A Little Inspiration: Five 8.5×11 Printouts

Be Present quote photo truck dog

After seeing a few inspirational quotes around a friend’s room, I decided to take them down and turn them into a few printouts. Hope you find one that pushes you forward.


becoming a champion quote photo

photo credit: Michael Schrader


remember why you started inspirational construction photo

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success repetition quote photo

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your future self quote photo

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Be Present quote photo truck dog

photo credit: Michael Schrader


Living: Indy – 5×5: Indianapolis Arts and Innovation Entry

Living Indy Location by Nate Schrader

indy 5x5 postcard front


I thought it was fate. It had to be, right? While waiting in the lobby of a Wabash connection’s office after work, I picked up an issue of the Indianapolis Star sitting on the coffee table. I almost routinely picked up the sports section, but I snapped out of it and grabbed the Culture section instead. In the corner was a competition for an arts & innovation idea involving art and technology in Indianapolis and a $10,000 grand prize. Why not, right?

So I gathered a few friends in various technology areas (web, programming, and engineering) and we brainstormed for a bit. I can’t say it was as good as a Leo Burnett ‘Farmhouse’ session, but Burnett was right in that it’s best to join great minds from various disciplines to tackle a problem. Now I’m not saying our team had great minds by any means, but I feel we came up with a pretty unique solution that one of us couldn’t have come up with on our own.

Basically, the idea was to use air-cleansing paint to create a mural and combine it with current social and Bluetooth signals to show the real-time activity of Indianapolis in an interpretive way.

Did we make the top 5? Not in the judges’ book. I like to think we placed 6th of 50. Read below for our submission, and click here to view the final five. The event takes place February 8th at 7pm, and I look forward to the learning opportunity. And to celebrating some other pretty fascinating ideas.

The project may fit a future contest later in the year, so stay tuned for that submission… Enjoy.

Living: Indy

Nate Schrader, Mike Korb, Joe Fruland, John Nail

Image 1:

Living Indy Location by Nate Schrader

Image 2:

Living: Indy Map Mural by Nate Schrader

Image 3:

Living: Indy lighting by Nate Schrader



Just another Midwest city.

To visitors in the past, these labels may have applied to Indianapolis. But our piece, “Living: Indy,” aims to show Indy natives and visitors alike that Indianapolis is an exuberant, ever-changing, always moving city where a nap may be the only sleep you have time for. Our concept is simple: create a map that visualizes the activity in Indianapolis in real-time with three goals. It should:

1. encourage current activity,

2. improve the environment,

3. instill a sense of pride.

The idea started with KNOxOUT catalytic paint. When John said a square meter of this stuff reacts with nitrus oxide in car exhaust to form as much harmless nitrogen as one mature tree, the light bulb turned on (huffintonpost.com, theriskexchange.wordpress.com). This paint seemed perfect for a mural in a tight, treeless space like underneath the bridge on Meridian & South St. where foot traffic is high and car exhaust exudes from passing vehicles and idling police cars. Essentially, the paint helps the tunnel last longer and look better as it cleans the air for passing and gathering people. For site study, see Image 1.

The mural itself should feel familiar, but more than a map. It should feel like a living being. Painted directly onto concrete, the mural will portray Indy with soft lines and shapes as seen in Image 2. Offset a few inches from the concrete rests translucent plexi-glass panels coated in clear catalytic paint (idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com). In image 1, you’ll also see that digital LED strip lighting attaches behind the light-diffusing plexi-glass and follows the map’s streets. Meanwhile, LED clusters mark lively spots like arts buildings, restaurants & bars, theaters, hubs of public activity, etc.

To make the mural come alive, the lights sync with social data from Twitter’s API or by using BlueTooth presence detection. Either data source gives geographic coordinates to smartphone signals that we use to determine population, population change, and current mood of an actual landmark in the city. Paired with digital programming, these qualities are indicated as such in Image 3. Thus, you could have seen an instance like a thrilled or upset fans during this year’s downtown IU vs Butler game during which LED strips circulate that energy to Mass Ave. All while sad IUPUI students study away. (Image 2).

Additionally, we can tag landmark LEDs with a number and index them with their location information and a scanable QR Code that leads a smartphone user to the landmark’s current events webpage or Twitter feed (Image 1,2).

In the end, a passerby sees Indy as the always-beating place that it is while learning current city happenings. With air-cleansing, concrete-protecting paint, organic design, and real time socially responsive lighting, we hope to surprise visitors and instill the notion that the people are a part of Indy as much as Indy a part of its people. India-No-Place no more. We’re putting Indy on the map for good.


Catalytic KNOxOUT Paint: video here, another article here

Clear Catalytic Paint:

LED Clusters

Digital LED Strips

Business Cards & Stationary for Kyle Bender, TFA Corps Member 2012-14

Modern teacher's stationary front 1

Awhile back, my good Lafayette area friend and past college baseball teammate Kyle Bender and I ran into each other. Kyle said he was with Teach for America and his school didn’t have any business cards. So, I made him some.

Of course, I played it safe with the standard traditional format, but I had to take a gamble and do something a little different. Those business cards seem to be kept the longest and remembered the most in my book – the ones that don’t always head straight to the top of the dusty deck in your desk’s bottom drawer. For the unique cards, I tried put the card viewer into a setting like Kyle’s to really appreciate what he’s doing. Kyle chose the standard, most affordable card which probably feels the most professional coming from an educator following a handshake. If the client’s happy, I’m pretty happy.


Kyle Bender Vertical Business Card by Nate Schrader

Traditional horizontal with possible backside:

Teach for America Corps Member Business Card

Kyle also asked for stationary to write thank you’s, notes, and other networking whatnots. After a few emails, I came up with the front of a few cards…

purple templated stationary by Nate Schrader

aged label stationary by Nate Schrader

Note Card Stationary by Nate Schrader

Modern teacher's stationary front 1

Modern Teacher Stationary Front 2 by Nate Schrader

followed by the style he wanted, a one-sided graphic on which he could hand-write:

Professional Stationary Notables by Nate Schrader

All in all, I think it turned out pretty well. Amidst busy schedules and a few emails, we should’ve conversed over the phone or met in person to really understand what the other was thinking.

If you need cards or stationary, don’t be afraid to ask. I’m happy to help where I can.

Shadow Curtains: Drapery with a Secret

Shadow Curtains: Things May Not Always Be What They Seem

Shadow Curtains: Things May Not Always Be What They Seem

We were sitting at a cousin’s basketball game waiting for my chatty (ahem… public-relations-building, Catholic Schools marketing coordinating mother) to make her rounds when I asked my dad how to solve my room’s missing wall dilemma. My dad was/is a builder, and I knew he would enjoy sharing his knowledge on the subject. Initially, he suggested constructing a two-by-four framed drywall barrier. A father son project. Unfortunately, drywall is expensive, and kind of a cop-out.There had to be more opportunity lying in this shifty excuse for a third bedroom’s need for a little privacy.

But I tried to stick with the wood because 2×4’s were cheap, stable, and perhaps quickest way to solve the problem. It led to a framed wall atop cinder blocks, harnessed by hooks & cables with something translucent… maybe canvas, maybe industrial plastic wrap. After working in construction for family since I was 14, seeing raw materials in an unfinished state seemed like home and would go nicely with the wall’s adjacent exposed brick wall. Often, a passerby sees a building or a home for the sum of its parts, but I wanted the wall to emphasize its parts and make viewers see a home in a skeletal way.

temporary wall concepting

Based on the topic of this post, the former plan is another idea for another time. Lacking power tools and finances, I needed something cheaper and quicker. A coworker of mine suggested a canvas drop cloth, and as fate would have it, I found one. In fact, the whole project cost me twenty bucks:

  •  $8 for the (gently used) painter’s drop cloth
  • $7 for a porch lamp system’s chain
  • $1 for a paint sample
  • $4 for hooks and a paint sponge

Perhaps the translucent shadow concept came from a curtained Jason Aldean concert entrance I saw last summer, but after living around my curtain wall for a week or two I noticed shadows from my room’s dresser. I had my translucent shadow idea, and I felt the Indianapolis skyline would resonate well with anybody visiting our Indy apartment.


shadow drapes inside view

One can hardly see the paint from the inside, but a viewer can see the skyline from either side because the paint blocks light coming from any direction.  If a visitor enters through our backdoor, they’ll see this view first and may not notice the skyline until they turn around upon passing through.


shadow curtain outside distance shot

The skyline as a slightly impressionistic feel with its rounded edges and its patchy painting. If you notice, the start of a shadow on the farthest left is actually from my dresser and may even seem like another building. Something to think about.


This could work well for anything viewed from multiple directions. Perhaps you want outside viewers to see one thing but see the same elements composing something entirely different on the other. Maybe a sports company uses it with the tagline “it’s what’s beneath that counts” or Gatorade asks if it’s in you. Maybe curtains in front of gym windows so patrons get their privacy while onlookers are curious of the interior shadows’ activities (and perhaps stop in for… a membership!). Maybe it’s a wall running north to south whose message is viewed from the West in the morning and from the East in the evening based on the sun’s exposure, or in a restaurant where the objects creating the shadows have totally different meaning on the inside than the do from the outside…

What’s Next

City Skyline Curtains by Rob Gonsalves


Besides a raw construction materials project, I would do this if I had big enough windows. I’ll leave it to you to take this where you will.

Entire Skyline Shadow Curtain Graphic

Design Ideas for the Border to My Dry Erase Board Wall

So I had an idea for our apartment – a dry erase board wall. We’ve got stick-able dry erase surfaces in our office walls, and it’s a really unique experience to write on directly on the walls. The only problem is when you erase things, the bordering wall gets dirty. Hence, I need ideas for a border.

dry erase paint wall idea suggestions
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Since we all know the best finished products come through collaboration, I’m looking to collaborate with your suggestions. I’m using only gray paint for a very neutral feel that won’t overpower my space. Leave your suggestions in the comments below and if I pick yours, you’ll recognize it in the next picture I post.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with.