The Circular Economy

A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.

TO LEARN MORE go to: and play the game below.

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In Package Design I encourage students to apply the theories of the circular economy to package design. It is important for their clients to stay competitive, the circular economy is good business sense as resources are preserved throughout the production and life cycle of the product. it is good for the planet and the people as resources are preserves and waste is lessened dramatically enough to change the world today.

This video provides a good explanation of what a circular economy is, why it is important to all of us and our planet; and how we can persuade the companies we but our products from to adopt it.

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For more information on how you apply the circular economy to your business Check out the following links:

Watch video circular economy overview

Learn what the CE terminology means and how to apply it to developing a circular economy design project

Package Design of the NEAR future

Watch video on the disruptive innovation festival

Topics/events covered at the Disruptive Innovation Festival

CE100 – corporations getting on board

How CE is applied to packaging

Examples of package design for the circular economy

Further information on the circular economy:

Suppliers of ecofriendly materials:

Art Student/Entrepreneur

Thania Gutierrez, a graphic and web design student at Art Institute of California-San Diego, is part of a growing number of young designers seeking business skills in addition to the traditional “creative” education. Like so many other young designers she has an interest in or is planning to go indie. By that I mean, when these students graduate from college, they are opting to work for themselves, either in side jobs or as small independent business owners. Lean start-up is the buzz word for emerging grads today. More and more “creative or art” colleges are offering courses to enhance business savvy.

A growing number of young designers seeking business skills in addition to the traditional “creative” education.

In this interview I answer her questions about what it takes to be a creative entrepreneur.

Creative entrepreneurs need five things in my opinion,

  • A burning desire
  • A willingness to continue to learn technology and adapt to change
  • Business savvy
  • Design thinking/Problem solving skills
  • Amazing personality or soft skills

Students are requesting classes that teach business skills. They realize that there is a lot to learn like. Like how to start a business, how much to charge clients, how much money will they need to run a profitable business, how to work with independent contractors, what is licensing, what is fair use, how do they protect their assets and intellectual property, what is creative commons, and copyright law to name a just few of the areas that have great impact on their success.

With the assistance of Corey J. Willis, Academic Director of the School of Design, AICA-SD, I was given the opportunity to develop a two-part class in creative entrepreneurship that fit into the schools new curriculum called Design Team – Pre Production and Design Team – Production.

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Developing Creative Entrepreneurs – a new design school model

Since I started my career as an independent designer in New York in 1998 I have focused my efforts as a design professional in the ever evolving technological economy to working on creative teams. You can read more about me on my profile page. The point is it is impossible to master all the skills needed to meet clients needs in a world on online branding through multiple media channels.

In addition students need to have business skills

Here is a picture of some of my students from Design Team 1, a class I teach at the Art Institute of California – San Diego. I will be posting some recent work from this class soon.picture of lindsey baker's class

The Hidden Opportunities in Side Jobs

This video on is a lecture by Tina Roth Eisenburg (founder of and many other successful ventures as an entrepreneur and creative collaborator) which has lots of inspiring words and her eight rules to be a sucessfull designer/very happy person:

  • Find what You Love
  • Don’t be a complainer
  • Trust your intuition
  • If an opportunity scares you take it
  • Find and connect with like-minded people
  • Collaborate
  • Ignore haters

Watch the video to see how and why these rules are good to live by:

FOWD Talk 2011: The Power of Side Projects and Eccentric Aunts from swissmiss on Vimeo.

Draw Your Future – A case for drawing even if it is stick figures

Interesting Ted Talk on how to draw your way into the future you wish to have and you don’t even have to know how to draw. A nationally acclaimed comic performer, high-performance business consultant, speaker, strategic illustrator and newly minted author, Patti Dobrowolski spends her time focused on new neuroscience discoveries that leverage the power of imagination and visuals to actualize a vision of the future.

Russel Simmons – Vision of a Successful Entreprenuer

russell-simmonsHere is a profile of one of my favorite entrepreneurs alive today. I picked Russel Simmons because he has made his fortune leveraging the talents of under-represented creative individuals to launch  lucrative enterprises such as Def Jam  and Phat Farm. I love his philosophy of supporting up-and- coming creative talent; helping others to succeed and in turn becoming more successful himself. Simmons see opprortunities that others are blind to.

“Simmons says he simply gives an untapped market what it wants when no one else will. “No one wanted to make a movie about rap, so I had to make a movie,” he says, referring to 1985’s “Krush Groove,” which he co-produced. “I couldn’t find anyone to do fashion design with, so I had to start a fashion design company. I’m a servant to the hip-hop community. That’s basically the way these entrepreneurial things become expressed. You’d be happy to work with somebody, but nobody wanted to work with you.”

Read the entire article by Josh Dean 

How did he do it? Here is a list of: Russell Simmons’ best moves By Kristin Ladd

1978 As a sociology student at CCNY, Simmons begins promoting rap acts and managing Curtis Walker (aka Kurtis Blow).

1979 Quits school and launches Rush Productions.

1982 Signs his little brother, Joey (aka Rev. Run), and unleashes Run-DMC’s monster single, “It’s Like That,” in 1983.

1984 Creates the Def Jam record label with producer Rick Rubin. The next year, a CBS distribution deal makes Def Jam the largest rap label in history; the roster now includes Slick Rick, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, EPMD, 3rd Bass and Onyx.

1991 Debuts Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam on HBO. Over seven seasons, it becomes a showcase for black comedy stars including Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, Steve Harvey and Chris Tucker.

1993 Unveils a men’s clothing line, Phat Farm, which later generates a women’s line, Baby Phat. Will sell both labels for $114 million in 2004

1996 Produces Eddie Murphy’s comeback film, The Nutty Professor, grossing over $273 million in sales worldwide. .

1999 Before the music industry collapses, sells the last of his shares of Def Jam for $100 million to the Universal Music Group. Stays on as a titular chairman.

2001 Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam debuts on HBO. Becomes co-chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, a philanthropic group focused on educational projects and social change.

2005 Teams up with Unifund Corp. to launch UniRush Financial Services and the Rush Visa card. UniRush now has revenues of more than $1 billion a year.

2008 Creates Global Grind, a hip-hop blogging site with a political edge and 40 million fans.

2008-09 Launches Argyle Culture, a men’s clothing line at Macy’s. Follows up with a more affordable preppy knockoff, American Classic for Wal-Mart. Envisions its future as “”huge.”

– See more at:

Tim Ferris Talks About How to Make Your Company Sellable

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I am intrigued by Tim Ferris and will be posting articles about him from time to time. I decided to re-blog one of his posts about selling a company of his early on in his career.

It’s something to think about, because it very well may happen to you when you accomplish your goals of building a successful start-up. The take for me away was, he was willing to take less money for more freedom meaning, less personal obligations or strings related to the deal.

Here is an excerpt and link to the article:

“Didn’t you write that you believed BrainQUICKEN couldn’t be sold?” The question — a common one — was from writer John Warrillow and for an article in Inc. Magazine. The embarrassing answer was “yes.”

In 2005, I had assumed it was impossible to sell my then start-up and, as with most assumptions, I was dead wrong. I sold BrainQUICKEN in 2009 and learned volumes in the process. For example: counter to expectations, I ended up caring more about lack of strings than maximizing price… Several chess moves into price negotiation, after the suitor and I had arrived within 10% of each other, I offered to reduce the asking price 20% in exchange for the elimination of most “reps and warranties.” This would give me a clean break, financially and emotionally, and it would dramatically speed up the sales process.

I don’t regret that apparent “concession” and would make the same decision in a heartbeat. If I’d been tied to the business, I doubt The 4-Hour Body would have been written. Lessons learned, part deux: branding and customer databases are sometimes worth as much as defensible “hard” intellectual property. This realization eluded me for years, and in retrospect, it was ridiculous self-denial. Trademarks and distribution relationships can be sold at a handsome profit, both of which I’d undervalued, blinded by my own hands-in-the-air resignation related to lack of patents. Silly rabbit.”

link to the article

Steve Jobs on “The Three Things to do Before You Die”.

Post Script Note:

This is a re-post from the old synergy creative blog. I had posted it before the death of Steve Jobs and after his untimely death -I toyed with taking this post down, but I think the message is something that Jobs left as part of his legacy… I wanted to pass this video along from Steven Jobs about connecting the dots along your life’s path and how typography changed the world.