the art of the letter

the art of the letter doyald young
[the art of the letter, doyald young]

it’s been nearly a month since doyald young passed away. i’ve found myself thinking about him, about the amazing work he did, and what a nice guy he was. earlier this month, mohawk paper offered to ship a book they did with him awhile back, the art of the letter, for free, so for the cost of shipping i didn’t hesitate. you may still be able to order one following the link in this post.

hotel east 21 tokyo logo
[hotel east 21 logo study]

i met doyald at my first design job, working in a service bureau on the studio city / hollywood border. i hadn’t started there with a design career in mind, but after a few years of seeing so much work from all over LA, i was compelled to make it my own. doyald was a regular customer, but i had no real concept of his legacy. he was just this really nice guy who always seemed to be tweaking the prudential stationery, ordering one sheet of paper or film with each visit, which seemed like a relatively small project compared to the 4-color ads and full book layouts that came through the shop. i remember thinking it was cool that he was still working past retirement age.

as i learned more and moved up, i landed a design position at a company with an employee education budget, so i joined AIGA and started going to events and conferences. at one of the early Y-design conferences with the san diego chapter, doyald gave a presentation of his hand-drawn logotypes and letterforms, and it utterly blew my mind. all those years i had known him as a nice, grandfatherly gentleman, but had no idea i was talking to one of the most amazing talents in graphic design. i bought all his books from the shop and asked him to sign them. i remember gushing somewhat apologetically that i hadn’t realized who he was. but this was bound to happen, after all, he was a modest guy and i was 19 & not formally educated in design just yet.

imagine the possibilities

book of small achievements, 2011

book of small achievements 2011

i was just marveling last week about how jam-packed january has been on all fronts: between work and social events, and just the sheer variety of it all. somewhere between realizing i hadn’t cataloged my ever-growing list of guest-blog posts and this lingering feeling after recapping my retreat about how you can never really remember all the great things you did, i got to this point where i realized i needed somewhere to keep track of the smaller steps that lead to the bigger ones. i got the idea of making a book like this as a gift, because it can’t just be me who would like a cheering section in the form of a diary of gold star moments, but i figured i’d try it out first.

enter these fantastic scout books people have been making. luke mysse gave me one of the promotional ones he made back when we spent the day coworking. i’ve gotten a few from friends in the meantime, so rather than archive these as keepsakes [as i do with way too many things] i counted the pages and figured there’s a front & back for each month with room for extra. great! i got out a pen and re-learned once again that, without practice, my handwriting will always be terrible.

book of small achievements, january 2011

i wrote out everything i felt noteworthy and proud of for january, and a couple that got started for february this week. these are usually cool, new things i wasn’t doing before, or opportunities i feel lucky about, milestones with clients, or milestones on my own goals. getting it all down on paper made me happy about this idea all over again, so i’m going to keep the book at my desk and update it whenever i’m feeling good about something i did, or circumstances that go my way, or any time i realize hey, progress has happened!

oh, and see that “updated web content” item on the february list? i did finally catalog the guest-blogging, and never would have imagined this would have happened in 6 months, most of it in the last 3!

how about you, anyone else do something like this? i think it’s going to really help, come year-end assessment time. and before that, it will help anytime i’m having an off day of business pms.

creative inspiration

Thanks Getting: how to ask for a testimonial from Dyana Valentine on Vimeo. one of the great things that can happen during co-working: one person asks a question, another person has a great idea for an answer, and a third person [me] is there to hold the camera! read dyana’s entire post, thanks-getting, for!


designworklife gift guide
this is a little bit typography & a little bit holiday. is working out gift guides for 2010, and i really loved this typography-themed selection, including yarn-wrapped letters, the OMFG journal, a very affordable letterpress print, and even a letterpress t-shirt.


book wreath
[image: living with lindsay]
a little bit holiday & a little bit diy. despite a lack of religion, i do like the hanging of decorative wreaths during the holidays. i’ve tried like the dickens [well, not the dickens] to get this succulent wreath to work, but it doesn’t look anything like the ones you can buy. i might try making something interesting out of the eucalyptus & peruvian pepper in the park, but if you’ve got crafting on the brain for unexpected holiday ornaments with a handmade touch, offers: craft with what you already have: 10 diy wreaths.

design industry

emigre no. 70
a little bit design industry & a little bit typography, and a LOT of good old émigré! i don’t know about you, but i’ve still got a collection of the free quarterlies they sent out in the 90s that i treasured from the moment of arrival, so cool & so fun. i’m interested to take an hour or a week looking through this one. take a nice preview here: emigre 70: the look back issue.

i really liked this one from building your design business: promotion, and not because i’ve done almost everything on their suggested actions list, either. the giving aspect is what i see in my favorite companies, partners & colleagues, and it’s what i look for in collaborators. promotion isn’t about banging people over the head [i’ll try to remember this in my daily tweets & facebook bombardments], it’s about being cool.

another greatly supportive piece from biz ladies: establishing relationships with advisors. it’s so important to have mentors and trusted confidants you can bounce ideas off and get advice. if you haven’t cultivated a circle for yourself, they’ll show you how to get started.

let’s get realistic here, it’s the holiday season, and i’ve already started hearing about the difficulties with work-life balance, and it only gets harder this time of year. wants to help: six dilemmas that freelancers face over the holidays.

beyond design

wine: is this design or wine or beyond design & wine? sf moma has this amazing show through april, and fastco design wrote up a preview: how wine became a billion dollar high-brow hobby. i’m definitely going to have to make a beeline for it on my next trip up north.

food: anchovy haters, step aside! when i saw this recipe i fell in love. i can picture what it tastes like, and i’m going to make it with my last slice of puff pastry in the freezer: pissaladières [onion & anchovy tarts].

los angeles: it’s a little bit food, a little bit los angeles, and mostly the first in a series about seasonal eating for seasonal eats: persimmons.

fashion: do i write about fashion? no! but i aspire to some of it, and when i read some good, applicable stuff, i want to share it. nubby twiglet just fine-tuned her closet in this extremely virgo way i totally get on an astrological level. it’s sensible, utilitarian, and she has amazing shoes!

diy projects for dog lovers: the dog-friendly home

DIY projects for dog lovers

a fun project from quayside publishing, perfect for the active DIY dog owner, diy projects for dog lovers: the dog-friendly home by ruth strother, shows you how to make all kinds of dog houses, dog beds, agility structures and accessories for your beloved canine friend. i’ve been working in a dog-friendly office a few days per week, and all my designer, dog-loving co-workers have been asking about it. this book is super-cute and has something for anyone with a dog.

creative inspiration


landfit logo
this logo for a gardening matchmaking service is really appealing to those of us who love gardening. and i love the concept, a service that pairs people who want to garden but have no land with those who have land & want a garden, but don’t want to do it. brilliant!


ferocious quarterly
[image: ferocious quarterly]
announcements of a new publication, ferocious quarterly, have been posted in a few design communities. from their site: Ferocious is a curated, quarterly publication that collects illustrators, graphic artists, short fiction authors and written text. indeed! thanks how magazine for the link.

parse is a new blog project from how magazine, aiming to make sense of issues and information relevant to design practitioners. check it out!

this just in from the design review of books, a review of jost hochuli, detail in typography.

design industry

take a spin through the annals of design history: graphic design through the decades series: the 70s, from

if you’re a creative professional in need of some marketing mentoring, ilise benun’s marketing groups are about to kick off for fall. join the track that’s right for you and get one-on-one help from a creative industry marketing pro: marketing mentor’s advanced marketing groups.

another great installment from design*sponge: biz ladies: using a blog to grow your business.


some interesting looks at labor day, what it’s not currently, and what it could be. labor day is almost meaningless now. we can change that, by steve mccallion for With an increasing belief that socioeconomic mobility is now less possible in the US than in other countries, Labor Day has the potential to reclaim some of its initial promise — a celebration of American labor and an inspiration to the American worker.

another look includes what ever happened to labor, by seth godin: In a world where labor does exactly what it’s told to do, it will be devalued. Obedience is easily replaced, and thus one worker is as good as another. And devalued labor will be replaced by machines or cheaper alternatives. We say we want insightful and brilliant teachers, but then we insist they do their labor precisely according to a manual invented by a committee…

creative inspiration


maps everywhere
[image: from here to there on]
i may have mentioned, even yesterday, that i love maps of all kinds. enter this gem maps, maps everywhere! from print magazine and now i not only know there’s a new book on hand-drawn maps, from here to there, i know there is a hand-drawn map association, which puts me over the moon! [don’t worry, i can map it for you.]

six novels in woodcuts
[image: how design blog]
a 2-volume set of six novels told in woodcuts doesn’t need much more explanation, but the idea that lind ward chose to create this body of work is pretty unbelievable: wordless novel, from how design blog.


recherche script by laura worthington
laura worthington creates beautiful original script fonts for, and this month she talks about design and hand-drawn type here: creative characters: laura worthington.

design industry

if there ever came a time to redesign american currency, there would be endless ideas abounding everywhere, it’s an interesting proposition. utne reader pointed me to this piece dowling duncan redesign: US bank notes in which a really cool set of US bills have been revised with a modern twist and more of a spin on our history of achievement rather than leaders.

following up from last week’s piece on buying design, mule is back with presenting design like you get paid for it outlines all the best points on how, why & when to present your work.

biz ladies: promoting your business tastefully online, another infinitely helpful how-to from

little lies and small promises, from seth godin is a nice reminder about how your work ethic can be a slippery slope.

international freelancer’s day is coming up in september, with a free online conference especially for solopreneurs!


lab still by don shank
[image: don shank]
print magazine’s imprint blog got it right when they said i may not know don shank by name, but i know his work. i’ve actually been a longtime fan of his animation for samurai jack and the powerpuff girls, so it’s not surprising that a spin through his prints and original work have already set off an imaginary wish list. i love this stuff!

assembling california by john mcphee

assembling california by john mcphee, front cover

my mom and i decided to see what was happening on the boulevard for atwater summer nights, and part of our stroll included a visit to alias books, a relatively new addition to the neighborhood that all my bibliophile friends are talking about [we even ran into one of them there that very night].

i am always confronted with a challenge in any book store, because 1 of a few things take over. either i shut down because i have already owned [and systematically let go of] so many books, or i want to buy everything that appeals to me because some kind of voracious collect all inspiring print matter book designer’s panic kicks in.

i have a complicated system for dealing with this, which has largely been to focus on a few things i’m allowed to collect. one of those is books on los angeles and california, of which i never tire. we have a whole shelf dedicated to books about california: travel, photos, history, hikes, national parks, essays and critical writing. so i found the california shelf and sure enough there were books on caves and wild plants and mining towns, all of which could not exactly come home with me.

assembling california by john mcphee, title

BUT! look at this one i settled on. thanks to my dad, i’ve already been reading some john mcphee, so i was able to doubly justify the purchase by an author of interest. his writing is intensely narrative while largely being non-fiction, and lots of it is about my homeland. the cover design is striking though, and not just because i love maps [don’t get me started on the copious map collection]. the design sits in this sweet spot between historic document, municipal information device, and frontier settler’s hand-kept ledger. it’s downright endearing.

assembling california by john mcphee, inside front cover

the design credit goes to cynthia krupat, about whom i can find relatively little information, despite much lauding of her setting the precedent for certain styles in book design. though there is this: how harry ford and cynthia krupat defined poetry book design for an era, from and she is credited in some of the publisher’s archives for whom she did design work. i wish she had a web site!

for the record, i’m really looking forward to actually reading this book as well, but i must admit, the first thing it got was a photo shoot.

assembling california by john mcphee, spine

beyond design

kitties! & puppies! eating melon fruit pops!

los angeles

looking for a good beach day or 5 before the summer is over? let los angeles magazine help you, they love that stuff: a day at the beach.

another feature i hadn’t noticed before, los angeles magazine has a monthly run-down on area-specific reading. i’m a sucker for books about my city, this is definitely something to consult when i need my LA fix: LA reading list: LA authors. LA topics. august ’10 list


roasted red pepper gazpacho
[image: luna cafe]
as someone who loves both roasted peppers and gazpacho, i wanted to share this recipe from cafe luna roasted red pepper gazpacho linked from saveur. check the links in the article, she describes some other pretty outstanding gazpacho ideas!

i’ve seen eggplants popping up here & there at the farmer’s market, which means we’re ready for fantastic eggplant recipes. caponata with capers, from la cucina italiana sounds amazing!

it never occurred to me to throw tomato leaves into my tomato dishes for more intense flavor, but the kitchn links to some articles that say the chemical in the leaves enhance the tomato flavor, and they’re safe to eat: fresh tip: use tomato leaves to boost flavor.

i liked to a great recipe for fennel liqueur awhile back, and i’ve been seeing the blooming flowers all over LA lately. here’s some more encouragement from the kitchn to go out and harvest some of your own: summer foraging: fennel pollen.

michelle obama is still working hard to get her child nutrition bill past, i’m glad she’s been relentless about this! & thanks to serious eats for the link: michelle obama urges congress to pass child nutrition bill.


herbal sun teas
[image: design sponge]
this is such an awesome idea from design sponge: small measures with ashley: herbal sun teas & simple syrups! if you’re growing herbs outside or pick them up periodically for cooking, consider making some of these unique teas.

beyond design


zucchini ribbon salad
[image: emily ho]
if you’re growing zucchini this year, you’ve been enjoying the first fruits of your labor in the last few weeks. zucchini plants are huge producers, so you’ll want to stay creative with how you enjoy them. thanks to emily ho, <a href=" offers 15 recipes for zucchini, summer squash, pattypan & more!

just to drive the point home about how much of a non-food twinkies are, take a spin through dwight eschliman’s 37 or so ingredients, in which he photographs a sample of each ingredient that goes into a twinkie in its natural state. not surprisingly they are mostly powder and sugar, and not-at-all appetizing.


big parade LA
[image: alyssa walker]
i was so sorry to miss big parade LA [for the love of being out of town], but alyssa walker provides excellent coverage on 100 staircases, 35 miles, 2 days, and too many friends to count. i’m definitely going to do it next year!

things are changing in los angeles! spotlights 3 ways public opinion has shaped transportation development in checklist: how you can shape the future of los angeles!


this book of homemade beauty concoctions sounds like it’s right up my alley! book review: do it gorgeously—look good and live well on the cheap, reviewed by is all about making your own diy beauty products with natural ingredients. i may have to pick up a copy of this one!