Categories
Design General

Belong to Universe

Making new friends during a pandemic is a bizarre experience.

For me, the few I have are people I have connected with during unusually raw evening Zoom calls between friends. These are usually scenarios where we all sit, and drink, and muse about the world from our respective desks or kitchens.

There is an honesty and a vulnerability to these calls. When we’re spending so much time in isolation alone with our thoughts, there seems to be a lot less BS when talking with friends, and much deeper topics can be discussed.

This is how I met Maud.

In the little bit I’ve gotten to know Maud, she is a smart, quick-witted, and clever person who loves professional soccer, German culture, and ska music. It’s surprising we didn’t know each other sooner.

The other thing I know is that Maud lost her father suddenly to COVID-19 back in April.

As a way to honor her father, she has worked with JL Murtaugh of NO GRAND to create a mask and soccer scarf combo to raise money for causes important to her.

In her own words:

And so, I started a project. A way to channel my memories of my father, and my father’s memories, and my love and concern for those around me. A way to celebrate what my father loved about me and what I loved about my father. A way to celebrate the people who have been so kind to me, so kind to my family, and so kind to my father.

When my father was taken from his home, on the block he moved to nearly fifty years before, he went to the hospital and came back thirteen days later in a lacquered wood box. In the time in between, I spent hours on the phone with countless medical workers with such depths of empathy in their communication. I am so thankful to them. I hold an immense debt of gratitude to the overwrought funeral director who spoke to me with such honesty and ease. I have encountered immense humanity, and I have been alone, in my own home, for over six weeks now.

I asked JL Murtaugh to help me turn all this sentiment into something tangible. I told him stories of my father’s appreciation for and association with Buckminster Fuller. I told him about my father’s early career as a photographer, developing his own photographs of the Mies van der Rohe buildings on the IIT campus to be published in the Chicago Tribune. I told him how my father would sketch blueprints on scratch paper at the kitchen table and had a concrete mixer in our garage for experiments in Brutalism. Liam had previously created designs based on Betrand Goldberg and Frank Lloyd Wright. I knew he understood how I learned to understand Chicago from my father.

I am truly honored and astounded by what NO GRAND has created.

I can personally attest that the scarves look tremendous and the masks are some of the best we own. You can see some photos below (including one of my dog Marla modeling the scarf) and place your order via this Google form.

I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to get to know Maud (from a distance.) The artists and inventors that her father appreciated are ones that inspire me as well. I am honored that I was one of the first people to receive a set and, if you’re anything like me I believe it is one that you may appreciate as well.

There are only a few left so don’t sleep on it.

Categories
Design Pop Culture Technology

You and The Atomic Bomb

My friends, submitted for your approval on this fine New Years Day, is a pamphlet found in the attic of my parent’s house.

What you see is just part of a piece of 1950’s Cold War propaganda in the vein of such nonsense as “Duck and Cover.” This particular piece was produced by New York state in association with Time Inc.’s Life Magazine as a civil service and is bound by no copyright. A pamphlet like this one would have been distributed to help individuals prepare for “The Bomb,” which at that point many felt was inevitable. Nevermind the fact that in an actual atomic blast, these methods would do very little, if anything, to save one’s life. They both created and eased fear among the populous while fostering dependency and loyalty to the government.

To me, it’s an amazing piece of American history both from a psychological and a design standpoint.  My grandfather was a chemist and member of the Nassau Country Civil Defense Commission, and near as I can tell this was his, there may be more. If I come across anything else, I’ll post it as well.

Enjoy.

Categories
Design General Photography Technology

A Photo Apart

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I had the opportunity to attend An Event Apart Chicago, the conference for people who make websites. There I got the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people, hear some amazing lectures and learn more in two days than I have in a few years.

An Event Apart is a great way to refresh your thinking and get exposed to amazing new concepts in web design. I would recommend it to anyone who does any sort of web design or development work.

I’ve posted some shots of some of the presenters on my Flickr. Please feel free to check them out.

Many thanks to Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer for putting together a great group of speakers and an amazing event. I went last year and it was worth it, I’m glad I got the opportunity to go again this year.

Categories
Chicago Design General

Works In Progress

http://www.sinnermanensemble.org

I have so much to write about, so much to tell.  My world has just been bursting with inspiration in the last few weeks, but I have so little time to share. So I’m leaving you with a simple link to a site I’m working on.

The SiNNERMAN Ensemble is a new upcoming theater production group based out of Chicago. They will be premiering their second play this May. I’m working closely with them on establishing their brand identity, including but not limited to: their logo and their website. Stay tuned.

Categories
Chicago Design General

Waking Up

Late last year, I noticed I had lost a few things from my life. I had fallen into a rut; I wasn’t happy. To make matters worse, I’d fallen into a routine, and this routine excluded doing a lot of things that were important to me: Things like designing websites.

Ultimately this discovery lead me to try something drastic and pick up and move to Chicago from New York, where I had spent my entire life until that point. While I miss NY and I miss my friends, I’m happier now, and I’m carving out a new niche for myself here. I’ve missed web design a lot, and I’ve lagged behind. Well, I decided to do something about it, and last month I attended An Event Apart: Chicago with the hope it would get me back into things.

Boy, was I right! Since the conference, I’ve had design on the brain non-stop. I found myself creatively inspired in particularly by Jason Santa Maria, Jeremy Keith, and Liz Danzico.

I’ve been fussing over a site design for this site here for over three years, and it gave me the guts to finally scrap everything I had and start rethinking. I’ve found myself re-energized. The new header graphic treatment is hopefully a taste of things to come as I plan to be a much more active participant in the design community, so stay tuned.