That’s a long time.

The Englert Theatre is kicking off their Centennial Celebration with a series of events this fall here in Iowa City. Together we’re working on some materials to promote these shows that help mark their 100 years… and here are a couple posters from the first batch of goods! More to come.

Dragonfruit

We drove to Toronto a couple months ago with a group of friends so Heath could present a paper at this conference. We also ate dragonfruit at Karine’s in the best food court I’ve ever seen–which I was reminded of when I came across these food drawings from Erin Jang.

(that’s Christopher.)

Willem Henri Lucas

I’ve been admiring these posters from Willem Henri Lucas–the Chair of the Design Media Arts Department at UCLA:

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Otis College of Art and Design – 2007 Lecture Series


Romeo and Juliet

Dangers of Fracking

I’ve never seen a site or an infographic quite like this one before. Dangers of Fracking was designed and coded by Linda Dong on behalf of raising awareness for the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act)–requiring the energy industry to disclose all chemicals used in fracturing fluid as well as repeal fracking’s exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Linda created a one-page scrolling website–an interactive infographic which details, rather simply, the process of Hydraulic Fracturing. Some of her research photos from her personal site are below, but you really need to check out the website itself to get the whole picture.

New site!

Just got my new website up—and in the process completely deleted the past three years of blog posts. Ohhh, whaddya gonna do? I suppose I have some backups on my computer from a couple months ago, but instead of dealing with it, I’ll just start anew. So here’s the new home to… whatever it is that I post. But more importantly, take a peek at the new work at the same home when you have a chance.

Kristina Gill

Kristina Gill is a photographer and editor of In The Kitchen With on DesignSponge. She’s from Nashville, is currently living in Rome, and takes ridiculously tasty photos (hm, a bit of a resemblance to the 3191 shot from last post, ey?). Anyway—nyom.

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a little more like this… yes!

More & Co. = a studio in Portland, Maine, comprised of Christopher David Ryan, Ryan Thomas Shimala, and Maria Alexandra Vettese who do the following: Art Direction + Concept; Book Design + Publishing; Casting + Styling; Design + Branding; Doodles + Drawings; Insight + Strategy; Photography + Video Production; Web + Social Media

::deep breath::  got that?

Maria Alexandra Vettese is also half of 3191 Miles Apart, a project/site that I’ve posted about a couple years ago, because I’m in love with it. Check out the site for more photos like this:

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but the short of it is, that Maria and Stephanie Congdon Barnes live 3191 miles apart, and they have found a way since meeting online in 2005 to stay connected via this site in some fashion. They started with A Year of Mornings, taking a photo each day in their respective location and then pairing it together, without any planning, as a diptych. This and other projects helped grow their budding friendship “based on a shared love of art and craft, simple things and a well-lived domestic life.” Lovely stuff.

SO. I keep checking back in periodically with More & Co. who not only do great work, but also keep an active blog that maintains the same great photography approach that I love about 3191. And man, if these shots don’t make you crave to be in a studio with people you adore doing work you love…

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Another year…

It’s been a while since I wrote on here… usually it’s more of a quick post, an inspiration find. But. I’m about to get reflective, people. Brace yourself.

Yesterday was my birthday which included a relaxing morning and then an unfortunate all-night work affair. Then h brought me home cheesecake after his class. So that was not bad.

I did some early a.m. thinking, though… not necessarily because it was my birthday, but because (at least the morning) was a very welcome break in the past couple weeks of non-stop work. I’m feeling super fortunate these days to have a steady flow of projects coming in. As expected in moving to a new place where you have zero contacts—starting off as a freelancer was pretty darn slow. Slow enough where I had to get a super lame part-time job so I could fund my eating and drinking and breathing habit. Luckily, that gig was fairly short-lived and it’s been pretty steady ever since. A year and a half in, and I’m feeling settled. Initially, the draw to freelancing was due in large part to my frustration from my last full-time job, where I wasn’t crazy about the type of work I was doing and who I was doing it for. And you know what you can’t really say when a project lands on your desk?

“I don’t want to do that for them.”

So you do it. And you grimace and daydream about greener pastures. And forget what a treat it is to get a decent paycheck consistently every 2 weeks, but that doesn’t really matter anymore, because dammit, you’ve seen the dark side of yourself and now you’re bitter all the time. sigh…

Then when I started getting work here on my own, I still couldn’t really say no because I never knew if that was going to be the last time someone was going to ask me for work… ever. So I said yes to everything. (Really, a brilliant form of time/schedule management.) And now? I’m officially able to turn things down. It’s pretty amazing. I love deciding what my workday will look like. I’m the healthiest I’ve been since… I’m not sure. We cook better than we ever have—meaning we eat better than we have. And to boot I’ve been consistently working out since we moved. (It’s ridiculously easier to do this when you decide you want to work out at 9. Or noon. Or 3.) I’m starting to get more projects that I’m super excited about… including a couple book projects on the horizon which is the best news.

However. With that glowing review of my freelance life out of the way… I really miss working with people! I have a handful of great clients that I really enjoy visiting and working with… but I miss my fellow designers. I miss the great collaboration that comes with fellow designers. Years ago in school, I had a perfect partnership with my friend Clint while working on Ninth Letter. After school, we moved to Chicago, competed for a single job opening, and ended up at different agencies. One day he was biking home from work and was doored by a car—a battle he so very, very, unfortunately lost. This post isn’t about that heartbreak (and tragedy, and bike safety, and driver safety, and…) though. It’s about relationships that have magic. Clint and I, we always said we’d start our own studio one day down the road, and I can’t help but keep thinking about that. I really loved the designers I worked 9-5 with, but Clint and I felt in sync. Something clicked. And I guess that’s rather rare. Here in Iowa City, not only are there fewer designers than back in the city, but I don’t feel like I align with those I’ve met or seen—design-wise or otherwise.

I’ve had grad school in the back of my mind the past couple years, and that desire has grown as of late. After h finishes his MFA, we’re outta here, and I’m ready and hungry to find a new design community. One that’s excited to push and pull and struggle and ask questions of Design that people aren’t asking in the workplace. I can see myself doing the small business thing for years… but not so sure if I’m interested in doing it solo for the rest of my years. Er… I’m not interested in doing it solo for the rest of my years.

In summary? Good past year. Great past year, actually. Proud of myself for surviving and doing work that I’m happier with than the old days. But not as doe-eyed and in love with the idea of a solo freelance gig as I was a year ago. I can anticipate the changes ahead in a couple years and am already excited.

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Summer! End scene.

What? August is almost over? Gee whiz.

The good news is that I got a little bit of traveling in this time around—meeting my nephew (adorable) who is also in the Midwest, and then headed south with h’s family for some beach/pool time (see above photo. sigh.). Not too shabby. Now, however, is the challenge of how not to get distracted by thoughts of the next trip when I have a ton of work to do? Coming back to the mountain of to-dos post-vacay can be a bit difficult. I spent a lot of time internally grumbling and moving my hands as fast as I could while my mind dragged. But what helps get me back in work mode is taking a break (ironically) and perusing the ol’ inspiration pile and blogosphere. Here’s a handful of visual stimulation that are inspiring me not to give up and go on perpetual vacation.

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A Friend of Mine

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Alana McCann and Kathryn Fabrizio

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Crooked Modern

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Elvind Molvaer

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Mark Adamson

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Multistorey

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Rumors

The Evolution of a Book Cover

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Grace Bonney of the blog Design*Sponge recently finished her book titled Design*Sponge at Home—designed by the amazing folks at ALSO. Below is a video to show the book’s overview, and you can read more about it here.

She also just did a post about the design process for the book cover. I absolutely love seeing the behind-the-scenes look at these… what worked, what didn’t, and of course—being reminded once again just how much work goes into finding the right fit and blend of form + function.

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