The Creative Class ep. #5 – Stefan Sagmeister from The Creative Class on Vimeo.

“If I am communicating with anybody, I would love to communicate with a human.” —Stefan Sagmeister

A little Monday morning inspiration. Graphic designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeister talks about technology in his stunning studio space. The Creative Class is a series of beautifully-shot ‘at-work’ video conversations with today’s influential people within the creative industry, produced by WeTransfer.

Stefan Sagmeister was born in 1962 in Bregenz, Austria. He is a New York-based designer and typographer an co-founded the globally renowned design firm Sagmeister & Walsh with Jessica Walsh. Sagmeister has won an accolade of awards and was a long-standing artistic collaborator with musicians David Byrne and Lou Reed.

hand lettering over patagonia ice imagery


I adore this quote by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson:

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

As many of you embark on your summer travels, I give you this thought provoking quote by Robert Louis Stevenson. What makes you like, love, or dislike travel?

I took this photo while traveling on a boat in Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia, Argentina. The view is of Perito Moreno glacier’s front wall. After the boat ride we were lucky enough to take a breathtaking hike on this massive glacier. This signed print of an original hand drawn quote is available on my new Etsy shop. You’ll also find some Buenos Aires street art photography amongst other hand lettering pieces.

book cover design

Self-Portrait As Your Traitor by Debbie Millman

This large format book is a glimpse into Debbie Millman’s explorations of hand lettering and the written word. It is part sketchbook, part journal. Millman herself is part artist, part designer, part poet. Many reviews are calling the book a collection of visual essays. I think it is much more casual presentation. I enjoy the looseness of the book and the short stories. It is fun to look at an wonder what would happen if we  spent more time with our own sketchbooks and journals.

Debbie Millman is an artist, designer, and creative entrepreneur. See a list off all of her books from Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design  to the Brand Bible. She also hosts a podcast, Design Matters.

what are we busy about?


Update: My hand lettering and street art photography pieces from Buenos Aires are now available on Etsy.

“It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”

I am excited for this show and tell event called First Thursday Art Walk in Seattle. I am showing my new hand lettering art at CMD+P in Pioneer Square. CMD+P is a collaboration between Sanctuary Art Center (SAC) and Efflux Creations. Stop by and check out the art, share your musings, and support SAC in the process. Here’s the info:

What are we busy about?

A hand drawn lettering exhibition by Mindi Raker

Mindi Raker pairs snapshots from around the world with hand drawn letters. The title line “What are we busy about?” is adapted from Henry David Thoreau who in 1857 wrote, “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?” Take a minute to think about your own musings. If you created a hand drawn note to the universe what would it say?

Can’t make the opening? The show will be hanging during the month of May, available to view every Thursday from 1-6 pm or by appointment — contact Lance @ 206.922.2249 or

cmd+p is a collaboration between Sanctuary Art Center and Efflux Creations. They create art and apparel for social change. Through printing workshops, the gallery, and internships, CMD+P helps Seattle’s homeless youth grow and create an integrated community.

Join us for First Thursday Art Walk, May 1st from 5–10pm at cmd+p,
201 Yesler Way in Pioneer Square

Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself designed by Allen Crawford; combines Walt Whitman’s acclaimed “Song of Myself” with Crawford’s inventive illustrations and hand drawn lettering. It’s quite impressive, so much so that design superhero Milton Glaser sent Crawford a note of congratulations. Likely, more meaningful to Crawford than any award or article. Each 117 spread is a work of art in itself. There’s a small book tour scheduled for the east coast starting in Philly. I hope they make adjustments to come to Seattle (the 2nd most literate city in the U.S)!

Here’s what publisher Tin House has to say:

The handwritten text and illustrations intermingle in a way that’s both surprising and wholly in tune with the spirit of the poem—they’re exuberant, rough, and wild. Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself is a sensational reading experience, an artifact in its own right, and a masterful tribute to the Good Gray Poet.

Book Cover Design
a frog surrounded by hand drawn letters.
Handlettering and a drawing of a baby
drawing of a caterpillar cacoon
drawing of a boys feet and long shadows.
sample interior spread, full of hand lettering and drawing of an octopus arm


Via Behance

book cover and sample interior spread


In 2012, artist and writer Austin Kleon gave us Steal Like an Artist. Now he brings us Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, described as “a book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion.” He stopped by Seattle’s Town Hall on his book release tour and charmed us all with his frankness, humor, and humility. His sense of play and enthusiasm for life is contagious. He couldn’t resist playing the piano that happened to be in the room, and I couldn’t resist smiling. His book is for anybody doing any kind of work that they want to get noticed.

Austin started the talk by quoting Christopher Hitchens about how publishing a book is like a free education.

It brings you into contact with the people whose opinions you should have canvassed before you ever pressed pen to paper. They write to you. They telephone you. They come to your bookstore events and give you things to read that you should have read already… A free education that goes on for a lifetime. 

So, if you are thinking about writing a book, there’s another PRO to add to the list—free education, community, and a way to find your people.

The very first chapter is titled “You Don’t Have to Be a Genius.” He speaks of the myth behind the lone geniuses we idolize. When in reality, the Mozarts, Einstiens, Mondrians of the world had a creative community supporting and inspiring their work.

There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that Brian Eno refers to as “scenius.” Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of people of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.”

Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals; it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.

Your primary focus should always be on the the work; focus on your business, your craft, your trade. If you share a little bit each day it makes it possible that your work might attract a group of people who share your interests. You will find your own scencius. All you have to do is show your workYour website is your self-invention machine. Fill it with your work, and your ideas, the stuff you care about. And stick with it.

One of my favorite parts of the book, is when he considers WHY we share, he writes:

The act of sharing is one of generosity—you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen. 

He speaks to the benefits of being an amateur, and the original meaning of the word amateur in French:

We’re all terrified of being revealed as amateurs, but in fact today it is the amateur—the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love (in French, the word means “lover”) regardless, of the potential for fame, money, or career—who often has the advantage over the professional. Because they have little to lose, amateurs are willing to try anything and share the results. 

Amateurs [are] just regular people who get obsessed by something and spend a ton of time thinking out loud about it. 

The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown. 

Forget about being an expert or a professional, and wear your amateurism (your heart, your love) on your sleeve. Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.

Show Your Work Sample Spread.

Teach what you know. What can you share that would be helpful to others? What questions are you constantly answering? What cringe-worthy mistakes do you see everyday? Why not teach people about what you know? Share your knowledge. Speak about your work, your process. Kleon says think process not product, and his Tumblr practices what Show Your Work! preaches.

If you’re not telling the world about your work, who will?

So many times I’ve thought: If the work is good, it will speak for itself. This is largely untrue. Our work does not speak for itself. How we speak about our work has a huge influence on how people understand and value our work. We all have experienced the devalue of our work. If you haven’t, you’re lucky. Recently, I received an email that said “Shouldn’t take more than 5 min, just need someone who has photoshop.” Not even someone who “knows” Photoshop, simply someone who “has” it on their computer. Yes, this message got under my skin, but it told be me that I have failed to speak about our design work in a way that helps people understand and value good design. I need to do better. No matter what we do, we are all educators. It is our job to educate people on what we do, how we do it, and why it matters.

Blackout Poetry On To the Next Pipe Dream

The rest of Show Your Work! goes on to consider; how reading obituaries can make you want to live; how to avoid being human spam; why we should always credit our sources; how a life of creativity is all about change; and why we should continually push ourselves to learn, even if that means we have to ask for help along the way.

Thank you Austin Kleon for the re-minder to retain an amateur’s spirit and to embrace uncertainty. If you like this book you may also enjoy Steal Like and Artist, and his very first book with his blackout poetry titled Newspaper Blackout.

Book Cover Illustration, Hot Air Balloon


In 2012 Lisa Congdon brought us the 365 days of hand lettering, and now she brings us the same whimsical quotations in print: Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: 100 Inspirational Quotations Hand-Lettered. She is one of my heroes. I have been working on my own hand lettering side project, and I just adore her work. I am super excited to have her new book in hand on April 1st. Each hand lettered quote offers words of wisdom about how to live a good life. A perfect gift for graduates, those amidst a career change, or anyone looking for inspiration.

Update, April 15th: I have the book in hand and it’s better than I imagined! It has high quality printing with a beautiful debossed hard cover. Here’s a few of my favorite pages:hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering "it will be happier" by alfred t ennysonWith freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy? by Oscar WildeEvery time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race. by H.G. Wells

Maria Popova, the creator of Brain Pickings, calls Whatever You Are Be a Good One a “modern-day counterpart” to Tolstoy’s Calendar of Wisdom,  a “compendium of timeless wisdom on life” that “falls partway between Tolstoy and Tumblr.” Maria Popova goes on to say:

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One is a treat in its entirety, of which you get out exactly what you put in — when approached lightly and superficially, it is simply a beautiful “gift book” of hand-lettered art; when considered with care, it becomes an existential anchor of timeless wisdom on the art of living.

I couldn’t agree more.

Via Lisa Congdon and Brain Pickings.

I love using the classics—Helvetica, Frutiger, Gill Sans, Garamond, Sabon, etc.—but I need typefaces that are designed for print AND the screen. Many of the classic typefaces (that we all love) are not available for web use. I want typefaces optimized for screen readability and legibility. Whenever I am starting a new identity or logo design project, I keep in mind if a typeface has a web font. It isn’t a deal breaker (yet), but it is a high priority.

Part of my job as a graphic designer is to help our clients present themselves with a clear consistent image. A typeface contributes to your personal brand, company, or organization’s tone-of-voice. Consistently using the same font, whether that is your website, logo, or brochure, it builds your image and a sense of trust and reliability.

I am researching many of the new web typefaces available. There is a lot of clutter, but there are some solid options. The classics will always be the classics, but I think there are some modern classics in the making.

The first typeface winner I want to share with you is Glober.

Glober hails from Fontfabric, an independent type foundry, launched by designer Svetoslav Simov based in Sofia, Bulgaria. His goal is to create high-quality fonts which stand in a unique class of their own, and which will serve as a good base for any design project whether it be web, print, t-shirt design, or logotype.

The Glober family includes 18 weights, nine uprights with nine true italics. The range from thin to heavy will makes me smile. It has excellent legibility in web and print design. Inspired by the classic grotesque typefaces, but Glober has his own unique style. Its softened geometric forms creates a structured and friendly appearance. You can buy Glober on You Work For Them. The light and bold faces are available for free at Font Fabric. (Released February 2014.)

typographic poster large letter g

typographic poster large a, details of lettering forms

Typographic poster showing multiple languages and diversity of the typeface Glober.

I hope you enjoy Glober as much as I do.

Typeface Winners is a new blog series. These are new typefaces I think will become the classics of typography on the web. We are no longer limited to Arial, Verdana, Times, and Georgia. Let’s create an internet where beautiful typography is the norm and not the exception. Do you have a web font that you love to use? Please send it my way.

P.S. We are currently working on updating our own website design to keep up our end of the deal.

I’ll never forget the feeling I had my first day in Seattle. It was rainy. I was full of self-doubt, alone, and scared. I had a knot in my stomach that lingered for weeks. This artsy book about friendship reminds me of this time. It reminds me of all the times I was lonely, the times I really needed a friend. Those times suck. But they sure make me cherish friendship. A chat with a good pal brings light to my day. A simple facebook like makes me smile. This book reminds me of the specialness of friend-love, friend crushes, and connections (online or in real life). It inspires me to tell my friends I love them.

Artist Yumi Sakugawa’s combines her passions of drawing and writing to create this quirky book titled I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You. Yumi Sakugawa explains: “What’s friend-love? It’s that super-awesome bond you share with someone who makes you happy every time you text each other, or meet up for an epic outing. It’s not love-love. You don’t want to swap saliva; you want to swap favorite books. But it’s just as intense and just as amazing.”

The comic-style book expresses all the random acts of kindness—texts sent, real hugs, coffees delivered, facebook shares, dinners made—that we all hope our friends will do for us. A woman, who I admire dearly, once told me that it is rare to have truly close friends and that in a lifetime if you have 2-3 you are blessed. Maybe she’s right; I hope she’s wrong. I have a lot of friend love to go around.

If all of this is just too sappy for you, go-ahead take a look at the book, I bet it will make you smile.

Book Cover, Monsterlike creature sitting at a table by himself. Simple line drawing.


comic style illustration about friends who have reached their close friend quota.

See more of Yumi Sakugawa’s illustrations and comics on her website, check out her blog across the yumiverse.

Being on Half Dome that night felt like being on another planet, a smooth granite surface under our feet and endless space spinning overhead. The morning’s sunrise felt like the first proper sunrise we’d ever witnessed.
—Project Yosemite

Project Yosemite captures spectacular vistas in photographs and time-lapse video; it shares what you will find in the backcountry of Yosemite National Park. A collaboration between photographers Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill, it is one of the most stunning depictions of any national park that I have ever seen. A feat of physical exertion, expert photography and videography skills, and I am sure a whole lot of patience.

Some of my favorite clips are those that capture the sweeping nature of the twilight sky. For me, this is the highlight of backpacking and sleeping out in the wilderness. Transport yourself to the night sky in Yosemite National Park from the top of Echo Ridge, as seen in the first eight seconds. Neill says “It was one of our more memorable trips because it was windy and the sunset was amazing. We were also fortunate to capture the Sierra Wave, which you don’t see often.”

Watch this stunning video for yourself, it will make you want to go to California right now.

Yosemite HD II from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

National Geographic asked them to guide viewers through the video and point out the difficult-to-reach places of Yosemite National Park. If you’re an avid hiker read the full article and take some notes. Here is a full list of all 24 places they went (200+ miles and a total of 45 days in the park).

The first, Yosemite HD, was published in 2012. If you’d like to help support future projects you can donate to Project Yosemite on their website (link on the upper right). I would love to see similar projects for more national parks, starting with Olympic National Park. All of the different landscapes of the park would make it a great project.