When I was a kid in New Jersey we had six channels to watch: the three main networks, the Fox affiliate (FOX 5, before it was Nazis, home of the Godzilla creature feature at Halloween and It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmas), Channel 29 (home of Star Blazers and M*A*S*H reruns), and PBS. One day I caught a show on PBS that had a guy dressed in odd pseudo-military clothing who taught kids how to draw, and the first time I saw it I was VERY interested in watching the rest of the shows. Unfortunately it never followed a schedule that made any sense and so I wound up only seeing a handful of episodes.

Fast forward to college, when my friend Tim and I were talking about random stuff and shared a common memory from youth: the drawing show on PBS. Turns out it was produced here in Maryland by MPT, and turns out he was a guest on the show as a kid for one of the episodes!

Fast forward to last night,when the same subject came up and I was talking about it with my sister-in-law. I had to find it, and the Internet provided: a series called Secret City, where the host tought kids to draw all kinds of different things. Enjoy:

Date posted: April 24, 2023 | Filed under art/design, entertainment, general | Leave a Comment »

This is a lovely rememberance of the hugely influential graphic designer/printmaker David Lance Goines, someone we studied in art school for both subjects. His was a singular visual voice, and he had a passion for typography (as most printmakers do).

Date posted: March 13, 2023 | Filed under art/design, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

McSweeney’s on Roald Dahl’s books being censored years after his death. Many F-bombs, but all of them are worth it. Here’s the best part:

Here’s how art is supposed to work: Someone writes a book. They write it with passion, with abandon, with honesty and lyricism and even a bit of recklessness. It is of their time, using the words of their time.

Readers respond to this recklessness, this abandon, this rawness, this timeliness. The only books that ever mattered to anyone are raw, are unbridled, are risky, and timely. Then, if a parent or teacher reads the book to a kid, and there’s a part that’s risky or controversial, discussions can be had. If the book is old, then the words and sentiments of that time can be taken into account.

It’s not hard.

That is how we fucking learn.


Date posted: March 12, 2023 | Filed under art/design, politics, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Font nerd alert: Fontsinuse.com does archeological digs on interesting fonts in the wild; there’s a blog with deep dives on subjects like the font used on the original printings of the Dune series (a modified version of a font offered by one phototypesetting shop in New York City) and the origins of the SEGA logo.

Date posted: March 1, 2023 | Filed under art/design, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Long ago in 1995 I was watching MTV while making my dinner and saw a clip featuring a scruffy-looking Portland band playing a killer song. I just happened to have a copy of the City Paper and saw that they were playing the 8×10 on a weeknight, so naturally I roped my roommates into going down and seeing the show, where we all had a great time and I bought a copy of the CD and a T-shirt. Any resemblance to my dog’s current name is purely coincidental. But this song rips.

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My friend Rosie, who I hired at WRI and subsequently got hired away by the Wall Street Journal, had her very first byline last week, a story on coaching trees in the NFL. Yay Rosie!

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Here’s some new tasty font goodness from an old-school design/web hero of mine: Dan Cederholm put up a storefront with some excellent display fonts and design-nerd merch.

Date posted: January 18, 2023 | Filed under art/design, friends, music | Leave a Comment »

When we were in New York before Christmas, one of the things we showed Finn on our way past Madison Square Garden was the big sign on the corner of 7th Avenue and 33rd Street where I’d designed the billboard for Deutsche Bank back in the day. It was blocked by scaffolding when we walked past—we kind of had to point around all the construction to show her—but I think she understood the scale of the thing.

Over the weekend, while trying to replace a power strip behind our office cabinet, I found a couple of Addy programs from 2009 that had fallen behind other books. Figuring we’d saved it for one of Jen’s projects, I thumbed through it and suddenly remembered that we’d won Silver and Gold Addys for that campaign. I don’t see anyplace on my LinkedIn profile to add awards…

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In the meantime, I’m about 75 passwords in to a migration away from LastPass and into Keychain. I’m doing it manually because I don’t want to go through Chrome to convert everything, and also because I have to change all the passwords out anyway. And having used LastPass for 7+ years, I have a lot of old records that I haven’t used in years that I’m happy to delete. It’s a slog but I’m telling myself it’ll be worth it.

Date posted: January 4, 2023 | Filed under art/design, geek | Leave a Comment »

I just zipped up and sent off a W9 and an invoice for my second freelance gig of the year, which feels oddly comforting. I used to do a ton of freelance work, sometimes where it doubled my yearly income, and since it’s tailed off, not having a steady stream on the side has made me (uneasy? sad? nostalgic?) For about twenty years it was primarily front-end web consulting, and as that industry commodified, and as I got burned out doing it every day, I let my skills lapse while focusing on family and a job I really believed in. While not having work to do at night is nice—it’s good to have that time back—I miss the extra income and hustle it brought, even when it cut into my sleep or weekends.

So it was with happiness that I took on a simple illustration job a few weeks back, something I was able to knock out in an evening, and more recently a design gig, flowing a French translation into an existing document. I’ve done a lot more InDesign work in the last ten years to the point where I’m fluent again, so this kind of stuff is an easy way to make a buck. Having very nice clients to work with is a bonus.

Date posted: April 18, 2022 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

It’s December, so the interwebs are full of Best-Of lists for music by bands I’ve never heard of and TV shows I’ve never seen. Some sites are predictably more niche than others; I think I know three of the top 20 artists on the Pitchfork list, while Stereogum’s list is roughly 50/50 familiar, and Turnstile is their #2 pick. Last week during work everyone shared their Spotify Wrapped playlists, which I also don’t get to see because I’m still using the unpaid version. StatsforSpotify tells me that tracks from Deafheaven, Taylor Swift (I binged Shake It Off last month) Mayer Hawthorne, Hybrid, and Boards of Canada were my top ten from the last six months but I can’t see the yearly list—I’d bet it would skew wildly in a different direction.

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I get a lot of special offers for custom printing every week due to my job, and it’s always fun to take advantage of a good deal. My sticker company sent me an offer for a $9 color printed shirt with free shipping, so I whacked together a version of the Old Line State Binders logo for a black shirt and sent it in. I’ve wanted to do that shirt for a long time anyway. The offers pop up in my social media feed too: I clicked on an Instagram sticker ad the other day, and suddenly sticker ads took over my whole feed. Avery is running a special on 10 vinyl stickers for $10 at any size, so I cobbled together a simple version of the Peer Pressure shirt design and ordered a set of 4″ stickers. If they turn out nice, I’ll use those as my calling card and start trading stickers around with other Scout nerds.

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Our plans for snowboarding are on hold for the time being; Whitetail isn’t open as early as last year (or I’m not remembering the dates clearly) so we’ve got to reschedule. My guess is that we’ll do it in January at some point. I have to do some research into what weekdays are quietest so that we can maximize our visit. I don’t want to wait all the way until March, but I’d like more than one trip this season if we can swing it.

Date posted: December 7, 2021 | Filed under art/design, music | Leave a Comment »

I opened a document in InDesign this afternoon and was greeted with an alert that says Adobe is not supporting Type 1 fonts after December of 2023 (and Photoshop after December of 2021). Type 1 fonts are the OG PostScript fonts that date back to the earliest B/W Macs and laser printers; woe be unto the designer who didn’t package their fonts with their print job. In the early days fonts were hoarded jealously by any designer worth their salt—expensive, trendy, and sometimes impossible to categorize. I have a bootleg CD-R given to me by a friend, containing a big design studio’s collection organized roughly into typographer’s classifications by (I assume) some poor intern in 1999 or so. 80% of those fonts are Type 1, I’d guess. I made an effort to convert them all to OpenType using a commercial program in 2012, so I’m not on the wrong side of technology, but I expect this is going to become An Issue in the coming year as we weed the old fonts out of our workflows. Hooray.

Date posted: November 10, 2021 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

That’s better. I’m going to dirty it up a little more—the vibe I’m going for is distressed matchbook printing from the 1950’s.

Date posted: November 9, 2021 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »