July 14, 2014 • Sarah Schwartz
The Old School Way

Welcome to our annual Design Issue! Picking a favorite issue is like picking a favorite family member, but I’m a little partial to anything that celebrates great design. This issue is always illuminating to put together — I never fail to stumble across several new and intriguing trends as I review artwork.

What really stood out during the assembly of this issue was that I got to take a business trip. Not to a trade show mind you, but to cover a very special anniversary: that of Cavallini & Co.’s 25th year in business. Since that meant travelling to San Francisco, this was a plum assignment and quite frankly, a three-day adventure. While I always love my job, that week I loved it even more.

You can read all about Cavallini’s big milestone on page 46; then you’ll see, as Founder Brad Parberry put it, that they are “very old school in this age.” That essentially, is one of the secrets of their success.

Since I travelled to San Francisco armed with a camera and a notebook, I, too, found myself writing the story the old school journalism way: scribbling notes while trying to keep the interviews moving along and remembering to take a picture here and there. While this is how I was trained at NYU’s journalism school, I don’t often get the opportunity to write a story like that anymore — and getting to do so was a real gift.

Times have changed, you see — I rarely interview people in person; even conducting an interview over the phone is somewhat rare. The increased workload of most journalists, combined with changing methods of communication are mostly responsible for this, and while change is to be expected and even welcomed as a sign of progress, there is something to be said for the old ways. I felt like I experienced this article much more directly, and as a result, I was able to approach it on a more authentic level.

That got me to thinking and wondering: in the interest of effectively juggling your responsibilities, what old school ways have you left behind? Even if you can’t do them the way you always did, trying to incorporate some of those elements may be wise. We are the designers of our lives and lifestyles, after all — and what better way to differentiate ourselves than by revisiting the fundamentals of what we do, and the time-honored methods we may have left behind?

There are no easy answers here, and of course these responses are going to vary enormously — but I do think it’s an important question to ask. After all, it worked for Cavallini, it may well work for you too.

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