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.

Sakugawa-friend-love-book-comic-social-media

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.

smith tower wedding website

 

I just came across images of the save the date wedding website we made for ourselves back in 2011–2012. Obviously, Riley and I love working together and we had a ton of fun creating the website and invitations for our wedding. Being designers, we both have a strong opinion about aesthetics. The overarching design was a BIG DEAL for us. Luckily, our combined ideas are better than our solo ones. (Side note: I recently read and article about dating a designer on Yoke, and was thinking I should do a follow up about designers dating designers.) We wanted a colorful wedding that was bold and expressed our excitement and joy. The ceremony was held during the day at the Washington Park Arboretum—The Pacific Connections Garden—a lovely section of the park surrounded by our nearest and dearest and an abundance of nature. The evening celebration was at the top of Smith Tower, which is pictured in the save the date website image above. The site was designed with playful parallax scrolling, and the fluffy pink clouds drifted across the screen in-and-out of the typography and images. It was elegant yet fun. I’ll try to get some good photos of our invitation design and post them this week!

My advice for anyone out there working on their own wedding graphics is to simply slow down and enjoy the process.

Book Cover


“Only by taking charge of your day-to-day can you truly make an impact in what matters most to you. I urge you to build a better routine by stepping outside of it, find your focus by rising above the constant cacophony, and sharpen your creative prowess by analyzing what really matters most when it comes to making your ideas happen.”
—Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance

Are you feeling what the Europeans call burnout? Finding yourself not getting enough accomplished each day? Or is your to-do list out of control? Reading this book will help you gain some perspective. It encourages you to take a step back and evaluate your productivity, your mindfulness, and delivers tips on how to work smarter.

The book, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series), is a compilation of essays from the rock stars of creativity—who are  just people who have learned how to work hard towards achieving their dreams. Each essay offers useful insights. They are not terribly in-depth, but a great quick read to help you ponder your own system of productivity. Some may strike you more than others. We are all different. We all need different strategies to bring about the best versions of ourselves. Seth Godin’s essay says it is simple:

The strategy is simple, I think. The strategy is to have a practice, and what it means to have a practice is to regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way.

The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.

The book is directed at creative types. But doesn’t all work contain some need for creativity? The insights in Manage Your Day-To-Day are applicable to anyone who works regularly, especially those of us who work at a desk or a computer. I think people working in the arts have a harder time with routine. I know I have always struggled with keeping a consistent schedule, which is something I have been striving for since our return from Europe. The insights in this book give me even more reasons and inspiration to be more structured with my time.

As adults—especially as entrepreneurs, business owners, and freelancers—we have complete control over how we choose to manage our time. Instead of embracing this control we use our time by responding and reacting to whatever comes our way: emails, client emergencies, facebook alerts, text messages, and whatever else demands our attention. The idea behind this book is to give the reader a toolkit for tackling the challenges of living in a work-world that is always on. We are always connected. Let’s all learn to work proactively, and focus our time on what really matters to us. Don’t let the little things suck away your potential to do big things.

One of the book’s most compelling points comes from Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun) who states that frequency is the secret to creative accomplishments. Here are some excerpts from her essay titled “Harnessing the Power of Frequency:”

We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently. Anthony Trollope, the nineteenth-century writer who managed to be a prolific novelist while also revolutionizing the British postal system, observed, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.” Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.

When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.

Step by step, you make your way forward. That’s why practices such as daily writing exercises or keeping a daily blog can be so helpful. You see yourself do the work, which shows you that you can do the work. Progress is reassuring and inspiring; panic and then despair set in when you find yourself getting nothing done day after day. One of the painful ironies of work life is that the anxiety of procrastination often makes people even less likely to buckle down in the future.

I have never thought about it that way, but how true. Just as work breeds more work, procrastination breeds more procrastination.

The book also speaks to the importance of unplugging, allowing time for walks and to daydream, to reconnect with nature, to get a good nights sleep, and to set time aside to make our own projects that are not client-driven. All of this is important in attaining a healthy life-work balance.

quotes-to-live-by
It is a beautiful book, clean design with large quotes inserted between each essay. An inspiring book to just flip through. The essays are short enough to finish one or two whenever you need a break. I know another distraction right? But it can be good to switch tasks, to let your mind ponder your current work challenges quietly in the background.

What tricks do you use to help yourself work even when you don’t feel like it? Do you disconnect regularly to allow yourself time to recharge?

This is the 1st book in the 99U book series. The 2nd is: Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career. The 3rd is Making an Impact and is scheduled to be published out in September 2014.

Good luck with finding and shaping your own creative routine and mastering your personal productivity!

snow covered street at night

The winter of 2013–2014 has been exceptionally harsh across the U.S. Here in Seattle, we are luck to have comparatively mild winters. So when it snows, it is special. We get excited. The city shuts down. People build snowmen, go sledding, and walk around taking pictures. Here’s the best photograph I found on flickr of our winter snowstorm. A nighttime view of a stunning snowy street. See more beautiful photography by vlad 54 on flickr.

Photo: © All Rights Reserved by vlad 54

conceptual large heart sculpture with big blue sky

 

Okay, I admit it. I am a sucker for public art and sentiment. This project—The Lovemark—captures both. If funded it will bring people from all over the world together in a celebration of LOVE. Good.Is said it right, “Quit the flowers and candy: Express your love in a monument.” Join their crowdfunding campaign to make it happen, by February 14th. It sure makes for a creative Valentine’s Day gift.

A portion of their funding will be donated to support an organization that aligns with the mission of V-Day: A global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

From the Lovemark Team:

The Idea
People throughout history, desiring to express their love, have left their love messages and love marks everywhere: carved in trees, written on benches, locked to a bridge.

So, we said we’d give everyone a unique canvas to write their own love message on, and leave their own love mark. The canvas we chose is a the love cube, where you can inscribe your own personal love message.

Then we gave the idea a twist. We’ll collect all the messages, written in different languages, inscribe them on the love cubes, and then use them as the building blocks to create a unique global monument of Love: The Lovemark! The world’s first crowdfunded monument to celebrate love!

The Architecture
The Lovemark will be an actual, physical architectural structure, built from top quality materials that have high corrosion resistance and strength in order to stand the test of time.

The Lovemark’s design has been created by European and US architects and is based on two discrete characteristics that blend harmonically: the robustness of a cube-shaped landmark and the softness and passion of a carved-out heart. Since the actual building blocks are the individual love cubes, the final dimensions of the Lovemark will depend on the number of people that participate.

Charity
We would like to use this campaign to share love with those less fortunate in their lives. Thus, we have chosen to raise awareness on a sensitive subject: Ending violence against women. While most of us celebrate our love on Valentine’s Day, there are so many people whose lives have been affected by the lack of it. The Lovemark, driven by the mission to help the less fortunate, was inspired by vday.org – “an organized response against violence toward women”, and fully subscribed to its 4 core beliefs:

  • Art has the power to transform thinking and inspire people to act
  • Lasting social and cultural change is spread by ordinary people doing extraordinary things
  • Local women best know what their communities need and can become unstoppable leaders
  • One must look at the intersection of race, class, and gender to understand violence against women

Our goal is to contribute to a charity organization with the above characteristics an amount that would depend on the total funds that we manage to raise. More specifically, we will donate $10,000 once we reach our goal plus $7,500 for every $100,000 raised then on. In addition to this amount, we’ll add $5 for every charity cube to the final donation!

Join me and hundreds of others in founding the Lovemark Monument. As a perk, we can vote on the city where we think it should be built. Watch the video to see how the monument will greet you when you go see it in person. Good luck Lovermarkers! I hope your dream becomes a reality.