What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Friday Edition

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Prepare For Lift-Off

One Small Step for Notebooks

The Summer release from Field Notes is the "Three Missions" Edition, celebrating American space flight and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Programs. So of course we needed to have a mission of our own. NASA has Cape Canaveral. We have Manchester, Iowa.

A Six Tone Scale

True to the Blobbiness

We've long-admired the dynamism of a mural that is hangs on the north side of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, on Ashland Avenue. Once we renovated and moved into our new studio space, we decided to track down who was responsible, with the idea of doing something similar for our main work space. The artists, Gwendolyn Zabicki and Kent Smith, were up for the idea, and also for us filming them painting the 12' x 8', 3-panel artwork. Thanks a million to them.

Ten Years of Field Notes

Origin Stories

Ten years ago we started Field Notes. Here's some background. Aaron talking about where the original idea came from and the history of American agricultural design. Jim on the mechanics of moving from working for clients to inventing one. Whet Moser's recent piece for Chicago Magazine and how we got here.

An Adventure of a 2-Pack

Meet Haxley

During October, Chicago Illustrator and poster-maker Jay Ryan set himself a goal of creating one small ink illustration each day. These drawings revealed a story about a bear and his squirrel neighbors. We followed Jay's progress and found the drawings irresistible. We knew that they'd look great in a special Field Notes edition. We hope you agree.

The 14th Tournament of Books

A Literary
Cage Match

Once again, our Field Notes was the title sponsor of The Morning News Tournament of Books. If you're not familiar with the ToB, you'll want to read this Brief History of the Tournament of Books, by Angela Chen. "You can't kill the Rooster"

We've made a small batch of special manila-kraft Memo Books, with the ToB mascot on the cover and a checklist of the tournament books on the inside. Buy one of these for $3 and we'll add $3 of our own, and then donate $6 to 826 National, a seven-chapter network that provides under-resourced students, ages 6-18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. This year, we raised over $10,000 for 826. You guys rock.

New From Field Notes


We're proud of the short film (spot?) we made for a product partnership with the unstoppable Bellroy from Australia. Check out the new Everyday Inspiration, custom, compact leather cover.

Thanks to Big Delicious Planet for inviting us into their Canteen for the location, and to Spencer Tweedy for letting us use his song "Temple State" on the track. It's in heavy rotation at HQ currently.

One From Way Way Back

How Do You Spell Courage?

A lot has changed around here since 2005: waistlines, hairlines, fashions, a big new studio, and new businesses to fill it with. Here's a Throwback for Thursday, in beautiful standard definition. The production values might leave a little to be desired, and the "new Canadian restaurant" in the neighborhood may have closed, but the film itself actually holds up. Sort of. Presenting Copy Goes Here.

You Can Count On Change

That’s a Wrap

After a long, successful run, we're shutting down our advertising network, The Deck. Jim posted about the decision and the details at the Deck site. John Gruber was one of the network's very first affiliates. John published a way-too-generous piece about The Deck at Daring Fireball. Thanks for that, and to all the affiliates, advertisers and readers who supported the network over the years.

Last year we moved into a new studio in Chicago, and in the back, near where we do screen-printing and other messy stuff, there's a shelf for projects we made, operated and eventually, shut down. We'll make some room for The Deck there, right next to Jewelboxing, The Seed Conference and The Show. We haven't stashed away Layer Tennis just yet, but who knows? Anyhow, as always, we're scheming about the future. And, of course, we're making these notebooks.

Choose to Go to the Moon

Over the Moon

It's not quite like faking the moon landing, but the film we made for the release of our Field Notes Quarterly Edition Lunacy, was made entirely using the same sort of practical, analog effects that you'd need to employ if you were going to stage that event, back in the day. So fun. So messy. BTW: The Lunacy Edition is now sold out.

Moco Fun at the new HQ

We Go Round in Circles

Steve bought a cool motion-control rig. We wanted to make some sort of recap the Field Notes Quarterly Editions from 2016. So we made this film. Added bonus, it provides a nice view of the new HQ.

JC at Creative Mornings

What Are You
Afraid Of?

Here's Jim's presentation from the inaugural edition of Chicago Creative Mornings. Thanks to Tina, Mig, Gravity Tank and everyone who showed up.

Guest Editors

Helpful and
Mostly Polite

A list of all the brilliant people who have helped us by guest editing Fresh Signals can be found here.

Other recent features are listed on Page Two.

Fresh Signals

"I thought it was a nice accident so I kept it." The Cindy Sherman "Oops" Pool Float. bb-yesterday

Ice Cube celebrates Charles and Ray Eames. bb-yesterday

Across the United States, run-down motels and motor lodges from the 1950s and 1960s are being given a new lease of life as contemporary hotels and guesthouses. dw-yesterday

Cutoutmix is a free open platform to provide new inspirational cutouts for the design industry. dw-08.15

Moon, Mars, and Milky Way ms-08.15

It's just like working at Kuma's: play Burger Time and a bunch of other '80s video games. bb-08.14

Heads up BB, buying this for the office, Harry Potter Ultimate Trivial Pursuit. ms-08.14

Wormholes explained. dw-08.13

Growing Things: A Film Lesson in "Nature Study" (1928). dw-08.10

NASA's 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge. So cool. jc-08.10

The Liebian International Building in Guiyang, China incorporates a dramatic 350 foot waterfall on the facade. dw-08.09

Wander. Roam. Replicate. dw-08.09

"There is a sense of brazenness to unintentionally bad art-it embodies desire gone awry. And being able to enjoy ugly art isn't simply about making fun of it. It's also about being able to sit in discomfort and recognize mistakes. Ugly art demands a sense of looseness; it asks you to dip into a slippery state of mind where you can hold multiple beliefs simultaneously. The piece can be both ugly and unappealing, and it can also delight and appeal for those very reasons. ms-08.03

Local note. Chicago's Gangland 1923-26, beautifully mapped. jc-08.03

It's been quite a while since we checked in on good ol' reliable John. He enjoyed a pint of Yakima Grande at Conwy in Gwynedd, Wales the other night. That's 17,085 pints since May of 1995, but who's counting? jc-08.03

So you know, it's International Beer Day. Cheers. ms-08.03

"Nan Davis, there to represent several women's clubs, asked for permission to address the committee. "If the men of Chicago want to take the hatpins away from us, let them make the streets safe," she said. "No man has a right to tell me how I shall dress and what I shall wear." ms-08.02

Stunning trailer for the Barry Jenkins' film If Beale Street Could Talk. ms-08.02

A brief excerpt from Parker Posey's autobiography You're On An Airplane. BRB, headed to the book store now........ ms-08.02

Trailer for Anthropocene. dw-08.01

1988 in pictures. jc-08.01

Like a... jc-08.01

Your daily dose of Reg Presley on a train: Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba. bb-08.01

"Ever had a holiday that wasn't your cup of tea? Bored Tourists is a photo series and new book that explores the phenomenon of travelling to a foreign country with every intention of being inspired by it, only to be left feeling bemused, bored or half asleep." dw-07.31

Related to the last, NASA has released thousands of hours of Apollo 11 tapes. dw-07.31

The top five designs in NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge. dw-07.30

"...photography shows us things we otherwise overlook, such as a simple traffic light on the street. An all known object which produces a strong graphical effect in an unnatural situation with a simple photographic setup." Long Exposure Traffic Lights, by Lucas Zimmermamn. Via Chris Glass. jc-07.30

A good glimpse at cinema history, the AV Club lists their 50 Greatest Special Effects Movies of All Time. mcj-07.26

A real way with light. The photography portfolio of Lorne Bridgman is a great browse. Check his portrait work and this series from Oslo is sweet. Thanks Marshall. jc-07.25

Mirai Live is an online community providing accessible bonsai knowledge based in sound horticulture. dw-07.25

Water on Mars. jc-07.25

Hunter and Dave. jc-07.24

Design for The Great Electronic Swindle, by Carosello Lab. jc-07.24

Our friends at Bellroy love travel just as much as we do. So we were thrilled to join their Big Travel Prize. The prize includes gear from us and other great brands, so head over and win the whole lot! jc-07.23

"Maybe he could come over here and give me a quarter of a million dollar tutorial?" Stanley Kubrick at home, talking about MS-DOS in 1984. Via John Gruber. jc-07.20

Some folks in Australia are working on the world's first beer made for space. ms-07.20

July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap for Mankind. ms-07.20

"For an entire generation, MySpace was a gateway to the addictive social networking platforms that are now a ubiquitous feature of our lives. And for many members of that same generation, MySpace was a gateway to another inescapable part of modern life — writing code." dw-07.19

"While, of course, these newspapers more broadly reflected the sexism and racism of the time, these women-led sections contained burgeoning progressive thinking around the expansion of societal roles for women and minorities. In one example, Voss found that in 1915 the Picayune newspaper in New Orleans published Creole recipes that the editor said were passed down from Creole cooks themselves. This was among the first acknowledgments, in publications written by, and geared toward, white readers, emphasizing the validity and value of non-Eurocentric foodways and recognizing marginalized cooks as experts." ms-07.19

A new way out. jc-07.18

Page Two contains the previous 40 Fresh Signals, recent features, a key to the icons and the categorical archives.

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