) I spend that time brainstorming, filling the slots for posts I am already sure of will go in this month’s round of post, and then leave some room for other post ideas that may come about.

I used to have a simple process of deciding which days I was going to post and then planning the night before what I would write about that day. This became incredibly daunting and hectic if I had a busier schedule that week. Having your content planned ahead gives you the flexibility to start writing earlier and making sure your topics are well picked and not fly-off-the-wall.

how do you make an editorial schedule?

Editorial Schedules can be as difficult or as simple as you want to make it. Some people keep their schedule written in their planner, some in a notebook, or even some in their phone. For me, I have a fairly simple and easy way of completing my editorial schedule. I create a bulleted document of the days of the month broken up by weeks. I then select posts from another document I have created titled “Future Post Ideas” and slot them into days that would work for each week. Once I have finished the post and it is queued to be published, I highlight it in red to let myself know the post is complete!

In Closing

The beauty about creating and applying systems for your own publication is that you can alter and tailor it to your own liking. The process that I use may not work entirely for you, and that’s okay! I recommend going out and trying different processes for your editorial schedule until you find the one that works best for you! With that, happy blogging!