What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Wednesday Edition

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Coudal Partners

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.

New From Field Notes

It’s What’s Inside
That Counts

The Fall release from Field Notes is the "End Papers" Edition.

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

When you ask FOTA Wakiza Gamez to redub a Kickstarter video, he delivers the goods. sd-today

The man who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for the past 50 years is retiring. ms-today

The Rijiksmuseum in Amsterdam is restoring Rembrandt's The Night Watch and they will livestream it online. So cool. ms-today

"This giftable godsend for the under-rested features dozens of snoozy short texts, including 'The Motion of Sand Dunes,' 'The Administrative Bureaucracy of the Byzantine Empire,' 'White Noise: A Technical Explanation,' and many dozens more — though good luck reading very far on any one evening." This Book Will Put You to Sleep. dw-yesterday

These exquisite photogravures are from one of the first series of X-rays ever produced. dw-yesterday

A map of every building in America. dw-yesterday

"When the unveiling of the long-lost Salvator Mundi was cancelled last month, there were cries of fake. But is there more to the controversy surrounding the world's most expensive painting?" A $450m Da Vinci Mystery. jc-10.15

New trailer for Glass. High hopes for this one. ms-10.15

3,600 contact sheets and 130,000 images. Stanford Libraries make Warhol photography archives public. jc-10.15

If you like today's Google Doodle, you'll love A Drive into the Gap and you may want to support hurricane relief efforts with our new Puerto Rico Field Notes. bb-10.12

Kate Beaton has officially ended Hark, a Vagrant to focus on her other work that actually generates money, but fear not, hundreds of educational Tycho Brahe d**k jokes are safe in her archives. bb-10.11

"Julien de Casabianca, 46, French and Corsican, is both a visual artist and a filmmaker. In 2014, he launched Outings Project, which consists in bringing paintings from museum walls into the streets." ms-10.11

The Man who made me swoon is getting his own college course. Sign me up. ms-10.11

Spot for the Google Pixel 3, created "in collaboration with Terrence Malick." Hmmm. Via John Gruber jc-10.11

Moonlit shots of yesterday's view of tomorrow, by Tom Blachford. Via Isn't. jc-10.11

"This is a solar-powered website, which means it sometimes goes offline." dw-10.09

Nueva Edición Regional. jc-10.09

"There is a set of scratches in 2001: A Space Odyssey that are not on the film, but in the film." Perhaps just a small thing but big props to Philippe Theophanidis, for getting to the bottom of it, and discovering lots of other awesome stuff along the way. jc-10.09

23 photos of The Imprint by MVRDV, in Seoul. Yowza. jc-10.09

Codex 99 goes deep on The Steamboat and the Cornfield. jc-10.09

Colossal's headline sums it up. A Gargantuan Purple Sea Monster Lurks Inside a Two-Story Warehouse at Philadelphia's Navy Yard. jc-10.09

Lego Vestas Wind Turbine. jc-10.09

Chasing the Blues, a dark and funny film by our pal Scott Smith and based on a story by Kevin Guilfoile is playing in theaters starting today. Check it out. Here's the trailer. jc-10.05

Somewhat related to the last. ms-10.05

"I was given a Commodore 64C that had been left outside for a decade or more in rural Oregon. It dealt with everything mother nature could throw at it while it sat outside. Could this machine possibly still work??" ms-10.05

Teaser trailer for the film Rocketman. ms-10.05

As the leaves begin to change color and the nights become cooler, our thoughts inevitably turn to this autumnal classic; It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf*ckers. ms-10.05

If you're in Chicago, join us after work tonight (Wednesday) at FNHQ for the "End Papers" release party, and tomorrow (Thursday) night at the Music Box for the Chicago premiere of Gary Hustwit's new film about Dieter Rams. bb-10.03

Roald Dahl's Matilda Wormwood is 30. Mara Wilson reminisces, with illustrations from Quentin Blake. bb-10.02

Auge Design's fantastic limited-edition packaging system for Mutti tomato products. jc-10.01

What Makes The Night Watch Rembrandt's Masterpiece. jc-10.01

"But if you quote Sherlock Holmes as saying 'Exactly, my dear Watson' — which he really does say in Conan Doyle's stories — there's a good chance your listener will 'correct' you, so entrenched is the elementary version." jc-10.01

"There's no R&B in this song:" Chris Read's 25th anniversary mixtape of De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate. bb-09.27

Let's Read Old Magazines. jc-09.27

Happy Birthday, Olivia Newton-John! bb-09.26

Five Of The Most Inspiring Explorers ms-09.26

This Unusual Cafe In Seoul Will Make You Feel Like You Walked Into A Cartoon. ms-09.26

Trailer for the film Galveston. ms-09.24

The Gorgeous Typeface That Drove Men Mad and Sparked a 100-Year Mystery. ms-09.20

"I'd venture a guess that most Americans (like us, before we started this project) can't name more than one or two amendments to the Constitution, let alone remember that there are 27 of them. But these 27 "insertions" to our founding document outline our basic rights as Americans. Not only that, they show a country changing and evolving and re-imagining itself; striving (and not always succeeding) to be better. With that in mind, the team at More Perfect challenged ourselves to come up with a way to give these words the swagger they deserve. So we invited some of the best musicians in the world to create songs inspired by each of the 27 amendments; a kind of "Schoolhouse Rock!" for the 21st Century. 27: The Most Perfect Album | WNYC Studios. ms-09.20

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

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