What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Tuesday 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

Five Picassos went missing form the L.A. Times. What happened to them? ms-yesterday

Carrot dodecahedron and other carved vegetables. dw-yesterday

Apparently, Kubrick's Burning Secret script has been uncovered. Withholding judgment for the moment. jc-yesterday

In honor of FIFA World Cup 2018 and the hosting country Russia, Carlsberg Beer made the world's first beer caviar. ms-07.13

"Each of the cities is represented by a polar histogram depicting how its streets orient. Each bar's direction represents the compass bearings of the streets and its length represents the relative frequency of streets with those bearings." Geoff Boeing compares city street orientations. dw-07.13

One hour of 80s video game commercials. dw-07.13

LogoArchive, a study of form language in logo design. dw-07.13

Take a browse through Manuja Walds's illustration series for the Penguin Shakespeare paperback series. Top-notch work. Beautiful books. jc-07.12

"Guys, you should come in and hear this and see if there's any last adjustments you want to make because I think we're getting somewhere." Robbie on the making of Music From Big Pink. jc-07.12

"Podcast From The Past is the weekly podcast where we discover the memories, mysteries and stories held by postcards that for some reason we never threw away." dw-07.12

"Hi, sweetie. It's Mom. Just walking Buster around his favorite park and thought I'd call. We're having a great time. It's so nice out and all the dogs are being been so sweet to each other. I don't know what it is! Maybe they know it's Buster's last time here. You don't have to call me back, just checking in." ms-07.11

Lewis Pugh just started The Long Swim, a 350 mile journey up the length of the English Channel and equivalent to 16 Channel crossings. dw-07.11

Today in history, Vice President Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton. So, yeah, of course I'm linking this up. ms-07.11

Two antique books featuring illustrations of samurai iconography: banners, (c1850s), and Jinbaori surcoats (1921). (via Present & Correct and Jen.) bb-07.11

Great, funny episode of Back to One, "a podcast about acting." Peter Rinaldi chats with John Christopher Jones. jc-07.11

Road to Mars. ms-07.10

"The mysterious nature of the interview clip itself, a piece of the footage gathered in 1980 for a never-released Japanese documentary, suits the nature of the revelation." Stanley Kubrick on the ending of 2001. jc-07.10

An online directory of women who draw. dw-07.10

Water Towers at Night, a sweet photo series by Lloyd Lewis. Via P&C. jc-07.10

Inside the Falcon. jc-07.10

Adrian's Movie Poster of the Week: Kurosawa Abroad. jc-07.09

Chinatown NYC, as photographed by Ludwig Favre. jc-07.06

A yearly tradition, Crackerpacks. jc-07.03

The Mellow Chicago Bike Map, Chicago Reader's guide to the lowest-stress routes in the city. dw-07.03

Nice illustrations by Daniela Gallego. dw-07.03

Local note. Georg Jensen: Scandinavian Design for Living at The Art Institute of Chicago. Highly recommended. Plus, it's right next door to the new beautifully curated and annotated John Singer Sargent exhibition. jc-07.03

Your Next Kitchen, Via Things. jc-07.03

"Astronauts have gone from idolized to anonymous. As NASA prepares to launch humans from the U.S. again, the nature of space flight and who does it is changing once more." ms-07.02

Thanks to David Foster and the team at MSNBC's "Your Business" for the nice feature on Field Notes. ms-07.02

Painted Street Carpets, by Arthur-Louis Ignoré. jc-07.02

Due to a massive infrastructure project, Amsterdam had to drain a riverbed. They catalogued everything they found and put it all online. ms-06.28

Monumental Nobodies, oils by Matthew Quick. Great work, smart captions too. Via Isn't. jc-06.28

"I biked through all 16 German states in 80 days and filmed my entire journey." 80 Days in Germany in 80 Seconds. ms-06.27

Preserving Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy through digital innovation. dw-06.27

"We've Had a Problem." jc-06.27

Two Keyboards at a Bar, by Michael Lopp. jc-06.26

Related to our newest Field Notes edition are these fantastic photos by Astronaut Donald Pettit taken from the International Space Station. Thanks Marshall. ms-06.26

Island-in-a-lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake-on-an-island. jc-06.26

One small step for notebooks. jc-06.25

For BB, Getting to the Bottom of "Thrift Store Smell". ms-06.25

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

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