December 26, 2012

Design Feast Highlights of 2012

Like its predecessor, 2012 was charged with creativity. Here are the people, places and things that I enjoyed discovering and kept in mind yearlong:


Echoing my first highlight of 2011, I commend everyone who work hard to make ideas happen! The desire to make is, as Seth Godin put it, a desire to “Pick yourself.”


Photograph by Nate Burgos.

Founded by swissmiss, a.k.a. Tina Roth Eisenberg, CreativeMornings is “a free, monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types.” Can’t say it enough: CreativeMornings is my kind of design conference. It brought me back to the social fold of creatively engaged people with its spirited and succinct experience, rooted in celebrating local practitioners. Thanks go to Mig Reyes for establishing and leading the CreativeMornings chapter in Chicago, where I’ve been readily inspired to blog about each meet-up and compiled insights made by creative practitioners invited to present at CreativeMornings throughout its fab debut year.

Yoshi’s Blend

Directed, edited, and produced by Mackenzie Sheppard, this film incorporates strong elements of welcomed whimsy—from vinyl records and big-band music to crooning vocals and vintage coffee grinders. The film focuses on Yoshi Masuda, who shares his coffee enthusiasm with people directly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The result? Niche is therapy. Its effect, to use a phrase from Masuda, is “stronger than a tsunami.”

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

I recently discovered Dr. Tyson, a beautiful mind. Stephen Colbert’s 2010 interview with him at Montclair Kimberley Academy was my first exposure to Tyson’s brilliance, expressed in a plainspoken manner. His 2012 testimony to the Senate Science Committee (above) gives many of his eloquent persuasions: to intensify dreaming-and-doing toward a “better tomorrow,” to build on past “seeds of innovation.”

In his interview with James Lipton, actor Jamie Foxx defined a “player” as a “mover and shaker of culture.” Dr. Tyson clearly fits this description. His talks offer an important reminder to a very tough challenge: being oblivious is easy, yet being mindful—especially when it comes to the building blocks of history—is hard.

Drawings by brothers Tom and James Hancock

Photograph by Tom and James Hancock

Born this month in 1879, painter and Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee expressed, “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Brothers Tom and James Hancock (above), who were born four years apart, walk together by drawing together. Tom has Downs Syndrome, and together with James, they have long made it a habit to draw as a duo. They reciprocate each other’s creative marks on paper, one dot and one mark, at a time.

Dunwich Type Founders
and The Lost Type Co-Op

Image by Dunwich Type Founders

At first glance, I took to the bold and upfront character of Recovery, a typeface designed by James Puckett of Dunwich Type Founders in New York. His other typefaces designs are rooted in American typography from the Reconstruction Era, Gilded Age and Progressive Era of U.S. history. Recovery is a sign of the times. James also maintains an impressive blog of lettering matter called Daily Type Specimen.

Celebrating diverse historical and regional lettering, the Lost Type Co-Op also offers a splendid portfolio of typeface designs, including Abraham Lincoln (suitable for Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film about the 15th U. S. President) designed by Frances MacLeod, and Airplane (suitable for Robert Zemeckis’s 2012 film Flight) designed by Kady Jesko. For a current project, I was steered toward Haystack, a typeface designed by Trevor Baum. Aligned to Dunwich Type Founders, the Lost Type Co-Op is an excellent showcase of unique lettering informed and driven by many sources of typographic motivation.

Of course, this list is incomplete. What are your Design-related Highlights of 2012?

As you recall your highlights: Thank you for visiting and reading. Have an excellent new year of picking yourself, to think and make!