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You Need a Yoda

By Michael Clingenpeel

November 30 2019


I keep this little Yoda on my desk at my day job. It reminds me of all the amazing mentors I have had and all the time they were willing to invest in my future. It is important to find someone that you personally look up to. Someone willing to guide you through life's minefield, not hold your hand but continuously pushes you forward.

A mentor can raise you up, and push you beyond what you think is possible. They also can see through your bullshit. My first mentor was a professor at Indiana Weslayen University named Dan. He called me out when I was slacking during my sophomore year. He agreed to work with me and guide through my Junior and senior year. He was my Yoda. I remember being so angry at him I even sent a hate driven email, because I was 20 something and stupid. I am so grateful he saw through my stupidity. He flipped my whole opinion of him when he did a demonstration for a design class. He slowly walked up to the computer and then started working in Adobe Illustrator he was like a Jedi Master it was insane and unbelievable he created a fully executed design in less then a minute and after I picked my jaw up off the ground I apologized for my stupid email and asked for his continued help.

I graduated because of him. (Side note he had personally trained with Massimo Viginelli to put in perspective on how amazing a designer he was.)

Of course after I graduated from IWU my neighbor became an incredible resource for knowledge and inspiration. He was a retired NYC Hair pro, he and his wife sold Hair care product line that they marketed and made. He was very successful his company Robert Craig Salon Products was on fire. He was the reason I was so amped to move to New York City. I was devastated when he passed away two summers ago. It was a struggle to stay up beat and positive. Whenever I had an idea I wanted to bounce off someone I would pick up my phone and start to call him...  He left me with an incredible reading list and to this day I continue to grow because of his legacy. I could go on and on about the great people that have helped me along my path so I will try and keep it somewhat short.

Step One along your incredible journey find a mentor, find your Yoda.


Good luck Designer.




Productivity Tips, Tricks, or Tools

By Michael Clingenpeel

October 30 2019


Goodbye October. This will be both a treat and trick! I have been wanting to put down the many tips and tricks I have picked up and developed along my journey as a graphic designer. Unfortunately I could ramble on, but I will instead keep this somewhat short and to the point.

I hope these are helpful for maintaining that neverending to-do list. 


1. Speed up your Cursor (mouse) it may take a little bit to get used to but holy moly it will help you increase your movement while working on your computer. This one I picked up from Noah Kagen during his interview with Tim Ferriss, from the Tim Ferriss Show Podcast. ( I highly recommend)



2. Automate as much of your processes as possible. This can be done with Scripts if you work in InDesign or Actions for you Photogs, and Batch rename in bridge will save you so much time and energy.



3. Use Layers you can have a Layout nearly complete before you even begin if you use Layers in your InDesign file. I use them mainly for the headers on my ads that way I can simply switch one off and the next one on. Also to keep pesky background images out of my way I can put them in a background layer and lock it so when I am clicking around I don't shift the image.


Tool Box

4. Create a Tool Box Layer. Save your favorite Pre-made ad or BOGO or graphic so you simply drag and drop into place when you need them. 


Spell Check 

5. Use Spell check to your advantage.You can even use your auto-correct tool in a way it was not intended, but it will help with saving tons of time. If you are constantly typing out certain words or brand names like I do such as Boneless or Bone-in create an auto correct function. so I use the Capital letters BL for shorthand and the autocorrect will see this and switch it to Boneless or BI for Bone-In. I also use this for Assorted Varieties, my shorthand being AV. This will save some serious time especially with brand names I advertise a lot of Shurfine products so my shorthand is SF and it switches it out with the SHURFINE.It also works for those pesky words that use different glyph's such as Entree (Entrées). Give it a try.


Short Cuts

6.Short Cuts or Keyboard shortcuts, can also save you a ton of time. Don't forget about your shortcuts, use those quick button commands to speed up your workflow. If you find yourself doing something over and over see if you can create a shortcut for it, or make your own. I am constantly reusing ads and images and to quickly knock out the effects that may still be on the image or text such as a transparency or a shadow effect, I have created a shortcut to clear them instantly.


Tools Outside The Box

7. Tools Outside The Box Speaking of Tools I have a great set of on the side programs and Apps that I love to use to make my workflow as smooth as possible. 


Google Keep

The first of these is Google Keep. It is how I keep track of my thoughts. Whenever I have an idea or read an article I like I save it right to my Google Keep. 


Adobe Spark

For my on the fly video editing I use Adobe Spark. It is a sweet app that can make your post come to life. Try the free version. 



To shorten those pesky links that go on for days I use Bitly a website that will create shortened links as well as add some nice tracking capabilities. 



Finally the tool that keeps my posting across the vast number of pages and sites I manage in my day to day life I use Postfity. This handy little app tracks my data helps me schedule post and plan my monthly social media calendar.


Well there you have it my tips tricks and tools I hope they help you tackle November. 

Good luck Designer.


Friday, September 27th 2019

By Michael Clingenpeel


The end of one and the beginning of October.


I suppose I should start blogging more, I truly enjoy writing and reading so why not. 

Here is my First blog post this year. 

Design mainly graphic design is one of the many passions that I am persuing. I am currently working with C & S Wholesale formerly Olean Wholesale, the nearly 100 year old company was bought by the largest wholesale in the country. So it was Olean Wholesale and is now C&S Wholesale.  Everyone was super excited at first. We all thought it meant we would be getting updated equipment/computers and perhaps a raise... 6 months in it was announced C & S Wholesale would be moving the bulk of our operations to a different warehouse. Of the 200 plus employees 29 or so would remain...Gulp.. Needless to say the past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions. 

Today is the last day of our happy kinda little family. Their have been a lot of sad goodbyes and even a pizza party. I am going to miss all of my wonderful colleges. 

I am however still designing ads for my clients. We shall see what challenges arrive in the next few weeks... Hello October...


"Under Promise and Over deliver!" -unknown original but often quated by my Illustration Professor, friend and mentor Ron Mazellan 

Tuesday, July 7th 2015

By Michael Clingenpeel


Photo Editing


I had the oportunitie to work on a great many old photos from a new client this week.  While my client had only wanted duplicates of the originals, I saw the potential in creating digital copies for him.  I quickly suggested it and we started the project.  After I had created all the digital copies I took it a step further. I started to restore some of the photos for this new client, I wanted to show him what more I could in fact do for him with these pieces of history.  When he came by to pick them up seeing his face light up and tears form in his eyes as if seeing the photos all over for the first time was a great reward. Of coarse it led to more paid work as well...  


"Under Promise and Over deliver!" -unknown original but often quated by my Illustration Professor, friend and mentor Ron Mazellan 

Photo Restoration Project Image Photo Restoration Project

Tuesday, August 05 2014

By Michael Clingenpeel


About Time Management


You ever see a Movie that just sticks with you? This week I had the opportunity to watch About Time. It was a grand experience. In short it is about a guy who finds out his family has the ability to travel in time.  This opens up so many possibilities for him. For us normal folks when it comes down to it we just have to live each day one at a time and try and appreciate them. 


I am trying to figure how I can relate this to design but unfortunately its not working, although time management is an important factor for any designer. We have only an allotted amount of time in which we can accurately and proficiently work in. Managing my own time was at first so difficult then I started using a planner and that evolved into a bullet journal (which I highly recommend).


A dear friend, who happened to be one of my Professors from undergrad taught me that the key to planning your day is to do so the night before. Start with a goal or series of goals and go from there, for me it is a check list (WunderList) at least that is where it starts. I then transfer some of the larger to - dos to my bullet journal which is more of an weekly agenda calendar / notes.


Start with your To - Do list and set aside time for each task, and have fun with it, this is after all your life. I have included pictures of my own bullet journal so you can see kind of what I am talking about.  



“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” -Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, July 22 2014

By Michael Clingenpeel

The New Look

So excited to #ShowMYWork my new business cards came in today and they look amazing. I tried somthing new with this batch of cards I added a spot UV on the front so my logo would pop more when the light hits it.  You may also notice that my email and web address have changed finally after years of waiting I snagged from the realm of domain realestate,  and my email is now so much shorter and easier for my clients to remember. If you are in need of new business cards feel free to email me or give me a call at 810.533.4611 


Thursday, July 17 2014

By Michael Clingenpeel

Clingenpeel Design Portfolio Hardcover book 

While living in Manhattan and working with Gruber Photographers I had the opportunity to design photo albums. These hardcover beautys gave me the inspiration to design a one-of-a-kind hardcover super portfolio. After two full years of hardwork and over 7 years of experiance packed into this sweet 52 page book, I am finally sending it to print.  Here is a sneek peek! 

Tuesday, July 15 2014

By Michael Clingenpeel

Business Card Redesign

After reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, I decided to follow his extraordinary advice and share my work throughout the process.  I have been working on a new business card design, one that would convay information quickly. What better way to do so than with a clean and simple design.

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