The Business of Creativity

Three questions before taking on a project:

Can we make money from it?
We’re a going business. We have mortgages to pay. We have tuitions to pay for our kids. We’re not ashamed of making money.

Are we gonna be proud of it when we’re done?
There’s nothing that will break your heart faster than working three months on a project and then, when it’s all done, you’ve sold your soul and compromised and you don’t even want anybody to see it.

Can we learn something new?
That allows us to continue to grow in the skills that we have. It allows us to be better filmmakers and writers and coders and art directors. And it keeps things interesting.

From Bootstrapped, Profitable & Proud: Coudal on Signal vs. Noise

W. A. Dwiggins

Type design on the cover of MSS by WAD

I’ve just finished a collection of stories by Roald Dahl (Someone Like You, if you care — utterly brilliant) and throughout the experience I’ve caught myself delayed numerous times by the object itself — enthralled by the meticulous typography and intricate ornamentation that adorns each chapter break. Not to mention the altogether unique cover design and spine treatment. As I rounded the last turn, I was confronted with a paragraph under the heading: PRINTER’S NOTE. What followed was a colophon of sorts that ended with the perfunctory, “The typography and binding design are by W. A. Dwiggins.”

So, who is this mysterious master of modern type and page design?

Turns out, William Addison Dwiggins, or WAD as he apparently preferred, was quite a fellow. He might be most famous for coining the term graphic designer back in 1922 in reference to himself and his work. He designed the (still popular) typefaces Electra and Caledonia and a total of 329 books for A. Knopf, Inc. The hardcover I’ve just finished bears the BORZOI imprint and will go straight on the top shelf where it belongs. Thank you, WAD.

Elementary, My Dear

For strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is far more daring than any effort of the imagination.

Sherlock Holmes in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Trade marks and symbols by Stefan Kanchev

STEFAN KANCHEV is, to my mind, the preeminent figure in mark making in the modern age. No offense to all you Paul Rand disciples. Born in 1915, Kanchev was the son of an iconographer and a student of Bulgarian folklore and traditions — which served as inspiration for much of his design work. In total, he is credited with authoring some 1,600 brandmarks in his lifetime and was named “National Artist” of Bulgaria. For more context and biographical info, not to mention a look at his impressive postage stamp and book cover collections, visit his official website.

UPDATE: The good-hearted folks over at Logoblink have put together an extremely comprehensive PDF about the life and work of Mr. Kanchev. Download it here (~30MB).

Good & True

No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in… I tried to make a real old man, a real boy, a real sea and a real fish and real sharks. But if I made them good and true enough they would mean many things.

Ernest Hemingway speaking about The Old Man and the Sea | 1951

Ten Things

1. You can only work for people that you like.

2. If you have a choice, never have a job.

3. Some people are toxic. Avoid them.

4. Professionalism is not enough.

5. Less is not necessarily more.

6. Style is not to be trusted.

7. How you live changes your brain.

8. Doubt is better than certainty.

9. On Aging: It doesn’t matter.

10. Tell the Truth.

From Milton Glaser’s AIGA talk in London | November 22, 2001 | Read the rest