Goals for 2015

I've referenced it before, but a classic issue that comes up for me is an interest in too many things. Lack of focus has been helpful in some cases (especially as the role of a designer expands to include All The Things), but I worry that it distracts from achieving real depth in any one thing.


For 2015 my main goal is to, you know, chill out and focus on just a couple topics in creativity and life-long learning.

And those topics, in order of priority:


I tend to work mostly on web projects these days, so improving my illustration chops would be a logical complement to web design and development. My goal is to log 300 hours outside of work to illustration practice (~6 hours a week). The ultimate goal is to be able to execute several styles quickly.

6 hrs/wk feels a little light, but given all the other things a human does with their time it's at least realistic and can be adjusted.


Dev is an easy place to hear the siren song of exciting new things. For now I'll be focusing on Javascript: filling in the cracks in my prior knowledge, working more in vanilla JS (as opposed to jQuery), learning how to write more efficient scripts. JS is such a huge, huge world now so there's still plenty of room for exploration. 150 hours (~3 hrs/wk).

Creative Writing

The older I get, the less I write. I don't feel the need to cultivate creative writing as a Real Skill, but I'd like to not lose touch with this outlet entirely. Once a week should suffice.

Weaving & Knitting

I've been shopping for indoor activities: something with a creative angle that will keep my hands busy, but not precious enough that I feel the need to be good at it. I recently dabbled in weaving on a simple peg loom, and with a little bit of knitting. I'd like to keep exploring these fiber crafts—maybe take a class?—instead of bouncing around to something else, as I am wont to do.

Okay, that's it. Planning to do a quarterly check-in to review how things are going. What is your resolution this year (design-related or otherwise)?

I ♥ Internet, Vol II.

An attempt to chronologically catalog all the cool bits on the internet in a super-chill format, i.e. no fancy Pinterest boards, no Tumblr blogs, nada. Just what I’ve liked on the internets lately.

I love the internet

I've been sitting on these for a few weeks but whatever, still cool:

  • Shopify did a great job updating their checkout system for the responsive world. I've always been curious about how third party apps/platforms non-destructively update their product, and I like Shopify's solution: you can "opt-in" to the new responsive checkout (and downgrade if you wish), so if your no-longer-engaged developer wrote custom CSS for the legacy solution, your checkout won't look totally bonkers.
  • This. Keyboard. Gif. App. THIS KEYBOARD GIF APP!
  • Happened to look at these photos of Idaho by Tyler Thompson while listening to The Album Leaf, and I must say, it's a pretty chill mashup.
  • Turtle powerrrr
  • New-to-me ear candy: "Reflections" by MisterWives
  • The cover of this playlist is so, so satisfying.
  • Yet another reason to build mobile-friendly websites.
  • Some nice abstract gifs.
  • Been waiting for this: you can now search your own tweets.
  • Everyone loves the new Beyoncé video, right? Right. I love that she (or her team?) made something that feels very relatable / down-to-earth.
  • Trying to figure out who built the new Cinerama site. The ticketing system—a custom job?—feels really smooth.

Short Run Seattle Haul

Photo of comics

Comics are sort of design-related, and therefore relevant to this blog, right? Right.

Last week was Short Run Seattle, a local festival celebrating comics, art, and small publishing. I've never actually had the privilege of living in a city with a comics fest (not to mention two, as there's also the Emerald City Comic Con, due in spring) so it was a real treat to attend talks and geek out at the book fair with a BUNCH of other people. I want to share the love for some old favorites and new-to-me local talent, so here's my haul:


Photo of comics

Newest books from two comic artists I've followed for awhile: Yumi Sakugawa and Liz Prince.

Photo of comics

A few items from John Porcellino's table (he's a distributor for other people's comics as well): Anne Emond, Alabaster, John Porcellino

Photo of comics

Björn, Pam Wishbow, Kazimir Strzepek

Photo of comics

A bunch of little guys from James Stanton

Photo of comics

Issues of the ever-free comics quarterly, The Intruder. Apparently these guys do some cool stuff in the comics community around town, as well.

Photo of book

The only non-comics book I bought. It's a mix of photos and poems (half of which are in Japanese, which I don't read) and what I suspect is magic. All by Yoshinori Henguchi.

If I had 3 wishes:

  1. More $$$ so that I could have bought all the things.
  2. There's a certain aesthetic to the stuff I walked away with; wish I had picked up a couple more of the "grotesque"-style stuff I was considering.
  3. That the aisles were a little bit wider, as it got a little hard to navigate around popular tables. That being said, this is a fairly new festival so their venue options might be limited. And I've never been to a comics fest before, so, what do I know?

All in all, fantastic group of exhibitors. So many awesome things to see that I think I even missed a couple (how did I miss Mare Odomo's table?!). Can't wait until next year!

I ♥ Internet, Vol I.

An attempt to chronologically catalog all the cool bits on the internet in a super-chill format, i.e. no fancy Pinterest boards, no Tumblr blogs, nada. Just what I’ve liked on the internets lately.

Game squares

Pixels and facades, mmmm.

fcodampcamp: Fuzzco Retreat, 2014

Photo of a waterfall

Triple Falls, North Carolina

A week ago I joined the rest of my Fuzzco buddies for our second annual company retreat in North Carolina. I've been remote working for the past three months so it was great to check in again with these goofs (and others who expertly scuttled away from the lens):

Photo of a Fuzzco friend
Photo of a Fuzzco friend
Photo of a Fuzzco friend

Most likely to jump in a hole: Cory Etzkorn

Photo of a Fuzzco friend
Photo of a Fuzzco friend
Photo of a Fuzzco friend

Brandon on the edge of the world.

Photo of Fuzzco friends
Photo of a Fuzzco friend
Photo of a Fuzzco friend

Josh and the bear log (which, for the record, I think looks more like a wolf)

Photo of a Fuzzco friend

Totally candid, I swear. The lovely Carly.

Photo of a Fuzzco friend

And of course, Helen found something gross and picked it up. Standard.

To save this post from total vacation-slide hell, I should mention that Fuzzco is hiring, and these really are great people to work with and break pretty much all the forest rules with.

That Which Has Happened: Summer 2014

So much has happened since I last updated my personal blog that I thought I'd scoop it all into one tidy post. Let's. Dive. In.

A cross-country move


From one port city to another.

On the last day of June, I packed up all my things and moved nearly 3,000 miles across the country from Charleston, SC to Seattle, WA. I've had one eyeball on the Emerald City for a few years, and it felt like a good time to start a new adventure. I feel quite lucky to continue to work for the amazing people at Fuzzco.

Though I miss the guys and gals from back East (and Two Boroughs Larder ramen with shishito peppers), it feels really good to be here. And for those considering cold-moving to a new city, I'm thinking about a blog post detailing everything I've learned in the process.

I'm excited to be a part of the creative community in Seattle, so if you'd like to grab coffee/beer/boba tea sometime, let's do it! Email: mr[at]melanie-richards.com.

Press for Badass Lady Creatives

Press for Badass Lady Creatives

A couple different bits of press for Badass Lady Creatives all happened to make landfall around the same time: I was interviewed for CHARLIE’s 50 Most Progressive, the July issue of HOW magazine, and the Dribbble Timeout series. Many thanks to the sweet people who gave me another forum in which to share BALC.

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest

Oh my, this was a special conference. WMC Fest is one of the most affordable conferences I've ever heard of, which may contribute to its refreshingly relaxed, friendly atmosphere (and Midwesterners really are that nice). I finally met some COMPLETELY RAD Twitter buds in person, and got to meet some great new people.

Margot Harrington, Stewart Scott-Curan, Jeff Finley, and the rest of the WMC Fest gang did a fantastic job putting this conference together. They prioritized a speaker lineup that better represents all the many perspectives our design community has to offer. Between a thoughtful speaker roster and the panels discussing race, gender, and the validity of “do what you love”, the tone of this conference was “let's look out for each other, let's be good to each other”.

Working, working, working

A screenshot of The Green Heart Project website

Branding, illustration, and web design for The Green Heart Project.

Of course, this whole time I've also been working. While I can't show a lot of Fuzzco projects yet, The Green Heart Project was one of my favorite clients to work with in 2014: Drew and Karalee are such enthusiastic, positive people. And designing for kids (and their parents) is such a fun challenge; I could spend days drawing wee veggies if no one stopped me. View the live site

Interview on the Metis Blog

Screenshot of Metis interview

Semi-recently, the lovely House interviewed me for the Metis blog. It was fun to share a little bit about how I got into web design and front-end development, which might be helpful to beginning web creatives taking Metis’s courses.

A new site, sort of.

Though I still consider it temporary*, I did a little fussing with the site. For this version, I strayed from Typekit offerings in favor of Brandon Text and Griffin Moore’s Range. This is also the first time I’m using Kirby, a flat-file CMS. I had previously used Wordpress to power my site, but I felt the simplicity of a designer’s portfolio/blog doesn’t warrant the bloat of WP, or the load time spent making database requests (particularly when my host’s MySQL server gets bogged down).

\ Do as I say and not as I do, eh? Someday I will have a body of work up.*


H’okay, that’s everything in life up to this point. Bring on the autumn!

Introducing the UFGD c/o 2014!

I’m a big believer in honoring where you came from, and the University of Florida Graphic Design program is like a second family to me. So from now on, I’ll share the portfolios from each new graduating class. Introducing c/o 2014! What a talented bunch:

Percy Batalier, Kelly Carpenter, Lauren Castro, Lindsey Marie Freeman, Clarke Harris, Kaitlyn Irvine, Julia Karraker, Devin Elida Kelly, Derrick Ligon, Allan Lopez, Kelli McAdams, Jason McDade, Will Joel Melendez, Crystal Nguyen, Nicole Ruggiero, Natalie Suarez, Janet Vargas

Congrats to you all, and best of luck in your new adventures! May you make all your upcoming decisions based on what’s right for you—not what you think is expected of you.

New Fuzzco Work: The Nickelodeon

The Nickelodeon screenshot

I’m so excited to finally share this project: a new identity and website for The Nickelodeon! The Nick is an alternative/indie theater in Columbia, South Carolina. For an organization that has a huge influence on local culture, it was important to us to make this rebrand feel intelligent, fun, and a bit off-beat.

The Nickelodeon

Check back on this page during the Indie Grits festival!

The Nickelodeon screenshot

The “About” page is actually enormous, and it’s one of my favorites, including the “spine” of staff bios. I’ll spare you, though, and just link to the full thing.

The Nickelodeon screenshot

The full site is live at nickelodeon.org. To see more applications of the identity, check out the full project case study on the Fuzzco site.

Sedimentary is Responsive

Sedimentary screenshot

My poetry and prose blog, Sedimentary, is now responsive! It’s actually the most basic layout ever—just post stacked on top of post—but the CSS hasn’t seen any love since four-ish years ago. I’d like to start writing more fiction, so I thought it might help with motivation to do some spring cleaning: changing to wide posts from columns to support longer-format writing, Freight Text’ing it up, and actually buying a domain name.

If you’d like to follow my writing blog in all its melodramatic glory, it’s hosted on Tumblr and is connected to a Twitter account (@readsedimentary).