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Hi friends! 

Here we are, 3rd Thursday update! Aside from the video talk I’m doing today with my friend Kate Bingaman-Burt’s graphic design students at Portland State University, I should be en route to rural Wisconsin where instead of internet there are cabins, a bon fire pit, hammock options, and a canoe. In other weeks of this business’s life, I would have de-prioritized any kind of social media entirely so this planning-ahead-thing and actually making it happen is a win. I may be a bit breathless, but I’m doing it. 

Today’s talk is one I’ve done frequently with students about the basic set-up for a graphic design business, the ins-an-outs of contracts, basic bookkeeping, and working with clients. Most of this content exists already in my two Skillshare classes (here and here) so it’s easy enough to pull up and run through. Not only is it a helpful reminder review this info in general, but it’s important to me to be a voice in this type of conversation for representation purposes and it’s one small thing I can do to help fight the wage gap.

(obligatory .gif celebrating making that cheese.)

Robin Wright Penn (crush alert!!) is the latest celebrity to reveal she had to demand pay equal to Kevin Spacey’s for House of Cards. She threatened going public with their shoddy offer if the studio didn’t adjust it, knowing her character was more popular than Spacey’s that season. And knowing it would have lead to a backlash. This also implies she must’ve known what Spacey’s salary was, I hope he told her himself, but clearly there was some behind-the-scenes sharing going on. On the one hand, this information has to come out in order for the gap to close, but goodness that is so much easier said than done.

For now this type of closed environment with students is the safest place for to talk candidly about these things. Women are interrupted and talked over by men at objectively higher rates, and this can feel especially triggering when discussing a topic in mixed company that many people still consider highly taboo. Which is why representation matters, it’s valuable to hear the nuts-and-bolts of running a business from all sorts, but especially folks experiencing the wage gap, or poverty, or any other non-traditional lifestyle. I would’ve loved to have been in the room for this gathering of women business owners in NYC talking about their experiences and how they handle money. They also addressed the fact that the choice to ask for money alone is a privilege and a luxury many don’t have access to. Any discussion on the issue that ignores this fact is side-stepping a huge piece of the problem.

Seems to me the place to start is with ourselves, like with this one and two part series on successfully negotiating salary, written by women for women. I don’t always advocate these types of posts because it implies it’s on women to fix our own problem. We can’t do it alone as shown by studies on when women, especially women of color, DO stand up and "lean in", it can backfire. Clearly the people controlling the purse strings are just as much at fault. These stories need to be shared, as well as transparency about money, and any possible preparedness tips are necessary for all gender flavors. This time of year when graduation is nigh and students are about to enter the workforce it’s timely indeed. I don’t know if we will find a way to make the conversation less messy until the world’s power dynamics have become simpler, but I’d rather rip off that band-aid even still. Balancing the scales can’t come soon enough for the people truly struggling under an unfair wage, so any icky conversations that help progress the dialog seem like a fair trade-off to me.  

A mixtape for both the young and the young at heart / Aaron Tilley’s photo series on anxiety has me re-thinking our culture’s response to the feelings that we all have at some point. 

This guide to the items in Ferris Bueller’s bedroom. This move is 30 years old this month (whaaaat.) and it is still wonderful. If you're in Chicago, you can actually go see a live replica of the bedroom this weekend

Shill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West. Lindy West is a national treasure y’all. I am only 30 pages in and already I can see why the book is getting rave reviews. Not since Bad Feminist has there been such an essential book for the promotion of feminism. Many will find West’s tongue and wit vulgar, but that is precisely what makes her such a joy to read. Decorum and consequences be damned, she refuses to write in any other way because it’s simply how she is. Here’s to being one’s self to the fullest!

Pitch Design Union / Margot Harrington is a graphic design studio / person specializing in branding, websites, and publication design for small business and cultural organizations. This newsletter is a close monthly digest of my life and work.
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